Interview – Joshua Wood – Audi Australia

Joshua Wood is currently Director of CX & Digital innovation at Audi Australia.

With over 15 years automotive industry experience, Josh has worked across many large scale Digital, CRM & Marketing strategies with automotive brands such as Toyota, Lexus, Volkswagen & Audi.

The automotive industry is going on through rapid change with the evolution of vehicle connectivity, on-demand mobility services and the electrification of vehicles. The biggest change to this industry is actually customers themselves, particularly how they interact with Automotive Dealers and Brands now and in the future.

Josh heads up the team at Audi Australia responsible for managing this digital transformation as well as the broader refocusing of the business on CX and customer loyalty.

 Q: During your time at Audi, what are some of the biggest changes you have seen in customer experience? What do you think has made the biggest impact (positive or negative)?

A: Today the customer is super-informed, all information is at their fingertips and the online experience plays a much larger role in brand consideration & ownership, however, the human element is still very important in both purchase and ownership experience. Ultimately customer expectations are higher and brands need to deliver on these expectations.

Q: How do you stay on top of current marketing trends?

A: Networking and collaboration works for me. Audi and Volkswagen have a huge global network where we can share best practice & approaches etc. Also, bench-marketing and networking across different industries provides a rich source of information on marketing trends.

Q: What do you find most challenging in your role and how do you overcome this?

A: Developing and maintaining a strong CX culture. Developing good culture is challenging and even harder to maintain. Particularly when there is volatility and disruption in markets and greater complexity in the world we live in. It is important to keep things simple e.g. focus on core objectives & behaviours and have clear purpose. Remove complexity where possible.

Q: What are the latest trends and behaviours you predict will be surfacing on the market over the coming 12 months?

A: In Automotive, we will see a greater range of mobility services being offered as well as a significant influx of fully electric vehicles launched into market. Customer experience and engagement across the whole vehicle ownership will become the differentiator between brands.

 Q: Are there any quotes or pieces of advice that have helped you through your marketing and overall career success?

A: Get the fundamentals right and reduce complexity for customers at all touchpoints

Q: What is one key takeaway you hope our CXO audience leaves with after hearing your presentation on-site?

A: Focus on developing a culture that seeks to remove complexity and friction within your business, partners and ultimately for your customer.

Interview – Katherin Awad – iSTAR Medical

Katherin is an international executive in the Medical Device industry with 13 years of experience in International Marketing based in Belgium, France and now in the Gold Coast, Australia, for various-sized companies from start-up to billion-dollar market leaders. Katherin’s functional skills include up and down-stream marketing, strategy, brand management, communications, sales, and cross-functional areas such as medical marketing, training and reimbursement in the fields of ophthalmology, interventional cardiology, orthopaedics, and vascular surgery. Katherin began her career in information technology in which she worked in Sydney for 6 years, having graduated with High Distinction from the prestigious Co-op scholarship program, Business IT, at the UNSW. Katherin continued her studies obtaining an MBA with Distinction from world-renowned INSEAD (France & Singapore), and subsequently changed her career to apply her digital and management skills to a marketing healthcare environment, based in Brussels (Belgium) followed by Paris (France).

 

Q: As a marketing professional, what do you enjoy most about your role in the industry?

A: Marketing in the healthcare industry, particularly in the specialised Medical Device sector, attracts me because of the need to build relationships with intelligent medical doctors and specialists in order to promote a product. We continually work with customers (physicians) who provide feedback and work with us to develop the best product possible for patients, in order to change and save lives. In this sector, we may start with a marketing “story”, but evidence is soon required to back it up, and so marketing works closely with the clinical team in order to create a message that is true to the product and that we know works. In this sector, the customer works closely with marketing and clinical to research the product and then promote it as a treatment for patients – it’s nice to have the customer as a partner in promoting your own product!

 

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you face or have faced as a marketing leader?

A: In this sector, geography plays a large role in determining marketing strategy and even the possibility of business development within a market. Often it is necessary, particularly between Europe and the US, to have a different marketing strategy and approach to each market. Regulatory issues and reimbursement also constrain what can be said and sold in various markets, and it is very important for the marketing team to work closely with the regulatory team when determining strategy and messaging.

In addition, training with limited people resources is always a challenge with a medical device, very different from a pharmaceutical pill. Creativity in determining training plans, access to physicians in different geographies, and creation of resources to support physician training and measuring the success of that training has always been challenging, particularly with new and innovative products that don’t work the same as products currently on the market.

