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Deep Dive

Update: Arnott’s appoints Jenni Dill as new CMO

By Paul McIntyre - Executive Editor

31 May 2020 5min read

By Paul McIntyre - Executive Editor

31 May 2020 5min read

Former McDonald’s CMO Jenni Dill was announced this morning to staff as Arnott’s new CMO, effective July 6. Dill is also a board member of the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) where today she joined the AANA’s Reset Now video series with Nine and Mi3. Dill says too many brands have shown a "herd mentality" through the COVID crisis but huge opportunities remain for marketers to demonstrate in hard commercial terms how they can deliver growth. More details here on the Arnott's appointment and the video interview.

“Brands that are literally trying to solve problems and make consumers lives easier in these times are doing really well - and they'll come out of it with more market share, a stronger brand and a better business model for it.“

- Jenni Dill, board director, AANA & former McDonald's CMO

Arnott’s - poised for growth

Arnott’s has appointed Jenny Dill as its new CMO, replacing Michelle Foley as interim CMO for ANZ. Foley has been appointed Arnott's Chief Customer Officer. Foley took the interim role when  David McNeil left after private equity firm KKR acquired the Arnott's for $3.2bn. McNeil is now Hasbro’s Managing Director, Pacific.

Dill confirmed her appointment to Mi3. “I’m thrilled. Arnott’s is such an iconic Australian brand,” she said. “It’s a brand poised for growth.”

Arnott's CEO George Zoghbi said: "I'm pleased to welcome an accomplished executive of Jenni's calibre to lead Arnott's Marketing team from 6 July 2020. Jenni will join Arnott's Leadership Team and be accountable for fostering a culture of break-through thinking and will drive growth and innovation opportunities so we can continue to serve our loyal customers." 

 

Help the customer and everything else will follow

Beyond today’s appointment, Dill says in her Reset Now interview that COVID-19 will make or break some brands and marketers. 

Every company and role is different. But Dill says those able to harness creativity so solve customer problems are consistently successful.

If you put the customer first, she says and make their lives easier, “you are always going to be on the right side of where you need to be from a business perspective”.

Dill applauds the agility of small local business – bars, cafes, restaurants - in pivoting overnight to delivery and click and collect models. Some bigger brands too, she says, have adapted their traditional models in “phenomenal” fashion.

However, Dill thinks many brands have failed to similarly innovate and differentiate their communications, particularly via TV ads.

“What I have seen is a lot of empty platitudes from brands. People telling me they're here for me and that we're all in this together - and they all look and feel the same. They're just not connecting because I don't know what they're doing for me,” says Dill.

“I don't know how they're making my life easier. I don't know how they're solving a problem for me. They're just talking at me and it just feels like it's falling a little bit short.”

Perhaps it is understandable, given most people - marketing or otherwise - will not have experienced anything like an international social and economic shutdown.

Regardless of short-term comms strategy, however, she says those that apply the basics of marketing should ultimately win.

”I think brands that are literally trying to solve problems and make consumers lives easier in these times are doing really well - and they'll come out of it with more market share, a stronger brand and a better business model for it.”

“There's a lot of people out there that only ever worked in good times. Being able to work through a business or a brand that's in decline and turn things around really is a true test of a marketer. It forces you to rethink everything.”

- Jenni Dill

Marketers: Diggers and battlers need only apply

Marketers that can dig in and solve problems for their employers will emerge stronger from the Covid crisis, Dill suggests. Resilience is top of her list when hiring.

“One of the first things I look for when building a team is: Has someone been through a tough time before? Have they worked through a turnaround brand or a business? Have they had their back to the wall and have had to come out and find a new way of operating? Those are the people that you want by your side in a time like this,” says Dill.

“You don't want people that are just going to jump ship at the first sign of trouble. You want people who dig in, who will work for the long-term and who will be there to help reshape the business going forward.”

Anyone can be a marketer when brands are growing and results are rolling in. But those times may be some way off for many businesses, locally and internationally.

“I think, there's a lot of people out there that only ever worked in good times,” says Dill. “Being able to work through a business or a brand that's in decline and turn things around really is a true test of a marketer. It forces you to rethink everything. It forces you to focus on the stuff that matters most, and it forces you to do things differently - if you want to succeed.”

