IBM's CMO: 'Ladies should kick back this year'

Michelle Peluso says it's never been easier to make change and there are a lot of men willing to step up to the plate in 2019.

"Ladies should kick back this year because there’s a lot of men willing to step up and say this is a time we can make a difference," IBM’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer has stressed.

Michelle Peluso said it’s never been more easy to implement change thanks to advances in society and technology during a panel at CES in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

"We’re in such an important time and I come at this with a lot of optimism," she told a crowd.

"If you are a male leader in this room and you actually care about this topic -- if you don’t, that’s fine, don’t hire my daughter -- there has never been a better time to make progress. If this is a business priority for you, this will be the easiest thing to achieve this year.

"There is more pipeline than ever before, there are more models out there in terms of how to recruit and retain great people of color, gender diversity etc. A.I. can help us take bias out of things like pay decisions and recruiting. We know more, we can do more than we’ve ever done."

Peluso said she’s personally witnessed a lot of male colleagues in the industry taking ownership of how to move the gender and diversity conversation forward.

"We’re certain that, not only is it the right thing to do, you drive better economic return," she added.

Peluso shared the stage with Unilever CMO Keith Weed to discuss a whole host of topics surrounding data, trust and the role A.I. can play in marrying the two.

"Data driven marketing done well, everybody wins," he said. "By the way, marketing has always been based on data -- it’s just that we have a lot more of it now and we have the processing power.

"The trouble is, we have so much that unless we get A.I. to help us, it’s just going to sit there in a big pile."

Weed stressed that people shouldn’t be creeped out about the technology. He used the example of artificial light, asking the crowd if it could imagine a world without it.

"It changed mankind," he said. "We are going to get to that stage where A.I. has that same all-powerful approach if it’s handled responsibly."

He said that all brands and marketers will make mistakes in these early days, but that shouldn’t stop them from experimenting.

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