“Our goal is for us to be the world’s most active nation.” The Australian Sports Commission’s CMO Louise Eyres has spent three decades in marketing, but getting Aussies off the couch might be her biggest challenge yet. On this episode of The CMO Show we investigate Louise’s unusual career path, ongoing relationship with sports marketing and ambitions for the government agency.
With a marketing career spanning multiple industries and countries, one thing that’s remained constant is Louise Eyres’ love of a challenge.
“I always remember Gail Kelly from Westpac saying, ‘Just never say no when someone taps you on the shoulder’,” Louise said. As the inaugural Chief Marketing Officer of the Australian Sports Commission, Louise hasn’t had a traditional career trajectory.
“I see my marketing career as being in three chapters – the first was with BHP as a marketing graduate, absolutely green, straight from university and going into a male-dominated industry I knew absolutely nothing about,” Louise said.
From that green start, Louise moved into selling steel in Altona. Twelve years later she was redefining the brand in its entirety, from BHP to BHP Billiton, as Global Brand Manager. From there Louise went to ANZ, where she worked during the global financial crisis. It was, in her words, “a really interesting strategic challenge.”
The third of Louise’s ‘three chapters’ is the Australian Sports Commission. Their challenge? Expanding their remit from participation and high performance into addressing the issue of physical activity across all of Australia.
“I’d had a relationship with sport all through my corporate career, because as brands, we’re always having brand connections with sport,” Louise said. Before Louise joined, the government agency was a “three-division business”, but she was tasked with “inserting and creating the marketing division”.
“We really want to market on that ‘performance P’,” Louise said. “How do we tell the stories of our high-performance athletes better? How do we get greater community connection and understanding?”
Since her appointment in October 2017, Louise has set up a sports marketing counsel with the General Managers or CMOs of Australia’s 12 most popular sports. It makes sense, Louise said, “because we all share the same customers.”
In regards to marketing sport and physical activity to Australians, Louise maintains that it is important to practice what you preach. She’s started exercising 30 minutes a day to become a visible example of the “Find your 30” campaign, which encourages Australians to get out and active for half an hour every day.
Louise has high hopes for the impact of the Australian Sports Commission’s content marketing strategy. “I think we have the opportunity of bringing the voice of the community to the relevant ministers and government areas in real time,” she said.
“Absolutely we want this to be Australia’s initiative,” Louise said. “From the Sports Commission’s perspective, our goal is for us to be the world’s most active nation.”
- The Australian Sports Commission
- Louise Eyres takes up first CMO post at Australian Sports Commission
- ASC: The Executive
The CMO Show production team
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Hosts: Mark Jones, Nicole Manktelow
Guest: Louise Eyres
Louise Eyres talks to The CMO Show about marketing that makes you move
MJ: This episode of The CMO Show is brought to you by Filtered Media.
NM: Telling your story brilliantly.
LE: From the Sports Commissions perspective, our goal is for us to be the world’s most active nation cause I think we have the opportunity of bringing the voice of the community to the relevant ministers and government areas in real time.
NM: Hi you’re with the CMO show. I’m Nicole Manktelow.
MJ: I’m Mark Jones.
NM: We are here with an amazing CMO.
MJ: Yes, Louise Eyres is the CMO of the Australian Sports Commission, and she is quite the marketer.
NM: Oh my goodness and the career, it’s amazing.
NM: You’re going to love the insights.
MJ: She has had an incredible career, firstly at BHP. Then the big move to BHP Billiton and managing that process, and then going to ANZ, where she helped the brand grow into Asia. What’s fascinating to me is that, she really understands you feel like, the core principles of marketing.
MJ: In addition to that, she’s got her eye on what’s going to work from a new media, disruptive technologies’ perspective and how to engage with people in real time. It’s kind of the best of both worlds.
NM: She’s really got an amazing ability to have insight as the world around her and the different industries that are going through a great deal of change and the opportunity that presents. From mining into banking, and staying in those areas for some time, and now shifting into sport. I just wonder what’s coming next. I’m a bit excited for them, I feel like she brings with her a great deal of weight.
