Tyler Jorgenson 0:01
You’re listening to biz ninja entrepreneur radio. This show was created for entrepreneurs, business owners, marketers and dreamers who want to learn from the experts of today and drastically shortcut their own success to build a business that supports their dream lifestyle. Since 2011, Tyler Jorgensen has been interviewing business thought leaders from around the world, a serial entrepreneur himself, Tyler also shares his personal insights into what’s working in business today. Welcome to biz Ninja, entrepreneur radio. Welcome out to biz ninja entrepreneur radio on ABC News. I am Tyler Jorgensen. And today I have a really fantastic guest, Raja Raja menar is the CMO of MasterCard, where I just learned is not just a credit card company that really a financial tech company, we’re gonna learn all about that, we’re going to learn about his journey from chemical engineering into CEO CMO of one of the largest FinTech companies in the world. And we’re going to talk about his new book, quantum marketing, mastering the new marketing mindset for tomorrow’s customers. I am absolutely fascinated about the things in your book, because I think that marketing is at a major changing point. So I’m really excited for this. Roger, welcome out to the show.
Raja Rajamannar 1:25
Thank you so much, Tyler, really appreciate having me on the show. And looking forward to our conversation.
Tyler Jorgenson 1:31
So okay, right off the bat, I’m going to ask the question that we were starting to talk about before, Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur?
Raja Rajamannar 1:38
I consider myself as a business person. Okay.
Tyler Jorgenson 1:42
And so what does that mean to you that you are a business person,
Raja Rajamannar 1:46
basically generating results for the business? Primarily, and in the process? Also do good to the community. And blend the two into a cohesive, meaningful tangle? Oh, that, to me, is a good business person.
Tyler Jorgenson 2:03
Yeah, that makes sense. I think the ability to have a positive impact on the community, you know, maintain the ethics in business, you don’t have to be don’t have to be a bad guy to be in business. Right? So let’s go back, you know, you originally weren’t studying business, right? That wasn’t your major thing. What led you into? Like, what was that first big fork in the road, that led you to where you are now that shifted you out of, you know, the engineering side of life?
Raja Rajamannar 2:29
Soon, it’s pretty fascinating. Actually, when I did my chemical engineering, I stood first in India, as an valedictorian across all the colleges in India. And I was even awarded a gold medal by the Indian Institute of chemical engineers. So I thought that that’s what my career was going to be. And within chemical engineering, I specialized in environmental engineering, which is all about pollution control, and things like that. And soon after engineering, I managed to get into one of the premier Institutes of Management in India, called the Indian Institute of Management and bangalow. So when it got into that, I wanted to specialize further in environmental management. So I enrolled myself an environmental management. Interestingly, at the end of first one year, I was doing my internship, when I overheard some conversation that was happening with some of the folks in that company, it was a cosmetics company I was interning in, and they were struggling as to why this strike is so much about this should be a very simple thing to do. The whole idea was about how do you make cosmetics acceptable to the common woman or common girl in India? So I came up with a team immediately I was doodling and I said, Is it bad to look good, which went on to become actually a campaign and it won some awards? And that certainly motivated me and they said, Look, I have this innate skill for marketing and advertising. So I should take a few courses in it. And I did it. And then there was no looking back. And now it is 36 years since. And I’m still very much in marketing and thoroughly enjoying every single day.
Tyler Jorgenson 4:00
So there’s an old adage that if you build a better mousetrap, the whole world will beat down their door to buy it from you. Right? And so like, you’re the engineer, right? You’re the guy who builds better mousetraps. But if you’re not able to communicate that no one even knows the mousetrap exists, right? So you made this transfer from like, I can make really cool things I know how to create to how do I tell people about it? How do I make it okay. Right. It is would you say? Is that a fair assessment of kind of like the transfer that happened for you?
