Marketing Strategy 2021 with Mastercard Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) - CXOTalk #690

Marketing Strategy 2021 with Mastercard Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) - CXOTalk #690

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We're talking about disruptive  marketing strategy in 2021   with Raja Rajamannar. He's the chief marketing  and communications officer of Mastercard. He   wrote the excellent book Quantum Marketing. This is a forward-looking book into the   future about how marketing is going  to be completely, totally disrupted,   and how we need to reinvent, reimagine marketing. Break that down for us, first the distinctions,   and what are the implications  of making those distinctions?  If you look at classical marketing, this  is the traditional marketing which packaged   goods companies use to practice the four Ps  of marketing. How do you create the product?   How do you do the positioning? Positioning has  not been one of those pieces, but how do you   really do your pricing and place, which  is distribution, promotions, and so on?  Classical marketers have a good grasp about  the foundational elements of marketing.   How do consumers think? What is the psychology?  What is the design? What are the esthetics?   What is the purchase funnel? Like I said, what  is the positioning, and so on and so forth?  Now, this has done very well in terms of from  a classical marketer's toolbox point of view,   until almost the early 1990s. But come 1990s,  we have entered the third paradigm of marketing  

with the advent of Internet on the one hand  and the advent of data analytics on the   other hand. Until that time, data analytics  was in the purview of the nerds, the geeks,   the economists, and the scientists. Marketers suddenly discovered the power   of data analytics and they brought it to  marketing, so the combination of Internet and   data analytics changed and ushered marketing  into its third paradigm. That's where a new   breed of marketers started coming in, people who  understood technology, people who understood data,   but couldn't care less about the classical  and the foundational elements of marketing.  What happened is, since then, there has been  a dichotomy. You have classical marketers,  

like I described before; the current paradigm  markets who are all about data, data analytics,   technology, A/B testing, programmatic, et cetera;  and these two are literally two different breeds   of marketers. Today, we, unfortunately, have  those who are currently data classical or   contemporary, and very few straddle both worlds. Which of course then begs the question, how can   marketers blend the best of these two approaches? It's easier said than done because, classically,   if you look at marketers (or  traditionally if you look at marketers)   they came from the qualitative side of the  house. They have the creative sensibilities,  

esthetic sensibilities, cultural sensibilities,  and they had intuition. They had innovation. They   had judgment. That was a kind of mindset and a  series of skills and competencies that they had.  But when you look at the  contemporary side of the equation,   you're operating with your left brain and not with  the right brain, so you're talking of analytics.   You're talking about logic. You're talking about  technology. You're talking about the algorithms,   which is like Greek and Latin to  the traditional marketing folks,   so our qualitative and right brain. When you say we have to mix both of these,  

it's not an easy thing. That's what makes the  breed of or the hybrid of marketers who can   straddle both is so unique and so valuable. Today, really, we need marketers who are   like Leonardo da Vinci, who is a classic  example of right-brain plus left-brain,   both taken to a phenomenal level of competencies  and execution. We need folks of that sort.  In fact, if I look at one more aspect,  I will say, in addition to the classical   aspects of marketing and contemporary aspects of  marketing, you also have to understand (today,   and more so tomorrow) the other areas that  surround marketing. For example, you need to  

understand how your business makes money, which  means you need to understand finance. You need to   understand the aspects of how do you credibly and  precisely measure ROI (the return on investment),   which means you need to understand the finances. Connect the dots between the marketing actions   and investments you make to the business  outcomes and the business results that you get.  

That requires a different set of skills.  You need to understand technology.  Many of the marketing organizations (CMOs, for  example) have bigger technology budgets than CTOs   in those organizations. Unless you understand  technology, how are you going to manage those   budgets? As I said, you need to understand  data. You need to understand public relations   because there is a continuum between marketing  and communications or public relations. 

Unless you understand how the world operates  in the world of public relations and the media   relations, you're not going to be successful.  The key thing is, now, you are looking to have   marketers of tomorrow being true general managers  who also have a deep understanding of marketing   as opposed to, in the past, you had marketing  specialists who keep growing up in marketing.  What can marketers do themselves to take steps  to bridge this gap and to acquire the depth of   understanding and the range, the breadth of  understanding that's really needed in what   you're describing, to do marketing at that level? First and foremost, it all begins with an honest   self-assessment. Do you have the aptitude,  the attitude, and the learning agility   to be able to straddle all these areas or not? If you have, then you have to start working   towards making those a reality, which  means you have to join courses to   learn. You have to probably take mentoring  sessions, you have to take job rotations,   or you have to probably read a ton of stuff. It is an investment. Marketing, the way it is   changing so dramatically, unless you constantly  upgrade your understanding and your skills,   you will become obsolete pretty quickly.  That's very scary, and you have to invest. 