 

Q: Since being in the industry what notable changes have you encountered (positive or negative)?

A: Social media has become a strong channel for communicating company and product news, and for creating visibility and awareness to not only customers, but also patients, investors, future employees and other stakeholders. The medical industry may have been slower to uptake this channel, but there has been a pull from the customer-side to learn more about products, results, and clinical cases in different ways. The growth of YouTube and similar sites as a medium for training and education has been very valuable, and the power of comments made on Twitter from world-renowned physicians and surgeons is far more accessible, valuable, and cannot be ignored.

 

Q: How do you maintain success and company growth with the rapid changes in customer expectations and new technologies?

A: In the medical industry, continuous innovation is compulsory. The next few iterations of a product must always be planned and worked on, even while the first iteration is being launched. Mergers and acquisitions and the rise (and fall) of products have greatly shaped the industry, and can bring a market-leader to its knees or boost an unknown player into market-leader status. Being in touch with customer needs, comments, and suggestions is paramount to applying relevant evolutions to products, and if ignored could cost the company a product’s success. Effective training within this sector is also critical, because misuse of a product could cause adverse events which could produce so much bad publicity that it could kill the sales of the product, or even worse, cause it to be recalled/withdrawn from the market, as has been recently seen with a competitive product in the current space I am working in.

Interview – Kate Phillips – Revelian

Kate joined Revelian, a rapidly scaling global HR tech business, in 2015 as part of the Senior Leadership Team, continuing a 20+ year career in B2B marketing which has spanned the HR and recruitment sectors internationally, as well as government, media, transport and construction. In her current role, Kate is responsible for Revelian’s marketing and digital sales strategies globally as well as management of the Client Support function. More recently, Kate has taken on responsibility for Revelian’s people strategy. Kate’s experience includes involvement in the Not for Profit sector as a Non-Executive Director.

 

Q: As a marketing professional, what do you enjoy most about your role in the industry?
A: The ability to blend the creative and the commercial, every day.

 

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you face or have faced as a marketing leader?
A: The remit of the CMO continues to morph and change, and the scope and focus of the role can change materially from year to year. This is a positive thing, however challenging to remain across such a broad scope.

 

Q: Since being in the industry what notable changes have you encountered (positive or negative)?
A: I’ve been in the industry for more than 20 years so I have witnessed a lot of change and most of it I would regard as highly positive. In particular, the measurability of marketing impact now as compared to earlier in my career, thanks largely to the shift to digital focus. This makes it easier to demonstrate value, and to be more agile.

 

Q: How do you maintain success and company growth with the rapid changes in customer expectations and new technologies?
A: Be involved in industry forums and peer networks to share ideas. Be actively involved in customer relationships. Hire good people around you, with a variety of skills particularly in emerging skills sets. Consume relevant media that keeps you up to date with trends.

 

Q: What are some of the trends and behaviours you predict will be surfacing in the Marketing industry in the coming 12 months? (or are currently surfacing)
A: Increased automation. Enhanced focus on (and performance in) personalisation. ROI even more than now.

 

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have received within your career over the years?
A: Every person in marketing should understand the financial drivers of the business and how you contribute to those key financial metrics. Do a finance course.

 

Q: What is one key area of your role/profession that you want to learn more about?
A: I’m particularly interested in some of the discussions around ROI, use of data and marketing automation in B2B.

 

 

Interview – Mal Chia – MyBudget

Mal Chia is a full-stack marketer, senior leader and technologist. He helped launched Uber and UberEATS in Australia and co-founded the South Australian operations, leading an agile marketing team. He is currently the head of marketing and digital at MyBudget, where they are building the future of money.

Q: How long have you been in the marketing industry?

A: 13 years

Q: Over this time what are some of the big changes positive or negative you have seen in the industry?

A: Data has really come into focus and digital has obviously been a huge game changer across every level. Marketers have a lot more control of their marketing than ever before, but at the same time the fracturing of media means most marketers are spread too thin and are constantly feeling they are behind the 8-ball. As a consequence, I’ve seen marketers burn out faster but the ones who have been able to embrace change, taken ownership of their marketing programs and learned to move quickly are really thriving.

Q: How do you maintain success and company growth with the rapid industry changes?

A: Don’t be afraid to try new things and be prepared to fail. Focus on your strategy and do what’s important – it’s super easy to get distracted. Know what your funnel looks like and how you’re going to measure each stage. Having the right metrics can quickly alert you to what really needs your attention

Q: Are there any companies that you see as an example of great marketing and why?

