Marketing Lead
Deloitte Africa

Su-Ann Badenhorst is Marketing Lead at Deloitte Africa. She sits centrally in the Deloitte business in the Growth Office, bringing together the industry marketing leads, digital and innovation, sustainability and climate teams across the African member firm, in collaboration with their global business, strategically driving growth marketing. In this role she has created integrated marketing campaigns inclusive of brand messaging, positioning, identity developing awareness, engagement and advocacy at clients. She leads multiple projects with key stakeholders and vendors where she brings innovative concepts to life. She also drives cross service line and global collaboration, leveraging different market offerings, Deloitte Xcelerator, and the Venture business uplifting start-ups in partnership with Grindstone, a high growth entrepreneurship programme. She has led marketing for Digital Transformation - conceptualizing the art of the possible at clients, and works closely with global alliance partners Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, SAP and ServiceNow to drive the B2B marketing industry on the African continent.


CMO COUNCIL: What market shifts and trends are impacting customer and competitive dynamics in your industry?

BADENHORST: I believe that the traditional way of marketing has experienced a shift to person-to-person marketing, really understanding the human and their behavior instead of just focusing on the market. We spend much more time on storytelling and learning how to tell a good story. The customer/consumer’s attention span is a lot shorter and thus grabbing their attention takes much more time and energy to understand. Technology, and more specifically GenAI, has taught us that we can never get too comfortable, and we constantly need to sit at the edge of our seats ready to learn, ready to better understand and to not get too comfortable. Digital tools and Gen AI is here to enhance our skills, giving us time back to focus on the things that require our attention, and that really matter.


CMO COUNCIL: What are your priorities when it comes to organizational change, operational lift and staff development?

BADENHORST: Change is inevitable in everything in life – being agile and adaptable is crucial to stay relevant. I’ve learnt that I need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. My top 5 priorities when it comes to organizational change, operational lift and staff development, are: firstly, understanding that we are all more than just resources and each person’s context is important when it comes to dealing with change; secondly, understanding the business strategy, mission, vision, values goals to make sure you are aligned with the thinking; third, tools empowering our teams and ourselves to adapt to using processes, frameworks, technology digital systems to enhance our thinking and approach; fourth, using all the incredible learning tools available to uplift ourselves and the team; and fifth, partnering -  in the marketing context this can be us partnering with clients, alliances, even in some instances competitors.


CMO COUNCIL: What past experiences have best prepared you for your marketing leadership role?

BADENHORST: Nothing can 100% prepare you for a marketing lead role as the nature of what we do is so dynamic, but I think being a sponge has been very helpful. I believe in being a life-long learner, in this agile world you’ll never ‘really’ be an expert so keep on learning. Key elements that I think helped me on the journey has been to use frameworks and allowing myself to colour outside the lines, immersing myself in business and really trying to understand what we are marketing, being kind, caring about the small things, being clear on roles and responsibilities and striving for excellence. Everything you do in life ads to your experience never disregard something just because you think it doesn’t fit into the picture.


CMO COUNCIL: Which digital marketing innovations are most enabling your go-to-market process, customer value creation and campaign effectiveness?

BADENHORST: Digital is a focus for us as a business and ensuring that we learn, unlearn and relearn the way we do things in this space. A big focus now for us is utilizing our digital tools optimally, more specifically email marketing and our different social media channels. Utilizing AB split testing, exploring different ways of using Gen AI, using different innovation frameworks to better understand our target audience and being more deliberate in creating campaigns for this audience.


CMO COUNCIL: How much is customer experience, brand protection, purpose and corporate social responsibility part of your remit in the company?

BADENHORST: Our business has a big vision, but one that stands out to me most on the African continent is our Purpose Beyond Profit mission statement – highlighting the importance of understanding that the business we do needs to be for a greater purpose, not just to make profit. This filters through everything we do. Our global business strategy is to drive Impact That Matters with our clients, in our business and society as a whole. 


CMO COUNCIL: What challenges do you face in the coming year and how do you expect to adapt and change?

BADENHORST: Driving change, keeping teams motivated and inspired, digital disruption, sustainability challenges, and it’s an election year in a record-breaking number of countries – this has a direct link to the economy and ultimately a link to how all of us do business. How to overcome it? The same way you climb a mountain, one step at a time… Celebrate the small wins, but then continue going.


CMO COUNCIL: Marketing is undergoing a progressive digital transformation. How is this fortifying and quantifying marketing value in your organization?

BADENHORST: Embracing digital can help us as marketers spearheading digital and business transformation, by not only giving marketing a seat at the table but also giving marketing a voice at the table.


CMO COUNCIL: What marketing skills will be most needed by your organization in the future and why?

BADENHORST: Growth marketing might sound like a buzzword, but I believe that having a growth mindset is what sets one marketer apart from the next, really understanding how marketing can drive business growth.


CMO COUNCIL: What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given? Or what career advice would you give to emerging marketing leaders?

BADENHORST: Always make big changes from a position of strength and not because you are under pressure.