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8 insights into the future of marketing with Raja Rajamannar

8 insights into the future of marketing with Raja Rajamannar5 min read
  • 20 December 2022
  • by Silvina Moschini

In a world with an ever increasing number of screens, it’s easy to comprehend that consumers, saturated with data, will gradually start to turn off from brands’ messages. Raja Rajamannar, who’s considered one of the world’s five most influential CMOs, has things clear: people’s attention span has decreased to 8 seconds (“the same as that of a goldfish”) and so the focus of any strategy needs to consider experiences and the senses. Since he joined Mastercard in 2013, Rajamannar has shown what it means to use the five senses in marketing, and he has outlined his ideas in the bestseller “Quantum Marketing”. I had the opportunity to speak with him at the Mastercard Innovation Forum in Miami, where we discussed some of the most frequent questions that arise among heads of leading startups, who have the impassioned but challenging mission of building a global brand.

1. Marketing at the heart of things

- What do companies need in order to be able to understand phenomena quickly and respond with a suitable strategy?

  • I have no definitive answer to that. But I think it’s about making marketing the real heart of the business and not just another department. It’s a philosophy that doesn’t even have to do with budget. You can put a lot of money into an advert that has no real impact on people’s emotions or you can think in terms of the creation and recreation of experiences.

2. From celebrating moments to generating them

- Speaking of experience, 25 years have passed since the Priceless campaign, and that slogan about the “things money can’t buy…” is still going. How do you explain the strength of this message?

  • The message remains alive because the emotional connection that we established with consumers was very strong but also because we were able to adapt it to the pace of technological changes. Remember that the campaign was born in a world without social media and without iPhones, a world in which consumers had more time and were more passive.

Today everyone wants to be the protagonist of their own experiences. So we took it to a multisensory platform and instead of celebrating priceless moments we set out to generate them directly.

3. 360° experiences

- Is multisensory marketing the answer to a hyperconnected world?

  • It’s more than that. It’s about providing “360-degree” experiences, and for this, the five senses are vital for creating a more powerful identification with the brand. We design culinary experiences to communicate our values and our identity through taste.

We’ve done that at restaurants in Mexico, Brazil and the US. How much more valuable and unforgettable can this experience be than the ephemeral 15 seconds of what we know is a very expensive commercial at halftime in the Super Bowl? I think this is a debate we still owe ourselves.

4. Facing a “tsunami” of technologies

- I closely follow innovative startups that want to make the leap to become the next “unicorns”. What would you tell the men and women who lead these companies? Can they learn from Mastercard’s multisensory experience?

  • I wouldn’t say only that they can but that they must. First off, they need to put their mindset in the fifth paradigm of marketing. After product marketing, emotional marketing, digital marketing and social marketing, we’ve reached the moment of quantum marketing.

If I had to summarize it, I’d say it’s about designing marketing strategies that are aligned with the “tsunami” of emerging technologies that surround us, from artificial intelligence and augmented reality to delivery by drone, 3D printing and holograms to name just a few.

5. The first rebranding

- It sounds as if there’s a need to reformulate a lot of things. Where should people begin?

  • Actually, the first recommendation is not strictly technological but cultural. It’s necessary to understand that the concept of brand itself needs a rebranding. Building and maintaining confidence in certain brand values is perhaps more difficult than ever.

People both online and offline, are asking themselves if your brand deserves their trust, if it’s inclusive of minorities, if it respects privacy, if corporate actions are environmentally sustainable. And all of this can be affected by a bad response from one community manager.…

6. Communicate without “bombarding”

- Communication and transparency seem more exposed than ever…

  • Yes, but what’s new is that users don’t want to be bombarded with messages all the time. So my second piece of advice is to diversify channels for publicity and seek a balance in order to be present without being invasive.

Bear in mind that people feel increasingly overwhelmed by the flood of information, including adverts. So they install ad blockers on their computers or directly connect to platforms that are free from publicity, like streaming services.

7. Da Vinci teams

- You’re describing a very challenging scenario for brands. The inevitable question is, what kind of profile is needed to carry out these innovations?

  • I talk about building “Da Vinci teams”, and by this I mean that we need to merge the two hemispheres of the brain. That’s to say, marketing requires creativity and innovation but also a logical and analytical approach.

Da Vinci was at one and the same time a great artist and a brilliant scientist. The marketing teams of the future will need to follow his example: imagination will always be important but we live in a world of data, which circulates at great speed, and we need to interpret it if we want to develop large-scale marketing strategies.

8. The metaverse and cryptocurrencies

- Speaking of the future, what role will cryptocurrencies and the metaverse play? Do the future of money and the future of marketing share points in common?

  • The metaverse and cryptocurrencies show that the gap between the physical world and the virtual world is becoming ever narrower. We recently held the Mastercard Pride Plaza in the metaverse and it was a very significant experience. Meanwhile, blockchain technology is here to stay, and it can provide transparency for many industries, not only for the cryptocurrency sector.

Nevertheless, as I said before, confidence will continue to be an irreplaceable asset: both brands and cryptocurrencies will survive in the minds of consumers provided they can create and sustain a valuable message for their communities.