A: I’m totally biased but I love Uber’s marketing and how it has evolved from when we were a scrappy startup to a global behemoth. Xero has done an unbelievable job making accounting software cool. Hubspot practice what they preach by demonstrating the capabilities of the product with all their marketing.

Q: What are the latest trends and behaviours you predict will be surfacing on the market over the coming 12 months?

A: Automation will make it easier for brands to scale their marketing and communications with less agency support whether it be performance marketing, content or social. We’re barely scratching the surface of what data can do with many of the big brands only now starting to build teams of data scientists and engineers.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have received within your job over the years?

A: What do you want people to say about you.

Q: What is one key takeaway you hope our CXO audience leaves with after hearing your presentation on site?

A: Beware of shiny new objects. If you don’t have a goal and a plan – run away!

Interview – Angus Jones – LG Electronics

Angus is a people leader and marketing strategist who manages high performance teams resulting in organisation success, achieved by:
• Translating complex technologies and evangelizing such into plain language
• Assessing the big picture and quickly determining appropriate actions
• Surrounding myself with the right people and treating them fairly
• Understanding the customer perspective from Public Sector, B2B to Consumer including partners and alliances, matching that with Stakeholder needs
• Driving change to capitalise on new opportunities and solve problems

Angus is experienced in running large value/volume product & services businesses supported by developing people and progressive thinking strategic plans. He performs at his best when he is in (or creating) a positive, energetic, open and honest environment, where there is a clear picture of tangible outcomes to deliver, and where he has genuine autonomy to lead and inspire teams to step up.

Qualifications:
B Bus (Marketing), Company Director course – Australian Institute of Company Directors

Specialties: Marketing of Consumer Electronics, Telecommunications and Information Technology Hardware, Software & Solutions. People Management and Strategic planning.

Q: How long have you been in the marketing industry?

A: 30 years

Q: Over this time what are some of the big changes positive or negative you have seen in the industry?

A: The numbers of possible marketing levers has increased significantly with the digital age which is both good and bad, however the ability to target customers today is a massive advantage to marketers of both large and small organisations.

Q: How do you maintain success and company growth with the rapid industry changes?

A: Focus on your business and objectives. Be aware but not distracted by industry changes.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have received within your job over the years?

A: Focus on the outcome and fail fast.

Q: What is one key takeaway you hope our CXO audience leaves with after hearing your presentation on site?

A:  Question what really is important and what actions will bring the best results for the whole corporation

Interview – Sharon Melamed, Founder, Matchboard

Sharon Melamed is a multi-award winning Australian entrepreneur and Founder of 3 matching platforms. Her journey started in 2012, when she founded Matchboard, a free-to-use website where companies can enter their needs and get matched with “right-fit” suppliers. In 2018, Matchboard was crowned “Business of the Year” at the Optus My Business Awards. And in 2017, Westpac named Matchboard as 1 of Australia’s top “200 Businesses of Tomorrow”.  Sharon was named Suncorp Innovator of the Year at the Women in Digital awards, and she also holds LinkedIn’s PowerProfile status for having one of the 50 most visited profiles in Australia. Sharon has a double honours degree from the University of Sydney, and speaks five languages.

Q: How long have you been in the marketing industry?

A: I’ve been running sales and marketing functions for – dare I say – three decades, and that includes stints in New York, San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Tokyo and Sydney. Each place I’ve lived and worked has given me a different perspective. I lived in the US for 10 years through the dot-com and dot-bomb eras and the pace was incredible, perhaps one reason I love working fast even today. But with the dot-bomb crash it also left an indelible impression on me that with all the enthusiasm and creativity in the world, you can’t just jump on a bandwagon and expect success – you still need to get the fundamentals right and have a product or service customers love or find useful. Marketing is nothing without that foundation.

It was living in Israel, also known as The Startup Nation, that really gave me the entrepreneurial bug. In fact if it wasn’t for an entrepreneurial developer in Israel, who offered to develop Matchboard’s platform at cost in exchange for the rights to use the source code in the domestic Israeli market, I may never have got my business off the ground.

Q: How do you maintain success and company growth with the rapid industry changes?

A: It’s hard but exciting at the same time to stay on top of the rapid pace of change. If you stay in a cocoon and don’t learn to swim, you drown, and there are plenty of stories like Blockbuster and Kodak that illustrate that. I think it’s important to get constant exposure to thought leadership, whether that’s through events like CXO Leaders, following influencers on LinkedIn, or downloading educational white papers. Also listen to customers, meet customers in person – their feedback and ideas are gold, so go digging! The business I run is an online platform, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to sit behind a screen all day.  I also find it useful to meet with vendors because they are often ahead of the game, in terms of being aligned with customer demands before companies even realise what’s going on.

