The Story of Mike Rich

Mike Rich
Mike Rich

From a rocky beginning with a rare heart condition and a 50% chance of survival, my journey has been a rollercoaster of entrepreneurial ventures, resilience, and a relentless pursuit of innovation.

This is the story of how I defied the odds, ventured into uncharted territories, and became the Group CMO of one of the international’s biggest logistics companies, Aramex.

At the age of 15, driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, I started my first business—MR Computers. Despite my young age, I secured contracts with my school and neighboring institutions to supply and maintain their computer departments. My father, the owner of a successful company called MR Signs, played a pivotal role in supporting me during these early days.

However, tragedy struck when my parents passed away when I was around 16. Undeterred, I completed my schooling and entered the workforce, starting with a job washing glasses at Challengers, a local bar. By the age of 19, I had opened my first bar, marking the beginning of a successful entrepreneurial career that included ventures into the corporate world, with roles at Diageo and the creation of my first restaurant.

The journey wasn’t without its challenges, but every setback became a lesson learned. Despite the ups and downs in the restaurant, retail sports shop, marketing agency, cocktail bar, and pizza businesses, each experience contributed to my growth and shaped my approach to business.

In 2016, my path led me to Dubai, where I assumed the role of Global Marketing Director for The Entertainer, a loyalty and tech company. Collaborating with the leadership team, we digitized, positioned, and marketed the product, forming partnerships with major players like Mastercard, Visa, and HSBC. The company was eventually sold in 2019 for around $120 million, marking a significant chapter in my career.

The Dubai experience was groundbreaking, as it introduced me to hyper-personalization in marketing using data and insights. Dynamic email content, tailored to individual consumer behavior, was a cutting-edge strategy that we implemented in 2016/17.

Following this success, Aramex, one of the world’s largest logistics companies, offered me the role of Group CMO. My mission was to restructure the marketing department and position it as a profit center. Today, I oversee marketing and CX, leading a team of more than 400 people across eight regions and 65 countries.

In the logistics industry, known for its perceived lack of excitement, I found an opportunity to inject creativity and innovation. Taking a B2C marketing approach to B2B activities, we built an in-house marketing department to cultivate a team that lives and breathes the brand. This unconventional move not only increased flexibility but also reduced costs while enhancing the brand’s authenticity.

Over the past three years at Aramex, we’ve implemented numerous initiatives, including the global rollout of Salesforce and Sprinklr, the introduction of a female version of Arabic on our website, and the strategic positioning of the Aramex brand during Ramadan. Additionally, we embraced a full global ABM strategy, driving leads and generating new business.

The marketing landscape is evolving at a rapid pace, and my journey reflects the dynamic nature of the industry. From my early days without social media and digital marketing to today’s era of AI and big data, adaptation and curiosity have been the driving forces behind my success.

As I replicate on this exhilarating adventure, I understand that advertising and marketing leaders have to be inclined to take dangers, embody exchange, and pioneer new trends. In a world in which the whole thing I discovered on the start of my profession is now inappropriate, the key to achievement lies in continuous gaining knowledge of, adaptability, and a ardour for exploring the unknown.

What an interesting time to be alive and within the advertising enterprise—where the curious and the danger-takers turn out to be the legends and trendsetters all of us speak about.