Why are there not enough women leaders in marketing and advertising? What should be done to change the ratio?
It’s a serious issue across industries. Research has often proven that diversity of perspectives is critical for any business growth. It is in everyone’s interest to make sure they are enough women along the side of others.
If you ask me personally, I honestly think it is a by-product of the fact that women don’t take enough risks and push harder for themselves and their advancement. Our male counterparts are much more aggressive about that. What I would really like to tell all women leaders out there is that it’s sometimes okay to take a leap off a cliff. I have done that a few times in my career and it did open an interesting chapter for me.
Smartphones have changed the way the human race interacts. But our dependency on connected devices is taking a toll and we’re seeing more people putting checks in place. What are your thoughts on this need to unplug?
I wouldn’t characterize it has an addiction at all. I would characterize it as an extremely utilitarian thing that’s integral to your life. The daily usage and dependency is because it has become essential to running our lives, both personally and professionally. I think it’s all a good thing. I think it’s also a good thing to take some time off screens.
At a time when there’s data explosion, data misuse, and data trade, if given a chance to win over consumers concerned about their data in today’s digital economy, what would you do?
If data is harnessed effectively, it culminates into much richer and relevant personal experiences for the consumers. That’s how the data needs to be used – to drive and experiment things for consumers that they really ‘want.’ The other side of this is the basic ethics that companies need to keep in mind while handling consumer data. It is all about transparency. If I was given a chance to win the digital consumers who are concerned about their data, I would keep it simple – give them the control of their own data. That’s the way it should be.
The toughest decision you have taken as a CMO?
The toughest thing is to stop doing different things at the same time. It is easy for humans, in general, to lapse into behaviour where you’re trying to do many different things to please people. The truth is in order to be effective in marketing you really need to stay focused and have clear priorities. In short, saying ‘No’ is tough.
If not marketing, then…
Honestly, I love marketing. However, just before studying marketing I did want to become a marine biologist. Not anymore (laughs).
When do you ‘log out’?
The answer is very simple. We live on a boat, so when we take it off the shore a few miles away there is no connectivity. Most of the time I spend my time watching dolphins and whales. There is no time for anything else.
What do you miss about your agency life?
Camaraderie and teamwork – it was so rich, especially if you’re pitching to a new client. The sense of team spirit is slightly different in agencies.
The biggest learning from working at a brand like Yahoo?
I learned the importance of keeping clear, transparent communications with your board.
On the Qualcomm quandary
While there might be great master brand awareness there’s a profound lack of understanding what goes behind the making of our products. Most people around the world really don’t understand how much of an R&D powerhouse engine Qualcomm is, that ultimately invest over fifty billion dollars in R&D.
We’ve completely “re-architected” our marketing mix. We have curriculum marketing programs that have substance and information so that we don’t have to depend on a thin layer of communication that just kind of provide us with an awareness shot. Sponsorships don’t make sense for us because it doesn’t breed that depth of understanding. Therefore, we’ve to look for content partnerships. This is to make sure that the narrative for the company overall is infused in every aspect of the marketing mix.