Marketers must take creative risks to get above-average results – Katherine Raskob, SBS

This article by Katherine Raskob, group marketing manager for SBS, was first published in the June-July issue of Marketing, as part of a collection of essays from senior Australian and international marketers, titled ‘2018: A skills odyssey’. 

We asked each respondent to look five years into the future, at what a future CMO’s core competencies, technical knowledge, and role within a business will be in the year 2018. Here’s what Raskob wrote.


Now, and in 2018, the critical skills for marketers will be constant learning, seeking to understand and predicting the trends and future needs of consumers.

Cross-platform marketing skills will continue to be important, but given the current and increasing market fragmentation, social and new media skills will also continue to be key in five years’ time, even if we don’t yet know what those channels are. CMOs will need to know the future media channels beyond existing social media that consumers today demand to interact with on their terms.

The influence of any search engine (Google or otherwise) for consumers to find information needed to make decisions will remain important, so skills in SEO and SEM will be critical.

Though we already understand the central role of content, I think the idea that marketing messages are either complemented by or aligned with content messages delivered in a way consumers want will shift even more seismically.

Creative risk-taking to get above-average results will be more important than ever – mediocrity and safety won’t have a place in a marketer’s toolkit in 2018. James Hurman in The Case for Creativity asserts the key way to get cut-through, exceptional results and ROI is to take risks. The media landscape will not become less cluttered in five years’ time. Consumers will not have fewer choices or be less picky and demanding. Therefore, it will vital for CMOs to drive marketing that achieves creative results which are among the most inspiring in the world, set a new standard in communication and are borne of fresh ideas and innovative strategy.

There will be a continuation of the trend for consumers to demand engagement and dialogue with brands. The popularity of sites like TripAdvisor, where reviews and referrals are the currency of brand success, shows CMOs will need to recognise traditional marketing will have to give way to new forms engaging consumers.

CMOs will also need to traverse organisational boundaries more easily – most critically the IT/ technology departments – to deliver the experiences customers demand. I’m really keen on the current US trend of delivering up a choice in advertisements in the online space – even with ads, consumers in 2018 will want choice and so marketers need to be close to IT to deliver choices and experiences for the future consumer.

As ever I think broad influencing skills will be critical for any CMO. It is unlikely marketing budgets will grow without more clever ways to measure ROI and so there will be an even greater urgency for CMOs to be a key part of the business, not just brand cheerleaders on the side. CMOs will need to ensure organisations buy into the value of marketing and champion the customer without marketing jargon and creative hype but with powerful customer insights and data.


Now read what the other respondents said: 

Ray Kloss, SAP: Team-building the CMO’s imperative
Tara Lordsmith, Simplot: “The CMO of 2018 undoubtedly sits on the board”

Stephan Heimbach, Siemens: “The fundamental shift we are seeing is around the pace of change”