Self-assessment first, followed  by a thoughtful learning   and experience path that you have to chart out  for yourself. This is not some theoretical,   fluffy, wishy-washy kind of an answer. I'm  saying this is absolutely necessary and real.  Take for example artificial intelligence.  Every Tom, Dick, and Harry who comes to make   a pitch to you, says, "Oh, my solution  is powered by artificial intelligence." 

Okay. Firstly—and I do this, really, regularly—I  say, "Okay, fine. I love the fact that your   solution (you say) is powered by AI. Just show  me how. Let's peel the onion. Let's take the   hype out and get to the bottom," because I have  actually taken a full course to educate myself   on artificial intelligence enough to be able  to understand what the other person is saying,   to ask the right questions, and to  separate the wheat from the chaff.  It's very important. You need to know the  signal from the noise. There is a lot of   noise. There is a lot of hype and there's a  lot of empty shell packaging, so-to-speak.  You need to do that. You need to invest in  yourself. When I do that, what I find is,  

most of the time, they are just name  dropping artificial intelligence.  I have the privilege of serving as the president  of the World Federation of Advertisers,   so I interact with a number of my peers. When  I talk to some of them, I say, "Honestly,   between friends, tell me. Do you  understand, programmatic, how it works?"  They say, "Yeah, I just have a broad  idea of the concept, but I have no clue."  Now, the key thing is, we (the marketing  community) are funding the entire social media   or the MarTech companies, or social media  platforms when I said social media, right? Now, if   we don't understand, it's no wonder that somebody  else is hijacking the agenda of our industry.  We need to at least educate ourselves. We  cannot be intellectually lazy or complaisant.  

The consequences are going to be serious. If I can just take one minute, Michael,   the reason why I say this is so critical and  I'm so passionate about it is even as we are   in the fourth paradigm. Each paradigm has been  moving because of a couple of technologies.  Paradigm one was all about product marketing.  But when television and radio came in (two   technologies), it changed how you could do  storytelling and how you could incite emotions.   That led to paradigm two,  which is emotional marketing. 

When you looked at data and the  Internet, which happened in the 1990s,   that ushered marketing into the third paradigm.  Social media and mobile technologies (2007 with   the launch of iPhone and the scaling of Facebook)  have launched us into mobile and social marketing.  Now, each one of these paradigms has been ushered  by two technologies, and we, as marketers,   are still struggling to get our heads and hands  around it. We are at the verge of seeing a deluge   of technologies coming at us. We've got artificial  intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality,   autonomous driving cars, Internet of  Things, wearables, 3D printing, 5G, drones,   blockchains. It's like two dozen technologies  are coming at us in a rapid succession.  We will become obsolete in no time and  somebody else will steal the agenda. Already,  

marketing is at an existential crisis as of now.  Tomorrow, it will become even more of a widespread   reality, which we don't want. What I say is that, as marketers,   we have to understand technology. We have to  understand data. These are the two things that'll   power marketing into the future, and we better go  and get ourselves educated and get on top of it. 

It's quite interesting to hear you speak. I  talk with a lot of chief information officers,   and it seems that the CIO role is  going through a similar kind of   evolution where the CIO must have that same  or similar kind of breadth of understanding   not only of the technology (in their case)  but of the business context, the financials,   everything that you were just describing. Absolutely right. I think gone are the days,   for companies in general—particularly  like in the areas of IT or in the areas   of marketing—where you can afford to just  be a functional specialist and keep growing.   You need the broad base. You need to understand  because there are so many interdependencies   between each one of these functions. Unless  you collaborate, it's not going to happen.  Like I keep telling it, and pretty seriously, that  my best buddies are my CFO, my CHRO (which is the   HR head). We call him "Chief People Officer."  We have got our chief information officer,  

information technology officer, CIO. These folks,  we have such a tremendous amount of interaction.  For example, if you look at HR, my talent needs  are different today than they were even one year   back. If I have to build an organization that is  future proof, I need to really chart out what are   the skillsets required, what are the competencies  required, what are the aptitudes required,   and actually start sourcing those kind of people. I need to redesign my organization to accommodate  

these kind of folks. I need to have training and  learning development programs for our people who   don't have these skills but have the right  aptitude and the learning curiosity. How do   I equip them? How do you make sure that the career  pathing that we are looking at really is helpful?  For example, in the past, if you are in marketing,  you can keep happily growing in marketing until   the time you become a CMO. But today, you have  to really get rotations outside of marketing   and then come back after a few years.  You'll be a much better marketer. 

