MasterCard CMO on Creating an Integrated Roadmap to Drive Value for Customers

The Chief Marketing Officer of MasterCard discusses rising opportunities within digital marketing and how to optimise CMO and CIO collaboration.

Raja Rajamannar is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of MasterCard, where he has global responsibility for advertising, sponsorships, promotions, research, insights, and digital and consumer marketing initiatives.

Prior to Joining MasterCard, Rajamannar served as Executive Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer at WellPoint, Inc., where he led the company’s strategic direction and had enterprise-wide oversight for marketing, innovation, corporate development & ventures, consumer data analytics, digital and international operations. Before this he served as Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer for Humana, a Fortune 100 Healthcare company.

Ahead of the Customer Experience Exchange for Financial Services in London in February 2016, CX Network had the opportunity to discuss customer experience at MasterCard and the changing landscape with raja.

In the first part of his interview with CX Network, Raja spoke about why experiences matter more than things and how they’ve ingrained this principle into the MasterCard strategy. Today he discusses the rising opportunities within digital marketing and how to optimise CMO and CIO collaboration to create an integrated roadmap and drive value for customers.

Hi Raja, welcome back to CX Network. Marketing is rapidly turning into a digital marketing era as your examples about the various Priceless platforms shows. Can you tell me about an innovative way you’ve recently utilised the new opportunities digital provide at MasterCard?

Today, social media allows us to identify a trend, turn it into an insight, craft offers and benefits that leverage it, publish it to millions on our social channels and analyse and optimise it all within a twelve hour period.

To give you one example, during the summer, one of the topics being heavily discussed in the social space was vacation travel.

In Asia, we saw Bali trending as a destination for many of our premium cardholders. We also found that images of tropical resorts were more popular than landscape images. So we started scouring our offers database to see what we could offer these consumers. Additionally, we took this data to our merchant partners and together created custom offers.

We turned these offers into activatable content using the insights gleaned and put them back into social media in places where these discussions were occurring. We were even able to do simple A/B tests to see how two similar offers with minor variations were being taken up and make changes on the fly.

Through a combination of social listening, trend analysis, offer creation, creative development, precision targeting and analytics, we were able to ensure more of our cardholders were connecting with more of our merchants, driving more of our business. This would never have been possible in an earlier era. And certainly not at this level of speed and efficiency.

Not only does technology allow better connections, it allows us to be always on. Where earlier we could do a few campaigns a year, we can now have a marketing engine that is forever on.

The industry is not the only aspect changing within marketing but so is the role of the CMO, which is moving closer to that of the CIO. Can you tell me about this changing balance in the C-suite and how you talk to the CIO about customer experience?

In many organisations, the technology side of the business is focused on cost efficiencies rather than business outcomes. In this type of climate, decisions made solely on cost can negatively impact customer experience.

Take, for example, the decision to send work off-shore simply because it's cheaper. Sometimes that means a sacrifice in talent which negatively impacts the experience. If you flip the equation on its head and ask: what outcomes are we trying to drive and how we work together to get there, you'll have a much different conversation.

So with an often different vision and agenda, how can you the CMO and CIO work together towards the same goal?

By focusing on shared business outcomes. In today's world of customer experience, digital technology has enabled altogether new ways of driving value for customers. If we can agree on "what" value we are trying to drive and why, the question then becomes about how do we create an integrated roadmap for creating that value.

As Steve Jobs said in 1997, we need to start with the customer experience in mind, then work back to the technology.