ANZ’s Kate Young on their ADMA partnership and why marketers should upskill now


• Young also reveals the key areas marketers should consider upskilling in

The Association for Data-Driven Marketing & Advertising (ADMA) provides digital and data-driven courses developed by industry experts for professionals to upskill and diversify their knowledge.

In a series with ADMA, Mediaweek spoke with Kate Young – the head of customer centricity and capability at ANZ – about their partnership with ADMA and the importance of upskilling for marketers and business leaders.

Young has an extensive background in marketing spanning 20 years, and her first role with ANZ was as head of consumer finance marketing in 2016. In 2019, she stepped into the position of ANZ’s head of customer centricity and capability, a new area dedicated to the bank’s marketing function, responsible for brand reputation, deepening relationships and driving revenue growth. 

The importance of upskilling in a rapidly changing digital market

Young, who leads a growing team across Australia and New Zealand, noted that over the last three years, her team examined and learned from the industry and organisations worldwide with a strong footprint in capability uplift. Their research and benchmarking ensure they do meaningful initiatives to mature their program yearly and drive strong engagement with their people.

Young noted that it was imperative to upskill in a rapidly changing digital marketing environment. “When I look at the 2022 Marketing State of Play report, that speaks very well about the skill shortage we’re facing as an industry.

“Organisations have got to focus on this because the talent market’s competitiveness will only get stronger. Those organisations have a very strong capability and uplift programmes at the forefront of next-gen marketing and emerging capabilities.

“Those with the infrastructure to deliver are going to be the organisations that will be able to acquire and attract the top talent,” she said.

ANZ’s upskilling programs and the response to its educational offerings

ANZ offers two programs – Marketing Masters and Brand Academy – developed by Young and her team in 2019.

Marketing Masters is ANZ’s overarching capability program for marketers. It starts with a self-review across 19 capability areas in which they examine their skills. From there, a report is generated to compare marketers to their role’s expectations, allowing them to see their strengths and development areas.

Young noted that the feedback people receive from the report sets an expectation for the individual and gives them direction about their role for the year ahead. In addition, last year, ANZ introduced an innovation that provides a personalised learning plan that suggests a mix of formal training, application-led work, and on-the-job experience.

Brand Academy is the formal component of the Marketing Masters program. It includes a range of capabilities from discovering insights, strategy, planning, prioritisation, and execution.

The program has had great results so far, with more than 1000 ANZ staff members that have gone through the academy through application-led, in-person workshops since 2019. But the workshops have since moved online because of the Covid pandemic. They now include teams from the company’s different geographies attending from Melbourne, Sydney, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Young said that a typical response among workers who looked to self-improve their skills and careers during the pandemic was to do upskilling courses. She noted that there was an uptick in the uptake of their courses during the first year of lockdown.

“With a more flexible approach to work as a result of the last two years of the pandemic, people are taking accountability for their careers and scheduling time to focus on this, which we hadn’t seen in the past.

“Now, we find people will carve off an hour on Friday or half an hour on Monday, or they might listen to a webinar on their lunch break or whatever it might be. With the flexibility the pandemic has provided, we see people embracing learning, growth, and development quite differently from how they did pre-pandemic,” she added.

Keeping up with an evolving regulatory landscape and training marketers should up-skill in

Young noted that ANZ has a great relationship with various industry players, such as ADMA, who have kept them updated and at the forefront of changes from a regulatory and environmental perspective.

“We rely heavily on our industry partners across Australia and New Zealand to help us with that, whilst also working closely with our legal and compliance teams to make sure we’re always at the forefront of upcoming changes and can respond accordingly,” she said.

Looking at emerging skills and training on the rise, Young noted data and technology literacy as key areas marketers should consider upskilling. She said that as customer personalisation increases, so will the data to help understand the customer and what the next best customer interaction will be.

“Moving from one-off campaigns to an always-on a scenario, or applying a lot more analytical rigour to apply trigger-based responsiveness requires marketing to focus on an upskill around that,” she said.

