IBM 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.

L-R: Michelle Peluso and Keith Weed.
L-R: Michelle Peluso and Keith Weed.

"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 SVP and CMO stressed at CES. 

Michelle Peluso said it’s never been easier 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," Peluso added. "If this is a business priority for you, this will be the easiest thing to achieve this year.

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 host of topics on 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," he added. 

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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