RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA: General Electric, the conglomerate, is pursuing a "promiscuous" partnerships strategy as it seeks to find new ideas that can help drive its business.

Andrew Markowitz, general manager of General Electric's Performance Marketing Labs discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2015 Digital & Social Media Conference.

"We have a lot of partners. We're very promiscuous at GE, because we are very external. We want to know where the good ideas are," he said. (For more, including examples, read Warc's exclusive report: Partnerships drive disruption at GE.)

The motivation to look for third-party allies – whether that is business publisher Quartz, marketing-automation service Marketo or customer-profiling tool Crystal – is fuelled by the relentless pace of digital change.

"Our businesses on the brand-side are getting disrupted on a daily basis," Markowitz reported. "We are all on the verge of disruption."

Given the range and depth of the shifts which are defining this process, it should be no surprise that a single company cannot tackle every challenge it faces alone.

"You cannot solve this from inside your four walls,” Markowitz observed. "If you want to go from being the disrupted to being the disruptor, you get external and you stop thinking that you can solve all those problems yourself."

When identifying outside experts, an important criterion coming under consideration is the potential to connect – and alter behaviour across – various departments, from marketing and product management to IT.

"Disruption is shiny. It's smart and it's fearless … But those shiny objects, if they routinise behaviour, if they change culture, they are valuable," said Markowitz.

One current priority for GE is achieving customisation and personalisation at scale – a task requiring the highly intelligent use of customer data, location and context.

"How do you create micro-experiences that are highly personalised and highly customised so that they have the most valuable impact?" Markowitz asked in describing this objective.

Data sourced from Warc