Announcing the 2017 CMO50

Recognising Australia's most innovative marketing leaders

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CMO50 2017

  • 1

    Barni Evans


    Chief commercial officer

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  • 2

    Leisa Bacon


    Director of audiences

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  • 3

    Stephanie Tully


    Chief marketing officer

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  • 4

    Martine Jager


    Chief marketing officer

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  • 5

    Trisca Scott-Branagan

    Deakin University

    Executive director, marketing

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  • 6

    Nick Reynolds


    Chief marketing officer, Asia-Pacific

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  • 7

    Cambell Holt


    Chief customer officer, Pacific

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  • 8

    Mohit Bhargava

    Village Cinemas

    General manager, sales and marketing

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  • 9

    Craig Davis


    Co-founder and chief marketing officer

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  • 10

    Tyron Hayes

    Curtin University

    Chief marketing officer

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  • 11

    Umberto Mecchi


    Group executive, marketing and strategy

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  • 12

    Monique Macleod

    Commonwealth Bank

    Chief marketing officer (acting)

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  • 13

    Lisa Ronson

    Tourism Australia

    Chief marketing officer

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  • 14

    Carolyn Bendall


    Head of marketing, A/NZ

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  • 15

    Jonathan Kerr

    Auto & General

    Director, marketing and digital

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  • 16

    Adam Ballesty

    Diageo Australia

    Marketing and innovation director

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  • 17

    Jo Kelly


    Chief marketing officer

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  • 18

    Ric Navarro

    Norman Disney & Young

    Global director, marketing and communication

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  • 19

    Richard Oppy

    Carlton and United Breweries

    VP marketing, Asia-Pacific South Zone

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  • 20

    Andrew Knott

    National Australia Bank

    Chief marketing officer

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  • 21

    Rebecca James


    Chief marketing officer

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  • 22

    Damian Young


    GM, marketing

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  • 23

    Melina Cruickshank

    Domain Group

    Chief editorial and marketing officer

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  • 24

    Vanessa Lyons

    AUB Group

    Group head of marketing

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  • 25

    Andrew Howie

    Meat and Livestock Australia

    Manager, group marketing

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26 - 50 (In alphabetical order)

  • Amanda Johnston-Pell


    Chief marketing officer and chief of startups

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  • Andrea Martens


    Chief brand officer

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  • Cameron Pearson

    Cover-More Group

    Chief strategy and innovation officer

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  • Caroline Bonpain

    Dyson A/NZ

    Marketing director

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  • David McNeil

    Campbell Arnott's

    VP marketing, Asia-Pacific

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  • Everard Hunder

    Monash IVF Group

    Group marketing and investor relations manager

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  • John Arnott

    ING Direct

    Executive director, customer propositions

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  • Kellie Cordner


    Chief marketing officer

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  • Lewis Pullen

    IAG Satellite

    Marketing director

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  • Lisa Winn

    Coca-Cola South Pacific

    Marketing director

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  • Michael Laxton


    Chief marketing officer

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  • Nick Hickford

    Bulla Dairy Foods

    GM, marketing and innovation

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  • Paul Connell


    GM and marketing director, homecare

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  • Paul Stern


    GM marketing, online and international

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  • Phil Wade

    Jetstar Airways

    Chief marketing officer

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  • Renae Smith

    AIA Australia and New Zealand

    Chief marketing officer

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  • Richard Burns

    Aussie Home Loans

    GM, customer experience and technology

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  • Sarah Graham

    Swinburne University of Technology

    CMO and director marketing, recruitment and channel integration

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  • Simon Marton

    Treasury Wine Estates

    Chief marketing officer

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  • Sonia Bijelic

    Cricket Australia

    Head of marketing

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  • Suzanne Harman

    Simplot Australia

    GM, marketing

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  • Yves Calmette

    World Wild Fund for nature (WWF Australia)

    Chief marketing officer

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Ones to Watch (In alphabetical order)

