CMOs Need To Continue To Educate Themselves Says IBM's Laverty

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Dave LavertyLast week, IBM announced the next step for an integrated software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering which formally combines the recent acquisitions of Unica, Coremetrics, DemandTec and Tea Leaf. It's called IBM Marketing Center.

So - Google has DoubleClick Digital Marketing platform and Adobe has its Digital Marketing Suite ...and IBM has its Marketing Center as enterprise solutions for the marketer coalesce.

Though not directly a part of his responsibilities, IBM VP of Worldwide Marketing, Information Management, Dave Laverty points out that his company’s Smarter Commerce initiative started several years ago: "[IBM Marketing Center] is designed to be quickly deployable so that you can manage a campaign effectively, on the fly and be able to get the analytics on the back‑end in terms of results without having to deploy the applications in a broad environment." It's the essence of a SaaS marketing platform that leverages IBM’s cloud specialization.

Laverty will present at AdExchanger’s upcoming Human Centered Automation conference on September 20. Laverty is responsible for the global marketing of IBM’s information management offerings that includes everything contained around data - the database, data warehousing, data integration, data quality – and the company’s big data platform initiatives. Prior to IBM, he was the CMO with Cognos which came to IBM through acquisition.

AdExchanger recently discussed with Laverty IBM’s strategy to serve the Chief Marketing Officer as well as the increasingly important partnership of the CMO and CIO.

AdExchanger: Google is known for its “marketing stack” where it is trying to provide a one‑stop shop of sorts for digital marketing. Do you see IBM’s [marketing platform offering] as competitive or complementary?

DAVE LAVERTY:  Think of it as complementary because it's focused on the ability to create and deploy a campaign quickly.

Would it allow you the ability to augment other parts of the marketing mix and feed into that process? Absolutely. Whether you want to do an email campaign, or link it to web‑based content and drive from a third‑party syndication perspective, that's the way you have to look at this. I wouldn't view it as competitive. I would view it as a way for a marketer to augment their strategy, and be able to get their marketing campaign up and running quickly.

IBM has been making a big push around the CMO, CIO union, if you will. Are you seeing any traction there, and what does that look like?

Yes, a huge amount of traction. In my role, I look at it from a slightly different perspective than the Smarter Commerce group because I'm looking at it from the technology and data side, whereas Smarter Commerce is looking at it on the application side. But those two things come together - especially if you look at what's going on in marketing today.

Ginni Rometty, our CEO, recently did a leadership initiative where we brought in quite a few CIOs and CMOs to explore the key things they’re thinking about. And what we're seeing is marketing is going through a transformation because of the amount of data now available as well as being generated. And then - how are they using that effectively to transform their marketing strategy? We really do view this as a transformation.

One of the imperatives being focused on is the understanding of each customer as an individual, and then creating a system of engagement that maximizes the value creation at every touch.

Do you think the CMO and CIO roles could merge someday?

I see it getting closer and closer. One of the studies we've seen - I believe it was from Gartner - said that by 2016 the CMO will have a bigger technology budget than the CIO. So much of marketing is becoming technology dependent that I don't necessarily see the roles merging, but I do see a CIO needing to become much more conversant in the needs of the business and the needs of marketing.

The CIOs that are very good are breaking out of their “glass house” and seeing their role as stepping up to support the future needs of the business, the business needs - not just technology needs. That's where I think they have to form a partnership with the CMO.

Where does IBM's Netezza unit fit in the discussion about the CMO and CIO? How do you see this evolving?

In this era of big data, we see Marketing and IT (CMOs & CIOs) embarking on a transformation driven by  the need to treat every customer as an individual, and take advantage of the the massive amount of information now available.  One of the key imperatives in this transformation is building a system of engagement to provide a deeper understanding of each customer, selecting whom to market to, what they like and dislike, what to offer them, how to serve them best, and then creating value at every touch point.

CIOs need to think about a system that creates and automates these personal interactions, in some cases at massive scale.  What's needed is a big data platform to support this strategy. Netezza analytic warehouse appliances are a key element in that platform. It enable continuous analysis of massive, complex data at lightening speed. Analytics are critical to this transformation.

Finally, who's got a longer way to go in this new data‑driven advertising/marketing role? Is it the CMO or the CIO?

Right now, at least from the data I'm seeing, the CMO has quite a ways to go. They're becoming more aware and more conversant in understanding the data. But they have to continue to educate themselves. They need to move from that fear of drowning in it to seeing the light in terms of where they can go with it, and how they can change the business.

For the most part, it’s the CEO who is demanding, "Hey, getting deeper customer relationships is one of the top priorities of an organization, of a company. How do we improve that?”

If you look at traditional retailing today and think about the biggest challenge most of them are facing – it’s sales through the Internet, which presents a way to comparative shop and convenience.

But, probably the biggest threat to traditional retailing today is the thing they're most concerned about in regards to a company like Amazon.  Amazon has collected more information and knowledge about you and I than you could ever imagine. This allows Amazon to predict. It's huge in terms of where it can take them and the notions of delight, desire and understanding what a customer really wants. Traditional retailers are very far behind on that.

Read interviews with speakers at AdExchanger's upcoming Human Centered Automation conference on September 20, 2012 in New York City:

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