Jay Hannant is a marketing, strategy and innovations pioneer for agency side and client brands with over 18+ years delivering business/brand growth success. He has achieved this through brand positioning, digital transformation, organisation change management, unique partnership marketing, creative ideation and marketing campaigns across omni-channel environments.
Currently CMO with technology/digital agency Conn3cted, Jay is driving the agency brand awareness and global reputation by focusing on market positioning and business growth strategy. He is charged with all digital and traditional B2B marketing communications campaigns, strategic client consulting, client pitching and agency strategic partnerships.
A dynamic people leader and media spokesperson who brings a fresh perspective to strategy, creative ideation and innovation solutions, Jay is a passionate driver and product development leader for ecommerce, technology and digital product/platform solutions for agencies, marketers and SME’s.
Tell us about your typical day
Day’s Start – The day starts at 5.30am with a run or gym session, followed by a hearty brekky and train commute across the harbour to North Sydney. I use this train time to check through the news, my Twitter newsfeed and scan LinkedIn content. Occasionally look over the shoulder of a worker reviewing digital strategy proposal documents! I’ll grab a coffee at one of the North Sydney cafés for a coffee hit before arriving at the office around 8am.
The guts of the day – I always start work with priority projects, which is balancing business marketing activity with client project deadlines. At the end of the day the client always comes first. I fuel up for lunch and usually schedule new business meetings and internal catch-up sessions for the afternoon.
Evening Balancing Act – Never take work home unless a deadline demands it! A mantra I like to stick to. To start the evening, back to the gym for hot yoga or weights depending on my day and what I’ve done. Then dinner, maybe a date and bed….. and repeat it all again the next day.
How did you become a CMO for an agency?
It was partly due to timing and all about my desire to aid the growth of an agency business, as well as a great career opportunity. I’d been working for an integrated agency as the Business Director and Strategist. As part of a client pitch, I had a technological and digital innovation requirement, and to fulfil this, I was referred to Conn3cted. Shortly afterwards my role was made redundant in an agency merger scenario.
In a de-brief with the technology agency on the project outcomes and post agency redundancy I began to see the depth of the capability and opportunities for this technology consulting business.
A business that was immersed in tech consulting but was ideating a whole lot of cool stuff. From Virtual Reality Apps, digital touch screen and real-time photographic solutions for social amplification, in the trickiest of environments. e.g. – photographing participants in a moving vehicle at 200km an hour and downloading photos in real-time.
I suggested a 3 month contract to undertake a strategic planning process, which led to the CMO appointment for marketing planning and business development roll out.
What’s it like being a CMO for an agency?
I love being CMO agency side, having worked the client-side and agency over my career. I like the diversity and flexibility that comes along with mixing up the work between growing the agency business and the brand, that includes marketing and business development, as well as being involved with client relations and identifying their needs for strategy development, problem solving and innovation.
I also like the sense of urgency that comes with being agency side, the need to deliver and deliver well within time-frames.
Why do agencies need a CMO?
Agencies need a CMO as much as any client-side organisation – particularly at this point in time where the world has transformed digitally. My observation is that agencies have historically laid out their services, relied on a brand name and have been creative centric and because we are here the clients will come. But we see and know of agencies that lose their way with what they offer or more to the point, what they don’t offer. I would also argue that CMOs can infuse innovation into a business in a whole variety of ways.
A CMO will:
- Develop a strategic marketing planning framework, strategic direction, alignment of people, resources, systems and capabilities;
- Position the agency for meaningful differentiation, drive innovation and ensure services offered are those that clients need and want;
- Drive a CX focus and voice for clients;
- Grow the agency business and brand and drive digital transformation;
- Uncover strategic marketplace opportunities and gaps;
- Be a strategic visionary that can work with the C-suite internally and infuse/share innovation with clients;
- Drive profitable growth of an agency business through market segmentation, knowing target clients and integrating mar-tech systems, solutions and platforms.
There are few known CMOs in agencies at least that I’m aware of in Australia. However, I notice this is a different scenario in the UK and US where the large agency groups are hiring global CMOs.
What are the challenges of being a CMO for an agency?
The biggest challenge agency side is managing time in this multi-faceted role. It spans from agency marketing to business development and client-side strategic involvement, as well as new product development for tech/digital platforms, systems and solutions. Education around the marketing function and digital directions can also be a challenge but this largely depends on agency capabilities and disciplines.
For the full list of Australia’s top 50 CMOs click here