MJ: Absolutely, and she’s changing things in a really positive way. Moving from if you like an industry or a sports’ sector focus, to a broader a community impact, so it’s a great story, have a listen.
MJ: If you’ve got a question you’d like us to answer on the show, just tweet us @CMOShow or use the hashtag #TheCMOShow. We’d love to hear from you.
NM: Hey, you’re with the CMO show and we have an amazing guest, her name is Louise Eyres.
LE: Hi, great to be here.
NM: Thanks Louise.
MJ: It’s actually a great time to be speaking to you, because there’s some games going on.
LE: We’re winning gold and not only gold, but just how many team medals we’re winning, and I think that’s the really exciting part. How many Australians are winning a medal at the Com Games.
MJ: And also actually kind of a good story, because well it’s on home soil, so we better make the most of it right?
LE: Yeah, we heard the swimmers saying last night that the energy they’re getting from the crowd is really helping them find that extra performance. I think that’s now an element, whilst we all say it’s not about the medals, but how many of the athletes are at least doing their personal best, and I think that’s what you want out of a competition like this is that, you do the best time or the best race that you’ve ever done.
MJ: Yeah, that’s right, I mean I particularly enjoyed the swimming to see some people getting medals and PBs right, just really fantastic story.
LE: The other thing is having the para intertwined with the able-bodied is also a fantastic element that’s been quite unique to the Com Games.
NM: Yes, because normally you would run afterwards.
LE: Seeing the athletes together as I do at the AIS. They are able-bodied and the para-athletes are all at the highest level.
MJ: Let’s talk about you for a minute. Now you’re …
LE: I’m not an athlete.
MJ: You’re not an athlete, no, but I’m sure you do PBs somewhere, maybe professionally, personally I don’t know. I’m sure there’s some connection points, but you’re at an Australian government organisation, but let’s just go back a step. how did you come into this role?
LE: Well a journey of almost three chapters, so I sort of see my marketing career as being in almost in three decades. The first was with BHP and as a marketing graduate, absolutely green, straight from the university and going into an industry that I knew absolutely nothing about.
NM: A blokey one at that.
LE: Yes, very male dominated at that time and being a steel sales rep, having to go out to manufacturing, industrial, petrol chemical really, when there wasn’t a lot of women in those areas. The time with BHP was the hard yards on the road, but then also took me into, at the very end being the global brand manager and doing the re-brand of BHP to BHP Billiton.
LE: Yeah, from the selling the steel in Altona to redefining that brand 12 years later.
MJ: That was a 12-year journey?
MJ: You’ve just summarised probably what’s, this enormous story right? I mean how did you go from that place you just described to a full brand re-launch? What does it take to make that happen?
LE: I always remember Gail Kelly from Westpac saying just never say no to when someone taps you on the shoulder. That has really resonated, so that whole journey, not once did I apply for a role. It was from being the person that didn’t know a piece of steel, if it literally fell on them to then being a state, head of sales to a national head of marketing. Then moving from national roles into global roles made in between Melbourne and Sydney, and then back to Melbourne again.
LE: There was travel, there was different departments. There was taking up opportunities as they arose, and then the move back to Melbourne, facilitated that move into the global headquarters at BHP. Then during that time was the integration with Billiton, which then led itself to a whole lot of other opportunities that never would have been on the cards. When I took up the role in the global brand and communications team, but being a part of, what was at the time, one of the world’s biggest M&A activities in possibly the fastest time.
LE: It was through that, that piece of work that I met the team and worked with FHA and Future Brand. They introduced me to someone at ANZ, and that became a bridge into the ANZ world. Each of my transitions it was also been through relationships and through introductions.
NM: Let’s see now, mining boom, massive brand change including the new logo and all of that stuff that I remember being pages and pages of newspaper coverage.
LE: A little bit of controversy, yeah.
NM: Absolutely, then into banking and finance just in time for the GFC?