Raja Rajamannar 4:29
Yeah, it’s actually I had really done two things. Number one, I kept in continuous touch with the technical aspects of the creative or creating aspects, like I had filed for a few patterns. So they bought some, and I actually created some stuff, which didn’t exist before. So I really enjoy creating those kind of things. Very cool. And so that’s one hand and on the other hand, there is something about how you not only tell your story, but how do you influence your prospects and your customers. To make a choice in favor of your brand, what do you want them to make? And what do you want them to feel? What do you want them to think? What do you want them to act? So it’s across the entire spectrum. So it’s a lot more than just communication, which means it’s all the four P’s of marketing, how do you create the right products? How do you package it the right way? How do you price it the right way? And of course, how do you get the entire promotion for that part of it is communications going in the most compelling way? So these are the things that I do. And I have been doing it quite well, I would say, and that’s why I survived and sustained in this industry. But what else I have done is I took job rotations as opposed to linearly growing in marketing alone, I did a lot of p&l management of business management roles. So I handled some very large p&l of multi billion dollars in multiple companies, whether it is at Citibank where I was the head of all the core credit cards for North America, or in healthcare, I was the chief transformation officer, one of the biggest health insurance companies at the time called wellpoint, which call anthem. And I was managing $11 billion Medicare Advantage business. So I handle both business and marketing. And that really was, you know, extremely enriching for me to be a more effective marketer.
Tyler Jorgenson 6:10
So you have a vantage point that is very different than most marketers and most business owners, right, you get to see things at a much higher level, just from your position in this company and in other things that you do currently. Why do you think that marketing today is facing an existential crisis?
Raja Rajamannar 6:28
So marketing is really at this point in time, at a cross section, or at a crossroads where there is clear and present existential threat. The reason why I say it is multiple folds. Number one, when you look at the evolution of marketing, marketers have been predominantly very creative. They were operating from the right side of the brain, they were intuitive, they had judgment, and so on, which saw them very well, for several decades. But in 1990s, with the arrival of data analytics in the commercial space, as well as the emergence of internet, they were little thrown off gear, because technology, and data is a left brain thinking aspect, which they were not qualified, nor were they trained. So they’ll find themselves out of depth. And even before they could get their heads around that came the next stage, which is in 2007. For example, with the scaling of Facebook, as well as the launch of iPhone, we had two new technologies, social platforms on the one hand, and mobile devices on the other hand, and they changed the game altogether. And marketing had to be re crafted. So while marketers were trying to get their heads around, the technology, folks have started taking over the marketing field. And they were actually owning the agenda, setting the agenda and driving the agenda and marketers are on the receiving end. Now I had a lot of very candid conversations with some of my PR CMOS. And I say put your hand on your heart and tell me do you really understand programmatic? That is not. Do you understand? What’s the difference between say, artificial intelligence, machine learning deep learning? No. Do you understand what are block chains? No. So the problem is, because of the qualitative way of thinking and doing and being trained, and they are struggling, but it is all about data and technology, in all the previous paradigms of marketing, and we are right on the fourth paradigm, about to enter the fifth paradigm. Each transition was essentially powered by two technologies. So paradigm, one to two was Television and Radio 223 was about data and internet, three to four was about mobile and social. Now due to technologies disrupted marketing hugely, just imagine now, we are at the verge of nearly two dozen technologies which are coming at us rapidly AR VR Internet of Things, smart speakers, wearables, autonomous cars blockchains, 3d printing 5g, the world has become crazy right with all this technology is coming at us like a tsunami, marketers are getting caught like deer in headlights. So therefore, I say there is a big risk. Because marketers are not prepared, the marketing ecosystem is not prepared to handle this whole deluge of the technology is coming. Number two, when data and technology started becoming very prevalent in marketing, they were the big Levellers of the competitive field. So small companies could as effectively compete against the giants, which they could not do before technology and data came about, which means large companies now have a lot more brutal competition that they did not have before. Now, in that kind of scenario, the CEOs and the CFOs will look at marketers and say, Hey, we are giving you billions of dollars. What exactly are you accomplishing for the company? Now they’re expecting a business answer, but typically what they get is a marketing answer which is perceived to be fluffy It looks like marketers are waffling their jargon they so my brand awareness has gone up by predisposition has gone up, when they answer like that they have lost their credibility already. And that’s a problem. So with the result of age is survey by McKinsey, probably a couple of years back or so it has actually done being done amongst CEOs of various companies who said more than 70% of them said, they don’t have confidence in their marketing teams to drive business growth. That’s a disaster. Last point, I will say, classically, marketers used to handle four P’s of marketing, product, price, place promotion, okay. And the key thing is, marketers are actually not handling all these in many companies, the CEOs have taken away a product and put it in a place, they’re saying, we’ll have a Chief Product officer, right, they take away pricing and say we’ll put it in finance, and a sort of split distribution will create a different department. So marketers are barely holding on to a part of marketing that they used in the past. So this is the existential crisis that we are in. And many companies have done away with the roles of CMOS, and they’re replacing them with Chief growth officers, Chief revenue officers, and so on chief customer officers, and they are not marketing people. That’s why I say marketing is an existential crisis.
