What are the two big challenges marketing faces today?
There are two chief challenges that marketing faces, particularly in financial services: Collating the views of the customer, and connecting with customers on a one-on-one basis.
How can IT help in tackling these challenges?
I think both these challenges can be solved primarily by IT. There have been some amazing developments in the big data space, which can help us understand our customers holistically by integrating their demographics, transaction details, preferences, location, and social profile to give marketing real-time alerts on what kind of messaging would be most relevant and appropriate.
How can marketing and IT ensure they overcome the disconnect that exists between the two departments and work more in harmony?
What disconnect? I would like to stress on the fact that there is more disconnect between sales and marketing than between IT and marketing. Folks in IT and marketing both want many of the same things. To build cool stuff that makes us famous. I believe empathy is the key here. The point is, across organizations, unless everyone walks a mile in the other girl's shoes--they may be new, shiny, and pretty--you will never know where it pinches.
In your opinion, what would the IT-marketing relationship look like, 10 years from now?
Ten years from now, everybody will be in marketing. No, really. Look at it this way, there was a time when cars would break down so much that we had mechanic shacks every 100 meters. Today, cars are so well-built, they almost never break down. Let's take another example, once upon a time, every senior employee had his or her own stenographer or typist. Today, Anand Mahindra and his ilk crank out dozens of tweets, hundreds of e-mails and so on, and in that sense everybody is a typist, right?
That's why, 10 years from now, I think the best IT minds will be performing marketing roles, where they bring their deep understanding and apply it to create attractive solutions to customers' problems.
You spoke about how senior management is now using Twitter. A lot of companies are also turning to social media marketing. It's a medium IT disapproves, but is this justified?
I think IT is right on its part to be wary of things like social media to some extent. This is because the risks for both organizations and customers are significant. However, the truth is, it's not the technological risks that are a threat, but the nature of the social medium.
That's because, as with any new technology, it takes time for users to adapt to social media, and in the interim, naïve users end up exposing themselves to grave human risks, which we inadvertently blame technology for.
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