Marketing’s capability crunch: ANZ, Deloitte, Destination NSW marketing chiefs back Australian Marketing Institute bid to mirror Chartered Accountants, CPAs for industry-wide professional certification, credibility, status
What you need to know:
- The Australian Marketing Institute is launching a full funnel capability push in a bid to build best in class marketers – that are universally recognised as such – while driving uptake of its Certified Practising Marketer (CPM) accreditation program via a new Competency Framework. That program expands to peak accreditation of AMI Fellow.
- There are a range of programs to get there, with a 25-part competency framework devised with 50 CMOs and international counterparts, such as Irish Marketing Association, UK Chartered Institute of Marketing, and the European Marketing Association – making accreditation transferable internationally, per AMI CEO Bronwyn Powell.
- The aim is to put marketing on the same professional footing as accredited professions such as accountancy while navigating major challenges facing marketing as remits expand amid static resource.
- Powell, a former global and local marketing chief with KFC and Mars, sees a growing capability gap with marketers too often specialising at the expense of core disciplines – i.e. either brand, demand generation or CX – crimping career options and risking obsolescence amid a rapidly changing environment.
- Marketing leads from the likes of ANZ, Deloitte and Destination NSW are backing the program – and already taking big steps to broaden skillsets both for immediate growth and to future-proof capability, bidding to front-run the next incoming wave of disruption.
Of any function that sits on the exec team, the role of the CMO and the CMO’s team is the one that has changed the most in terms of skill set requirements over the last five to 10 years. We need T-shaped marketers who actually have a range and a broad knowledge of skills, particularly if you want to get to the C-suite.
Marketing remits are expanding faster than most professions but unlike accounting or engineering, it remains splintered and without common professional capabilities, standards and accreditation. Indeed, marketing, agency, media and customer tech professionals across the entire customer and marketing supply chain risk career irrelevance because they’re simultaneously losing sight of marketing’s fundamentals – like strategy and commercial nous – and the diverse new capabilities they need to join-up marketing and customer functions to drive business growth.
Senior marketers at ANZ, Deloitte and Destination New South Wales are trying to bridge that gap. But even the likes of ANZ’s Kate Young, who launched a major upskilling program for the bank’s 300-plus marketers in 2019, says the pace of change means a refresh is already required and the program – and ANZ’s marketers – must operate in a two-speed environment: Core capabilities for today plus reading what’s coming down the track as personalisation shifts to “anticipation”, plus rapid advances in automation and generative AI.
Destination NSW Marketing GM Kathryn Illy is upskilling her team away from pure ROI-focused performance marketing to better understand what makes people want to visit NSW in the first place. As well as putting skills programs in place she’s hiring from ad agencies – and says the numbers show it’s working.
Deloitte CMO Rochelle Tognetti is upskilling her 270 marketing staff around commercial acumen and the collapsing walls between client and employer brand, along with organisational capabilities and governance.
All three marketing bosses are backing the Australian Marketing Institute’s re-fuelled drive to future-proof marketing’s skill set across 25 essential competencies. AMI CEO Bronwyn Powell says accreditation, in the same way that accountants and engineers achieve chartered status, gives marketers a far broader appreciation of business fundamentals while mapping a path to the c-suite.
Perhaps worryingly for the top end of town, Powell thinks younger marketers are hungrier to upskill than mid and senior-level pros. She’s urging the entire market – agency and media bosses included – to identify skills gaps, personal and team-wide, and join the AMI’s push to plug them along with a revamped path for professional credentials which peak at an AMI Certified Practising Marketer and AMI Fellow.
The AMI has been operating for decades. But under a revamped board and Powell, a former global and Australian marketer with the likes of Mars and KFC, who took the helm last year, the Australian Marketing Institute has done to itself what’s now required of industry professionals: It’s reinvented for relevancy with a new professional competency framework, which sees AMI members more clearly and cohesively moved through tiers of professional certification.
It’s badly required, says Powell, because marketing has moved faster than most people – and organisations – can keep up.
“Of any function that sits on the exec team, the role of the CMO and the CMO’s team is the one that has changed the most in terms of skill set requirements over the last five to 10 years,” she says.
