Indusekhar Chandrasekhar, has a 360 degree Brand, Marketing, Strategy, and Business career with over two decades of experience across Brand, PE/VC, Media, Agency, Consulting, and Entrepreneurship. Now driving the hyper-growth trajectory for Hypersonix on its path to be a path-breaker in Enterprise AI. Donned 3 avatars in parallel across industries: Brand consulting, EdTech, and Tech and Media Tech.
Excerpt From The Vision Board Interview With Mr. Indusekhar Chandrasekhar
You have spent two decades into this space and you have seen that how the b2b marketing sector have evolved. How's your experience you know and few key learnings that you want to share with the community members?
I think from a marketing perspective and incidentally just in terms of a factual update their, i started my career in Cognizant, went to Infosys, came back to Cognizant and did my bit at IBM and then of course a bunch of other things. So, from a technology marketing perspective, i think I’ve been one of those guys who’s very fortunate to have transitioned from the traditional to the digital space. I still remember when I started way back in Cognizant, a lot of the marketing was essentially content that we would write for Brochures and stuff like that that we would host at events. Then I was also at the point where we launched the first E-marketing campaign for Cognizant and so today that that gets into serious mail marketing formats at multiple levels. And then of course from an advertising perspective, I think one of the biggest things was Recruitment, which was always done with the Wednesday’s opportunity section in The Hindu or The Times of India. So, some of us who belong to that generation might still remember the day when that opportunity section became 20 to 25 pages at any given point in time. And hiring was a very large part of the ecosystem and then of course there was a website and that’s all it did right. So digital meant the website, digital meant a little bit of email marketing. And apart from that, it was the traditional brick and mortar you know the kind of printed versions of collaterals and brochures and stuff like that. So i think that’s been the largest evolution of a reduced carbon footprint if you will, of how the world significantly migrated into digital as a format. Now that that’s a bit of a no-brainer right you don’t need me to say that. So I think it might sound kind of sceptical but i think the biggest transformation that I’ve seen is on the role of the marketer. So, we’ve had in a sense just earlier this week maybe three days ago I wrote a blog on LinkedIn called the marketing for the Neanderthals, so when you look at it there were the Neanderthals who still believed that you know digital didn’t really happen you know which is why I talked a little caustically about the idea of newsletters and things like that right and still printed stuff but on the other side we’ve got people who are never meant to be part of the species called market. They still belong to a very different DNA strain and it was kind of unfortunate because there was performance which was expected from marketing, which was seemingly delivered this entire concept of vanity metrics kind of came into being and uh the essence of marketing which is all around you have to do something for a certain someone with a certain value that you give out there right at a very simple level that was getting lost all through. Yeah, but i think uh you know and that would eventually happen and then today we have a hybrid marketer who also thinks strategy, who also thinks concepts and ideas and another marketeer who also understands and all role in the same marketing of course who also understands the value of metrics. But oftentimes I think it gets to the entire point of the purpose is being very very strong. Yesterday, for instance, we all saw the new category ad that had the guy who was dancing, now you know you could certainly say that digital marketing helped that getting more embraced but if somebody’s gonna ask the simple question, are people gonna buy more chocolates just because there was this guy who ran happily and changed the entire stereotype and stuff like that very much. So, I think while from a brand accentuation perspective and things like that, it does play itself out. There’s also the need to kind of understand and fit into a larger conversation and consequence.
There used to be a time when you know that the lots of marketing were based on the assumption, some bit of a data but now things are completely different. We are supported by technology, there are lots of data called the big data and all but at the same time if you think as a customer, they're also bombarded with different kind of communications, content everywhere. You open your you online space & you are bombard with the content. Now in this kind of a scenario, how do you think that brand should engage with the customer rather just showing the content to them which is maybe very very product specific or solution specific. So, what's your point of view on that?
