Shilpa Jain: AI and Marketing? This is unique. Do let us know what does Marketing in AI mean?
Sumedha Chatterjee: In a few years from now, AI will be inexorably linked with every function, in every industry, not just marketing. It’s just coincidental that being a marketer in the AI space, I can see firsthand the magnitude of impact that AI can have on marketing.
Areas in which I can see AI making an immediate, measurable impact are:
- Knowing the customer DNA: 360-view of the customer
- Understanding intent in search
- Marketing measurement
- Voice commerce
- Privacy laws & data protection
SJ: You have worked across Edu Tech and Health Tech? The basis underlying being marketing. But how different was the marketing strategy in both these forms?
SC: The fundamental drivers of marketing remain the same in every industry. Creating demand. Be it EdTech or HealthTech, or any other industry, if a marketer has a strong grasp on fundamentals, s/he can create a strong measurable impact in any industry.
Both EdTech and HealthTech have nearly similar marketing strategies, although the audience profile varies. Both are geared towards audience acquisition, renewal and engagement, across the subscription period. Both have fixed, finite usage durations, which is why marketers in these industries find themselves continuously creating an audience pipeline, making demand generation one of the primary growth drivers.
SJ: Is marketing in AI a new concept? Do you find many people pursuing this career?
SC: I operate with the understand that whatever is normal today, was novel yesterday, or the day before that. While AI might appear to be a relatively newer intervention, as marketers we have been getting there for quite some time.
P&L owners have repeatedly been inquiring about the returns on marketing investment. This led to print eventually making way for digital in advertising. It also led to more transparency in the way media was priced, and also laser focus on reaching the correct TG, instead of mass-market reach, with relevant message customization.
Eventually, as AI as a technology matured, we acquired the tools, and the ways in which to use the tools. Right from marketing automation to conversational bots, personalized web experiences, smart customer engagement, we have been seeing deeper and deeper AI engagement in marketing. Some areas will continue to develop and become mainstream, and will be interesting to watch, such as AI powered content creation.
SJ: What are the pre-requisites for someone desirous of pursuing a career in marketing? And what are the various career options within marketing?
SC: Rather than any degree, being a marketer is a perpetual case of curiosity and drive. Curiosity to constantly challenge the status quo, be hungry to learn new skills, to constantly reinvent oneself, and be always customer centric and ready to experiment.
When I started my career, social media and online marketing were very nascent. Along with my peers, I have learned everything new in this field, and that is the way it will remain, a state of continuous learning. Being self-taught is a wonderful thing. You acquire an innate understanding of things and acquire a knack for experimentation.
At present, marketing careers exist on the axis of content marketing, social media marketing, SEO, SEM, full-scale digital. Marketing organizations are either segregated into offline vs online, or by the segments they serve or by function. Entry level candidates, if they are lucky, get directed towards a skill they are naturally good that. If that doesn’t happen, my advice to them is not to lose heart. Every little skill acquired somewhere, has a way of being useful later on.
However, the future of marketing roles may look very different from what it is now. For one thing is certain, marketing as a function will become more intelligent. There will be more roles in data, in automation, in performance, in cloud, and in marketing experiences.
SJ: As our primary cause is aiming to make young women financially independent, what message do you have for them?
SC: Being financially independent is not optional anymore, it is an incredibly empowering pre-requisite for young women. The good thing is that being financially independent doesn’t require you to have advanced degrees. All you need is the foresight to identify how to utilize your skills productively and monetize those which are right for the current employment market.
For anyone interested in building the right skillset, there are no dearth of learning options, or opportunities.
SJ: Any message to the members of Aspire for Her? And any message for the Foundation in general
SC: This is an immensely useful initiative for all women. We as women need to act as support systems for each other and build each other up. People talk of inadequate boardroom representation for women and lack of senior leadership opportunities. How can we expect the progression to happen if talent is not promoted from the grounds up? It is here that organizations like Aspire for Her are crucial, helping provide a community to strengthen and promote aspirations for countless women everywhere. The work that Aspire for Her has done in the area of mentorship of young women professionals is commendable and is helping many young women to navigate their careers, armed with the information that they need.