Best CMOs in Indian ICT Industry
Published On : 2018-05-29

Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are increasingly playing an important role in transforming organizations, not just in marketing functions but also in corporate affairs. The importance of a CMO in an organization can be evidenced from the fact that even the top heads of organizations take feedback from them about the Industry. CMOs are thus seen as the enablers of business. They drive successful marketing strategies and are responsible for designing various partner programs targeting VARs and partners that proves to be an asset for the growth of the channel eco-system.

They are considered as the role model and are the critical contributors to the broadening mission of marketers. The role of their marketing programmes and also their innovative approach in the organization with the changing times bring about resounding success.

However, in order to draw a better balance between brand vision and operational goals, it is becoming imperative that CMOS work closely with CIOs. It is evident that in the years ahead, an accelerating pace of change will continue to transform the role of CMOs and their relationship with corporates as a whole.

As a special feature, VARINDIA runs through the list of the top CMOs of the country and honours them by deliberating on how they are the most important asset of not only the company but of the entire industry -

NVIDIA’s marketing strategy is to understand customer needs and align it with its value proposition

Vishal Dhupar

Managing Director, South Asia, NVIDIA Graphics

“NVIDIA believes in delivering value to its customers through PC, mobile and cloud architectures. A key element of marketing is to understand the end customer’s profile and needs in order to ensure how the brand’s value proposition meets these needs. Customer engagement while meeting the needs of the prospects is an essential part of the marketing strategy, which in turn ties in together with the company’s overall business objective. In today’s fast moving digital world, new opportunities have opened up for marketers, especially around engaging prospects and customers in content based communities, expanding outreach via social media virality and focussed portals, bloggers and influencers. All of these are part of NVIDIA’s marketing strategy, built on top of the strong product and platform offerings we provide.

Our business has evolved from focusing primarily on gaming products to broader markets, and from chips to platforms and complete systems, thereby expanding our avenues in the market. We leverage our partner network to integrate product features, performance, price and timing of new products for our platforms.

We believe that the depth and quality of our design support are keys to improving our partner network’s time-to-market, maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction and fostering relationships."

Fitbit successfully establishing the brand as India’s popular culture

Alok Shankar

Country General Manager, Fitbit India

“India is a key market for us in the region and has been successful as we have continued to see great response for Fitbit products ever since our launch in 2015. We would be completing three years in India in August 2018. The category is poised to grow and with the introduction of our smart watches, we are buoyant about potential of this market. Currently, Fitbit has one of the most robust sales and distribution network across online and offline channels in the category - we are present across online partners – Amazon India and Flipkart, the biggest e-commerce players in India, and amongst offline stores of Reliance Digital, Croma, Helios and other major retailers. We are available across 1000+ stores in 100 cities, while customers from over 500 Indian cities have bought Fitbits.

We are extremely happy with our journey in India and are pleased to have driven the growing trend towards personal fitness and health in India. With some of the country’s leading celebrities and sporting icons/teams wearing Fitbit, it has helped in successfully establishing the brand as part of the popular culture in India. We are excited with the reaction to our first smart watch – Fitbit Ionic and the queries around the new Fitbit Versa, post launch.”

Data Management – the core expertise of NetApp

Parag Amalnerkar

Director Marketing - NetApp India, South Asia & ANZ

“Marketing is the headlight of an organization. So, the onus is on marketing to anticipate how the market behaviour is likely to change in the near and long term future and plough that back in the organisations thinking, so that our innovations and our ability to address the market needs are tailored to retain the advantage we have over others.

In the current technology market, while there are several players who are addressing the same geography and segments as us, we remain the only player to have identified data management as our core expertise. We primarily focus on this core area of our expertise while letting the ecosystem take care of other requirements. With data at the core of everything we do, our positioning is quite distinct and focussed unlike any other player in the market whose portfolio offerings and focus scale a larger spectrum.

We have offerings which are tailor-made for various different segments. Therefore our measuring would vary by segments. The positioning doesn't change but the value proposition and the targeting is distinct. Because the buying behaviour of each of this segment is different, our marketing plans therefore are devised accordingly.

