Welcome to Episode 4 of The CMO Show, a podcast about brand storytelling and the future of marketing.
Our guest, ADMA CEO, Jodie Sangster, talks to us about how comparing the Australian market to the US market is like comparing apples and oranges, assuring Australian marketers that we aren’t “behind”. Jodie also provides reasoning as to why companies need to keep their eyes out for geeks in ironic T-shirts.
Host: Mark Jones (MJ)
Guest: Jodie Sangster (JS)
MJ: Now for people who don’t know you, you actually began at ADMA in 2011 after you came back from New York where you were working at the Direct Marketing Association. What’s it like working in Australia versus the US from a marketing perspective?
JS: The Direct Marketing Association in the US was quite focused on traditional forms of direct marketing. What I realised coming back into the Australian market was that there was much more of an appetite to push towards data driven marketing and to push towards digital marketing. So it was quite exciting coming back into this market and seeing the extent to which there was an appetite to make that change. We are quite a different market though, so when you look at the US both in terms of scale and the suppliers into that industry obviously it’s a much bigger landscape there. I often hear people say: “Well Australia’s kind of 2, 3, 4 years behind the US market.” That absolutely isn’t true. The way I see it is that we’re a different market; we’re a smaller market. We don’t have the volume of people, we don’t have the volume of technology supplier vendors supporting our market and because of that, we have to do things differently. I would say in terms of attitude we are absolutely at the forefront in trying to both integrate data and digital into our businesses in a way that the US is often missing. So I do actually think we’re on par and in terms of attitude, we’re leading the charge.
MJ: What about CMOs? Isn’t it tough they have to play nice with the CIO and the Chief Digital Officer and the CEO? It’s becoming far more collaborative, right?
JS: Yeah, I think that’s entirely true. We do a lot of conferences on this and we bring CEOs, CIOs and CMOs into the same room. It’s essential for those three to be working lockstep together, because if they’re not, literally, digital strategy cannot work, because unless you’ve got technology working alongside marketing, it’s almost impossible to deliver. I think it’s more about relationship building, and when you look at the companies that have got it right, so someone like REA Group, which is realestate.com.au or Suncorp, they are businesses who have got this right and that’s because they have great communication between the C-suite and it’s not seen as a competition for dollars or position, it’s actually seen as working towards a single company goal and being able to deliver on it.
MJ: How do you see the concept of this data driven world that we’re talking about and creativity? How do those two things come together and what will the future of digital marketing look like in that context?
JS: Yeah, this is a subject that’s near and dear to my heart. I would say in the last five years it’s swung so much towards data and technology that the role of creativity has a question mark over it. Businesses were thinking that serving up messages using data through technology were going to actually deliver all of the results that they needed as a business, and it’s not a reality. The reason is, because the creative angle of marketing and advertising is what creates the emotional connection between a business and a consumer. Without that emotional connection and without actually liking a brand or liking a product, there’s no real affinity. I would say in the last six months there’s been a massive swing back to understanding the role of creativity, and you’re now getting roles such as creative technologists or creative, in the true sense of the word, who understand data. So seeing this kind of cross-pollination is great, it’s where the industry needs to go, but it’s a reflection that we’ve swung too far one way and now need to come back to a middle ground whereby data technology, content and creativity all play into delivering against the customer experience.
The CMO Show production team
Producer - Nikki Majewski
Design Team Manager - Daniel Marr
Audio Engineering - Jonny McNee
Graphic Design - Chris Gresham-Britt