Embracing the technologies of the future, hand in hand | Namrata Balwani | CMO Consultant

Embracing the technologies of the future, hand in hand | Namrata Balwani | CMO Consultant

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Welcome to another episode of The Brand Called You a vodcast and podcast show that brings you leadership lessons, knowledge, experience and wisdom from 1000s of successful individuals from around the world. I'm your host, Ashutosh Garg and today I'm delighted to welcome a very, very senior and accomplished marketer from Dubai, UAE. Namrata Balwani. Namrata, Welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited to be here.

Thank you. Namrata is the Chief Marketing Officer, CMO Consultant. She has previously headed digital marketing and customer analytics at the landmark group. So Namrata before we start talking about marketing, tell me a little bit about your own journey in brief. Sure, it's been quite interesting because the way I approach life is to take risks, and see what the result is so many risks not not at risk. I started my career in advertising. I'm a graduate of mica so went in campus

placement into advertising. Eventually, I was at Group M and Group M and was formed in India, so I was part of access. And then somewhere in 2005, I got this opportunity to go found a digital agency. This was called media to win. So did that from 2005 to 2015. That was a good decade, we built it from two people or to co-founders to a team with 40 plus people, three cities, lots of great clients working with us, many of whom we brought onto digital for the first time, because that was the early days. And then what happened, I think I did face some bit of burnout. It's very hard being an entrepreneur for

10 years, and I decided to take a mini break like five, six months, and then found myself at Ogilvie and Gurgaon. So I moved cities, which was a big deal for me. I've always been in Mumbai. So moving to Gurgaon was interesting, challenging, and then being part of Ogilvie, which is a massive group, it's so much learning on brand. So I was heading the digital team,

but I got this opportunity to come to the buyer to the landmark group and I decided, why not take another risk, different kind of role, not agency, different city, and I've been here ever since. But since the since 2020, or 2019, actually, just before the COVID, lockdown started, I decided to become an independent consultant. Earlier timing, because obviously for six months are locked down. I was like, Why

did I do this. But things have changed since then. And it's great to be here. It's great to work with a lot of brands today, I work a lot more with B2B and technology brands. And it's really fun to take a piece of technology and turn it into a brand story and an emotional. How wonderful. And you know, when I was reading about you,

you state that you're at the intersection of business marketing data and technology helped me understand this. And if possible, give me an example. Sure. What about is when you're in the advertising side, at least that's what I felt when I'm on the advertising side. I'm looking at marketing from a very specific lens. And then when I moved into landmark, obviously, it was a huge learning experience to say, how do we translate what we've learned about marketing from an advertising perspective, being part of an organization and translate it and organizational goals, the business model into very hard realities of what does it mean for marketing to drive which KPIs and to use those KPIs? Obviously, an organization like landmark which has been traditionally a very large but legacy retailer, hacking, and ditch transform themselves, and that's where the role of data and technology comes in. So it was really saying put it all

together. Marketing is about taking business goals and translating them into much better marketing influence them. And then using a certain level of transparency and using the power of data and technology to make your marketing more effective for revenue generation. Well said, that's what that means.

So my next question is, how do you define digital transformation? And why is it important? Why do companies need to go through this? Today, it's inevitable. The reason being that no matter what industry, a company is in, there is so much track so much data, so many processes, so much efficiency that can be built in that without using the power of technology and without using the power of data. It's not possible, in my opinion, to be as efficient or as productive or as as far forward in your industry as possible. So digital transformation is not really only about digital marketing, or digitalization, as it's conventionally called. So it's more about how do we take per company and the role of our business and say, does digital or technology play a role at the heart of our business? Are we able to create even a new business model in an industry that stagnating? And how do we take the power of data intact, not only in marketing efforts, but across the organization, whether it's supply chain, its operations, its sales, its people management. And so any company that embarks on this transformation is doing it simply because they believe that we can better our products for our customers, if we adopt technology that helps us achieve certain goals.

