500 issues of this newsletter ago, China had just overtaken Japan to become the world’s 2nd largest economy. WikiLeaks and Cablegate were big news. MakeMyTrip had just debuted on Nasdaq. Instagram had just been launched.

Just a 100 issues ago, Priyanka Chopra invested in Bumble which has now had a successful IPO. It was also the Year-before-COVID. Jet Airways was more than a lively Twitter handle, though already struggling.

My newsletters are a record of the speed of change in business, and the rise and fall of key players (#401 Chanda and the Business of Morals).
I started writing newsletters when I worked at Infosys circa 2000. It was a way to get more mindshare for our work. Email was still quite new, but already our inboxes were full. The way to stand out was to have innovative subject headers. Some things don’t change 🙂

Having continued the practice in iGATE and Wipro it seemed logical that I’d write one when I founded Paul Writer. Initially my newsletters were intended to drive engagement with marketers and conversation around our work. For example, #66 from 2012 features interviews with Sanjeev Kapoor (then CMO for Citi, now CMO for Metlife Asia), Dharini Mishra (back at Suzlon, now as VP Corp Comm and Strategic Transformation), K. Ramakrishnan (then CMO for Coffee Day, now MD for Kantar Worldpanel) and others based on a program we did in association with IBM identifying the top 50 marketers in India using technology to drive their business  I think we picked some real winners based on where they are now 🙂

My newsletters have evolved over the years, as have I. Since 2014, I have been appointed as an Independent Director to the Boards of five publicly listed companies. I also advise a number of companies on the best way to position their offering in the market, and then the most effective way to generate a brand pull. This has broadened my horizons and allowed me to have fun with topics like #497 do you speak Manga and last week’s issue on Diversity and the Lady CMO.

I write on topics I find interesting, but they are hooked back to my specialisation, marketing. Peter Drucker famously said that the business has only two basic functions – innovation and marketing. Rest are costs. India has tons of innovation but we’re still evolving from a scarcity economy, so marketing lags. Don’t believe me? Check out last week’s quiz on World Famous Brands From India that you probably don’t know.

In just one quarter – April to June – India saw 17,200 new companies spring up, bring the tally of active companies up to 1.37million. There are 50,000 registered startups. Each company needs a marketing strategy. I’ll bet they all have a marketing plan. But the strategy – do we have enough good strategists to put that together? LinkedIn shows just 59,000 people who call themselves marketing strategists. Yeah, I know, unfashionable these days when everyone is a “growth guru”. And even in that small pool many are social media strategists or content media strategists – not full stack. So. If you want to have a good marketing strategy you’re either going to have to do some crazy good marketing to attract the few good CMOs who exist, or, do it yourself. I’d like my newsletter (and book!) to help you in that journey.

Here’s my own cry for help – tell me what would make you open this newsletter more often? What would make you share it with colleagues? How can I make it better for you?

Writing is a performing art. When you write back to an author or “like” their posts, a real person (me!) does a little jig of joy.

Thanks so much for being such a wonderful and giving community. Looking forward to writing another 500 🙂

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