Zoopla appoints first chief marketing officer in bid to beat rival OnTheMarket

On the back of an OnTheMarket requirement for agents to only advertise on one other portal, 80 per cent of the new platforms 4,600 agent’s chose to leave Zoopla rather than Rightmove.

This caused the online property portal to record an 11 per cent decline in the number of agents advertising with it. Zoopla boss Alex Chesterman said the number of British estate agency branches on the site dropped from 16,373 in September to 13,402.

Chesterman claimed the rival website would “struggle to gain traction” with consumers, citing data from Hitwise. Zoopla had a company record of 50.5m website visits in January 2015.

“Some agents are already beginning to return to the platform,” said Chesterman.

In response, OnTheMarkets’ team has said that Zoopla was “out of touch” with its member agents.

This was the reasoning behind Chesterman’s decision to poach MoneySuperMarket brand chief Gareth Helm. He will become the first employee to adopt the title of chief marketing officer.

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Helm said he was excited by Chesterman’s “ambitions, vision and plans for the future”.

“I’m looking forward to ensuring that we continue to drive usage among digital property consumers and that our advertisers are fully aware of the value of our audience and the products that we offer for their benefit,” he added.

Reporting directly to founder and chief executive Alex Chesterman, Helm will handle all aspects of the group’s marketing strategy across Zoopla, Primelocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

“In a short space of time, Zoopla has grown to become a national household brand and I am looking forward to maintaining and growing this position,” he said.

At MoneySuperMarket, Helm was responsible for brand marketing for MoneySuperMarket, TravelSuperMarket and MoneySavingExpert.

Prior to that he was marketing director at Mars UK and Innocent Drinks and has worked at both Nestle and Unilever.

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