LE: Yeah, I had a few years’ warmup and then the GFC, but then that was again a really interesting strategic challenge for ANZ, because at the time we were making the move into Asia. Under Mike Smith’s strategy, that also allowed as marketers to have, because I think it’s whenever you have really great business strategy transformation, that you can pull the levers of marketing together.
NM: You would have felt at home there too having had the mining background, dealing with Australia exporting services.
LE: I knew Asia well.
LE: I had the international mindset. Also, then understood the institutional side of the business from the customer’s point of view. Obviously BHP and the mining companies are very large financial service institutional customers. I could put myself not only in the consumer, but also in that B2B mindset. As I said, the expansion into Asia was a great challenge and I did the rebrand of ANZ, the repositioning and the launch of that into Asia, which was really over that GFC time. And enabled marketing to again have a presence at the board table from a business strategy, as it was at BHP, because they knew that you can’t have a piece of M&A without having the marketing, the brand and all integration front and centre.
MJ: This was 15 years at ANZ, wasn’t it?
LE: Yes, nearly.
MJ: Right, so the other part of that is just longevity as you mentioned before, but usually CMOs don’t last for like …
NM: They don’t.
MJ: … you know a couple of years and they move on. It’s a really counter-cultural career trajectory, which I think is fantastic. What have you learned through that? What’s been the way that you’ve stayed engaged and stayed focused, kept learning? What’s been your approach?
LE: Well, I think it is about the relationships and I think it is that general relationship. I could see that there were people who were even part of the interview panel for me 15 years ago that I was still working with 15 years later. That we were still connected, so it those genuine relationships. I think it’s being energised by the business strategy. I think if you can see where the business is going, and you’re energised and you believe in that direction, that gives you that impetus.
LE: I think it’s when businesses or brands plateau for too long or I’m not clear of where they’re heading. Then potentially that’s when the CMO’s role is the first one out the door, as they’re working out, but I’m lucky in that, that’s the same with the transition into sport and as a government agency. It’s all about the strategy and the strategic pivot that, that business is doing.
NM: You’re the first CMO?
LE: Yes, there’s never been a marketing division.
NM: So you’ve been in these very well established long life organisations, great support. Now you’ve jumped into a government agency, government agencies as you know they buffer in the wind sometimes …
LE: There’s complexity.
NM: … when there’s a change of government and they haven’t had a CMO before, so you’ve got a big job in a really different environment. Why did you make that jump?
LE: I think, a couple of reasons, obviously the strategic change for ANZ was to withdraw and consolidate back to an Australian consumer business. In many ways, I had completed that journey from where I’d started and then looking at, I’d had a relationship with sport all through my corporate career, because as brands, we’re always having a brand connection with sport.
LE: I had done a lot of work with the Australian Open, with setting out the Trans Tasman netball championships and it was really through again that relationship and connection with Kate Palmer, that when she came in, I’d worked with Kate in setting up the ANZ netball championships, the Trans Tasman for many years. Kate and I had a conversation and she could recognise that the pivot for the sports commission is actually now not only being about participation and high performance, but actually moving into physical activity and addressing the issue of physical activity in Australia. I say I was …
MJ: In the community more broadly?
LE: In the community more broadly, so as a far more consumer mandate that I’m now taking on.
NM: I feel the need to stand up. Yes.
LE: Well, you have to find 30 minutes.
MJ: It should be a standing interview, yeah.
LE: Yes it should be. We can pretend that we’re star jumping while we’re podcasting.
MJ: Tell me about the culture shock that went with that, because you know a government organisation with the consumer thing is a connection point, but at the same time, just a completely different space.
LE: Well I think in the six months what I observe is that, part of that is a mindset that you can let yourself have, versus actually challenge it and question it. I’m really trying to unravel what are the true limitations, and there are some components that being a government entity, being so accountable to Australian taxpayers, and that there are different ways and approaches.
