CES 2015: Mastercard, Microsoft marketers debate data versus creativity

MasterCard CMO claims ubiqiuity of mobile devices, big data and ease of communication are giving marketers the tools to finally reach customers at the right time, place with the right message

From left: Medialink's Michael Kassan; MasterCard global CMO, Raja Rajamanner; Microsoft North America VP of sales and marketing, Bob Bejan
From left: Medialink's Michael Kassan; MasterCard global CMO, Raja Rajamanner; Microsoft North America VP of sales and marketing, Bob Bejan

Marketers are finally realising the dream of reaching the right consumer at the right time and with the right offer thanks to technology and data, according to MasterCard’s global CMO. But value and creativity is vital in ensuring these interactions are successful.

Speaking on a panel during the Marketing and Engagement stream of this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), MasterCard’s marketing chief, Raja Rajamannar, said triggering the right consumer interaction in real-time has been the holy grail of marketing throughout his 30-year career.

With the ubiquity of mobile devices that allow marketers to reach consumers at the right time and location, along with the ease of communication today, marketers are finally able to achieve that vision, he said.

“Secondly, data and computer science has evolved so much,” Rajamannar told attendees. “It’s like being a kid in a candy store – there is so much that can be done we’ve never been able to do before.”

Rajamannar pointed to the huge volumes of consumer behavioural intelligence generated on Mastercard’s 1.6 billion users worldwide each time a transaction is undertaken.

“That’s big data and it’s a marketer’s dream to dive into that data and make sense of it, to then leverage it and target that right moment with consumers,” he said.

But fellow panellist and Microsoft’s North American vice-president of marketing and sales, Bob Bejan, cautioned against relying purely on data and algorithms to target consumers. He stressed the ongoing importance of creativity in driving “serendipitous moments” that surprise and delight the customer.

“Programmatic buying is an example of that relentless pursuit… of the right time and right message through data. But what’s just starting to creep is in the realisation that you can’t go all the way in there,” he said.

“It’s one thing to find the right person that wants what you’re selling, but if they don’t know who you are because they’ve lost sight of your brand, because you’ve never done anything that’s promoted a serendipitous moment and emotional connection – random or orthogonal – that may raise awareness and perceptions of your brand, you lose the value. The targeted audience you are pursuing gets smaller and smaller because people don’t know who you are.

“That is a serendipitous moment in and of itself, which is worth pointing out, but it also speaks directly to this idea of balance. You can’t lose sight of the emotional connection even as you’re constantly looking to be in the right place, at the right time with the right offer and right price.”

Related: Why creativity wins out over big data
Programmatic advertising: Digital marketing's saviour or real-time headache?

One of MasterCard’s core ingredients in building stronger ties with customers is its ‘priceless’ marketing campaign. Rajamannar said the 17-year-old message’s impact and long-term success comes requires both technology and creativity.

“We have a fantastic advertising platform, ‘priceless’, which cuts through the clutter and creates that connection with the consumer,” he said. “Over the last year, we’ve looked at how we can evolve that to a more holistic marketing, experiential and lifestyle platform where we’re directly reaching out to consumers. It could be prizes, or where we can surprise and delight consumers without asking them to do anything. It’s not about a promotion; we’re trying to change that whole approach.

“Who to connect with and the information we use then comes back to the data.”

Rajamannar admitted it’s “frightening” how much information brands can glean on consumers while still respecting privacy laws, and stressed the need to both be relevant and respectful in how data is used.

“That’s what we’re trying to do – identify the right consumers, see what the next purchase or transaction is going to be, see the location they’re in, and through our merchants, and create an experience for them at that moment in time,” he said.

Over the past year, Mastercard has also worked to evolve ‘priceless’ from an advertising message to something that stretches across all the four Ps of the marketing mix, Rajamannar said. New initiatives include ‘priceless surprises’, giving customers a range of small and large offers for simply using their card.

Personalisation is another reflection of using data effectively, Bejan said.

“If value is perceived by the consumer, the boundary of letting information going, or even being aware of what information is being leveraged, is widened and that tension decreases,” he said. “That relationship will become more true, and resonate.

“Over the next 5-10 years, what will be interesting to see is the compensation component of that value exchange. I think as they become more aware of that, consumers will want to be compensated.”

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

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments
cmo-xs-promo

Latest Videos

More Videos

Thanks for your feedback, Rabi. While we introduced the ROO concept using a marketing example, I also believe that it is pertinent to man...

Iggy Pintado

Introducing Return on Outcome (ROO) - Brand science - CMO Australia

Read more

Thanks for your insight, Philip. Return On Outcome (ROO) requires balanced thinking with the focus on outcomes as opposed to returns.

Iggy Pintado

Introducing Return on Outcome (ROO) - Brand science - CMO Australia

Read more

Beautiful article.

Hodlbaba

15 brands jumping into NFTs

Read more

"Blue" is really gorgeous and perfectly imitates a human customer support operator. Personally, I won't order a chatbot development for m...

Nate Ginsburg

Why the newest member of BT’s contact centre is a chatbot

Read more

As today’s market changes rapidly, the tools we use change, and it is important to adapt to those changes to continue to succeed in busin...

Anna Duda

Report: 10 digital commerce trends here to stay

Read more

Blog Posts

How the pandemic revealed the antidote to marketing’s image problem

What does marketing truly ‘own’ in most organisations? Brand and campaigns, definitely. Customer experience? That remains contested ground.

Murray Howe

Founder, The Markitects

Still pursuing a 360-degree view of the customer?

On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” It may have been true in 1993 when this caption to a Peter Steiner cartoon appeared in the New Yorker. But after 30 years online, it’s no longer the case.

Agility in 2022

Only the agile will survive and thrive in this environment and that’s why in 2022, agility will need to be a whole-business priority.

Sam McConnell

Melbourne bureau chief, Alpha Digital

Sign in