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

Blog Posts

Data has the power to build or burn brands

A brand can be severely wounded by use or misuse of any of its assets and you could say data has the greatest power of all to inflict damage.

Lucy Acheson

Head of data strategy and customer experience, LIDA

Totto and your inorganic future

At Cannes Lions this year we’ve been treated to many artificial intelligence (AI) insights. It’s one of the major discourses of our time.

Richard Brett

CEO, opr

Personas of one and the rise of ‘always there’ marketing

I’ve got some bad news. The ‘always on’ marketing approach that many companies have only just fully implemented is already out of date.

Nigel Roberts

Founding partner and strategy lead, Yell

E-mail automation is a wonderful thing, especially for digital marketing. It's interesting to see how these tools are becoming more and m...

Claudia Evans

How email marketing automation is helping this Aussie electrical wholesaler enter the digital age

Read more

Machine learning represents the future for digital marketing. I'm glad that there are strides being made in this direction and that even ...

Claudia Evans

Looker eyes benefits of machine learning to connect with customers

Read more

I read you post full. It's really good .

Yusuf

Salesforce ups the Marketing Cloud ante with Datorama acquisition

Read more

Promotion is difficult. You should be able to do it. Sometimes it turns out bad, and when you turn to professionals, it turns out well - ...

Jordan Samuil

Village Roadshow partners with Lion for pourage rights and promotional partnership

Read more

This is very good news for Australian SMEs as ActiveCampaign is an very powerful marketing automation / email marketing tool that costs a...

Lawrence

SMB marketing automation provider sets up Asia Pac HQ in Sydney

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in