LE: Also, there are a lot that are self imposed and that’s what I’m trying to break through and setting up and creating a new division. The Sport Commissions always been a three-division business since its inception. Now inserting and creating the marketing division. I’m doing all the organisational structure and change, but also bringing in agencies and partners that the Sport Commission hasn’t had to build out that marketing portfolio. I think there are some differences, but there are also some that might be self imposed that I’m indifferent to break through.
MJ: Wow that sounds really exciting.
NM: What are actually marketing? When we think about it, are you marketing health?
MJ: Yeah, what’s the product?
NM: Are you marketing activity? Are you marketing people? Are you championing particular sports?
LE: There’s a lot in there, I think and that’s why I think of it now almost in the marketing vernacular of the three Ps. I’d say we’ve been a two P business. Talking about the Commonwealth Games, really want to market on that performance P? How do we tell the stories of our high performance athletes better, so that we’re not just sitting there in judgement for maybe two weeks, every four years? How do we get a greater community connection and understanding?
LE: I’ve seen so much that I’ve learned from speaking in high performance about the mental health resilience. How coaches give feedback, lessons that I could absolutely have seen it being applicable at the executive table at ANZ or at BHP. I think one part there is telling the stories of the athletes, but really unlocking so much of the culture and the knowledge that’s held in the high-performance sector, that’s really relevant to all Australians.
LE: On the participation side, I’ve set up a marketing counsel with the leading sports, of how we can work together as a marketing cohort. The General Managers or the CMOs of 12 sports coming together as a collective for the first time, given that we know that we share the same customers. A 15 year old girl is a netballer, is a tennis player, is a rower.
NM: A cricketer.
LE: A cricketer, a footballer and not owned by one sport. We’re really looking at that.
MJ: Yeah, that’s a change.
LE: That’s a change-
NM: That’s lovely.
LE: … in actually bringing together, but the sports are really on board with doing that deeper customer. Then on the physical activity side, absolutely driving accessibility and awareness. Really, life being at 2.0 is what we need right now when we’re all sitting at home, dulling over oats.
NM: Well you’re being cruel to us, we just had Easter.
LE: I’ve got some data.
NM: Oh no.
LE: It’s beyond Easter.
NM: Oh dear.
LE: It’s all of us and that’s again I think it’s good when you come in to a challenge. I’m absolutely the person that I’m trying to sway. I’m not the person that was doing 30 minutes exercise every day. I take my children to sport and they’re incredibly sport intensive lives, but I’d sit there and do my emails rather than being physically active myself. This really help pivot of the Sport Commission I can put myself front and centre as the Australian that I’m trying to communicate with.
MJ: Yeah, right, there’s some personal change going on, on the other side of that.
LE: Yes there is. Is it some awareness.
LE: Now under Bridget McKenzie as our dedicated sport minister, Minister McKenzie has sport now as a very specific portfolio. That sport being physical activity and sport, but we can actually bring into her team, without sounding to tripe, but the voice of Australia real time. If there’s one thing I think our leaders do respond to is when there’s a ground swell of sentiment. This is actually, this is what the community needs and what the community demands and then they’ll respond to that.
MJ: Well equally you might find more inhibitors to sport or to activity right? If cost was a thing …
LE: Yeah, to uncover something.
MJ: What are the things that stop people moving ahead, you know on the journey as it were and in response, right?
LE: It doesn’t have to all be all organised, I think there’s a movement to unorganised sport, so going for the walk or the jog or the, that everything doesn’t have to be between 10 AM and 2 PM on Saturdays, because that’s not necessarily working for families today.
NM: Not necessarily a team sport.
LE: Yes, so being again more open so this sort of notion of what does unorganised activity and that’s where I’ve seen the park runs and those initiatives really come up. Actually I can do it on my time and in a way that suits my family rather than being quite so regimented.
NM: Not to be a Debbie downer here, but when there is a ground swell of negativity and there can be on social particularly. When we respond to things like, ball tampering or footballers behaving badly and any number of those sorts of things, how do you deal with that? Is that something that a CMO now, now having a CMO at the Sports Commission, is that now something you need to have a view on? Is that something you need to help that commission have a view on?
