Prakash Subramanian

Head Of Growth Strategy At Reliance Retail

Future-Proofing Marketing: Insights, Strategies, and Content Excellence With Prakash Subramanian

In a world where change is the only constant, the realm of marketing is no exception. As technology evolves, consumer behaviors shift, and new platforms emerge, the challenge of future-proofing marketing endeavors becomes paramount. To ensure long-term success, businesses must embrace adaptive strategies, leverage emerging trends, and maintain a steadfast commitment to core principles.

In this interesting conversation Kunal Bajpai, Senior Associate Program Management, at Pepper Content is joined by Prakash Subramanian, Head Of Growth Strategy At Reliance Retail as he shares his perspectives on the current marketing landscape and strategies for crafting effective content.

With an impressive background that includes roles at prominent media agencies, digital platforms, and iconic brands, Prakash's journey encapsulates the evolution of modern marketing.

Here are some excerpts.

1. Tell us about your journey so far.

I lead growth strategy, performance marketing, retention, loyalty, partnerships, and alliances for Tira, Reliance Retail's newest venture. We recently went live to the public, marking a fairly recent entry into the market. However, my role here has been shaped over the past eight to nine months, during which I've built the setup from the ground up.

Early on, I was uncertain about my exact career path within the expansive marketing domain. This led me to a role with Zoological International, a small company primarily focused on gifting and corporate gifting. Those initial years provided me with valuable insights into the business landscape, allowing me to discern my niche. Concurrently, I undertook freelancing gigs with ad agencies and social media companies to broaden my experience. While pursuing my bachelor's, I realized the importance of specialization in the evolving marketing landscape.

Returning to India, I joined Star Sports, overseeing a groundbreaking project that involved establishing in-house studios for live broadcasts. This endeavor taught me about cross-team collaboration and the intricacies of executing large-scale projects. My tenure at Star Sports provided a pivotal choice between delving deeper into sports marketing or exploring a broader marketing ecosystem. I opted for the latter, joining Hotstar, India's premier digital OTT platform, just as it was making its mark.

Working with prominent media agencies gave me an encompassing view of the marketing funnel and the diverse aspects of business operations. The shift to Facebook brought a fresh perspective, as I joined the SME business team, contributing to the dynamic growth of Indian e-commerce during transformative times.

Through a series of diverse roles and experiences, I realized the value of humility and continuous learning. This realization led me to initiate conversations about businesses' larger objectives and tailor solutions to their unique needs. The culmination of these insights led me to my current role at Tira, where I've been entrusted with building a startup within a well-established framework.

2. What is your, opinion on the current marketing space and any future impacts you feel?

In my perspective, the current marketing space is intriguing, yet it revolves around timeless fundamentals. While marketing techniques will inevitably adapt to pop culture and changing trends, the core principles remain unchanged. Effective marketing still hinges on communicating a business's identity, its value proposition, and its benefits to customers. Straying from these foundational elements can pose challenges. Virality, for instance, while occasionally achievable, is difficult to design deliberately. The essential premise of effective marketing is rooted in addressing the 'who,' 'what,' and 'why' of a business, ultimately prompting the desired customer actions.

Looking ahead, the marketing landscape is set to undergo several shifts. Hyper-personalization, a recent trend enabled by data, is at a juncture where consumer privacy and consent are gaining prominence. As businesses grapple with adhering to evolving data privacy laws and ethical standards, the power dynamic between customers and marketers will evolve.

Relevance will emerge as a crucial currency in this landscape. Consumers will demand personalized experiences, yet consent will dictate the extent of personalization.

This shift will require marketers to revisit the fundamentals, delivering resonant messaging that adheres to privacy regulations while still fostering connections with customers.

While digital advancements have brought innovation, they've also cluttered communication channels. Amidst this clutter, the basics of marketing will become even more crucial.

Revisiting core concepts, such as clearly articulating a business's identity and benefits, will help messages stand out.

