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MasterCard mixes marketing skillsets

News, 09 November 2016
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ORLANDO, FL: MasterCard, the financial services group, is aiming to draw on the skillsets of both "classical" and "contemporary" marketers as it seeks to engage consumers.

Raja Rajamannar, MasterCard's Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2016 Masters of Marketing Conference.

More specifically, he said that the company "typically" relies on two broad types of marketing practitioner as it builds out its strategies.

And the first cohort of experts, Rajamannar suggested, possesses the capabilities that have long been valued in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry.

"The classical marketers come from a CPG background, where they understand consumer segmentation and consumer behaviour," he said. (For more, read Warc's exclusive report: MasterCard's untraditional take on sponsorship.)

Alongside these more traditional brand-building experts, Rajamannar argued that a new breed of marketer offers a crucial set of supplemental capabilities.

"The contemporary marketers are [focused on] test-and-learn, data and digital: 'If this doesn't work, let's do this' [and] 'Let's do this in real time'," he said.

But rather than promote one set of practitioners at the expense of the other, Rajamannar indicated that brands like MasterCard require them to work together.

"You need both. If you are good at one and not the other one, this is the time to blend both," he said. "Otherwise, be prepared to lose out."

And these marketers, he continued, must collectively develop programs that move beyond the previous mantra of simply meeting consumer needs.

"In the olden days," Rajamannar said, "we used to say that the purpose of marketing was to satisfy the needs of the consumers.

"But, today, it's not enough to satisfy the needs of the consumers. In this 'expectation economy', they want to be delighted. They expect you to go above and beyond."

This definition applies not only to the impact of messaging on consumers, but also its ability to differentiate the MasterCard brand.

"At every single layer of the revenue stream, we measure the effectiveness and then try to see what it does ... Does it give us a sustainable, competitive advantage? Or can somebody else duplicate it?" Rajamannar said.

Data sourced from Warc

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