‘Agile marketing is all about responsive marketing'

At Pitch CMO Summit Mumbai, experts discussed how having a swift-footed approach can help brands across categories to keep pace with shifting consumer needs

by Team PITCH
Published - March 28, 2023
6 minutes To Read
‘Agile marketing is all about responsive marketing'

The Pitch CMO Summit Mumbai held on March 24, brought top industry leaders for a panel discussion on adopting agile marketing. The panellists were Esha Nagar, Managing Director – APAC, Nepa; Hareesh Tibrewala, Joint Chief Executive Officer, Mirum India; Jaya Jamrani, VP – Marketing, Castrol India; Manasi Narasimhan, VP and Head, Marketing & Communications, South Asia, Mastercard; Nikhil Gulati, GM – Marketing, Clovia; Sapangeet Rajwant, Head – Marketing and Digital, Hindi Mass Entertainment, Viacom18; Vanda Ferrao, CMO, WOW Skin Science and Vivek Bhargava, Co-founder, Profit Wheel. The session was moderated by Jaiti Hariani, Sales Director, DoubleVerify.

Kickstarting the session, Hariani asked the panellists about their definition of agile marketing and how it varies from traditional marketing. To this, Bhargava said, “The biggest challenge is not only the mindset. Most brands know what the customers do with them in terms of transactions. But there are no platforms that give you real-time insights into what the consumer is thinking today. If somebody could create which is real-time, that would help as a base for all kinds of decisions you take on media buying or creative strategy or content creation. So, I think the biggest challenge is data on a real-time basis to take such decisions. If we can solve this problem, then agile marketing can be better.”

“Agile marketing is all about responsive marketing. But more importantly, I think it requires a mindset shift. I also think that agile marketing is more like an organisational structural change where you have to completely pivot yourself from the traditional to the modern cues. It’s so much about consumer interactions and what they think about your documents and plans because you are re-gearing and re-shifting. It is also about acting on the change than sticking to a plan and details. Therefore for me, agile marketing is so pivotal that requires so much buying across the organisation otherwise it is a failure,” Nagar added.

Talking about having an agile marketing strategy to overcome challenges from a BFSI perspective, Narasimhan elucidated, “We are living in an incredibly cluttered world. We are a very behind-the-scenes payment brand because let’s face it, all of us pay every single day with whatever mode of payment. We want it to be seamless, safe and efficient. The success in this is not to think about payments because if you have to call up your bank or somebody, then it actually means we haven’t done our job. However, the trick here also is to find out what are consumers interested in. it is about getting a real insight and once you get it, then tell it in an evocative way.”

Rajwant stated that television marketing has seen a paradigm shift from when she started back 20 years to now. “We are a typical mass brand and we cater to across categories of audiences. We are TG pans from the grassroots level who lives in the heartland to a niche person who is sitting, let’s say, in Hyderabad, Bangalore or Mumbai. Similarly, when our audience set is so vast, our marketing has to pan across to all those people. While we are a mass general entertainment brand, but we look at our consumers in a very pyramid format. As brands, we need loyalists. It is when we engage with the consumers on a regular basis,” she pointed out.

Gulati talked about the shift in the consumers’ buying pattern post-pandemic when he said, “During the pandemic, all categories shifted online. We saw consumers buying rampantly online because firstly, it was the need of the hour and secondly, more and more categories were available online. For Clovia, we saw exponential growth in loungewear and activewear. As people were at home, they were trying to get healthier and fitness was a way of life. As a result, people adopted activewear and its sales zoomed up. On the contrary, bra sales fell flat. So accordingly, we had to adjust our working capital and deploy our production, and marketing budgets from one category to the other as per the requirement of the business. Post-pandemic in 2021, we saw a surge of shoppers coming online but in 2022, that surge has now plateaued. People are back to offline stores and I think maybe it is pent-up demand. I was going through data a few days back that 93 per cent of India is still shopping offline. So, while we have always been a digital-first brand, we are ramping up our offline presence now.”

“At WOW Skin Science, we are always an idea of the first company and I think what we did prior to the pandemic actually kept a good stead to extract the maximum. So, our agility comes from identifying trends. We always keep an eye on search volumes. Innovation is fuelled by interesting formulations in great-looking packaging and smelling wonderful. We had the entire funnel set up. We go to nearly 4000 influencers on a monthly basis. They tell consumers how to use it, textures, results etc. and we can directly check on how our traffic comes to our channels. The pandemic has helped us to increase our households by around five times growth,” Ferrao stated.

Tibrewala explained how being in a leadership position one can cultivate an agile mindset for the team and encourage them to adopt a marketing approach. “Agile marketing is the way we need to behave. A couple of years back we had set up an agile pod for the organisation. An agile pod comprises of resources like a copywriter, designer, HTML programmer, creative technologist, and brand strategist and it is run by a scrum master. I believe the concept of agile marketing comes from agile software development. We should use waterfall development where you would build everything and then keep on getting customers buying in shorter cycles,” he added.

Concluding the session, Jamrani noted, “Castrol in India is about 130 year old brand. It also means that they have people who have worked in a certain style and fashion which is the traditional FMCG automotive style of working where you do seasonal campaigns and cyclic marketing. Being able to put money behind agility is not really a buzzword but you need to be able to go back to your top management or whoever your stakeholders are to say that by going agile and by adopting this new change, I have been able to show x million dollars savings and benefits to the company which is then you will get a lot of buy-ins and a lot of training that you need to make that agile engine move in the organisation.”