  • Jayne Andrews

    Carnival Cruise Line

    Director of marketing

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  • Natalie Feehan


    Executive general manager, group marketing

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  • Elaine Herlihy

    PayPal Australia

    Marketing director

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  • Natalie Robinson

    Melbourne Polytechnic

    Director of marketing and communication

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Barni Evans Chief commercial officer Sportsbet
Leisa Bacon Director of audiences ABC
Stephanie Tully Chief marketing officer Qantas
Martine Jager Chief marketing officer Westpac
Trisca Scott-Branagan Executive director, marketing Deakin University
Nick Reynolds Chief marketing officer, Asia-Pacific Lenovo
Cambell Holt Chief customer officer, Pacific Mercer
Mohit Bhargava General manager, sales and marketing Village Cinemas
Craig Davis Co-founder and chief marketing officer Sendle
Tyron Hayes Chief marketing officer Curtin University
Umberto Mecchi Group executive, marketing and strategy Hostplus
Monique Macleod Chief marketing officer (acting) Commonwealth Bank
Lisa Ronson Chief marketing officer Tourism Australia
Carolyn Bendall Head of marketing, A/NZ ANZ
Jonathan Kerr Director, marketing and digital Auto & General
Adam Ballesty Marketing and innovation director Diageo Australia
Jo Kelly Chief marketing officer UBank
Ric Navarro Global director, marketing and communication Norman Disney & Young
Richard Oppy VP marketing, Asia-Pacific South Zone Carlton and United Breweries
Andrew Knott Chief marketing officer National Australia Bank
Rebecca James Chief marketing officer ME
Damian Young GM, marketing Chobani
Melina Cruickshank Chief editorial and marketing officer Domain Group
Vanessa Lyons Group head of marketing AUB Group
Andrew Howie Manager, group marketing Meat and Livestock Australia

26 - 50 (In alphabetical order)

John ArnottExecutive director, customer propositionsING Direct
Sonia BijelicHead of marketingCricket Australia
Caroline BonpainMarketing directorDyson A/NZ
Richard BurnsGM, customer experience and technologyAussie Home Loans
Yves CalmetteChief marketing officerWorld Wild Fund for nature (WWF Australia)
Paul ConnellGM and marketing director, homecareUnilever
Kellie CordnerChief marketing officerCarsales
Sarah GrahamCMO and director marketing, recruitment and channel integrationSwinburne University of Technology
Suzanne HarmanGM, marketingSimplot Australia
Nick HickfordGM, marketing and innovationBulla Dairy Foods
Everard HunderGroup marketing and investor relations managerMonash IVF Group
Amanda Johnston-PellChief marketing officer and chief of startupsIBM
Michael LaxtonChief marketing officerFairfax
Andrea MartensChief brand officerJurlique
Simon MartonChief marketing officerTreasury Wine Estates
David McNeilVP marketing, Asia-PacificCampbell Arnott's
Roni MillardGM, marketingInfoTrack
Jee MoonVP marketingLuxottica (OPSM)
Tasman PageHead of marketingMenulog
Cameron PearsonChief strategy and innovation officerCover-More Group
Lewis PullenMarketing directorIAG Satellite
Renae SmithChief marketing officerAIA Australia and New Zealand
Paul SternGM marketing, online and internationalKathmandu
Phil WadeChief marketing officerJetstar Airways
Lisa WinnMarketing directorCoca-Cola South Pacific

Ones to watch (In alphabetical order)

Jayne Andrews Director of marketing Carnival Cruise Line
Natalie Feehan Executive general manager, group marketing MYOB
Elaine Herlihy Marketing director PayPal Australia
Natalie Robinson Director of marketing and communication Melbourne Polytechnic

Marketing's growing sphere of influence

This year’s most innovative and effective marketers across Australia are cultivating a new role for themselves in business.

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.

If last year’s list was a lesson in the willingness of CMOs to expand their knowledge, teams and transform their functions, this year’s list is proof of how actively they’re growing their sphere of influence across the wider organisation.

It’s one of the first things that struck our 2017 CMO50 judges. AANA CEO, John Broome, described the scale and breadth of today’s marketing chief as "extraordinary", noting the growing responsibility for areas such as digital product and strategy, customer, sales and experience.

Our record number of nominations this year paint marketers as collaborators, from customer service and experience to HR, IT, sales, finance, digital, the CEO, innovation and legal counsel.

Where gaps in maturity could be seen were in executing data-driven insight and making the most of fresh technology capabilities to action better activities.

Over the past three years, we’ve witnessed significant investment into digital and technology across marketing functions in order to improve agility, addressability and activity. The CMO50 also showcased an array of approaches to being customer-led, from mapping and research programs to adopting customer-oriented measurement frameworks. Consistently, marketers outlined their quest to achieve one view of the customer.

In fact, judges agreed CMOs know they need to own more of the whole customer experience. This could be seen in less isolated campaign work, and more of an emphasis on customer needs and pain points, in order to increase the personalisation and effectiveness of tactics and engagement.

