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.

“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

10 ways of changing your culture through self-awareness

Did you hear about the manager who always shot the messenger whenever they brought bad news? He eventually stopped hearing bad news. Unfortunately for him, this wasn’t because there was none to report.

Steve Glaveski

Co-founder, Collective Campus

How to create a compelling customer experience vision

Organisations are seeking new ways to engage customers, drive new sales and increase customer satisfaction by providing engaging customer experiences. A customer experience initiative that lacks a strong, clear vision often fails to achieve its intended result.

Olive Huang

Research director, Gartner

Marketers are driving our innovation ecosystem

The Government's newly released National Innovation and Science Agenda shows that for economic growth to continue within Australia, an 'innovation ecosystem' must be fostered, where new businesses with new ideas are encouraged to grow and flourish. With every company wanting to increase, retain or improve their customers’ experiences, this makes marketing vital to fuelling Australia's ideas boom.

Lee Tonitto

CEO, Australian Marketing Institute

Agreed. I see the opposite problem quite often where people are tasked in an organisation just with "be creative" - thus offering no boun...

Dr Fiona Kerr

The great debate: Is data killing creativity?

Read more

By far, this is the best article I've come across so far that has a relevant information regarding the future of marketing. Although the ...

Jayden Chu

​Six ways to prepare for the future of digital marketing

Read more

These are some good ideas. You didn't touch on the overarching goals and results of brand loyalty. This article does a good job at provid...

hgsupport

Four ways to use social media to boost customer loyalty

Read more

This read like a PR PLUG for the agency. Very flowery language for the agency and very little details about the deal or the project.

Digital_Marketer

Why Tourism Victoria decided to go agile

Read more

This is a rather useful article! This prediction made in the digital marketing trend is very important to improve the service that the ag...

Adam Way

Digital marketing predictions – Part 2: Getting the strategy right

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in