There are no jet skis to reach your customer

18, May 2016

I must confess, every time I am in front of an audience, I get a little nervous. No, I don’t have stage fright, I really do enjoy speaking and that sometimes can become tricky.

Last week I had an opportunity to moderate a discussion at the Nasscom Marketing Open House in Chennai. My job was to uncover the key challenges brand marketers face while driving demand for their products and services.


At the end of my 50-minute discussion, an overwhelming majority of the audience felt ‘picking the right channel’ was their biggest roadblock. Conversely, many of them believed that they really knew their customers very well. When I tried to correlate the two and dig deeper, one person vociferously expressed that I shouldn’t ‘complicate’ a simple channel dilemma by relating everything to the ‘customer’. In her opinion, the channel had nothing to do with the customer.

A few days back, in my previous blog post, I had shared my anxiety over the insurance industry spending more time reaching me through different means, than understanding me as a customer. While I finally did renew my insurance, I chose a person who didn’t bother me too much, someone who respected my preferences and made me feel special. I must confess they weren’t the cheapest.

As I summed up the conversation at the open house, I kept my personal opinion reserved. As marketers, we all just want quick fixes.

Shouldn’t anything and everything we do as marketers circle back to the customer? Shouldn’t we as marketers be more buyer-centric than ever before? To drive demand or to just be an effective marketer, we should first align our marketing strategy, i.e. the people, process, content, technology & data, to the customer.

Marketing offers no jet skis to reach your customer. If you face a campaign effectiveness challenge – the problem is not with the choice of the channel alone, chances are that we haven’t understood our customers as much as we ought to. Like someone once told me, who wants a holistic ayurvedic treatment that takes forever to heal.  We all just want a magic pill that kills the pain overnight; and if it causes side effects, we’ll take another pill for it.

Vimal Abraham heads the global marketing team at Servion. He is also an avid traveler, photographer and marathoner.

Follow him @vimalabraham 

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