Tyler Jorgenson 11:20
Yeah, and I completely agree with everything that you’re saying. And I see, what I see in the marketplace is a complete gap where the average marketer doesn’t even know how to catch up to be able to say, Okay, I was, I was really good in one of those, you know, paradigms, or even two, maybe even three. But like what you said, I mean, you’re talking to fellow CMOS that are saying, I don’t even understand programmatic if I had to really be honest. And that’s only one of the things coming at him. Right. So like one, I mean, your book explains how it is possible to bridge this gap. And I want to hear that, but do you think that today’s marketers can cross that chasm? Is it even going to be possible for like it to be happened by individuals? Or is it gonna have is it needed to happen through teams and collectives,
Raja Rajamannar 12:10
I would say it is the latter. At this particular stage, even as you’re trying to develop, or recruit, and train people to be full fledged, I keep calling them the da Vinci type of people, they operate with the right brain and the left brain together. And they’re extremely competent, not only the field of marketing, but they understand finance, they understand data, they understand technology, they understand public relations, and so on. And of course, they understand marketing very deeply. We need that kind of a palette. Now, it’s not easy to find that kind of talent, people who are so versatile, like Da Vinci. But at the same time, there are people who are they’re of that caliber, but they don’t want to come and join marketing, they want to go to Silicon Valley, they want to go to investment bank or to a consulting firm. So we have a challenge in terms of hiring new people. So then what do you do you take your existing people assess what skills and competencies they have? What is their aptitude to learn what is a learning agility, and then create programs to train them and cross train them? That’s one part of it. Yeah, the second thing is like, for example, when I look at my own organization, at MasterCard, we hired a number of people from different different kinds of specializations, and bring them together. So collectively, as a team, you have got everything that you require to succeed for tomorrow. So I think that is the solution for now. But when you look into the future, you need actually more and more individuals who are really general managers with a deep, deep specialization in marketing, as opposed to marketing specialists, who will keep growing linearly.
Tyler Jorgenson 13:42
Well said, I think that that question of, do we try to help him Mark like somebody who is a marketer become more analytical or become and go that way? Or do we say Do we go to the analysts and the data people and help them think more like a marketer? And I don’t think it’s an or question, right? I think we need people who are open minded, who have a learning aptitude, I think, in today’s day and age, like, it is so much more important that as people rise in the workforce, that they open their minds more and become easier to teach. Instead of saying, I’m an expert, I’ve got this, it’s like, none of us know everything anymore. Like if there’s too much coming at us, you know,
Raja Rajamannar 14:19
so true. So true. Absolutely. As I select the immediate solution is make sure that you have all the complementary skills within your team. And as a team leader, or as the CMO or as a marketing leader, you need to educate yourself. Another thing is, you cannot delegate learning to only our people. You have to educate yourself now. I spend every single week at least five hours to learn something new. Why don’t I read up material or take some courses like on Coursera and I try to educate myself constantly because the world is changing so fast. If you don’t learn stuff now you’ll become obsolete. by next week, so you have to be constantly learning at this point in time. And that also serves as a very good example for your team say that if I can do it, I too can do it.
Tyler Jorgenson 15:09
Yeah, I love that. I think setting the example of like learning and constant growth is going to be so important. Now, like there’s a major piece, both from small businesses to large businesses, have really started leveraging through gamification of marketing and things like that one of the big pieces of that is consumer loyalty. Now, we see it everywhere from stamp cards at at the local bagel shop, right all the way up to earning points for your next thing. Do you think brands and businesses are doing loyalty correctly?
