Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Sep 5, 2014

The future belongs to the 'chief marketing technologist': Tencent Mind Conference

GUANGZHOU - A new marketing order is imminent, one ruled not by the CEO or CMO but by someone who understands the value of capital markets as well as technology and can apply that to marketing: the CMT (chief marketing technologist).

SY Lau, senior executive vice president at Tencent and president of its online media group
SY Lau, senior executive vice president at Tencent and president of its online media group

The above is the scenario outlined yesterday by SY Lau, Tencent senior executive VP. Lau was speaking in Guangzhou during the last stop of Tencent's MIND Conference, an event aimed to educate the market about the influence of the media platform. His comments echoed recent predictions from consulting firms Gartner and Accenture. Here we present paraphrased highlights from Lau's talk, which he delivered in Putonghua.

This year, the task to share some futuristic trends in the Chinese Internet industry has become very difficult. Why do I say that? I'm not saying there are no new technologies to be shared, and frankly the Chinese do not lack imagination when it comes to "intelligent devices", such as the translation transmitter I am holding now.

But what's the big deal about these? More critically is how technology can truly affect the core competitiveness of businesses and enterprises. We worry about some trends being just "a flash in the pan". 

It dawned upon me that for the past 20 years, we discussed "IT" with more regard for the "T" and seriously neglected the "I". Potential power should be in the "I" rather than "T". Because we should be concerned about the information exchange brought about by technology, and not technology on the surface. Over the years, the real impact from technology was the connection of information and connections of people. In the so-called Internet of Things era, everything is connected together.

But if we just give a speech about connectivity today, I think it would be disrespectful to your IQ.

Connectivity will lead us into a new era, one we tentatively call the Mega Web era. In this era, we will see the "I" being a real force, which is actually what all of us are familiar with: big data. Those of us involved in big data do some very basic work. We using different platforms to collect data and summarise it, but in preparation for more ambitious use of the data. When the Mega Web era comes, companies should know how to find information from big data to understand the user.

The practical application of big data has already been seen in the World Cup. We found that the German team used special data applications for each player and coach to analyse problems in every game. They used big data to lengthen the time of their global hegemony. The German coach has publicly said that data applications caused passing accuracy to improve 68 per cent.

In the Mega Web era, we will be faced with man-machine symbiosis and the fusion of traditional marketing, technology and big data. We look forward to a very worthy point in time where there is an ability to control these new technologies and marketing philosophy. So, I think that the future of the marketing industry will come from leaders who are coincidentally called Chief Marketing Technologists (CMT).

The Harvard Business School has also already seen the future development of the industry in this light, but it does not mean to say CMOs are no longer important, but that we have to proceed in this direction to better heights.



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