I need the help of an HR person, and so  we actually are tied at the hip to make   these kind of things happen. The same  thing with the information technology.  I think operating as islands of excellence is not  going to work. It's going to be actually teams of   excellence that are going to work in the future. We have a question on Twitter (directly related to   this topic) from Arsalan Khan, who is a regular  listener and asks great questions. Thank you,  

Arsalan. We always appreciate your  questions. Arsalan asks, "What can IT folks   do to adopt marketing approaches to elevate  the role of IT inside an organization?"   It's really a communications question. I would say two things. First and foremost,   always I've found that people outside  of marketing have some perceptions about   marketing, depending on the company. In a packaged goods company where the   agenda is set by marketing, the rest of the  organization takes marketing very seriously   and makes that agenda come to life. So,  the marketing person is setting the agenda.  But if you go outside of those  companies, the majority of the companies,   marketing is really an enabling function, not  the lead function. The agenda is set by a P&L   owner, a business owner, or a division owner  (division head) – call it whatever they are.  

Marketing is a support function. In many  of these kind of companies, the power and   the potential of marketing is not understood. In many of the cases, they think that marketing   is a fluffy organization and they think that these  marketers are wasting lots and lots of money.   When they are asked a question, saying, "Hey,  buddy, you are spending so many millions of   dollars. What is it giving?" now they are business  people who are asking a business question. 

Typically, the marketer is caught  like a deer caught in the headlights,   and giving some waffling marketing answers,   "My brand awareness is going up. My likeability is  always going up. My predisposition is going up."  You get decimated. Your credibility gets decimated  with those kind of answers. You need to give a   bushiness answer in that language, right? Now, what I've found most beneficial   is—to change the perceptions, to really  collaborate with these people—invite them and draw   them into the activities of your marketing. I call  it the business of marketing. Get these people   involved. Let them see what it means to create a  campaign. Let them see what your challenges are.  Show them your vulnerability. They have nothing  to hide. When you show your vulnerability,   they are much more empathetic. When you show the  kind of things that they are doing, they say,  

"My God, I didn't realize that these are  the kind of things that marketing does."  In the same way, I think the CIO should do the  same thing, too, or the IT department should   do the same thing, because as people outside  of IT, they might think these guys are just   doing some programming and some coding and, you  know, "What's the big deal about it. Now all of   them can be replaced by AI." Those are the kind  of notions that people outside of IT might have.  The key thing is, it is all about opening  doors, welcoming your peers, sharing with them   openly what you are striving to do, what you're  accomplishing, what you're struggling with,   what your aspirations are, what your challenges  are, and ask for help. That's what I think is   true whether it is IT or for marketing.  That's how probably it should be taken. 

As we shift to this focus on data and analytics,  you used the term "empathy" several times. How   do we bring forth that empathy for the customer  when we're looking at spreadsheets of numbers?  One of the key things that technology does  is to democratize the entire playing field.   Data does exactly that. It gives you insights. Now, in the olden days, technology   was the provocative of large companies, which  could put in boatloads of money. The same   thing is true (or was true) of data. If you're a  gigantic company with a direct customer contact,  

you're accumulating data, or you can go and  collaborate with other companies and get   massive amounts of data. You can analyze and come  to a significant advantage. Gone are those days.  Now, technology can be actually procured on a  pay-as-you-go basis. Everything is in the cloud   and there are so many services that are  available that you can just pay on as you go,   which means your outlay is less and, because  of the intense competition, the solutions   are affordable even for small companies.  Data, which is permission by consumers—I'm   underlining the permission by  consumers—is also available   on a pay-as-you-go basis. When the entire field gets leveled  

from a playing field point of view, competition  massively increases. When competition increases   dramatically, what separates your company  from other companies is your marketing,   is your creativity, is your classical skills  that you have got, which include empathy.  You need to understand the undercurrents  of people's thinking and feeling and   why they're acting, what drives them to act  in a particular way and not in another way,   what drives their choices. The classical marketing  foundational elements will come in. Areas like   behavioral economics will come to the fore. The point I'm trying to make is that   marketing is going to be mighty critical as  technology and data advance more and more   and level the playing field. Therefore, marketers  have to be ready for the imminent future where   they are going to be the single biggest drivers  of success for their company to make sure that   they're equipped to deliver the agenda of the  company and also advance their own careers. 

You're not suggesting that we discard  that which came before but, rather,   that we incorporate it into a more sophisticated  understanding, using the tools and the   data that's available to us now. Is that correct? You're absolutely right. It is not   this or that. It is this and that. Now, the creative elements, as I said,   all those marketers are typically pretty good  at. What they are not good at, by and large,  

are the left-brain functions, which are  all about, as I said, data, technology,   finance. You need to get your head around it. Now, when you combine the power of creativity   (or power of marketing in the classical  sense) with the power of data and technology,   you create magic. You absolutely  create magic for your company.  We have another very interesting question from  Twitter. This is from Shelly Lucas. Shelly says,   "How will quantum marketing impact  the concept and function of brands?"  One of the most important assets that any  company can have is the brand (or the brands).   Right? Brands continue to be the embodiment of  the values and the value proposition of what   you're delivering, the kind of service that you  deliver, the kind of experiences that you deliver.   Your brand actually is the manifestation of all  those. It's going to be very, very critical. 

