Unveiling Marketing Insights: Ethics, AI, and Influence | Guest Talk with Manimala Hazarika

Manimala Hazarika, an accomplished CMO and Growth Marketing Consultant, brings 24 years of expertise in building and growing brands across diverse industries. As a fractional CMO, she collaborates with startups and SMEs, excelling in strategic scaling through a tailored mix of marketing strategy and execution. Manimala’s dynamic leadership was evident during her tenure as the Chief Marketing Officer at The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). She also co-founded Mums ‘n’ Babies, a venture offering maternity and baby care services. In

Unveiling Marketing Insights: Ethics, AI, and Influence | Guest Talk with Manimala Hazarika

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    Manimala Hazarika provides insightful perspectives on marketing dynamics in a Growth Genius podcast. Addressing ethics, she underscores the growing importance of ethical considerations in marketing practices. The discussion delves into the transformative role of AI, acknowledging its potential while urging responsible implementation. Hazarika explores the nuances of influence strategies, emphasizing authenticity and genuine connections. Drawing from her experience, she navigates the evolving marketing landscape, highlighting the need for adaptability and staying attuned to consumer sentiments. The podcast serves as a comprehensive exploration of the ethical dimensions, technological advancements, and strategic considerations in contemporary marketing, offering valuable insights for marketers aiming to navigate this dynamic terrain.

    Key Take Aways

    1. Ethical Considerations: Hazarika emphasizes the growing importance of ethical considerations in marketing practices, highlighting the need for marketers to prioritize ethical standards in their strategies.
    2. AI’s Transformative Role: The discussion explores the transformative potential of AI in marketing. Hazarika acknowledges its power while urging responsible implementation, encouraging digital marketers to leverage AI ethically.
    3. Influence Strategies: Hazarika delves into the nuances of influence strategies, emphasizing the value of authenticity and genuine connections in building successful influencer marketing campaigns.
    4. Adaptability: Navigating the evolving marketing landscape, Hazarika underscores the need for adaptability. Digital marketers are advised to stay flexible and responsive to changes in consumer behavior and industry trends.
    5. Consumer Sentiments: Drawing from her experience, Hazarika highlights the importance of staying attuned to consumer sentiments. Understanding and responding to consumer preferences are crucial for effective marketing strategies.
    6. Comprehensive Exploration: The podcast serves as a comprehensive exploration of ethical dimensions, technological advancements, and strategic considerations in contemporary marketing. Digital marketers can gain valuable insights to enhance their approach.
    7. Strategic Insights: Hazarika provides strategic insights based on her experience, offering practical advice for marketers aiming to navigate the dynamic terrain of modern marketing.
    8. Holistic Perspective: The discussion offers a holistic perspective on marketing dynamics, covering ethical practices, technological advancements, and strategic considerations. Digital marketers are encouraged to adopt a well-rounded approach for success in their campaigns.

    Read Transcript

    Manimala Hazarika:- I think an everybody should go through an entrepreneurial Journey you know because it provides invaluable insight into building and growing a brand today consumers are not okay with brand just bombarding them with some advertisement they want very precisely uh you know they don’t mind emails coming in but they don’t like junks today today we are also seeing you know consumers are becoming uh more and more aware about the environmental impacts of products and services and they are increasingly seeking that the brands at least that they are engaged with align with their values whether it’s in the realm of eco-friendly practices or you know social responsibility or ethical sourcing.

    Mehul Ashar:- Hello ladies and gentlemen welcome to yet another episode of The Growth genius powered by infidigit the SEO Specialists this is where we bring to you interesting stories of growth in marketing and business our today’s growth genius is someone who has been a marketeer for more than two decades and has experienced in various Industries including fmcg advertising she has also launched her own d2c Brands and most importantly uh she has played an important role in the ethical side of marketing and that is what uh is the highlight of today’s uh podcast where we touch upon the ethical side of marketing in terms of how you build the brand through ethical marketing practices so that you ensure that the brand building per se is strengthened in today’s digital age so without further Ado join me in welcoming Miss manimala hazarika who has been the CMO of Sky hi manimala welcome to the growth genius podcast we are delighted to have you here and thanks a lot for your time.

    Manimala:- Thank you so much thanks I’m heartfelt gratitude to the infidigit team and especially you mehul for having me here as a guest it’s an absolute pleasure and honor to be a part of this the growth genius podcast and I hope you know we do a good session.

