CMO50 #22: David Redhill, Deloitte

  • Name David Redhill
  • Title Partner and chief marketing officer
  • Company Deloitte
  • Commenced role 2004 - but the role changes every year
  • Reporting Line CEO and managing partner, Clients and Industries
  • Member of the Executive Team No
  • Marketing Function 143 staff in Deloitte Australia, split between Australia and India, 6 direct/shared reports
  • Twitter @dredhill
  • Related

    Deloitte’s David Redhill believes one of the most important attributes marketing leaders need to have today is a capacity to scale on vision.

    “This is from close in and tactical to the big picture,” he says. “This requires a high degree of empathy and the ability to walk in the shoes of others, and a relentless desire to deliver original, valuable ideas and experiences, and the intelligence and creativity to do so.

    “CMOs must also be insight and data savvy, and have a hunger to continually reinvent, reimagine and redesign – you have to stay agile.”

    It helps to have a good sense of humour too, Redhill says: “You have to laugh at how frequently misunderstood marketing is, and above all, laugh at yourself.”

    Redhill has been with the consulting firm for 12 years, taking an instrumental role in orchestrating transformational change in how the company operates, as well as the perception of its brand both by customers and potential employees. He has earned several accolades for his creativity through initiatives such as the award-winning Green Dot advertising campaign, and was recognised by the Australian Marketing Institute as Certified Practising Marketer of the Year in 2011.

    “The more aligned we can get our people and our systems behind our clients’ aspirations, and the more engaged in our corporate purpose, the more successful and impactful we’ll be,” he comments.

    Empowered and long-term thinking

    My strategic aims for the marketing function involve the transformation of our teams to a more client-centric working style and culture, a more coherent and coordinated industry and services strategy, and the delivery of distinctive client experiences for which our brand will be universally known,” Redhill of his plans for the next 1-2 years.

    “We can best centralise around the voice of the customer and anticipate the market appetite through the smart capture and mining of data, and by monitoring pulse of client sentiment through client service interviews, digital tracking, social channels and other feedback mechanisms. Digital is just one part of the mix; we need to create a single view of the customer that blends both interpersonal and automated elements around their journey.

    “Clients should be moved not through a sales funnel that pushes product at them, but through an always engaging experience lifecycle that understands their priorities and longer-term goals, and works to a clear and unifying narrative.

    Driving innovation

    Innovation for Redhill is “frequently misunderstood as invention”.

    “I think of it as pragmatic, incremental improvement. It’s less about designing something new, than redesigning something better,” he says. “At its best, it’s the bindingly simple and clever reveal of the obvious – the ‘why didn’t someone think of that before?’ factor.”

    From the CMO50 submission

    Business contribution and innovation

    Over the past three years, Redhill has played a key role in helping Deloitte Australia embrace design thinking. He’s been a pioneer in adapting the framework for the firm, as well as an architect of the communications and immersion strategy to help people understand what the methodology means for them.

    Educating and equipping Deloitte's 6000 partners and staff in the processes of client-centric problem solving and user-centric design has helped move a predominantly left-brain accounting heritage business into hitherto uncharted territory, Redhill said. Today, a number of our core heritage businesses, like Audit and Tax, have moved to embrace the principles of empathy, circular iteration, and the use of personas as intrinsic to their client service model.

    A number of Deloitte's leaders attribute key account wins and better team collaboration to design thinking.

    As a facilitator, enabler and promoter of design, and through a series of articles he's written/edited entitled FutureNow, Redhill has helped effect the change. He noted FutureNow has transcended its original distribution to 6000 partners and staff to now include clients to help them understand the story behind Deloitte’s investment in design thinking.

    Modern marketing and customer engagement thinking and effectiveness

    Over the past five years, Deloitte has invested in key thought leadership content with its Building the Lucky Country: Business Imperatives for a More Prosperous Australia offering. Redhill said objectives are to reposition Deloitte’s role as an authority and expert on issues transcending economic fluctuations and political cycles, and to drive business development activity through heightened awareness of Deloitte’s multidisciplinary capabilities. Redhill is one of three series editors for the work.

    Topics covered have included issues of employment (Where is your next worker?), digital disruption (Short fuse, big bang), national growth strategy (Positioning for prosperity: Catching the next wave), regulation (Unleashing prosperity: Get out of your own way) and most recently, location (The purpose of place: Reconsidered).

    Redhill said his team have engaged discussion groups of the most senior members of the business community government and media, including federal parliamentarians and the chairs of the country’s biggest companies. Federal treasurers and state premiers have also launch editions of the document, generating exponentially more media coverage every year.

    The key operational and cultural change required has been to extend partners’ thinking on the traditional lifecycle of thought leadership beyond a few months to one of years, in line with the sustained opportunities for business development the series affords, Redhill said.

    Data and/or technology driven approach

    Redhill has been the sponsor/owner of Deloitte Australia’s digital marketing team from its inception eight years ago, and is a sitting member of Deloitte’s global digital transformation council, which oversees the firm’s worldwide digital market strategy, website and user-centric digital platform.

    Redhill pointed to a passionate attention to planning, timing, focus and customisation increasingly through data and technology, which has resulted in a steady rise in market engagement around online content. Deloitte has fine-tuned its targeting strategy to engage only those genuinely interested in content suited to them, while introducing registration forms [with a 50 per cent subscription rate] to ensure recipients value content, while giving us a rich trove of market and client data, he explained.

    The recent Tech Trends campaign used SlideShare to create several individual content pieces for sharing via LinkedIn, allowing audience members to select messages that most resonate for them and allowing Deloitte to track those with the most impact.


    Redhill has orchestrated dozens of internal campaigns at Deloitte over the past 10 years with the help of marketers, communicators, digital specialists and people from across the business eager to share the firm’s unique culture and play a role in its success.

    He described many of these campaigns as using high degrees of creativity in strategy development, goals definition, campaign planning and content creation, while harnessing channels such as video, print, media, voicemail, interactive events, gaming, music, poetry and graphics. Importantly, these activities are increasingly reliant on co-creation and leveraging in-house champions.

    The campaigns have won awards for their creativity with the Australian Marketing Awards and Australian Business Awards and have been recognised across Deloitte’s 140 country network as being amongst the most innovative in the Deloitte world, Redhill said.

    “A number of the techniques we developed for campaigns, such as the harnessing of a 6000-strong ‘creative team’ to design t-shirts using our corporate ‘Green Dot’, have been showcased to clients on human capital assignments and change management projects for the degree of creativity and engagement they exhibit.

    “The key, we have found, to engaging people to give them co-ownership of the creative process, and for outcomes from which they will benefit.”

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