At the recent unveiling of the Pitch Madison Advertising Report, VL Rajesh, CEO, ITC Foods spoke about ‘Marketing through the lens of a CEO.’ His insightful address highlighted some points that marketers should focus on to make it more relevant for the consumer.
Speaking about how companies target marketing to keep it within their budget, Rajesh said, “Most P&Ls will report marketing as an element of fixed cost. The only thing that’s fixed in the P&L is the fixed cost including salaries, rent and depreciation costs. So the thread that we reach when we are in trouble is marketing because that’s the only thing that can give you short term results. There is an old aphorism saying money saved is equal to money earned. Mathematically it’s false because money saved is far greater than money earned. From the money you earn, if you let off all the variable cost, what contribution comes to your balance sheet is only a fraction, but money saved goes straight to your bank.”
Rajesh also pointed out the mistakes every company is susceptible to make when it comes to marketing, “Most working giants don’t know what they are doing and I am not including the top honchos in the field. Whimsicality random ideas under the garb of innovation, no commitment to the P&L or any term has led to a lot of suspicion arising about this function. Some of us believe we have to stay committed so that we don’t stay in this trough in the years ahead. But that is going to take a lot of gumption and we should help people who are controlling the budgets and businesses to keep that faith.”
He also spoke about marketing being very expensive with advertising rates gone up. But at the same time there are old-fashioned FMCG companies who have grown without investing a penny on advertisement like Shaan masala from Pakistan and Shakti masala “And then you make marketing of products so much more expensive. As a result many brands are now increasingly being built not on traditional media but on other media.”
Highlighting the importance of innovation in marketing and how people go wrong at times, he added, “Innovation in marketing is about making it relevant and finding out what’s the essence. Most times people work on the wrong sector and it’s too late for the client to realize that what they have worked on is wrong. A lot of marketing bucks are going into illicit response from customers and getting more bilateral response.”