10 CMOs share their dos and don’ts for 2022

We ask marketing leaders across industries from retail to manufacturing, B2B and tech: What will do and not do in 2022?

We all have them – the milestones and achievements we’re proud of and know are worth pursuing in the New Year, and the things we definitely do not want to do.

So what is it Australian marketing leaders have on their do and don’t lists for 2022? We reached out to 10 of our local CMO superstars to ask them: What’s one marketing approach, program of work, strategy or executional priority you’ll definitely be taking into 2022 and why? And what’s the marketing approach, program of work, strategy or executional priority you will be leaving behind in the annals of 2021?

Modibodi CMO, Liana Lorenzato

Liana LorenzatoCredit: Modibodi
Liana Lorenzato

The do: Personalisation and localisation is something we at Modibodi will be taking into 2022. Why? Consumers are inundated with thousands of messages in the form of emails, advertising, social media – the list goes on. In order to stand out a brand and engage with their customer, we must connect with our audience when and where they are open to receiving this information. Using first-party data and understanding our audience’s behaviour will mean we can be front of mind when and where it counts.

The don’t: One approach we won’t be taking into 2022 is reliance on social media advertising. So many businesses make social media advertising their number one go-to strategy for attracting new visitors to their website. It’s understandable; the reach is undeniably valuable to most businesses. However, without brand building channels and audience reach tactics, social media advertising will most likely not achieve its ROI.

H&R Block marketing and digital innovations director, Louise Cummins

The do: We started our digital transformation journey a couple of years ago to enable more virtual/remote services which helped us adapt quickly and effectively during Covid. Moving forward, I want to continue this momentum of innovation and CX improvements as we broaden our omni-channel service offerings. Another couple of areas that were new in 2021 which I’ll be continuing in 2022 will be tapping into new segments, such as cryptocurrency users who need tax expertise, and new media channels, such as TikTok leveraging influencers.

Louise CumminsCredit: H&R Block
Louise Cummins

The don’t: One area I’ve challenged my team to do in 2022 is to keep rationalising projects - being brave to cut initiatives that aren’t delivering real ROI. I want all new projects in 2022 to be clearly aligned with giving our clients the best client experience possible.

Sonder head of marketing, Ruth Standring

The dos Working in a business which is growing at 200+ per cent year-on-year, there is a ton to do to support continued growth. However, one critical focus as we enter 2022 is what I refer to as ‘channel orchestration’. Just like an orchestra, it’s about ensuring our marketing efforts are working in harmony - getting the best out of each other - every campaign, every interaction.

Ruth StandringCredit: Sonder
Ruth Standring

For example, research we commissioned is getting multi-uses across our content calendar; the thought leadership report is connected with our campaigns, events and always-on nurture programs; and, of course, social, search and advertising is co-ordinated with everything. And it’s about ensuring our channel orchestration is targeted equally towards prospects and clients. We are always looking for a slight twist or an original idea that makes our symphonies a little different - that will inspire, educate and enrich. Ultimately, orchestras (and marketing teams) produce their most inspiring symphonies when they are in rhythm with each other and playing with passion and purpose. 

The don’t: A marketing approach we need to refine in 2022 is around who we affiliate with. Our category of organisational wellbeing and safety is overwhelmed with events, podcasts, membership bodies, research and so on. It can be very time consuming and resource-heavy to approach this one event, one organisation at a time. In 2022, we will be consolidating our approach and thoughtfully partnering with organisations who we identify with; that is, those who have a common set of values and align to our purpose.

JobAdder CMO, Taz Bareham

The do: Like many marketers, I’ll be looking at how to balance the tension of optimising marketing performance through digitisation and automation vs investing in less tangible, less trackable, more engaging human to human branding initiatives. While inevitably B2B marketing is often focused on enticing new leads into the funnel, I’ll be looking at how marketing can play a deeper role throughout the customer lifecycle to build better engagement and experiences.  

