Ian Truscott catches up with Jessie Paul, CEO of Paul Writer, an Indian based B2B agency and they chat about her experience as a CMO of some of the biggest organizations in India, the current crisis and what she’d thrown into the Rockstar CMO Swimming Pool.

In this Tales from the Tour Bus, I get reacquainted with Jessie Paul, CEO of Paul Writer, a B2B agency based in India. With her team and excellent network, I consider Jessie to be the go-to person if you are looking to do business in the region, it was my pleasure to catch up and share her take on what we are facing today.

Hi Jessie,

Tell us a bit about your current gig

My firm creates content of various types for B2B organizations. Ideally, it’s an end-to-end approach where we understand the communication objective and design a content plan and pipeline that leads to conversion. I run strategy sessions for organizations on positioning and marketing outreach. And I’m on the supervisory boards of three publicly listed organizations.

As we are talking in the middle of the coronavirus, what’s your top lockdown tip?

Accept the new reality and move on. Try to add a Corona Context and Recession Relevance to yourself and your product line – this is going to be the reality of at least the next 6 months. I even put together a simple DIY template for people to map out the products with the highest probability of relevance to the customers with the highest propensity to buy.

You’ve had an amazing career so far, with folks like Ogilvy, Infosys, and Wipro – what inspired you to get into marketing?

I actually trained as a computer engineer and started working as one out of college. But I didn’t find coding all that fun. I happened to sit near the marketing team. Their work was so much more interesting! I had toyed with the idea of doing an MBA – which was very fashionable back then – but this pushed me into taking the plunge. And I was really clear that I wanted to start with a stint in advertising to get an all-round experience. If I were graduating today, though, I’d probably want to get into consumer behavior and behavioral economics – that’s fascinating.

You’ve spent a big chunk of your career as a CMO, there is a lot written about the decline in the role of the CMO. what’s your view on the current debate about the role?

You have to define the role to align with what the organization finds of value. As marketing has become more measurable, there is more demand for marketers to be responsible for growth. It’s tricky because most CMOs don’t have control over the sales organization. But as sales become more digital and automated I think we’ll find sales and marketing merging into a single “Growth” function.

We’ve collaborated in the past on content projects, I know it’s a passion of yours in boosting growth and sales – what’s your top content marketing tip right now?

Test each piece for its “COVID Context” and “Recession Relevance”. It is top of mind for every business executive and it is very easy to upset people by not getting it right. The second tip is to “think beyond the webinar”. Both the novelty and enthusiasm for the format is wearing off and unless you can make it an opportunity for live interaction there is no reason it can’t become a recording instead.

Back to the current crisis and your present role, you’ve been sharing some great advice on LinkedIn, what are you hearing from your clients about marketing right now and what’s your advice to them?

My advice is to segment your portfolio based on how relevant it is to the new reality and then pitch it to the people with the most propensity to buy. In a recession, successful companies are those that can grab market share and wallet share from other brands, even as the overall pie shrinks. So during the lockdown identify the clients you can retain, and the ones you can poach and craft a personal plan for each of them.

On Rockstar CMO we have a feature called The Rockstar CMO Swimming Pool our portal to hell for all that is wrong with marketing today – what would you throw in there?

The garden variety webinar which has three talking heads and 5 minutes at the end for “questions”. It was never a great format but now it has been overdone.

Finally – what’s next for you and where on the internet can people find you?

Jessie Paul

I’m working on my second book on frugal marketing that will be published by Bloomsbury late this year.

I’m easy to find on Twitter @jessie_paul

Thank you Jessie!

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