Interesting. And what would you say are some of the key elements of a successful digital marketing strategy? From a digital marketing perspective? I'll say we start at the heart of it, which is what business goals? And then what is the role of digital marketing within the marketing framework? What are the KPIs when expects digital to achieve? But how does it interplay with other media? Maybe offline, maybe online, whatever it might be? How do they all come together? And then when you build out a digital marketing strategy, it's simply about saying, what's our customer journey? What is the stage at which we believe we want interventions in this customer journey? Where do we plan digital? And then that translates into what channels? Specifically what is content? Is it search? Is it paid marketing? Whatever it might be? And how do we then build that out? Say, every interaction with a customer from a digital perspective, we are able to tie back into? What did that customer do for us as a brand? Did they buys? Did we acquire a new customer? Did we retain a customer? Did we build loyalty? And could you also talk a little bit about the role of data in digital marketing? And how can it drive decision making? So I think that's interesting. Because there's a certain thinking that says, Is it data that drives decision making? Or is it data that simply informs, because it's the marketers knowledge, experience, data, all of which come together, when you say decision making, right, so I would say data influences decision making, may not necessarily drive it every time. The reason why it's important to look at data is because today, we get customers interact with brands in millions of ways in a in a day, right? So you could have 20 brands talking to you in a day or 100 brands talking to you in a day. And you you put out certain signals. And the signals are basically whether you interact with a brand, whether you click on something, you perform an action, you don't perform an action. And these are all things that as marketers we Mack to try

and understand who are most influential customers are, or who are the most predisposed to buy our products, and so on and so forth. And so when you look at the role of data, and digital, it's not only about the metrics that are performed on a channel, which is like, you know, the views, the clicks the conversions, but it's also about signals and understanding who are our most profitable customers? Or how do we find more customers like them. So the role of data really is not it conventionally. And I remember 10, 12 years ago, when we built

marketing dashboards, these were all individual pieces of information. This is the performance on search. This is the performance on social media, and so on. But today, it's really important to integrate all of that, get a single view of the customer so that you're able to even predict lifetime customer value.

Well said. Can you also talk about the role of content in digital marketing? And how does one, How does an organization or a brand create a strong content strategy? The way and I've written a lot about this even on my LinkedIn is, the way to build a good content strategy is to first understand what is your brand stand for. So if you don't have a strong brand, voice brand, personality, brand values, a reason why customers should find you or purchase your brand, then what you ultimately put out on content is going to be a bunch of tactics, right? And content marketing today has become for many, many, many brands, hundreds of messages you put out in a year, and not every one of them is memorable. So that's a certain challenge that we have, if you look at content marketing is how does it further my brand voice? What do I want to tell customers about my brand? Even if you do 10 pieces of communication in a year that are memorable? It's far better than doing 100 That nobody remembers. Right. Well said. My next question to you is, you know about how you see the future of digital marketing, marketing evolving, and what trends should brands and marketers be paying attention to? I think the word Digital Marketing just to be taken off, because today everything is marketing. digital forms the

heart of how you market to customers in many, many industries. So, certainly there are some industries where digital may not be still as prevalent as other forms. But overall, I'll say there's no reason real reason to attach the word digital to it. It's really about, as I said, starting from a customer journey and saying, which media which channels are important for me, for what stage of driving what in customer action. But if you if you look at the way the trends are moving, obviously, today, the hot topic is AI because of Chat GPT, and how everyone's excited, I think we still have ways to go in, you know, using it beyond content creation. So there's a

lot of work happening with Chat GPT, and AI on content creation. But there are many, many tools now moving to other things. But having said that, AI and machine learning are certainly important, because they help us make sense of reams and reams of information, which is simply impossible to do manually, more. And the power of that is also saying, if I look

at it just from putting our communication is to say if this is my customer, this is the stage they're at this is what they're interested in, I'm going to serve them a completely personalized piece of creative, right, that actually speaks to the heart of what would influence them. Now certainly we've been doing all this for a while. But the the layer that AI is adding on it is a much more in depth way of understanding how do I influence this customer and perhaps putting out lots of different messages in microseconds to to understand what works. So AI and ML definitely. And that also goes back to all the marketing metrics and how we can track what level marketing is influencing. Second one, which I don't think is ever going to go out of style is creativity. I

