Dina El Banna
Marketing Director, Global Growth Markets, Avaya

“Today’s CMOs have transformed themselves into brand and trade evangelists as traditional brand marketing efforts alone will no longer help in sustaining the growth of an organization. The way Indian consumers and enterprises are increasing their consumption chain, it is becoming more and more important for the CMOs to use different marketing tactics for the same product line.

At Avaya, measuring the impact is the key to our style of marketing and not only do we drive ourselves on the impact created but also capture business through our marketing efforts. We already have in place a robust CRM with clear metrics-oriented marketing for measuring the impact created for and in business. Digital transformation is also at the core of Avaya’s business, as we enable enterprises of all sizes to have a better engagement with their customers on different channels (digital or physical). Social media is the key component of our marketing and communications strategy as majority of our customers want to use their preferred media at any time, from anywhere and on any device. Hence, social media is the most preferred choice.

While we do believe that marketing as a function cannot be driven independent of our outsourced partners, we also realize that our partners play an important role in controlling the delivery of outputs and our processes. If we are able to create an extended arm and that too a literal one, out of the agency till then getting into any strategic outsourcing agreements will never yield results for the marketing team.

The market has evolved in recent years so much so that customer experience is becoming a strategic endeavour for businesses across the globe. Businesses are looking to create a seamless Omni-channel experience, based on the preferences of their consumers and are working towards enhancing their satisfaction levels. We, at Avaya, have gone beyond the expectations of our customers and led the convergence of team and customer engagement. This convergence translates into bringing the assets of organizations at the fingertips of the customer service agents to instantly solve customer issues. This convergence is, therefore, enabling businesses to better engage with their customers and exceed their expectations. With our strong product portfolio, we aim at providing strong networks supports team and customer engagement by reducing network outages. Further to this, we have the ability to provide quicker access to information and easily integrate new communication channels and applications.”

Rajesh Kumar
CMO, SAP Indian Subcontinent

“The marketing landscape today has changed dramatically bringing to the fore new responsibilities for the CMO. If I could sum these up in order of importance, they are –

• The new CMO needs to have and create an outside-in mindset culture.

• The new CMO needs to move from an activity-focussed to an outcome-focussed approach.

• The new CMO needs to be data driven.

• Digital experience is the driver of customer experience today.

• The new CMO needs to be able to hire the right talent.

One very important change in the buying habits of customer is that today customers can seamlessly move between the online and offline worlds demanding consistent information and uniform customer experience across platforms. SAP went about transforming the partner go-to-market (GTM) model. We helped them set up a Digital platform by enabling them with interactive and informative Websites, PR kits, Social channels for Brand & Social selling, optimizing their ranking on search results and seeding a “Digital first” approach in their campaigns. Pivotal to this approach is our virtual experience platform, SAP Discover that helps partners reach out to their potential customers much early in their decision-making cycle, resulting in a much better market coverage and business outcome.

At SAP, we strongly believe that exchange of ideas, insights and case-studies is imperative for the growth of a company and indeed the industry. We have been quick to realize that with fast- paced changes in technology, our customers and sometimes even our partners may find it difficult to keep abreast of them. That is why we launched Discover, a virtual experience platform that provides in-depth demos and discussions with our in-house experts via webinars. Apart from technology sessions, we have invited our customers to share their success stories thereby helping their peers in the industry to understand how they fuelled their business ambitions via smart adoption of technology.

The thumb rule for outsourcing has always been to outsource that which is out of your core competencies. Marketing should ideally be an in-house function because of the high-end strategic importance that it carries. Functional tasks such as hosting events, websites and social media management may be outsourced depending upon the availability of talent or lack of it within the existing marketing organization.”

Vishal Parekh
Marketing Director, Kingston Technology India

“With quality products and a strong channel connect, Kingston has been successful in maintaining leadership in the Indian mindshare. The traditional marketing strategies do bring us positive and important first-hand insights to analyze. With shifting specific campaigns on digital and social platforms, we enable a higher level of measurable accuracy in the boardroom. Based on the results of these efforts and future plans, we try to analyze a more holistic market scenario to create a better impact on our bottom lines.

The market dynamics have been favourable for Kingston in both Memory and Flash businesses. We are proud to be a pro-channel brand and believe in growing with our network. Our sales and marketing strategies, directly or indirectly, cater to major market segments, including B2B, B2C, B2G, niche gaming cafes and others. We also work towards empowering our partners with the best products, with valuable market information and best-in-class service. With a strong backing, we encourage them to improve their reach and cater to a wider market.

Being a channel-friendly brand, we believe in introducing our products to the markets through our network. Just to give an example of our new HyperX Cloud Core headset, it has helped our partners to reach out and interact better in the music, media production and gaming communities. We now offer three HyperX headset variants (HyperX Cloud, HyperX Cloud II and HyperX Cloud Core) at different price points and this becomes a way for healthy outreach and negotiations.

The decision of outsourcing marketing functions wavers from brand to brand and industry to industry and also depends on the kind of business models that prevail. We have a strong presence in the Indian market and our sales and marketing teams work seamlessly to maintain leadership.

It is a known fact that Kingston is the #1 memory brand globally. We believe thought leadership is very important to develop and refine the more unique and feasible ideas. Our expertise in our product and business does give us an edge and it translates into our marketing and sales strategies.”

