UMANG SHAKYA: WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A MARKETING BOSS
Outreach Nepal is a company that focuses on providing professional communication solutions with a combination of strategy and creativity and they have made a name for themselves in the market. Their clientele is full of big names and their work is vast.
Umang Shakya is the COO of Outreach Nepal and who better to pace you through the basics of the local marketing scene. We talk to him in regards of what it takes to be a marketing boss in Nepal.
TNM: Tell us about yourself and what you are involved in.
US: I am into the communication industry for over a decade now. I love how this profession provides me something new to learn every day. Currently, I am trying to understand
the role and impact of digital media and its influence in communication sector of Nepal. Besides, on a lighter note, I am a movie buff and I love to discover new restaurants in the town.
TNM: How did you get into marketing?
US: Marketing is a generic term with different sub-segments. For me, it was the communication and advertising industry. I got an opportunity to pursue my education in communication and advertising in Mumbai. After completing my studies, I came back and joined my brother’s newly established advertising venture as an apprentice.
TNM: What characteristics make a good marketer?
US: Being a good marketer takes…well, a lot of skills and attributes. However, if a person can perfect these five traits, then he/she can be a successful marketing executive.
- Be a Visionary A successful marketing executive needs to have a strong vision for what they want to accomplish for the brand in the present and in the future.
- Business Driver Another trait of a successful marketing manager is a strong knowledge of how business works and the ability to put that knowledge to use. Successful marketing executives can drive business and improve growth through innovative business solutions.
- Strategic Thinker A good marketing executive needs to have the ability to plan and execute business strategy in detail. With a solid understanding of market trends, you can develop a targeted strategy to meet your goals.
- Digital Guru In today’s technology-driven world, a successful marketing executive needs to live on the cutting edge of technology and be familiar with all kinds of platforms.
- Customer Driven All high level marketing executives are focused on fulfilling the customer’s needs. Targeting the right customer is essential to a successful marketing campaign, and a successful marketing executive needs to know how to find and target that customer.
TNM: 5 things every marketing person should keep in mind.
US: Future marketing managers should think in terms of the following broad-based skills that can be applied to different scenarios “ and in different industries. Below are the five
attributes that every marketing person should keep in mind.
- Critical Thinking Critical thinking, or the ability to analyze situations or statements and determine their validity, is the foundation on which modern management professionals build their careers. Critical thinking breeds creative thinking, which in-turn solves problems.
- Project Management future marketing managers will need to sharpen their project management skills in order to lead their teams and accomplish their objectives.
- Analytical Skills A Successful marketing manager needs to have an analytical mind. The best managers also know how to look beyond the data and pick up on trends and patterns that can lead to better, more successful marketing solutions.
- Holistic Approach Future managers will approach marketing by thinking in terms of integrated, interconnected systems, and how they affect each other.
- Technical Skills Technology will continue to advance and will influence how marketing is accomplished. It will always be important for marketing managers to be a tech savvy. Customer engagement will occur in multiple ways, and competing for their attention will mean delivering the services and information they want, through user-friendly apps and relationship-building tools.
CRITICAL THINKING BREEDS CREATIVE THINKING, WHICH IN-TURN SOLVES PROBLEMS.
TNM: Can one be a better marketing person overnight? How?
US: Honestly speaking, it’s not possible. Marketing is a continuous learning process which requires a lot of practical and real-life exposure.
TNM: What is the right essence for a perfectly executed marketing campaign?
US: Fundamentally, the basic principles in every successful marketing campaign are
evolved around the ‘4Ps’ – Price, Product, Promotion and Placement, though there might be some more – people, process and physical environment .
If the “4Ps” are the bricks and mortar, you still need tools to build anything with them. And there are lots of tools – advertising campaigns, promotional plans, coupons, editorials, press and analyst interviews, conference papers, datasheets, product briefs, brochures and more with a new selection of instruments – Websites, Search Engine Optimization/Marketing, Videos, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, webinars, targeted email campaigns and so forth. However, a successful marketing effort requires, first and foremost, a comprehensive strategy. A wise man once said, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” The process of developing an effective strategy is a prerequisite to genuine, sustained effectiveness in marketing.
TNM: Which has been your best and worst marketing campaign?
US: I hesitate to use the word ‘best or worst campaign’. It is important to understand what type of consumers or target group a campaign wants to focus on. A campaign that connects successfully with its target group ensures good return and vice-versa. However, Marketing
is not always about higher returns. It is also about connecting with the customers.
TNM: How would you describe Nepal’s client mentality? Does the concept of the client always being right hinder the creative process?
US: Frankly speaking, there are no exceptions between a client in New York, Shanghai or Kathmandu – everyone wants the best possible return on their investments. The biggest chunk of customers in Nepal is the middle class, who want value for money. We have to be creative and adaptable, given the environment we live in. Whenever agency and clients have worked on mutual respect and common platform, we have seen path-breaking communications, which have made histories.
TNM: What is the most challenging thing here in Nepal to overcome in terms of branding or advertising?
US: I think, first and foremost, the main challenge is the unavailability of sufficient manpower in this field. The second challenge is the lack of an environment where young professionals can excel.
TNM: Is the concept of marketing a lost cause or a gold mine for Nepal?
US: Marketing is a very local business. At the end of the day, the end result is the strategy that you implemented with the resources you had. In spite of all the challenges, the Nepalese economy is evolving and that’s a good sign. Hence, being an optimist, I’d rather say there are opportunities in many untapped areas.
TNM: In your opinion, which company is doing a great job of marketing in Nepal? Which company could do a better job?
US: The Nepalese market is a customer-driven market and the companies are aware of that. Over the past decade, major changes have occurred in the advertising sector. I can see many multinational JVs along with local companies performing well in this sector. But, of course, there are many new avenues, which are yet to be explored. For example: If you look at the digital landscape of this country, a lot of innovative promotions can be done through the use of Internet, social media and “ mobile.
TNM: Which Nepalese company would be a good case study in terms of marketing? Why?
US: While most companies are doing well in their respective sectors, there are certain companies which are exceptionally ahead in the marketing front. One such company is Ncell. Ncell, obviously, has successfully struck an instant chord with the Nepalese audience through its brilliant marketing campaigns and digital promotions. If I am not wrong, they also have the widest penetration rate.
TNM: Where are companies wasting huge amounts of money? On worthless advertising, sales promotion, and other marketing elements that aren’t doing their jobs? Where should they be spending money to make things more effective?
US: The companies are not wasting their time, effort and money, but rather investing in their strategies. You have to understand that strategic investments are long-term processes. Some strategies succeed, while others fail. So, you should be careful in choosing an experienced marketing partner who will assist you in making the right investment with minimum risks. Also, there is a need for a measurement mechanism which can help in making more effective brand plans.
TNM: Is there a generic marketing mantra that is effective for everyone (every company)? What about your agency?
US: No. Marketing is not confined to a single sphere. The more you spread up the more is the opportunity. Speaking about us, we have a center philosophy on client-based activities. Our mantra is – ‘Business Driven Creative Ideas’ because we believe each campaign should center around a core business idea rather than just creative concepts. You can also go through the book ‘Brandsutra’ written by our founder, Mr. Ujaya Shakya, which highlights the relevant marketing mantras of the Nepalese market.
MARKETING IS A VERY LOCAL BUSINESS. AT THE END OF THE DAY, THE END RESULT IS THE STRATEGY THAT YOU IMPLEMENTED WITH THE RESOURCES YOU HAD