CMO Pitch Summit 2014, March 27, 2014 - GutsGo Enterprises
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NOTE on Pitch CMO Summit, 2014
There are a few events where you get to listen to the past achievements, present challenges and future potential of your
industry straight from the horse’s mouth.
Thanks to Professor Ratan KK and GutsGo eMarketing, I got an opportunity to attend one on March 27, 2014 at the ‘Pitch CMO
Summit’ organized at Radisson Blu Plaza, Delhi.
Representing some of the biggest players like Pepsi, Groupon, OLX, Yepme, Micromax, ITC, Godrej and Philips, a slew of head
honchos, from CEOs to CMOs to COOs were present to interact with professionals.
Following are my insights and learnings from the event:
Regarding Digital marketing:
Mr. D. Shivakumar, CEO, Pepsico very eloquently put that earlier a brand used to be in the pulpit and consumers used to sit
down, and brands used to do one-way communication to them. But now the scenario is different. Consumers talk with
consumers, about YOU!
So keep your ears to the ground and use social media listening tools.
Social Media is like “BCC” of emails, where everything is being circulated to everyone, and you don’t even know.
In today’s digital age, a brand has 60 minutes to respond to customer grievances on the internet. If it does not, consumers
spread disliking like fire.
Don’t be Data Rich & insight Poor. There is too much data around that it confuses you. So don’t get seduced by data alone, go
for quality insights in analytics.
(2) Groupon :
When onions reached rs80/kg and groupon used Rs9/kg scheme, there was such a mad rush for it that when Groupon
marketing team searched the terms “Groupon” and “Onion” on Google Trends, there was an exponential spike in the graph
over the promotion period.
Both Micromax and Groupon mentioned that this is the age of Cyber Queue, where as soon as you launch a product, it gets
sold out online!
(3) Cinthol :
Cinthol realized the significance of digital marketing so much that they released the ads online first and then on TV.
They made an official twitter hashtag called #inViratsHead, where people interacted with their brand ambassador Virat Kohli
about what goes in his head just before a match, and Virat Kohli used to release video responses.
They also leveraged the blogosphere to create a buzz.
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Besides Digital marketing, there were a lot of learnings on other marketing aspects like Brand positioning, neuro-focus
technology used to detect where all the human eye moves on seeing an ad, media buying, target audience and tips to stay
ahead in the game called marketing.
If one wishes to know the interactions I had with the marketing heads during question answer rounds, one may read on…
Question 1: to Groupon
Me: “Sir, my question is regarding target audience. My mom and dad are kings and queens of Facebook, but they are just not
ready to buy-and-sell online. Firstly, they are resistant and hesitant to try online medium and secondly, they always say with a
raised eyebrow that “Something must be fishy about these deals”. So is the demographic age segment of 40-55 years a part of
your target audience? And if Yes, how do we persuade them to try ecommerce?”
CEO, Groupon: “Unfortunately, age 40-55 is not a part of our target audience. And the reason very rightly being that their
cultural beliefs and attitudes are hard to change. Indians follow cynicism. They don’t trust if someone is giving a smarter deal.”
Question 2: to Pepsi
Me: “Sir, my question is regarding a market environment shift we are witnessing. With every passing month, people are
becoming more and more calorie-conscious. Chips are saying that “we are roasted, not fried”. Smoothies are saying ‘We are
healthy from now on’. In such a scenario, do you think Pepsi, a sugary cola beverage, might feel the need to reinvent the brand
in the not-so-far future?”
CEO, Pepsi: “Good question! All I can say is that we can give choices to the consumer. After that, it’s the consumer who
Question 3: to Micromax
Me: “Sir, at first Indians didn’t trust the quality of an Indian mobile brand in the market, but Micromax proved it wrong with its
number 2 position. But when it came to choosing a brand ambassador, why did you go for Hugh Jackman, a foreigner? Why
not a ShahRukh Khan or an Amitabh Bacchan, who are also global brands and would have kept the Indian-ness of the brand
Marketing Head, Micromax: “Well, SRK and Amitabh Bacchan are global only for the Indian diaspora living outside, Hugh
Jackman would have been a better ambassador for international appeal.”
Question 4: to Godrej
Me: “Sir, my question is regarding Brand Ambassadors. Cinthol spent humongous amounts on Hrithik Roshan, Virat Kohli, etc.
But today’s technological environment and tastes are changing. The youth records shows on TV and watches it afterwards,
without TV Ads. We might straightaway see shows on Youtube. Moreover, the audience is getting smarter and would buy
product only for its benefits and not celebrities. So do you think roping in Brand ambassadors is worth it?”
Marketing Head, Cinthol: “It’s right that the environment is changing. All I can say is that we hire them to give a scale to the
ad, and we would like to make sure that their personality is the same as that of our product.”
Some notable lines that stayed with me:
CEO, Groupon: “Groupon was earlier ‘SoSasta.com’ in India.
But premium deals and audience cant be associated with the word ‘Sasta’.
So we changed the name to ‘Crazeal’ and then ‘Groupon’.”
Marketing Head, Micromax : “Products are made in factories, brands are made in the consumer’s mind.”
“Marketing team can be either security guards or architects. Don’t be a security guard who stops people from touching and
changing the building called ‘Brand’. Instead, be an architect, and keep thinking of ways of changing the color, shape and
design of a brand.”
“Don’t always think that if you want to win, your competitor needs to lose. Let’s win together.”
“You cant be just a batsman and enter a cricket team. The days of single-skilled professional are over. You need 3-4 skills:
marketing, HR and some more”