Ankesh Kumar
Director, Product Management (Channel, IT Solution) & Marketing, Emerson Network Power India

“In this era of a well-networked economy, customers today are well informed and educated. This makes the role of marketing extremely crucial, as Chief Marketing Officers will have to constantly look beyond traditional marketing platforms and look at newer platforms via which they can reach out to customers. This has been aided by the use of Internet and evolving distribution models which are now increasingly changing the way customers research and buy products, prior to the actual purchase.

I believe that companies will have to gradually become innovative in their approach at developing products basis customer needs and this will help them create appropriate brand awareness for their solutions. This goes hand in hand with its impact that can be measurable in terms of profit, i.e. financial impact. This strategy is, in fact, very integral to our marketing strategy here at Emerson Network Power.

With technology progressing and evolving at a faster rate, the marketing landscape too is witnessing a complete evolution. It is easy to lose sight of the individual consumer in an effort to reach out to masses. Over time, a marketing campaign can very easily veer off track, which means by the time it is seen by the audiences, it focusses more on the product, solution or service than the end-user.

The advent of social media and Internet has brought about a disruptive change in the way companies approach their go-to-market strategy. As a marketer, the main focus while attending to customers is always to be available 24×7 to them by different means and diverse sources, including online. This might also differ on basis the products and services on offer. In my opinion, companies which make a sustained effort to ease the transaction process at all stages of the product life cycle, are set to benefit hugely.

As a marketer, I believe that companies should outsource certain marketing and sales functions only –

• When it is cost-friendly, as it eliminates the need to hire a full-time executive and instead outsources a team which can help with the marketing and sales efforts on a project basis.

• When they need real-time and transparent insights into their market – many a time, companies are biased towards their organization and thus view the market scenario with a tainted vision.

• When they are not equipped enough to carry out the marketing plan.”

Bill Ye
Director & Country Manager, TP-LINK India

“Traditional marketing is necessary and needs to be there, but we should also not forget social media and online platform which is growing at a rapid pace in today’s world. We need to go hand in hand with new innovations as they persist, looking at broad prospect implementation of New Innovative media is necessary as well.

We believe changes do take place. But few aspect changes but prime factors remain the same. We believe to be up-to-date with what market needs and their requirements. Be it today’s buying habits or consumer’s behaviour and thinking towards product, we have seen an era where people were brand conscious but now we have customers who rely on product with respect to its offering. Market trends keep on changing and accordingly marketing strategy changes. We can’t deny it that a few years back Print was a primary media and the first choice, which is now shifting to online media and so on.

We make sure that TP-LINK’s partners get to sell easily whenever they are pitching our products to consumer. We make sure to be closer to consumers with continuous investments in branding which results in customer knowing Wi-Fi, use of Wi-Fi and how our products can help them in their day-to-day life. This invariably leads to demand. We also make sure that our partners are promoted prominently across channel magazines and our official Facebook page, which gives customer trust on our partner and bonds our partners’ relationship with us.

Outsourcing is something many firms look forward to. But we can’t control outsourcing output as we can control it internally. We make sure to present our customers with the best quality, be it product or news which reaches them. Thus, we try to keep most of processes internally for maintaining and improving this quality as we progress. But we can’t deny that everything cannot be done internally and at TP-LINK as well we tend to outsource some resource – be it commercial video, corporate video or so on.

Marketing mantras should always consist of new innovations, new ideas and new implementation. If you can give customer something new to thrive on, he will be more interested in it then offering him something which he has seen throughout his lifespan. Special ideas always thrive best, considering it matches brands identity and brands vision.”

Matt Fairbanks
Chief Marketing Officer, Sophos

“When I started out in this industry 20 years ago, our ability to measure marketing impact was crude and rudimentary at best. With the right processes, organizational alignment and technology, we can measure impact to a surprising degree. In my team, we strive to apply a profound understanding of our customer with the best delivery vehicles and analytics to do what I call ‘put points on the scoreboard’. We start with what the business needs to achieve, then we align all our tactics and metrics to those business goals. It is an extremely powerful business concept when it all works in harmony.

I like to think of a good marketer as simply a good educator. The world is changing rapidly. And more and more, IT professionals are looking to vendors like Sophos to help explain the trends and to prescribe ways to help them stay ahead. In our industry, cybersecurity, it is literally a race against a growing army of bad actors. IT professionals have so many priorities to juggle, and there is no way that most can become experts on all aspects of cybersecurity defence.

Simply put, marketing delivers three things: (1) drive awareness, (2) generate leads, and (3) enable our partners and sales teams.

Marketing can, indeed, be a powerful thought leadership weapon in helping to shape an organization’s strategic vision. Let me give you an example. When I arrived at Sophos, we had a tagline (or mantra) which stated, ‘You’re safer in our world.’ That is a really nice phrase, yet a few customer conversations quickly revealed that our customers didn’t want (indeed couldn’t) to leave their world. They instead wanted us to make their world a safer place, and to do it simply and effectively. So we changed our tagline to ‘Security made simple’ and, in turn, adapted all our business processes to become as simple and as effective as humanly possible. Simplicity is a concept that helped Steve Jobs and Apple to become the most valuable company on the planet. And it has proven quite useful at Sophos to channel and focus our innovation. As our marketing team works hard month after month, year after year, we are beginning to earn a reputation as a company that lives our brand and delivers on our promise to provide leading edge IT security solutions that organizations can deploy and manage simply and effectively. And that’s helping us grow at 2X or 3X the market rate as we take share from our competitors.”