    Mehul:- Great welcome so let’s start uh I was very intrigued with your profile and wanted to understand more about your professional Journey because your career has transitioned across various Industries so please tell us something about your journey?

    Manimala:- Yes yes you are right mul my professional Journey has been almost a dynamic you know roller coaster exploration across diverse Industries and each offering very unique challenges and opportunities I’ve spent over you know two decades now crafting and shaping Brands started my career with fites SP are heading the iconic brand f call and uh then of course moving to you know Bennett Coleman uh leading the brand Times of India and niie I think this phase of my career which were very initial you know 10 7 10 8 10 years it really honed my skills in traditional marketing and also the brand building within the consumer goods and print media sectors uh after this uh you know the entrepreneurship bug bit me and then you know I ventured into uh the startup world started with my own startup called moms and babies uh direct to Consumer brand specializing in maternity and baby care we run that about six years and you know over the years over those six years moms and babies gradually evolved into a htech platform which we felt was the need of the hour you know discussing when we connected with our consumers and we tried to understand the pain points we realized that that is something that was missing and that’s how we evolved into a health platform offering comprehensive pregnancy and parenting Support Services I think an everybody should go to an entrepreneurial Journey you know because it provides invaluable insight into building and growing a brand and I was lucky that you know I also got the exposure to the world of e-commerce which was just about starting at that time after that you know uh we closed our startup during the covid time I think we hit a rock bottom both as a startup as also my personal Health uh suffered a bit during covid after that I joined as as a CMO and in this role as you know I have been instrumental in driving impactful branding uh initiatives for the brand with a very specific Focus you know of uh breaking the mold and the perception of ASI just as a policing body and we tried to create the perception of ASI as a more an industry Insider you know and an enabler who’s actually wanting to work together with the businesses today to help them you know not cross the line stay within the boundaries and yet do good business instead of instead of calling in strict regulation from the government uh I implemented a lot of digital campaigns and of course the another big agenda was establishing ASI as a thought leader in the industry we were two step ahead of you know what was going on like we did work on patterns we did work on influencer marketing which are as a regulation like a regulator body I think we were much ahead of the times um so yeah my whole journey of now what 23 24 years has been a journey of continuous learning and adaptability allowing me to apply my skills across various Industries and I think each industry has added layers to my professional toolkit and and I believe that has made me The Versatile Market as I like to call myself today.

    Mehul:- Amazing amazing and uh obviously you know it gives a lot of insight when you have worked across various Industries you know talking about consumer insights and you know uh that is something that as a marketeer you know you always put that first So based upon your experience how has consumer needs or rather how have consumer needs changed over a period of?

    Manimala:- Oh I think tremendously I think you know with the Advent of all the technological advancement and the digital you know shift today and the cultural shifts that we are noticing also the changing lifestyles of consumers today I think uh the consumer Behavior has transformed enormously and uh like you know in the earlier part of my career consumers were more reliant on you know the traditional forms of media and information and brand loyalty were built over a long period of time through a very consistent messaging throughout and also I must say that Brands were it was a very one-sided messaging from Brands to Consumers however now you know with the Advent of digital age I think consumers have become more informed they are Discerning and they are very empowered today so the rise of the e-commerce has also transformed the V people’s shop so today it’s you know more about convenience it’s more about personalized experiences consumers today are honestly not just buyers they are stakeholders in brand stories and uh I think they expect full authenticity transparency and a sense of you know purpose from the brands that they engage with um today we are also seeing you know consumers are becoming uh more and more aware about the environmental impacts of products and services and they’re increasingly seeking that the brands at least that they are engaged with aligned with their values whether it’s in the realm of eco-friendly practices or you know social responsibility or ethical sourcing so yeah I mean you know also I think today consumers because of the digital space Also expects a very seamless integration of their you know demands and experiences in the form of very personalized recommendation Based on data today consumers are not okay with brand just bombarding them with some advertisement they want very precisely uh you know they don’t mind emails coming in but they don’t like juns today they they don’t in fact email marketing I think again gaining lot of traction today because Brands can do precise marketing uh based on what the consumer preferences are so yeah as a marketer I would say it is very crucial to understand and adapt to these evolving needs of your consumers uh so that you know you engage with them long term and also provide value to them.

    Mehul:- That’s very interesting what you talked about that today’s consumer has become a stakeholder of the Brand Story itself right right from being just a consumer at the one end of the communication today the consumer becomes part of the communication right that’s very interesting uh very nicely put I would say and uh obviously advertising has also changed uh and so much so in the digital age today so what are your uh thoughts on uh the advertising in this digital Age and what are the benefits and pitfalls that you see?

