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Commonwealth Bank - Meet the tech savvy CMO

Holly Morgan | June 9, 2017
As the CMO mandate widens, the channel is chasing a new type of buyer - but what makes marketing tick?


Digital adoption

Backed up by strong recent financials - with a record half-year profit of $4.91 billion - more Australians are choosing to engage with CommBank through digital channels, illustrating how a traditionally stuffy industry is moving with the technological times.

Currently, CommBank has 5.8 million customers using digital, with 25 per cent of new account openings also coming through the platform.

In addition, 53 per cent of total transactions (by $) are now digital with 80 per cent of logins via mobile.

"This provides a significant opportunity to deliver a more personalised digital experience, which in turn demands a step change in how we make use of our customer data and shapes our investments in marketing technology," Shortt explained.

"Continuous improvements in technology and investments in technology are a significant lever we use to improve customer satisfaction and experience."

As one of the country's largest financial institutions, CommBank operates a customer marketing transformation (CMT) program, which has been in place for over 12 months and focuses on how to use customer data more effectively to inform media buying, improve targeting and lift message relevance.

"As part of this we bought our programmatic trading and paid search capabilities in-house, which has set the scene for evolving data capabilities beyond pure performance, and enhancing digital media measurement in an increasingly fragmented digital landscape," Shortt added.


Marketing spend

Reflecting the advancements made by CommBank, in organisations across Australia and the world, marketing is now responsible for critical customer-facing, revenue-generating systems and applications.

According to Gartner findings, marketing budgets increased to 12 per cent of company revenue in 2016, from 11 per cent in 2015 with 57 per cent expecting investments to increase further in 2017.

As the marketing leaders' mandate broadens, tech spending is fast approaching the levels of the IT department to the point that in 2017, CMOs could spend more on technology than CIOs.

A seemingly striking observation in years gone by, but today, marketing has new-found control of technology buying decisions.

"We work closely with our technology colleagues on important aspects such as the reference architecture, understanding and addressing risks, developing roadmaps to deliver on target customer experiences, and delivering key projects," Shortt explained.

In terms of influence, Shortt said the marketing department works with technology teams to understand the demand side and supply side impacts of internal decisions, including the financial aspects impacting the business.

Additionally, the strategy team reviews the investment proposals for alignment to the Group strategy.

From a channel perspective, and as a non-negotiable, Shortt stressed that consumer security and privacy are vital to maintaining trust in the integrity of the financial system.

"We work with partners who meet our high standards in these areas," Shortt added. "Beyond that, we're open to working with well-established or FinTech partners to develop innovative solutions that meet our customer needs."


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