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December, 2017

Year in Review with Senior Marketers: John Clay

What kept you awake at night during 2017?

The biggest issue that kept me awake this year concerned a major legal issue that we faced and the subsequent communications to all key stakeholders. Crisis communications management in a 24 hours “always on” global media landscape was challenging and certainly enhanced my experience and capabilities.

What have you achieved this year?

The major achievement during the year was bringing all of our marketing leadership from around the world to share best practice and identify skills development for all team members; the first time that this has occurred for 10 years The Global M&C skills forum was held in London in July, which was challenging to organise from Australia.  Feedback from all participants was very positive especially with regards to sharing ideas to gain client insights, build brand profile in target markets and implement client engagement programmes to win business. Being in London for the summer was also very special for many participants.

Closer to home, in our region, we were awarded the best large professional services firm of the year award (AFR Client Choice awards), and I was honoured to receive the AMI CPM award, which was really testament to the hard work that our M&C team has consistently delivered over the year.

It was also great to commence a sessional academic career at the UTS Business School, where I get to meet some inquisitive marketing minds and keep my professional skills up to date.

What is your marketing prediction for 2018?

Similar to last year, I see three key trends continuing in 2018.

Making the most out of martech. 2018 will see companies making the most from existing technology (CRM, Marketing automation, digital content platforms) via appropriate training and skills engagement; whilst looking to invest in newer martech such as chatbots, artificial intelligence and augmented reality; increasingly based upon quantifiable data.

A permeable marketing ecosystem. Large central marketing teams are yesterday’s paradigm. Instead I envisage the importance of marketing undertaken within operational groups but directed by the best professional marketing expertise; including marketing skills within Boards, to rise. The M&C team will consist of a blend of full time, part time, contractors and consultants; who place significant importance on work life balance and deliver shared value to communities. Millennials will gradually dominate the workforce and will lead to an increasing permeable marketing ecosystem

One size does not fit all; the re-emergence of key account marketing. When the 80/20 rule applies to most businesses (especially within the professional services sector), then it makes sense to implement account based marketing programmes for key clients. Programmes that support delivering the best customer experience and deliver value to the clients business.


John Clay, Head of Marketing & Communications, Arup

Want to hear more from John? Click here to watch FREE webinars of the AMI Summer Thought Leadership Series.