Mastercard restructures global marketing function to be "more decentralised"

Mastercard is restructuring its marketing function globally. In a conversation with Marketing, Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard’s global chief marketing and communications confirmed the news and said the decision was made "a few months ago" for the function to be "much more decentralised" and closer to local markets.

Meanwhile, the search for a marketing and communications lead for Asia Pacific is still underway, with an announcement on the appointment to be made in due course. The role was last held by Sam Ahmed who was with the company since since 2013. In March this year, he took on a new role at Standard Chartered as its global head, retail and digital marketing.

The new structure will see the marketing and  communications being unified function.

“Our recent structure changes are designed to clarify some roles within the organisation, while also optimising resources to deliver the best results,” Rajamannar added.

"If you look at the rationale, it makes absolute sense because there is no duplication of infrastructures because you don’t need two listening tools in different places,” Rajamannar explained.

Merging the roles has allowed the brand to tackle social listening and consumer communication in a more effective manner. In the process, Rajamannar added that the new move allowed the company to become a “powerhouse of efficiency and efficacy” across the board globally.

Commenting on the current structure and the Mastercard way of working, he said: “Once we have found the right strategic approach for marketing and communications, we set the right structure in how to build that strategy. And we took a series of steps in doing that."

Evolution of CMO role

When asked about how marketers need to evolve to stay relevant, Rajamannar said that marketers should stop looking at themselves as specialists in the field of marketing. Instead, they should look upon themselves as more general managers.

"Marketers are not marketing for marketing's sake.They are doing it for the business’ sake. We need to have a mindset change,” Rajamannar explained. Next, marketers need to realise that great marketing cannot be done with understanding data, so they need to be best friends with the company’s data scientist.

“If you are not a quantitative guy you can't do it yourself, you have to learn. It's a constant learning and relearning and reinventing ourselves,” Rajamannar said.

Another consideration is the approach to technology. Rajamannar explained that many CMOs have a technology budget that is sometimes bigger than the CTO’s in the company. With the rapid evolution of technology, this is something which cannot be ignored and marketers need to educate themselves on how to be an expert in the area.

“Think about the drivers of profitability for your business, and then evaluate how you are going to influence that and drive that,” Rajamannar said, adding:

Marketers need to understand the linkages between the business and their actions in the marketing sphere.