Unknown Speaker 15:40
Tyler Jorgenson 15:43
Why aren’t we doing a better job? And what should they be doing?
Raja Rajamannar 15:46
See, in fact, I wrote a whole chapter in my book quantum marketing about loyalty. So here is something which I’ll tell you is pretty fascinating to me. I came across an article first in bbc.com. And I read and I fell off my chair. The summary is as follows. They said, there were some surveys that were conducted amongst people who are either in a relationship, either living relationship or a marriage. And more than 70% of the people are close to 70% of the people have admitted to having cheated on their partners. So that made me start really thinking. Now, I’m not here to pass value value judgment that’s not there. But what why do you say this, let me think about it. People in a relationship have made some kind of an explicit or implicit commitment. If it is a marriage, it is an explicit commitment, whether the legal arrangement, target mantras or religious commitment, call it whatever, and witnesses and so on. And if it is a limited relationship, there is an implicit commitment that you’re going to be loyal in that relationship. And they know that if they stray and are caught, there are consequences of reputational damage, that is consequence of financial damage. That is consequence of emotional damage to the people that declare, still, you’ll find that in spite of the commitments, and in spite of the consequences, people are not loyal to their partners, overwhelming majority. If people are not lying in their personal lives, to their partners, why would we expect us marketers that they will be loyal to our brands?
Tyler Jorgenson 17:27
I’m waiting for us to like get to the point where we’re talking about cheating on Coca Cola, right?
Raja Rajamannar 17:33
But just think about it, right? Why wouldn’t people be loyal to your brand? No,
Tyler Jorgenson 17:37
Raja Rajamannar 17:38
Right? If you look at the loyalty programs, we as a marketing community, we spend hundreds of billions with a B, hundreds of billions of dollars annually around the world by loyalty programs, all it actually translates eventually, is a pricing discount or a pricing offer, if you boil it down, loyalty should not be based on pricing. I keep saying that life should be like between a human being and a dog, the human being is loyal to the dog, you would expect it to the other way around. But the way I will come about it is the human being is lying to the bar. And the kind of relationship is exactly the same as between the brand and the consumer, the consumer is the king or the queen, the brand has to be loyal to the consumer, not the other way around, then highlight the programs that keep seeing your consumer customer is our king or queen. But then they expect that King of the queen to be loyal to the subject. So it doesn’t happen either way.
Tyler Jorgenson 18:37
Customer to nurture the relationship.
Raja Rajamannar 18:39
Exactly. So we got the whole equation wrong. And the way I say it is we need to reinvent reimagine loyalty, like so many other concepts I’m challenging. I’m seeing what we require at this point in time in the field of loyalty is to understand how you influence consumers choice, every single time they are confronted with a decision to be made in favor of your brand. So this is what we call as reference management. You have to replace or supplement loyalty programs with preference management programs, that requires a totally different architecture of how you administrate How do you attract your ROI, and so on and so forth. So it becomes very transactional. But that is what is exactly going to be and that’s in the fifth paradigm, particularly with so much of choice on the one hand, and with so much of democratization that leads to parity amongst products at every imaginable way. You have to find ways by which you can differentiate through parameters that will help consumers make a choice in favor of your brand. And that’s not easy. So it’s going to be very exciting. And there’s just one other concepts that keep challenging in the forefront of it.
