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We can only enable marketing, not drive it: Vivek Sharma

We can only enable marketing, not drive it: Vivek Sharma

Author | Ruhail Amin | Saturday, Mar 05,2016 7:38 AM

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We can only enable marketing, not drive it: Vivek Sharma

The exchange4media Group held the annual Pitch CMO Summit on March 4, 2016 at the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai. The presenting sponsor of the event was Dainik Bhaskar and it was powered by Colors. 

The Pitch CMO Summit is organised by Pitch, the marketing magazine of the exchange4media group and is spread across cities; this year in Mumbai. It is a gathering of the best minds in the business of marketing. The agenda of the summit each year revolves around marketing in the present context and discussions focus on how best to market to the Indian consumer in this dynamic environment.

The event saw some of the top minds in the industry discussing different facets of advertising and marketing in today’s changing world. The Pitch CMO Summit also felicitated some of the top CMOs in the industry currently on the basis of their contribution to business and marketing.

In his address titled ‘Experience and Brand are One and the Same’, Vivek Sharma, CMO of Pidilite highlighted how brand experience and brand involvement were two different concepts which are often misunderstood by marketers.

“Let me give you the example of the Indian Railways' online booking platform, IRCTC. While millions log on to this website every day, making it one of the highly involved brands, but at the same time the brand experience is often mediocre with customers often complaining  about slow speed, poor customer service etc.  On the other hand, the Fortis Hospital in Gurgaon presents a different case. For a non-patient visiting this hospital, which has all the 7 star facilities, the brand experience will be much more powerful while the brand involvement will be low. So as marketers we need to understand the difference in order to be more effective,” he said.

Stating that the role of marketers has undergone a drastic transformation over the years, Sharma spoke about how contemporary marketers can only be termed enablers and not people who can drive the business on their own.

“Today’s marketing is different from what it used to be. The increasing complexity of the retail business has changed the idea of brand experience. Moreover, parts of the organisation that deliver brand experience are moving away from the marketer. There are many touchpoints in the marketing chain that define this brand experience. While the sales and marketing team might roll out a perfect marketing plan, it may not be so for the consumer who is not serviced well by the customer care executive about queries related to the brand. So, the onus on marketers to become enablers and take charge of the different touch points of marketing is going to be crucial to deliver a great brand experience. We can only enable marketing, not drive it,” explained Sharma.

Sharma also highlighted the critical role influencers play in the marketing dynamics. He also spoke about the growing importance of ‘regulators’ and the influence they exert in defining brand experience.

Speaking about the rise of the "faceless influencers" in the wake of the digital reach, and the importance positive recommendations play  to deliver a compelling brand experience, Sharma elaborated, “Marketers need to pay heed to positive recommendations as  this influences the buying decision. The role of the regulators can also influence the perception of the brand. Take the recent example of the proposed ban of SUV’s in Delhi; it was at the recommendation of regulators like the Centre For Science and Environment (CSE). Moreover, we need to re-focus on the purpose of the product to bring alive the brand experience and remember that the role of the marketer has gone beyond the strategy to final touch points.”

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