Kiran Veigas, the Program Director– Corporate Marketing at Happiest Minds Technologies, gets into a candid mode with Subhash Desai, Editor of The Digital CMO, and discusses how the role of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) is changing towards becoming Marketing Technology Officers (MTOs) and what a marketing leader must do in this age of disruption to add value to sales and to the organization.
At Happiest Minds, we have crafted a successful inbound marketing program driven by engaging thought leadership content, SEO and marketing automation. This has brought in 170+ inbound enquiries in FY18, thereby resulting in $1.8 Mn in sales pipeline and 6 new customers.
When most CMOs usually find it tough to stay differentiated and keep the lead funnel flowing for sales, Kiran at Happiest Minds helped craft a successful inbound marketing program driven by engaging thought leadership content, SEO and marketing automation. This has brought in 170+ inbound enquiries in FY18, thereby resulting in $1.8 Mn in sales pipeline and 6 new customers. Besides, he shares his thoughts on intrinsic motivation to keep millennials charged.
Kiran has 17 years of industry experience spanning various roles in Digital Marketing, Business Strategy, Business Development, Product Management and Product Development in IT/Telecom. He was recently awarded as the Digital Marketer of the Year -2017 by IAMAI and Moneycontrol.com.
Excerpts from the interview:
How has the marketing landscape changed over the years since you started your marketing career? What are the major marketing disruptions you think have changed the world for better today?
The rapid adoption of internet has resulted in the catapulting of digital marketing into the forefront. Search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and social media marketing (SMM) thus became important marketing tactics to drive online traffic and demand. In the more recent times, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and Predictive Analytics have brought about greater advances in providing a personalized, seamless and scalable digital experience to the customer.
These are indeed exciting times and Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered Chatbots are revolutionizing the way marketing is done, resulting in proactive and always-available customer service with added benefits of cost savings due to automation.
What do you suggest a marketing leader do in this age of disruptions? How should one ensure marketing adds value to sales and to the organization?
What is the main ingredient of a good marketing leader in this digital age?
A good marketer has to do the right mix of marketing to the heart and brain. Marketing to the brain (logical decision) brings in revenues and marketing to the heart (emotional decision) results in increased profits.
How have you successfully encouraged other marketing professionals to think outside the box? Please give a couple of instances.
What is the downside for a company without solid marketing leadership?
Marketing has dual objectives of Lead generation (80%) and Brand Awareness (20%). A solid marketing leadership will ensure that the hard won and negotiated marketing expenses more than pays for itself by generating atleast 2X the business pipeline as well as scaling up the brand awareness in the marketplace.
How much does digital marketing actually plays up in the minds of a CMO? Is it really helping companies stay ahead or is it an all hype?
Irrespective of whether the brand is big or small, digital media provides a level playing field in many ways and a great campaign will achieve virality irrespective of the media spend. Digital Marketing easily gives access to unknown markets and the most important advantage is that it allows for personalization and hence a better customer experience.
In my opinion, digital marketing is here to stay and will be used extensively whether B2B, B2C or C2C.
Has Social Media Marketing lived up to expectations? What has been your own experience running campaigns and generating leads through social media?
Social media marketing is a very cost-effective option for a brand to reach out to not just potential clients but also to talent, to keep them connected with the company’s strategy. Social media has hence become an essential cog in the integrated marketing wheel of content marketing, event marketing, media relations and influencer marketing.
It is important to invest across multiple social channels and figure out which channel works for specific objectives. Running a mix of paid and non-paid campaigns has helped get the most of social media marketing efforts.
B2B companies can look at professional networking channels like LinkedIn to promote the brand and develop business campaigns.
When it comes to acquisition of digital marketing resources, do you find it difficult to get the right ones with right knowledge and experience?
The selection and acquisition of good talent is always a welcome and enjoyable challenge. We get to learn from each other as well as keep abreast with the latest trends and challenges. In addition to recruitment, it is always good to nurture and develop an ecosystem of vendors/partners to meet existing and future requirements.
What part of your marketingrole do you dislike most?
Dislike is too strong a word. Once the leads from marketing (MQLs) move down the funnel to the sales team (SQLs), waiting for them to convert to proposals/SOWs can sometimes try the patience of a good marketer.
What do you tell budding marketing professionals that are getting lots of negative feedback from people for not being creative? How much does creativity weigh into the role of a marketer. What’s your advice to millennials?
Arthur Schawlow’s (winner of the Nobel Prize in physics in 1981) study on scientific creativity highlighted the importance of intrinsic motivation: the motivation to work on something because it is interesting, involving, exciting, satisfying, or personally challenging. Schawlow opined that there is abundant evidence that people will be most creative when they are primarily intrinsically motivated, rather than extrinsically motivated by way of evaluation, surveillance, competition with peers, diktats from superiors, or promise of rewards.
In my experience, intrinsic motivation can be nurtured by allowing teams to have greater autonomy; by fostering ideas and encouraging knowledge sharing; and in general, by making the workplace fun. Access to sufficient resources including materials, training and facilities are important supplements. Ensuring that people know the value of their work by explaining to them how important their work is, and how it contributes to the growth of the company is imperative. A well-trained team should be given full ownership of its roles and responsibilities. If people feel that they are expected to only follow instructions, they may not be motivated to give their best. Extreme time pressures and unrealistic expectations of productivity need to be tempered.
Creating skilled work groups where individuals can constructively challenge as well as help each other stimulates creativity. The team can be encouraged to try different approaches; moreover, they need to be assured that ideas will not be taken negatively or held against anyone in any way. People may not mind if their idea is not chosen; however, they can feel low if their idea is ignored. Finding each team member’s unique strength and empowering them to use it for the company’s benefit is critical. Thus, enhancing people’s self-worth will ensure that they will give their best to the company.
At Happiest Minds, individual as well as team contributions are recognized in a timely manner through our Rewards & Recognitions program. This creates belongingness & pride. Extrinsic motivation enhances the positive effects of intrinsic motivation on creativity. Public acknowledgement or acclaim for creative ideas help to reinforce positivity. This ensures that the creative team can keep doing what it loves and continue to love what it does, thereby ensuring superior results in creativity, and contributing to the success of the company.
If you have any questions about Happiest Minds or want to seek marketing & sales related advice, you can leave your question below and Kiran would answer as appropriate