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MRM//McCann global CEO: ‘We cannot let data and tech drive marketing’

With talks of digital transformation, data analytics and artificial intelligence, the marketing landscape today has no doubt gotten more complex. CMOs of today, said MRM//McCann global CEO Kate MacNevin (pictured) are challenged to understand the value exchange that comes with the data they collect.

Despite the large volume of technologies in the market today, MacNevin said that ultimately its the human-centricity is what will set companies and great CMOs apart. Blindly deploying tech will do nothing to achieve the results that marketers are looking for. “We cannot let the data and tech drive marketing,” she added.

Today’s landscape, according to MacNevin, requires marketers to understand the entire ecosystem – from social media listening to research and data analytics to really resonate with the consumer. This includes examining unstructured data such as emojis, blogs, and call centre information. Only with those knowledge can marketers truly paint a holistic “relationship map” that captures customers’ pain points as well as the opportunity moments and risks of a breakdown.

“I don’t think we can be all things to all people. We do ourselves a disservice when we do that. We have to be sensitive to diversity and cultural nuances to be meaningful in the local markets,” said MacNevin, who was promoted from her previous role as global president and COO in December 2018.

As such, marketers have to understand who they want to connect with, what that specific consumer needs and respond at the right place and time, with the right message. This requires marketers to harness suitable technologies to understand their audience profiles and find out the best way to engage them. It is now compulsory for companies to meet customers’ expectations of privacy safeguards, personalised communications and quality experiences. She added:

Because of data and technology, consumers don’t expect to be bombarded with messages everywhere. They have an expectation of a personalised relationship with a brand.

However, she admits it is easier said than done as the rise of technology has also overturned businesses’ understanding of the customer journey.

The focus for MRM//McCann

With more savvy consumers doing their research on various mediums and platforms, the customer journey is no longer linear. Untangling this complexity is where MRM//McCann is now putting a lot of its focus on explained MacNevin, “We are in the business of building relationships, be it a digital experience or a loyalty programme. Everything we do is customer relationship management.”

The agency is also currently seeing business-to-business growth in sectors such as automotive, financial services and packaged goods, where there is much demand for automation and personalisation.

About half of MRM//McCann’s business comes from creative and marketing work, while the rest is split between data and technology pillars.

To help clients connect with consumers in relevant way and build deep experiences, McCann currently has a global intelligence unit, named Truth Central, dedicated to unearth macro level factors that drive people’s attitudes and behaviours about life, brands and marketing. The advertising agency network also utilises a proprietary thought leadership platform named Hot Sauce where its strategists globally identify and contribute future trends, technologies and innovation on a weekly basis.

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