Tourism Australia CMO: “Be Brave, Be Creative & Focus On The Customer”

Tourism Australia CMO: “Be Brave, Be Creative & Focus On The Customer”
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“Be brave, be creative and focus on the customer and what truly motivates them,” advises Lisa Ronson, Chief Marketing Officer, Tourism Australia.

Tourism Australia made some fundamental changes to its Marketing strategy to reach its audience. “Our revised target audience is based on attitudes and behaviours, as opposed to demographics, as that allows us to better predict future consumer behaviours,” she adds.

Ronson is a keynote speaker at the marcus evans CMO Summit 2018, taking place in Gold Coast, 20 – 22 August.

How is the marketing function in Australia changing? What is Tourism Australia doing to remain competitive?

We have made some fundamental changes to our marketing strategy – including our brand architecture/brand personality, our target audience globally, our key market prioritisation and our philosophy of doing fewer, bigger, bolder initiatives that have resonance and cut-through with our new global target audience. We have moved to including a lot more of the Australian personality in all of our marketing communications instead of focusing on core pillars alone (e.g. food and wine, aquatic and coastal, nature and wildlife) to truly differentiate ourselves from our competition.

Our revised target audience is based on attitudes and behaviours, as opposed to demographics, as that allows us to better predict future consumer behaviours. We now focus on the high-value traveller – those consumers that spend more in the Australian economy because they prioritise holidays, have affinity of what we have to offer and stay longer.

How could the marketing workforce prepare for these changes? 

I thoroughly believe in diverse workforces, and this is becoming increasingly important as we move to more agile ways of working to manage fewer and larger projects. Recruiting the team from a diverse range of industries and backgrounds provides much more diversity of opinion, and will always lead to better debate and decision-making.

What helps create meaningful connections with audiences? What are customers looking for?

The best way to connect with audiences is emotional engagement. This has been an enduring truth of marketing. Consumers do not hate advertising, they hate bad advertising. Creativity and emotional engagement are the fundamentals of behavioural science and it has been proven time and time again that emotional connections deliver better sales results.

What culture and workforce is required to make such meaningful connections? How can CMOs set it up?

A workforce that is united and willing to be brave. CMOs can set this up by giving everyone in the team a voice, rather than being based on hierarchy. Communicate with each other more and break down any silos that may exist between teams.

How can CMOs make sure marketing messages resonate with the right audience?

They need to ensure that there is a focus on the problem that they are trying to solve for the consumer, simplify the messaging and ensure that all components of the campaign are working together – from the emotional “halo” through to the retail execution. Do not make it hard for the customer to buy your message or your products, experiences and services.

What is the brand building strategy behind the Crocodile Dundee Super Bowl campaign? What valuable lessons can you share with other CMOs? 

The strategy started with the target audience – the Super Bowl platform highly indexes on the high-value traveller. We then went about developing a creative idea that would really cut through and anchor in what the American audience knew of Australia but moving into the contemporary Australian tourism experience. It was very much focused on solving the problem of moving Australia from a once-in-a-lifetime “bucket list” destination to encouraging them to come now, which is why a critical part of the campaign was working with key partners, such as Qantas and key travel agents, to convert off-the-cut thought and desire generated by the teasers and the Super Bowl spot and the subsequent content series.

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