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NEW DELHI : After a mid-life crisis in the 2010s, marketing is now in its golden age. The CMOs or chief marketing officers need to be chief growth officers who can anticipate consumer need, drive brand consideration and convert that into revenue. These were some of the observations made by Deepika Warrier, CMO at liquor firm Diageo India.

Warrier was in a fireside chat with Shalil Gupta, chief business officer, Mosaic Digital, at Mint’s Marketing Summit 2021. The two were discussing Marketing: The Revenue Engine.

Responding to Gupta’s question on marketers being in the hot seat and responsible for revenue, Warrier said that while it was fine for marketers to do great consumer connect and grow brand love through campaigns, unless they converted it to revenue they “kind of become meaningless for the larger organization".

Warrier has spent 25 plus years as a marketer, profit centre head and category head. She has worked for organisations like PepsiCo and later NourishCo Beverages Ltd which was a PepsiCo and Tata Global Beverages JV.

“I would say, in 2010s, marketing went through its middle age crisis when there was this whole technology shift that was happening, the proliferation of consumer outreach channels, consumers becoming almost professional and demanding what exactly they wanted, and the growth of insurgent brands," she said.

However, now is a good time for marketers. “I would say we are back to the golden age of marketing, because coming out of covid there are mega trends and shifts that we’ve seen in consumers," she said. Though some trends were noticeable earlier, covid just accelerated those, she added.

Indian consumers want to live in a physical and digital world today. They are seeking more and more experiences as they have been locked in at home for 18 months.

“India is home to aspiring consumers. So, we’re sitting on a pot of gold and I think it’s a golden age of marketing for Indian marketers to unlock that pot of gold," she said.

Marketing needs to be a big revenue engine and a growth engine of the organization, she added. However, marketing’s role increasingly is to also drive long-term growth and identify what could be the short-term calibration or iterations that need to be done.

Besides identifying long-term growth opportunities, companies need to do strong segmentation on the basis of category, price points or consumer segmentation, she said.

The covid pandemic threw all the marketing playbooks out of the window. Since research agencies were not able to put their teams out to track consumers, Diageo switched to a more digital and agile way of speaking to consumers through virtual groups and one-on-ones. “We were really depending more on our own observations of ourselves as consumers, our friends, our community, and what little market visits we could do to understand what’s happening," she said.

She said drinking was no longer as much of a taboo as it was earlier. “It suddenly became far more central to family get-together, smaller, more casual, intimate gatherings," she said.

So the company got good brand ambassadors in mixologists and did content sessions with them, reaching out to consumers to show them how to make a great cocktail.

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