LE: Absolutely and I think that talks to our reputation and credibility in particular from the Sports Commission as being the leading sport agency in Australia.
NM: That sounds difficult.
LE: It is difficult, but I think we also learn through the processes around how organisations and brands manage integrity issues. Integrity issues can come in all forms, but how you actually deal with them on the front foot fast.
NM: This is like a fundamental skill that you bring?
LE: Yeah, the transparency and also observing where it’s worked well and observing where you would absolutely see that there could have been improvement in it. I think it is a fundamental skill in that sense of being open, being transparent on the front foot. I’m sure CMOs 5, 10 years ago, it was probably a 180 in terms of how you would handle those issues. It was more try and keep them close, keep them away. Put out a new campaign to distract people and bring that through, but I think it’s a far more own up, front foot and say what you’re doing to address it.
MJ: Can we talk marketing tactics and then maybe strategies, because I know that there’s a sense of needing to have an integrated approach to, not just that like you feel like the sport level you’re talking about, the different organisations, but just in your organisation. What are you doing to get this message out through all the channels, through different approaches? How are you thinking holistically about your marketing?
LE: Absolutely, and it is as a collective, so part of it was, getting the sports together. This is sort of marketing 12 that we’re talking about, because they are our arms and legs, our distribution to the Australian consumer internally.
MJ: Sorry, that just sounds like a channel model to me, just from my computer background. You’re amplifying the marketing efforts of others.
LE: Bringing them involved right at the very start. Saying, if we want, your buy in. If we want this to be truly open source in what we’re creating, rather than making it an open source at the end and saying, here’s a campaign, push it out. Actually get sports involved right from the very start and saying, well how would this, what do we need to change for it to be relevant to your consumer? AFL, Surfing, NRL. How do we need to develop this initiative? So it’s relevant and you take it on board and you leverage it, internally across our business with high performance under the very strong AIS brand is constant communication internally engagement.
LE: Again, almost being open source internally, so everyone can see everything. They can work out okay, we have a phenomenal set of data around the athletes in our athlete data management tool. How can we utilise that anonymized data about athlete performance, but put it into a consumer context? It’s the open communication, also working with the government agencies, so spending time with VicHealth. I’ve been over in Perth with the state department, so absolutely working out this whole ecosystem of partners that we need. Making sure that they’re, they know what our ambition is and then they can see how they can be a part of it.
MJ: You’ve mentioned the tech term there, open source a couple of times now. I just wanted to ask, because being an old tech journo, I totally get that right. That seems again, countercultural to most of sort of the marketing history that we experience, because it tends to be control oriented, brand guidelines, can’t say this, can’t say that. You’re actually advocating a far more collaborative approach. How do you do that and yet see consistent outcomes or is that just not what you’re looking for?
LE: I think it’s consistent in the strategy and when we bring it through, I think we recognise and it’s almost the evolution of marketing and CMOs are now self-sophistication. They’re actually doing everything contained and having the big “tada” moment at the end, the big reveal.
MJ: Yeah right.
LE: May not be the most effective, and even, a very live conversation I’ve got going right now, is the good old focus groups. What is the role of focus groups in consumer testing now versus putting something out on a Google survey or a Facebook poll because we’re trying to move all Australians and doing focus groups via a digital process again, rather than having it so controlled in a focus group with the board.
LE: I think when we’re trying to be relevant to such a mass market and such a behavioural change way, I think we’re just having the courage to say, actually, we can’t create this in a vacuum. If we put it out there and people say, “Oh, if you made one or two changes, then we’d take it,” or I think that’s going to be a far more effective model. By the time our major initiative around this Life Be In It 2.0 and this sort of movement, or creating a movement of movement, there would be thousands of people that will have seen it before it comes, but they needed to have seen it and needed to be a part of the creation of it.
LE: I think we’ve looked and seen models overseas as well in the sports’ sector, where you just make it available to everyone. That’s how you make it accessible and helpful.
MJ: Your participation matters far more than well thought through focus groups and strategies, yeah.
