CMO Interview: Unleashed's Anthony Mordech on the software marketing evolution

Unleashed Software’s head of marketing reveals what it takes as a CMO to keep up with the rapidly-changing tech world

Unleashed Software CMO Anthony Mordech
Unleashed Software CMO Anthony Mordech

If there is one thing Unleashed Software CMO, Anthony Mordech, has learnt from his career in marketing across multiple financial software companies, it’s to actively test and learn every step of the way.

As a CMO in a fast-paced digital environment, Mordech said you must accept you have to fail fast, surround yourself with great people and learn to delegate.

“Failing fast is something that Intuit taught me, with the test-and-learn methodology,” he told CMO. “You can’t be theoretical or just take your time, especially at startups, because you are not funded forever. So you’ve got to test and learn actively and implement a plan."

Building tech credentials

Early on in his career, Mordech spent time overseas trading in commodities, and also worked in New York, studying international marketing and working in family businesses. He said this saw him bring academic as well as practical experience to an early role at MYOB.

“I had the opportunity to develop a suite of services, but it was challenging because the company maintained lots of divisions, lots of products, and the businesses were rapidly evolving,” he said. “As a marketer, you had to consider a lot of competing areas of the business.”

Mordech rose up the ranks to head the regional marketing team at MYOB in Kuala Lumpur.

“I got the opportunity to really develop successful campaigns, which helped make MYOB the number one player in South Asia,” he said. “We were dealing with the challenges of multiple markets, languages and channels, which was also a really rewarding experience.”

Mordech switched vendor horses and joined US software vendor, Intuit, which was trying to bring QuickBooks online to the Asian market and experimenting with a test-and-learn approach.

“The company wanted to test the ability to go to market firstly in Singapore, and then in a couple of other markets before they went to Australia,” Mordech said. “I was offered the opportunity to come over and build specifically the channel and partner program.

“That was a fantastic experience. I went from a very large software corporation into Intuit, where we had access to amazing global resources, but we had a very lean team and a very lean approach. It taught me how to plan and develop strategies and roll up my sleeves and just be very hands-on.”

Mordech spent 10 years overseas before returning to Australia to head the marketing team at Avaya, an American company transitioning from a hardware to a software business. A few years into the role, he was recommended to join Unleashed Software, which was undertaking a similar journey.

“Unleashed wanted to go from being a product-oriented organisation to focus on marketing, to go global and rapidly expand,” he said. “We completed putting all the foundational elements in place so we can now really expand and make the most of the fantastic solutions we have.”

Changing nature of the CMO

When it comes to the evolution of the CMO role, Mordech believes the level of execution versus strategic responsibility depends on the size of the organisation.

“Traditionally in larger organisations, CMOs are evangelists; they’re visionaries and they’re motivators,” he said. “They become less hands-on in terms of developing and executing campaigns. But we still love to get our hands dirty, so to speak, and contribute to the execution of the plan.

“I think the role is changing and going back to needing to be really hands-on. It’s about developing that strategy and making sure you’re not only providing that vision, but you’re focusing your team on being able to execute your plan.”

Mordech said the most important thing about his role at Unleashed is understanding the market and knowing as much about his customers as possible, before focusing on acquisition and retention.

“I need to know where our audience and market consume media,” he said. “And I need to know enough about media options so I can develop campaigns that really appeal. I’m also working with my team to develop our key proposition and our key messages. Because I’ve had experience with other large businesses and have worked through the entire marketing mix, I’m using that experience to translate that into actionable campaigns and strategies we can scale.”

When it comes to leveraging technology, Mordech is also leveraging tools to generate insights that help analyse, listen and respond every day to customers. As a startup, he said his focus as a marketer is on acquisition, retention and reducing churn.

“Data analytics as we know it gives us a little window into what’s working and not working,” he said. “Digital is such a broad term, and so all-encompassing, but what it’s providing marketers with is the ability to access cool, dynamic insights so we can make better and more informed decisions. No matter what we’re doing, digital allows us to be more relevant.”

Whether you’re a CMO in an established business or startup, Mordech stressed the importance of mapping, alternating and delivering a personalised, relevant journey.

“You can’t have a conversation with a marketer without the words digital and content coming up,” he said. “Being able to deliver a personalised experience is all about developing really targeted, relevant and cool content. That is a very important component of our core strategy moving forward.”

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