    Manimala:- Yeah I think digital age is definitely brought about tremendous change in advertising today uh reshaping completely the way today brands are connecting with their audiences and the everything comes with benefits and pitfalls so some of the benefits the way I see it is you know uh thanks to digital thanks to so much of data that we are generating and thanks to the Analytics tools and models that we have today we are able to really segmen tize our customers into much more smaller Niche segments earlier it used to be just demography just few things today it’s like you know what do you drink when you wake up what do you you know it’s it’s like as precise so you know precise targeted advertising has become the norm today and this helps you know Brands to really talk to the consumers at the purchase Journey that they are in the stage they are in you know somebody who’s just exposed to the brand or somebody who’s in the middle of their conversion decision making or somebody who’s almost made their mind to buy and what to talk to them at that moment then of course as I said data driven insights you know I think thanks to AI ml today we have huge chunk of data which we are churning and we are using in fact we are not even using much till till now you know we are all little baffled just now about the whole big data and I think much much more can be done you know also digital has I think given the opportunity of lot much more interactivity and engagement with the consumers today you can do videos quizzes polls so many ways you can keep your consumers engaged with you so that they don’t run away here and there you you catch them through various means and of course having realtime conversation with consumers where was you know earlier it was writing to a consumer care male male you’re calling to somebody now it’s so many social media platforms you can actually talk to your Brands directly and I think brands are the biggest benefiters from that you don’t have to rely on just some market research data you you yourself are connecting to your target audience and you can you know uh learn about the sentiments uh or the social listening has has is a definitely a Big Boon of this uh you know digitalization and some of the pitfalls I would say is you know ad saturation too many ads so an average consumer today as they say is you know exposed to almost 10,000 ads a day at different points of time different platforms so so too much of so it’s leading to you know add blindness in consumers so cutting through that noise and capturing the audience’s attention has definitely become a big challenge uh for you know marketers uh secondly of course we all are talking about you know the privacy concerns increase datas which are being collected and many of times very naively you know we all give away our mobile numbers last minute when we are billing they ask a mobile number and then because you are already at the counter you don’t even think twice but then a later you realize that okay you know you start receiving promo messages and probably this data is used in what sense we don’t know so this is leading to a lot of regulatory you know changes and uh I think transparency in data practice is a key need based on this uh third is of course multiple dark patterns in the web today and uh gullible consumers are falling pre to that many of times you will see you know uh sneaking basket pieces you know you you are buying an airline flight and then you know say your meal your insurance or something which is just tick you should be given the option of opting out and not you know uh opting in and not opting out but because many people will not know that they are being pushed this Services plus today you will also see you know many of times in the mobile when you’re doing something ads pop up and yes there’s a cross button yes but when you actually hit the cross button it opens another window which takes you to a game so these are all you know dark patterns of the web which which are serious issues and which I think both ASI and the consumer you know protection cell is looking into uh another thing is I think you know uh too much of dependency on changing algorithm can also cause a brand Havoc a brand who is you know too dependent on an insta or on a LinkedIn or something and then suddenly the whole algo changes their their messages are not reaching anywhere and and uh so I think it’s diversification in multiple channels to mitigate the risk uh short attention span of course consumers today do not have attention span and we all scroll we are just busy scrolling through grills and you know our pages and last is I think creativity fatigue you know even the creative teams today earlier we used to see awesome creative I mean think I mean I have worked with the best in the world I mean p f and the M absolutely and you know how the whole creation process used to be like a long drawn you brief them they understand the product the the usage the reason and then actually thinking through it mulling over it then you come up with a bright idea now you know there are campaigns barely last one week two weeks and creative there’s no brief system has gone off now it’s like you know every other day you have to create something and you know there’s very rarely today you come across an ad which is like a wow very rare because I think the creativity is just dying down so you know while digital advertising is of course it is essential it is essential but it’s also essential for Brands to stay very agile continually adapt strategies and prioritize authenticity to resonate with the Discerning you know digital consumer today consumers are very aware of what’s Happening.

    Mehul:- True very true and yeah I mean you uh put those points in a nice sequence to understand you know how the change has happened and of course this uh also reflects on the changing role of the markete here right so that is one thing which we would like to understand from you like you know how has the role of marketing per se changed over a period of so many years now and uh if you can give us some thoughts on how you converge offline and online marketing in the marketplace?

