This week I joined Peter Coffee, Jessica Hood, Julie Hansen and other Salesforce legends, interviewing trailblazers across the Dreamforce campus, here are a few highlights from our product keynotes.

For the first time in Australia, the Salesforce World Tour featured a start-up pitch competition, where three early-stage startups building on Salesforce App Cloud pitched their company to a rockstar panel of judges including legendary investor and entrepreneur Steve Baxter, as well as Pip Marlow, CEO of Strategic Innovation at Suncorp, and Annie Parker, CEO of Lighthouse Sydney.

I was thrilled to host a pitch competition that had everything controversy, humble pie from Steve, probing questions from Pip, bucks, but ultimately this was all about raising the profile of the great local companies in our community and they all walked away with learnings and more interest in their solution, here is the full video on Salesforce live:


price tag label on wooden background

Originally posted on the salesforce blog.

The cost of acquisition is rising, and the always-connected customer expects more from brands. As a result, leading marketers are having to change the way they approach their roles. Chasing new customers is no longer the priority – instead, it’s about customer satisfaction, and understanding the overall customer journey.

According to the 2016 State of Marketing report by Salesforce Research, the marketer’s role has shifted from a primary focus on customer acquisition, to working instead with the broader business to enhance the customer experience at every touchpoint. In summary, marketing today is “more about building and sustaining customer relationships than merely filling the funnel.”

The report shows that high performing marketing teams are 8.8 times more likely than underperformers to strongly agree that they’ve adopted a customer journey strategy as part of their overall business strategy. 73% say that a customer journey strategy has positively impacted overall customer engagement. It’s becoming pretty clear that a short term view will only hurt marketing organisations in the long term!

Already, the most successful marketers are taking a leadership position amongst the executive team. This model makes so much sense – it lets the entire team share a common strategy for the customer journey, and better still, marketing has input into much more than just brand development and customer acquisition. It is actively helping to shape service delivery, sales and more. Silos crumble as teams work together in this way to perfect the customer experience.

A great local example of this is at Ivy College, a recent Australian start-up that offers online education to busy adult learners. Ivy College was ranked by BRW as the fourth most innovative company of 2015, and named Australia’s top medium-sized business for service excellence by the Customer Service Institute of Australia. These two awards are testimony to the company’s customer-centric approach that flips the traditional model of education and instead delivers the content that students need, when they need it. The approach taken by Ivy College’s marketing team – and the broader business, by the way – is consistently driving customer outcomes that lead to repeat business. There’s no ‘churn and burn’ – and that’s the key.

How other Australian marketers can catch up

It seems that Ivy College is the anomaly in Australia. The good news is, it doesn’t need to be. However, the 2016 State of Marketing report does reveal that Australian marketers have some work to do in catching up to overseas counterparts when it comes to customer experience. In Australia, the top marketing priority is brand awareness (37%), and the top marketing success measure is revenue growth (33%). Customer satisfaction comes in second at 29%.

More tellingly, only half of Australian marketers currently rate their ability to create personalised, omni-channel customer experiences across all business units as excellent or above average. So, what should these marketers prioritise in order to catch up and deliver on what customers today expect from companies?

1. Gain executive support

This new approach to marketing relies on executive support. As the report shows, the world’s best marketing teams have buy-in from company leaders, with 83% feeling confident of having their executive team’s complete commitment to the marketing strategy.

An iterative, agile approach is useful for gaining fast support and demonstrating quick wins; and you can build on these wins to gain even more support. As you gather buy-in momentum, you find yourself in a better position to make customer journeys an ongoing part of the business conversation, and to steer your large media and acquisition budgets away from strategies that deliver short-term pay-back to those that focus on customer satisfaction and long-term success.

2. Bring the customer into the centre of the planning process

Ensure that the customer is at the centre of all business decisions. This is easy to say, but hard to remember because it’s a behaviour change – a muscle you need to continually flex until it forms. Here’s my tip – adorn the walls with customer artefacts, journey maps, social interactions and more to bring the voice of the customer into every decision-making environment, across all business teams.

