Exhibit: If not marketing, what role do you imagine yourself doing?
Manu Kumar: I would be part of Human Resources (HR) as I enjoy engaging with people and feel that HR is one of the most critical functions of the organisation.
Ex: Half of advertising is a waste. Do you agree with this dictum?
MK: I agree with this as there is a lot of wastage while doing advertising. A lot of times, marketers go overboard in spending money on advertising and promotions. With “Programmatic Advertising” in Digital, many feel this issue has been solved. However, that is not true, and massive amounts spent are wasted. Pre and post-analysis, a very structured tracking mechanism, and optimising media periodically can help get the best bang for the buck.
Ex: Which Marketing or Business related book/show you would recommend, and why?
MK: While there are many interesting books on marketing, I recommend Seth Godin’s “This is Marketing- You can’t be seen until you learn to see” This book discusses marketing. Seth encourages marketers to stop and think about what they’re doing. The book goes deeper into a thoughtful approach to marketing. There isn’t one single message that comes out of this book. Instead, it challenges you to think more carefully about the people/customers you want to reach and how to reach them to let them know what you have to offer.
Ex: What medium has brought your organisation the best results across the marketing mix?
MK: Though we use Integrated Marketing for all our campaigns, I believe that we have used Public Relations very well for information dissemination and as a marketing tool. It has paid us dividends in making us no. 1 in Share of Voice for the last financial year in the EV category. Reaching out deep at the regional level and using regional languages has ensured that we have built our brand presence across the nation and contributed to building the EV category.
Ex: Your thoughts on the current trend of Influencer Marketing?
MK: I am not a big fan of influencer marketing, for a simple reason, the number of followers can not be taken as that the person is influential for a particular category. People are using their social media to promote products across categories, which does not make sense. However, if used well and brands work with genuine experts in their categories, I believe that it is a powerful medium to explore.
Ex: What’s that one campaign that you’re proud of? Any interesting BTS thoughts you would want to share?
Ans: While there have been many good campaigns, one recent campaign for HERO ELECTRIC that stood out was “The No.1 E2W company in India”. It was a multi-media campaign across critical cities. We followed the integrated approach with Print/Outdoors/Digital, where PR helped get the message across that Hero Electric is India’s No.1 E2W company. The campaign targeted our key stakeholders, which helped us get visibility. In a limited burst of 60 odd days, it gave us the Share of Voice, and it hit the right audience without us going overboard with our Advertising budget.
Ex: Your secret to coming up with the best of ideas?
Ans: It’s very important to interact with your consumers regularly. When they are buying your product, the insights that you gain from these interactions are precious and help come up with better and more effective ideas.
Ex: Your mantra for optimism?
Ans: My mantra is that you need to be “clear on the outcome, while being flexible with the approach” this has helped me throughout my career, especially during the pandemic in the last 2 years. With life and things being so uncertain, you need to be clear about what is important for you, whether in your job or personal life. However, it would help if you were flexible, keeping in mind the circumstances around you, since you may not be able to approach things the way you used to in the past.
Ex: One app that makes your life easy?
Ans: Google Drive
Ex: What is the best advice you’ve received to date?
Ans: “Learn to say NO” may not win you popularity contests but helps you be more effective and better utilise your time and energies.