    Manimala:- Yeah I think the role of marketers definitely you know changed a lot today I don’t think marketers can just rely on creating good creativity and you know uh sitting on the Laurels of that no more you know it is no more about just ATL and BTL it’s about I don’t know I mean it’s about B I think it’s about everything today a CMO is equivalent to almost a CEO and a CEO today because you are actually looking at you know brand profitability are actually looking at you know brand span you’re actually looking at the Roi Ro everything at every day and that is a bigger challenge with I mean the number of windows that are open on your laptop is not a joke today because you are constantly chasing those figures and tweaking retaking to arrive at a certain number so you know some of the evolution I know data driven decision making today you are not relying on uh we have access to wealth of data but we also need to understand them to make sense out of them and then you know actually create effective campaigns for them then is again next is you know today it’s no more about just sending out an email for the same product same campaign you are sending out 30 different version of email to your precisely segmentized consumers you are no more just sending out a header bad you know some content and push out because it’s a it has no value at all so every email that goes goes out or every communication that goes out to the extent today website landing pages are different for different audiences.

    Mehul:- Yes absolutely.

    Manimala:- Right I mean we are customizing things to that level today but it’s all but that’s what the consumers want today because the attention span is so much when they land on your website if they don’t see in the first 15 know 10 seconds what they are looking for they’re out of it they don’t have the time so you have to grab their attention last thing I think content is playing a big role today it’s all about content you know everybody’s hungry for Content I don’t know when they read and where they watch and what they do but uh everybody is looking for valuable content from Brands and that is where I really like to say that I’ve been talking to a couple of Brands and I’ve been telling them that content doesn’t mean just pushing your product or service content means really solving the customers’s problem sometimes you don’t don’t even talk about your product in that content because you know you don’t want to be just pushing out salesy content all the time you want to push out very valuable meaningful content and of course a multi- channel engagement today so you can’t just say you know we’ll add only on TV or we’ll do only digital or we you have to have a you know Omni Channel multi- CH Channel whatever you call it you know you need to have be present in your TV in your outdoor in your out of home in your digital everywhere as you said you know view on online and offline uh you know convergence of marketing I think integrated campaign as I said just now you know that most successful campaigns just seamlessly integrate online and offline elements something that you see on TV and then you quickly scan a code and then you are on the website so you know it has to be just a flow you have have to uh combine all the mediums to give them one cohesive experience uh today also in store experiences are also changing with augmented reality today you are I think trial rooms May one day just become you know redundant because you’re just standing in front of that screen you’re choosing a dress and then dress is automatically showing how you are going to look look on in in it so and interactive Kos even more mobile apps we know enhancing store experiences today yes uh these are all sort of Bridging the Gap between physical and digit as we write there’s a word today right fital fital so it’s all about being fital today even event amplification you know today events are not just about calling people to one place so we are live streaming we are in fact doing metaverse events today I mean some of the organizations celebrated Diwali and holies in the metaverse because they have Global they have Global teams Global employees cannot you know so.

    Mehul:- Oh very interesting.

    Manimala:- Yes so they are actually you know celebrating it there building that team spirit in the metaverse so so I think these are you know the way online and offline is converging today and the marketer’s role is like one has to keep updating oneself learning reading new skills I think learning learning learning has become the mantra today.

    Mehul:- That’s true because you need to stay ahead of the curve so to say because otherwise we don’t know what?

    Manimala:- And everything is changing so fast I mean just when yeah I mean generative AI is changing the whole game look at what chat GPT is doing look at what You Know Mid Journey or dolly is doing so yeah and you are supposed to know all of them.

    Mehul:- Yes so yeah we have influencers also today and we also have a recent case of you know uh AI generated influencers because you know the real influencers had a lot of uh ego so to say so somebody came up with the AI influencer right so what are what are your insights on the role of influencers in marketing and if you can touch upon the ethical side of uh influencer marketing that will be uh great?

