Solomon Wheeler

Vice President- Head Marketing & Communication

Lava International Ltd.

What makes a good marketer?

We live in an age of prosumerism, and the evolution of the internet has radically transformed the way consumers today engage and respond to brand and communication. Today marketers face a challenging, if not frustrating, future. They will find fewer customers for mass-produced or commoditized goods and services and less consumer interest in such brands. The opportunity therefore lies in being alert marketers and tapping new opportunities in the areas of marketing research, product, price, place, and promotion .Also, gone are the days when a one size fits all approach to marketing could work – a marketer needs to understand the triggers across geographies as well as the relevance of mediums.

Today, a marketer needs to create customer experience that gets better with every interaction. A good marketer should lead marketing function as a business enabler – in intent, words and actions.  And most importantly, he/she should drive marketing strategies which are seamlessly woven around the core ethos of the organization. This is where another key factor comes in .i.e. the culture of your organization. Other brands may replicate your tangible offerings but they will never be able to copy your culture. Consistency in understanding and implementing the core cultural values at every level in your organization will ensure a seamless experience across touchpoints for customers and demonstrate integrity in purpose or vision of the brand and build a truly differentiated and endearing brand.

3 things you do to prepare for a meeting?

  • Be on top of the information / subject to be discussed in the meeting.  Get into details and be prepared with all the relevant information such as industry trends, competition, challenges or task in hand, solutions.  I also prepare for anticipated questions and apprehensions.
  • Gather information about the audience of the meeting – their views, apprehensions, motivations and what will drive their buy in towards the most optimal solution.
  • Be conclusive yet not rigid about the preferred outcome of the meeting to steer right discussions and decisions.

3 things you look for when you hire a person?

I look for a person who may epitomize the values of the organization.  E.g. In Lava, our core values are integrity, passion for excellence and adaptability hence when hiring, I look for such attributes in the candidate. Besides this I believe three things are extremely important while evaluating a candidate a. Effort b. Ability & C. Attitude. If the first two can score between 0-100, attitude scores between -100 to 100. Therefore attitude becomes the most critical factor amongst these 3.

Where do you think Marketing is headed?

Marketing is heading from ‘influence’ to ‘engagement’.  It is no more about ‘me’ but about ‘we’.  Engaging with diverse consumer set has become a central pursuit for leading brands. Engagement should not be restricted to ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’ but  it should be about building brand evangelists who believe and live your brand.

What would you say to someone who aspires to be in marketing?

Think about marketing as a business and not as a function.  You knowledge, skills and attitude must reflect entrepreneurship – doing what is right for the business and your customer every time.

What are a few activities you do at your leisure?

Leisure for me could mean spending some time watching a movie, spending sometime in the kitchen, listening to music or catching up on some reading. Lately leisure has been all about spending time with  my 4 month old son.

Do you love/ hate data?

I think data is critical to your success as a marketer.  The insights we derive from data, and the decisions and actions thereof make all the difference. But having said that data alone cannot be the basis for all decision making. By combining data with key consumer & usage based insights we strive to make a substantial impact in our strategy and brand building initiatives.

One app that you cannot do without?

Lately its been twitter

Profile: Solomon Wheeler is marketing and advertising professional with over 14 years of experience in launching, building and managing brands. He has worked with top Advertising agencies (managing accounts like Samsung, Coca Cola & Dabur) Telecom major Airtel, India’s leading LCC SpiceJet and currently with Lava International as Vice President- Head Marketing & Communication.

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