Niranjan Gidwani, Consultant Director, Member UAE Superbrands Council, Former CEO, Eros Group Dubai

Coming from a humble, middle-class, extremely value-based background, Niranjan Gidwani is the Consultant Director, Member UAE Superbrands Council and Former CEO of Eros Group Dubai. Mr. Gidwani is known for his vision and his ability and expertise to build regional groups and organisations into brands. He is a degree holder in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from the Symbiosis Institute of Management, Pune, India. He has also attended several top management courses at institutions such as the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, the Seven Habits program under Dr Steven Covey and several others across the world. Mr. Gidwani has over 38 years of hard-core senior management experience with a strong exposure to handling international business.


How does the future arrive?

One powerfully relevant answer is – gradually, and then all of a sudden, without realizing, its upon us.

One thing is now very clear. No one asks whether businesses should digitize or not. The question that many would need to urgently answer is that, in this phase of FOMO (fear of missing out) how does one digitize strategically, and for reasonably long-term sustained success.

By now, almost all companies, big and small, product-based, service-based, have got on to the bandwagon of setting up a website. And then, more adventurously, setting up a commerce platform. However, it is extremely critical for business owners and senior managers to understand that a good web developer, hired or outsourced, may almost never be able to play the role of the chief strategy or technology officer of the online business model. He can be a very good starting point. Yet, in a rapidly disruptive business environment, even the best web developer may not be able to see scalable operational challenges, costs and timelines associated to effective scale up, and marketing requirements and costs. 

These days, converting a potential buyer from preliminary interest to final purchase sometimes can take a very short period of time. Hence, investment in technology, continuous and regular upgrades to technology, hiring, grooming and retaining a strategically driven team, and maintaining highest levels of customer service is an exercise which requires non-stop planning and execution. More so, with the global roll out of 5G and Web 3.0 imminent.

The most often repeated phrase these days is “Data is the New Oil”. 

Here too, almost all companies, big and small, have got into the act of collecting some form of data. In fact, the amount of data being collected globally is unbelievable. The catch lies in using the data effectively to build a successful business model. Starting right from the customer’s device, there are hundreds of identifiers available to the company to provide crucial insights about its platform and the customers who use it. 

It is only after key and critical touchpoints are identified that the company or organization must define its objectives of its marketing and advertising campaign along with the metrics to be used to measure its success or failure before investing in marketing. If companies deal with incorrect or skewed analytics, more often than not, budgets which are diverted from more successful businesses will get wasted, and opportunities will most likely get missed.

Brands or companies which operate both online and offline need to urgently capture data across all customer interaction points. Data which is not used effectively in predictive analysis leads to heavy costs being incurred in marketing. 

Coming to marketing, one common mistake made by content marketers is that they rely solely on campaigns, plans, and calendars. It is important to note that these will never equate to a marketing strategy. Simply producing more content can affect the quality and dilute messaging, draining overall value.

Over-reliance on content marketing can end up making the business model tactical, never strategic.

A calendar of events should not be mistaken to be strategy.

A calendar of events is just a schedule—most likely based on evidence of a past event’s success or a popular trend. In addition to all the content produced, marketing sometimes makes a mistake by becoming an in-house provider for one-off requests. Content creation and distribution without a strategy is ad hoc and disorganized.

In the rush to create lots of frequent content, relevance often suffers, and quality can end up becoming sub-optimal. This can potentially lead to content that lacks empathy, authenticity, and personalization.

According to Forrester, almost two-thirds of buyers in North America say that they ignore content if it’s not relevant to their interests, needs, industry, or role. 

Most ecommerce businesses and brands have witnessed very good growth over the past few years. Because of the accelerated demand for online shopping, and because the new concept caught the world’s fancy, a lot of businesses who got on to the bandwagon succeeded with the sheer momentum of the tailwinds.

There are still pitfalls. A significant number of online players still fail or flounder in their first few years. Whether it is B2C, D2C, or now the fast- growing B2B, the newness of the concept has worn off. The models per se are here to stay. 

The trick will lie in approaching it with strategic business practices, professional teams, realistic expectations and a fair amount of grit and patience. And quality data and its predictive analysis will give the most solid foundation.

And advertising and marketing has always been the cause and consequence of all social change. It will have to, yet again, rise to the occasion to meet the newer challenges.

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