Data holds claim as the most persistent challenge across marketing agendas. It lives in excess and constantly grows, requiring regular orchestration and vigilance over how it is governed, organised, and understood. The days of third-party data reliance are dwindling, and technology continues to advance, challenging leaders to rethink their approach to their existing data frameworks to maximise first-party data usage. For many, this undertaking has already begun, positioning first-movers as leaders across the digital marketplace.

XPON, in partnership with Connect Media, gathered the marketing minds shaping the Australian business landscape to explore this undertaking. It was an evening of great discussion and insight, breaking down the challenges shared between leaders as they navigate their data challenges and digital journeys. 

Delivering the right data, at the right time, from the right people

Implementing transformation is a process that often evokes a mixed response. Some are averse to its gravity, challenged by the promise of change and reform. Others see it as an opportunity to establish a different pace, do away with the long-standing and unfit practice, and return refreshed and revitalised. Amidst the ebb and flow of these sentiments, executives are clear on one defining reality: digital transformation cannot fall to the sole responsibility of one single department, instead must be undertaken as a collective endeavour.

Accountability plays a prominent role in this process. Often there exists a misalignment between marketing and other departments across the organisation, where teams lack an understanding and a shared vision of their role in CX.

Reconciling this is two-fold:

The first: Departments should be moving in ‘lockstep’ with one another, rallying around a clear and unified consumer objective, playing the same strategy, from the same angle, toward the same goal. There is power in selling the idea in ways that will make other teams working lives more manageable.

The second: Teams must be aware of the responsibility of their roles, knowing that they are custodians of data in any form it takes. Whoever can solve the problems that arise, the quickest and with the highest accuracy of information must be empowered to do so.

Extending the data functions and understanding beyond I.T.

Personalised, seamless, fulfilling – terms that set the baseline for modern-day CX, and our consumers are innately in-tune with them. Customers expect their needs to be met before they are voiced, through journeys that deliver purpose and add value, every time. For this to work, marketing technology must work in synergy with the human understanding of CX. Teams need to consider the nuances of consumer context that often are not overtly translated by the data, delivering the right messaging, at the right time, by the right person, in a way that adds value. While data drives these experiences, the art and science of its management ultimately fuel lasting value through the purchase journey.

We know that consumer expectations of their experiences are constantly evolving. They gravitate towards brands who they feel genuinely understand their journey, with studies finding 82% of people have the willingness to share their data in exchange for additional consumer value (Customer Experience Survey, Yopto 2021). Those brands that are guided by the intricacies of the consumer journey, going beyond the tried monotony of regular touchpoints, using the data they extract to inform their interactions rather than control them, will ultimately be rewarded with a competitive advantage.

Security and Privacy

We are operating in an era of heightened transparency where the ethical dimensions of our data practice come under immense scrutiny. Recent data breaches have consumers on edge, prompting businesses to resolve any impression of shaken trust, leaning on their customer and marketing teams.

As data custodians, marketing leaders have direct oversight over how ethics and transparency are communicated and delivered. Privacy and security have regular circulation through the consumer vernacular, often closely tied to exchanging their data for the promise of a better digital experience. While acknowledging the differences between these protection modes provides clarity, when it comes to data, the two become a part of a collaborative effort, where understanding the infrastructure of security and the right to privacy are worked on in tandem to engage consumers and build lasting trust.

As our interactions with consumers become increasingly defined by digital, it is essential to communicate data processes across each point of the transitionary journey with increased transparency, sustaining a lasting trust and foundation for loyalty.


Success across customer experience has taken on a refined definition. Data must empower teams to deliver purposeful value through each interaction, be that in-person or online. Utilising the right technology enables this undertaking to flourish, challenging marketing leaders across industries to bridge their technological and data gaps, working in a de-siloed and cross-department fashion as they roadmap their path toward success.

We know the digital business landscape is ever-changing and relentlessly moving, requiring constant vigilance and interpretation. XPON will continue to facilitate critical conversations to unravel the complexity of this movement, empowering leaders to accelerate towards a future defined by digital maturity.