The year has seen some dramatic shifts as digital transformation has become a key criteria in all industries from BFSI to healthcare, from large enterprises to start-ups. At the BFSI front, banks are digitally transforming and we are helping our customers in their transformation journey, given our expertise.”

Innovation, Product portfolio and Experience – the three things that define Prysm

GB Kumar

VP, APAC, Prysm Inc.

“There are numerous companies that provide basic collaboration capabilities but Prysm offers a unique and innovative environment, enabling its users to access various content and data at the same time; while many traditional systems allow its users to only bring up one piece of content for review at a time, when in a group setting. It combines live applications, content, video conferencing, live sources and the web into a touch-interactive visual workspace where teams can simultaneously create, edit, share and store content to maximize productivity, regardless of device or geographical location. Robust, yet easy to use due to its intuitive user interface, Prysm Digital Workplace makes business teams more efficient from the first meeting.

The differentiating factor for us as compared to our competition is three fold -

1) Constant Innovation, 2) Extensive Product Portfolio 3) Experience.

We provide a standardized experience across form factors. We offer a platform that allows the users to do all of this, from video conferencing, applications, live sources to content sharing on the same platform. The most important feature of our solution is that. Our solution allows everybody to simultaneously add, edit, move and annotate the content without passing out controls to each other. For us it is important to focus on ‘global collaboration’, enabling enterprise workers to work across boundaries and borders and to experience the same collaboration experience across devices, time and places.”

Tech companies need to sync with the evolving customer demands

Sunil Kumar Mohapatra

Director, South Asia Region - Adobe

“At Adobe we believe, understanding customer needs and aligning solutions to address people’s need is a key aspect in making brands digital ready. Today’s tech companies are under constant pressure to innovate to appeal to an increasingly complicated audience; the tech capabilities needed to meet these constantly evolving needs are themselves constantly evolving — and the tech companies that succeed are the ones that evolve in sync. Smart utilization of technology to leverage human connect is the correct approach to innovation. Also customization of solutions to suit every customer’s demands and needs is going to gain prominence. As digital becomes increasingly available, customer counts will only continue to rise and meeting their demand is key to a successful future.

Adobe products have infiltrated nearly all aspects of business and daily life. Companies are investing in digital technology in order to better position their brands in the marketplace. Market leaders are increasingly focused on the people, processes, and tools required to integrate technology across their enterprises, resulting in a digital maturity effect that impacts everything from differentiation to conversion rates. Digital transformation has made its way to every aspect of our lives, especially work environment. Digital transactions, usage of cloud computing to ensure seamless work experience are all examples of how technology is helping create a more conducive and efficient work environment."

Digital Marketing Communication – a priority for Inspira to strengthen its brand

Manoj Kanodia

CEO - Inspira Enterprise India

“At Inspira, we have now decided to strengthen our digital marketing communication for the coming year with clear focus on brand positioning along with our COE’s (Center of Excellence). Marketing strategies like content marketing, social media, search engine marketing & search engine optimization play crucial role for successfully building the brand Inspira.

Overall, apart from organizing events with OEM Partners, Inspira focuses on digital marketing. The key objective is to promote brand, build preference, engage with customers and increase sales through various strategic digital marketing initiatives.

Our marketing strategies are now getting much focused, as we have now started working towards the future of marketing concept i.e. B2ME. All our marketing communications are getting personalized to an extent that would positively impact the decision maker of any organization.

We are more focused in our approach now and have designed GTM strategies basis on the target industries. Inspira Enterprise marketing communications are now completely focused on Account based marketing, which will be replicated on all our social media platforms.

At Inspira we always believe in futuristic innovative and disruptive technologies that will make difference to our clientele overall business positively. We will be catering to all verticals – Government/ PSU, Defence, BFSI, Healthcare, Enterprise and Smart Cities.”

