Market place is the best teacher – Vinita Bali

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As we celebrate the women marketers of India, here’s a lady, who’s moved up the ranks in a marketing career, to be the Managing Director of one of the biggest Food & Beverages company of India – Britannia. Vinita Bali, who was appointed as Managing Director of Britannia in May 2006, and as its CEO in January 2005, is credited to have doubled the sales of Britannia in the last five years and and the company now has an international footprint and a dairy business that is profitable.

Although an MD now, she has a vast marketing career background starting with Voltas, a Tata Group Company, followed by Cadbury India, Coca Cola and Zyman Group.

In an email interview with Pallavi Srivastava of Pitch, Bali talks about her learnings from her career, her experience at Britannia, and women marketers:

How did you turn-around Britannia in such a short span of time? What were the key strategy drivers?
We are on a transformational journey in Britannia and along the way have been recognised in various forums for the quality and variety of delightful and wholesome products we make available, both in our bakery and dairy business.

The key strategy drivers are nothing fancy but doing the basic things right which requires the ability to convert consumer insight and market data intocompelling value propositions that are capable of creating an enduring business. Additionally, it is about creating the capability to deliver operational excellence in a cost effective manner.

Do women make better marketers? If yes, why? Also what are the insights women marketers have, which offer them a unique perspective of consumers and market place?
I believe we take the gender issue a little too far. I think certain people make better marketers and they could be men or women. It all depends on the individual’s capacity and capability to be curious about people, their aspirations, motivations and behaviour. Also, to be aware of what competition is doing and why, and to have the ability to create a business model that can profitably commercialise opportunities in a sustainable manner.

What’s your advice to the new generation of CMOs and marketingprofessionals?
Learn about marketing by walking the streets and talking to people, by being curious about what works and what does not and by opening your mind to new ideas – learning from the experiences of other companies and industries. It is definitely not about spread sheets and power point presentations.

One lesson that you have learned the hard way?
Resourcing the right competency, mind set and skills is critical to success and all three qualities are essential for winning people and winning teams.

Your favourite marketing book and why?
‘The Market Place’. It contains all the answers for success and failure. And not necessarily of Britannia Industries Ltd.

About the author / 

Neha Goel

Former Correspondent, Pitch/pitchonnet.com

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