Look back at the previous point I made. All of  this, I have covered extensively in my book.   On the one hand, I try to demystify all these  fancy technologies, what are coming at us. In   simple layperson's terms, I try to elaborate what  this technology is. For example, what is machine  

learning? What is blockchain? What is provenance? These are all words around what is artificial   intelligence. I tried to simplify it, put it in  layperson's language, and then say these are the   implications of this particular technology and  how you, as a marketer, should leverage this,   and here is a broad set of next steps for  you. It's like a high-level playbook, right?  In this, I keep talking about the brand  being absolutely mighty mission-critical.   It's really critical. The key thing is, when there is so much   of democratization that is happening, you need  differentiation. Features can be replicated. They  

can be replicated or they can even be bettered. Emotions are more difficult to replicate and   better. Once you occupy the slot in people's  hearts, you are sort of there – unless you   do something stupid to move that (what we  call) trust, that feeling, that imagery,   and that equity that you have created. Brand is  going to be extremely, exceptionally critical. 

What I would also say is, it is not just  the concept of brand in abstraction.   It is also the tangible manifestation  of the brand. What does it mean?  For example, a logo is a visual  representation of your brand.   They have been having logos all the time. But  many logos are not optimized. They have been   either historical accidents or they have  been creative expressions. They are not   necessarily purpose-driven, value-embodying,  visual representation of what your brand is. 

I'm making a very profound and very provocative  statement. Just mull over that. It's not just a   design thing that you are doing. It  actually needs to serve a purpose.  In fact, I will just mention another aspect  of it and come back to this point. Even if   you have a fantastic visual brand today, when  you go to an environment like smart speakers   where the entire interaction is purely  based on voice (the medium is voice),   your brand is visual. The interaction  with the smart speaker is totally audio. 

Now, how do you show up as a brand in that  audio environment? Do you have your sonic   brand? Many brands do not have a sonic brand. Where they have some jingles, where they have   some mnemonics, where they have some melodies,  it is not a scientifically constructed brand   architecture for the medium of sound. You need  to really invent those. It's extremely critical,   and I'm saying it so emphatically because  I have just come out of an exercise doing   this for Mastercard, refreshing my visual brand to  optimize it for the digital media, for the kind of   areas that we want to play, and embody the kind  of values and imagery that we want to communicate. 

It really worked brilliantly for us. We dropped  the name "Mastercard," as a result of it,   from our logo. Now, we just have two circles,  red and yellow, and that's it – on the one   hand – and we created an audio brand, a sonic  brand comprising of ten different layers.  We have released so far three layers and the kind  of change it is already bringing is astounding.   Today, we have already become the number one  audio brand in the world in just 18 to 24 months,   which is amazing. We are there as a top 10 brand  across all the brands in the world, coming from  

something like 87th just a short few years back. The key point I'm trying to make is that when   you do something scientifically and understand  the substance behind it, and do it in a very   thoughtful, methodical fashion, you can get  a quantum jump. That's exactly what happened.  We have a question from Twitter. This is from  Lisbeth Shaw, who runs the @CXOTalk account.   Thank you for asking this because I was just  about to head there. Raja, you've spoken about   the terms "loyalty," and you've alluded to "trust"  as being very fundamental. Tell us about loyalty,  

trust, and the fifth paradigm, what you  call the fifth paradigm in your book.  As we are entering the fifth paradigm, a lot of  classical concepts and theories that we have been   relying on, they will all break apart. They  will all break down. They will not just work.   I'm challenging every single big assumption  that we make in the world of marketing   and put it on its head through new theories. This almost reminds me of what happened in   the world of physics. Now, physics is the  science with which you try to understand things   around you in the physical world how they  work. You understand what is gravity,  

what is electricity, what is magnetism. Once you  understand them, you are able to leverage the   power of those either to build buildings or send  people in automobiles or do whatever it is, right?  However, physics as a science started failing  in certain environments. When mankind discovered   outer space, physics was just not able to explain  the phenomena in outer space. When you go inside   of atoms, the same thing, the classical physics  could not explain anything. When objects are   flying very fast, classical physics breaks down. A new branch of physics was born called quantum   physics. To me, that was the inspiration for  my book saying that it's quantum marketing.  