LE: And who owns it, in a such a fragmented marketplace, so we can see that there are so many brands and businesses. Even if we think about the big CMO led brands and health insurance and life insurance, Apple Health, we have to bring those partners on our journey for us to be successful and have behaviour change.
NM: Is it not like you’re trying to generate sales leads, you’ve got to make people think differently? I think about this with our quit smoking campaigns in Australia. It’s really needed an entire generation to come and go really for that, for people to now go, “Oh no, somebody’s smoking.” It’s a really different kind of attitude in the public to that habit. I wonder if this is again, a plan that’s going to need to be 30 – 40 years.
LE: Absolutely, I mean we use Quit as an example and even into department of health. We’re talking 2030, so saying okay for 12 years, what’s our programme of work that takes us to 2030.
NM: 12 years is, you reckon is enough?
LE: Well at the start and then we might be, some of us might have dived off or be walking on beach by then.
NM: Well I have a really serious, really important question for you. Norm, is he coming back? You said, you kept saying life being at 2.0, is Norm coming back?
LE: I don’t think Norm’s coming back, but I think the intent and that jolt and the shock and even just you’ve got to find 30, but how do you find that 30 minutes? Whether it’s getting off the bus early or it’s that intent and perhaps even at the time of now, versus Norm, the jolt needs to be bigger. When we look and see, I think someone showed me even now, the fork that will, you put a battery in it and it will twirl the pasta for you, so you don’t even have to, you don’t do any wrist motion.
MJ: Hilarious, there is also a sense in, when you’re putting these programmes together, you’ve got to give people a sense of how to move ahead. You have the jolt and then what, right? Do you find yourself actually being, having to walk people along what would otherwise call a customer journey, right? The steps that it takes to get healthy?
LE: That’s the thing. As we’re planning out now what this would look like and working with all those agencies and partners, saying all the time frame for the jolt, because we’ve been living with this now for six months and for many at the Sports Commission around the physical literacy and physical activity, they’ve been living it for a couple of years, but we have to jolt Australia for a period of time. Then actually bring it down to being very accessible and that’s why we’re using this term, find your 30. How do you find your 30, and actually then we’ll bring down some very easy and practical ways that you can average 30 minutes a day in some form of walking or exercise. That’s the point about behaviour. We need to absolutely create the awareness, but then we’ll be measuring, have we got Australia more active, and so we’ve got a goal from aligned health around 150 minutes a week. Then we can measure or be it over a long period of time and the behaviour change, that have we got Australia moving more often.
MJ: How are you thinking about marketing tactics again? What role will content play for example versus simple awareness campaigns? How are you getting deeper and deeper into the psyche, particularly on social?
LE: Yeah, absolutely and I think that’s where with our partners, so I think, where we show the strategy, show the intent. The really big part for us is the fact that Australians move 30 minutes a day, and that’s our goal. We see that children are coming into primary school now without basic motor skills of being able to run and catch a ball and ride a bike and those fundamentals.
LE: We have regular measurements through AusPlay survey and a number of national surveys. We can test that, but I think being clear on the strategy and that need for the 30 minutes, but really being open as to what the role of content and social. We’ve seen with Sport England and This Girl Can and now we’re seeing that being launched by VicHealth in Victoria. And also, the Girls Make You Move actually having people create their own content. How have they found their 30? What did they stop doing that allowed them – do you park two blocks away from the office each day or absolutely take that lunch break and go for a walk?
But I think content will be from our high-performance athletes. Those talking about their journeys for inspiration, but also content driven from Australians, who have taken on this challenge. Sharing how they’ve done it, because it’s going to be from someone saying, “Okay, this is the two or three things that I did and you can do it too.”
LE: We’re just pulling together all the components now and absolutely we want this to be Australia’s initiative. From the Sports Commissions perspective, our goal is for us to be the world’s most active nation. That can come from great ideas, from media agencies and it will come from all different areas.
