Sugosh Iyer - I Have Miles to Go Before I Even Come Close to Touching the Echelons of My Career (Head of Media and Digital Marketing, Nerolac Paints)

The way my career has shaped up, I do refrain from thinking too long into the future but I would definitely aspire to head a business unit in the near or far future.

1. Tell us about your upbringing, and early career days.

As a child growing up, I was largely an introverted personality bordering at the edge of low self-belief at times; largely directed to follow a fixed path of school – college- professional degree, my early days were in no way an indication how I turned out in the future.

My starting stints were in sales – banking & then media, that got me exposed to multiple situations which helped broaden my outlook towards work and people; Though the work would not be a foundation of my current profile, it went a long way to establish my areas of interest and strength and then pursue them vehemently.

2. How did you rise to the highest echelons in your career and what advice do you have for our readers?

Wow!! Kind words but then I have miles to go before I go to sleep! Or even come close to touching the echelons of my career.

My professional journey has been extremely exciting, extremely challenging & filled with ups and downs just like anyone’s else. And amidst all those times – good & bad, what I have realized is that one needs constantly upgrade himself and not get obsolete. With rapidly changing times, it becomes essential to keep challenging oneself and increasing their repertoire of technical & subject matter skills. In my case, I was always on the move with sales to media to planning to digital to business marketing, every job helped me know more, grow more and challenge myself more. The eternal fear for me was to never get sucked into sameness.

Won’t want to call it an advice but if I need to offer a recommendation - don’t stagnate, explore unprecedented situations and never be scared to fail!!

3. How do you analyse whether your marketing activities reached your intended TG and communicated the right messages?

Marketing activity KPIs are analysed basis the reach and engagements through your audience translating to business outcomes. It all starts with defining your KPIs that is required from each communication & media vehicle and then measuring the impact that is expected to move the needle. While ATL marketing largely helps move the brand scores of ad recall & spont awareness, it also generates a strong momentum & WOM amongst our influencer/distributor community which proves as a solid enabler for the business. Similarly, ATL sponsorships nowadays go a long way beyond just media, further amplified through on-ground sales too,

Digital marketing activities are largely analysed basis engagement on your social or website assets measuring for website journey or building leads for conversion. Additionally an emerged (not emerging anymore) trend has been e-commerce where brands have diversifying into own online shop subject to having multiple categories on their shop to increase the economies of scale.

4. How do you think marketing will evolve in the future and how are you preparing for that leap?

The future of marketing is ever evolving and getting granular in nature. Marketing efforts will look to get more conversation driven with chat bots enablers like whatsapp ,website bots etc. Going forward, automated marketing efforts will take more prominence through lead management systems & audience management platforms (customers & consumers). B2B commerce will shape up slowly but steadily as a way of driving orders for your dealers/distributors to help save on overhead warehousing & product carrying cost.

At my current company, we have enabled few drivers of growth already through whatsapp bots driving conversations & leads with consumers. Further, for our category which is more influencer driven, we are also in the midst of setting up a strong lead flow system enabling our teams on ground to give further impetus to business. That apart, many of the conversations with our influencers are now app driven thus ensuring track ability & measurement.

With growth of smartphone & data penetration, Media planning will transition audience planning with consumers moving to single screen and more me-time media consumption. Internally, we have started to adopt that approach of analysing consumer reach through bird’s eye view with multimedia approach.

5. What would be that one thing that you would do differently now than before?

There are not many things that I would have done differently as every phase has brought its own learning and development in my professional life.

6. What are your future plans?

The way my career has shaped up, I do refrain from thinking too long into the future but I would definitely aspire to head a business unit in the near or far future.

7. What are your thoughts for sponsoring ads during IPL? How do brands measure ROI?

IPL has been game changer for audience, consumers & brands, it has an almost festive kind of a feel with marketers finding ways & means to engage with the brand.

My belief is that it is brands need to integrate IPL as part of their overall marketing plan, connecting all the dots right from creative to communication to media to on-ground activation to business enabler thus building a complete end to end solution for those 2 months. The marketing story has to in sync with the content of IPL to the campaign to yield any tangible impact.

This will help brand establish a strong KPI across each elements in the business funnel of marketing.

The scale of the event is gargantuan and so are the investments so absolutely essential for brands to have a holistic approach to IPL if they plan to engage with it – being sporadically present through TV or Digital ads might not help cut through the noise & clutter.

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8. Which is your favourite book and why?

I had built of phobia of books right from my engineering days, something that still embeds within me so, not a great reader of books. Secondly, there is not much time that I am able to offer apart from work but I do try to read lot on finance and stock markets to understand the intricacies of the stock market. I was always fascinated in reading income statements & balance sheets to predict stock movements and make an informed investment decision.


Sugosh Iyer Bio

I am currently heading the Media, Digital & E-commerce for Kansai Nerolac paints; Having started my career in banking, I moved to the media industry and now to managing media for a business since last 13 years.

Born & brought up in the Mumbai culture and way of doing things, I also had a good international stint in Malaysia working on some key businesses for their media & digital requirements.

My biggest support  in my life are my family & my 5 year old boy who never ceases to amaze me every single day with his boundless energy to create havoc and bring happiness to our life.

Though largely don’t have many interests, I do have a strong interest in studying stock market movements & financial investments – it gives me unprecedented thrill to analyse a stock, predict its growth and invest to grow.

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