I think, more than Content it oftentimes is very important to gel with the Context and what i mean by that is, nobody is really interested in reading anything, you could be doing the sexiest thing out there on the planet but there is the question that happens on what does it mean to me. So, which is where it kind of goes back to this entire thing on Context right. I think every customer reach out needs to have within it a very strong weave of Context because without Context, Content is zilch and that’s the kind of environment I think people will respect brands as a marketeer much more if you can understand the need and try and see if you’re able to solve a problem and of course you know, from a B2B marketing perspective, i love the perspectives that Rory Sutherland of Gilbert, UK talks about the entire concept of Behavioural Science. I think there is an assumption that when you’re doing B2B you did not follow the principles of B2C but at the end of the day uh the B2B is as human as your B2C. Back in the days i used to say that, especially in the case of some of the lovely companies that i worked with, Cognizant for instance, multi-million-dollar decisions for outsourcing were based on the level of comfort that the CXO’s had that this company can take care of it. So, there are a whole bunch of underdog companies who don’t give a chance to some of the more competent guys purely because of attitude. That’s a very B2C phenomena, you go to the corner mechanic because you’re confident that he will do a much better job on your bike than the other guy. So yeah, i mean when kind of goes back it’s a lot to do with Context, it’s a lot to do with trust, building relationships, being patient about it but then obviously also being sufficiently urgent but then not to show that sense of urgency, not to appear desperate. You are desperate, you know it will bring you but then you can’t just say that, you know it almost gets to which is what i said it gets to the street hawking, beggary on a traffic light. I think Context gets it much stronger. So, today’s market the more they understand context and look at ways of connecting to customers at multiple levels and oftentimes I think the best way is either to cerebrally connect or to emotionally connect and you’ll have to see what of the two, kind of works itself out.
So, suddenly from last 5-6 years, that everyone's talking about that okay before you're getting into the marketing planning the data is very important. But the other side of the story is that there are lots of marketeer, they're struggling how to interpret those data. So, what do you suggest to those your marketers? What are the steps they should take to simplify the interpretation of data and take the summary out of it and convert into the planning or the strategy that you want to make for your organization?
Beautiful question and that’s the funny part because we always started off late, we started leaning on the assumption that data will give us decisioning answers, right there will be a whole bunch of systems that will give us decisioning answers at a tactical level. I think marketing is a significantly strategic exercise. It’s a whole bunch of things that you need to kind of play themselves out. So, essentially, it’s about a couple of things right, it’s about knowing intuitively what to look for in the data that you have out there. By that i mean the quest for clear differentiation, whatever that you have as research and reports and numbers and everything else will reveal something to it. I think the importance which is going to be a long way away for cognitive systems at the highest order to even replicate is going to be human creativity and what i mean by that is you know take a typical case of a forest fire happening in LA, in our case a retailer who needs to shut store in LA because there is a forest fire happening in the adjacent area. The person has a challenge of shipping all of what they have especially perishables and you know clearing the place to another location. While doing that the person also has a choice of moving out some of the inventory. So, the data will basically say that you’ve got so many things that are perishables, if they don’t move out in the next six hours, they’re gonna be dead stock, they’re gonna be losses for the business and on the other side you’ll have a data which says that okay these things you can move them out but things like where do you move them out to? Do you move them out to Santa Monica which is closer or should you move them out to San Hose which is six hours away from LA. So those are choices that a system will still make. But if the store owner for instance or the manager decides that I’ve got this bunch of things that i can actually liquidate by calling them say a Wildfire Kit and i’m going to put together in that wildfire kit things that people really will need as they vacate their houses as the fires kind of come closing on them, that’s Human Intervention. The person’s got a whole bunch of data identifies the need and an opportunity for a wildfire kit puts together water, cookies, fire gloves, extinguishers and what not, that would be like a survival kit and that’s human intervention. So i think going back why i gave this illustration was going back to this entire point of intent often times finds its own level.
If a marketeer has an intent to kind of add value, to differentiate, to conserve or to sustain, that intent beautifully finds its purpose in data and that's the beauty about data.
Data has so many contours to it is, data oftentimes we kind of stop with seeing the balance sheet contours of the data which is all about, okay it’s going to make me so much money or it’s going to lose me so much money. But instead, if you look at it in terms of what are the additional opportunities that we have to play with that data, to differentiate ourselves as a brand if a marketer can look at it from multiple perspectives it could even be something from an employment perspective, yeah but I think it’s all about intent what do you want to do as a brand where do you want to sustain yourself and how do you navigate the data through and so it’s a kind of an evolving compass that you’ll have to figure it out. I mean some of things what i’m saying might sound a tad profound but i think if you know that your intent is to make sure that this particular down cycle in the market, I’m gonna make sure that I’m gonna look at data to make sure I’m gonna minimize the impact of this downside and then what are the ways in which i can minimize the impact of this down cycle and then if you look at the data then the data reveals itself at multiple levels right because data splicing will give you custom-made, pre-done & tailored stuff but what you want to take out of it and how do you want to kind of help it sustain the business is a very creative activity and that’s where I think it’s more of long-lived marketing kind of a thing. The strategy long live ideas because that’s what wins.