MJ: I do love the idea of engaging all consumers in, who are content creators already, in that story. Then I’m just wondering, from a commercial point of view, we’ve seen over the years high-performance athletes, from a commercial point of view becoming products in themselves. Influences, spokespeople, that’s fine and that’s their right in terms of their personal brand.
MJ: How do you see the intersection of those sorts of commercial activities with what you’re trying to achieve? There may or may not be limitations on what they can say and how they can say it.
LE: Yes, I think we’ve had some conversations around the fact that athletes are themselves ambassadors with their own opinions, with their own directions.
NM: Their own sponsors.
LE: Their own sponsors, and we have to make it that, if they believe in this, if they believe in what we’re doing, then absolutely come on board and we’ll facilitate. For some who this might not be something that resonates with them, then that’s absolutely fine as well, but I think when we see the great work that some of our athletes are doing in particular in remote areas.
LE: I heard Alicia Molik speaking about what she was doing in Northern-Western Australian communities. Something that was a real personal passion of hers, to make sure that every child had the opportunity to a healthy and active life. There are so many fantastic athletes that for whom this will absolutely resonate and they will take it and make it their own, I’m sure.
MJ: What opportunity do you have to influence government policy? I’ll use an example of that, which I think was, it has been an interesting lever. In my community, I think it’s called the Active Kids Rebate or something.
MJ: Right, you get 100 bucks off your sporting registration, so for my boy I got him into the local soccer club again this year.
MJ: So I mean, it was just a nice bonus for me but for many people, that’s the sort of thing that really makes a difference. If you haven’t been in it’s like an additional incentive. How are you thinking about those sort of levers that you can pull and perhaps influence government in that way?
LE: Yeah, and I think that ties back to our previous conversation around social and content, because I think we have the opportunity of bringing the voice of the community to the relevant ministers and government areas in real time. If we’re asking the right questions and engaging, so that initiative has come through from costs a real inhibitor for many to engage in sport and particularly when you put multiple children and multiple passions.
LE: I think there is that really strong opportunity to utilise digital social open platforms and actually bring the data through.
NM: And interestingly, I would think about the gender equality issues that face us in all parts of our national life really. There’s a lot of women on board here at the commission.
LE: Yes, that’s interesting, a dominant female board and executive committee. I think it is just an openness to actually having the right people for the right skills, so being actually very targeted at what skill set do we need. I think some of the new board hires have been absolutely around this pivot to a broader Australian mandate, and driving physical activity. Then you need different skill sets then, when we were purely a high performance and organised sport business.
I think knowing what skills, both at an exec and a board level does the commission need and actually going after the skills specific rather than gender-specific.
MJ: Well it’s fantastic and it’s great to hear such a broad scope of activities and your mind is clearly oriented not just around the high performance as you say, but the community and Australian society and how we’re getting engaged in health and improving our general wellness. Really, really exciting story. It’s been fantastic having you as our guest today. Before we let you go, a couple of quick rapid fire questions. Are you ready?
NM: We’re a bit fast and the furious.
LE: Now I do have to get into my high-performance mode.
MJ: That’s it.
MJ: What are you grateful for?
LE: I’m grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had in my life. As you say, when I look back, those taps on the shoulders, those opportunities, both personally and professionally, it could make a good book one day.
NM: Who’s your hero?
LE: Probably personally, I’d say my father. He was one of Australia’s first leaders into Asia and into Asian business at the end of the 1970s. He set up a lot of Chinese joint ventures in Asia. He was quite a pioneer but then I also admire strong women from across the board, who have had to come from different backgrounds and different challenges.
NM: What did you have for breakfast?
LE: The Qantas breakfast 7 AM on Mondays.
NM: What would you rather have had?
LE: Probably something slightly more healthy than that.
MJ: If there’s one thing you could change about marketing or marketers, what would it be?
LE: I think it’s still our credibility at the boardroom, we’re seeing other matters take a large amount of time. Then when it comes to marketing, it can be, okay you’ve got 10 minutes, do your marketing thing. So there’s still work to be done to have that credibility at the board.
NM: Do you ride a bike?
LE: No, I walk 30 minutes a day.
