Deepali Naair

Group CMO at CK Birla Group

Deepali Naair on Her Transition From a Seasoned Marketer to a Celebrated Creator

AI has been the talk of the town for a while. With their smartness and adaptiveness, industries try implementing them as part of their core operations. Especially with Digital Marketing, the possibilities are countless. As brands are preparing themselves to adapt to the bursting opportunities, many can't help but be skeptical about the challenges it may pose.

Dive into a fascinating conversation between Tarush Singhal, Director of Content Strategy at Pepper Content and Deepali Naair, Group CMO at CK Birla Group. In this interview, Naair offers her invaluable insights into the integration of science, artificial intelligence and marketing strategy, as well as the shifting roles in the marketing ecosystem due to the advent of generative AI.

Here are some excerpts.

1. How do you perceive the impact of generative AI on marketers today?

Generative AI is indeed significantly impacting the world of marketing today. The efficiency, speed, and cost-effectiveness it offers are game-changers. As a marketer, I see it as a valuable tool that can help streamline various aspects of the marketing process. However, it's important to note that while generative AI can handle repetitive and data-driven tasks with precision and speed, it won't replace the need for human creativity and strategic thinking.

For marketers, it's crucial to understand that generative AI can assist in generating content, analyzing data, and automating certain processes. Still, it can't replicate the unique insights and creativity that humans bring to the table. The strategic aspect of delivering a value proposition to customers in a distinctive manner still relies on human expertise. So, in essence, generative AI can be a powerful ally for marketers, but it should complement, not replace, human creativity and strategic vision.

2. How do you envision generative AI changing the marketing landscape?

Generative AI is poised to bring about significant changes in the marketing landscape in the near future. It can potentially revolutionize how we approach creative content development, data analysis, and customer engagement.

One of the most noticeable shifts will be the automation of routine and repetitive tasks in marketing. Generative AI can quickly generate a wide range of content, from blog posts and social media updates to product descriptions and design elements. This will free up marketers to focus on more strategic and creative aspects of their work, such as crafting unique brand narratives, developing innovative campaigns, and understanding customer behavior on a deeper level.

Additionally, I anticipate that larger brands may establish in-house generative AI teams to harness the full potential of this technology. These teams could be responsible for fine-tuning AI algorithms, ensuring brand consistency, and developing custom solutions tailored to the brand's specific needs.

For smaller brands or those with limited resources, relying on specialized agencies that can effectively leverage generative AI tools might be a practical approach. These agencies can provide access to advanced AI capabilities without requiring extensive in-house expertise.

Ultimately, generative AI will become an integral part of the marketing ecosystem, allowing marketers to work more efficiently and creatively while delivering better-targeted and personalized experiences to their audiences.

The strategic role of taking a value proposition to the customer in a differentiated manner has to come from marketing strategy. It has to come from a human brain because your native AI will work only to command.

3. Considering your brand owner and CMO role, are you planning to experiment with a generative AI team?

As a brand owner and CMO, the potential of generative AI intrigues me. We are actively considering the possibility of setting up a generative AI team within our organization, especially for creative content generation and data analysis tasks.

We've already dipped our toes into experimenting with generative AI, such as creating short videos. However, establishing a dedicated AI team should not be taken lightly. It requires careful consideration of factors such as the scope of AI applications within our marketing strategies, the availability of talent with AI expertise, and the long-term benefits it can bring to our brand.

Setting up a generative AI team would represent a significant investment in resources and time, so we want to ensure that it aligns with our brand's goals and objectives. It's an exciting possibility, and we are monitoring the developments in this field closely to make informed decisions in the future.

4. Your journey from a seasoned marketer to a successful podcast creator is inspiring. What were your initial thoughts and fears when you started this creative endeavor?

When I ventured into the realm of podcasting, I had a mix of excitement and trepidation. On one hand, I was thrilled to explore a new creative avenue and engage with my audience more personally and dynamically. On the other hand, some several concerns and fears crossed my mind.

One of my initial thoughts was the fear of stepping into unfamiliar territory. Podcasting was a medium I hadn't worked in before, and I was acutely aware of the talented and passionate creators already established in the field. There was a concern that I might not measure up to their standards or be able to create content that resonated with listeners.

