Reddit's CMO on the 'dynamic' evolution of marketing

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 8 November 2023
Roxy Young.

As the average tenure of a chief marketing officer (CMO) drops to under two and a half years and companies such as Qantas opt to axe marketing from their group management committee, the role of a CMO in today’s industry continues to evolve.  

Roxy Young, the chief marketing and consumer experience officer at Reddit, says CMOs are having to think more broadly about the consumer.  

“The consumer has so many different avenues to connect and engage with the brand than they did before,” she  told AdNews. 

“They may be doing it on X (formerly Twitter), they may be talking about your brand on Reddit, they may be trending on TikTok.  

“The modern day CMO really has to have a 360-degree view of how consumers are engaging with their brand and so many of those instances are organic and being defined and driven outside of their direct control.

"The role has become even more dynamic in terms of a deep understanding of all the consumer touchpoints across so many different channels.” 

Young said that when she thinks back to the early 2000s – when she was working as a senior manager of direct marketing for Gap before going on to serve in marketing leadership roles for Netflix, Sephora and Zyngathe marketing environment was focused on one way communication. 

What I think that we've seen is an evolution as we went from here's my product, here's what I want you to know about it and just take it in and consume it’ to the era of social media, where brands have the opportunity to engage in two way conversation with consumers while also using influencers to hype their products,” she told AdNews. 

Now as social is maturing, I think we're entering an era where there's a real appreciation for authenticity.” 

Young calls this "community marketing," saying that brands and businesses need to invest in both building their community and subsequently bringing those communities along the journey with them. 

When it comes from the community, there's implicit trust, because the community is sharing the benefits of the product. It's not necessarily the brand shouting at you," she says. 

Brands and businesses will have to evolve their marketing mix; there is a role for more traditional advertising, where you're showcasing this is my product, these are the features and benefits, this is where you can go to engage with it, but part of that marketing mix needs to be allowing co-creation and allowing collaboration. 

Young says the approach for marketers in the past was far simpler, due to the limited amount of channels a brand had available to them to utilise.

“It was like, ‘I have these three channels, I put all of my messages in either outdoor or television or direct mail’ and digital was very nascent,” she says. 

Now there's just been an explosion of channels. I think that will continue; some may go away, but new ones will emerge 

The role of the CMO, and I think marketing in particular, really does move at the pace of consumer evolution. 

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