Marketing and IT are becoming synonymous, says Suncorp CMO

CMOs speaking on a panel at this year's Mumbrella360 event talk about the relationship between CMO and CIO and the importance of creative technologists

Marketing and technology are blurring and the relationship between CMO and CIO is increasingly vital to addressing the modern data and digital customer challenge, leading Australian marketers claim.

Speaking on a ‘Meet the Marketers’ panel at the Mumbrella360 event in Sydney yesterday, Suncorp executive general manager of marketing, Mark Reinke, said marketing and technology are becoming synonymous in his organisation thanks to rising demand for real-time customer engagement.

“This is being driven by the need to personalise, to do this at speed – often less than a second – and to be able to do this [engagement] across hundreds of thousands of interactions,” he said. “You can’t do that without technology.

“In my world, it’s the synthesis of three things: Customer insight, data, and the digitisation of experience to solve customer problems.”

As an example of how IT and marketing are working together, Reinke said he and the CIO are jointly recruiting staff, and implemented a graduate program to build the creative technology skills Suncorp needs to better solve customer challenges.

“Secondly, we are increasingly adopting the same processes,” he continued. “Our marketing team is now using agile methodology to be more nimble in how we operate, and that provides constant iteration.

“We also both engage in the same ideation processes; we include marketing, product and technology these teams. Two weeks ago, we had 700 people in five countries for 24 hours to work together to solve customer problems. I don’t know how to do it any other way.”

Related: CMO-CIO relationship is improving but we have a way to go
CMO-CIO partnership key to digital customer engagement
3 ways the CMO can win over the CIO

Westfield director of marketing, John Batistich, agreed creative technologists are vital to the future of marketing. “This is about having people so attuned to technology they can solve customer problems with that,” he said.

Batistich also said his CIO as a critical partner, but stressed the need to set clear responsibilities and areas of focus. He saw CIOs as critical players at the infrastructure and platform level, and marketers owning services and applications alongside their strategic partners.

“Where the CIO has a very important role to play is creating the data warehousing, supporting the digital asset management layer, API and content management system layers – all of which enables you to fuel innovation and allow that to be open with outside partners,” Batistich said.

“We have a digital lab in San Francisco manned by a chief digital officer, which gives us access to partners and technologies not available here and enable us to pilot and scale that. That brings more complexity into my business, but it’s a big part of our learning and trajectory.”

At Weight Watchers, there has been growing recognition across senior leadership that legacy and outdated technology systems have hindered its ability to market, tailor services, engage customers and better utilise data, its general manager of marketing, Michael Burgess, said.

The decision to appoint a former IBM senior services executive to lift its technology capabilities is helping foster a huge transformation in the business, he said.

“It’s a stark example of going from one extreme to the other, and the future is looking extremely bright as a result,” Burgess said. “We are working closely together on it.”

Beam Global director of marketing, James Sykes, compared the current debate on whether marketers need to become technologists to former arguments on the role of marketing in product development.

Read more: CMOs must have courage to lead successfully

“Today, those folks involved in product innovation know tons about marketing, and that understanding allows marketing and product teams to have fluid conversations,” he said.

“We’re currently in the mucky middle of this conversation [around marketing and IT alignment] and perhaps in five years’ time, we won’t be having this conversation. Maybe that is all this is right now.”

More from the panel: Marketing's boardroom rise is about competitive edge

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Marketing skills in a virtual world

It wasn’t so long ago that CMOs and marketers came to realise they were under-resourced in managing their rapidly expanding digital activities. In fact, many marketing departments are still today far from optimal resourcing levels, if not noticeably below.

Making Korean brands sexy

If you told someone in the 1980s that South Korean brands would one day supersede many Western and Japanese competitors for innovation, brand management and profitability, they would have declared you insane. But that is exactly what has happened.

Why good leadership starts with leading yourself

Many people first taste leadership when they receive a promotion and find themselves ‘leading’ a team. Over time, the team, and the leader’s responsibility, grows. But do they become better leaders?

Anthony Howard

Executive mentor and founder, The Confidere Group

WOW now this is interesting... nice to see culture been the face of an organisation. Some great thought leaders in this group, but clear...

Andrew Lamrock

Westpac, NAB, RedBalloon debate ingredients of digital transformation

Read more

Smartmobile phones have changed the human life greatly. Nowadays, more and morecompanies are providing best solution for smart mobile pho...

alva christi

In Pictures: 16 great iPhone app battles - Slideshow - CMO Australia

Read more

Interesting to see a big brand like Adobe getting involved in this space when interactive video tools already exist. Interlude's Treehous...

Nedd

Adobe's new interactive shoppable video experience

Read more

Both the elegance and the risk of misuse of NPS lay in its simplicity of collecting the "score". This is why, whilst individual companies...

Pete Nicholls

Against Net Promoter: A new way of interpreting the customer data deluge

Read more

iinet have gone from one on the best customer service providers to as they have grown just another frustrating Telco. As a customer of o...

Disillusioned

How voice analytics helps iiNet hear customer problems on its network

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in