Anoop Jarial
Vice-President – Product Marketing, D-Link (India) Ltd

“The role of CMO is now evolving as the CMT – Chief Marketing Technologist. Today, technology plays a crucial role in influencing consumer choices and user pattern. Hence, integrating technology into marketing activities is imperative. Marketers need to have a technology vision to be able to reach out to their target audience. Also with time, digital marketing and e-commerce space has increasingly augmented or replaced traditional touch points, and it is essential to master and incorporate them in marketing budgets and rollouts. At D-Link, we are constantly utilizing the digital marketing platforms and make the most of it to reach out to our customers and partners.

The current marketing landscape offers the best opportunity to create a meaningful conversation directly with our customers. Courtesy the social media platform, we are now able to hear from customers their feedback, expectations and experience almost on a real-time basis. So today we are devising marketing campaigns with technology as enablers for our go-to- market strategies. This way, we continue to reach out to a wider and desired audience.

Partner engagement and enablement is a crucial aspect of our marketing strategy. We, at D-Link, are focussed and committed towards empowering our partner/ channel community with new-age business tool. We are constantly exploring various viable avenues that allow us to strengthen the D-Link partner/ reseller force. The recently-launched D-LINK CONNECT Mobile App is a one-stop platform that offers all crucial information like latest product alerts, scheme updates, service-related information and more. Our partners can now enjoy first-hand information on all the latest developments at D-Link through this mobile app right at the convenience of their palm.

The go-to-market strategy of each business varies depending on the target audience, geography and available resource. There are pros and cons for both in-house and outsourced models. As a result, each organization has to evaluate its current state and act accordingly.

While there are numerous definitions across the net on thought leadership marketing, simply put it is content-driven marketing. An effective and striking content is the key to a successful marketing strategy. In today’s evolved markets, there are multiple modes to reach out to the Target Group. However, it is the content that determines the final outcome. Thought leadership in marketing enables one to position the brand values and its USPs to the right audience in a crisp and effective manner.”

Jim Simon
Senior Director of Marketing, Asia-Pacific – Quantum

“At Quantum we like to say that ‘Storing data is easy. Turning it into a meaningful business value requires innovation.’ The value of data is increasing beyond traditional analytics. We are seeing marketing organizations recognize the value of their “data workflow.” For example, corporate video is a hot part of the market. Marketing organizations are nimbly producing video in-house for use on their website, social media channels, sales videos, and even supermarket aisles.

Advances in analytics that are based on video surveillance allow marketing organizations to optimize their marketing in ways that were nearly impossible before. For example, video analytics can track customers throughout a store to see which displays are grabbing customers’ attention. This video comes back to “data workflow” again. Substantial amounts of storage are required in order for the marketing department to successfully complete its mission.

Quantum is a B2B company. Nevertheless, our customers are evolving too. Marketing organizations have “missions” to help them maximize revenue such as the aforementioned goal of improving traffic flow in a store in order to maximize revenue. Customers often still rely on their IT department but increasingly the marketing department is looking to workflow storage as a component of a mission-critical marketing solution so they are more involved in the evaluation of their needed workflow storage than ever before.

Quantum believes that high performance and lowest TCO aren’t mutually exclusive goals. Our innovations combine these values to maximize the value of data over its life. In essence, we allow marketing organizations to retain more data, longer, and to access it at the needed level of performance for a specific mission. Marketing organizations often times do not know what they will need their data for in the future. With Quantum they can retain it at the lowest TCO yet be assured that when they want to access it the data will not present a bottleneck to the mission.

Thought leadership is translating more frequently into being ubiquitous wherever prospects are. Quantum enables marketing organizations to quickly transcode assets such as video and then distribute them simultaneously across different platforms such as TV, PC, mobile, in-store, etc.”

Meera Raman
Head of Marketing – Quick Heal

“Traditional scope of software vendors like us was restricted to profit maximization and was sales oriented. The focus on transition was limited to products. The current marketplace has however highly evolved. The interface has grown from the restricted confines of the counter to every aspect of the consumer’s life. Technology has made every movement of the consumer into a potential interaction moment for a marketer. Keeping up with the trends in technology and in consumer behavior is top on the list. Every new learning is run through the rigors of metrics and impact – creating permutations and combinations have never been more interesting than now.

The current market scenario shows a steady growth in the smartphone and tablet shipments; even PC sales have increased. Simultaneously, people are becoming more connected and are spending on IT infrastructure as the use of technology becomes pervasive in all sectors, be it Government, Banking, Healthcare and other industries. This is supported by the improved connectivity. Now, more and more rural users are adapting to the Internet. However, all this increases the risk landscape as more people access more and more data and store critical information on easily accessible platforms. People are also investing on security systems to protect this data.

All these are but avenues of growth for us. We are currently expanding our product portfolio to include security for future challenges such as Internet of Things (IoT), MDM and Cloud. Our products are comparatively simple to use and maintain and we also support older systems. We support multiple platforms such as Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and Android. We are building our international presence with offices in Japan, Kenya, USA and Dubai. We are currently expanding our reach to more cities and equipping our branches with sales, logistics, support and marketing teams. We are also increasing our digital footprint. Our products are also available ex-stock at all locations. We are creating awareness campaigns and cyber safety workshops spreading awareness through education as thought leaders.

