Building a modern-marketing function – and injecting and maintaining ‘cultural’ elements like back-end collaboration  – is easier said than done, according to a group of marketing chiefs speaking at the second annual CMO Momentum.

Former Jurlique CMO, Andrea Martens; National Heart Foundation CMO, Chris Taylor; director of marketing and communications at the University of Sydney, Johanna Lowe; and Xero Australia small business director, Penny Elmslie, all spoke during a panel discussion on the power of culture in building the right team for their organisations.

During the panel, the marketing chiefs suggested manoeuvres on the cultural front include a focus on building the right teams, perseverance when changing the way in which people work to achieve greater agility and functional excellence, and adopting a host of structural and procedural changes to achieve cross-collaboration.

For example, Heart Foundation’s Chris Taylor has had his hands full getting the marketing team right. Staff assessment and team building has already been one of his biggest challenges as the foundation undergoes ‘historic’ structural changes.

Taylor, who joined the foundation 12 weeks ago, is tasked with developing a single marketing function for the national body for the first time. As of 1 July, the foundation became one organisation.

“In Australia, not-for-profits tend to be structured in a federated way, which means that, in our case, there are eight state and territory bodies, each with their own CMO and each with their own board,” Taylor told attendees.

“For an organisation that’s been around for almost 60 years, you can imagine how difficult it is, from a marketing point of view, how difficult it is to have any brand consistency or consistent approach to strategy when it comes to marketing or digital-led customer experience.

“That changed about 18 months ago,” he said, explaining a new national CEO came onboard. The unified organisation will now be led by the national CEO, adjunct professor John Kelly. 

In that vein, Taylor has been busy developing the marketing structure and accessing the overall marketing staff and placing them into appropriate roles. He is also on the hunt for 15 people in the marketing team across brand management, direct marketing, SEO/SEM, marketing insights and social media.

“I had to quickly assess people, and then place them into the structure to basically match the skills that they had,” he said. 

But in making the initial assessments, Taylor unearthed both challenges and opportunities, which only “came to light” once he started the restructuring process and determined people’s capability and suitability for the roles. A big hurdle has been dealing with how to shift people’s traditional way of working and method of operation.

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