Digital and marketing analytics helps Netmagic (An NTT Communications Company) to grow

Prasenjit Roy

SVP & CMO, Netmagic (An NTT Communications Company)

“With technology becoming so pervasive and customers becoming more globally connected, marketers today wear multiple hats - supporting employee engagement, advocating for the customer experience and driving the growth.

I place significant emphasis on the importance of digital and marketing analytics that will help us to shape, execute and support the growth agenda while delivering on our customer promise. Our digital marketing strategy drives a successful lead-generation tactic that is targeted to meet several criteria. Our actionable leads are primarily generated through search engine marketing (SEM), Social media advertising, email marketing, direct email, events or trade shows, and so on. Few of the key ones are – Generating and tracking a large numbers of qualified leads for the company; Reaching a specific audience of our target customers; Measuring the costs and ROI.

We have been growing at a CAGR of over 35% for the last 4-5 years. With further expansion of our data center footprint and addition of international data network services to our service portfolio, we also aim to meet the growing market needs for mobility, e-commerce, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud, and big data. We plan to add 150 professionals to our existing team of 1,270 employees to support expansion.”

Data is at the core of every innovation taking place in Dell

Srihari Palangala

Director and Head of Marketing - DellEMC India

“The role of marketing professionals has experienced significant change over the last couple of years due to the consumerization of technology. Large volumes of data is being created, distributed and tracked; also there has been the rise of digital media which brings in a new dimension to consumer outreach.

Our ongoing transformation revolves around three avenues – Messaging, How we deliver our message and Driving the impact on business.

Some of the best practices that we have adopted to achieve current goals include: -

• Driving Engagement: As marketers, our marketing channels and tactics focus on participation and driving those two-way conversations with prospects.

• Bring customer voices into conversations: It is important to make the messages “REAL” for our prospects. We pride ourselves in offering the 'Best of Breed' products and solutions and always make technology conversations real by actively bringing customer references and cases forward to strengthen our position.

• Co-Marketing initiatives: Selecting the right choice of partners is always on the top of our list. We open up conversation avenues, show broader solution potential and drive that impact of technology on the business when we partner with other technology providers.”

For Suse, market trends and technology remain as key factors for its success

Deepti Sharma

Head of Marketing - SUSE

“The role of a CMO is very broad now a days. As a CMO, I am presently leading the Marketing function at SUSE across four countries, including India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. I have successfully driven marketing operations, marketing ROI, budget management, strategies across multiple channels, branding, lead generation, digital presence and other customer/prospect outreach programs. I have overseen the expansion of the company’s business through strategic alliances and partnerships with leading global brands.

At SUSE, we believe in the power of the digital world and have orchestrated a broad strategy to maximize our presence on the digital platform. We are also reaching our prospective customers through various new age marketing tools apart from the direct sales approach. We always work towards evolving customer needs. Keeping an eye on the market trends and technology have been two key factors to achieve success for the organization. Conceptualizing new and diverse marketing innovation has worked as a mantra for us to make our customers satisfied. We at SUSE, work closely with our client's management, stakeholders and customers to analyse and condense gathered intelligence into descriptive messages that embody the company and brand's meaning.

In India, SUSE is growing by double digits, and with open source being at the heart of the Indian government’s IT Policy, SUSE is expanding at a significant rate."

SonicWall eyes the enterprise market after making a successful inroad into the SMB space

Vaishali B Shivshankar

Head Marketing & Communication - India & SAARC, SonicWall

“SonicWall has transformed significantly in regards to our overall solution capability, client base and routes to market. We have moved swiftly to increase our presence in the Enterprise segment, and have had a very solid success rate. A few of our Enterprise clientele who are key reference customers in India are NDTV, Wonder Cement and Super Cassette Industries Limited (T-Series).

SonicWall is a 100% channel driven organization and our channel partners play a very prominent role in reaching and influencing the market. We maintain a global approach for messaging and branding, and a regional GTM strategy that is being implemented and followed, allowing for local market variances and requirements.

