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CMO50 2016 #26-50: Ben Allen, Stockland

  • Name Ben Allen
  • Title General manager, group marketing
  • Company Stockland
  • Commenced role 2014
  • Reporting Line Chief Operating Officer
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Marketing Function 102 staff, 9 direct reports
  • Industry Sector Property
  • 2015 ranking New to CMO50
  • Brand Post

    Stockland general manager, group marketing, Ben Allen, has been busy completely transforming the brand and marketing strategy, and introducing design thinking and more co-creation research practices into the development of new initiatives or product development.

    And while he can bask in the glow of successful launches, his proudest moments in the last 12 months involve his talented team.

    “It has been seeing my team’s outstanding engagement scores in our latest staff survey and knowing just how hard they all worked to not only exceed our targets, but also to deal with a huge amount of change in terms of new strategies, structures and systems. They are such a talented, passionate and resilient team and I am so proud of them all.”

    From the CMO50 submission:

    Innovative thinking

    In the last 12 months, Allen has led a complete transformation of the brand and marketing strategy, restructured the entire function, led the approval and subsequent development of a large investment in new customer technology platforms, built an internal Marketing Academy and led a business wide innovation program.

    He says the results of these activities has seen the business exceed all marketing targets, achieve significant growth in brand reputation scores, improve customer satisfaction ratings and grown marketing team staff engagement scores to global high performing levels.

    In addition to his marketing responsibilities, Allen has proactively created and led a business wide innovation program with the aim of enhancing the organisation’s capability to generate new business ideas more rapidly and consistently prioritise, develop and deliver new ideas to market. The program involved proposing key business innovation challenges, using leading innovation tools and methodologies to engage the talent of the business and partners into generating new commercial value.

    He says is proud of the fact the results of the program have seen high staff engagement, over 100 new ideas generated with six currently progressing to pilot or final business case stage with significant new commercial value to be realised.

    Data- and technology-driven approach

    Allen has also been busy developing new digital marketing attribution modelling to optimise marketing spend investment as well as new propensity and engagement scores applications. There have also been several new initiatives and pilots on the use of behavioural analytics, he explains.

    Empowered and strategic thinking

    In the last 12 months, Allen has introduced design thinking and more co-creation research practices into the development of new initiatives or product development. This has directly led to improved value proposition and launch successes.

    He says the company has worked with ADMA to create a bespoke Stockland Marketing Academy based on a detailed marketing capabilities framework constructed for each core role in the marketing and customer service team.

    “There has been many immediate and tangible results from the technical training. After 12 months of operation, marketing managers have rated the skills improvement of their team on average 22% higher (against a range of defined criteria). 77% of the marketing team have also reported a lift in their own performance as a direct result of the training received.”

    The Academy also included peer to peer case study learning, lunch and learn sessions with external speakers, best practice tool kits and quarterly educational roadshows.

    The Academy has now expanded to include ADMA’s IQ that allows more individualised online modules to support the broader program. Stockland is a foundation partner of the ADMA One for One program as well and donating a free course to their charity partners for each course undertaken by its team.

    Fostering agility

    Demonstrating agility is also high on the priority list. He explains how the marketing team has been restructured to create agile central communication strategy teams. These teams include a diverse group of marketing specialists who work together to brainstorm how particular communication strategic challenges may be best approached. He says this structure enables more diverse input and creative thinking before a brief is written. It ensures the agency partners have a sharper insight and richer starting point to commence work.

    “This year the company has also constructed dynamic daily digital marketing attribution dashboards that enables a near real time understanding of marketing and advertising effectiveness, which enables constant fine tuning and optimisation of ROI,” he says.


    Creativity is applied at three main levels, Allen explains. “Firstly, how we identify new and deeper customer insights, secondly, how we apply those insights using co-creation methodologies to reimage new customer experiences and value propositions and finally how we use a variety of different creative techniques to make more emotionally compelling communications and content with our customers.”

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