think it's all the more important and for me, somewhere people tend to forget that creativity is the heart of why a customer would want to come to you because that's how you build your brand story. So when with the advent of machine learning, and with the advent of artificial intelligence, we still need good old human creativity to build our brands. And then the third one, which I think is important, and maybe somewhere has gotten a little lost is the power of voice. And like you you've spoken about podcasts, or how you've taken it on different channels and is TikTok, even social media to me TikTok, or any other competitor to TikTok, like Chingari, for example is content creation, using voice and visual. But it's

just the power of that the power of Voice Search and how much more we're using voice to do things rather than type. That's the third thing that I think is going to continue to emerge. Interesting. Then there's this entire other word or buzzword, which is MarkTech or marketing technology. What are

some of the best practices for integrating data privacy and security into digital marketing and the marketing technology efforts? Yeah, I think that's interesting, because data privacy and security, as in worldwide is at different stages, we see your issues that are very, very advanced age. And then perhaps we see the Middle East, which has started out but there's a lot of progress now being made in the area of security. At the end of it really about saying how do we protect our customer? How do we not use invasive methods? And if you're not using invasive methods, or if you're trying to protect the data, what are the kinds of tools and technologies are up that we need to protect the data from our own employees and to prevent the data from being misused or leaked or any of these. And Mark tech definitely has a role to play because ultimately, most comps that companies send out their own tools. And that's how they're sent out. But those tools have to abide by or have the proper setup in their own cloud and their stacks to make sure that the data is secure. So

it's certainly a really, really important part of, of marketing. And it's something I think conventionally marketers are not people who know a lot about data privacy, but it's a technical skill set that is increasingly important. And MarkTech is getting increasingly complex now. So how do businesses really navigate this increased complexity and choose the right tools? I mean, other than of course, coming to number time taking advice. What What should what are some of the issues that marketers should be careful about? The one thing that I you know, usually a lot of people come to me and just say, hey, I want your advice. You know, what kind of CRM Should I take? And I usually go back by saying, What's your business objective? Objective? How are you tracking your customer journey? What are you going to do with the data of this customer from the time you start collecting it to the time you're able to actually send meaningful marketing messages? And how aware, do you want your tools to integrate with everything else in your organization, then decide, these are my use cases, this is what I need. And this is the tool that

delivers the best. Because if you look at and Scott Brinker puts out his Martech landscape, every year, there are 7000 Plus martech tools in play, and all of them doing many different things at different aspects of the funnel. So it's virtually impossible to understand all tools, it's more important to understand what is the objective that I'm trying to achieve? And how do tools best integrate that. And the second thing is to

not fall for the shiny new thing. Sometimes you get excited when a company comes to you and does a demo and you're very excited by the tool, you take on the tool, then you don't have a plan to integrate it or you don't have a plan to who's gonna manage it. And you don't start any metrics. So how do we know this tool is working for us. And those are dangerous grounds. The other thing I'll say is we've gone through a lot of transition from there was a time when, you know, it was like a single organization having a tying up with another single large organization and having a stack that is one company providing tools at every level or every stage of the funnel, right. So

you would take a sales, cloud loyalty, cloud, marketing, cloud, whatever it might be, then it came to know but all these tools may not be optimal, we need a best of breed in every function. You would take a CRM from somewhere and notifications from somewhere, and so on. But that also created so much complexity on integration that today, a lot of the trend is going back to having single company single, let's say, ownership with one organization and tools across and a full suite. So the interesting changes that are happening, but

overall as if you want to understand what is the tool I want to go back to what do you want to achieve? And understand how are you going to resource it, and how are you going to achieve value out of it? Thank you. Great response. And unrelated topic to the flow that we had is the metaverse and I wanted to get your perspective on the metaverse because a lot of brands invested a lot of money and some of the big brands like Nike etc. Even started acquiring a lot of assets in the metaverse and now suddenly, the buzzword of Metaverse seems to have fizzled out. I'd love to get your perspective on what was happening, and why has it suddenly disappeared? That's interesting. And it's also I guess, the hype cycle

somewhere answers that question. And I also think that a lot of things in tech are cycles, and we see it today AI is the buzzword and maybe in two years time, we'll be talking about something else. Except that, you know, I think the mirror was the vision for the mirror was was an interesting vision. But perhaps

