'An outward-looking mindset crucial for mobile marketing'

On day two of e4m Screenage 2020, Thomas Barta, Author & Former Partner of McKinsey discussed innovations in mobile marketing with GroupM's Niraj Ruparel

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Nov 23, 2020 6:04 PM
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The second day of e4m Screenage Mobile Marketing Virtual Conference witnessed keynote sessions, panel discussions and speaker sessions by prominent mobile marketing and digital marketing experts. The array of topics were centred on how the amplification of mobile adoption has become a crucial part for brand marketers to build an effective engagement with their consumers and curate revolutionary steps in the industry. 

The final session for the day was an engaging fireside chat session by Niraj Ruparel, Head Of Mobile & Emerging Tech, GroupM India along with Thomas Barta, Author & Former Partner of McKinsey. The mobile marketing gurus highlighted the importance of innovation and taking risks in the mobile marketing ecosystem in their fireside chat session. 

Starting off the Fireside Chat, GroupM’s, Ruparel asked Barta about the idea behind his book ‘The 12 Powers of Marketing Leaders’. Barta sharing the insight on the book said, “ When I became a McKinsey partner to tell CEO’s how marketing works was also the time I started leading mobile marketing which is my speciality. When you see the marketers and non-marketers in the boardroom, you see the people outside marketing be quite smart when it comes to getting budgets. So I thought we should bring this confidence and ideas to the marketing industry and that is why I decided to quit and started to research what it takes for marketers to have more influence and impact. There was little research on the success of marketing leaders and therefore I teamed LinkedIn with some association in the US and we felt that a book was a great way to get the word out. It was a desire to make marketers more successful.” 

Ruparel remarked that more often than not we feel that marketers are unable to convince the people internally about the innovation and ideation. Barta responded, “People in marketing have so many fascinating and innovative ideas. The problem is that a lot of them see themselves as marketers but not as business leaders. I hope this changes. If you believe in this ideology you will stay in your little silo, speak the marketing language, work on marketing programs and keep telling people what is right and they keep ignoring you. Whereas the marketers that have more of a business mindsight are the ones that have better conversations. That ultimately should be the aim that marketers take broader responsibility for the business and therefore can explain ideas that their colleagues bring to them in a different context. If this approach can be fixed then marketers will be more influential and have more fun as well as more ideas will see the light of the day.” 

When Ruparel asked why marketers are afraid of being brave? Barta responded saying, “Firms do not reward people for being brave. They reward people for being successful. We need to get away from this idea that we need companies that will tell everybody to take big risks. That is not how it works. What we need to realize is that we need to take calculated risks and if we don’t, the business will be less successful. Calculated risks can accelerate the business but it will never be a success factor.” 

Speaking about innovation in marketing Barta says, “When you are following your job description to the ‘T’, it is very hard to innovate. The picture changes when, as a marketer, you sit back and say: If this was my firm, what would I do? Or If I was a consumer, what would I want? We need to ask such future-oriented questions. We also spend a lot of time interacting internally as a marketer. We need to go and see what are the emerging trends. Too many people are cooking their own soup in their own firm and get busy pleasing everybody around. That outward-looking mindset is crucial in mobile marketing.” 

Lastly, Ruparel shared that in his decade long journey of being a part of mobile marketing he saw that initially, it started with SMS and voice-based marketing predominantly addressing rural India. Then over the years has moved on to fancy banners, rich media creators and more. Ruparel feels there is still space for more growth and innovation. Sharing his perspective on innovation and giving advice to marketers Barta concluded by saying, “As a marketer your job is growth. But it is about growing your business at a fast pace. The business has two main functions ‘innovation’ and ‘marketing’. If marketers don’t innovate no one else will take that step. It is also the legacy you want to leave behind and the impact you have imprinted on consumers.”

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