Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

The great skills reset: Are you a 'da Vinci marketer'?

Marketing is going through sweeping changes brought about by technology. To deal with these new realities, marketers need to up their game, according to Mastercard's global CMO

Published: Jul 5, 2022 11:53:29 AM IST
Updated: Jul 6, 2022 03:19:24 PM IST

The great skills reset: Are you a 'da Vinci marketer'?

Today's marketing talent should possess the aptitude and attitude to learn about new technologies. Image: Shutterstock 

Marketing, like other industries, is going through sweeping changes brought about by big, medium, and small tech. These include blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality, NFTs, metaverse, 3D printing, and more. It's a huge confluence of disruptive technologies called the Great Disruption.

These tectonic shifts affect everything from how we socialise to how we sleep, with all-pervasive smart devices collecting an immeasurable amount of data on us round-the- clock. 

To deal with these new realities, marketing and marketers need to up their game.

According to one of the world's most influential CMOs, Raja Rajamannar, what brands need, in short, are da Vinci marketers. But if you can't find a da Vinci marketing mind, build da Vinci marketing teams.

In an interview with Storyboard18's Delshad Irani, Rajamannar, who is the global chief marketing and communications officer of Mastercard, shares what he looks for in the next-generation marketing talent as we witness the great skills reset.

Learning agility and attitude

As we look forward to all these new technologies, you need to deal with them, and leverage them. But that means that you first need to understand what they are. So the kind of talent that we should be looking for is those people who either already know these subjects and technologies or they have the aptitude and attitude to learn them. 

These technologies are not going to remain stagnant. They're evolving and transforming very rapidly. So you need to stay on the ball all the time and stay ahead of the curve. That means that the significant qualities of new talent that we bring in is learning curiosity and learning agility. 

The Leonardo da Vinci marketer

Typically, most of the people are either right-brained or left-brained. The left-brained ones are those who are more into technology, data, analytics systems, and experimentation. The right brain is about intuition, creativity, aesthetics, design, psychology, and so on. Very rarely we will find people who are extremely good with both. They are the Leonardo da Vinci kind of people. If you find those people, pay them the top dollar, and get them into the company because it's going to be a good investment. 

The da Vinci marketing team

Now, a majority of the team would not be of this calibre. So you create a da Vinci team. That means you have people who are the traditional classical marketers who are fantastic, but give them enough training to be able to understand and speak the same language and ask the right questions. On the other hand, you have other folks who understand the technology and the data extremely deeply, but they don't see the rest of it. They need to be sensitised to aspects of psychology, the aspect of emotions, to the aspect of design. So you actually can find people who have the sensibilities of the other sphere but the deep expertise of the primary area that they actually focus on. You need to identify this kind of talent.

And then we have got those rare Leonardo da Vinci's—over promote them, over-reward them, and keep them in the company at whatever cost.

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