today with the technology and what it costs to create that vision. It's a bit early. We've seen that we had Second Life 10 years ago, 20 years ago. And then it came to the metaverse, which has also somehow died, hypothetically speaking, but I'm quite sure that we'll see a resurgence on that. Because the idea of building a credible digital world is really, really appealing for a lot of people. And a few if you just see the success of E gaming, you would know that there are loads of people who want to live in different worlds, right. And so

certainly there's a predisposition for that somewhere in the ecosystem. But it's a question of whether it can look and feel as good as the promise, which is where we are not today. Well said. My next question is that how important in your opinion is it for companies to invest in upskilling their employees to stay competitive in the digital landscape? That's really interesting, because, you know, just a couple of days before I posted about the future of jobs, 2023 really interesting report that came out that says that maybe 2% of work jobs will no longer exist in five years time. And the reason for that was a lot of the jobs that are clerical, administrative and so on are being foreseen as being taken over by more technology. But having said that, there are a

lot of areas that are growing green technology is or climate change or working in that area of sustainable is an important one that's growing. Obviously Fintech is something that's growing AI and ML is growing. So if you look at what we conventionally thought of as jobs, It changes every five years, there are jobs that existed that didn't exist five years ago, I would expect the same thing to happen. And so rescaling employees is really, really important because a lot of the manual work when it gets taken over by technology, people have mindspace freed up that they can use for other things. If they are skilled in it, it doesn't matter what age it is, right? whether we've spent 25 years in the business, or we've spent one year in the business, we have to continue to release ourselves.

Interesting. So, Namrata time for two more questions for you. My next question is that, can you share a few examples of some brands that have successfully negotiated this incredible transformation to digital? I think a lot of brands have done a lot of work. Even though a lot of studies show that many digital transformation efforts fail. There are brands that have truly taken it. And when, when we look at digital transformation, we are very much talking about an organization that was perhaps earlier traditional, in a traditional mode of selling, and today has used technology to transform and I think Nike is one of the most first examples of that. Just the idea that you can walk into a Nike store, order stuff off the app, have someone come, you can try on the shoes in a shoe like you pay on the app and you walk out, and you didn't do hypothetically walk into a store, but the purpose of walking to the store is the whole experience of it right? And then Nike has done lots of other things. This is just one example. So I'd say that's one that stands out to me a lot. Within this region, I think if

you look at a lot of the larger retailers, like Magento, for them is a really large, large retailer in the space they've done spades in spades, a work on digital transformation and using data for better advancement of customers and for loyalty. And certainly the second one from a regional perspective. And I would also say that new CPG players, like for example, a Coca Cola, there's a lot of work that Coca Cola is doing on building their own data and tech, even though they may not have cracked it completely. But I think there's a lot of

interesting work there as well. Well said. And my last question is Namrata and this is for the many, many people who will listen to our conversation. A lot of them are also startup entrepreneurs, or aspiring startup entrepreneurs. Based on your own amazing understanding of marketing and digital marketing. What would you say are three lessons, you would want a startup founder to take away from our conversation and all that, you know? The first thing is build your brand. There is no stage at

which you start building a brand. The day you launch the startup, you start thinking about what is your brand stamp? The second one is to start tracking customer data from the get go. And I received this question, which is if we have only 100 customers, do we need a CRM solution? I mean, there is no stage at which you need a solution, you just need to fulfill the purpose. And the third one is just a start up driven themselves. Marketing also needs to reinvent itself continually. It's not only about performance, marketing, or paid

marketing, look at marketing across the funnel and apply that wonderful. And on that note and your wonderful lessons, build your brand now. Start thinking of start tracking customer data. Thank you so much for speaking to me about your own journey about so many different aspects of digital marketing. I learned

so many new things from you today. Thank you also talking to me about how AI and ML are so critical and so important, and how they're really the technologies of the future. Thank you for speaking Namrata. Good luck to you. I

really enjoyed it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for listening to The Brand Called You videocast and podcast. A platform that brings you knowledge, experience and wisdom of hundreds of successful individuals from around the world. Do visit our website, www.tbcy.in, to watch and listen to the stories of many more individuals. You can also follow us on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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2023-07-06 15:52

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