Damian Eales: ‘Don’t give me new data, give me more insight into the data I have’

Meet the marketers events last night. L to R: Lewis Pullen, Anna Reid, Damian Eales and Mumbrella's Alex Hayes

Meet the marketers events last night. L to R: Lewis Pullen, Anna Reid, Damian Eales and Mumbrella’s Alex Hayes

Some of Australia’s most senior marketers has urged agencies to better understand how to draw out insight from data and help marketers push the marketing conversation to board level.

Group executive, marketing, at News Corp Australia Damian Eales told the an audience Mumbrella’s Meet the Marketers event in Sydney last night that too often companies came to him with new sources of data.

“There definitely can be too much information, companies come to us with a new source and I don’t want a new data source I want insight into those I already have,” said Eales, who prior to his role at News was general manager of strategic marketing at Westpac.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is probably not having the time to analyse the problem as much as you would traditionally have done, and having to balance enough analysis with enough judgement to make the right calls,” he said.

Eales was joined on the panel by marketing director of the Sydney Opera House Anna Reid and Lewis Pullen, head of marketing, digital and content at the NRL.

Among the topics covered in a wide-ranging discussion last night was the issue of ensuring marketing was represented in board room discussions.

Reid acknowledged that while in some companies marketing struggled to get representation, she had always found herself at companies which were focused on the area at the board level.

“It can be an issue but one of the things I’ve been pleased to see at the Opera House is that all parts of the business have a place at board level,” said Reid, who has previously worked as a senior marketing executive at Pacific Brands, and globally with BP.

“If I go back my Pacific Brands it was central to the board discussions about direction, and we were very involved.”

Pullen, who was previously executive manager of marketing of Qantas, said this trend was a growing one. “I believe that marketing is becoming more important for our organisations and getting represented at all levels,” he said.

“I think in the future a lot of it will come down to whether we can give a return on investment. We are increasingly important in terms growing revenue, particularly in the digital world.”

“We have to remember return on investment and driving sales are probably the most important priorities for boards.”

Eales agreed but warned marketers and their agencies not to become too thinly spread trying to please the board.

“One thing you have to be mindful of, and I’m not talking about any particular board, you have to be careful,” Eales warned.

“In some instances board members want you to be doing everything that everybody else is talking about as opposed to what everyone else is doing which is focusing on the three or four things you need to do to be successful.”

Nic Christensen 


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