Another significant concern was balancing podcasting with my busy schedule as a CMO and brand owner. It's no small task to produce engaging and insightful podcast episodes while fulfilling my responsibilities in the business world. I worried about whether I could manage the pressure and time demands effectively.

Lastly, there was the fear of failure. Given my reputation as a marketer, there was a certain expectation attached to the podcast, and the thought of not meeting those expectations was daunting.

However, the decision to launch the podcast after recording eight episodes made a difference in overcoming these fears. This allowed me to build a substantial buffer and gain confidence in the quality of our content. It was a turning point that ultimately led to the podcast's success.

5. Your podcasting journey sounds remarkable. Can you share some of the most memorable moments or highlights from it?

Absolutely, my podcasting journey has been filled with memorable moments and highlights that I cherish. Here are a few that stand out. 

First, I introduced a Rapid-Fire Section. One of the memorable highlights was introducing a rapid-fire section in audio format within our podcast episodes. This added an exciting and interactive element to our content, and it was well-received by our listeners. Secondly, I experimented with a diverse range of discussions. Engaging in various discussions with industry leaders has been truly rewarding. These conversations have allowed me to gain insights, share knowledge, and connect with inspiring individuals from multiple fields. 

Experimenting with new ideas gave me a lot of confidence to try fresh ideas. And I can see clear results too. I received positive feedback and accolades. The positive feedback from our listeners has been heartwarming. Knowing that our content resonates with our audience and positively impacts them is incredibly rewarding.

Additionally, receiving accolades and recognition within the podcasting community has been a source of pride. These positive experiences made me realize that I am breaking ground as a female business podcaster. Being recognized as the first female business podcaster in the country was a significant milestone. It's an achievement that highlights the importance of diverse voices in the podcasting world and has opened up new opportunities for me. 

With such accolades, I could notice the need for thought-leadership podcasts in the market. Following the success of our initial podcast series, "Being CEO with Deepali Naair," we had the exciting opportunity to launch a second series, "Being Founders with Deepali Naair." This expansion allowed us to explore new topics and engage with a broader audience.

But beyond these specific highlights, what is most heartwarming for me is the connections and conversations that the podcast has facilitated. Whether it's the conversations I have today or the interactions I experience at conferences or through messages on LinkedIn, the podcast has enabled me to connect with people, share knowledge, and build a supportive community, which is truly fulfilling.

6. How do you see the ethical considerations surrounding generative AI in marketing evolving, especially regarding transparency and responsible use?

Ethical considerations surrounding generative AI in marketing are paramount and will continue to evolve. Transparency and responsible use are central to addressing these concerns.

In the coming years, there will be a growing emphasis on transparency in AI-generated content. Customers are increasingly concerned about the authenticity of content, and brands need to be upfront about using AI in content creation. This includes disclosing when AI has been involved in generating content and ensuring that consumers know the technology's role.

Moreover, responsible use of generative AI will involve setting ethical boundaries. Marketers and organizations should establish guidelines for AI use, particularly in areas like personalization. It's essential to balance tailoring content to individual preferences and respecting privacy and consent.

As AI advances, we'll also see more robust regulations and industry standards emerge to ensure ethical AI practices in marketing. Brands prioritizing transparency, responsible use, and ethical considerations in their AI-driven marketing efforts will likely build trust with their customers and stand out in the market.

7. Could you share some insights into how generative AI has impacted your marketing team's productivity and creativity so far?

Generative AI has had a noticeable impact on our marketing team's productivity and creativity. One of the most significant advantages is the time-saving aspect. It allows our team to automate repetitive tasks such as content generation, freeing valuable time for more strategic and creative endeavors.

Creatively, generative AI has served as a valuable source of inspiration. It can generate a multitude of ideas and suggestions based on data analysis, helping our team brainstorm and refine marketing strategies more effectively. This creative boost has led to innovative campaigns and approaches that resonate with our target audience.

However, it's important to emphasize that while generative AI enhances productivity and creativity, it doesn't replace the need for human oversight and strategic thinking. Our marketing team continues to provide the critical human touch by ensuring that AI-generated content aligns with our brand's values, maintains consistency, and meets the unique needs of our audience.

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