Elizabeth Aris is the CEO and co-founder of MOSH., a new digital platform that is challenging the existing social media model. A true marketing and technology guru, Elizabeth empowers brands, influencers and organizations to be in control of their content and data, helps them find their most passionate consumers, and allows them to form more effective and lucrative business partnerships.
With over 25 years of experience in senior executive marketing and management positions at global Fortune 500 firms, Elizabeth has deep expertise in mobile, media, tech and retail banking industries and across various markets, including Asia, Australia and the U.S. Prior to starting MOSH., Elizabeth served as the CMO and VP of Sales, Strategy and Regulatory Affairs for Alcatel-Lucent, covering 20 countries based out of Shanghai, China.
How did you get into the Marketing / Tech industry?
A Chief Marketing Officer from one of the biggest banks in Australia came to my university and asked for a graduate to be recommended to join the team – and I was lucky enough to get the job. This position allowed me to execute many product launches and decommissions, while merging customer bases, pricing and research in my first few years alone. It gave me great experience, which I then was able to expand upon for another 15 years. I ended up in a senior role in consumer marketing and product management for a Top 50 bank, and afterwards I moved out of banking and went to work for some of the largest software companies in the world. It was a great way to learn about the tech sector, but I also realized banks were very good at marketing and managing customer relationships compared to the tech industry. In software, they are able to have direct engagement with enterprise customers, but they do not know the customer’s name or understand small to medium businesses since these relationships are managed through various channels, which highlights a true gap in the market.
I later assumed a position with a major telecommunications and media firm in Australia, which gave me exposure to the type of marketing a bank does but one that also required the understanding of technology, particularly in mobile. It also allowed me to worked for Sol Trujillo, former U.S. CEO of Telstra and a tech innovator, where I learned to use a highly sophisticated marketing strategy called Market Based Management – a new and better way of understanding customer needs and segmentation for businesses. My current company, digital engagement platform MOSH., is based off this model.
Tell us about MOSH. How did it come to be and what is your vision for the company?
Throughout my time as a CMO, I was getting increasingly frustrated with the existing digital platforms on the market. They all use the Advertising Business Model, which features inadequate customer segmentation programs and takes control away from the brands. Instead of providing a competitive advantage, this model has become a growing business hurdle to the CMOs, brands and organizations looking to connect with consumers and other partners in a more effective way.
So I decided to do something about it. Impressed by Trujillo's track record as a business visionary, I took the concept of MOSH. to him first and, encouraged by his feedback and willingness to invest in it, I left my position at a Fortune 500 firm and ventured into a new career journey as a startup founder. I replaced Sydney with New York and started MOSH.
MOSH. is designed to bring brands closer to their business objectives, and consumers closer to their passions. The platform aims to serve as an interactive digital ecosystem that provides its user brands with consistent, real-time, individual and identifiable customer data. It gives brands the ability to directly market their true customers through social interaction, rich multimedia content and e-commerce capabilities. At the same time, MOSH. allows fans to directly engage with their favorite brands, celebrities, influencers, and causes through an unfiltered voice and exclusive content offering.
Although we are still in the early stages, we have received an incredible response from various partners, brands and fans on MOSH. and we were honored to be named one of the Top 10 Startups to Watch by the Cannes Lions Festival this past summer.
What strategic partnerships have you implemented that have attributed to MOSH.’s success?
We partner very closely with different types of brands, book publishers, journalists and causes on MOSH., including Entertainment Weekly, Cliff Notes, I Am Latino In America and more. They all have one goal in common – to engage with their customers, audience members and fans in a very compelling way. They ask for advice and guidance on best practices in social media and marketing, and we often work alongside their teams to show them how to execute on those. This has allowed us to develop a ‘playbook of moves’ that have been serving our brands very well.
We are also really excited about a recent movement across the Hispanic community that brought a number of prominent Latino brands, journalists, celebrities and industry groups onto MOSH. They are using it as a platform where their community can come together and make their views heard, but not filtered, and as we know, there has never been a more important time to do this given the current election year.
What industry trends that are relevant to MOSH. are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?
Almost all CMOs know the most important asset they have are their customers so they want to be able to engage with them in exciting, new ways to differentiate from the competition and grow their business. This requires access to real-time granular customer data and a platform that allows CMOs to market to them in a better way. Most CMOs are frustrated by the serious limitations of existing social media platforms but have not had an alternate place to go to that would help them better engage with their customers. Our goal is to be that place for them.
Be persistent, believe in your vision and go for it – one step at a time.
Your greatest success as Founder/CEO of MOSH.? Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?
Making the move to the U.S. without having any funds raised, having to find out how to get a visa, a social security card, a bank account, an apartment without a job or a credit history, find investors and build the business – these were all a big risk when I decided to leave everything behind in pursuit of my startup idea. But I knew that if I didn’t move to the U.S. and do this, the risk would be that MOSH. would not have a chance to evolve, which would be the greatest risk of all.
Your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Persevere. When you are feeling the most challenged, that is when you are growing. It may be hard to take the next step, but you know it needs to be done, so take a deep breath and move.
Describe the ideal experience for a client who partners with MOSH.
An ideal experience for our clients and partners would be that once they sign up and create a page, they are able to engage directly with their most avid fans and post exclusive content specifically to this platform. The data and insights they receive from the platform allows them to better understand their key customer base, cater to their needs, participate in a two-way dialogue, and market to them in a more meaningful way.
Meanwhile, fans who sign up for MOSH. to follow their favorite brands, influencers and causes receive this personalized level of communication and an exclusive content from groups and individuals they are most passionate about.
What's next for MOSH.?
Right now, we’re focused on adding more brands and having more fans sign up on MOSH. We’re still building momentum, but we’re seeing that more and more brands are interested in becoming part of this platform and are signing up because they want to better understand social media and ways in which MOSH. can help them. Our original goal was to have 30 brands become a part of MOSH. within the first year of its launch, and we’ve almost reached that mark in half the time.