CMO’s top 17 marketing stories of 2017

Change management and staff skills, marketing leadership, data-driven and technology-led marketing strategy and brand learnings are just some of the topics covered in this year's top stories of 2017


It’s been yet another big year of disruption in marketing. From the intricacies of customer-led digital transformation to debates around brand safety and digital advertising viewability and efficiency, modern marketing skillsets and the rise of artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality and now voice-based interface design, there’s no shortage of big topics that have been in the spotlight this year.

To help highlight some of the biggest trends of the year, CMO has pulled together a list of our most-read stories for 2017 to showcase how marketers are working to modernise their approach and what’s grabbed their attention.

1.The CMO50 for 2017

Australia’s top marketing leaders are commanding ever-higher levels of authority in companies across the country. And it’s the quest to cultivate a customer-led, data-driven and adaptable marketing function that’s driving it.

That’s the big lesson from this year’s CMO50 list, which recognises the most innovative and effective marketing leaders operating in Australia. And in just three years, it’s amazing how far the CMO remit has come. Check out the full profiles our top50 for 2017, plus insights into the state of the CMO role.

https://www.cmo.com.au/cmo50/

2.ANZ digital chief: Tackle the ‘frozen middle’ of your organisation or face irrelevancy

It’s the “frozen middle” of an organisation where people with outdated skillsets rule the roost that leaders must confront if they hope to transform their companies to suit the 21st century customer, ANZ’s digital chief says.

Speaking at the 2017 Adobe Symposium, Maile Carnegie described culture as one of the biggest obstacles of any transformation and said table stakes is having a CEO with skin in the game. But beyond that, another initial barrier is what she called the “frozen middle”.

“Increasingly, most businesses are getting to a point where there are people in their organisation who are no longer are experts in a craft, and who have graduated from doing to managing and basically bossing other people around and shuffling Powerpoints,” she claimed. “That frozen middle will resist change like death. It exposes that they have no skills any more. Figuring out how to deal with the frozen middle, once you have the boss’ support, is the big thing.”

Read more here.

3.Predictions: 17 digital marketing trends for 2017

The age of the customer is here, and personalisation and consumer context are now ensconced in every marketer’s lexicon. Certainly, the single biggest driver of digital transformation is customer experience.

With the customer in mind, and the end of 2016 fast approaching, CMO reached out to a host of marketing leaders, vendors and industry commentators to find out what 2017 holds for digital marketing.

Read more here.

4.8 things you need to know about AI in marketing right now

Artificial intelligence (AI) is THE buzzword of 2017, and is quickly reaching the dizzying heights of ‘cloud computing’ and ‘big data’. And like the game-changing technologies that have preceded it, AI’s implications on marketing are extensive.

All the biggest martech vendors are rapidly adding AI into their arsenal: From IBM’s Watson cognitive computing platform, to Salesforce’s Einstein, Oracle’s Adaptive Intelligence, Adobe’s Sensei, and Marketo’s Adaptive Engagement platform. Equally, there are plenty of startups entering the space – Conversica, Ampsy, Sentient and Complexica, to name a few.

Over recent weeks, and during the recent Oracle and Marketo digital marketing summits in the US, CMO heard from and spoke to a raft of different industry players about what actually fits under the umbrella term ‘AI’, the ramifications on the way marketing operates, and importantly, how AI could change consumer buying and engagement behaviour.

Here, we provide a snapshot of key things you need to know right now about AI and where it’s headed.

Read more here.

5.10 epic marketing campaign fails pulled after public backlash

From fat shaming to inciting an alarming Nazi alternate reality, these advertising blunders caused enough public shock, mockery and outrage to be swiftly canned.

Read more here.

6.Why design and human-centred design thinking is so important to IBM

Design thinking began in the realm of design, academia and startups. But it’s increasingly gaining favour in the corporate world as a tool and methodology for designing business processes, products and services, problem identification and problem solving and ensuring a more human and customer-centric approach.

CMO caught up with distinguished designer, Doug Powell, about Big Blue's massive investment into design thinking and why it's becoming so important to modern business.

Read more here.

7.Volkswagen Group unites customer experience and employee engagement insights

Proving the link between customer satisfaction and employee engagement has become a reality for Volkswagen thanks to a new insights platform.

Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) director of customer experience, Jason Bradshaw, told CMO the decision to rollout a new insights platform was part of ongoing efforts to drive a new customer experience agenda across its dealer network. An integral part of this was having a view of the employee experience, he said. That not only includes Volkswagen staff, but also employees across its 103 dealerships nationally.

Read more here.

8.Rolling out agile marketing at Deakin

If this year’s CMO50 nominations are anything to go by, ‘agile’ has become the buzzword of 2017. Marketers striving to build more adaptability, resiliency and a culture of continuous improvement are all turning to the lessons of software’s Agile methodology as a way of reshaping their function for the future, albeit with varying degrees of success.

One organisation leading the way in terms of successful agile rollouts is Deakin University. Led by the education institution’s executive director of marketing, Trisca Scott-Branagan, Deakin recently joined forces with US-based agile training group, AgencyAgile, in a bid to embrace agile as a new way of working. Importantly, it’s the agency’s unique approach to tailoring agile metholodogy to the marketing and agency space that’s really paying dividends.