The department head also added that understanding the full capability of technology and Martech platforms ensures marketers can deploy that technology to respond to customers or anticipate their needs.

The ANZ and ADMA partnership and the challenges ahead

Young shared that the bespoke engagement with ADMA started when they recognised Brand Academy needed a module for personalisation. She said that there were many emerging capabilities their team needed to focus on through upskilling and re-skilling to keep up with changing customer expectations in the rise of digital adoption.

Young explained that ANZ has a multi-vendor model with other platforms supporting them. She noted that the ADMA was exceptional in providing in-depth expertise on personalisation, CX and instructional design. “[ADMA] also been tremendous in making sure we’re thinking about this from a learning experience, getting clear on learning outcomes, structuring a journey that drives deeper engagement, and the right outcomes for upskilling and re-skilling on the job,” she added.

Young praised the ADMA, who challenged and guided her and the ANZ team to deliver the right outcomes over the last year, particularly on the personalisation project. “Their deep counsel and subject matter expertise that they’ve brought to the table to ensure that the program we’re building is going to be exceptional,” she said.

Young noted the challenge for the future of ANZ, as with many organisations, is the rapid rate of change. “You’ve always got to look two, three, four years into the future as you build these programmes. You’re going to want to make sure that they are future-proofed and ready,” she said.

“As we’re building the personalisation module, in conjunction with ADMA and a couple of partners, we’re almost saying we can’t build it for today. We don’t want to build and launch something that will become outdated as soon as it’s launched,” she added.

Young also said that the broader challenge for organisations is that the role of markets will look vastly different with the abundance of data on the side of consumers. She said: “Not only is it incumbent upon us to build capability programmes to help train our people, but also organising ourselves from a design perspective around the right way to deploy our people and teams to ensure we’re always meeting and anticipating the needs of our customers.”

“It’s a very different world we’re about to face in the next couple of years that the consumer will drive. The challenge for organisations is making sure they’re organised to respond accordingly and in a timely fashion,” Young added.

Melinda Arko, head of education, ADMA, told Mediaweek it was important for marketing professionals to understand the capabilities, terminology, modelling and tools used by their data colleagues and identify the interconnections between them.

“This will help close the skills gap and ensure that businesses have the talent they need to succeed,” she said.

“More importantly, we need to better understand how the universe of big brain (orchestration and decisioning, which is responsible for messaging) interacts with the little brand (last mile and optimisation, which is responsible for experience). Martech typically falls under the latter, while data systems are usually associated with the former.

“With this in mind, we can re-tool marketers to be more responsive and always available to connect with consumers. Therefore, shifting our focus from being campaign-driven to being always-on in our engagement with our audiences,” she added.

Arko said with the right tools and training, marketers can create personalised experiences for customers that consider all the different variables that could impact them.

“This move away from linear journeys will help marketers better connect with their customers and provide them with the best possible experience,” she said.

Melinda Arko, head of education, ADMA

ADMA’s head of education shared three important reasons leaders should upskill marketing teams. She first noted that upgrading the team’s skills leads to better business performance. “This is especially true when it comes to revenue growth,” she said.

Arko’s second point was that investment into staff development would likely lead to them being “more likely to go the extra mile” when needed.

To round out her third point, she noted that developing team members will make them better individuals. “People who feel valued and are growing in their careers are generally happier human beings,” Arko explained.

Arko also highlighted ADMA’s revamped Digital Marketing Certificate course as one way for marketers to learn about the new, innovative digital marketing techniques that are emerging.

“The top five Australian CMOs have made it their mission to get involved and educate marketers on the tricks needed to succeed in today’s ever-changing landscape. Facilitated by an experienced Digital Marketing Consultant, the 10-week course is an engaging blend of online courses, interactive tutorials, peer-to-peer learnings and CMO sessions,” Arko added, noting the next session in August.

Top image: Kate Young

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