Many things that we practice in marketing today  are not going to work tomorrow because of this   onslaught of technologies and the kind of data  revolution and the kind of tectonic changes   that are happening in the culture. There are mega cultural shifts that   are happening all over the world. A  combination of these three is going   to totally alter what works in marketing and not. Talking to your specific question of loyalty. Now,  

I'm making a very provocative statement, so please  bear with me. I read an article in BBC (,   which said that a vast majority of  people, when they have been surveyed,   have admitted that though they are in a committed  relationship—either marriage or a committed   relationship of some form—they have cheated  on their partners, a vast majority, 70%-plus.  I fell off my chair. I said, "This  is fascinating." My thought was,   "How many people, even if they have cheated,  would admit that they have cheated?"   which means this number is probably high. So, I started doing research. Fascinating topic.   Why was I doing it? Because what I said is, in a  relationship where you have formally committed to   a legal marriage or a religious marriage,  whatever kind of ceremony that you go through,   or you are in a relationship where there  is an explicit commitment of loyalty,   you realize that there is a  consequence of not being loyal.  

The consequence could be reputational damage,  financial damage, emotional damage, and so on.  In spite of making commitments, and  in spite of knowing the consequences,   if people are still not loyal to their partners,   are we as marketers stupid to expect people  to be loyal to our brands? Think about it.   I said this is something that's going wrong here. Then I started saying,   "Okay, let me start my own situation. When I  look at my own loyalty programs, I have got   more than 20 different loyalty programs, and  each one of them, they compete against them." 

I have a Walmart Sam's Club. I've got Costco.  I've got Amazon Prime. I've got Kroger's. In   the same category, I have got four loyalty  programs right there. So, am I really loyal   or am I just looking at a value relationship? This particular item is available here.  

Convenient. They will deliver it in two days'  time. I'll take that. Or this particular one   is available more fresh, so I  will take that. Or somebody is   giving a big sale on some item. I'll get it. I'm seeking value and I'm seeking convenience. I'm  

not really loyal as far as my shopping carts go. The point is, should we reinvent the whole   concept of loyalty? That's exactly what  I have done in the book. I am saying that   we need to rethink how we are sinking hundreds  of billions of dollars (as a marketing community)   every year behind loyalty programs and change them  to what I call "Preference Management Platforms." 

Preference management means, every time  a consumer is confronted with a choice,   you need to influence that choice in favor of  your brand. You need a very different set of   platforms to be able to do that, and that's  what I call Preference Management Platforms.  Loyalty platforms, to my mind, are not  going to work in the future. They're   already demonstrating it in many categories,  but it is just a cost. It's just a pricing  

equation that you have got. How do you evolve  it to the preferential management platforms?  At Mastercard, in fact, I have been  creating that for a few years now,   these preferential management platforms, and  they work extremely well. That's the part as   far as loyalty is concerned. As far as trust is  concerned, I think that this is going to be one of  

the most valuable differentiators for any brand. Today, consumers are surrounded by an environment   where they don't know what to trust, and their  trust is consistently broken—whether it is news,   whether it is politics, or whether it is social  issues—or it is deceptive marketing practices   that people have seen far too often that they  actually will place a huge premium on a brand   that they can truly trust. I think winning and  keeping that trust is very, very important.  Now, trust is not equal to loyalty.  Let me also make that clear. 

Arsalan Khan comes back and says, "What about data  breaches?" We're so reliant on data now, as you've   been describing. When a data breach happens, that  goes right to the foundation of trust. How do   we manage that kind of breach in trust given the  construction of what you've just been describing?  The way we will collect, organize, store, and  retrieve data is going to dramatically change.   I have already seen a lot of solutions which  tokenize data such that, even if there is a   breach, it is what you find, or what the  hacker finds, is pretty much worthless. 

There are protocols that are coming in terms  of cybersecurity where it is the distributed   databases, so unless somebody actually hacks  into a thousand different databases (a thousand   different places) they're not able to cobble the  whole thing together. The expense that they have   to incur would be so enormous that it might  not even be worth their while to break into   those kind of distributed databases. There are a lot of solutions which are   coming out. They have different levels  of encryption and so on and so forth.  The point I would say is, particularly,  that as companies, as commercial entities,   which are getting data about people, we  have to be responsible for their data.   Number one, the consumer or the individuals should  know what part of his data (or her data) is being   actually gathered, how is it being protected, what  is it being used for, and do they have the right   to get the data purged from the databases.  This is very important. It's going to happen. 

It's happening already through, for example, GDPR  in Europe. The regulations I'm actually seeing   are emerging around the world. Even in the U.S.,  you have got California Consumer Protection Act,   and there are a whole bunch of other states  which are contemplating their own regulations.   This is one part from consumer privacy. The other one, if you're collecting data about   consumers, which can compromise them if it is not  well protected, it becomes your responsibility to   protect the data. Even if it means expenses that  you have to incur, you have to find new solutions.   It's going to be very, very, very critical. I think you're also seeing now a trend already  

