What makes a good marketer?
Someone who strikes a right balance between consumer needs and evolving technology in high tech sectors. Marketing is the ‘hardest’ job to do well in any industry, and doubly so in internet space. A marketer is continually drawn in two opposing directions – one by the technology, and the other by the Field. A Marketer is supposed to straddle the fence between Order and Chaos, reconciling them without forcing a damaging compromise on either.
For marketing professionals to be successful in High Tech, flexibility, adaptability and tolerance for ambiguity and passion are key personality traits. I think passion is the single element most critical to success as it enables executives to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and advocate for the customer inside the organisation. This helps in bringing forth the salient features and benefits of a product. They excel at gathering verified customer leads and building messaging and positioning to create ‘pull.’
Where do you think Marketing is headed?
Consumer purchase behavior is becoming more complex considering the rapid changes the way consumers are consuming information, specifically the younger generation. Challenges of integrating digital and traditional marketing have to be quickly understood by brands. Digital marketing itself has undergone rapid change in the last two years with the balance shifting to performance over display.
Mobile will enable more personal interactions between brands and consumers. There are more mobile devices than people on the planet. The way they look at content is shifting to small screen and successful brands will be able to create a more personalized experience with consumers. Branding is rapidly becoming a two-way conversation as social media has given consumers a voice unlike anything ever seen before. As brands track individual consumer behavior in real-time, they can use it to tailor the experience for that specific person and their specific behaviors on a mass scale.
Marketing processes, skills and technology will continue to evolve over the years. At the end of the day, those who want to adapt and win have the power to do so.
How does one use technology to further their sales?
Technology helps the sales organization in three ways:
a) More avenues and ability to reach the consumers
b) Segmentation through data analytics
c) Productivity improvement through Processes and tools like CRM & ‘secured communication’ to manage large salesforce across geographies.
Successful organisations in both consumer and B2B segments have adopted new age tools to reach out to consumers and achieve faster sales closure cycles. Companies in Consumer & Telecom sectors optimized working capital related to inventory and increased distribution reach. In our company Data scientists are key to e-commerce business who help us with predictive analysis and segment consumers/visitors based on their intent/buying history.
How does a company succeed in being high tech and high touch?
Technology helps in touch points across eco system. Apart from marketing other customer facing departments like sales and customers support can achieve customer delight using new tools, social media and mobile! Our approach of designing technology processes and product roadmap central to consumer needs helped Enterprise email business to win CIO choice award for three consecutive years- 2014, 15 & 16.
A technology that you foresee as being useful to a marketer of the future?
With internet penetration set to grow from current level of about 20% primary driven by private telecom companies, and consumers/businesses adapting digital business mode thanks to current government push, marketing will continue to become more social, multi-device tracking and segmentation will become the new norm. Effective retargeting and content marketing would be the key differentiator.
Vivek Sharma is Senior Vice President, E-commerce and Subscription at Rediff.com. Prior to joining Rediff.com in 2011, he setup ‘Business Partner’ sales channel at Bharti AXA Life, was National Distribution Head for Tata Telesrvices’ CDMA business. Earlier he managed regional P&L assignments with ESPN STAR Sports and IFB Bosch. Vivek did his Global Advanced Management Programme from ISB & Kellogg School of Management, Evanston, USA and MBA in Marketing/Finance from University of Jammu. He is an avid cricketer and runner, has participated in many marathons in Mumbai over the last few years.