Read more here.

9.Goodlife gets business ‘in shape’ with real-time analytics

Goodlife Health Clubs’ move to adopt real-time analytics and souped up business intelligence has delivered rapid transformation for the fitness firm.

Now considered one of the fastest-growing Australian gym networks, with more than 200 clubs, 7500 staff and nearly 650,000 members, group CIO, Adam Skinner, told CMO the company needed enhanced analytics and business intelligence across its marketing, operations, finance and information technology pillars in order to reveal historical and current business trends.

Read more here.

10.Qantas CMO: What it's taking to evolve our customer experience

The launch of Qantas’ new branding is just the tip of the iceberg in a customer experience evolution aimed at delivering more authentic and personalised experiences in and off the plane, the airline’s CMO says.

Speaking to CMO during this week’s Adobe Symposium in Sydney, Qantas marketing chief, Stephanie Tully, said the company was confronted with a burning platform for change in 2014 after appearing in too many headlines for the wrong reasons. A transformation program, for example, aimed at removing cost from the Qantas business, resulted in job losses and ill-will. In addition, industrial action and an overly dominant corporate brand had left the brand tarnished.

“That set up an incredible foundation for change at Qantas,” Tully said during her presentation at the event. “It was a great opportunity to reinvest in our brand, recreate our future and galvanise our people and the country more broadly.”

Read more here.

11.The top customer experience metrics that help you gauge engagement success

Customer experience and a customer-centric approach remains top of the agenda for most marketing leaders. But according to recent research from Forrester, only a third of Australian brands added or improved on their CX measurement in the past year. So just what does it take to measure your customer experience efforts successfully?

Read more here.

12.CMO Interview: A look into Sydney Opera House's unprecedented digital transformation

The Sydney Opera House is one of Australia’s premiere iconic landmarks. But for far too long, it had legacy marketing systems that were not meeting the demands of its growing global fan base.

Well, not anymore. The Opera House recently canned its old Web platform and a host of marketing tools in favour of collaborating with Adobe on its biggest digital transformation projects to date. Sydney Opera House acting CMO, Chris Erskine, said the ambition with the digital transformation journey is to take customer engagement to a whole new exciting level.

“We’re in a decade of renewal, which is all about making sure the building and our brand is living up to its original purpose, and fulfilling its role for future generations of artists and customers,” she told CMO.

Read more here.

13.CMO Momentum 2017: Why Suncorp's Mark Reinke sees platform-based business as the way of the future

Marketers are all grappling with rapid change, but according to insurance and banking Suncorp Group's chief customer experience officer, Mark Reinke, it’s the customer-centric businesses that can operate more like digital platforms that will ultimately survive.

“We are all grappling with change in customer behaviour, in technology, in regulatory and climate - at every single touch point,” he told attendees at CMO Momentum in Sydney. “But with that comes a hypothesis: As a large company, can we adapt and be resilient, or are we on a slippery slope to oblivion?

“Change has never been faster, but it has never been this slow again. So we have to do things differently if we want to build this business and move forward, and that means we need to fundamentally change our business.”

Read more here.

14.How Telstra is applying machine learning to marketing mix modelling

Understanding the impact and optimal combination of marketing and media tactics for success is an increasingly complicated task for marketing functions. It’s even more difficult if you want to interpret the data in a quick enough timeframe to optimise, pivot or swap out marketing programs while they’re still in-market.

But this is exactly what Telstra is becoming able to do thanks to a new marketing mix modelling approach based on machine learning, rolled out in June.

Read more here.  

15.How brands are ramping up customer loyalty program spending in 2017

In a mid-year survey of US marketers last year, CrowdTwist and Brand Innovators found the majority intended to allocate more budget to customer loyalty in 2017.

According to the research, at least half of respondents planned to invest more dollars specifically into their loyalty programs.

With customer loyalty, and specifically loyalty programs set to get more spending this year, we speak to high-profile brands as well as industry experts to find out how to keep efforts fresh.

Read more here.

16.Prospa appoints ME Bank marketer as former CMO joins Deputy

Our top CMO movers and shakers this story was our report on small business lender, Prospa, recruiting ME Bank's Rebecca James as its new CMO. She replaced Luke Targett, who has joined B2B software company, Deputy, as its new global marketing head.

James joined Prospa after holding a CMO position at ME Bank for almost 4 years, where she led the transformation of the ME brand, simplified the product offering and step-changed customer experience. Her efforts saw the bank increase its customer base by 40 per cent, as well as implement a business-wide customer centric culture that transformed the bank into a digitally led business.

Read more here.

17.4 brand transformation lessons from Foxtel’s new rebrand

Foxtel’s new rebrand forms part of the pay TV company's move from looking ‘aggressive and shouty’ to celebrating a more approachable and digitally enabled platform ‘for everyone’.

But what does it take to get a successful rebrand off the ground? CMO talks to Foxtel’s MD of customer and retail, Mark Buckman, to find out.

Read Buckman’s top 4 here.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

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