SonicWall solutions are applicable across all verticals. We have clients that fit all the major verticals, but we have gained a lot of traction across Asia Pacific in Education, Retail & Hospitality, Financial Services, Healthcare and the Public Sector. We will continue to work to solve problems and provide solutions across these verticals and increase our set of global reference customers and case studies that help support this.

We continue to grow YoY, and are market leaders in the SMB sector and making very strong inroads into the Enterprise market.”

Dahua aims to contribute towards the safety and security of India

Balasubramanian Jayam

Head of Marketing - Dahua Technology, India & SAARC Region

“We have spearheaded various initiatives across the countries. This includes our ‘Safe City’ campaign in association with our National Distributors Aditya Infotech in our Channel Partners’ Offices across 22 cities in India which was a great success; launching many important security solutions; introducing latest technologies; participating in major exhibitions; organizing roadshows; regularly interacting with all our stakeholders; training; educating and familiarizing with many helped us to gain more visibility and respectability which are important to win customer’s ‘trust and confidence. Being a global player, we understand the Indian market and meet customers’ needs ahead of others. All these significant initiatives empowered and enabled our dynamic management and dedicated team to take Dahua to the current leading position.

Our best practices adopted to achieve current goals include our total commitment to innovation, quality, international standards, outstanding customer service, prompt delivery, building excellent relationship with all our stakeholders and coordinated approach by our dedicated team across all departments.

Our road map for the next twelve months is to contribute consistently and immensely toward increasing the safety and security of India and grow in its security landscape."

A unique brand positioning helping D-Link retain its market share across products

Anoop Jarial

VP Product Marketing, D-Link (India) Limited

“In my opinion the role of marketing in any organization is more aligned towards business growth. While marketers continue to reach out to their market place through traditional medium, it is imperative to also adapt to newer trends which encompasses use of digital platforms which has almost become ‘voice of the customers’ these days. Technology and more specifically internet is a change agent, with customers thoroughly researching on the products beforehand and then deciding which one to buy.

At D-Link it is our unique positing and brand reliability that has helped D-Link retain market share across different product segments. We continue to be undisputed leaders in Wireless and Switching. D-Link is certain to carry forward the success in future. The present government focus on driving the country's economy and digital infrastructure has broadened the horizon for brands like ours, and we look forward to being a part of the nation building process in this digital era.

D-Link helps both businesses and customers Connect to More. Our enterprise solution enables organizations to connect to their customers. We have a gamut of innovative products that address the growing demand of end-customers. So be it high speed portable 4G devices, Whole Home Wi-Fi Solution like COVR or Smart home solution based on IoT technology like Smart Plug, Motion sensor, the Mini HD Camera etc . D-Link has it all.

Check Point to continue its focus on new technologies to combat fifth-generation attacks

Prateek Grover

Marketing Manager - Check Point Software Technologies

“Marketing needs to be relevant and add value as we are all emotional beings looking for context and connection. In today's world where fifth generation cyber-attacks are lurking at every corner, many enterprises still harbour the mindset of denial such as 'It won't affect us' and is playing into the hands of cyber criminals.The fifth generation cyber-attacks which are played as large-scale, multi-vector mega attacks that inflict major damage on any business and its reputation.

We work closely with the sales team, creating lead generation and awareness campaigns towards achieving sales objectives. Channel marketing gives us insights into a partner eco-system and help us create strategic programs from enablement, certifications and joint marketing.

Check Point’s marketing is a data-driven function where we leverage on data from CRM and marketing automation platform, together with web analytics and historical data to build our marketing strategy. Regardless of the size of a company, marketing needs to be viewed as a business critical function and one that collaborates closely with sales in order for an organization to be successful and eventually thrive. We continue to focus on our new technologies and drive the message on fifth-generation cyber-attacks through all marketing channels."

Marketing for LG starts from its products and its consumers

Amit Gujral

Head – Corporate Marketing, LG Electronics India

“The core concept of LG marketing is “Outside- In”, meaning the brand does not want to satisfy basis only what it thinks. The ‘Outside’ context here is consumers, who are there in the market, their needs and demands, what do they perceive etc. Marketing for LG is just not marketing communication; it starts from the product. The whole phenomenon revolves around the consumers primarily.