    Manimala:- I think influencer marketing is one of the most you know potent marketing tool I would say for brand promotion today if done right because many of times we have still not learned probably even the influencers are evolving and even brands or marketeers today are still trying to evolve and understand what uh you know influencer marketing is all about how effectively they can use this influencers for their Brand’s growth so influencers are people of course you know with huge reach and followers on the online platforms so the biggest asset that they provide today is their authenticity because influencers have the followers because of their organic contents and uh hence you know these followers are not somebody who have just rolly following an influencer they sort of align with their influencers content or what they are saying you know in the digital space and hence when they Advocate a product the followers consider it to be very authentic you know because they have a genuine connection with it plus they have huge reach today we have you talked about the virtual influencer I’m talking about the regional influencer today unlike a celebrity who’s you know very big and influencers but you know they may have very Niche followers which makes it very effective for brand you know connect and brand communication because you are exactly talking to the niche of people who are interested in that product or that kind of a service and uh of course content creation influencers I think I don’t know how and where they learn but I think they are superb in content creation and something that as a creative team you you know because we your in-house creative team or or an outsourced creative team we look at everything from a very brand angle whereas influencers look at everything from a very their follower from the perspective of their followers what will benefit their followers and they of course your product and talk about their own values but their primary focus is always the uh followers and hence you know very well executed product integration in most of their you know uh reals or whatever content they make and some of the ethical concern of course you rightly said you know as I said transparency is a big thing because I may follow a big celebrity but when they are advertising I already know that uh this is just done done for the Brand’s image this is done for the Brand’s uh uh you know uh promotion and not something I do not expect the celebrity to use that product like I do not expect an Aishvrya Rai to use a lux soap but when my the influencer I follow when they are using it or promoting a product I sort of believe them I sort of believe that they have probably used the product and hence that transparency is very important and many of times we feel that okay they have probably used it themselves and hence promoting uh therefore SK is very strict on you know all the hashtags that they need to use hashtag advertising or hashtag collaboration or # paid promotion and at the very start of the post so that so that it’s not hidden you know below a 500 word caption but at the very beginning so that your followers are very clear that this is something that you have got been paid for and I think you know we have spoken to many influencers and I’ve tried to tell them that this actually enhances their value this actually enhances their brand value their uh you know authenticity towards their followers these are the things you know and also the brands how you know Brands need to align with influencers who actually align with their value system and similarly influencers also need to I think align with work with Brands which are you know which they believe in which which is something that their belief system focuses on and the last but not the least is of course the influences in the face of finance and health they need to be extra careful because you know unlike a skin product or a food product which even if the uh whatever promotion you’ve done is not 100% right does not cause that kind of a damage to the followers but when it comes to financial or Health Products that you are endorsing uh anything goes wrong your followers can have you know have a huge setback that is where we talk about responsible influencing and responsible endorsment and last I think you know Brands and influencers should not look at just engaging one time I feel you know that engaging long-term sort of helps both of them if they can you know so that they together become like stakeholders in the brand Journey the influencer is also bought into the story the value system of the brand and they work together I think they will end up producing better content.

    Mehul:- Yes absolutely.

    Manimala:- So yeah influencer marketing here he’s here to stay it’s just that and I and I think it’s only evolving it’s just the beginning now uh many many things will happen I think all the platforms are working towards doing a lot in this space meta has done a lot of changes meta has today made it much more simpler for people to you know know that these are Partnerships or these are collaborations or these are paid partnership so they are also doing their checks.

    Mehul:- That’s wonderful that in fact helps in terms of uh the communication uh and also in terms of increasing the transparency so to speak yes great great obviously coming to the much talked about topic that is AI uh so what is what is your take on AI in marketing?

    Manimala:- I think AI in marketing is revolutionizing marketing the you know I I I personally love it enormously whatever little I have been using it as of now because it as I said number one is data that is the actual AI the way I look at it and second is of course the generative AI which is helping the whole creative you know this thing so the way I normally I use AI is way data and and creative and I have integrated AI into many of our creative workflows now and this not only saves your time and resource but also allows for you know very Swift creation because today I think time is of most esense and you have to be right then know your communication has to go out at the right time with an impactful content and depending on an agency or a human is difficult on that so I think AI is something that’s going to really uh generate everything much faster whether it’s just copy visuals or creative elements it’s a very seamless process uh additionally I find Great Value in utilizing AI for social listening and sentiment analysis uh I think this approach you know provides very invaluable insights to your Brands into the reactions that and opinions that are your audiences are actually talking in the digital space as I said you know otherwise you have to rely on a market research which takes a long process right those are definitely important for a larger thing but here you know every day every moment you are trying getting to understand what are your audiences seeking so you know you can quickly it at your message based on these insights you can finetune your communication strategy or you know so that your communication resonate with your target audience so you know the combination of datadriven process creative efficiency through Ai and the iterative approach facilitated by social listening forms a very powerful Trifecta as I call it in optimizing our marketing efforts so so yeah it’s exciting times and exciting tools and everything is coming up let’s let’s see we are waiting and watching for much more development in this space.

