CMO50 #26-50: Jay Hannant, Conn3cted
Conn3cted’s CMO, Jay Hannant, has a number of priorities for the next 1-2 years.
“I’m working to further position the agency business and brand in the minds of target audiences with a market place ranking in mind,” he says.
“Other priorities include elevating awareness of the brand to these audiences, driving and owning the new product development function with customer at the centre of this process in order to successful, and further educating the business on the scope and influence of the marketing function.”
From the CMO50 submission
Business contribution and innovation
Hannant initially joined as a contracted strategist to help Conn3cted identify and best position the organisation for success. Along the way, he was appointed its CMO. While the organisation had a diverse technology, digital and innovations capability, it was buried under a lot of traditional and complex technology communications copy.
As well as setting the brand agenda, Hannant was tasked with defining Conn3cted’s services offerings and growing the business/ brand in the Australian marketplace through innovative marketing initiatives, all on a lean budget. The challenge was breaking down and deciphering what Conn3cted did as a business and re-shaping things around target audiences and customer needs, as opposed to things the company wanted to develop and sell.
Hannant said his role as CMO has been a journey with the director and c-suite leadership team to first work through the strategic planning framework of defining organisational vision, mission and objectives, then also overcome historical perceptions of the breadth of what the marketing function can deliver.
Placing the customer front and centre of the organisation and accessing the client focus culture with the integration of technology marketing coming together were some of the underpinning challenges.
Decisions made as a result of Hannant’s efforts include:
- Appointing a client services director
- Implementation of a strategic marketing plan with clarity around target audiences, brand positioning, marketplace uniqueness, services offerings and how to present the organisation.
- A shift from a technology consulting business culture to an innovative technology/ digital and innovations go-to agency
As a result of the brand repositioning and strategic direction, the Conn3cted business has acquired a number of new agency and direct client relationships including: RedEngine, NowWeCollide, Clemenger BBDO and Hausmann Communications and Briteside Cover.
Modern marketing and customer engagement thinking and effectiveness
As CMO, Hannant pioneered development of a tech/ digital event strategy, concept and implementation plan for a North Sydney-based collaborative tech house and digital agency open house experiential event, Open Haus. The strategy included collaboration and alliances across six tech houses and digital agencies, a North Sydney based events program for invited attendees, and an integrated marketing campaign.
The integrated event strategy was a key milestone achievement for the business, Hannant said, demonstrating that an initiative can be achieved in a relatively short time frame, on limited budget and resources and impact the business both positively and successfully to achieve its business goals.
- Helping Conn3cted rise from unknown ranks to agency brand awareness and positioning to audiences agencies, marketers and media and tech interested audiences
- Re-engaging existing clients to influence and educate them on Conn3cted’s offerings and capabilities
- Target relevant audiences to arrange presentation follow-ups and ultimately new client business.
Data and/or technology driven approach
As a business, Hannant said Conn3cted has been through the hard yards and invested time in completing strategy development, brand repositioning, implementing marketing communications projects such as websites, capability statements, and developing the corporate agency video. The next step was to develop a data management strategy.
A collaborative effort was undertaken between marketing and technology around data auditing, designing appropriate fields of data capture for all marketing and customer activities, choosing a tech platform that it could custom design to suit the company’s needs, then developing a content marketing strategy and program to influence would-be buyers.
Hannant said challenges and skillset requirements were not around the data and systems, but instead, around culture. The historical process of developing and writing content, which was something usually developed by the technology resources, also had to be changed.
Building a marketing created, customer-led content strategy has now become the direction and process for the business, although Hannant admitted it had experienced some pain points in delivering content to engage customers.
However, the changes are now showing measurable outcomes in customer engagement and inbound business lead enquiry, he said.
When stepping through the strategic marketing planning process, Hannant identified that Conn3cted needed to add depth and clarity around its brand name. What the team arrived at was a strap line to further clarify and differentiate the brand name: Strategic, creative technology.
Creative within the context of the business also needed some definition, Hannant said.
“We’d had been referring to creative as creative design but realised through the analysis and strategy work that creative traversed across both creative design areas and creative technology, which the essence of what we offer and provide to agencies and clients,” he said.
“Drawing out this creativity and it’s meaning in marketing communications has made it clearer for customers to get what we offer and has been the glue in our customer engagement and client retention.”