From boldness and bravery comes change

Marketing has undergone a rapid transformation, fueled by greater investment in digital and technology, a fundamental change in the way customers consume content, and a shift in their decision-making and behaviour from a wants-and-needs basis to an alignment of their values with those of their favoured organisations.

These changes have seen more marketers emerge that are challenging and  blurring the lines between marketing and communications, data science, marketing technology, audience behaviour and psychology. Marketers have not only become custodians of brand reputation and audience experience, but are driving collaboration and innovation across their organisations.

Monash University’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Fabian Marrone, recognises marketing’s move beyond product and service demand to an alignment of purpose – the “why” – that connects a brand with its communities.

Recently named as the 2019 AMI’s Chief Marketing Officer of the Year and a 2019 CMO50 finalist, Fabian is internationally recognised for his expertise in reputation management, conversion, digital transformation, marketing and communication.

Established to strengthen the position of the Chief Marketing Officer as a recognition of long-term service to marketing and long-term marketing achievement, Fabian Marrone joins the ranks of previous CMO of the Year winners Lisa Ronson and Vanessa Lyons.

Creating fundamental, transformative change

Using data, digital and radical differentiation, Marrone and his team at Monash are creating fundamental, transformative change in the University’s strategic positioning and its marketing and communications approach.

“It really has been a team effort, a University-wide effort in being bold and brave in our proposition and purpose, being authentic and genuine in the way we do it. We’re telling the stories of Monash, and this is supported internally, by our audiences, and now the marketing discipline,” said Marrone.

“Winning the AMI, Marketing Excellence CMO of the Year award felt like crossing the line after a lengthy sprint. The University, the team and I have been ‘running’ at pace on our transitional track of differentiation, digital-first and true data-led marketing. This award reinforced we’re on the right path, and that we’re leading the pack and setting the trends.”

In less than 60 years, Monash has become one of the top 100 universities in the world due to its excellence in research and education, global focus, enterprising spirit and inclusive values. Marrone has set a brave, bold marketing agenda to cement Monash as a powerful driver of social and economic transformation, and a global education and research powerhouse. This manifested in 2018’s If You Don’t Like It, Change It (#CHANGEIT) campaign, and the recently launched follow-up, A Future Without Change.

“As a leading global university, Monash has the ability – and responsibility – to tackle the grand challenges of today and tomorrow,” says Marrone. “We’re putting a stake in the ground and issuing a rally-cry to our community to help change the world.”

Implementing a holistic audience experience (AX) approach

Marrone has also shifted the University to a holistic audience experience (AX) approach, and is leading it on an ambitious personalisation and automation journey.

Monash’s audiences interact with the University via digital, physical and virtual content, channels  and experiences, with every interaction point creating valuable data. Marrone says this data drives every marketing decision, from strategy to creative to reputation management.

“By using automation, progressive profiling, AI and machine learning and personal intervention, we’re better able to understand each individual and cultivate a lifetime return on relationship (ROR) through meaningful, coordinated content and interactions as they move from prospective student through to alumni and potential donors, or potentially a staff member or industry partner.”

It’s this synergy of marketing and communications, data science, marketing technology, editorial thought leadership, and audience behaviour and psychology that has enabled Marrone and his team to tell Monash’s stories in a more impactful and valuable way.

Marrone says his success is due to his varied experience, the talent he surrounds himself with and an “always learning” mindset.

“My career path hasn’t been that of a traditional marketer; I’ve had many opportunities and worked with inspirational leaders and mentors. I’ve dipped my toe in consulting, sales and many other disciplines in between. I’ve made a deliberate choice to say yes to every opportunity and learn while delivering. As a leader, I aim to be vulnerable yet decisive. My success is attributed to those I surround myself with, those that make up for my shortcomings, and those I believe will go on to do awesome things,” said Marrone.

Want to learn more about how Fabian Marrone is redefining the role of the CMO?

Tune into his podcast interview with Marcast’s Ben Ice. Episodes are available on Apple PodcastsSpotify and Google Play.

Listen to Marcast interview

About Fabian Marrone

Fabian graduated from the University of South Australia in 2005 with business double degree in marketing and administrative management, – majoring in human resources and PR and advertising.

Fabian started his career in a sales and marketing role with CAM Management Solutions (CAMMS). Responsible for operations across the organisation, inclusive of forecasting, coordination of sales staff, pre-sales and marketing communications, he was promoted to professional services manager and then strategic manager of UK and North America,where he was responsible for the overall management and accountability of those regions.

After a long tenure at CAMMS, Fabian took over  as marketing manager (IT and engineering brands) for Adecco UK and I Group. After a year in the role, he was promoted to head of marketing services, leading digital, social, events, project management, content, design and the launch of myfuturerole.com.

In September 2013, he became the vice-president of marketing at Hobsons APAC and EMEA. His role entailed overseeing the strategic brand and product marketing across these divisions.

After three years in the role he was appointed as vice-president of global marketing and business development for the North America region, implementing data-driven international student marketing and enrolment strategies to grow and/or diversify their international student population.

In 2017, Fabian joined Monash University as CMO. He’s responsible for enhancing Monash’s global reputation, and growing the Monash community through a strong positioning of the brand, and execution of strategic marketing and communications.

About the Chief Marketing Officer of the Year Award

Each year the AMI Awards recognise campaigns from a diverse range of companies with varying resources, innovative strategic approaches and campaigns targeted to a wide range of local and overseas audiences. The CMO of the Year Award has been established to strengthen the position of the Chief Marketing Officer as a recognition of long-term service to marketing and long-term marketing achievement.

The 2020 AMI Awards program is now open for expressions of interest.

Click here to register your EOI 

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