“Quite a few CMOs are still a little old-fashioned while thinking of technology”

“Every CEO must think like a CMO, Every CMO must think like a CEO” – Anonymous

The role of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) has been expanded in the new normal – while the core role continues to be growing the business. The stress is also on setting long term vision and strategy in an evolving market ecosystem, especially amid the pandemic. CMOs today have changed gears and have started focusing on innovation, technology and growth. Growth in Tier 2 and 3 towns, embracing technology for better insights and market data, telling effective stories and the emergence of influencer marketing are some of the new priorities for the CMOs in the changing market scenario and consumer behaviour. With these shifting priorities, today it is more crucial that CMOs manage new customer expectations, adapt to a new world and make brands more relevant to their audiences.

To get a better perspective on how brands are planning to reboot and grow after a severely disrupted 2020, Adgully brought together some of the best marketing minds from the industry to share their insights at CMOs’ CHARCHA, which was held on October 28, 2021. The theme for the inaugural edition of the event was ‘Taking forward the growth momentum’.

Someone has correctly pointed out that once a new technology rolls over you, if you are not a part of the esteemed roller, you are a part of the road. That tells you that when new technology comes in you need to understand what it means for your business and how you can make good use of it.

The panel on ‘Embracing Technology’ was moderated by Prabhakar Tiwari, Chief Growth Officer, Angel One, and the panelists who joined him included:

Aashish Walia, CMO, IndiaFirst Life

Prateek Malpani, Head of Brand, Wakefit

Shenaz Bapooji, CMO, Shopmatic

Starting with the discussions, Angel One’s Prabhakar Tiwari asked India First Life’s Aashish Walia about some of the key focus areas that technology helps the CMOs in today’s marketing world. Walia responded by saying, “Technology, today plays a role in everything that anybody is doing, and especially when, in the marketing space, so the way I look at technology, I would call it in a very simple manner – ABCD in marketing world, where the ‘A’ would stand for Analytical Data that you collect, because today in the world of marketing everything is measurable. There are no traditional ways, where you just do the ads on traditional media and you don’t measure it; today, you measure everything that you are doing, so a lot of analytical data inputs that come in are measured.”

Continuing further, he said, “Secondly, once you have collected the data from various touch points, the next will be Benefiting the customer from that data. There’s no point collecting the data if you are not benefiting the customer, so that’s the ‘B’.”

According to Walia, ‘C’ is about how to benefit the consumer. “How do you use the content and set the context for the customer using the data, offering something which is beneficial to the customer in the right context, in the right manner, and creating digital synergy in the ecosystem.”

“Whether it is digital sales, whether it has digital automation, whether it has digital marketing, all of these steps play a crucial role, because you do not reach D unless you start with A, B and C. Today, there are numerous ways of collecting those data points from websites and social media from various brand touch points, from customer experiences, from feedbacks to collect and then how you cull out the right experiences from those data and improve your processes in the journey – that’s where I think technology plays a role today in marketing, which is huge, today I don’t think there is any marketer who can live without technology,” Walis emphasised.

After Walia’s ABCD framework in the marketing world, Shopmatic’s Shenaz Bapooji was asked to elaborate on the ‘XYZ’ things that mareters are using in terms of technology. While stating that Shopmatic helps businesses and individual entrepreneurs go online, Bapooji noted, “Now we live and breathe technology every day, and we make it a point to ensure that we are ahead of the curve in making sure that the customer and the seller both have the best experience when it comes to the online world. I feel that quite a few of the CMOs are still a little old-fashioned while thinking of technology and while it is an extremely important thing to do, which is like embracing e-commerce, a lot of people are still grappling with just the basics. Then there is also this old fashioned way of thinking that technology should be relegated to the IT department and should not be owned by the lead in the marketing field, or the ‘C’ level people. I think one needs to just bite into technology, understand e-commerce, figure out solutions that work for your customers. Don’t go in and sign up for everything, everything is not for everyone.”

Continuing further, she said, “There are a lot of new fangled terminologies that you hear, but you don’t need to fall prey to those and will have to figure out for yourself. We enable commerce across the board – whether you want to create a web store or do social commerce or you want to sell in market places or you want to sell through live video interactions, there are a gamut of possibilities.”

Speaking on how technology is playing a role in addressing the challenge of looking at real time data with customers to gain insights, Wakefit’s Prateek Malpani first of all praised Walia’s ABCD framework and said that for him, the concept of technology or digital transformation or digital experience had never come second, “because our brands and what we worked, it is almost all digital first, more so when we are a direct-to-consumer brand. So, technology is something that where we start placing our building blocks with is not an afterthought anymore; brands, even FMCG brands, are now realising that. At the end of the day, technology will help you in identifying secondary insights, identifying the customer, and finally analysing the data on a real-time basis to give a holistic digital experience which is consistent with brand.”

These are edited excerpts. For the complete discussion, watch below:


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