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BW Businessworld

“Always-On Learning Mindset”

In this interview with BW Businessworld, Mathur asserts that truly leveraging the power of digital, requires looking beyond the fads and focusing on the outcome.

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Hindustan Unilever’s Vipul Mathur does not even attempt to profess that marketers are untapping the true potential of digital. The top marketer argues that given the fast transformation of the medium, no one should claim to completely utilise or understand digital’s potential. “We are obviously only scratching the surface of what is possible” states Mathur, explaining that the trick is not being worried about FOMO (fear of missing out) in digital, but looking at the impact digital can create

Excerpts:

What is your advice to marketers in the backdrop of a superfast changing marketing world?

With the extent of change in the con- text of marketing, and the ever expanding list of e-commerce first start-ups, who can achieve almost anything, I think the biggest challenge for the marketer today is how to stay consumer focused. This is critical and it requires us to be in the world of defining the problem for consumers, and then designing and implementing simple solutions for the same. Simplicity and clarity are most under-rated in marketing – not just in communication, but also in business planning. My advice to marketers would be to not lose sight of any of this.

Does it worry you that marketing is not always seen as a ‘core to revenue generation’ function?

In my opinion, marketing is the one function that strings together the various parts of the organisation and is singularly focused on creating outcome and impact. Every other function is where value may be created, but marketing is required to convert that into a consumer or customer facing real business. I am convinced about this because marketing is the one function, which com- bines consumer orientation, business acumen and people leadership – and if any newer focus areas could trump the role of marketing in the future, it will only be because all three of these are at its heart.

Given the pace of changes in marketing, what are some of the steps you take to stay ‘relevant’ as a marketer?

It is true that more than any other management streams, marketing is perhaps evolving the fastest. My endeavour hence for myself, and my teams, is to ensure that we are in an always- on learning mind- set. It should govern not just how we spend our time but even how we pick roles. Learning marketing is not just about reading and training courses, but really learning by doing. But the first step to having this learning mindset is admit- ting to yourself that you do not know enough. Humility on this front, is a critical ingredient to constantly evolving.