    Mehul:- Absolutely absolutely I mean it is evolving as an enabler for markers yes and that is the positive.

    Manimala:- And you know so many people are scared today that will it take the will it you know to some extent yes maybe maybe you know some some work has definitely can now be optimized but at the same time as I said the volume is growing so much that it’s it it is not about the jobs you know people losing job but people who are not learning AI may definitely lose jobs yeah but otherwi I think the volume is.

    Mehul:- It provides an opportunity to learn so to say yes yes I think organizations should do that today you know.

    Manimala:- A lot of things are changing too fast and they need to make this effort for their teams to really upskill upskill and and provide opportunities for them to go and learn this newer and newer tools.

    Mehul:- So yeah I mean uh glad that you you know brought this up manimala because at infid digigit we uh have this impetus on learning uh to AI so the SEO team uh has been given a specific uh task uh of creating use cases you know on live projects with the clients and they have also been given budgets for that?

    Manimala:- Okay I think it’s very important.

    Mehul:- Yeah absolutely because it helps us to learn it helps us to develop case studies and uh even in marketing for that matter you know so uh the marketing team also uh you know uh uses AI tools and then they present their use cases in terms of you know how it has impacted quality of the output in terms of whatever post that we put or the content that we you know generate through Ai and to put it on our own uh social media platforms okay so we are also learning and evolving through that?

    Manimala:- Yeah yeah I think it’s all of us are learning and evolving it’s just that the time gap for Learning and evolving has become much shorter today so I think day is a new learning and uh but it’s also important I’m glad that you are putting out these case studies or use cases because you know so many others can learn from it.

    Mehul:- Absolutely and we pass on the benefit to the client so in fact we tell them if you want AI generated content then you know uh there is definitely a positive impact as far as the commercials are concerned and then they also sometimes opt for AI plus human content so you know there is human intervention just to you know clear the you know errors of AI?

    Manimala:- Right no no I always say that Ai and hi must always work together because AI cannot be you know knowing everything at because at the end at the base of AI it’s human intelligence right I mean everything that AI is generating today is because some human uh you know intelligence have uh put in those data but so we also both both Ai and hi needs to work together to finally.

    Mehul:- Yeah Ai and hi is probably you know the should be the bz word so to say now yes because that that uh uh you know gives you the idea of the potential of this Synergy you know rather than fearing it or you know living in anxiety you know it actually liberates your thinking in terms of how you can use it collaboratively and add more value?

    Manimala:- See on the same topic today uh meul uh you me or somebody else if we use a AI tool like the chat jpt today the for the same issue same problem three of us will be generating three different sort of content because it also depends on what is the input what are how are you guiding the chat GPT right that is what chat GPT will give you so hi Cannot be alienated you know it is the human intelligence AB actually give you the final quality content out of it.

    Mehul:- That’s that’s very true because uh especially in fields like finance and healthare like you mentioned you know we cannot depend only on AI so whatever content that goes out is actually vetted by an expert because you cannot take chances with uh you know such important uh you messaging so to say because it has a direct impact on the lives of people right I mean you can you can play around with uh content on e-commerce like you know uh the shade of the shirt can be something else it doesn’t matter but you know with healthare or fin you can’t do that yes talking about d2c and online platforms and since you have had that experience of you know creating a brand ground up uh in the d2c space uh obviously you know marketplaces are something uh that always form an integral part of the d2c business totally so can you yeah so can you give us some insights on that in terms of what are what is the importance of marketplaces uh and any challenges that you know one may face uh while dealing uh with marketplaces in the d2c uh space?

