You have been a noted marketing veteran, speaker and digital enthusiast. What according to you is the typical growth pattern of a CMO, what should CMOs of today aspire towards?
I think the core purpose of all marketing is only to drive higher revenue and healthier margins for the business. It is only in that context that all marketing programs and approaches need to take shape. Therefore, the CMO must always wear a business hat and equip himself to ultimately lead business P&L.
FabIndia has this incredible story of bring products from rural artisans to the urban clusters with scale and quality. However, with the large scale penetration of the internet in India, do you see any new opportunities open up for FabIndia?
Internet is an exciting medium for more reasons than one. It drives both connectivity and commerce. The opportunities to meaningfully engage with customers and audience have literally exploded in the times of the internet. These opportunities must be leveraged for engagement – for story-telling, for conversations, for co-opting audiences into the larger branded content journey. These are the most exciting times for a brand like us to passionately communicate our purpose – our endeavour to engage with craft persons to create products that are truly contemporary and relevant to our audiences.
A question that we have been debating since ad:tech last year – Technology vs Creativity. In the marketing context of today, what according to you is more important and why?
This is not an “either” “or” question but one the answer of which is “both together”. Technology aids in ascertaining greater consumer understanding. It also helps us understand the language that makes sense to disaggregate audience groups. The former needs to be used to fuel creativity and product design. The latter needs to be harnessed for creation & broadcast of messages in a manner in which they are comprehended and consumed most efficiently. I see technology and creativity as that most beautiful and powerful confluence which will lead brand journeys even more powerfully in the coming decades.
At ad:tech you will be talking about Multichannel Marketing. What are the major channels of marketing that Fabindia uses and how do you manage to tie the narrative across these various mediums.
We have a fairly comprehensive approach and mix of channels to communicate and engage with our customers and audiences. Social + digital platforms help us engage in an “always-on” manner and we use these platforms both for video-led story telling as well as for robust engagement via user-generated content. We leverage our large footprint of stores to also continuously engage with our customers, recording feedback on their shopping journey and their satisfaction (or sometimes even the lack of it) with our products and services. Amongst other things, this is also made possible with our very structured yet simple surveys that we carry out every month. Feedback from her as well as the other channels helps us continuously customize and upgrade our merchandise and the overall retail experience. That combined with our relentless focus ecommerce and on omni-channel ecosystem further helps us engage with customers and audiences both in the on-line and physical retail worlds, providing customers access to SKUs that may be available in either ecosystem. Our CRM program and as part of that our newly launched loyalty and rewards program completes our core circuit of multichannel marketing and engagement.