Professor Mark Ritson was right all along: “90 per cent of marketers fail to brief agencies effectively, and their failures begin with a total lack of strategy.” The headline findings of the Better Briefs Project and its research spanning 1,700 marketers and agencies make for grim reading, with a third of ad budgets being wasted as a result of bad briefs. In Australia, the data shows 50 per cent of marketers have not been trained on how to write briefs, so half don't know what they are doing. Unless things improve, marketer tenures – and standing within boardrooms – will continue to decline. But there are some simple fixes, say Better Briefs co-founders Matt Davies and Pieter-Paul von Weiler.
CommBank’s X15 Ventures unit is paving the ground for a massive stack of next gen services that effectively builds an opted-in walled garden for its 15 million retail and business customers, as the bank bids to compete with global tech giants inside its own expanding ecosystem. With a direct-to-customer mortgage play about to launch, it's also eyeing further e-commerce and shopping platforms. Managing Director Toby Norton-Smith told Mi3 there is much more to come from the unit with a billion dollars to spend.
While topping US$94 billion in revenues, Dell had been in a perpetual street fight on pricing. Margin and brand health metrics were sinking to dangerous levels. ANZ Marketing Director Arjun Deuskar had to fight tooth and nail, but convinced his bosses to go large on brand and a premium push. Along with MediaCom, Dell issued an open tender to Australia's publishers – and 150 of them piled into GroupM towers to pitch their ideas. Deuskar was blown away by the response. In the end, he said 10ViaCom CBS had the best proposition – and the results have been "phenomenal". Now marketing is getting all the plaudits – and board backing to go harder on brand investment.
After 20 years offshore leading marketing at Mars, Wrigley and Coke, Anubha Sahasrabuddhe, Consumer & Brand Director at Lion, is back in Australia. While some brands and sectors have metamorphosised into marketing leaders during that time, others have gone backwards, Lion, in some cases, included. She says the 70s wants its stereotypes back and aims to unchain beer to do good – and make good ads. She's channeling New Zealand to recapture Australia's mojo and land with the untapped multicultural masses... and may just take Lion beyond beer.
Consultants have warned of a backlash against the likes of Adobe and Salesforce after over-complex martech integrations have disappointed. But digital agencies execs suggest the onus is on agencies themselves to make the big stacks work – brands need to take a longer term view and not ditch their investments prematurely.
Ampol is back from the dead and should deliver the brand case study of the decade - for better or worse. The iconic, retro-cool Australian brand lay dormant for 26 years but in April kicked off one of the biggest brand revivals in 20 years as it races to beat US giant Chevron after a bust-up over the Australian rights to Caltex it held until last year. Ampol is banking once again on Australian roots over foreign brands for a competitive advantage – in 1936 Ampol was created to counter price gouging from off-shore oil companies. But there's millions of younger customers for which Ampol is mere vapour. Four months in and the Australian thing is working, say Chief Brand Officer Jenny O'Regan, Saatchi & Saatchi’s Anthony Gregorio and Mike Spirkovski and iProspect’s Jason Smith. Here's the latest for an Australian fuel company in the race of its life – literally – against global giants.
As brands, publishers and the digital supply chain grapple with first party data and ways to transact customer and audience data without compromising data, privacy and incoming regulation that will govern both, there is a real risk of repeating the same mistakes. At worst, some 'black box' data and ID solutions risk regulatory non-compliance and pollution of entire data pools, warns Nick Jordan, founder of New York-based data streaming platform Narrative I/O. The former Adobe and Yahoo exec thinks the current crop of alternatives probably won't cut it, but brands and publishers must make a choice – provided they fully understand their data strategy may ultimately be an entirely new business. But he's not convinced that Google will sunset cookies altogether, nor that Apple is entirely altruistic.
Marketing used to be the biggest driver of sales. Today, consumer behaviour is increasingly influenced by trust – which is corporate affairs’ turf. Meanwhile, as environmental and social governance (ESG) becomes a top corporate agenda item, Australian firms are realising just how far behind the world they have fallen. They need smart corporate affairs and comms talent to guide them through major change – problem is, expertise is thin on the ground and Australia's closed borders are exacerbating the crunch. All this as the power shifts from employer to employee: workers want purpose, meaning and flexibility before they will even think about taking the growing number of jobs on offer. Executive search specialist Anna Whitlam, Commtract’s Vanessa Liell and Australian Pork’s Andrew ‘Billy’ Baxter say firms that do not quickly adapt “will just miss out…. And we are already seeing that.”
Sweta Mehra has wasted little time since swapping P&G for ANZ. In four years, the CMO has overhauled marketing, creating a 'federated' approach with units responsible for business results and winning budget-defending executive allies. Now she’s pushing harder into personalisation, building a new market mix modelling approach, driving deep cost efficiencies through in-housing and championing a major upskilling programme, all while rewiring the tech stack to unlock nine digit revenue gains. Now she’s looking for more – can she make customers “fall in love” with ANZ?
Femvertising has failed and marketing is still sexist, the British authors of a new book, Brandsplaining, tell Mi3. Former advertising execs Jane Cunningham and Philippa Roberts say while the overt sexism of the Mad Men era is gone, a new sneaky sexism under the guise of Femvertising and Fempowerment has landed. Cunningham and Roberts explain Brandsplaining and how brands like Dove, Always and Nike have challenged stereotypes and championed women but are still telling women who they should be, not listening to what they actually want. Here's what women want - from brands.
John Singleton, Russell Tate and Mike Connaghan were running the listed STW in joint ventures with London-based WPP and were flying high for 20 years – but now it’s all dust after WPP’s takeover of the listed Australian business in April. Australian and West Indies cricket teams and State of Origin line-ups were all named in the infamous Singleton agency bar. Here’s the second and final podcast episode with the Australian trio that broke the model of how global holding company giants operated in Australia – and the world. As an aside, the lyrics of John Williamson’s True Blue, now an addition to the National Film and Sound Archive, was written by Singleton.
A new breed of marketing cloud providers is putting serious pressure on the likes of Adobe and Salesforce as brands and publishers seek a sharper competitive edge. Many are now working to unbundle full stacks they were sold in the first wave of automation, and get a grip on what they actually need – people as much as tech. Shadowboxer's Konrad Spilva and Stephen Graham, 10 ViacomCBS' Josh Slighting, Amaysim's Karin Kalda and The Lumery's Raj Kumar map out the new cloud landscape and why smart, fast and simple is the future.