On International Women’s Day, Sera McNeill (main photo), senior marketing manager customer-centricity and capability at ANZ, talks being a female marketer in the male dominated world of finance…
I’m proud to be a woman in marketing. One of the reasons I fell in love with marketing was the discovery that, while answers to critical questions weren’t often obvious, with proper application of science, data and a consumer lens, I could always find the best path to progress a campaign forward.
Today, marketing is on a trajectory that elevates the consumer beyond their historic role as one half of the consumer-marketer relationship. The consumer is becoming a leading voice. The explanation for this shift? Technology.
While the definition of marketing has remained consistent throughout my career, the role of marketers and the tools we have available has seen significant change. So too, has the experience of equal rights in the workplace – and equal opportunities for marketers of all genders. At ANZ, we stay at the forefront of progress, embracing the dynamic nature of marketing to bring our purpose to life: fostering financial wellbeing to help people and communities thrive.
By 2024, the population of digital natives will exceed those who have had to learn throughout their life. This means that tech and digital will move beyond their place as components of society, to underpin its very fabric.
It also means that, if marketers want to remain relevant, they must make some changes. Like any professional in a fast-changing field, marketers must be alert, continuous learners. If we don’t, we’ll struggle to keep up with the technological changes happening around us.
The reshaped nature of marketing will demand significant upskilling in coming years, alongside the consolidation of skills due to shortages, and hiring of new teams to fill gaps.
Knowing how to wield the tools available as a marketer, and how to do so in a way that supports your existing practice, is an ongoing challenge. Marketing constantly offers up blank pages for us to fill – an exhilarating challenge, though one that takes a lot of skill to effectively execute time and time again.
At ANZ, we strive to give our marketers every advantage to empower them on their path of lifelong learning. So in 2019, we created a program to help prospective and current members of our marketing team reach their full potential.
The Marketing Masters program was developed with the help of internal subject matter experts and globally-recognised training partners. We mapped out every role within marketing, across 19 core competencies, and defined four levels of mastery, role requirements and job grade.
Today Marketing Masters is delivered through a mix of application-led virtual classroom workshops and self-directed learning. Around 300 marketers take part in the program each year, each committing 16 hours of their time across 12 weeks to participate in the program. The ‘My Mastery’ review tool enables a participant to self-reflect throughout the program on their level of mastery, adding clarity and steering development efforts and career progression pathways.
Another key outcome of the program is delivered via the My Mastery Review tool, which provides insights to the executive team in order to identify priority capabilities. This ensures our team will continue to evolve year after year, safeguarding our place at the leading edge of this dynamic profession.
Marketing Masters has a strong focus on technology skills, in line with the changing nature of marketing. Marketing traditionally incorporated the disciplines of economics, statistics, and behavioural science. Today, an understanding of technology is fundamental to marketing. So, many of the 19 competencies covered by the program relate to data insights, analytics, and to digital experiences.
The ANZ Marketing Masters program elevates our team so that ‘good’ marketers achieve greatness. A great marketer knows foundational aspects of their role inside and out, so they can make every effort to tailor operations to the business, market, and regional context in which they operate. ‘Good’ marketers understand and anticipate a consumer’s needs; masters create the customer’s needs. The great marketer boosts reception of the brand as a whole by creating innovative propositions and experiences, alongside expert storytelling.
In short, great marketers go beyond the brief and are bold, curious, and persistent. Those qualities can only emerge once the core skills of marketing are honed: that is what the Marketing Masters program at ANZ achieves.
Through Marketing Masters, we are fostering the mindsets, foresight, and capabilities needed to build a globally competitive marketing team. We don’t do this just for our benefit. Our purpose at ANZ is to foster financial wellbeing, to help Aussies and Kiwis, and their communities, thrive. Investing to upskill our marketers in best practice, innovation, and technology, is the ANZ purpose in action.
We know that our people are benefiting from this investment, as shown by a significant boost to employee engagement scores and a lift in retention rates within the team. In our annual staff survey, our team reported they feel they have ‘access to opportunities to help me grow’ increasing by 13% from 2019. Staff also reported that they felt that ‘someone in the organisation has an interest in my growth,’ – up 21% since 2019. In this way, Marketing Masters benefits our customers, too, by ensuring continuity within our team, and a stronger and more consistent culture.
Today, organisations across the world are learning to invest in their people and foster customer-centricity, using platforms like Go1 learning, LinkedIn Learning, Gartner, or by developing their own course work like Microsoft in its Marketing With Purpose Course.
Building an ‘always learning’ culture is something that CEO Shayne Elliott has said will always be a focus for ANZ. We truly believe that it takes the best people to deliver the best outcomes, which requires us to constantly invest in our people. For marketers, the learning never stops. Marketers must take every opportunity to build their individual career, play the long game, and market purposefully.
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