“A lot of marketers like to speak in jargon. It helps us talk to each other very quickly. But when you're talking to a non-marketer, you just sound like you're talking jargon, or BS even. When you're talking to a CEO, a CFO or your board, you've got to be talking in the language of business.”

- Jenni Dill

Talk business, not bullshit

The Covid crash is placing massive pressure on budgets, reinforcing the need to fully quantify the value of marketing investment to those holding the purse strings. To do that successfully, says Dill, marketers must talk business, not marketing.

“A lot of marketers like to speak in jargon. It helps us shortcut communication with our agencies, it helps us talk to each other very quickly; it's amazing. But when you're talking to a non-marketer, you just sound like you're talking jargon, or BS even,” says Dill.

“When you're talking to a CEO, a CFO or your board, you've got to be talking in the language of business. You've got to be talking about how investing in this brand campaign or this new product launch or this media investment or sponsorship is going to drive a real-world business result: That it is going to impact P&L; it's going to impact market share and top-line revenue growth; it's going to help you reduce cost by shaping the way customers interact with your business.”

Marketers must therefore be bilingual to be successful, says Dill, able to quickly switch between marketing-speak with agencies and teams and the language of business with the c-suite.

 

How did we end up talking to ourselves?

How did marketers fall into their own language trap and end up sidelined, in some cases, by ‘harder’ business functions?

“I think it depends on the business,” says Dill. “If marketing is really the heart of your business and it's a key driver of growth and everyone believes in marketing's ability to drive the business forward, then you tend to have the right conversations.”

On the flip side, some marketing departments have actually become communications departments, says Dill.  

“They're there to make advertising and build trust or do a different job to driving business growth.”

That is a mistake, she believes.

“I think when you separate marketing from the centre of the business growth engine, you will never get the best out of marketers or the best for the business.”

“If you can't prove your business results of your marketing, then you're just constantly going to be challenged time and time again. And you'll be challenged on every budget and every decision you make.”

- Jenni Dill

RoI matters:  Prove your creative and media deliver growth

Demonstrating return on investment is “absolutely essential to marketing and particularly to stakeholder engagement at senior levels with CEOs and CFOs”, says Dill.

She says that media and creative are essential components in driving those returns. So marketers have to be able to quantify them to stop budgets being diverted.

“[RoI] is one very important tool to help you drive effectiveness and efficiency and make smarter decisions as a marketer,” says Dill.

“But it is one tool. You also need to have amazing creative, you need to have amazing media efficiencies and strategy, you need to put those two things together to get the best outcomes.

“In my previous roles, we've been very focused on ROI. We've used some very smart partners to help us pull apart our marketing mix and understand our spend and what's working and what's not. And you just continually make investment decisions that make better outcomes happen.

“So for example, what we found is that creative and media are literally as important in most businesses I've ever worked in, in driving the RoI outcome,” she says. “So you get very focused on improving the quality of the creative. You get very, very focused on your media strategy and efficiencies and making sure you've got the right media plans. And the outcome of those two things can drive a really powerful impact to your business.”

Dill cites McDonald’s, which has been working for some years on measuring creative and media effectiveness with modellers such as Analytic Partners, as a prime example.

“As soon as you can demonstrate those really strong commercial links to what you're doing as a marketer and the business results, everything gets a lot easier.”

- Jenni Dill

Build marketers for the future in-house

In the post-Covid world, brands will need sharper marketers that are attuned with business thinking and business metrics. Brands need to develop those people now, says Dill.

“Speaking for client-side marketing, there hasn’t been enough development and team development recently. I think we need to build the marketers for the future … We’ve got to invest as an industry in smarter, sharper marketers that can drive meaningful business results.”

Otherwise, marketing will just be going around in circles.

“If you can't prove your business results of your marketing, then you're just constantly going to be challenged time and time again. And you'll be challenged on every budget and every decision you make,” says Dill.

“But as soon as you can demonstrate those really strong commercial links to what you're doing as a marketer and the business results, everything gets a lot easier, every conversation with a CEO or a board or a CFO, and it just helps build positivity for marketing and further investment down the track.”

 

Check out last week's episode with Kia marketer Dean Norbiato:
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By Paul McIntyre - Executive Editor

31 May 2020 5min read