with Apple and with Google saying that third-party  cookies will not be there. Apple's advertisers'   ID will be removed, and so on and so forth. This is the trend, folks. This is going to   be the reality because more and more people  are saying that we need to respect consumers'   privacy. We need to be cautious of what we  are collecting and how we protect the data.  I think this is a very pertinent question.  There are a lot of kinds of solutions,   which are coming in at this point in time, like  elimination of data is one kind of tactic or   strategy some companies are taking, like Google of  the world or Apple, third-party cookies, or you're   having scenarios of distributed databases. You are having digital IDs, which are being   provided, like in Asia. There is something  called My Digital ID Alliance, or something  

of that sort. I'm not sure I got the name right,  but the exact name I have got in the book.  They are actually having a consortium of  companies join and actually have identifiers   only relevant to that particular company  about the consumer. It is how you can target   who you are targeting and regrouping. Now, Google has come out saying that we  

will not have individuals, but we'll have small  cohorts or small groups who will all behave very   similarly. They have got similar characteristics  and so on. In other words, segmentation. Right?   Of a different type, though. I think these are the kinds of solutions,   which are coming, and that's a reflection of the  need that is very much there in the marketplace.  Margarite Johnson asks, "What advice do  you have for businesses operating in the   "splinternet" where digital access to customers  is controlled at the border of a country   and the Internet permission, availability,  and privacy varies by country?"  Each country, within its own borders, would  like to really assert itself (the governments)   and follow their own set of rules that they  formulate. It becomes very difficult to convince   every one of them to operate by the same  set of conditions and same set of criteria. 

There can be some minimum standards,  at best, that can be agreed upon.   There can be certain kinds of protocols that  can be agreed upon. But getting everyone onto   the same page is a humongous task, not just  for the Internet itself, but for anything. 

How long has it taken, for example, for climate  change and to get the Paris accord going?   How long did it take to break it  up? How long does it take, really,   for it to go to the next level – and so on? When there are multiple countries involved,   I think that's the reality that we are  confronted with. Now, having said that,   there are industries where there have  been transitions made across the borders   where common standards have been  agreed upon very well, like telecom.  Telecommunications, for example, has done it  fairly well, I would say, so that I can just call   from here on whatever would be the VoIP kind of  protocol, or I can do it using telecom companies.   I can go and I can use, or I can  use my phone issued in this country   across other countries that I may be traveling  to and so on. It has been accomplished.  I guess, given some of the approaches  and philosophies of various companies,   it's very difficult to get everyone onto the  same page on all these issues at the same time.   But I think it's inevitable that it will happen. For example, when WhatsApp has been launched and  

WhatsApp phone has been launched, it took a while.  Even now, there are some countries where you   cannot make calls using WhatsApp, or you cannot  make calls using FaceTime calling, or Viber.  There are so many solutions of  VoIP or Internet-based calling.   Some countries still permit you from using that  because they want to protect their own telecom   companies or whatever else it is, but many  of the companies have started coming around   and the league of those countries is expanding. I think it's the time. It's a matter of time.  

It will be difficult for outliers to stay  outlying and be isolated. That's why I   don't have a simple, straight answer for  that question, which is really tough.  Let's shift gears and talk about experience.  An important part of your book is this shift  

from advertising to experience. We hear the term  "customer experience" being used a lot these   days. Customer experience has almost become  the substitute for digital transformation.   How do those pieces fit into this puzzle? First is, I would go a step further to say it's   not about a customer or a consumer experience,  but it is about an individual's experience   or it is about a unit's experience.  Unit could be a family unit.   It can be a unit of friends. It can be a unit of  students, whatever – aggregations of individuals. 

At the end of the day, you are talking about  human experience to be delivered to them,   or experience delivered to human beings in a  fantastic, seamless, and delightful fashion.   We keep propounding about experience, but we  keep missing experience of people in a big way.  I'll just give you a simple example: advertising.  I like watching videos on YouTube and on the   Internet. I'm a major fan of Bollywood songs  or animal videos. I watch them. I enjoy them.  But now, my experience has been made so miserable,   it's unbelievable. I watch, for example,  YouTube. I'm watching a video. Immediately,   my experience is interrupted by some  stupid ad that I don't care about. 

It butts in, and then I'm waiting to see when I  can skip that ad. I'm not engaged with the ad. I'm   suffering that ad. I barely suffer until the thing  comes, and I immediately press the skip button.  Now, YouTube has done one further. They  said, now it's one of two and two of two ads,  

to make my life doubly miserable. Then what do you do? I say, "To hell with   you," and I'm just getting off your platform  altogether, or I go to ad-free experiences   for which I'm even willing to pay money.  I go to Netflix, a delightful experience,   no interruptions. It's fantastic. YouTube themselves, I got YouTube   Premium. They used to call it YouTube Red  before. They charge $13. It's ad-free.   They are making ad-free as a value proposition. If advertisements are such a pain in the neck,   let's think about it. Do we still want  to hang onto that particular paradigm? 

