The road show for the roll-out of our Global CMO Study continues – this week it was New Zealand to host a breakfast on Wednesday in conjunction with the New Zealand Marketing Association, chaired by the association’s chairwoman Debra Hall.
Michael Friedberg, the head of marketing & communications of IBM New Zealand presented a summary of the global findings and some of the key differences from an Australia and New Zealand perspective. Here’s a wrap up that appeared in New Zealand’s National Business Review.
The general mood was pretty upbeat – New Zealanders still seem to be on a high after winning the Rugby World Cup and there’s an election on the way. Like Australia, although maybe to a lesser extent, there was the sense the country had weathered the GFC better than most countries.
We asked the audience which capabilities will be most important for personal success over the next three-to-five years. As you can see from the chart below, creative thinking was considered the most important attribute among New Zealand marketers, chosen by 75% of respondents, compared to 60% for the global study, followed by voice of the customer insights and leadership abilities (72% each, compared to 63% and 65% globally respectively).
Like the Australian marketers we met there was a lot of consensus with the findings of the study, however, a couple of things stood out. The first was that New Zealand CMOs have been under more pressure than their Australian counterparts to justify their budgets over the past few years with budgets getting crunched. The second was around scale with the argument raised that the high entry cost of building analytics, marketing automation and multi-channel marketing capabilities makes it difficult for NZ Companies to lead.
I can see their point, large global companies can harness huge resources and justify expense across a much great revenue base. But the flip side is that smaller faster execution can also work well. You don’t always need all the bells and whistles, simple targeted approaches can still deliver huge benefit to businesses. Years ago when I was running the database direct marketing team and the call centres, database marketing was the big thing and our global team was building a global analytics database and investing millions, but the project kept being delayed. We ended up doing a local initiative that was much smaller, much simpler, but integrated the key data we needed. About two or three years later, global gave up on their big complex system and adopted the one we had developed locally. Go figure…
Another good example of this is the work we’re doing with Wendy’s, a US-based hamburger restaurant with 15 franchises in New Zealand. We introduced a simple analytics tool that enables Wendy’s NZ head office staff to keep tabs on which burgers are selling best from which stores, providing new insights into customer behavior. It gives them better control over their menus – they can see if a person orders a hamburger, what did they order with it, a coke, or an orange juice? (If I’ve whetted your appetite for more, click here for the full case study.)
So, as you can see, for me, there’s plenty of benefits in being small: you lack the complexity of large organisations, you can move quickly, make decisions more quickly, the resources you’ve got to pull aren’t as large, but you can compensate for that in so many other ways, starting with being creative and innovative. And as per the audience survey results above creativity tops the priority list which does not surprise me given what I know about our kiwi colleagues.
What do you think?