Google Australia MD: Marketers failing to reinvest are ‘cost saving their way to decline’

Maile Carnegie speaking at The Australian Digital Marketing Forum

Maile Carnegie speaking at The Australian Digital Marketing Forum

The local boss of Google has told a small business forum that Australian marketers are moving savings in their marketing budgets to the bottom line rather than reinvesting it, with the result they are “cost saving their way to decline.”

“I’m trying not to get on my soapbox,” said Maile Carnegie, managing director of Google Australia.”What I find quite troubling is that as a marketing industry, or fraternity, we have lost the ability to position what we do as a growth driver.

“When you actually ask CEOs about marketing and ask them how they categorise it, they class it as a cost of doing business versus a growth engine. So when you look at a lot of Australian businesses they are cost saving their way to decline.”

Carnegie was speaking at The Australian Digital Marketing Forum at the Sofitel in Sydney, and argued that businesses – particularly small businesses – need to reinvesting money saved in marketing and use it to drive growth in the business.

“There is no doubt in my mind that what digital can do is drive a much higher return on investment,” she said. “What saddens me is that increasingly the savings on that are going to the bottom line as opposed to being reinvested.

“Businesses, including small businesses, look at marketing as a cost line versus an investment line… they should look at it to drive growth.”

Asked by moderator Alan Kohler, editor-at-large at The Australian, what the former Procter and Gamble Australia boss thought were major mistakes made by marketers Carnegie said businesses need to focus on growth.

“What I see, particularly in pre-internet companies, is that they are managing themselves as if they are yield companies,” she said. “It is a fundamentally different mindset but it drives a different result.”

Citing examples Carnegie said other mistakes included failing to measure results and adjust strategy based on those results and also a broader failure to take responsibility for digital.

“I see too many CEOs of companies delegating their digital strategies, to either their chief technology officer or their CMO,” said Carnegie.

“At the end of the day today your digital strategy is so intertwined with your business strategy you have to own it as the head of a company.”

Carnegie said on the senior level a lot of business leaders failed to adequately understand the digital space.

“There are a lot of leaders of companies not putting enough time into understanding this space, they are delegating it, and are pretty much delegating the future of their business. ”

Nic Christensen 


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