With more and more professionals wanting to create a niche for themselves, and taking up entrepreneurship to hone their skills further, outsourcing – specifically for creative elements – is key to take advantage of the diversity of talent that is today available in the market.”

Shivani Kapoor
Global Head – Marketing, Communication & Inside Sales, ITC Infotech

“The traditional role of a CMO is transforming and evolving at a drastic pace. Today, the CMO is not only responsible for brand management and driving the marketing strategy, but is also responsible for facilitating in the overall strategy and growth of the organization.

The role of a CMO is morphing to a CCO or Chief Collaboration officer –working and connecting the dots between the departments through various marketing initiatives to ensure one voice to the customer. In addition, Marketing is partnering with the CTOs and the CIOs departments to tap the power of big data and analytics to enhance customer experience and drive revenue.

Top of my priority list is understanding what my customers and employees are conversing through social and listening marketing tools and gauge if we can add meaningful value to these conversations. To be where the customer is, talk the language of the customer and get them to listen is critical. The next priority area is through analytics, to understand the ROI of all marketing and lead generation initiatives in real time and deploy effective data driven marketing strategies and tactics.

Marketing needs to make faster and more informed business decisions. Once you have developed an understanding of the customer, along with the market dynamics and the industry factors, it becomes much easier to target campaigns and create communication messages which will resonate. Targeted content is really the key. It is also important to know your sweet spots and prioritize your marketing investments on channelized marketing activities.

There is no one magical product or solution. CMOs need to develop a robust ecosystem of niche local partners to strengthen customer connect. However, CMOs should be very selective while creating the ecosystem and deciding who to associate with. Alignment of core values and the drive to work towards a shared strategic vision are critical components towards developing a synergistic partner ecosystem.

As industries mature, processes also stabilize and over time become robust. Business functions with well-defined processes and matrices for evaluation, can then be outsourced and even automated. This has been prevalent in the HR and lead generation function. Marketing is also leveraging outsourcing of certain programs, however, the key is to understand which program or process can be outsourced, and which needs to be run from within the organization.”

AT Rajan
Sr. Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer – Ricoh

“I do not think the basic role of the CMO is any different from what it was before. It still involves market segmentation & analysis, communicating with your target customer, understanding their needs and positioning your products and solution to address their needs.

What has changed is the environment. Technology is changing rapidly and product lifecycles are getting shorter. Consumer behavior and expectations are changing. Communication channels are undergoing major transformation and the sheer number of options available to a marketer is overwhelming. All these have made the process of developing effective marketing and communication strategies more complex and challenging.

However, technological developments have also provided Ricoh with solutions and tools to overcome these challenges. Our Go to Market strategies are centered around one core theme – Focus on the Customer. Based on an analysis of the customer workflows and their pain areas, we develop unique solutions using our technology and expertise in Imaging, Communications and IT Services. This has helped us develop various vertical solutions for Manufacturing, Education, Healthcare, BFSI and various other strategic verticals.

Once the customer is clearly identified, it is relatively easy to connect, communicate and engage with them. While we continue our focus on face to face interaction with our customers, we also use multitude of communication channels in print, digital or social media. In fact, we believe that this single minded focus on the Customer is the key to our growth story.

Make or Buy is one of the most fundamental decisions every organization makes while developing a manufacturing process. Similarly, whether to outsource a business process or do it in-house is a strategic decision that every Functional Head in organization has to makes for improving the efficiency and profitability.

A CMO is never short of ideas. Every day, they are flooded with advices like “Let us go digital”, “We should strengthen our social media”, or “Why don’t we sponsor IPL”! In order to develop an idea into a strategy, an organization has to develop an integrated set of action plans that will clarify how it will reach the final goal from the current state. The strategic vision should be communicated to all stakeholders so as to ensure organizational alignment towards the same. This where expertise is required, and the significance of thought leadership comes in.”

Vivek Chandel
Executive Director Marketing – Xerox India

“Marketing is not about playing differently – it is about a different game. Marketers playing by the old rules will find themselves on the losing end of a game with stagnant growth and a diminishing consumer base. Things have been changing rapidly as compared to earlier. In today’s scenario, digital marketing has found a permanent home within the business, and its focus shifts to improving marketing efficiency to transforming marketing. Having grown from a support arm for traditional marketing, it has now developed its own structure, typically separating technology-led activities from marketing led customer facing activities.

However at the end of it these are tools that help us deliver the ultimate objective of growth and business impact. So that is what you would always look at to determine the success of your efforts.

The world around us is changing every minute. It is becoming hard to predict which new or disruptive innovations will emerge tomorrow. Until a few years ago, we had never heard of Cloud Computing, and today, it seems like no enterprise architecture is complete without a Cloud strategy. It is foolhardy therefore to attempt a set of predictions, without adding a caveat about something totally unforeseen dominating the technology headlines of 2015 and beyond. As companies derive value from analytics on existing data, they will move to capture additional relevant data that will further their insights.

Just as the Internet transformed businesses and lifestyles in the last twenty years, the evolving app environment and cloud support will transform how organizations do business. While it is complex, and poses some risks, it can help innovate new processes and initiatives to increase an organization’s business performance, and create customer delight with new products and services.

