Samachar Live

‘The biggest challenge for me professionally is to “Thrive” – Interview with Mr Raja Ramachandran – Marketing Leader

Marketing is a dynamic and ever-changing stream, with so many platforms, people who were never related to marketing, have to market their product or service as that is the need of the hour. Today we have Mr Raja Ramachandran who provides us fundamental insights into the marketing world and how it works.

He also talks about his entrepreneurial dreams, let’s get right into it!

Tell us more about the company you work for ‘Tech in Asia’?

In the last couple of years, I was with “Tech in Asia”,  a leading publication for tech startups in Asia. It has a great vision and mission. I was responsible for growing the subscription revenue and brand building. Our customers were founders, entrepreneurs, investors, students, govt organizations, and tech companies. Most employees are millennials, so tons of young people with a lot of energy and passion to grow. People were respectful and kind to each other. Everyone had a great degree of autonomy to try doing things our way to meet the business goals. One of the best companies I had the opportunity to work for.

What are the challenges you face in the marketing field?

There are so many challenges. Let me share one. In simple terms, Marketing at its core is a function of reaching your customers and influencing them to do your desired actions. So, at a strategic level, the ever-changing consumer behaviour is an ongoing challenge for marketing professionals and brands.

Customers are more sophisticated, well-informed, and have an astronomical wealth of information at their disposal anytime, anywhere. For example, a customer seamlessly switches between real-life, mobile, desktop, and tablet while accessing information across a wide array of channels such as OTT (Amazon, Netflix, Hotstar, etc), social media sites (TikTok, Facebook, etc), online searches(Google), play online games, or simply walk down the street. What it means for marketing is the use of large data points, sophisticated technology for the “marketing science part” and blending that with the right “marketing art form” to trigger the right emotions to influence the customer to take your desired action. By the way, there’s Metaverse, Blockchain, and NFTs to add to our ever-growing complexity.

Today, every company has to market itself leading to intense competition now more than ever, does this competition hamper the quality of products/services and are people successful to sell the most ordinary things in extraordinary ways by sugarcoating them?

In general, the competition is intense. The intensity of it may vary from field to field I guess. But I believe the dynamics of healthy competitions should lead to better products. Inferior or irrelevant products would not have a chance in a competitive scenario.

Great marketing can sell a bad product, and you may have short-term gains, but you would not survive for long and soon you would find yourself out of the market. Marketing can increase a customer’s perceived value and other perspectives, but once the customer tries and is unhappy with your product/ service, it is tough to win them back.

So having great marketing is not a free ticket to compromise on your product quality. A business that intends to build value for the long-term must have a brand promise that focuses on all aspects of the relationship between a brand and customers that covers basic product, functionality, features, relevance to the customer needs, the social values the customers care about, the values the brand stands for, etc.

After all this success, what do you struggle with now?

As we all know that only the change is permanent. The biggest challenge for me professionally is to “Thrive”. For me to survive, sustain, and grow it is critical to stay relevant in the rapidly changing business environment, proactively spot the early trends to capitalize on them, keep learning & unlearning, and hustle all the way.  Also, a well-balanced life routine is ultra-critical too, so trying to be consistent in taking the time off from my busy work life to exercise, meditate, and spend quality time with my family and friends.

Who is your role model and why?

That has to be Sir Ratan Tata for so many reasons. While I have not been lucky to meet him in person. But I have followed several of his speeches on the internet. Some things I have learned are:-

Being Humble: Despite how great and powerful the man is, Ratan Tata always comes across as a simple and down to earth man. Be it his body language or choice of words in his speech. You can see the same pattern across all his public speeches and in other candid videos. This tells a lot about how great a human being he is.

Valuing people: He is someone who values people. For example in one of the award shows where he received an award for JLR – Tata I think. And in the award acceptance speech, he highlighted and made it clear on the stage that the CEO of JLR deserves the award more than him, and he was honoured to receive the award on behalf of his CEO.

Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

Having worked as an employee for more than a decade, I finally got the nerve to take the entrepreneurial route. I left my full-time job and joined a venture building accelerator program to find my own EdTech startup. While the reality is, I failed to build a successful startup, but the learning I gained in the process of building my startup is significant and super valuable.           I consider this as one of the most significant events in my career.

Do you plan on setting up your own startup/business someday?

Having closely worked with startup founders, investors, and other entrepreneurial communities for more than half a decade, it is natural that I desire to build my own startup one day.  So I tried to launch my EdTech startup but failed. During the process of venture building, the lesson that I learnt was, it is better to fail fast.

I have a strong conviction that I can build a successful startup one day. So,  in the meantime, for my passion for entrepreneurship and startups.  I am engaged in a few entrepreneurial activities such as I own a franchise partnership in an F&B outlet. And I  advise an early stage HR tech company. And also I am one of the chapter leaders for a global startup community-based in Silicon Valley whose mission is to help budding founders and entrepreneurs.

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