In this cyclical evolution, we are observing a trend back to the roots, where businesses are focusing on re-establishing relevance through effective, resonant communication. As marketing adapts to privacy concerns and technological shifts, the fundamental principles will serve as a reliable guidepost for building meaningful customer connections in an ever-changing landscape.

3. If you had a blank platform, how would you craft your ideal marketing stack to navigate these changes?

When envisioning an ideal marketing platform, I believe it should be tailored to a business's unique needs and objectives. Rather than seeking the most advanced tools, it's crucial to align the platform with the business's stage and goals. For instance, in e-commerce, one might start with accessible tools like Shopify, gradually progressing to more specialized platforms as the business matures. This approach prevents investing in tools that aren't fully utilized and prioritize customization based on the organization's capabilities.

The key lies in understanding what each tool can achieve and whether the organization can harness its potential. Instead of jumping to premium subscriptions, it's wise to explore free tools first. Integrating tools that align with specific business outcomes is pivotal. Take Google Analytics as an example; it might be the best choice for some, but it's vital to analyze if the business can effectively utilize its insights and data modeling capabilities. A similar approach applies to CRM, data stack tools, and more. Prioritizing where data capture, leads management, and serviceability matters most ensures that investments genuinely drive value.

Ultimately, the goal is incremental value. Investing in tools should be based on an organization's readiness to leverage the deeper insights and capabilities offered. Excel might suffice for lead management initially, but as the business scales, it's prudent to transition to a more suitable solution.

The critical takeaway is to build a marketing stack that grows organically with the business, incrementally adopting tools that truly enhance its operations.

Customization, alignment with objectives, and the ability to maximize the tool's potential should guide every decision in shaping the ideal marketing platform.

4. How would you define great content, and how can one set up the right machinery to produce it effectively?

Reflecting on my previous response regarding the evolution of marketing communications, one principle that I consistently emphasize to my team is the concept of "so what."

When crafting content, I encourage them to consider it from a consumer's perspective. If the content fails to convey its value or relevance, then it's essential to go back to the drawing board and refine it.

Avoid falling into the trap of marketer's greed, which tends to prioritize self-promotion over addressing the consumer's 'so what' question.

Contrary to popular belief, creating impactful content doesn't necessarily require a hefty production budget. In fact, the past few years have shown us that great content can be produced using nothing more than a mobile device. This trend is exemplified by influencers hailing from small towns who have mastered the art of effectively addressing the "so what" factor in their content.

A prime example of this phenomenon can be seen in the finance education sector. Creators and certified accountants recognized an opportunity to simplify complex financial concepts into bite-sized 30-second videos. These creators have successfully bridged the gap of financial knowledge for the general public, proving that even intricate topics can be communicated effectively within a short timeframe. This challenges the notion that certain brands or businesses cannot convey their essence in just 30 seconds. It often boils down to a marketer's desire to convey too much, whereas simplicity and relevance should be the focus.

The key takeaway here is to approach content creation with a consumer-centric mindset. As marketers, we need to step into the consumer's shoes and ask ourselves, "Why should this matter to me?" This "so what" factor should be addressed upfront.

For instance, if you're promoting a product with a 50% discount, don't just highlight the discount—explain why the product is remarkable and how it adds value to the consumer's life. By addressing the "so what" question and delivering value early on, we create content that resonates and engages.

In this age of fleeting attention spans, it's critical to recognize that the effectiveness of content isn't contingent on elaborate productions.

5. With the diverse array of digital platforms, how should brands adapt their content strategies for various touchpoints?

As the marketing landscape evolves, the way we craft content also adapts. Storyboarding becomes crucial, especially considering the different platforms like digital, TV, and outdoor. Each touchpoint has its unique requirements and dynamics. For instance, TV and digital might require distinct approaches due to varying consumption patterns.

The essence is to capture attention early and communicate relevance upfront. Tailoring content to each platform's strengths ensures that the message is conveyed effectively.

In essence, success in content creation boils down to understanding the 'so what' factor, aligning content with consumer needs, and adapting storytelling to the nuances of different platforms.

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