Rahul Mishra, General Manager, Marketing, Shemaroo Entertainment: Over time, technology can get commoditized, whereas a CMO’s objective is to build a brand for the future, one that is distinct and loved by consumers. At the same time, brands have to adapt to the technology trends. However, until such time as artificial intelligence (AI) does not become so strong, as to actually predict every aspect of human behaviour, I would imagine that CMOs and CTOs will have fairly distinct Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in organizations.
Manav Sethi, Chief Marketing Officer, ALTBalaji: In the new world order, Marketing is the new Sales, as the CMO drives growth for the business. The nature of the game has changed as technology is far more pervasive and a marketing guy has to have an understanding of technology. When you execute a campaign, you have to go back to the tech stakeholder for everything. Thus, the tech stakeholder has become a very important person in a marketer’s life, which was not the case earlier. At ALTBalaji, the CMO and CTO are collaborative roles as certain KPIs are linked.
Sonali Bhattacharya, Head Marketing – Kids Cluster, Viacom18: Children are the earliest adopters of technology and consume massive amounts of content online. However, my primary consumer, the eight or nine year old, is still watching television. A great deal of marketing effort is required to engage with this TG and we use a lot of experiential to connect with them. The KPIs for a technology and a marketing person for a kids’ brand is still drastically different. A brand like MTV would be working far more closely with the CTO than a kids’ brand.
Kapil Sharma, Senior VP Marketing & PR, 9X Media: Each of us have to become a specialist in our field, but you also have to be a generalist in aspects where you may not be an expert. Ten years ago, a marketing person’s job was just marketing, but today the marketing head also needs to wear the content hat and the tech hat. The marketing head needs to understand the technology powering various platforms and the CTO, who is the expert in this space, therefore comes in as a stakeholder. In our company, there is at least a weekly or fortnightly meeting between the marketing and the tech team because the viewers we cater to are between the ages of 16 and 24 years, heavily cued in to Digital. We have therefore adopted digital technologies to keep them glued to the television screens.
Abhishek Joshi, Head - Marketing, Subscription and Content Licensing of Digital Business at Sony Pictures Networks India: Until a few years ago, the CMO and CTO would never even speak to each other. However, with new innovation and Digital coming in, the CMO does not have a choice but to adopt technology, because he has to evaluate and seek meaning from the influx of data that is thrown at him. For example, if my platform has 100 million users a month, I need to decode what they mean, know who they are, what the consumer journey on my platform has been like, what they watch and the kind of time spent. For that, I need to learn how data is handled and that clearly means I am leaning towards technology. In a lot of companies the roles have blurred, the CTO and CMO work together, and Sony is one such example. The simple fact is that it is not just the CMO who has to take the tech route, but the CTO has to don a creative hat as well.
Anuj Katiyar, Head, Marketing, Research, and Branded Content, BTVI: In the recent past, news has gone beyond television. News is now on a platform primarily driven by technology. Marketing is understanding what the consumer is consuming and where. However, if I am unaware of how technology works, I will never be able to understand where the chunk of my viewership and content is being consumed.
Shantanu Gangane, Head - Marketing, Viu India: While content is the main driver which attracts the consumer and generates traffic to the app, the retention of the user, which is actually where we strive hard as a company and not just as a marketing function, is a joint effort across the board. It is important that we understand that this is a KPI which is co-owned in OTT platforms specifically by many stakeholders. It doesn’t matter whether the customer is owned by the marketing or the technology guy, the dashboard report (with data and analytics) in the morning is pretty much our bible. Data and analytics should be an independent role, independent of the CTO and CMO.
HOW DEPENDENT IS THE CMO ON THE CTO?
Abhishek Joshi: In Television, the strategy and research team reports to the marketing head and similarly, analytics in digital terms is research in television terms. Until such time as the analytics role is not one of my KPIs, my hands are tied. I need to have an insight on the RoI that I am spending on. My business is 100% dependant on the CTO. In fact, my business can do away with the CMO for three-six months, but it cannot do away with a product head or CTO.
Rahul Mishra: The role of marketing has grown to include functions like giving tech feedback on data, enhancing the way tech products work, new features that may be added, etc. Today marketing, to a large extent, defines the product along with the CTO. Even internally, all the tools used, including dashboards, etc., are all the CMO’s calls essentially. So to a large extent, we drive the technology that is adopted by the company.
Sonali Bhattacharya: As media people, we are all very lucky to be storytellers. As marketers, nobody digs in to data deeper than we do. While technology is what makes our products exist, the beauty of the product is dependent on us, the marketers who analyse the data and know what story to offer the consumer. It is not the technical person, but the storyteller who creates content that strikes a chord.
Kapil Sharma: If you take the example of Netflix’s show House of Cards, how did you get to know about it? It wasn’t the CTO who advertised it. The CTO may have analysed data and studied consumer behaviour on such platforms, but at the end of the day, it is the marketing and PR team that did such a good job globally, that Netflix and House of Cards became synonymous with each other, thus generating such a high number of viewers.
Manav Sethi: In my discussion with Karthi (Karthi Marshan, Senior EVP and Head - Group Marketing, Kotak Mahindra Bank) the other day, he raised a very good point. He said, “I am a CMO. My KPI is Digital. My KPI also includes the app, but development budgets for the app remain with the CTO.” Similarly, if you look at the analytics stack, those are all budgetary KPIs for the tools which we use, but they are with the CTO.
Anuj Katiyar: As the pressure on every business is high, one can’t work in isolation; be it in technology, marketing or even a CFO role. If I want to do something that is tech-driven, the CFO wants to double check with the CTO. So, if I don’t go along with the CTO to the CFO, my proposal gets shot down. The end objective has to be common for both of them.
Shantanu Gangane: If the Chief Marketing Technologist is the bridge, then it’s a relevant conversation. For example, if it’s a company which is evolving from B2B to B2C, or is actually wanting to be a B2C brand, everybody in that company has to be user focused. If a feature that is different from what the data and marketing team requires is launched, then the company is not user focussed and that is when the bridge is required. Traditionally the CTO’s role was at the back-end, responsible for providing servers and minimum failure between disruptions delivery. However, with the emergence of new delivery systems like over-thetop (OTT), the roles of the CTO and the CMO have become almost intertwined and somewhat interdependent on each other, much more than what they were earlier. Going forward, this may pose a challenge considering that the CMO often doesn’t fully understand what it takes to deliver a good technology product, while the CTO may at times consider the request of a CMO to be unreasonable. I think the time has come for a new bridge position; something like a Chief Marketing Technologist, who understands marketing and technology, and who can play the role of a mediator between the CTO and CMO. Fundamentally, CTOs and CMOs have somewhat different agendas and there is a need to find common ground which can aid in the synchronization between the two.