Tyler Jorgenson 19:49
So one of the things that’s interesting, right, like you work with these major big companies and I work with a lot of smaller startup to mid sized companies. In the end. They both have it advantages, right? Smaller companies can move and adapt and pivot a lot faster. What are some things that you think that brands should be doing that like, What do you wish that the big companies could do quickly that you know that they can’t, because they’re so cumbersome. And so that maybe the smaller guys can, like you mentioned it earlier, they’re finding an unfair advantage, because they’re able to adapt faster, right? You mentioned that when talking about adapting to the new things coming their way. But what are some things in marketing that that brands should be doing and pivoting quickly on so
Raja Rajamannar 20:30
I’ll say two things. So firstly, from my side, I had been on the advisory board of a body called enterprise Ireland for a number of years in the past. So I have been working very closely with entrepreneurs. And even now, I’m on the board of a not for profit organization called century fields, which is all about, you know, and creating and creating the ecosystem for entrepreneurs. Here in Cincinnati, in part, it’s a public private partnership. So I’m on the board. So I’m pretty much in touch with the entrepreneurs, and the communities of entrepreneurs. So that’s one secondly, to a specific question. Large companies have to realize a few things. They have got scale, they got resources, they got structures, they got fantastic brand equity of the brands that they have got, small companies have got that innovation, they are not burdened by any legacy thinking. They’ve got a burning ambition. And they do it 24 by seven, they’re not looking at, oh, it’s a weekend, I had to play golf, or I’m going to be going from F to F our D at six and evening, right? Yeah, nonstop. Three, because they focus on one aspect, they do it so good, that a child, they really make things happen right? Now, the combination of these two is where they see the power. So in my day job, for example, what I tried to those used to constantly talk to entrepreneurs, and see what kind of solutions that they have got. So that I can join hands with them, where I get access to their IP, at least exclusivity for some amount of time, or even potentially an investment opportunity for my company in their division or in their entity, and then join forces because we provide them scale, and all the other advantages that a large company can give. So they cut the partnership between the large companies and entrepreneurs can be truly priceless. And that’s what I found is phenomenal. If large companies and I have seen large companies, how their innovation departments, they got entrepreneurs in residence, etc, they do it. But typically, the cultures are so deeply embedded in large companies, that there is a high level of organ rejection, even if a concept comes in. So therefore, what I always find it extremely valuable is for this entrepreneurs and large companies to come together join forces. And that’s where they can create magic. Absolutely.
Tyler Jorgenson 22:49
I think there’s so much opportunity right now, it’s a very exciting time to be in marketing, as long as you can overcome the overwhelm. Right? Like there’s a lot, there’s a lot coming our way. You know, for me, business is about lifestyle, right? Like you want to you it’s about impact and about community. But if a if your job or your career or your or your business is taken away from your the lifestyle you want to build, you know, there’s a balance issue, what’s one major item on Raja Raja menores, personal bucket list that you’re going to accomplish in the next 12 months,
Raja Rajamannar 23:21
I would say that one of my most important things that I’m trying to do is to create a kind of mechanism, I don’t know if it would be an institute, but it could be a platform or whatever it is to disseminate the knowledge of marketing, the cutting edge of marketing, to the broader community of marketers, you know, this is the profession that has given me my bread and butter for the last 36 years. And I feel very grateful for it. And I think it’s a fantastic profession, I want to give it back to the profession where I will try to do everything within my power to create the kind of a platform and given my role with wF as its president, which is the World Federation of advertisers on the one hand, and also on the board of ama, which is the Association of national advertisers in the US. I think if a bring the power of these two, we can create platforms or programs that can truly be transforming to the marketing community. And that’s what I’m hoping to accomplish. And I got very specific tangible deliverables for myself for this year around those two. Awesome, awesome.
Tyler Jorgenson 24:25
So thank you so much for coming out on the show all my businesses, wherever you’re tuning in, I highly encourage you to pick up quantum marketing, which is Rogers new book, and where can they find that? Is that already out? Can they get it anywhere where books are sold? Where should they go to learn more.
Raja Rajamannar 24:41
It was launched yesterday here in the United States, perfect as also in Canada and a few places. It’s available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble everywhere where books are sold. This book is also available so it’ll be fun if people actually buy it and then they read it. I’m sure it’ll be truly valuable to them very insightful to them. And the review I’m getting so far thank God that exceptionally positive and I feel very grateful and blessed for that.
Beau Crabill 25:05
Absolutely. All right my biz ninjas it is your turn to go out and do something Thank you for tuning in to biz ninja entrepreneur radio. What you didn’t hear was one more very important question that Tyler asks each guest if you want to be a fly on the wall when the real secrets are shared, go to biz ninja.com slash VIP and get your access today. Remember to subscribe so that you don’t miss any future episodes. And our one last favor if this episode was meaningful to you, please share this podcast with a fellow entrepreneur so they can grow along with us is ninjas. It’s your turn to go out and do something