MJ: What was the last conference you went to?
LE: Last conference, probably CAN last year.
MJ: What did you learn?
LE: There was a lot of talk about digital and disruption and data. But actually being open to all those possibilities of where partnerships can comes from. Not being so industry siloed and thinking you have to be industry specific, that actually our partners could come from, really left field, organisations or industries.
MJ: Actually this is a total aside, but we haven’t talked a lot about disruption and new cool tech and stuff like that. Is that on your radar?
LE: It is in the sense of them driving that behaviour change to our audience, so thinking for teenagers. How do we engage with them? I think it’s cool tech and disruption, if it makes you relevant and in the lives of who you’re talking to rather than cool tech. There’s a lot of elements around data and data platforms that we have to work through, so with all your children, I can imagine if you had one sport membership number in Australia, like your Medicare card that all the sports that they were in, all the household could just go on one. There’s lots of opportunity for data.
NM: Is that an option that’s on the table?
LE: It’s one that we’re talking to and working for. It requires a lot of platform change across a lot of organisations, but the consumer intent is there in recognising that how do we make it easier for our customers to engage with us, regardless of sport.
NM: A family sports card, I like it.
MJ: Or with four kids I’m like bring it on, right.
NM: He’s already signed up.
MJ: I’m already signed up.
MJ: Last question, what’s your favourite book?
LE: Probably the one that resonates with me the most recently was the, it’s a bit cliché, but ‘The Lean In’ with Sheryl Sandberg, because it just, having had a career of say 20 years before I read that book or 25 years, it actually prompted me to ask questions that I hadn’t asked myself before.
NM: Did you feel a knot in your stomach reading it, like oh my God what I’m I going to find out that I’ve been doing wrong all this time?
LE: And it was a case of being more active and taking control of what you’re doing.
MJ: It’s been fantastic to have you on the show. I’m actually not feeling guilty, I’m feeling inspired to go and do something. You’ll be happy to know that’s like a partial win from your point of view.
LE: Great, two more Australians, done.
NM: I’m in.
LE: Find your 30.
MJ: Finding 30, it’s a great goal.
MJ: All the best in your career on and changing Australian habits and looking at the Australian Sports Commission, how they can be doing things differently. Louise Eyres, thank you so much.
LE: My pleasure, thank you for having me.
NM: Our pleasure.
NM: I love the fact that she, not many people have a long-term stints in their careers.
NM: Well, there’s not that many companies where you can start out from a youngster and be given the opportunity to grow and learn. She took that and she went with it and she’s done that. Two or three chapters as she says.
MJ: So good. Well, a great story around how to understand your own career and to grow and develop and change.
NM: I may even get my 30.
MJ: I felt a little bit self-righteous, because I did 30 yesterday and I was like oh, but not today.
NM: That doesn’t count today.
MJ: I know.
MJ: There’s really only one way to wrap up this particular podcast, which is: go and get your 30.
NM: Go and get your 30, be even better, put your headphones in, go and subscribe and listen to more CMO show goodness while you’re doing your 30.
MJ: That’s good and if you’re a swimmer, like I’ve been doing a bit lately, I have to go and get some waterproof earphones, so there’s no excuse, right.
NM: Do you feel like that might be a bit disconcerting?
MJ: No, no, no.
NM: If we say something funny you might drown.
MJ: I just don’t want anybody to have any excuse for not listening to this show.
NM: No excuses.
MJ: That’s right.
NM: No excuses.
MJ: Doesn’t matter what sort of physical activity you’re doing.
NM: Podcast and 30.
MJ: Yeah, yeah and then possibly a bit of music later.
NM: We’re in!
MJ: Thank you again sincerely once again for joining us on the CMO show and we look forward to speaking with you next time.
MJ: The CMO Show is a podcast produced by Filtered Media and a quick shoutout to our incredible team Candice Witton, Charlotte Goodwin, Ewan Miller and Yael Brender.
NM: And our engineering wizards: Tom Henderson and Daniel Marr.
MJ: You guys are the best!