Taz BarehamCredit: JobAdder
Taz Bareham

The don’t: While we’re still building a global brand, the pandemic has created a greater need than ever to be acutely aware of regional context and adapt accordingly. It’s no longer possible to assume that something that worked in one geography will work the same way in another simply by nature of the industry appearing to behave the same way. We don’t have the relevant historical context to make any judgement on how people will respond in this period of uncertainty. Right now, we are all learning and pivoting every day, which definitely makes life interesting for marketers.  

Shopify head of marketing APAC, Robin Marchant  

The do: Shopify has always been merchant obsessed. That means telling their stories, giving them the tools they need to manage and grow their businesses, and celebrating their success. We plan to double down on discovering, surfacing and telling those merchant stories. How? By using real scenarios and relatable merchants to help. Merchants want to hear ‘how’ and ‘what’ other merchants have done to successfully scale and thrive. This is why the concept of merchant storytelling has proved critical to our advocacy – enabling merchants to seek out local merchant stories as proof points. It is through learning how other brands have navigated the current climate, that customers will be empowered to realise their growth potential and look into the future.  

Robin MarchantCredit: Shopify
Robin Marchant

The don’t: If we have too many priorities, we'll ultimately have none. Moving into 2022, the goal is to streamline our priorities and stay focused on putting local market strategies first. The increased growth of Shopify as a result of more businesses opening and going online during the pandemic, allowed me to truly realise the importance of doubling down on efforts to deeply understand the local nuances in merchant priorities and language. While Shopify will always be a global company, we have resigned the concept of one-size-fits-all. It is vital each market has the autonomy and support to drive hyper-local agendas based on knowledge around what works for each market. 

For example, instead of marketing for an entire region, we will increasingly approach markets country by country – and, in some cases, city by city. The only way we can build relevance is by prioritising a hyper-local lens to stay relevant and embrace the uniqueness of every market. 2022 will be about moving from macro to micro, understanding the cultural complexities of every market, and localising the way we approach campaigns, PR activities and the marketing funnel more broadly.

Ecom Nation CMO and director, Mal Chia

The do: Apple’s tracking transparency updates have effectively turned off the tap on a lot of so-called ‘marketing’ and that’s a really good thing. The days of lazy, bottom of the funnel advertising are over. Google’s third-party cookie deprecation should be the final nail in the coffin. It’s exciting that more brands are becoming open to creating and implementing full-funnel marketing strategies that aim to deliver the right message, to the right customer, at the right time.

Mal ChiaCredit: Ecom
Mal Chia

CMOs have no choice now but to think strategically and creatively to make sure all those things are aligned not just in marketing, but product and operations so that you are delivering on your brand promise. This is going to unleash a flood of creativity and a new renaissance for marketing. 

The don’t: Virtual events. They still have their time and place, but more in a B2B environment. After endless lockdowns and being cooped up at home, the last thing anyone wants to do is jump on another Zoom or Instagram Live to interact with their favourite influencers, let alone their favourite brands. Brands need to invest in taking their connection with their audience up a notch and invest again in real-life experiences.

Zepto head of marketing, Ben Alcock  

The do: Having launched a new brand this year, Zepto’s 2022 marketing muscle will swing from awareness into a phase of sales enablement through an account-based marketing (ABM) program. We’ll deploy clever tech, supported by high-value content, and ensure marketing is aligned with both sales and the individual decision journeys of our prospects and customers.

Ben AlcockCredit: Zepto
Ben Alcock

Storytelling is important and we’ll continue to tell brilliant customer success stories while tapping into the bottomless expertise and thought leadership of the team being assembled at Zepto. And even though we’re a tech company with tendrils right through a very high-tech world, you’ll see some old school, hyper-personalised touchpoints like proper ‘We wish you were here’ postcards from Byron Bay [our birthplace] landing on desks and in letterboxes all over Australia. Maybe even abroad.  

The don’t: One approach we won’t be taking is trying to be everywhere at the same time. We’re in a phase of serious growth right now, and we’ll refocus our efforts on a narrow set of prioritised verticals in 2022.  

