How should organizations look at Marketing in this era of disruption?
Organizations need to give utmost importance to Marketing and should focus on it, more than ever before. Because, amid all the changes that we see today, the epicentre lies with the customer. Marketing engages with them right from understanding their needs, to delivering them a world class experience and finally to delighting the customer, that keeps them loyal to the brand. Therefore, organizations must invest in a marketing function that keeps them aligned with customer needs and expectations.
How can organizations embrace a digital marketing mindset?
Digital has become the first port of call for your consumers to reach you. Simply put, digital platforms are just another channel of communication, with its nuances though. The fundamentals remain the same, getting your offering right, aligning your entire value chain to service the customer remains critical as always. In this ecosystem a new entrant is the digital way of communicating with your customers. In fact, it’s making our lives easier, I would say. Because we don’t have to wait to publish our key messages in a magazine or a billboard type of traditional media that took a long process time.
Now with just a click you are live and talking to your cohorts and receiving feedback and compliments. This is how organizations; especially legacy ones should view the digital dilemma. All they need to do is, take the first step and get started, once done, the process is organic and natural to adopt/adapt.
But what organizations should remember is that, it’s not the solution for all your business problems. You can’t have a bad product and say, ‘I am active on social media and that should settle it’. No, that is not the way it works. You still have to build the right product and sell it.
You can’t have a bad product and say, ‘I am active on social media and that should settle it’. No, that is not the way it works.
What are the top 5 things that organizations must have in their marketing plan?
Here you go:
1. Sizing the addressable market and analysing the competition.
2. Knowing your key differentiation and articulating the same.
3. Understanding the audience and their buying persona
4. Defining the customer experience before – during and post the buying.
5. Having measurable goals and tracking the same.
What are the simple but effective ways that organizations can enhance their brand?
The art of storytelling is age old and holds true even today. If organizations can tell their story about their origin, the founders, history of growth and challenges, that would engage their audience well.
Leverage your partners and customers to vouch for you and share their journeys with your future customers and world at large. And today you can share these through the digital platform, to connect with your audience that will evoke strong authentic responses from your community.
What is the role of content in the emerging digital marketing scenario?
Content is suddenly a buzzword. And with the emergence of social media, everyone seems busy publishing with hardly anyone listening.
However, content if tailored well and for the right audience can reap rich dividends. But what happens is, we keep publishing what we want to sell, rather than what our target community wants to hear. If the Content is authentic and helps the audience in some way, there is nothing like it. The more real time it is, the better it will be. Even imperfectness is fine in this context. The glossy sales collaterals do not find much audience as the consumers do not trust them. Consistency will rule the roost, audiences appreciate knowing what to expect. Credible and genuine content that meets customers’ needs, will win hands down.
How are the roles of sales and marketing changing?
The customer today is empowered with almost unlimited access to a lot of information even before they call on a company, and therefore the role of Marketing assumes a bigger stature.
There are multiple key touch points from which customers can gather the information about you. So, it is important for the Marketing function to find out the digital waterholes of their consumers and be there to showcase the relevant company information that is contextual and relevant. So, in this context the role of the Sales professional has come down, which does not mean the role is extinct. On the contrary the role has taken a different hue, it must be more of an insight’s provider, a trusted advisor, helping them get value from their investment and pointing organizations in the direction of what the future beholds.
So, while Marketing does a large part of the initial prework and post-sale effort, the sales team should conduct differentiated client conversations that will resolve issues/concerns on customer’s mind and help them buy. That said, both functions need to work hand in hand to tackle client challenges and convert them to loyal advocates of their brand.
What are the new rules of marketing that organizations are failing to recognize?
Today’s consumer is discerning and have plenty of choices to switch or stay. In fact, the concept of ownership itself has reduced much. Varied pricing models with pay as you use, rental and similar such are mushrooming, and these alternate types of pricing is a thriving industry by themselves. In this scenario, organizations have in control only the customer experience part, which they need to do phenomenally well in order to sustain the relationship and be successful in keeping them for a lifetime.
What are your specific thoughts on work life balance and employee morale?
The hard line between work and life has blurred, the strict compartments are gone.
Most organizations are doing quite well here in evolving their policies, they are moving with times and providing a lot of flexibility to their employees. From part time, remote working, contractors, gigs there is a bevy of choices they offer.
And finally, the call lies with the employee today mainly. If they want a long career, with quick growth then they must look at the trade-offs and that could well be quality family time. So, employees must do a reality check to know themselves first and what they want from life and career, and accordingly take up roles with an intensity level that suits them.
What is an advice you remember well?
Well just a few home truths that I have learnt over the years, which are:
- Don’t think too much of yourself
- Be receptive to where you are and be there fully
- In each situation, focus on one thing at one time and keep moving forward
What is your favourite book?
How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth, Karen Dillon is something that I enjoyed reading and would recommend as well.