The investment in marketing technology is becoming so significant that no individual region will be able to afford to go it alone and build everything they want. Instead they’ll need to share the cost with their international colleagues.

That’s the view of Stephen Yeo, Panasonic Business Marketing Director, who has been developing the company’s marketing automation tools for the past seven years. 

“The latest technology in martech can be fiercely expensive,” Yeo told Which-50 between sessions at Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit in San Francisco today.

“Marketing is a technology battleground and the cost of every generation of your platform gets bigger and bigger. I am highlighting to the organisation that we have to work globally to produce global platforms because the cost of investment is even beyond a continent like Europe — it has to be done globally.”

The message is especially relevant to Australian businesses which already struggle to justify the price tag attached to some pieces of marketing tech based on the size of the Australian market.

For example, Panasonic Business in Asia and Oceania are using the same marketing platform as the European business, where Yeo is based, and share all the investment costs.

“It’s actually a very good model because frankly countries, especially the smaller countries, couldn’t afford this now. It’s like trying to design the latest fighter jet — a single country can’t do it.”

Panasonic Business is a long term customer of Marketo — Yeo describes it as the “most transformative piece of software we have implemented” — and has also built components they couldn’t afford to buy off the shelf.

“We have got it to a point where it is working well now but there are new areas like apps, responsive web and, AI where we would have to think globally about these platforms because of the costs of investment involved.”

GDPR

Yeo has spent a lot of time with lawyers over the last year in preparation for Europe’s incoming GDPR rules which he calls the most significant legislative change of his 27-year career. 

Fortunately, implementing Market seven years ago laid the ground work for the GDPR compliance, Yeo said. He argues that without the right technology stack it so going to be hard to abide by Europe’s strict new data and privacy rules. 

Read more: GDPR Is Rewriting The Rules Of Adtech, And Rewiring The Global Privacy Debate

“When we implemented Marketo, GDPR didn’t exist but we felt legislation was just becoming more severe (around privacy and control of data),” Yeo said. 

That’s because there’s a strong overlap between good marketing practice and building a technology stack to deliver customer journeys and GDPR. 

“If you look at it there’s actually a massively link between customer journeys and GDPR compliance because to get that customer journey you have to have a single view of the customer, you have to treat that data with respect and unify all the different databases among the customer journey. If you’ve got that customer journey sorted out then GDPR compliance is actually relatively straightforward.”

To achieve that, customer data and the customer journey is going to have to be managed by one function, and marketing has the tools to maintain the one system of record, Yeo said.

“Every department in the company has personal data and it all comes under GDPR. I think we are going to have to reassess the infrastructure and the mentality that it’s our data and each department can keep their own records.”

Getting compliant

Yeo says Panasonic Business is ready for May 25th, the date GDPR comes into effect. 

To comply with the law, the business is using Market to its system of record for customers to opt-in and opt-out. It also keeps track of how long the business has held consumer data, for example a competition entrant’s details will be kept for a year then deleted, whereas a customer’s data gets kept for six years based on the last meeting, phone call or email with them. 

“We are connecting all our of systems into Marketo, like Outlook, CRM, SAP and it will hold all this personal data and will measure to see is it, or is it not, inside the data retention policy. If it’s not it gets deleted to comply with the law.”

They’ve also implanted strict new rules for their partners, introducing a contract called the data processing agreement (DPA) specify legally, technically and operationally how they should be treating data. For a large transfer of data, Panasonic completes a risk assessment, to identify the potential risks and mitigate them. 

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