The go to market strategy of Xerox for 2015 will continue to cover the market through two pronged approach – the top enterprises through our Direct GDO offerings and the rest through our channel partners. We will support this with our enhanced offerings that deliver better quality, higher reliability & more savings.

Companies have long outsourced creative, right-brain marketing activities, such as advertising and promotion campaigns. But a fundamental change is under way with firms increasingly outsourcing marketing operations and analytics as well. While this can be beneficial, it is critical for businesses to create the value from outsourcing.”

Parag Amalnerkar
Director- Marketing, India & SAARC – NetApp

“In today’s dynamic market, a marketer must evaluate all the possible branches of marketing to reach out to his target audience. Marketers today are constantly stepping up to break away from a straight jacketed approach to a rather multi-faceted social approach. Digital marketing has added another channel of reaching out to prospective customers. It is imperative for marketers to engage with customers both online and offline and neither of the channels can be ignored. With the agile business environment, marketers need to have a fair understanding of technology and how it impacts outreach. Utilizing analytics and the insights drawn out prove to be extremely beneficial for a marketer. In case of banner advertising, the measurement is through number of impressions or in other words views and clicks through. In this era of digital marketing, measurement is perhaps the most distinctive feature. Having said that digital marketing has become part of the core strategy, with intense competition and shrinking marketing budget, driving year on year growth within limited resources has become paramount.

Targeting is the most essential component when businesses are going through a sea of change and marketing becoming more complex in functionality. Social Media is also an exemplar for the focused targeting strategy, through this platform we can avail rich possibilities to “Engage” the audience that can be undertaken in planned manner. Targeting often becomes the determinant of marketing returns.

Given that marketing has been the center piece of strategy and fountain of ideas, it is difficult to fathom that the entire marketing can be outsourced. Marketing function by its very nature cannot be outsourced. However, traditionally, some pieces of marketing can been outsourced to specialized domain experts. For example, developing marketing objective and positioning strategy may be more dominant to the company than focusing on a simple press release or creating a video in which case PR may be outsourced. In my view outsourcing provides a company wide range of expertise.

Expectation of marketing has been to demonstrate thought leadership. Thought leadership is nothing but unique ideas that are actionable and showcase results. The role that marketing plays in any organization is integral to an organization’s long term success. Ownership of long term success will always be with marketing. We believe any organization that has sustained over multiple decades is a result of the thought leadership that marketing provides.”

(Parag Amalnerkar has been featured in the 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL GLOBAL MARKETING LEADERS by the World Marketing Congress.)

Kinny Nayyar
Marketing Head, India and South Asia at WD – A Western Digital company

“Whether traditional or contemporary that’s aided by digital, the purpose of marketing would more or less be the same. However, unlike in the past, marketing is moving towards becoming more measurable in terms of its impact on consumer awareness, consumer engagement, and creating demand for the products and services to drive sales. Therefore, if I were to prioritize the factors, the first and foremost objective would still be the growth. Marketing is not a standalone function anymore. Gone are the days when the purpose of marketing was to advertise on television and radio shows and work with advertising agencies to deliver the most suitable taglines. Current marketing is much more inclusive than that. Sales is increasingly expecting marketing to provide them the much-needed air cover so they could sell more. Marketing’s performance is tightly linked to the accomplishment of the business goals. Since growth is one of the primary business objectives, therefore it’s foremost priority in our marketing agenda as well.

Next would be analytics. Once the business along with marketing decides consensually the kind of growth we are looking a— both long term and short term, the strategy and tactics are devised. Here analytics play an important role in understanding the areas we need to focus on. Earlier, there used to be (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) SWOT analysis, based on internal and external surveys and feedback to understand what we are doing right, what can improve and what are the challenges and opportunities. Now in addition to surveys and perception audits, the buying behaviours and market trends play a very important role. And these are not merely based on passive reports and instincts; these are active user behaviours that are gleaned through data mining and data analytics. These analytics help in understanding the areas where technology could be deployed to achieve the desired results.

Then comes technology. I am fascinated by marketers focusing on technology as their biggest priority. For us, technology is an enabler to accomplish a larger goal or a more important goal, which is to help sales and strengthen the brand. Once we have analyzed the areas we need to focus on, we can deploy suitable technology to enhance select focal areas. Technology could be targeted marketing, upselling or cross-selling on digital platforms, predictive outreach, or experiential marketing for a certain set of potential customers and much more. Technology is also being leveraged to enhance the partner experience and improve our online interface.”

Sagar Gosalia
Sr. Vice President – Marketing & Sales, Matrix Comsec

“There is only one task to be done by CMO – “Make Sales Redundant”. Every other thing he/she does, should contribute to just one goal – “Make Sales Redundant”.

The goal of Marketing has to be in line with changing times. The traditional buying patterns are fast changing to new patterns. Let me refer an example of typical office automation equipment. As per a research I read, 54% of sales get closed even before the client meets a System Integrator for the first time. As an organization we want to shift our complete focus on “Pre Sales”. Helping the customer understand their own needs better and then providing a right solution is the way forward.

We have introduced a new product in Access Control and Time Attendance – Matrix COSEC. Both the products, independently, have been in the market since long but when we introduced, we clubbed them as one making it “User Delight” for customer. With this product, partners were able to cater to unmet need of “Integration of Access Control & Time Attendance” from customer’s point of view.