Paradoxically, while remits expand and expectation is heaped on marketing, many marketers have reacted by becoming specialists, resulting in a narrowing of skillsets, warns Powell. For example the rush for digital capability has widened core disciplinary holes within brand and strategy fundamentals, she suggests.
Specialisms are often required, she says, but marketers need a grounding in everything – and digital capability itself is changing fast. Hence Powell driving the AMI’s push to formalise capabilities across five key areas: insight, brand, customer experience, strategy and digital.
“We need to ensure that we have T-shaped marketers who actually have a range and a broad knowledge of skills, particularly if you want to get to the C-suite in your career,” says Powell.
Meanwhile, marketing lacks the kind of chartered professional recognition that exists for example within engineering or accounting. Powell and the AMI are aiming to change all that and build “a proficient and relevant pipeline of marketers who are coming through that build great brands, build great growth, are essential on any exec team and an essential function within an organisation.”
Certification starts with an AMI graduate member and Chartered Marketer status for those up to three years into their marketing career. Senior marketers – or even agency heads – with more than 10 years experience can become an AMI Certified Practising Marketer. The top accreditation is a Fellow AMI Certified Practising Marketer.
To develop the framework, the Institute spoke with 50 CMOs locally while collaborating with the Irish Marketing Association, UK Chartered Institute of Marketing, and the European Marketing Association. Given that alignment, Powell says AMI chartered status will transfer internationally.
The upshot is 25 competencies to drive marketing proficiency straddling sectors including B2C, B2B, FMCG, professional services, government and SMEs.
There are five levels of proficiency for each competency. Suffice to say it’s both broad and rigorous. Powell says nobody is expected to be an expert across all 25 competencies, but will have a level of core proficiency across the piste and a better grasp of growth levers amid ongoing change.
That approach mirrors the path now being forged by some of Australia’s largest marketing functions.
We're thinking about the ever-evolving role of personalisation into anticipation; we're thinking about the role of the expansive technology that will enable greater automation; we're thinking about the role of Gen AI; we're thinking about the changing definition of marketing effectiveness. It’s about bridging those two worlds, bringing today and tomorrow together to make sure our marketers are prepared.
ANZ: Skills front-running
Kate Young, Executive Manager – Marketing Strategy & Capability at ANZ says the bank four years ago recognised the need to take action or risk falling behind. Which is why she and then CMO Sweta Mehra set about retooling the ANZ’s 300-plus marketers via a multi-million dollar in-house capability program to ensure the entire function remained versatile enough to handle incoming change versus stuck with narrow skillsets that in a few short years risk obsolescence.
The resulting Brand Academy and Marketing Masters programs have since been endorsed by the Australian Marketing Academy AMI – and ANZ and AMI are closely aligned on the need to rebuild marketing fundamentals as well as prepare for whatever comes down the track.
“We realised the rapid rate of change of the marketing industries and the capabilities required to underpin that back in 2019,” says Young. To create its skills programs, the bank dived deep into “the critical capabilities that underpin that transformation now, and three to five years into the future” that would also “create better value for the organisation.”
Four years on, the bank is adapting the programs, underlining the pace of change.
“When we think about the Marketing Masters program and what we developed in 2019, versus what we’re developing now as we look into 2024 and beyond, it does look quite different. We’re almost running a two-speed strategy,” says Young.
“We’re still gravitating our marketers towards a capability framework that sets expectations around the core of marketing, but we are also thinking about the future, preparing our marketers through upskilling and reskilling programs for a world that might exist in two, three years time,” she adds.
“We’re thinking about the ever-evolving role of personalisation into anticipation; we’re thinking about the role of the expansive technology that will enable greater automation; we’re thinking about the role of Gen AI; we’re thinking about the changing definition of marketing effectiveness. It’s about bridging those two worlds, bringing today and tomorrow together to make sure our marketers are prepared.”
ANZ has a similar ethos to the AMI: “We don’t expect everyone to have an expert level of mastery in every capability … [but] we do expect everyone to have an understanding, to understand terminology, the themes,” says Young.
“We map all of our capabilities by role type. So we have unique profiles for our individuals that say ‘based on the role that you have, or the role that you may want in the future, these are the levels of mastery or proficiency that we would expect across those capabilities’. So both a core proficient and an expert level program depending upon the role that you have,” says Young.