But then, the need is there to communicate  with the consumers, to convince them that our   products and services are great. That's something  which marketers have to do. How do you do it?  Instead of you tooting your horn,  let somebody else toot your horn,   which is the old phenomenon of word of mouth  but on social steroids, so to speak – if I can   use the word steroid – amplified vastly in social.  That's where experiential marketing comes where   you curate experiences that are  uniquely made available by your brand. 

When that experience is delightful to  the consumers, they actually talk about   it. When they talk about it, people in  their network, they'll listen to them,   and they believe the communication coming  from their friends or people on their network,   as opposed to your brand talking about itself. This is experiential marketing. Give a great   experience. Delight the consumer. Allow the  consumer to post or talk about it, and you  

amplify it. It works brilliantly. It has been. Like I gave you the results of my brand,   this has been the pivot in terms of from  getting a traditional advertising model   into an experiential model. This, I  would say, is at the very top of it.  Look at another factor. More than 600  million people have put advertising block,  

ad-blockers – more than 600 million  people. Now, what does it tell you?  If people hate ads, can you just afford—as people  who are sensitive to consumer experience—to hold   onto that model of advertising and run  the advertisements down consumers' throats   when they are revolting and they  are actually running away from you   or they are chasing you away? Think about that. Is this different from the notion of customer   experience where your goal is to create those  delightful experiences (that you were describing)   in the hopes that your consumers, your  buyers, will like it and, therefore,   share it? Is there a distinction there? Yeah, absolutely. It's not only about the   experience that you deliver during  the use of your product or service,   or just before or just after, but through  the entire journey – on the one hand.  

The second thing is in terms of how you  communicate about your product and service.   I touched upon the second  part when I answered before.  Now, when you talk about the customer experience  (consumer experience, or whatever you call it),   there are two things to be kept in  mind. We talk a lot about it, but   we deliver not adequately on those. I'll tell you. One of the companies known   phenomenally for its consumer experience are the  manufacturer of phones, also. Now, I'm amazed. How   can they miss something as basic as this? Suppose somebody called me on my phone.  

It takes me four clicks before I can get that  phone on voice, on speakerphone mode—four   clicks—which I can see simply how it  can be made in one click. But that   absolutely evolved company (who swears by consumer  experience) has a solution where, when somebody   calls me, it takes me four clicks before I can  get onto the speakerphone. There is something   wrong with that – on the one hand, right? What I'm saying is, though we have focus,   we have to internalize it. We are  to be passionate about it and give   that experience which is absolutely brilliant. For example, at Mastercard, what we try to do is   we have got all these sponsorships. We invite  guests. We run competitions where consumers win,   and then they come to us. We go to such an  

absolutely maniacal level of detail – obsessive,  literally. Every single one, by the time they   come out of that experience, they are blown away.  That's what we try to attempt and do it, right?  The thing is, when you are trying to focus on  experience and give a brilliant experience,   the negative experience (even if it is tiny)  can spoil the entire positive experience which   happened before that, and that's what remains as  a residue in the consumer's mind, which you don't   want. I think, from a point of experience,  it can make a huge difference but it is not   one and done. An experience has to constantly  be refined, constantly be improved upon,   constantly serve delight to the consumers. We have a question from Twitter relating to this.  

The question is the role of  marketing in creating better employee   experiences, which is interesting because I'm  in the middle right now of creating a model   of the CIO role. Employee experience is one  dimension of it, so what about the role of   marketing and employee experience? It's huge. We said that if we are   embarking on creating priceless for our  customers, consumers, and prospects,   what about our own employees? How do you bring  the priceless into the company? How do you bring   that priceless to tangible realms  within the company to the employees?  We, therefore, collaborate extremely tightly  and closely with the CHRO, so they are our   internal client, literally, the human resources  group or the chief people officer's group.   We work with them to see right from the  stage of, when you go for recruiting someone,   how do you represent the company there? How do you  attract and inspire people to come to your company   as opposed to go and join one of the Silicon  Valley companies, or whatever else it is there?  Once they come in, how do you make sure that their  experience is beautiful, whether it is, call it,   orientation, induction, call it whatever it is?  How do you really make sure that it is delightful?  Once they are there in the company in an ongoing  basis, how do you make sure that these people   are having a great experience at the company  in terms of whether it is they're using their   tools or the platforms that the company has  got or the assets that the company provides   to outsiders to bring them in? What kind  of benefits do you give to your employees?  It's a complete microcosm in itself that you  need to do it end-to-end. I think it has to be   a tight and collaborative partnership  between human resources (our people   function) and marketing – in a big way. For example, one thing I'll tell you is about   communication. Communication can really create a  lot of good experience for you or the opposite. 

