“We work closely with our technology colleagues on important aspects such as the reference architecture, understanding and addressing risks, developing roadmaps to deliver on target customer experiences, and delivering key projects,” Shortt explained.
In terms of influence, Shortt said the marketing department works with technology teams to understand the demand side and supply side impacts of internal decisions, including the financial aspects impacting the business.
Additionally, the strategy team reviews the investment proposals for alignment to the Group strategy.
From a channel perspective, and as a non-negotiable, Shortt stressed that consumer security and privacy are vital to maintaining trust in the integrity of the financial system.
“We work with partners who meet our high standards in these areas,” Shortt added. “Beyond that, we’re open to working with well-established or FinTech partners to develop innovative solutions that meet our customer needs.”
Ultimately however, and to further reiterate, Shortt’s primary focus is based on two core principals — customer satisfaction and the customer experience.
“Continuous improvements in technology and investments in technology are a significant lever we use to improve customer satisfaction and experience,” Shortt added. “There are times where the technology looks interesting and we trial it without certainty of business outcomes.
“An example of this is our partnership with UNSW on Quantum Computing. Other times, we use technology to solve business challenges such as machine learning capability to accelerate benefits.”
Focus on tech
Over the last several years, the industry has witnessed an expansion of the CMO mandate, from what was largely a promotional role to what is now often seen as the growth engine for the business.
Crucially however, it’s playing out in the numbers, with Gartner research driving this point home as CMOs take on more formal responsibility.
In more than 30 per cent of organisations, at least some aspects of sales, IT and customer experience now report into the CMO.
With new responsibility creates new buying power and new levels of preference for marketers keen to utilise emerging technologies in different ways.
“We use all the technologies you would expect such as big data, customer master data repositories, analytics software, decisioning engines, CRM capability and programmatic media tracking stack,” Shortt added.
More broadly however, Shortt said CommBank is building an innovation ecosystem around its customers through partnerships.
“For example, since acquiring Take Your Money Anywhere (TYME) in 2015 our team in South Africa has developed strong local partners in Pick n’ Pay, the second largest retailer in the country, and African Rainbow Capital, our investment partner,” Shortt added.
“With innovations in biometric capture and self service on-boarding, it takes four minutes to on-board a new customer from any of our 685 kiosks across South Africa.
“This is the type of innovation driven by technology that we’d like to see developed in other markets.”
Selling tech to the CMO
“Marketing and technology departments are realising their dependencies on each other,” observed Vanessa Brennan, partner at PwC.
“Everyone is trying to be customer- centric. It’s the buzzword we hear all the time and organisations now are using technology in different capacities to engage with customers in a number of ways.”
From a technology standpoint, Brennan cited data as a crucial tool in the marketing kit bag.
“The more you know about your customer, the more the customer journey becomes critical,” she explained.
Furthermore, Brennan defined omni- channel as the second most prominent phenomenon trending among PwC customers.
“If I look at it from a customers perspective, they don’t differentiate between online and offline anymore,” Brennan explained. “The expectation now is that they will see an engagement and customer experience from wherever they are in the customer cycle, no matter if it’s online or offline.”
For Brennan, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), are on the horizon for marketing leaders in 2017.
“If you look at the customer journey, it’s not just about experience — they actually want to participate, so that will grow,” she said. “For example, AR came through during the launch of Pokemon Go last year.”
In addition, Brennan believes opportunities can be found in suppling VR-focused solutions to marketers, with executives striving to drive an emotional connection and longevity in brand advocacy.
“VR is one of the best ways to do that from a brand point of view,” Brennan added. “We are using it at the moment with customers in the health sector to bring the patient into problem solving.
“When we look at patient journey, we question how can we drive empathy and bridge that emotional connection so that we can make the right decision at that point in time in regards to services and solutions.”