How Digital Technology Is Redefining Marketing & Marketers 

Business persons around the office building
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

Ahead of the 2022 Australian Marketing Institute Marketing Excellence Awards Gala, three experienced industry professionals discuss the lasting impact of digital marketing.

Digital technology is upending marketing practices and causing industry veterans to rethink how the sector functions. 

Maria De Conno, the Founder of Fig Tree Digital and Board Deputy Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI), was one of the early adopters of digital integration. 

“When I first founded Fig Tree Digital 15 years ago, the core principle was to bring together marketing, creative and digital technology. Nowadays, that’s not a notable idea: integration is commonplace,” she said. 

De Conno began her career in the finance sector, which she says was one of the first industries to appreciate data based marketing. 

“With such a data-driven approach, I think the finance industry was one of the first to recognise the value of data-driven, digitally enabled marketing. Other sectors initially lagged behind, but digital marketing is ubiquitous now.” 

“We’re quickly approaching the point where digital marketing is not distinguished as a separate area. Rather than thinking of digital marketing, we’ll just think of marketing.” 

However, the widespread adoption of digital technology and data has not come without its challenges, according to Australian Marketing Institute CEO, Bronwyn Powell.  

“Marketers now have access to a wealth of data, but a key challenge is drawing meaningful and commercially applicable insights. What is going to set marketers apart as we continue to transition into a digital environment, is having the capability to overcome this,” she said. 

Louise Cummins, Chief Marketing Officer at World Vision Australia and member of the AMI Board, agrees. 

“It’s easy to be lured by the latest technology, but marketers need to ensure they use new tools to address pain points or add gain points. Enabling an improved client experience should be at the forefront of our minds,” she said. 

The rise of digital marketing asks marketers to add a plethora of skills to their arsenal. 

“Throughout my career, I’ve followed a relatively linear progression, but that’s no longer the case for young marketers. There are so many specialist roles within most marketing teams, so it’s very difficult to gain early experience in all areas. For senior marketers, there are a lot of areas they need to have a basic understanding of, to properly lead and manage a team,” said Powell. 

De Conno noted that marketing teams are increasingly dividing into specialists and strategists. 

“Modern marketing requires senior strategists with broad experience, who can guide high level strategy. It also requires specialists who can implement that strategy across a number of platforms and channels,” she said. 

As the purview of marketing expands, Powell stresses that ongoing professional development is vital. 

“Finding talent with a desire to learn is key. Professional development is a lifelong journey and it’s important that we’re constantly asking ourselves, ‘How will this role challenge me? How will I grow? What will I add to my toolkit?’” 

Now in a senior role, Cummins exemplifies that commitment to continued learning. 

“I make a point to attend multiple courses each year, whether through industry bodies or elsewhere. I’m always looking for new skills and ways I can work better,” she said. 

“I also keep an eye on other industries, especially how they’re using digital technology. There’s so much we can learn from outside the marketing world: it would be foolish to think we have all the answers.” 

Even as digital marketing upends the industry, De Conno cautioned that there is still value to the traditional principles. 

“The core principles of marketing remain. As new tools become available, our implementations can change, but the fundamental ideology of marketing rings true.” 

Cummins agreed that whilst looking to the future, we shouldn’t neglect the past. 

“Marketing has always—and will always—be built on storytelling. Content forms will come and go, but storytelling is forever.” 

To hear more insights from industry leaders, purchase your ticket to the 2022 AMI Marketing Excellence Awards Gala here. 

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