But for Publicis chairman and CMO50 judge, Andrew Baxter, it’s what marketers do with their new technology, digital and data capability that’s going to bring competitive advantage. “All are approaching it; what many aren’t saying is how they are using it to enough of an extent and how it’s driving insight,” he commented.

Experienced CMO and consultant, David Morgan, saw the benchmark for ‘marketing 2.0’ stepping up as technical expertise is embedded.

"There are probably a dozen companies doing customer experience in a transformative way, but there are plenty who still don’t yet know the extent of the changes required to get there,” he said. “We’ve seen a significant step forward, however, in nominations this year, which is great for the industry. Marketers locally are learning and putting CX and technology into play."

Zuni managing director, Mike Zeederberg, also believed Australia’s marketers are just arriving at best practice, having made huge strides forward in customer and commercial capability. “That then raises the question: Is that enough? That’s where the standouts were in our CMO50 nominations this year,” he said.

Former Westfield director of marketing, John Batistich, saw organisations at varying levels of digital and customer experience maturity.

"Perhaps the appetite of the wider organisation is not there yet, but marketers are building the infrastructure as an enabler for the future. Others are on the data journey."

Newly appointed Australian Sports Commission marketing chief, Louise Eyres, noted striking similarities between B2C and B2B when it comes to marketing ambition and concerns. "But the outputs are very different," she said, adding that was one of many challenges in judging this year’s CMO50.

Other challenges in judging were size of function and enterprise influence. Half those listed in the CMO50 have a marketing and/or customer experience function of at least 50 staff, although two out of the top 10 operate with fewer than 12. More than eight in 10 of our CMO50 this year are members of the executive leadership team and 74 per cent report directly to the CEO.

It’s also important to point out several of our CMO50 have wider divisional responsibility that has seen their staff headcount swell. Mercer’s Cambell Holt, for example, has CX, commercial platforms, digital, insights and analytics and strategy (245 staff), while Sportsbet’s Barni Evans’ headcount has nearly doubled from 100 to 185 as a result of his new chief commercial officer post. Domain’s Melina Cruickshank has both marketing and editorial, and ABC’s Leisa Bacon has creative, marketing, media partnerships, research, digital and service design as part of her remit.

The people element proved another consistent priority for the CMO50 this year. Redefining organisational structures and ways of working is paramount, and talent building and capability are huge areas of focus, even more so than in previous years. A range of techniques are being adopted to foster next-generation marketing skillsets, from internal academies to leveraging methodologies such as design thinking and human-centred design, and agile.

There’s also a general trend towards insourcing. Most of the CMO50 are buying or fostering fresh skillsets most commonly in data and analytics, media buying/trading, content strategy and production, and there’s rising emphasis on blurring the line between ‘traditional’ and ‘performance’ marketers.

Agile versus agility

The desire to be agile versus running an agile-based marketing team was a further measuring stick used by judges. Newly installed CEO of Spotify Australia, Jane Huxley, highlighted the distinction between “agile and agility”.

“There was consistency in adopting agile and things such as sprinting, and so on, rather than a wider organisational commitment to agility,” she said.

Morgan pointed out many marketers didn’t know what agile was all about last year. “This year, agile is the key focus with at least 70 per cent showing an understanding of what it takes to adopt agile-based marketing,” he said.

Where Broome wanted to see improvement was in longer-term thinking for sustainable growth. With revenue generation a clear target for CMOs today and marketing activity increasingly being tied to growth and direct sales, it’s vital marketers demonstrate effectiveness sustainably.

"As technology levels the playing field, how are marketers going to deepen their approach and create value for the organisation?” he asked. “Too many submissions were short-term focused. I expect that from a marketing manager, but not the CMO."

Part of the challenge here could be CMO tenure. At just shy of three years across the CMO50 this year, the question was raised: How long does it take for marketers to truly make an impact?

"If you’ve been in a role for less than one year, you can’t really show impact worthy of being in the top 25," Batistich said, noting CMO tenure as a concern.

"You’re finding the easier, faster things to do. CMOs require time to see the results. You have to have time to understand the networks, culture, get things aligned because that’s what the job is about."

What was clear to all judges was the high calibre of nominations this year. Scoring differences between our top 10 and top 25, were tiny, and all judges agreed a more solid group of marketers sits in the middle of our 2017 list.