3 Australian CMOs explore the global marketing trends expected to dominate 2021

Leading Australian chief marketing officers respond to the latest Deloitte trends on marketing strategy in 2021

Trend three: Human experience

Deloitte’s 2021 Global Marketing Trends report highlights human experience as its own standalone trend. As was noted, the digital debt that has surfaced between technology and human connection remains a core area for brands to address.

“Agility is all about two-way communications, focusing on customer and team members. We’ve largely had to do that through digital interactions,” Ronson commented. “However, even through COVID, there was still a lot of human interaction happening in the community.

“Yes, we had a massive increase in online shopping and engaging in digital channels. But in going into stores, we still had 15 to 20 million human interactions every week and fortnight. Balancing human interaction and what makes sense to add value in a digital sense is therefore really important.”

The key here to seamlessly connect the physical and the digital, said Ronson. “Often when you look at advocacy, NPS – those that have had a great digital interaction and a great human interaction, and one that’s not disjointed, is always a better experience,” she said. “You need to identify where it’s important to have human interaction then do it in a way that meets and exceeds customer expectations.”  

An example for Coles over the pandemic has been more content and daily updates online focused on helping customers with full pantries cooking from scratch more often. “It’s constantly changing, and we have to constantly look to the insights to navigate it,” Ronson continued.  

“We do thousands of surveys, get a lot of commentary on social media and calls to contact centre, and speak to store teams so we can design experiences to be end-to-end and they’re not disjointed between physical and digital world.”

Trend Four: Trust

Another big area for marketing leaders to focus on in 2021 is brand trust. Nicholas described trust as the intersection of competence and care.

“You need to demonstrate you care for someone and have their best interests at heart. But that care is no good unless you can follow through and be competent on what you do,” he said. “Similarly, just doing something and not showing you care isn’t helpful. Doing these together has been key.

“What has been born out this year and an important lesson for all – we have had to put our trust and faith in competence of government, big business and each other.”

At Telstra, competency comes from having superior networks and connectivity. “It’s when you let people down on some other pieces on a customer service issue for example, is where it starts to fall down. Trying to make sure the execution at every point is as good as it possibly can be, is key,” Nicholas said.

It’s also not good enough to be ‘good enough’ 99.9 per cent of the time. In Telstra’s case, that still means letting down thousands of customers. To overcome this, Nicholas emphasised the need to care for your staff, the economy, country and society more broadly.

“Also, trust is multi-dimensional – just because you’re trusted on one thing, doesn’t mean you’re trusted on another,” he said. “That is OK – you try for it across everything, but you can’t be perfect at everything. So trying to exacerbate the bits you’re good and trusted for, and working hard to improve the others, is vital.”

For Mehra, trust is born out of what you do. “Brand is not what we see or hear about, it’s what the consumers experience. It comes back to those principles we want to be known and famous for,” she said.  

To do this, ANZ embraces points of parity, such as getting things right first time. Then there’s points of distinction, which Mehra tied to knowing your consumer, showing you care and showing them they’re better off being your customer than not being your customer.

“And it’s thinking about new business models and driving new ways of finding revenue – not making money because a consumer makes a mistake,” she said.  

Trend five: Participation and a two-way street

What’s equally clear is people want to feel on the same side as the brands they interact and engage with. According to Deloitte’s consumer pulse survey, 56 per cent of consumers globally interacted directly with brand in areas such as content, reviews or other forms of co-creation. This is expected to continue to grow.

Trend six: Fusion - the new ecosystem

Hand-in-hand with participation is how a brand interacts with other organisations. A clear trend witnessed during COVID-19 was organisations embracing external partnerships. According to Deloitte, 80 per cent of its c-suite survey respondents who introduced new partnerships during the crisis see these key post-pandemic.

Nicholas pointed out Telstra partners with a lot of companies, from product and tech development though to marketing executions in-market. But he saw Australia lagging on partnerships strategically, particularly when it comes to more “unusual” collaborations. Examples he pointed to during his previous work with VISA included partnerships with Starbucks and Under Armour.

“It’s how you think about doing something together to create impact,” Nicholas said. “And rather than just thinking about it from a product perspective, it may be on values or other places of connection between companies. There is plenty of opportunity and cool things to create if we think about partnership differently.”

Ronson said making the consumers’ lives easier should drive partnerships. She also pointed to examples of ‘retail-tainment’, such as using store visits to bring an interesting experience into the environment, as opportunities for retailers.  

Trend seven: Talent

As a final trend, Deloitte identified the transformation of marketing teams as a major trend now and going into 2021. For example, its survey found 70 per cent of CMOs increasingly turning to artificial intelligence (AI) tools to supplement human capital. Another is brands building more internal agencies and trading desks.

At ANZ, this has resulted in creation of an internal skills academy, while at Coles, Ronson said talent is one of her biggest areas of focus.

“When it comes to that balance of insourcing and outsourcing, there’s no one right one way – you need to look at objectives and costings and line it up,” Ronson added.

Related: The skillsets the CMO50 are building across marketing functions right now

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia.




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