Episode #035: Lilian Tomovich, Chief Experience and Marketing Officer at MGM Resorts International
July 8, 2019
This is a special episode of Mobile Matters because we’re going back to the cutting room floor for this episode and sharing content from one of our previous episodes with the Chief Experience and Marketing Officer at MGM Resorts International, Lilian Tomovich. In this episode of Mobile Matters, we’re talking with Lilian about the importance of digital acceleration and how MGM Resorts has made digital acceleration a major component of their business.
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Stephanie Cox: Thinking about the past five years at MGM, what has been your favorite initiative that you’ve launched?
Lilian Tomovich: Oh my gosh. I’ve been fortunate, I work in such an amazing company and business. There’s been so many fun things. For me, one of the most exciting things was about 18 months ago, I launched a new division for the company called MGM Digital Ventures. And that was really the impetus for us to inject digital capabilities that could enhance the guest experience. And so, that’s where our mobile app was created in Digital Ventures and all the work we’ve been doing on the Web. And, frankly, some of the stuff we’re doing around marketing technology and personalization. And so, that has been super fun to go out and hire the best and the brightest of experts and digital athletes, as we call them, to come join traditional, what I’d call, analog company. And we’ve recruited some fabulous people, built some super cool. They have the coolest office space in the company and just be a part of the journey has been super rewarding and exciting for me, because it’s an opportunity to continuously push and learn new things.
Stephanie Cox: Was that driven by the desire to be able to move faster digitally, to just innovate more? To some extent, there’s been a lot of people that talk about well, you might be in this industry, but we’re really a tech company because what we’re doing is building a product. Or is it more of that concept that you were trying to get at with Digital Ventures?
Lilian Tomovich: No. Because we will never be a tech company because we’re in the bricks and mortar business, primarily. Of course, we’ve got online sports betting and things like that. But our primary business is bricks and mortar and we’re very clear of that. So we don’t pretend to be a technology company. But the reason that we did it, is so that as I said we could be more agile, more nimble and in developing technologies that solve guest pain points, to really summarize it. And so we purposely bifurcated Digital Venture from traditional IT, so that we could not be encumbered with proceeds and somewhat I’ll call traditional thinking around our business. And really have these folks operate separately so that they could move quickly and be focused on guest experience technologies and not be encumbered with supporting our main systems that keep the lights on in the organization. So it was really about being more customer-obsessed and focused and being able to deliver products that would serve our customers in this speedy fashion. And, obviously, leverage agile thinking and design thinking and all of the new ways to approach guest experience.
Stephanie Cox: I think more and more companies are doing something very similar. Where they’re almost creating their own marketing digital IT group that is able to accelerate because working with traditional IT has been such a challenge. Because, as marketers, we want them to move faster than they can and we don’t necessarily always realize that a lot of their day is spent keeping crucial systems up that just allow us to function.
Lilian Tomovich: Exactly.
Stephanie Cox: Now let’s talk about what’s next for Mobile Matters. We’ve had some extraordinary guests on the show and we have even more headed your way. We’re also launching our second show under the Mobile Matters umbrella and I think you’re going to love it. Our new show Strong Opinions will be a weekly episode on Fridays, that’s less than 10 minutes and will feature exactly what the name says strong opinions. I’m going to dive into some of the topics we touch down during other episodes of Mobile Matters as well as some of the questions I can ask the most of the marketing and tech leader. Consider it your weekly coffee chat with me minus the coffee. Make sure you check it out next week when the first episode of Strong Opinions drops and we’ll swing back every Monday with Mobile Matters. I can’t wait for you to hear from some of the guests we have lined up. I’m 70 Cox and you’ve been listening and mobile matters.
I’m Stephanie Cox and you’ve been listening to Mobile Matters. If you haven’t yet, be sure to subscribe, rate, and review this podcast. Until then be sure to visit Lumavate.com and subscribe to get more access to thought leaders, best practices, and all things mobile.