Mr Raghu Rajagopalan and Mr Ankur Chaudhary
Institute of Management Technology, Nagpur had the privilege of hosting Mr Raghu Rajagopalan, president-COO and Mr Ankur Chaudhary, lead retail-operations and customer experience of Max Fashions India Lifestyle International Pvt. Ltd at Drishticone- A CxO Conclave on 23rd January 2021. They were invited to judge the Case Analysis Competition and to enlighten the students about the current market scenario through their experiences.
The following is an excerpt from the interview from them-
Q1) Having worked in the marketing domain in India for more than a decade, please mention some changes you have noticed in this diverse field.
Ans. Mr Raghu Rajagopalan: Marketing is getting redefined in terms of channel strategy and as the customer’s understanding and the narrative knowledge is getting better, two sets of customers are emerging, one that wants to be more informative about the product and digitally active, whereas the others are those amongst whom verbal communication still plays a bigger role, but are rapidly getting into the digital world.
Mr Ankur Chaudhary: Everything was all about ATL and BTL before, but now social media has become a critical part of everyone’s marketing strategy and in the last two years the whole digital space has boomed and the use of social commerce has amplified the need for every brand to be digitally present, to survive the market.
Q2) The pandemic has unfortunately affected the retail sector, and now the consumers seem to prefer the digital media over the retail. How is the retail sector bouncing back?
Ans. Mr Raghu Rajagopalan: Pandemic has made the companies realise that the only way to survive is to be present online. But at the same time, as the lockdown started getting lifted and the stores opened, the customer’s mentality to touch-feel-try before buying the product bounced back. The companies have to maintain the balance between offline and online commerce and make the customer feel the same way in both the mediums, as ultimately it is the omnichannel that is going to stay.
Mr Ankur Chaudhary: Covid has made the retailers realise that they not only need to be present on an e-commerce platform but to also digitize their operations. As they saw a lot of challenges for the first time, like how to make the entire customer journey contact-less, what tools they should use to make it more easy and convincing, etc. As the omnichannel is here to stay, retail and digital will help each other to grow and survive.
Q3) With the world going digital, how much would AI and Automation affect the modern role of marketing and what are some traditional roles which will become redundant shortly?
Ans. Mr Raghu Rajagopalan: AI and automation is going to be there as far as customer analytics is concerned. But it is not going to eradicate the complete level of marketing which is more of creativity and communication. These two are the core of marketing whereas AI and automation are going to be focussed on understanding the customer behaviour and customer buying behaviour.
Mr Ankur Chaudhary: AI is not going to replace jobs because it will help us in making smarter decisions and in marketing you need empathy and emotional connection with the customer, which AI lacks. It is going to co-exist and make it much more efficient.
Q4) Since everything has moved online these days, so did our events. How was your experience at IMT Nagpur?
Ans. Mr Raghu Rajagopalan: It has been a pleasant experience. I’m impressed that even though the students are not at the campus, the process was very smooth and the interaction with the student managers was amazing.
Mr Ankur Chaudhary: The process was seamless and something which amazed me was even though it's digital, the coordination was complete with no lags. I’m amazed by the way, the students have adapted to the technology.