Wind Of Change Are Here – XIMB In Conversation With Ms Ritu Gupta, The Director-Marketing, Consumer And Small Business At Dell India

The times, they are a-changin’. This is very true in the business world, especially in the age of VUCA. To sail through these changes is one of the biggest challenges posed to the leaders in the business world. Our students, Medha Sharma and Akanksha Mohanty, caught up with Ms. Ritu Guptathe Director-Marketing, Consumer and Small Business at Dell India, to share her insights about VUCA in a short interview. With over two decades of rich experience in marketing, she has worked in various industries ranging from FMCG to Retail Banking to Consumer Durables. She specialises in New Product Development and Innovation, Consumer Insights, Brand Management, to name a few. She shares her views on the impact VUCA has in various industries, its implementation, and the skills of marketing personnel that would help tackle these challenges. 

“These basics of marketing do not change [in a VUCA world], however, your means to accomplish them could change. The tools that are provided to you as a marketer could change.”

Thank you for joining us. We would like to know about your experience of the session.

It was a very engaging session and I am glad to have accepted the invite. The questions were diverse and it was evident from them that the students were very keen to know about the digital space and the impact of AI. I got to learn a lot myself.

How apt is the topic of VUCA for today’s world? 

The topic of VUCA is apt for any point of time. The moment you say it is a VUCA world, and as somebody said, ‘the only thing that is constant in a VUCA world is change.’ You pick up the subject of today’s session and take it three years later, the context will be different but still relevant. This is because VUCA does continue, and the only thing that is constant is change.

You have worked in various product development companies. How different are the implementation strategies of VUCA concept in various industries? 

The implementation of VUCA is different for various organisations in terms of products they sell, the customers they reach out to, or the way the customers interact with that particular product or that particular brand. But, the basics of marketing are what is constant in the VUCA world. These basics do not change, however, your means to accomplish them could change. The tools that are provided to you as a marketer could change. There was not much emphasis on digital and online marketing tools many years back, which there is now. The organisations would have evolved to keep up with the change.

As long as you work on the basics and fundamentals like making it customer centric, understanding competition, delivering value, knowing your customers, constantly refining ways of interacting and reaching out to customers, and using data intelligently, you would be able to manage what’s happening in the VUCA world around you, irrespective of using a PC or a financial product or consumer durable.

What do you look for in a prospective marketing candidate?

A lot of times when I ask people why they want to pursue marketing, what I get as an answer is, ‘Because, I have a creative bent of mind.’ Now, that may seem like a perfectly justified reason for them to think that they are cut out for marketing, but marketing is not just about having a creative bent of mind.  It’s actually about selling to the customer and communicating to your customer. While on one hand, you’re dealing with a tangible product, on the other, you are dealing with intangible concepts. Your ability to manage that and deal with both together and your ability to strategise – and I emphasise on the word strategise because a lot of young marketers employ fancy glorious words is what helps you.

What I’m looking for the freshness of ideas that they bring to the table, their approach to problem-solving ability – how they look at things – and most importantly – it may be the most important skill than any other that they may carry – is their willingness to learn. As long as they have an attitude that says that they’re willing to learn on the job, even if they do not have prior and relevant marketing experience, I’m willing to look at the person because therein lies the promise of having to work with somebody who could bring something completely different and fresh to the table.

Yes, that’s very important. Thank you so much for being with us and taking time off your busy schedule and visiting our campus.

Thank you. It was a very fun day and very energising.

Xavier Institute of Management Bhubaneswar

Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubhaneswar is one of the most coveted B-schools in India. Established in the year 1987, XIMB is known for quality education in the field of Management and creation of future entrepreneurs. XIMB offers to its students three prestigious programmes; Business Management, Global MBA and Executive-MBA. 30 years and still going strong, XIMB strives to achieve its mission of making managers with a human face.

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