3. Break down entrenched silos through collaboration

To create a personalised, omni-channel customer experience, you need to work together with other departments within the business – from finance to sales to service. Factor them into every decision. Create a language around the customer that is used consistently across the entire business; and use technologies like Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Journey Builder to create 1-to-1 customer journeys and deliver a seamless customer experience across all touchpoints.

4. Lead the customer experience

Marketing has a great opportunity to lead the way here. Yet, it requires a rethinking of the metrics of success. While we can’t throw away revenue metrics, we can add to them. We can think through the customer journey to see which moments will impact revenue down the track – such as when the customer first unboxes and uses your product, lodges a claim, or needs to ask for help. Focus your team on the key moments of importance as viewed through the eyes of the customer, and get the broader business involved with this prioritisation. Remember, it only works when you’ve built a model of collaboration between departments.

5. Gain a single customer view

You’ve heard it a million times, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Technology is your biggest advantage. Technology plays a critical role in the new approach to nurturing the customer experience. Different groups within the business can take full advantage of having the same single view of the customer – or, the one source of truth – to shape better decisions and guide amazing customer interactions. As the report shows, high-performing marketers are 13.7 times more likely to have integrated business systems to create a single customer view.

Australian marketers have a great opportunity to raise the bar and really respond to customers’ growing demands for more personalised, relevant and meaningful interactions – simply by taking their eye off the acquisition of a single customer and turning their attention to building and growing customer journeys. Instead of pouring marketing budget down the drain of unsustainable search and social spend, a shift in thinking will see much more strategic allocation of marketing minds and dollars – for greater long-term results. Marketers, it’s easy when you know how.

Download the full 2016 State of Marketing Report HERE


This year in the lead up to the Australian federal election, we explored the need for Australia to pivot to a knowledge economy including discussing the reimagining of work with Accenture, the need for organisations to improve their innovation fitness with VP Innovation Robert Wickham and the need for education to radically transform with Casula High school. I was pleased to host these interviews as well as Eurovision contestant (and eventual winner) Dami Im.

Highlights from the rest of the day are below on on our APAC youtube channel.

Interview with Dropbox for Dropeverything

Final slides posted on the event page below.

FOM 2015 Blog image


Highlights summary of World Tour 2015 below, full keynote here.

By the numbers:


Content from the Asia Pacific conference of the Salesforce marketing Cloud, including recorded general sessions and slides from breakouts are now available at

If you are time poor, check out our quick event summary below:

Power 25 Marketing Leaders

It’s a well-worn phrase but it has never been as relevant as it is right now.

Talk to any marketing leader, whether they are a Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Digital Officer or Chief Executive Officer, and the conversation is the same: Change and how to deal with it.

Reflected in our new Power 25 book is the future of our industry: a group of intelligent and innovative individuals, equally capable of crunching the numbers and developing creative strategies, blessed with an ingrained understanding of the consumer and strong vision for the future.

I hope you enjoy learning from Asia Pacific’s most innovative leaders, because these are individuals who are paving the way for the next generation of leaders.


Credit: Ryan Bonnici for the curation and production, nice job

Nice to join the folks at Channel News Asia for a discussion on technology to engage customers in the hotel industry. The old school rewards program is making way for a new generation of stay experiences designed to build true loyalty. Technology is playing a part by allowing these experiences to me more personal and more relevant.

View the recording

For example iBeacon (or more specifically BLE) technology means crossing the threshold of a hotel could trigger a more personalized welcome where just like the best luxury hotels your needs are anticipated. Technology means every hotel manager now has the power to create personal experiences. The challenge is combining permission and personalization to create something people want and will switch hotels for.


If you’d like to know more, check out the Dreamforce keynote with Kimpton Hotels.

Aside: Patrick and Steve are super smart and super-quick, quite impressed with their intellectual agility.