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The New Chief Marketing Officer

Ashley Tollitt, Director Marketing, Asia Pacific at Verizon | May 12, 2014
The CMO role is at a tipping point

Companies need to deliver a well-integrated and consistent experience for customers. To accomplish this, they need a unified view of their customers and the key levers of their business. Reliance on technology means CMOs need to acknowledge CIOs as primary strategic partners in delivering an overall customer experience.  Collaborating closely to define and map out the path towards successfully achieving business objectives nurtures a progressive relationship between CIOs and CMOs. 

As the need to engage with customers across multiple devices, online and digital mediums allows companies greater reach, CMOs need to be even more aware of potential threats to their brand. Data breaches are common place. According to Verizon's Data Breach Investigations Report, in some cases it can take months for a breach to be detected.[6]

A security breach can significantly damage a company's reputation with potential repercussions on consumer confidence. Facebook had 6 Million user email addresses and telephone numbers exposed[7]. Evernote had to reset 50 Million user passwords after systems detected attacker intrusion[8]. Living Social had 50 million names, email addresses and user dates of birth exposed[9], and the passwords for 6.5 million LinkedIn accounts were stolen and published online[10] 

Just recently, hackers stealing credentials from a refrigeration contractor infiltrated Target, resulting in the compromise of 40 million credit and debit card accounts and the personal data of up to 70 million people. Target was hit by $61 million of total expenses tied to the breach and has been unable to come up with an estimate for future costs related to the attack.[11] Verizon is also investigating two more breaches at retailers that appear to have been hacked at the same time as the massive holiday data breach at Target.[12]

Over the past few years, we have started to see countries across Asia Pacific introduce tougher privacy and personal data protection laws. Australia, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and India have all set privacy standards by establishing personal data protection laws. Some countries have also adopted strict data breach reporting requirements with tough financial penalties for non-compliance. For example, in Australia, corporations found in breach of privacy laws or data breach notification requirements can face civil penalties of up to AUD$1.7 million. Non-corporate entities can face monetary penalties of up to AUD$340,000.[13] 

CMOs need to expand their thinking to comply with local privacy and personal data protection laws. They also need to work closely with CIOs to ensure increased vigilance and responsiveness to security issues right to the point of engagement with customers. Cyber security and data protection should be a core consideration when architecting an end-to-end customer experience.


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