When Raja Rajamannar became CMO of MasterCard Worldwide in 2013, he moved quickly to transform how the credit card giant measures marketing. His artillery: Advanced Big Data analytics. MasterCard had always been a data-driven organization. But the real power and full potential of data was not being fully realized by marketing.
Rajamannar involved finance early. To spearhead analytic efforts, he assigned a finance person – who was already embedded in marketing – to create an ROI evaluation framework and integrated her deeper into the marketing function. With a better understanding of the marketing context, she has brought a new level of financial discipline and rigor to the marketing team. This has reframed the conversation to balance the interests of both sides.
For example, in the credit card business, understanding the importance of deals with issuing banks is critical. While marketing might focus on maximizing card transactions, or swipes, finance understands that not all swipes are equal (depending on the deal with a given bank). Likewise, marketing wants to clearly quantify the impact of its long-term branding efforts while finance is more focused on macro-economic drivers of marketing performance, such as interest rates, employment levels, inflation and retail sales.