NEWS26 March 2014

Marketers need to become ‘data experts', says Pernod Ricard CMO

Asia Pacific News

AUSTRALIA — Marketers need to become data experts, said Pernod Ricard CMO Martin Riley, giving the ‘State of the Union’ address at the Global Marketer Conference in Sydney this morning.


Riley (pictured), the president of the World Federation of Advertisers, urged conference delegates to expand their skillsets.

“In the age of big data, successful marketers will need to be an equal measure of mad men, method men and math men (and women, of course!)…

“We need to integrate CRM, sales, public affairs, PR and corporate communications as well as traditional marketing if we are to fulfill this new role in the digital age.

“We need to build on our links with the other parts of our business so that we are better placed to highlight and change business decisions that expose our brands to risk.”

Activism, in particular, poses a risk to brands. “Activists, not governments, are leading the push for change,” said Riley – echoing a debate at last week’s MRS Annual Conference in London.

Riley said it was important to remove the walls that keep separate the conversations marketers have with consumers, and those corporate and public affairs people who deal with non-governmental organisations.

“Activism is not solely about confrontation,” he said. “Co-operation with companies is becoming increasingly important, not least because multinationals are concerned about environmental threats to their own future supplies of water, food and other raw materials. None of us alone can solve a problem so there are opportunities for companies to collaborate in ways they have never done before.”

Marketing is now “the eyes and ears of the business”, said Riley. “We see and we hear what people say to us in private focus groups and in the public forums of Twitter and Facebook. We have to make the decision about how and where to respond to these conversations but our first task is to understand what the significance of what’s being said as well as its implications for our brands.”

He concluded: “We’re going to need to become more sensitive and by becoming better listeners, garner better insights. We’re going to have to be more mindful of our responsibilities to society.”