    Manimala:- Sure I think uh this marketplaces are an absolute necessity and they play a very pivotal role today in the you know the success of any e-commerce Brands without them I I don’t think you know it would be easy for any anybody to just start up take make a product and sell it because uh it’s a huge cost creating a platform creating a website creating is still okay but getting getting you know consumers getting eyeballs promoting it is not not easy and then of course the logistics part of it is a huge chain you you know in the in the whole supply chain so uh they are they definitely play a big role and uh uh the the benefits as I see some of them is you know of course as I said Exposure and reach so these marketplaces provide e-commerce brands with you know unparalleled exposure to a massive set of audience today you know people I mean you know stay atome women or you know women entrepreneur very uh new uh are actually selling their products in like Amazon Canada Amazon us Amazon Australia wow and and yes and and these These are such big enablers how I don’t think they would have any day could have thought of doing something like that so so yeah I think these platforms are uh because they have high traffic they Pro they promote to the Right audience because they have ai enabled you know uh marketing and targeting strategy and they showcase your product with the right customers uh that may be interested second is they give they give the consumers trust and credibility today if I open a website by some name and sell some product there’s no there’s no credibility to it right but if I put the same product on Amazon or a flip cart or any other I think there’s a certain amount of trust associated with it which I think at those marketplaces need to really work further on maintaining this credibility because some of these Stars which are you know or which are the ratings there have been issues with them and I think even in with as we have their cases so so I I think it’s for the benefit of both the brands the consumers and the platform they need to really sort this part out uh otherwise I think customers feel very confident when they buy from a renowned website um thirdly as I said the logistical support it’s a huge support I remember remember when I was doing it and I was very new in it uh I the whole you know process of signing up a blue dot or a DHL or an aramax and then you know doing everything was so tedious then came Amazon and then they have the you know uh fulfillment by Amazon so all you have to do is pack your stuff send it to there go down warehouse and do nothing after that every order you get it’s their headache to deliver and so you know it takes away 60 % of your burden of you know uh delivering and reaching the right customer at the right time and of course customer acquisition has become simpler because uh they have their own set of customers they have their own set of audiences so your product is shown to them and it becomes simpler for you uh some of the challenges brand space of course number one is commission you know uh a commission fees is a some some of them charge quite High uh depending on how valuable the platform is what services they are offering but but I guess you know they sort of make up for the benefit or the value that they give you uh second I would say which I also felt and I which I’m hearing a lot is a limited brand control you do not have the control of which page you are shown where you are shown you know or uh where your ads will be placed or which you know you cannot you normally do not have the control on it so so that I think is uh even the presentation of your product suppose it’s a product I want to show five pictures of it only then the consumer will understand or say it’s important for me to show a you know side view or whatever view but if their algo or their page design does not allow that you cannot do that uh third I would say is intense competition too many Brands I mean you know you just type baby care or a baby dress I think there’ll be 3,000 products so unless and until you are showing in the first two three page it’s useless correct correct I think that is where even the platforms make money because that is when they charge you for the you know promoting your brand or you know pushing it up the sponsor tag so yes they do that yes and last is of course dependence on the platform’s policies you have to be dependent on their policy on um and and they keep changing algorithms so you know even the terms of services may change the policies can impact your visibility or your operation so all of these of course are challenges then there in sometimes you know they also say there it leads to a little brand dilution when your brand is up there everywhere especially for the premium Brands right but I but but honestly I see most of them still there because I think you know the benefits much way you know uh heavier than the pitfalls correct so yeah I think uh despite the challenges the Strategic approach to utilizing marketplaces you know can mitigate all of these negatives and e-commerce Brands and today d2c brand they have to and will have to rely on this marketplaces to you know at least in the beginning phase of the or probably forever actually.

    Mehul:- Right right I mean that’s one uh space that you need to be visible at least uh you know even if you have your own platform uh you you have seen brands that you know they have their own websites but they also uh are uh visible on marketplaces like Amazon flip cart.

    Manimala:- Even a Big Brand like a Nika would be because you that’s a that’s a yeah yeah promotion right that’s an advertisement almost and there’s a huge chunk of buyers who are not visiting your website but are visiting Amazon so once maybe the first time will buy you off from Amazon and maybe next time you can convert them to your own website but uh you have to be present where the world is present otherwise you lose out that’s true that’s very but but but today some of the brands I know are also but you know promoting their own things a lot is because they have very Niche target audience so that is the only time probably you can you know rely on not being present or being minimally present just for visibility in these platforms but uh build your own uh brand through your own efforts.

    Mehul:- True this is marketplaces are here to Spain so to say great now uh coming to the last part of the podcast uh we would love to hear any specific growth stories uh that come on top of your mind you know uh throughout your career anything that you would like to share?

