Sunil Mittal, EVP & CSMO
What makes a good marketer?
“The Times they are a Changin’ “, sang Bob Dylan back in 1964. That’s the reality we find ourselves in today across all spheres. Marketing certainly is one of the areas that has evolved very significantly. So, for starters, good marketers need to be perpetual learners to stay in sync with the times. A good marketer needs to keep in touch with new approaches and technologies that enable marketing. They must also keep themselves updated with the latest trends in their industry or business. This knowledge translates itself into thought leading and impactful go-to-market strategies and messages.
Marketing is usually deemed a success when we hit the right person at the most opportune time with the most appropriate message through a channel that the person prefers. To achieve this in today’s world, a good marketer needs to be analytically inclined and data driven. Today we have new age automation technologies that can unleash intelligent insights about prospect/customer sentiments and buying behaviors that drive business success. Furthermore, there is a slew of market and social intelligence that enables marketers to drive messaging that is extremely relevant to prospects. A smart marketer must be able to assimilate this information and consumer data from various sources, apply tools and crunch data to be able to carry out personalized marketing efforts. These analytical traits and number driven orientation also enable the marketer to be able to track ROI and performance, especially in areas like digital marketing and for measuring campaign efficacy.
I feel that the CMO function today is more strategically critical than it has ever been. Good marketers have the opportunity to create solid business impact for their organizations.
How does one sustain their brand image?
Consistency and competitive differentiation are the most important factors for sustaining brand image. It is very important to have a consistent messaging around the brand across various channels used to build the brand image. Be it social media platforms, public relations, analyst relations, marketing and branding campaigns, advertising or content marketing, a consistent and differentiated message across all platforms is the key. Furthermore, marketers should avoid the “Me Too” tendency by focusing on unique differentiating factors.
It is also important to understand the perspective and contribution of various stakeholders in business to develop the right brand image and sustain it. Stakeholders could be investors, customers, partners, vendors and even employees. All these stakeholders are brand ambassadors and advocates of the organization. By engaging meaningfully and strategically with these stakeholders, a brand identity gets cemented over a period of time.
Where do you think Marketing is headed?
It’s an incredible time for brands to deliver personalized customer experience by embracing technology.
In yesteryears, scale was the key but personalization wasn’t. Marketers often followed large-scale ‘spray and pray’ models. This carpet bombing approach does not work in today’s times. Marketing today is about providing a contextualized and personalized omni-channel experience in both B2B and B2C contexts. It’s the age of customization and about being relevant.
Today, marketing also acts as a catalyst for growth by empowering organizations to drive context driven customer engagements. Marketing is well positioned to drive competitive differentiation based on a deep knowledge of the target audience and the customer.
Marketing, if leveraged properly can bring to the table, strong understanding of the customer’s decision and experience journeys. This insight is essential to develop the right value proposition that resonates with the market, as well as to develop the right solutions that solve critical business problems. Furthermore, digitization of the customer decision journey has made it possible to be able to personalize and better engage with the customer leading to better buying decisions which ultimately translate into better revenue conversion. Persona based marketing, UX, Augmented Reality all are becoming a complex reality in a world that is going digital.
Marketing will continue to be increasingly digital and break out from the traditional push based approach to pull based and inbound approach. Technology that drives the connected world today has emerged as a disrupting factor in the CMO’s world. In fact, some accounts have even suggested that in the longer run, the CMO might be a greater consumer of technology than even the CIO. Hence, we have exciting days lined up for marketers and marketing.
Based on these insights, marketers should enable businesses to dramatically improve customer experience by offering targeted and personalized solutions to their potential customers, and providing proactive recommendations.
Do social media channels really help marketers?
It is important to leverage social media in the right way and have right expectations from it. Many people look for tangible leads and outcomes from social and tend to write it off when they don’t see directly attributable ROI. However, we need to move beyond such perceptions. Social channels provide a platform for brands to actively communicate the companies message. This percolates downstream to employees, customers and prospects, vendors, suppliers and to the wider public. In the B2C world, social engagement gives a provider valuable insights about consumer behavior and the consumer’s next best action. This is important to be able to drive better revenue conversion. In the B2B world, social engagement helps in influencing buying decisions. Social should be used here as a means to drive sincere engagement with influencers through a two-way engagement. There are tools that can track the efficiency of our social media engagements, thus, must be leveraged wherever possible.
A technology you foresee as being useful to a Marketer of the future?
Marketing automation and Account based marketing (ABM) tools have already penetrated in most of the mature organizations and are shaping the marketing function. But, amidst automation coming into play, personalization is somewhere getting lost. I see increased usage of AI in marketing in the near future which will help keep it automated but yet personalized.
About Sunil Mittal
Sunil has over 18 years of IT industry experience across multiple horizontals and geographies. He has a spectacular track record of developing new markets, winning new logos, partnering with clients, creating & winning advisor led deals and building teams & businesses. His experience in setting up sales processes with special focus on “Social Selling” is second to none.
As the CSMO at CSS Corp, Sunil is responsible for driving business growth focusing on IT Services, Technology Support Services, Application Services & Infrastructure Management Services. He provides strategic leadership to the Sales, Account Management, Marketing, Solutions Engineering, Deal Advisory, Inside Sales, Alliances and Bid Management teams.
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