What has been your journey as a Marketing professional so far?
I am what one can call a “born & brought up FMCG child”. I have worked in the industry for over a decade with a career spanning sales & marketing, 5 FMCG companies, 7 categories spread over 21 countries. I currently handle Dettol Equity for Developing Markets in RB (Asia, Africa & LATAM). I started my career with Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. in 2006 where I did earn my laundry stripes as one may call while doing Sales in Haryana. Post that I have done the entire rigmarole of marketing. Asst. Brand Manager, Brand Manager, Regional Brand Manager, Global Brand Manager & now a Category Manager for Dettol.
What are your role & responsibilities for your current organization?
I handle Dettol Equity for all Developing Markets (in short all Dettol & Lysol countries minus Europe & North America). The role has 3 parts to it. First & most importantly my team & I craft all communication for Dettol including Digital for all segments. Second, we partner with the local marketing teams to decide the media strategy for Dettol. It is a brand that spans 6 segments and multiple platforms within the segments. Hence, it is critical to have a support model strategy that can be scaled to many markets. Third, we partner with the local teams to generate consumer insights & local needs which can then be incorporated in the long term brand plans.
What platforms/technologies do you think would become important in the future in the marketing space?
I think digital will become even more important in the future but not just as a media vehicle. Two things which will truly change the way marketing is done today (at least in the FMCG world) are the following:
Real time data availability: as a marketer you will actually have the ability to know whether or not your communication is working. This while is a big positive; it also will be extremely challenging because in the new world only the most agile marketers& brands will survive.
Ecommerce: Once Ecomm becomes as big as Modern Retail, marketers will have to change the way they communicate to consumers because now the closure of sales will have to be seamless & it will be measureable.
What do you think are the three keys to a successful career in Marketing?
Apart from passion for the job which I honestly think is a MUST for marketing; the following are the 3 key attitudes/skills which make a good marketer:
Balance between Logic & Magic: At any given point in time; every decision in marketing can be made with the brain or the gut. As a marketer one must know when to let which sense lead the decision making. It is an art one learns overtime and with experience. Most of us start with being on the magic side of the continuum because we think we are the consumers we are serving (typical amateur marketing behaviour as I call it). We then slowly over the years and will experience start moving towards the other end of the scale and eventually reach a balance that works for us & the brand. But either extremes are disastrous and often hamper success.
Ability to Synthesize Data: As a marketer one is surrounded by millions of data points from zillions of data sources. To be successful it is extremely important to be able to sift through all of these and be able to put the data in your head in a framework that throws meaningful actions from it. To be able to do this continuously and eventually effortlessly is the key.
Agility: Marketing is not only bout fundamentals. It is as much about human behaviour in the every changing world. Hence, to be able to survive the extremely dynamic lifestyle landscape we live in, agility is a survival need.
What capabilities do you think a Marketing professional needs to build going forward?
This I must say is a rather difficult question. From a marketing skill perspective I don’t think there is anything that marketers of tomorrow need to learn vs the marketers of today. I think from a soft skills perspective 2 things that a marketer must be prepared for are:
Everything one knows today about media & consumer path to purchase will change in the next 5 years or even sooner and hence one will have to start on the learning curve all over again.
Innovation & Ideas will lead the way into the future and not just solid fundamentals.
What is your advice to people deciding between a career in traditional marketing vs digital marketing ?
I think the core of marketing is to understand the consumer you are serving and as long as one does that; traditional marketing or digital marketing are all just jargons. Having said that, I personally think people who want a career in digital marketing should spend a bit of time in traditional marketing in order to build a solid domain expertise which will help them in the long run.