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Mr. Amit Sethiya, Head Marketing Syska Group in a candid discussion with our editorial team. Amit is a marketing strategist with a penchant for creating and establishing regional and PAN India brands across segments like Steel, Real estate and consumer electronics segments over the last 15 years.
Q1.How has been your journey so far from very beginning to now leading one of the most admired brand like SYSKA?
Like most of the MBA- Marketing students, even I had the aspiration to join an FMCG/FMCD brand and complete the circle of good education and perceptionally a good career. But being a mechanical engineer as well, I was placed in a leading Iron and Steel manufacturing company for initial years where I did B2B marketing with other white good brands.
While definitely it was a learning experience but the reality was – Steel is a steel is a steel. I was missing the consumer angle in my deliverables and hence decided to move on into something more interesting. Around 2005-06, real estate sector was realizing the need of a formal marketing function within the value chain which was missing till then.
I saw this as a big opportunity to not only get into consumer facing role but also to learn the basics during the formative stage of function within the sector. Witnessed the entire evolution from fundamental level to much more graduated technological exploration of using AR/VR to selling homes online in GOSF 2012 for the first time in the country. A decade long stint as a real estate marketer with leading private and corporate brands was a roller coaster ride. However, it also made me very comfortable about the role and this comfort needed to be challenged in order to grow as a professional.
SYSKA brought in the opportunity to evolve from creating regional brands to national brands and at the same time wear various customer hats across different segments. The beauty is that brand and self are growing together from 2 segments (LED, Mobile Accessories) in 2016 to few more till 2018 (Personal care appliances, Wires and cables, smart home products etc.). I always mention that from making homes in my earlier role, now I have shifted inside homes to bring in customer solutions. The agility to wear different customer hats for the same brand and still create meaningful propositions for each customer segment has been the most instrumental challenge in my professional journey.
Q2. Exciting times for business leaders because of the way technology has evolved and Hi-Tech solutions are available today?
Newer technological and Hi-tech tools are disrupting product portfolios, marketing functions and thus the business ecosystems. Forward looking brands are investing their resources in the digital transformation that connects the entire value chain from sourcing to delivery, creates journey from vendor to customer, re-engineers the plan from precision to accurate which will have its own impact from top-line to bottom-line. I guess the generation I belong to has thankfully witnessed the changing dynamics from floppy to CD to pen drives to Cloud, human intelligence to artificial intelligence to machine learning etc. which I am sure is just the beginning of the much exciting experiences from consumer to marketer to leader.
Q3. What are the top challenges for today’s brand and marketing manager? How should one deal with them?
I believe brand is the story and marketing is its narration and hence at the core of brand marketing, lies the art of storytelling. This artistry is however getting challenged by the emergence of multiple platforms across traditional and new age media. For example, we had handful of television channels 2 decades back and today the number has swelled up beyond 800. Multiple languages, new found interests and personal preferences are the key contributors to this fragmentation. Even digital and social media ecosystem, marketplace and aggregator space is going through the same dissolution making it tough for the brand marketers to narrate the story the best possible way. Goldfish memory of the consumers only adds up to the challenge.
Q4. Our readers would like to know that as a successful marketing leader what is your mantra for success?
As a marketer, I strongly believe in the mantra of “consumer precedes marketer”. We are a consumer before we are a marketer. This helps me to approach business and marketing objectives with lot more honesty and create better solutions for the brand. In todays digital consumerism, the professional quest is to simplify the customer journeys with the help of most apt technologies and more than relevant value propositions. Ultimately as a consumer, we all want relevant solutions put across at the right time in the easiest ways and at a price point which creates win-win situation for both the brand and the consumer.
Q5. While you yourself are role model for many however who are your role models or leaders who have inspired you over the period of time?
I feel I am lucky to have not one but an array of mentors who have always instilled their learnings to make my career trajectory much sharper in last more than 15 years. While technical guidance is always at hand whenever needed, it is their beliefs and thoughts towards life that makes it far easy for me to navigate as an individual and as a captain of the ship without much turbulence. I am glad to share some of them here; keeping the kid within alive will ensure that you can find even the smallest of the achievements full of joy and you are able to give honest reactions and responses, aiming for simplicity is better than chasing the chaos to prove a point, pursuing perfection is a myth and will never lead to contentment and last but the least – celebrating the efforts before the outcome of the efforts are celebrated.
Q6. What would be your advice to young marketing managers and management students?
It is absolutely OK to not have clarity in the beginning. It will gradually arrive basis the experiences during the journey and a calculated risk invested in trial and error leading to the desired trajectory. Personally, It is important to have an opinion and more important is to share the opinion to check if it can influence the majority of stakeholders including customers.
Marketing is a function where 2+2 can still be 22 and hence it is far-fetched from extremities and mostly swings in subjective space, performance truly governed by insight sharpness and according idea uniqueness. For the FM (Fast moving) category obsessed marketers and management students, I would advice thatall fast-moving industry whether CG, CD or newly coined EG (electrical goods) needs equally fast-moving thoughts and concepts so that you proactively create solutions for your end consumers. It is important to elucidate that it not as much about an industry as much it is about the function that you join to add value to the brand and customers. Fundamentally, one should be ready to challenge the status quo and create more opportunities so that you are ahead of the curve at individual, functional and organizational levels.
(Above views are of the author and not of the website kindly read disclaimer)