As businesses in India get more competitive and go global, the country’s marketing industry is faced with the challenge of sustainability. Marketers are expected to master and integrate every channel and technology that pops up and forecast what’s next. In a candid interview with exchange4media, Vinita Bali, former Managing Director, Britannia, who will be heading the jury at the Indian Marketing Awards 2014, discusses the challenges faced by the industry today, and the significance of the Awards that will recognise and celebrate the most innovative and effective campaigns for their strategy, execution and delivery. Excerpts:
What, according to you, are the challenges for the Indian marketing industry?
The most significant challenge is driving the concept that “brands are businesses” right through the company. This implies that the entire value chain of brands must be designed and engineered to deliver sustainable and profitable growth. The “business of brands” therefore, becomes the rallying cry for the company and not just its marketing department or brand managers. This also means that brands and the business they generate become an integral part of board-room conversation.
Once this happens, it becomes imperative for marketing professionals to demonstrate the return that marketing investment generates, so that in crunch situations companies don’t slash advertising budgets, but spend them wisely and effectively to generate incremental sale.
As India gets its own marketing awards, how would you describe the evolution of the industry in this country?
Awards are good, but they need to be linked to results that marketing produces and cannot be based on fads or flashes of creativity. We are a long way from understanding marketing both as a science and an art.
How do you see the Awards in terms of industry engagement and relevance?
The purpose of IMA must be to recognise, reward and encourage marketing initiatives that create sustainable and profitable growth. Consequently, IMA must stand for a level of excellence that companies strive to be recognised for.
It is always important to showcase success. But even more important is the ability to distill the key factors that produced the success, so that success can be replicated and does not remain a matter of chance. It is my perception that we don’t spend enough time in understanding and decoding factors for success or failure and end up impeding our own learning curve.
How do you project the Indian marketing industry in the next five years?
One really cannot delink the Indian marketing industry from industry, because marketing is what creates momentum for any industry. The role of marketing is to identify opportunities and commercialise them in a manner that creates value for all stakeholders. The Indian growth story is inextricably linked to the Indian marketing story and the ability of its people to create products that are both relevant and differentiated and support them with a business model that is sustainable.