    Manimala:- There are many actually but yeah maybe I would like to talk about one thing that I have learned very early on in my first tint of my you know post MBA with pite is in how to own a category I think nobody owns a category like pitl light does you know you you talk as as if you know only one one brand so similarly you know I was uhhe heading the category stationary and the challenge was you know how do we own this brand of art and craft I mean we can keep on launching products launching variations of products launching different sqs of product but that is still like a very push sales you still have to you know go sell every time even though you are the leader because that is the very uh essense or the character of the product so how do we own this category overall and that is when after I think a lot of brainstorming we came up with this concept that let us you know start something called the creative craft which was a comprehensive initiative which was aimed at fostering creativity and education so as a part of the key of innovation was a development of art and craft books you know for grades 1 to8 and to make it really valuable we actually created a very uh an Advisory board or very uh what do I call them very rowned or respectable experts from this field like the JJ School of Art Dean was a part of it right like say art artist Aran Kata was a part of it so you know and they actually designed a curriculum which was very age specific very scientifically proven methods were Incorporated and what this did to our uh brand was that schools who were the of course the target audience for us and it was a B2 b2c product you know you have to sell to the school and the school then the parents so the books were so valued by the school that we got an automatic entry into meet huge number of schools and uh I think that was what we dreamed of and then we also started this whole uh creative craft contest International level which again May helped us you know own this whole category of art and craft I think the impact was extraordinary and I know instead of merely being associated with specific product users began linking fevicol with art and craft so so yeah I think this is one of the and and that did this did wonders to the entire category this was one AB yeah this was one experience early on in my career I learned you know that and and and ever since that I think I really believe in marketing strategies that lead to pull Brands rather than just push brand because there’s no end to pushing true you know everything that you do is pushing but I think what you are doing is great today that you know when you provide what the users want to listen to or know about they come to do and you don’t have to keep going to them.

    Mehul:- Absolutely it’s very interesting to get such insights because this is something that you don’t get otherwise you know it is not out there as of now right I mean the insights are so relevant in terms of the experiences through various Brands through various industries that it adds a it adds a lot of layers to you know what you’re talking about and it it is so relatable because it is not something which is just published in the books but it is something which actually has come out into reality so right wonderful and last lastly we would like to hear about you know uh any takeaways that you would like to share for budding professionals?

    Manimala:- Oh yeah budding Professionals in brand marketing advertising I think as I earlier also said one of the biggest thing they need to do is Embrace continuous learning the space is you know so Dynamic that it’s changing every second almost you know every morning you wake up you find something new happening in your space some very Innovative way that some brand has used AI you know and which can definitely benefit you so keep your eyes and yours open be open to learning be open to you know understanding why a brand you uses you know a certain tool or a certain technology in a certain way basically stay curious be open to new ideas and invest in upskilling whether it’s mastering you know technology or staying updated on what the industry is doing or how the consumers are evolving because finally marketing is at the end all about consumers it is only consumers a matter nothing else uh secondly I would say you know as I said uh you know Network and collaborate I think nothing and beat that in marketing because that is the easiest way you learn you cannot learn an upscale just by reading or you know listening or uh of course podcast voice cast all are important but I think meeting people talking to them understanding the stories yes I think that gives you the maximum learning that also helps to understand you know U and helps sort of collaborate uh with professionals from diverse background both within and within your industry last is I think adaptability you need to you know be open to adapt the only constant in a business today is change I think everywhere is a change actually so be adaptable and be resilient in the face of challenges today I think we are facing a lot of challenges also as we spoke about job loss due to technology but this could be all temporary you know so focus on your own growth and I think the road should be easy ahead.

    Mehul:- Wonderful thank you so much for the learnings Manimala I think these are some nuggets of wisdom which are applicable to everyone today you know not just youngsters and you know as they say you know you don’t get to learn everything in B school you know some things you have to learn it on your own and that is what we try to do on our podcast to you know make the Learning Easy you know getting stward like you to share their experiences thank you which.

    Manimala:- Thank you so much for having me because you know I think as you rightly said it is no more just about budding honestly I think learning has become for anybody and everybody even after 25 years of work experience I still feel like I’m a nervous because there are so many new things to learn.

    Mehul:- Yes absolutely absolutely that’s very rightly put because yeah I mean things are changing so fast you need to keep understanding learning new things so.

    Manimala:- Yes thank you so much pleasure pleas pleasure talking to you.

    Mehul:- So here we come to the end of yet another episode of The Grow genius and as insightful as it can get we obviously learned a lot about ethical marketing practices and how this can be used for building your brand in the long term in today’s digital age where the consumer attention span is so less and when you look at marketeers obviously the role of marketeers is becoming more and more challenging so to be resilient what was suggested is of course keep learning at all times and this is where upskilling is going to help you to stay ahead of the C I am sure that you will all learn a lot from this podcast and keep liking sharing and subscribing to the content that we put on various social media platforms and also audio platforms The Links of all of these are given in the description below so till the next episode of the growth genius keep learning keep inspiring thank you

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    Unveiling Marketing Insights: Ethics, AI, and Influence | Guest Talk with Manimala Hazarika