Q: What are the latest market offerings which you see trending over the coming 12 months?

A: Running Matchboard, I’m in a unique position to review new and exciting offerings on the market every week. Here are a few:

  • I see more companies using data to orchestrate and manage customer journeys in a very personalised way. While there’s absolutely a place for customer journey mapping, it tends to be siloed and overlooks the journey of the entire customer lifecycle. New platforms cater to this.
  • Secondly, for those companies looking to outsource customer contact centre work, I see South Africa and Fiji as the emerging destinations to rival the Philippines – both have a huge neutral accent English-speaking talent pool, and a focus on friendly customer experience rather than process and scripts.
  • Finally, I’d call out “analytics-as-service” as a trending solution, whereby companies can hand over customer interaction data to a specialist analytics provider and get insights back on customer behaviours, needs and pain points.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have received within your career and what is the best advice you would share now?

A: Best piece of advice I’ve received is that when you are doing business with anyone, it has to be a win-win, otherwise it’s not sustainable. Always make sure you are striking partnerships that are fair and bring value to both sides. Now as an entrepreneur, the best advice I can give is that from adversity springs opportunity, and if you are desperately unhappy in your corporate role, maybe that’s fate telling you it’s time to summons your creative energy and build your own business!

Interview with Jethro Grainger-Marsh, National Head of Sales and Marketing – Alsco

Jethro is a digital, business growth, transformation and marketing leader, I have almost twenty years’ digital, marketing, sales, and transformation experience, both B2B and B2C. I deliver measurable growt

h and operational improvement through strategic marketing, growth, acquisition and transformation, and am a frequent speaker at digital transformation events throughout the APAC region. Across platform, process, and strategy, I have delivered success for some of the world’s leading brands across sectors including FS, Cloud (SaaS), and technology.

What do you feel are the biggest challenges marketing leaders are currently faced with within their business?  

Integrating as a single business that doesn’t face the customer but stands alongside them.  Embedding customer obsession into the DNA of the company and gaining the buy in on both a process and emotional level from all areas of the business.

As a marketing leader, what do you feel businesses continue to get wrong when it comes to their marketing strategy?

Starting from understanding.  Consistently believing that the knowledge of customers we have as a business is complete, and not analysing our beliefs against cold hard data – and using this insight to drive performance and change.

What are the latest trends and behaviours you predict will be surfacing on the market over the coming 12 months?

Disruption on a product and engagement perspective will severely damage the brand relationships with customers.  It will no longer be Business to Consumer or Business –it will more consistently be Business to Channel to Consumer.

What is the best piece of advice you have received within your job over the years?

Step by step.

Interview with Julie Toma, Head of Marketing and Communications – Catholic Healthcare

Julie Toma is currently the Head of Marketing and Communications for Catholic Healthcare with significant leadership experience in healthcare marketing and communications.

Julie began her career in Biomedical Science going on to complete a Masters in Business Administration, majoring in Marketing Strategy and is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Julie has successfully leveraged the combined expertise of science and marketing with large, global corporations including Sonic Clinical Services, Cochlear Limited, Kimberly-Clark Healthcare and BD.

Julie is currently a board director for the Barbara May Foundation, with previous board roles including LiveBetter and the Asthma Foundation ACT; an AMI Marketing Awards for Excellence Judge and past AMI NSW State Committee Chair; a past International Business Awards Judge and CXO Leaders Awards Judge as well as a member of the Cancer Australia Research Grant Advisory Committee.

Julie is passionate about strategic marketing planning, brand management, stakeholder engagement and customer experience. Julie was a finalist in the CEO Magazine Executive of the Year Awards 2017 and was shortlisted for the Telstra Business Women’s Awards (Medium to Large Enterprise) in 2019.

What do you feel are the biggest challenges marketing leaders are currently faced with within their business?  

Effectively leveraging technology innovation to deliver ROI, driving a high-performance culture, change management.

As a marketing leader, what do you feel businesses continue to get wrong when it comes to their marketing strategy?

Failure to invest enough in high quality customer insight research.

What are the latest trends and behaviours you predict will be surfacing on the market over the coming 12 months?

We will see more AI and increased focus on employee experience.

What is the best piece of advice you have received within your job over the years?

Be curious, fail fast and build a great, empowered team.

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