Now, we have got a function called internal  communications, which are dual reports into   marketing and into human resources. Both of us  manage it very closely together. I would say   that's how you broadly approach it. Why are advertising platforms,   even with AI, having limited success? I think there is a good intention all around   that the platforms need to be good, that the  experience of the consumers has to be good,   that the brand's objectives are met, that there  is transparency, there is brand safety, there   are metrics, and all that stuff. Unfortunately,  those intentions don't always get translated   to reality, either for lack of investment, lack of  will to make it happen, or lack of collaboration   because the collaboration is not going to  happen just by one platform jumping up and   down. The whole ecosystem has to join the ranks. When the time comes to bring everyone together,   are they really committing and making  things happen, or some self-interests   will come into the picture? There is a  whole range of things that are happening.  What I am, however, pleased about is, we started  at the World Federation of Advertisers (which is   WFA) in which most of the top brands and many  small brands. They're all members of that.  

We formed an initiative called GARM (Global  Alliance for Responsible Marketing).  This GARM, its whole mandate is to make sure  that there is a global alliance of everyone:   the platforms, the technology companies,  the media companies, the brands, et   cetera. The medium has to be responsible, on  the one hand, for brand safety. We are funding   the whole platform, so we want brand safety as a  brand. But also, being responsible for consumers  

and making their experience really delightful. We are just making the initial steps. I think   this is now less than a year old. But what we  are getting is a good amount of initial momentum.  For example, it took us a little while, but we  have now nailed it saying what is harmful content,   getting everyone to accept as to what is  harmful content. Then, how do you prevent   a brand not showing up or to get the harmful  content, not show up on a platform at all?   They are things which takes a while. These are huge industry-level issues,   and the progress is painfully slow, but now the  inertia is getting over, or we're getting over   the inertia at the industry level and making some  very positive moves. Hopefully, we'll see some   good progress in the coming months and years. As we finish up, can you just give us a brief,  

simple summary as to why quantum  marketing is so important today   for marketers to understand and adopt? As marketing went through various paradigms,   from the third paradigm onwards, marketing  started losing its credibility, its gravitas,   and its impact. Many CMO roles have been  eliminated. Marketing was being fragmented, and   the functioning of marketing, which traditionally  resided in marketing, are now being sprinkled   around different parts of the organization. There is an existential crisis for marketing.   More than 70% of the CEOs have said they have no  confidence in their marketing teams. This is a   McKinsey survey, which is scary, right? It's sad. Now, with the slew of technologies coming   at us in the fifth paradigm, and the data  proliferation that's going to happen—unless   marketers up their game, change their approach,  and not get stuck to those old models,   systems, and old ways of thinking, unless they  get rid of them and reimagine, rethink marketing,   and be prepared for tomorrow—they will become  obsolete very quickly. Quantum marketing is the   new way of approaching marketing with a completely  different mindset that challenges everything of   the past and comes up with a playbook for the  future. That, I think, is critical because the  

rate at which these technologies are coming  at us is so fast, we have to do it now.  How can marketers adapt and build their  quantum marketing skills and capabilities?  I think it starts with self-assessment to a  digital mind, whether they are right for marketing   or not. That means, do they have the capability  and the aptitude for understanding the technical   aspects, the quantitative aspects on the one  hand, and do they have the creative sensibilities   and understand the consumers, the  psychology, the sociology, the anthropology?   Do they have the wherewithal to understand the  business finances and the technology aspects?  Could they be truly general managers or not?  If they are capable of being general managers   with a deep specialization in marketing,  that's what will determine their success.   They have to make an objective assessment. Number two, they have to invest in themselves,   to learn, to get themselves educated, to get their  teams educated. There is nothing wrong to admit I  

don't understand something. Recognize that you  don't know something. Reach out. Ask for help.  There are courses, free courses,  like Coursera kind of things.   Register for programs to understand these  emerging technologies. Take mentorships.  Do job rotations outside of your function.  In fact, maybe we should actually have a   collaborative arrangement where marketers  of one company will maybe spend a week or   two weeks with another company to see how they  do their marketing. These are very critical.  I think that upping their learning, becoming  contemporary with the current technologies,   data analytics, finance, so on is going to be  very critical. That's what they have to start  

doing very aggressively as of now. Okay. We've been speaking with Raja   Rajamannar. He is the president of the Mastercard  healthcare business, the chief marketing officer   at Mastercard. He wrote this excellent  book. Raja, thank you so much for   taking the time to speak with us today. Thank you, Michael. I really appreciate   the opportunity and I'm very excited about my  book. If anyone wants to engage with me on the  

content of the book, I'd be very happy to do so.  They can get onto Twitter or LinkedIn. Send their   questions my way and I'll be very happy to connect  with them and have a conversation. Thank you very   much for the opportunity. Please stay safe. Everybody, thank you for watching, especially  

those folks who asked questions. Subscribe  to our YouTube channel. Do that now. Tell a   friend. Subscribe to our newsletter. Check out We have amazing shows coming up.   Everybody, take care, and we'll  see you again next time. Bye-bye.

2021-02-20 19:40

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