Hello Rajesh, please take us through your journey that started from being a Project Engineer at Wipro to becoming the Head of Marketing (Asia Pacific) at InMobi?
I started off as an SAP Materials Management/ Warehouse Management consultant at Wipro as part of their fast-track leadership STAR program and through that moved into a customer marketing role where I had my first tryst with marketing. After close to 3 years at Wipro, I decided to pursue my MBA from the Indian School of Business and major in marketing where I enjoyed learning in class and applying in competitions across the nation.
I joined InMobi as Founders’ Staff in the CMO’s office right after graduation. After a brief stint in digital marketing, I took up product marketing for the performance and monetization solutions across Asia Pacific. This was an important period where I revamped the InDecode program that empowered the app developer and marketing community across markets in APAC including India, Indonesia and South Korea with the right tools for growth, retention and monetization. In 2018, I moved to a regional marketing role, where as Head of Marketing for India, my charter was to drive brand awareness, demand generation and customer marketing across the region. More recently, as the APAC marketing head, I have been responsible for scaling the India marketing model to the Southeast Asia, ANZ, Japan and Korea regions. I have been fortunate to also work on the Tech and Employer branding for InMobi in India. It has been quite an exciting and humbling experience over the past 4 years.
As marketing leaders, one must constantly encourage discussion with and intently listen to colleagues, team members and peers. There is always a unique thought, an insight or a full-blown idea that one can uncover through these conversations and brainstorming sessions. The biggest strength of a marketing team is in keeping their ears to the ground and fostering a sharing culture. To add to it, the discipline of setting up, enforcing and following a process contributes equally to ensure that the team is productive, aware of and working towards their goals. However, ultimately, it is of primal importance that marketing leaders are empathetic and build a human connection with each of their employees, especially in the current situation of remote work. Team building has long been about the energy and trust from social interactions. With limited avenues for coffee/ snack-break or agenda-less conversations, one is often oblivious to what is happening in their colleagues’ personal lives. Taking out the time and effort to understand each individual in the team is a must for every marketing leader!
The team went from high performing to exceptionally productive over the past 8-9 months. It was however not without the initial anxieties and hiccups. A few of the tactical steps that worked for me were 1. Daily meetings right at the start of the pandemic which later evolved into bi-weekly meetings, 2. Using collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams along with Microsoft O365 and its various features to drive easy communication, project management, information dissemination etc., 3. Taking the initiative to have fun sessions with the core and extended team, 4. Celebrating small wins and recognitions within the team, so on and so forth.
The biggest challenge and opportunity for brands going into 2021 is to establish Mobile Marketing Maturity. The pandemic has clearly shown that some of the biggest brands, offline or online, are not in sync with the fast-paced and ever evolving nature of the connected consumer. The connected consumer is spending a disproportionate time on mobile apps (even higher than TV), invariably looking to it for guidance at various stages of the shopping journey, learning, exploring, buying and making payments as well on it. It is indeed a mobile app economy!
The brands that focus on leveraging mobile and mobile-first consumer intelligence will attain Mobile Marketing Maturity faster and drive better impact for their business.
I have made it a practice to focus on a personal routine, outside of work – be it revisiting older interests such as learning music and reading books or cultivating newer hobbies such as home gardening and training myself to read and write new languages. I have found a lot of peace in this routine outside of work hours and over the weekends. It has kept me centered and refreshed.
For every marketing enthusiast out there, I will continue to stress upon embracing digital marketing. Be it shaping one’s own learning and career, driving efficacy and efficiency for the organization, or empowering customers, digital marketing is the future. It is the biggest investment every marketer must make to not only survive but to grow in a space that is disrupted every 6 months.