This week, we spotlight Raja Rajamannar. He’s the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Mastercard. He’s also the President of the company’s Healthcare Business division.
We’d like to congratulate Raja Rajamannar for the many awards he’s won throughout his career. Among them:
- WFA Global Marketer of the Year (2018)
- Forbes 2018 Top 5 Most Influential CMOs
- Campaign Power 100 (2021)
- Business Insider’s 25 Most Innovative CMOs in the World (2021)
- Billboard’s 2018 Top Branding Power Player
- CMO Club Hall of Fame
He didn’t earn those awards by simply staying in his lane, playing it safe, and doing what everybody else did.
Rajamannar is a modern marketing disruptor.
The New Normal
Rajamannar lays out the challenge for today’s marketers in his book Quantum Marketing: Mastering the New Marketing Mindset for Tomorrow’s Consumers.
The premise can be summed up in three words: evolve or die.
Rajamannar says that marketers need to learn about modern technologies. Otherwise, they risk becoming “redundant and obsolete.”
He even boldly predicts that marketers who fail to follow his advice will become “dinosaurs.” And, like the dinosaurs of epochs past, they’ll become extinct.
“So there’s an existential threat if you don’t do it, but it can also be hugely exciting—if you know what to do,” he told Forbes.
Rajamannar doesn’t just dish out advice to marketers, though. He’s also got a few things to say to business leaders in general.
Specifically: CEOs need to make marketing a core part of their business strategies.
Essentially, Rajamannar believes what many marketers already know: marketing is everything.
But not just any marketing. Quantum marketing.
Raja Rajamannar on Quantum Marketing
So what, exactly, is this quantum marketing that appears in the title of Rajamannar’s book?
The book itself offers three definitions:
- An extreme, abrupt change
- New theories to explain why classical theories break down
- New methods and devices that cross existing, known limits
Rajamannar views the history of marketing through an evolutionary lens. Like the evolution we’re taught about in biology class, it goes through several stages:
- Product marketing
- Emotional marketing
- Digital marketing
- Social marketing
- Mobile marketing
- Quantum marketing
He says that he identified that final stage by working with numerous trade groups including the Association of National Advertisers, the CMO Growth Council, and the World Federation of Advertising.
“When I looked at all that I saw what we seem to be talking and doing is pointing to the direction clearly that marketing is not working across many companies today,” he says.
What sets quantum marketing apart from its predecessors? Quite a bit.
According to Rajamannar, quantum marketing supports a “tsunami” of emerging technologies, such as:
- Artificial intelligence
- 3D printing
- 5G wireless
- Holographic projection
- Augmented reality
If that list seems a bit overwhelming, Rajamannar will tell you exactly where to start.
“I would say if I am a marketer and I have to prioritize one thing before everything else, that will be getting my hands around AI,” he says. “AI will be the single biggest disruptor for marketing or the single biggest anything for marketing.”
AI, or artificial intelligence, is the ability of a software application to handle tasks or make decisions like humans.
But how is that useful to marketing? In many ways.
Think about how apps like Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube make recommendations for you. Where do those recommendations come from?
They come from data collected from your history on the platforms. If you watch a lot of sci-fi shows on Netflix, for example, then don’t be surprised if Netflix recommends more sci-fi shows.
And that’s AI marketing. It’s a wonderful marriage of high-tech programming and personalized messaging.
Need More Buy-In
As I mentioned above, Rajamannar also has a few words of wisdom for top executives. He wants to see them embrace marketing more.
“Most often business leaders across many companies do not fully understand what marketing does and or what it can do,” Rajamannar says. “Marketing cannot succeed unless business leaders in companies—whether it’s a CFO or CHRO or CTO or CEO—embrace marketing. It’s always an uphill battle for the marketer if the rest of the ecosystem in the company doesn’t get what marketing is and doesn’t support.”
But I might put some of that burden on the marketers themselves.
Think about it: if a CMO can’t even sell the importance of marketing to senior management, then is that person a really great marketer?
Wrapping It Up
The challenge here is an easy one: which emerging technologies are you embracing to get ahead of your competitors?
If you’re not sure, then now’s the time to get started. Otherwise, you might lose market share.
And keep up with marketers like Rajamannar. He’s got great words of wisdom for the rest of us.