The bank has been measuring capability uplift for the last few years and Young says the numbers show it’s working. Perhaps the most important metric is staff engagement, “Tremendous”, per Young. “In fact, 2023 was our greatest year ever, we had 97 per cent of our people across Australia, New Zealand and our institutional businesses participating actively in the program.”
We've played in the performance marketing side – down in the conversion end, at the bottom of the funnel. Being a [tax-funded] New South Wales government agency, that's where we've had to play. The challenge is how do we come up the funnel?
Destination NSW: Broad or bust
Destination NSW is backing the AMI’s upskilling push. Marketing GM Kathryn Illy says the tourism body is already working to broaden capability – specifically the more strategic brand smarts as opposed to pointier delivery-end skills.
“We’ve played in the performance marketing side – down in the conversion end, at the bottom of the funnel. Being a New South Wales government agency, that’s where we’ve had to play. With taxpayer dollars, if we’ve got $1 to spend, we absolutely need to demonstrate we’re going to see a return on that dollar and demonstrate the value that marketing can deliver to that,” says Illy. “The challenge now is how do we come further up the funnel?”
The overarching guide is to better understand what makes customers think about visiting the state through all stages before conversion. But Destination NSW didn’t have a specific ‘customer ownership’ role when Illy joined the organisation from PwC two and half years ago. Creating one was one of the first things she did – and now brand and demand are working in tandem, with the top of the funnel now better feeding the bottom.
“Our brand metrics continue to grow and equally our return on investment [within] campaign performance marketing continues to grow,” says Illy. “It’s not a debate of either [brand or performance], it has to be an and – striking the right balance between the two.”
As well as upskilling, Destination NSW has hired-in new capability, primarily people “with an advertising background,” says Illy. “Going into the advertising world or into advertising agencies can often be a good place to start, because they’ve got that foundation, and they’ve got those [customer and commercial] fundamentals from the very outset.”
Rather than having specific campaign managers at a job level, we're really thinking about breaking that down. What are the skills sitting underneath? It's project management, deep client experience, or expertise in digital. And rather than align a job with a delivery of a campaign, we're actually looking at what is the profile and competency we need to deliver on the campaign.
Deloitte: Beyond job titles
Deloitte CMO Rochelle Tognetti is upskilling her 270 marketing staff around commercial acumen and the collapsing walls between client and employer brand, along with organisational capabilities and governance. Plus, she says the marketing function is starting to think beyond job title and into more fluid roles.
“Delivery based on skills versus jobs, I think is very much occurring now. I think it’s very much going to be suitable for the future as we need to meet the needs of agility, agency, equity,” says Tognetti. “So this breadth of competencies being delivered through the [AMI] framework really sets a marketer up with a great toolkit to be able to deliver that and ‘vary up’ depending on the problems they’re trying to solve.”
Deloitte’s marketing function is experimenting with that approach in areas such as campaign management, says Tognetti.
“Rather than having specific campaign managers at a job level, we’re really thinking about breaking that down. What are the skills sitting underneath? It’s project management, deep client experience, or expertise in digital. And rather than align a job with a delivery of a campaign, we’re actually looking at what is the profile and competency we need to deliver on the campaign.”
I'm talking to CEOs about this, to finance groups, to accountants. I'm talking to other areas and other associations that need some of these skills as well – because I think the CFO has worked out 'if I can understand marketing a bit more, there could be some magic there'.
Go beyond marketing
AMI’s Bronwyn Powell urges marketers and agency leaders to use the AMI’s framework to assess their own competencies – and that of their of their teams – to build a skills and career roadmap. Asked if she sees sufficient appetite across the sector, Powell thinks there may be some complacency creeping in.
“I think the hunger is probably more in emerging talent than it is in some of the mid-career and more senior talent to be honest, because I think some of the more senior [marketers] are just trying to hold on to what they’ve got,” says Powell.
The top end of town would gain from leaning in as much as the bottom, says Powell – with the AMI also aiming to upskill other parts of the c-suite, taking marketing competency and accreditation beyond marketing.
“I’m talking to CEOs about this, to finance groups, to accountants. I’m talking to other areas and other associations that need some of these skills as well – because I think the CFO has worked out ‘if I can understand marketing a bit more, there could be some magic there’,” says Powell. “And if the CFO and the CMO have a great working relationship, there will be extreme magic.”