November 2016

The Future of Marketing, according to Lee Hawksley

If you want to get your finger on the pulse of what is happening today in digital marketing in this region, you want to hear from Lee Hawksley. As SVP of Marketing Cloud in the Japan and Asian region, Lee hears every day from digital marketers from companies of all sizes about what they are doing. Hear him talk to Mark Jones and JV Douglas at Filtered Media in this CMO Show Podcast.

The changing role of CMOs

The three begin by talking about the prediction Gartner made five years ago that by 2017 CMOs will be spending more than CIOs on IT. While there is some doubt as to whether this prediction has come true, certainly it focuses the mind on how the respective roles have changed and how they should work together:

Clearly it’s time for CMOs and CIOs to start forging true strategic partnerships so both marketing and IT can begin sharing ownership of both goals and outcomes,” says Lee.

The other role that has emerged since that prediction was made is the Chief Digital Officer. A role that Lee describes as being a blend of CMO and CIO, that understands the importance of customer experience in marketing, but also understands the role of digital technology in shaping that experience. Lee sees this role probably morphing into a position reporting to the CMO - as the CMO takes on more and more of this mindset anyway.

Is Australia behind the times?

The three discuss where Australia sits in the world of marketing. Lee laments the fact that it is often felt that Australia is 18 months behind developments in the US and Europe, when in fact he sees a very innovative and agile spirit here.

In particular, he sees Australia as “a nation [that] embrace[s] the concept of failure”. Lee feels that in modern marketing, it is more important than ever that marketers experiment - 20 per cent of budget, 20 per cent of time - in trying out new creative, new content and new techniques to find out what works and what customers respond to. “If everyone just adopts world’s best practice, all we’ve done is redefine mediocrity,” says Lee. This kind of experimentation is what drives competitive advantage, he says.

AI will help marketers become more strategic

Then the discussion moves to the hot topic at the moment: Artificial Intelligence. Consensus is that the role of AI in digital marketing is to provide deeper insights, but beyond that AI will do a lot of the mundane parts of marketing so marketers can grapple with the bigger strategic problems. Confidently Lee adds, “I believe our own brains in my lifetime will always be more powerful than the most powerful AI engines.”

The podcast highlights three important predictions about the future of marketing:

  1. Customer experience will define competitive advantage and it is the role of marketing to shape that experience.
  2. There will still be a data science skills gap in marketing, and that will remain for the next two years as the industry adapts to this new AI-driven digital marketing reality.
  3. Marketing departments must transition from planning around campaigns to planning around the customer.

Listen to the podcast today for more valuable insights from Lee into what the next few years in marketing will look like and the decisions your business should be making to stay ahead of the curve.


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