When Lee Tonitto joined the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) as CEO in September 2014, she made collaboration one of her primary goals. When having a chat with B&T, she invited fellow association heads Jodie Sangster and Sunita Gloster to share their views on the future of marketing.
One of the first things Tonitto observed as she took on her new role last year was the increasing influence of marketing.
“Some evidence of that,” she says, “is that you can see marketing’s rise in management books best seller list, YouTube play list and, of course, the relentless proliferation of marketing technology.
“For me, marketing has really become more powerful and resource-rich and professional as a business function.”
The Association for Data-driven Marketing of Australia’s (ADMA’s) boss Jodie Sangster has also noticed the dramatic rise in marketing technology and the effect it is having on her members.
“Members tell me they are struggling to understand the vast array of technology now available and how it all fits together,” says Sangster.
Tonitto, on the other hand says she was surprised that conversations throughout 2014 were still dominated by big data.
“As we all know we have more data than ever before coming through social and online platforms,” she conforms, “but when will the C-suite wake up to the fact that it’s not the size of your data that matters, what really matters is the value of your insights and how you can act with what I call real time agility on those insights to create more invaluable moments of touch with your customer?”
The Australian Association of National Advertisers CEO Sunita Gloster (pictured) says the big end of town are no longer baffled by technology and data, but appreciative of the amount of hard work they have to do to give their customers good experiences.
“Marketers are really under increased pressure from senior management and boards,” says Gloster, “to improve the customer experience and senior marketers are seeing an increased expectation from their senior management to lead customer experience cross-functionally at all touch points.”
But for Gloster, the marketers she’s been speaking to are relishing the challenge. “I’ve had a lot of one-to-one conversations with senior marketers,” she adds, “and they were genuinely very excited to be in marketing right now, because there’s no rule book. It’s the first time marketers have found themselves having to forge a new way.
“They’re having to restructure their marketing capability; get involved in a broadened remit. And they’re getting recognition from their companies that marketing drives value. They’re seeing people removed from their teams and go into other parts of the business. They’re seeing questions and challenges posed to them that normally didn’t get posed to marketing, so they’re feeding into business strategies, which is why I think they think it’s a great time to be in marketing. The recognition marketers are getting for being able to contribute to growth is for them exciting.”
Tonitto agrees that working across the enterprise really is emerging as the top level strategic priority for marketers. “My question is,” she asks, “today even in 2015, do CMOs wield sufficient authority within their organisations to actually make that happen? They may be responsible, but do they have the influence and gravitas within the organisation?
“The marketing department no longer sits in the corner and just runs campaigns. It has to be the epicentre and interact with every part of the organisation. To do their jobs, marketers’ need more EQ skills to build community and collaboration so that they can knit the organisation end-to-end to deliver their better customer experience.”