Honestly, I have not seen many examples of outsourcing “Core Marketing”. One can definitely outsource certain marketing activities. In our organization, we follow a simple rule. Outsource everything that is “Sales Fulfillment”. Do it yourself if it is “Sales Enablement”. However the “Channel Model” of operation is the biggest example of outsourcing “Sales” completely. We as Matrix still maintain that “Sales Enablement” required for Channel Partners is “Owned” by us and not out sourced.

We follow a very simple rule – Marketing’s key job is to “Make Sales Redundant”. There should be so much done by marketing on “Sales Enablement” that “Sales” is not required. Another key point is that Marketing’s task is that of a MULTIPLIER. Whatever marketing does it multiplies – Good as well as Bad. The only way in my opinion to create a critical mass is ‘Get Marketing Right’.”

KP Unnikrishnan
Regional Marketing Director, Asia Pacific and Japan – Palo Alto Networks

“While traditional marketing channels such as advertising and participation in relevant industry events are still effective, we are also seeing success with our digital campaigns. Marketing has indeed become more technology dependent – these days key decision makers of our prospective enterprise clients are likewise on digital platforms, be it mobile or social media.

In the past, when we wanted to present a value proposition to current and prospective customers, it seemed like our only option was to do a region-wide roadshow, which can be very costly and time-consuming to organise. Today, we have the option to facilitate this via interactive webinars. In a webinar, we are able to obtain all of the participants’ particulars via the online registration process. This makes it easier for us consolidate their information into our database. We then analyse customer information to determine how our various solutions would match our current and prospective customers’ specific requirements.

In the past, a corporate marketing department’s goal was to “hand off” to Sales once an account was qualified. That line has become blurred, if not entirely eliminated. We as a team are a successful evangelist of the use of data science in marketing. It would be a crime for marketers not to use marketing analytics on the rich “data lake” available to them. Today marketing analytics often produce surprising insights that dramatically increase revenue.

Most branding or marketing stories especially in the security space are based on fear. It’s like “the world is going to hell, and you’re going first”. The marketing team of Palo Alto Networks never told our story that way. Successful marketing is all about being believable, consistent, interesting and unique. It’s all about what we do, how it matters and how what we do is different. It’s also about the art of making things simple. Define your value proposition based on the positive and not on the negative and enabling the aspects of what you do.

Marketing is a very critical function for our business; hence we have a dedicated pool of highly-qualified marketing experts, who facilitate most of our (marketing) activities. We work with partners and third-party vendors on a few occasions, but overall our in-house marketing team handles our marketing function. Not only are they super effective – we are proud of owning this in-house.”

Shibu Paul
Regional Sales Director – India, ME & SEA – Array Networks

“Technology has stepped into every function and it is inseparable from marketing as well. A CMO must be able to connect consumer insights with strategy to create plans that can ultimately translate to business growth. Today, CMOs are the strategic drivers of growth and take critical business decisions with CFOs and CEOs. The former silo approach of ‘This is a security/ marketing problem’ doesn’t hold a place in technology-led enterprises. A CMO’s role is changing and getting much bigger, while data, analytics and security are increasing in priority to them. This means CMOs are getting much closer to a technical role than ever and collaborating with CTOs, CISOs and CIOs.

Outsourcing marketing activities is a big decision for any company. No doubt, there are benefits associated with outsourcing; your organization can focus on its core activities, a team of experts often costs lesser than hiring a full-time employee, you save time, and you may get access to a wider target, channels and opportunities. It lets you explore different layers of marketing.

On the other hand, outsourcing has its disadvantages. No one knows an organization better than its own internal employees. They know who your customer base is, how to market to them, and have the ability to make changes at short notice, and there will be a personal connection with you since they work in your office. A large well-financed enterprise can benefit from having internal marketing personnel as well. To make the right choice, one must truly understand the organization’s needs before outsourcing its marketing function. You need to consider what makes most sense to your organization.

Thought leadership is important for any B2B activity as it can translate into brand affinity. It helps organizations positively position and differentiate themselves from competitors. The key here is answering questions your potential customers have and providing actionable and useful information to them.

By communicating through thought leadership, a potential customer allows you to become an early part of a conversation. It helps you get recognized as an authority in your organization’s area of expertise. Answering their questions at an early stage can help drive engagement with a number of potential customers.”

Alexander Erofeev
Chief Marketing Officer – Kaspersky

“The role of the Chief Marketing Officer has changed significantly over the last five years especially. The role has become a strategic C-suite position responsible for the strategic performance of the organisation and business development. CMOs today are being asked to be one of catalysts of changes and business innovations and a person always looking for new business opportunities. Plus there is a big call now for higher efficiency of marketing and stronger ROI from marketing activities.

As part of the remit, the modern day CMO has no choice but to have an intimate appreciation and understanding of marketing and communication technologies and more importantly embrace them, to be able to deliver meaningful and measurable impact.

Technology is an enabler and a critical tool for the CMO. Analytics, media optimization instruments, social media tools among others enable the marketing organisation to turn valuable data into information and insights about customer behaviour, buying patterns and behaviour and support in the development of plans to engage customers. Understanding the power of these and other evolving tools will differentiate the modern day CMO. The CMO would do well to embrace technology to assist in the development of a strategic roadmap for his/her organisations.

There isn’t a one size fits all approach to marketing. Different geographical markets and indeed different audiences require a varied tactics and approach. Generally, however, it is imperative to listen to the customers, respond and adapt to them accordingly. Any organisation not nimble enough and responsive to customer feedback, will in the long run realize an erosion of market share.