LG has a very innovative product strategy in place. Products are built through its core DNA - ‘Learning From You’ i.e.It continuously and consciously reaches out to customers to know what they want from the products. It also tries to understand the Environmental changes happening over time and how not just people but even Governments are aligning for Health conscious and Environment friendly products and practices.

Talking about R&D at LG, there are two approaches. One is the pure research and development for new innovations and products based on consumer studies with utmost Quality Control and the second is the production R&D.

LG Electronics India has launched an emotional yet inspirational campaign themed #CelebratingTheNew. The launch of the video coincides with LG’s 21st anniversary celebrations in India, where it is further stepping up efforts to design and manufacture innovative products and solutions that satisfy the specific requirements of Indian customers.”

Marketing to be a keystone for Brightstar in 2018 to bind business growth with equity

Sameer Misra

General Manager - Marketing & Corporate Communication– Brightstar India

In 2017 Beetel Tele Tech became Brightstar Telecommunications India Ltd and a new era began for us. One key challenge was to reconcile local businesses with global standards and cross-segment brand consistency. The challenge in front of us was not to lose the goodwill built in years but at the same time start creating a brand equity in the market for Brightstar India. By far we have seen success with the support that we got from industry be it new OEMs joining hands with us or the publications covering our story across channels.

What’s critical for a company is how is one defining the growth. It was an inflection point for us as we decided to adopt the new strategy from being a traditional distribution and manufacturing company to a product and service providing entity. In 2017 the task was unique, numbers were important but it was also important to expand laterally by extending into new business lines. All our marketing efforts were focussed on staying relevant with the audiences at all points in time. As marketing function our focus is to play a critical role in developing data-management tools and processes that help business verticals to maintain a consistent brand image and to support it despite growing complexity. New business opportunities were created by entering in to Security & Surveillance, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Firewalls, Cloud platforms (Contact Centre, Video Conferencing, Security – as a Service) Device protection, Buy Back & Trade In etc. So, 2018 is going to be quiet action packed for us here in Brightstar India.

Marketing for Tally plays a key role in creating the brand’s relevancy

Jyothsna Pai

Global Head, Marketing, Tally Solutions Pvt Ltd

“For Tally, a brand is not just an advertising campaign but an experience that we deliver to our customers. Tally is the country’s leading business software provider, adopted by 1.5 million businesses. We have partners and customers who have been with us since the company’s early years.

Transitioning to the GST regime was a tough period for SMEs. Tally’s key role as a brand was in engaging with SMEs through over 7000 GST camps across the country and educating them to understand GST and stay prepared to change. We also provided free webinars and engaged on social media and through blogs for a larger outreach.

Marketing plays a key role to position a brand and create relevancy in a customer’s life. And a powerful brand is made more successful by its loyal users by becoming its advocates. We are happy that Tally enjoys this status and are grateful for trust bestowed by millions of businesses globally. A successfully marketed brand also ensures that it constantly innovates not only on product and experience front, but also in the way it uses its channel mix and messaging to remain preferred in a changing environment.

Innovation is at the heart of our technology and has also been responsible for the impact our products and solutions have created. With our future roadmap of connected solutions, R&D is our core focus over the next few years. We have recently begun research operations as a specialized function.”

ESDS markets itself on every platform to drive presence across horizons

Komal Somani

Chief Marketing Officer, ESDS Software Solution

“My belief is in the mantra of ‘Make good the enemy of great’. Pushing the envelope to think differently, innovating and creating are my benchmarks and I like to take things a notch higher by adding E2 - effectiveness combined with efficiency. I always challenge the status quo as there are no traffic jams when travelling that extra mile.