Yotpo senior marketing manager APAC, Carmel Zein

The do: Collaborations. I think this is a huge marketing opportunity recently been explored by brand-conscious companies and will be taken a lot further into 2022. For both B2B and B2C businesses, forming strong partnerships and creating brand collaborations is a massive priority for increasing brand awareness, tapping into a new database of like-minded customers, and strategically aligning your brand with businesses that share similar values and ethics, all at a low barrier to entry.  

Carmen ZeinCredit: Yotpo
Carmen Zein
Emily ShureyCredit: GoCardless
Emily Shurey

What I love about this approach is that it can be totally unconventional as you explore ways to work with businesses you may have never previously considered. For Yotpo as a marketing technology platform, that looks like new content and product collaborations with our ecommerce customers, large and emerging, and working with like-minded businesses on new initiatives. For example, those that champion women in tech.  

The don’t: Focusing on the competition. I truly believe there is a place for everyone. Long gone are the days where you can afford to bring down your competition in an attempt to grow your own businesses. The most successful brands focus on forging their own paths within their vertical and celebrate the success of others.   

GoCardless marketing manager A/NZ, Emily Shurey

The do: After major changes to our marketing team, strategy and tech stack in 2020, 2021 was an exciting year of testing and learning for GoCardless. The goal was to grow exponentially while improving our account-based sales and marketing strategy. The results of our testing and experimenting mean we know exactly which levers to pull or dials to turn for global growth in 2022. What we found from our approach was that we had great wins when we focused on specific initiatives for each region and even more when sales and marketing were strongly aligned.   

The don’t: 2021 saw us test out a new global campaign strategy with many different creatives and messaging, and while this was helpful to see what resonated in each region globally, I won't be bringing this into 2022.    

The New Year will be the year of focus. We will do fewer campaigns with single-minded messaging, built specifically with Australia and New Zealand in mind. Obviously, there will be times where we'll be localising global campaigns, but we now know what works and doesn't in the market and can inform how we localise with data from 2021. We will expand our account-based strategy but be even more targeted focusing on only the accounts and verticals our sales team are going after and testing just one or two new verticals. Both these strategies will be particularly important as we commit to launching PayTo (Instant Direct Debit) in July next year. 

Dentsu International CMO, Annalise Brown

The do: This year has been tough for all of us. Our biggest focus has had to be on our people. Making sure they have the support they need, professional development and career goals recognised, as well as representation they deserve. Traditionally, agencies have put client work above everything else. When really, if you have happy and valued people, they will deliver better work.

At dentsu, we’ve listened to what people want from their new working environment, what they need from a flexibility standpoint, but also what they need to look forward to. We’ve been focused on supporting each of our team’s needs from a DE&I perspective to make sure they feel heard and part of our business while still working remotely. With the labour market tougher than ever, in 2022 we will continue to work with our people to support what their needs are from our business. This includes flexibility, representation and a culture of acceptance.

Annalise BrownCredit: dentsu
Annalise Brown

Our approach to sustainability is what they are asking for and we will work hard to provide solutions.

The don’t: Any kind of assumption that history is the best predictor of future behaviour. We’ve had a year where we’ve seen more change than in a lifetime. As marketers, we must adjust. 

For example, just because we’ve been locked up for the best past of 18 months, doesn’t mean consumers want to get back out into the real world. In fact, consumers are now facing two warring impulses: The urge to meet and do things in the real world, with the convenience and immediacy of instant shopping, live events and high-quality restaurant food available to us from the comfort of our couches, which we have become accustomed to during Covid.

In line with this, brands will need to craft hybrid experiences, with real-life experiences having a strong digital component. This includes a significant rise in gaming, creating another way for brands to connect with their consumers. Technologies like AR and VR will support an increase in meaningful immersive brand experiences.

 From data and privacy to the higher expectations on the sustainable practices of brands, consumers are seeking out trust more than ever before. Reputation will be of increasing importance and brands cannot rest on their previous relationship status with consumers. Relationships are key to everything we do as marketers because they inspire trust and in turn this drives loyalty. 

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