Customer feedback and comments on new products and solutions are vital in the product development as well as the product marketing process. Recognizing that the experts are out there, we at Kaspersky Lab actively engage our customers in product testing and development.

Thought leadership or leading edge thinking is often a game changer. It is the ability to employ creativity & knowledge to innovate, influence trends to drive an industry to new levels, but this only comes if you have first evaluated your own values, researched the deeper needs of your stakeholders/customers and then identified, sometimes in conjunction with those stakeholders, what will be important for them. It shifts the thinking paradigm.”

Rajiv Bhalla
Director, Sales and Marketing – Intel South Asia

“Keeping a track of changing customer needs and behavior is very critical for brands to succeed and standout in a crowded marketplace. The role of a CMO is constantly evolving; from keeping the basic marketing functions on track, it now also entails being on top of technological trends so as to tap the right one for the right target audience, being able to analyze and evaluate customer and market trends to ensure that brand stays relevant and also measuring the impact of the campaigns to determine future growth areas.

Consumers are moving online in great numbers now because of convenience, value and variety. They want more options to be made available on the go. This is the evolution of a new channel of distribution and one that has the potential to grow with the penetration of smartphones and the increased usage of Internet on mobile phones. This opens up myriad possibilities for marketers. At Intel, customer demand and satisfaction are a prime priority. Intel has always empowered its buyers by offering them a choice of form factor, features, price points, etc. Keeping this in mind, Intel partnered with Snapdeal.com and Flipkart.com and started exclusive online brand stores, where we feature our exclusive products. Customers can access these stores easily, compare and buy products of their choice. Besides this we have a fairly robust online and digital marketing hub which helps us track conversations, themes, moods of consumers when it comes to technology and helps us create dynamic and impactful marketing strategies to address those insights.

Though Leadership is about having the ability to gain cooperation, persuade others to your point of view and rally multiple stakeholders toward a common goal. A thought leadership platform that is well thought through and well executed certainly has the potential to scale and create real impact. As an example in 2012, Intel launched the National Digital Literacy Mission with the aim of increasing digital literacy in the country.

Intel has also been working with the Government and eco system to scale digital literacy throughout the nation under our Digital Skills for India initiative and now we’re pleased to take the same Public Private Partnership approach to foster innovation in India to drive development of solutions that will help to increase technology adoption in India by addressing real issues/challenges faced by the society through the `Intel & DST Innovate for Digital India Challenge’ (“Challenge”).”

Rupa Roy
Head Marketing – India & SAARC, Intel Security

“The CMO’s role has undergone a renaissance of sorts. This has more to do with the disruptive nature of marketing today. Today alignment with technology is becoming critical to being relevant to customers when they are well informed and educated. The modern CMO thus needs to wield a multidimensional approach to reaching out to customer spread across varied platforms. Most importantly the impact of marketing has to be felt across parameters like customer retention and enhanced reach for the brand online. Brands have had to come up to speed and begin to harness the potential of this new digital era where the voice of the customer is closer home than ever before.

IT security is dynamic by nature, almost all pervasive and on a fast-track. Numerous new age technologies are making headway into our daily lives and security goes hand in hand with all of them. This spells out immense opportunities for our partners as well. Intel Security is relentlessly focused on keeping enterprises, SMBs and consumers safe. Customer satisfaction sits at the heart of the Intel Security’s objectives. The threat landscape being more sophisticated and mature now, we are enabling awareness through our PR/branding initiatives, roadshows and enabling our channel fraternity.

From an enterprise perspective, the buyer is much more sophisticated than about 10 years ago. Knowledge has deepened and asks are more evolved. As a result, our efforts to empower the partner ecosystem have grown exponentially and we work much more closely with them in taking the Intel Security proposition to the customer.

From a consumer standpoint, while awareness is increasing, I believe the industry has a long way to go before IT security becomes a household term. However, given the proliferation of devices, we believe that consumers will become security-aware sooner rather than later. Intel Security is deeply engaged in ensuring a safe digital experience for everyone with a key focus on cross device protection.

Marketing helps reflect the intellectual capital of the company. While grassroots marketing activities will continue in the digital age, thought leadership driven by great published content is as essential.

While being seen is important, being seen for the right things is even more critical and that is what will often differentiate the leaders from the followers. This mantra is of utmost importance to me as a marketing professional in a competitive industry.”

Vishal Dhupar
Managing Director, NVIDIA Graphics South Asia

“In my opinion, CMOs today deal with three key challenges – customer mindset, evolving medium & the shift from communicating to conversing. Customer mindset reflects the journey we all make as consumers from facing a need, looking for solutions, becoming aware of products & services, attaining conviction about the same and finally purchase and enjoyment of a particular offering. An understanding of this journey is vital for CMOs to gain insight into how and when to positon their messaging. Technology and media are evolving, with the rapid rise of broadcast (TV & radio) as well as social media & networks (In India notably Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter) in recent years. New media has brought brands closer to consumers, but has also made CMO’s more accountable for their brand promise in a transparent, viral, community based environment. Finally, we are in the age of community conversations rather than one to many communications. CMOs need to deliver credible messaging with a strong unique fitment proposition, build communities and thus trust and look at Marketing as a mid to long term strategy not a quarterly sales promotion tactic.