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Arti Oza

As Connect Media’s sole Designer, Arti is responsible for the creative visual direction and design of our entire suite of multimedia commercial and promotional material. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Design in Animation from the University of Technology Sydney. Arti’s artistic skill extends beyond her diverse corporate portfolio, and she has been known to draw incredibly realistic and stylised portraits of people.

Rachel Dreyfus

As Production and Operations Coordinator, Rachel has direct oversight over our event production portfolio and is responsible for securing our executive keynote speakers and panellists for our major events. She has a diverse administrative background in hospitality and database management, holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Ceramics) from the National Art School, as well as a Masters of Management from ICMS.

Outside of the office, you will find Rachel teaching ceramics to kids and strategically surf-lifesaving outside of the water.

Imogen Smith

As Content Manager, Imogen is responsible for setting the strategic-agenda for our entire suite of industry and bespoke events, as well as the design, execution and editorial oversight of B2B content marketing services for our clients. She has diverse multimedia experience, having worked as a journalist and podcast host, and has had editorials featured across different national outlets. Imogen completed her Bachelor of Media, Communications and Journalism at the University of New South Wales with a minor in French studies.

Imogen is our resident coffee connoisseur, mountain-lover and word-smith.

Zoe Baptist

As Account Manager, Zoe is responsible for bringing new clients into our business community to establish long-term partnerships. Zoe begun her journey with Connect Media in our Marketing Team, and brings a wealth of experience around service delivery and customer experience to her Commercial role. She holds a Bachelor in Sport and Exercise Management from the University of Technology Sydney.

Zoe is a diehard Good Charlotte fan, and unfortunately for the rest of the team, has executive control over the office Sonos Speakers.

Lisa Eam

As Client Event Manager, Lisa is responsible for the seamless, back-end management of our event operations. She also charges the management of client, speaker and sponsor needs across both our event and bespoke roundtable offerings. Lisa holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Management in Events and Leisure from the University of Technology Sydney and has an extensive background in venue management and hospitality.

She currently holds the office title of ‘In-House Expert’ when it comes to the Sydney culinary scene, and is often the envy of all our office lunches.

Jessica Ewing-Flynn

As Commercial Manager, Jessica is responsible for developing commercial partnerships across our entire suite of industry-leading events. Her extensive experience in the events sector spans both operational and client-facing roles, covering large-scale events through to bespoke engagements. She holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of South Australia, and a Bachelor in Event Management from the International College of Management Sydney.

Jessica hails from the Northern Beaches, where she is renowned as an extremely average runner, and a slightly better swimmer.

Sam Bray

As Production Manager, Sam oversees the acquisition of national and global speakers across our portfolio of industry and profession-based events. Originally hailing from Canada, she has a diverse background in politics and the public sector, and has completed a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of British Columbia. She is currently undertaking a Masters of Public Policy and Governance at the University of New South Wales.

Sam has a hardcore love for country music, cowboy boots and the dumplings near the office.

Jane Forbes

As Marketing Director, Jane plays a pivotal role in realising our long-term marketing agenda. Before assuming her current role, Jane served as Connect Media’s Data Manager for over two years. Jane holds an Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Management, and has over a decade’s dedicated senior experience in the events space. Jane enjoys escaping the hustle and bustle of the city to spend quality time at the beach with her young family.

Bridee Arrighi

As Operations Director, Bridee has operational oversight of our entire event portfolio, including stakeholder relations and end-to-end event management. Bridee graduated from Macleay College with a Bachelor of Business specialising in Event Management, and has over five years’ dedicated experience in the events space.

Bridee has a passion for the outdoors, and was quick to commandeer the best window seat in our office.

Dominic Patterson

Since founding the company in 2009, Dominic has fostered a culture of innovation and creativity, producing world-class conferences and pioneering advancements within the industry.

A media entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in B2B communications and events, Dominic has led Connect Media to be twice recognised as a BRW Fast Starter, a BRW Fast 100 Company, and a SmartCompanySmart50.

A keen sportsman and a supporter of the performing arts, Dominic maintains an active interest in public policy and has hosted a radio show with several listeners.

He has a Bachelor of Arts in Management (Economics) from the University of Westminster in London, certificates from AFTRS, NIDA and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.