CMO Council’s Marketing Magnified recently got to know AMI’s new Chair, Lynda Cavalera in an interview exploring her vision for the AMI, how AMI is working towards advancing the proficiency of marketers in Australia, along with the challenges of Australian companies seeking markets abroad.

A senior business and marketing executive and Board director, with more than 25 years’ experience across multiple industries including financial services, banking, retail, government, education and NFPs. Lynda has strong strategic experience and commercial acumen, bringing a distinctive capability to synthesise consumer insights and trends. This capability has enabled her to develop compelling brands and value propositions that provide customer solutions across the customer journey in a channel-neutral approach, creating impact, value and advocacy whilst delivering on key business objectives.

Lynda is an innovative marketer who is adept at integrating emerging technologies, channels and trends with the more traditional marketing approaches, whilst simultaneously considering both the marketplace and customer, to achieve positive results and a sustainable competitive advantage.

What is the reach and mission of then AMI?

The Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) is the leading professional association for 6,200 marketers and 240 corporate members in Australia.

The Australian Marketing Institute believes in the recognition of marketing as a true profession, and that marketing professionals as the customer custodians, generate existing and future revenue and growth opportunities for organisations. As such we believe it’s imperative that marketers continue to grow as professionals to remain relevant and successfully deliver on this mandate.

This goes to the Australian Marketing Institute’s core purpose which is to advance the careers of our members throughout their career journey and to connect them with the wider marketing profession.

How are you advancing the proficiency and capability of existing and aspiring marketers in the country?

Championing the reputation of marketing as a true profession, the Australian Marketing Institute strives to have the Certified Practising Marketer (CPM) designation acknowledged as the gold standard for marketers. The AMI aims to advance the proficiency and capability of Australian marketers through:

  1.         Professional development, knowledge, content and thought leadership
  2.         Accreditation of tertiary courses and programs
  3.         Professional standards and code of conduct for members
  4.         Promote and advocate the status and interests of members and the profession
  5.         Fostering member collaboration and networking
  6.         Celebrating marketing excellence through our Awards program

In fact, our member research tells us that members value this and our very positive NPS scores tell us we are doing this well.

How do you view the calibre of Australia’s digital marketing workforce, the commitment to digital transformation among its brands, companies, and how well Australian marketers are embracing new technologies?

Marketing as a discipline is multi-faceted and rapidly-evolving. The sector is filled with many talented individuals who possess the critical thinking, creative ability and soft skills required to thrive – but in a crowded market, differing yourself from the competition is a challenge.

Australia today has very talented and world-class marketing professionals who understand digital theory and practice. Our best talent understands the digital disruption occurring at a rapid rate across industries. They also understand the role of this as one component to developing overall marketing strategy and delivery. The Australian Marketing Institute’s programs and CPM accreditation can provide members, as well as Boards and C-suite with this confidence.

What are some of the challenges facing Australian companies seeking markets for their products and services abroad?

One of the greatest barriers to market entry for Australian companies is Australia’s remote location from other markets. In recent years, free trade agreements with Japan, China and other countries in the APAC region have given consumers ready access to a number of low-cost producers.

In addition to free trade, tariffs and other constraints are diminishing on more than two billion new consumers for Australian entrepreneurs.

These global trends are both positive and negative for Australian businesses. Lower barriers to entry mean that while Australian businesses are competing against global brands, they also gain access to a large number of international markets.

There are two key challenges facing Australian businesses seeking to enter foreign markets. First, staying competitive requires a point of differentiation to break through the noise. Experimenting with business models and product/service offerings or exploring new verticals to capture different market segments is one common practice in Australia.

The second challenge is understanding the dynamics of foreign markets and the cultural differences of overseas countries. Particularly in the APAC region, where differences in business practice often require Australian businesses to form partnerships with established distribution networks or companies with an already established brand and clear value proposition.

Which Australian brands are doing the best job of connecting and engaging with local customers and/or global markets, and why?

When it comes to connecting and engaging with customers, emotion is more important than ease and effectiveness when it comes to positive experiences. Today’s customers have more choice, are better educated and hold higher expectations of the relationships they choose to have with brands. Loyalty is driven by making customer feel valued, appreciated and confident.

Some Australian brands have taken these insights and are tapping into to their customers’ emotional needs with personalised experiences.

The PAS Group, with brands such as Review, Jets Swimwear, Everlast and White Runway under their wing, have integrated their IT platforms and created a central repository for customer data. This has enabled them to deliver continuous personalised experiences that connect their customers’ mobile web interactions with brick-and-mortar retailers.

Carsales, an online classifieds platform for cars, builds an emotional connection with their customers by taking a simple approach – listening. They invite their customers to participate in regular activities and conversations that help shape their products and experience.

SPC Ardmona with their Goulburn Valley Fruit brand is tapping into consumer needs around transparency, trust and provenance. They redesigned their products’ packaging, transforming the brand into a destination by implementing a new GPS labelling system. A search on any device enables consumers to pinpoint exactly which orchard their fruit came from. The launch of an immersive food tour allows consumers to explore the orchards and discover the beauty of Australia’s Goulburn valley.

Finally, Techtronic Industries Australia (TTI), a manufacturer/ distributor of power tools, outdoor and floor care products, addressed their issue of being removed from their end user by adopting the Salesforce Community Cloud platform to create two ‘communities’ for their AEG and Ryobi brands.

Finally, I must highlight Tourism Australia’s work with their ‘Dundee’ Super Bowl ad. Tourism Australia is one of very few Australian brands, not to mention tourism bodies, to break through to an American audience via the Super Bowl. Targeted at the US high-value traveler, the Super Bowl was chosen as the platform with the biggest reach for Dundee, which already had a strong resonance with the US Market. The $36 million campaign draws on behavioral economics and acknowledges consumers as being emotional beings, grounding itself in an idea people already understand but moving them on.

Initially giving the appearance  of an official film trailer for a new Crocodile Dundee movie, the 60 second ad then cleverly switched into a showcase for Australian Tourism. Overall the campaign reached 9.2b, 102 million view on social media, resulting in a 30% increase in sales to the trade and $367k in total leads generated from

In what areas is the Australian government helping to promote Brand Australia, the country as a destination for tourism and investment, as well as products that utilise country of origin strategies?

The Australian government has created our Nation Brand to help drive Australia’s competitive edge in international markets. The Nation Brand is applicable to all Australian industries, services and experiences and recognisable globally.

Each month, an Advisory Council meets to ensure progress continues to build on the insights gathered from the industry engagement forums through strategy development and the creative design stage.  In early 2019, the Advisory Council will announce the appointment of a creative agency who will assist with the refinement and evolution of the brand’s creative vision. During the competitive tender process, shortlisted creative agencies have presented their ideas on what a bold and contemporary world’s best nation brand for Australia could be.

A great example of this strategy at play, is the 2018 China International Import Expo in Shanghai , which saw more than 200 Australian brands represented and 160,000 Chinese buyers attend the event. Australian and Chinese partners signed 11 agreements worth an estimated $15 billion over the next five years.

A strong Nation Brand will only enhance the ability to convert these types of opportunities into tangible benefits for Australia in the future.

*This article was orginally published by Marketing Magnified on February 21 2019.