Our first bull’s eye was Internal Marketing because we had 500+ brand ambassadors to drive the goal on full speed. Our people marketed ESDS, rather we would say VIRALIZED ESDS on every platform. That’s one of the initiatives we undertook to drive our presence across different horizons. My approach of getting all the eyeballs on us was by elevating our social media presence, giving the audience what they want and kept feeding them with all the knowledge and captivating content. Not just entertain them but also enlighten and engage our people.

FY-18 is definitely going to be a breakthrough phase for ESDS; we had achieved double digit (38%) growth in terms of our turnover and our profit doubled as well. Our total traffic growth on our website through various platforms is 39.69% and we have seen a remarkable Social Media Traffic hike, almost 102.32%. We also enhanced our customer experience, customer relationships and corporate partnerships. We have managed to acquire 500+ clients across all verticals. Most of the important initiatives of Central government and PMO are hosted with us."

Forcepoint’s Human-centric products with right marketing strategy brings value to organizations

Vinny Sharma

Marketing Manager - Forcepoint India

“Forcepoint has completely changed the paradigm from threat-centric security to understanding users, their behaviours and intent. It is reinventing cyber security by creating human centric security solutions that enable customers to understand the rhythm of their people and flow of their data. This human-centric approach, backed by right marketing plan, accentuates our value proposition for the companies.

In the face of changing threat landscape, organisations require unified security solutions that will protect against threats from insiders and outsiders, rapidly detect breaches and minimize “dwell time” – the period between compromise and remediation – and stop data theft. Forcepoint does that by providing a unified platform that focuses on insider threat protection, cloud data protection and network security. We simplify and strengthen security as part of a holistic strategy that includes people, process and technology and is far more compelling value proposition than a simple point solution.

Verticals that are impacted by digital transformation such as IT/ ITeS, Banking and Finance, Telecom, Manufacturing, Retail, Healthcare are some of the sectors that would need protection from emerging cyber-attacks. Government is another focus area for us as they use technology to deliver services to citizens..”

100% indirect channel model brings incremental business for RAH Infotech

Jagadish MN

Director Marketing Communications, RAH Infotech

“From being a Value Added Distributor (VAD) sighted as a competition by some of the channel partners to a completely channel friendly VAD was a huge transformation for RAH Infotech. But it also took a lot of planning and immaculate execution to achieve this. RAH Infotech’s shift to 100% indirect model was communicated to channels in the most effective manner which not only strengthened our relationship with channels but also resulted in incremental business.

RAH Infotech not only is an extended marketing arm of its OEMs but also for its channel partners who don’t have a marketing setup of their own. We have been working with our channels on some of the joint marketing campaigns to achieve our goals.

We are strongly focusing on BFSI as a vertical and have been working on increasing our market share. We have lined up several campaigns targeting this vertical including organising /participating in BFSI specific CXO meets.

FY17 was a good year for us and we hope for better results in FY18. We have consistently achieving double digit growth and in FY17 too, we achieved 34% growth.”

Fujitsu focuses on creating strategic narrative for all market interactions

N S Santhosh

Head of Marketing & Communications, Fujitsu

“Fujitsu is a customer centric marketing organization. We are in process of building Fujitsu brand and maintain consistency across all customer touch points. We are focused on developing a strategic narrative for all market interaction and create customer messages to align all our communications and maximize market impact.

We have been able to build customer credibility by listening and engaging from a business perspective. We have commissioned many surveys like ‘fit for Digital’, ‘Managing Security in the Digital Era’ and many others to help our customer to understand the digital journey since Digital Transformation is a board level issue. Fujitsu’s reach and interaction with prospects and customers has increased through digital channels and our marketing approach itself is going through digital transformation as we are investing more time in digital technologies and marketing automation. Digital Co-creation: Fujitsu co-creates digitally with our customers. This year we would like to have more Customer references as we believe that we should aim for new customer when we have a satisfied customer.

For India we are focusing on select verticals like Automotive, manufacturing, Public sector and BFSI at the moment and our focus for the coming year is to improve Growth, reputation, efficiency and be innovative. We have already planned in growing our digital marketing capability and Marketing Automation."