While CMOs employ many state of the art technology facilitated CRM systems, many a time the best feedback comes from a steady two way conversation with partners, resellers, field teams and of course end customers. A good CMO is equally a strategist and feet on street field executive. Many marketing roles such as lead generation operations, event management, market research, etc can and are being outsourced. More critical roles such as strategy, CRM, social/community management, content & creative development etc is better kept in-house in my experience.

I believe in the GLOCAL concept, i.e. developing a master global strategy which can be localized for individual regions and vertical markets. This is where regional leadership plays a strategic role, helping take a master vision and strategy and fine tune the messaging to suit local needs and context. An example from NVIDIA India has been our focus on evangelizing the opportunity India has to emerge as a large developer base for GPU programming for example, taking a thought leadership role by helping academia enhance capability and capacity in this field. These ties into our larger vision for India to become a global source of top quality parallel computing programmers.”

Rajiv Sethi
CMO – Spice Mobility Ltd.

“Marketing plays a very critical role in the organization, first by understanding customers’ needs and translating them into products and second by promoting these products to customers. Thus the marketing department has an in-depth understanding of two important pillars for any organization – target customers and products. Keeping these factors in mind, it is important that marketing is designed as an in-house function rather than outsourced to vendors, in order to retain a strong inherent knowledge base within the organization. However in order to derive consumer insights for products and then marketing them to consumers effectively, marketing requires the support of marketing agencies which may be outsourced across marketing functions such as Advertising, Branding, Media Buying, Public Relations, Events and Social Media in order to amplify the marketing messages and their efficacy.

In recent years, thought leadership has become a powerful tool in helping businesses to grow. It plays a vital role in creating a long term vision and action plan for brands thus lending both credibility and visibility to companies and brands alike. We believe that a well conceptualized and executed thought leadership campaign proves to be an almost essential component of business development and marketing activities. In the current age wherein consumers are bombarded with marketing messages, it is critical to develop a strong pioneering and advisory role for your brand which moves beyond just talking about current trends.

It is helping a critical mass of learners develop new insights, bringing sustainable and actionable changes in behavior. The best thing about the thought leadership is that it allows influencing an audience of potential customers in a much deeper way than advertising can.

Having established Spice Mobiles as a competitive brand amongst global leaders, we have persistently aimed to achieve ambitious milestones by introducing cutting edge technology. Spice Mobiles now has established itself as a key technology provider in the affordable mobile internet space, distinguishing itself from other companies. Keeping an eye on new technology trends has always been important for Spice, first of all understanding consumer behavior and requirements and then translating them into product features. Spice Mobile strongly believes in offering the latest technology at affordable prices. To keep pace with this fast changing industry, we consistently invest in market research to understand the current trends in the sector, both at an industry and consumer level.”

Sudharsan R,
Commercial Marketing Head – Dell India

“Marketing is at a very interesting intersection point, making the role of a CMO broader than ever before. As customers lean in to the idea of “convenience of consumption”, marketers need to be ready to deliver their needs and wants. Leveraging technology hence becomes critical in ensuring your brand is present where customers are looking for insights and information to make decisions.

Measuring the right KPI’s is equally critical as the dynamics around ROI is rapidly changing. At Dell we call this the 3R’s (Reach, Relevance and Returns) and we have a weekly dashboard of measuring progress along each of the “R’s”.

In our assessment there are two diverse GTMs that companies need to be aware of. First is GTM from a perspective of where customers choose to buy and the second one is from the perspective of where customers choose to consume information/data, make decisions on where and what they ultimately choose to buy. We call this Omni-channel because customers interact with more than one GTM at a time and there is a constant back and forth.

Outsourcing vs Insourcing is a debate we constantly see and hear in the market. Ultimately it depends on the skill sets you want to build in-house within the marketing organisation in the longer term. At Dell we have a balanced model with strong governance in-house.

Major technology trends–big data, mobile, security, cloud, and Internet of Things–are evolving all of the roles across the C-suite. These trends are changing the way customers consume IT in a personal as well as business environment. Customers are looking for solutions to solve their business problems and in the process also create a business model that can give them a competitive edge. IT companies should provide customers with a roadmap and help them deploy end-to-end IT solutions that will enable them to be Future Ready. This is where thought leadership can help organizations. It needs to be relevant to customers targeting their specific business and IT problems. They are looking for PoVs around areas that matter and impact their business. At Dell, we are aiming at thought leadership and being relevant in the market in the midst of a changing IT environment and I can definitely say that we are heading towards leadership position across all categories.”

B.S. Rao
VP – Marketing – CtrlS Datacenters Ltd

“It’s a world of Off-line (Medium) + SEO + SEM + SMM (Social Media) + Mobile (Apps). Social media helps us understand and listen to the customers first, and then engage them in a meaningful dialogue to help address their issues/concerns. At the same time, it is a platform where the “likes”, “following” and “unfollow” co-exist – hence a delicate one at that. The data sources include Social Network, Smart Meters, RFID, PoS, CRM etc

For us, technology has played a pivotal role in cobbling together platforms such as Online (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc) with traditional marketing information, CRM tools and helped translate data into actionable information. Business Intelligence (BI) tools are keys to the success of all our marketing strategies/tactics.

Mobile Apps are increasing being adopted by consumers. Cloud can be deployed at the click of bu

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