CMO50 #26-50: Simon Marton, Treasury Wine Estates
For Treasury Wine Estate’s marketing chief, Simon Marton, the CMO role and company innovation and growth are intertwined.
“When businesses and markets mature, growth will predominantly come through innovation, disruption and creativity. New ideas are gold,” he says.
“The CMO is best placed to own and drive this agenda as a partner with the CEO. The marketing function needs to bring this creativity and innovation to life in a way the business can implement with excellence.”
Marton has been a longstanding employee of TWE, originally joined the marketing function of one of the acquired businesses, Mildara Blass, in 1997 in its spirits division before switching to wine in 1999. Since then, he has worked on various brands and categories, including Wolf Blass, and became the category’s marketing director in Australia in 2007.
Marton rose to head of Wolf Blass and Penfolds brands globally, and in November 2013 was appointed chief marketing officer for the group worldwide.
From the CMO50 submission
Business contribution and innovation
Inspired by its CEO, Michael Clarke, Treasury Wine Estates has had a reset year in FY15. Fundamental to this has been a strategic repositioning and cultural change from a somewhat ‘cottage industry’ agricultural orientation, into a global brand builder.
As the CMO, Marton is the architect rebuilding a consumer-led brand orientation and culture across the business globally, a significant change which has catalysed and led to a new approach now in place. This has delivered improved consumer centricity, increased levels of consumer engagement and an increase in revenue.
Modern marketing and customer engagement thinking and effectiveness
In June 2015, TWE launched a new cellar door and kitchen at the spiritual home of Penfolds, its Magill Estate in Adelaide South Australia. This was conceived as the ultimate consumer experience vehicle and aimed at creating a truly unique engagement channel.
While most wineries have a cellar door, the Magill Estate steps things up to a whole new level, Marton said. Positioned on the original ‘Grange’ vineyard within 5 kilometres of the Adelaide CBD, consumers can experience everything from seeing the heritage winery in operations during vintage, to a tour of the underground caves or Penfolds Grange by the glass.
This project led by the CMO was a significant investment in the Penfolds brand aligned to the vision of making it a truly global luxury brand built upon authenticity, heritage and craftsmanship. Every visitor through the gates becomes a Penfolds ambassador for life, also supporting TWE’s efforts to build stronger customer loyalty.
Data and/or technology driven approach
As an example of its use of technology in marketing, Marton pointed to TWE’s new vintage release in October 2015, which is part of the Penfolds gifting program and personalisation initiative. For the first time, consumers who buy the new vintage of Grange will be able to individually personalise their giftbox through an online part of our brand website.
The aim is to provide end consumers with a value-adding functional service that builds upon brand values and emphasises two-way engagement, Marton said.
In a category that has been termed ‘a sea of sameness’, creativity in physical aesthetics and characteristics in order to standout on the shelf is a deal-breaker.
To step-change TWE’s creativity in product design, Marton and his team created an internal program to leverage the creative brains of its world-class winemakers with an innovation program. Breakthrough wine styles, flavours and ideas have been generated, prototype wines actually made and evaluated.
The winner of the program this year is being commercialised and released with a new product launch released in October 2015.
“This will be a new to category proposition with huge consumer relevance and standout,” Marton said.