“The importance of learning Computer Programming by MBA graduates” – Dr. Angshuman Ghosh, Lead Data Scientist – Target India

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On 17th Feb 2018, The Lead Data Scientist in Target India, Dr. Angshuman Ghosh delivered a guest lecture on Data Science in our campus. He began his address with a brief introduction about himself, his current company Target India and his experiences in his previous employers such as Spice Mobility Ltd and Star Network. He then went on to describe Data Science and its salient features. He said that data is of paramount importance in data analytics as without data there can be no analytics.

To underline the importance of data Dr. Ghosh took the example of his own company Target which has around 2000 stores. He said that the company is sitting on a goldmine of data consisting of demographic information, geospatial data and purchase preferences of all customers. Currently Data Analytics has a wide range of applications in Supply Chain, Demand forecasting, Marketing, Merchandising and so on. He spoke about the importance of VR and how it can be implemented with the help of Data Science. He also said that TV channel rating agencies such as BARC generate TV rating information by extrapolating data from a sample of 15000-20000 audience.

Dr. Ghosh said that Statistics, Mathematics and Probability are the backbone of Data Science. He explained us the concept of regression and the various assumptions we consider before regression. Computer Programming is required to make regression models scalable. He spoke about the importance of learning multiple programming languages by students who are aspiring for a career in Analytics. But as a beginner he asked the students to learn Python as it is the future of programming languages according to him. He also enlightened us about neural networks and how they work in Data Analytics.

On data security, Dr. Ghosh spoke about the safe guards which are in place to protect the privacy of the data. Target integrated all their coupons using data science such that any customer can walk into any floor and redeem their coupons using a mobile app. He took examples of Ola, Uber, Swiggy etc to emphasize on the rapid rise of businesses which have a very high reliance on Data Analytics. He ended his lecture by answering a few interesting questions from the audience. Overall it was a stimulating discussion on Data Science and the students immensely benefited from it.

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M-Power 2018: Closing Ceremony

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T. A. Pai Management Institute’s annual two-day marketing conclave ‘M-Power’ organized by the marketing forum recently concluded on 11th of February 2018. The event, which was inaugurated by Mr. Prashant Parameswaran of Coca-Cola, is a competitive platform for marketing students to showcase their knowledge and also network with senior industry professionals. Currently into its 2nd year, ‘M-Power’ aimed to bring together industry stalwarts for discussion and exchange of ideas. The theme of the conclave was “Force of the Future- Integrating Conventional and Unconventional Marketing”
Speaking about the conclave, Prof Madhu Veeraraghavan, Director TAPMI mentioned that he was extremely proud of the marketing forum to have come up with such an event where they had actively collaborated with the local community. He exclaimed that for a B-school to truly succeed it had to work locally, nationally and globally. According to Prof. Veeraraghavan T.A. Pai Management Institute was doing great work nationally and globally but now due to the efforts of the marketing forum it had started to work locally as well.
The Marketing Area chair, Prof. Gururaj Kidiyoor expressed his thanks to everyone whose efforts led to the successful conclusion of the event. He mentioned that it was not known whether the second edition of the marketing conclave would happen, but with the support and hard work of everyone and the good experience from the previous year they had gone ahead and had a memorable event. “Marketing and Innovation go hand in hand”, he emphasized, “and it was heartening to see the local entrepreneurs sharing their concerns and getting new ideas from industry stalwarts.”
This edition of ‘M-Power’ witnessed students battling out in competitions like; MarkNeeti and Adjuxta- The Case Study Competition. The forum also provided a platform for the better understanding about the industry through panel discussions called Symposium and interactions with industry experts called M-Pulse to students. The closing ceremony had prize distribution for the winners of the above events who had battled it out over the course of the last two days.

 

M-Power 2018: ADJUXTA

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Day 2 of M-Power 2018 was lined with Guest Lectures, Panel Discussions and one of the most awaited events of the conclave, ADJUXTA, the marketing case study competition. It was an event that tested the core marketing concepts and simulated a real marketing challenge with an opportunity to showcase one’s marketing acumen to the Industry stalwarts.

There were 8 teams that qualified for the preliminary round. With passion and excitement, the participants displayed their skills and knowledge in branding a state and surfaced their creativity. This round was judged by our faculty members, Prof. Srinivasa Reddy, Prof. Utkarsh and Prof. Swapnarag Swain who shared their valuable insights with the students.

For the final round on February 11th, 2018, 5 teams qualified: Highape, Brandgurus, Coldplayers, Candor, and The MarketFoxes, with students from both PGP1 and PGP2. They were given a case study based on Asian Paints, which has come a long way since its inception in 1942 to become India’s leading and Asia’s 4th largest paint company. It has constantly pushed new concepts in India like home solutions, color next, etc.

Mr. Rohan Prasher, Corporate Brand Manager at Asian Paints was among the panel of judges, who sought to get new ideas and marketing solutions to meet the company’s objective of making art accessible to a wider audience by taking it out of the conventional gallery space and embedding it within the cities we live in. Our esteemed judges also included Mr. Rajesh Patel, Sr. Marketing Manager at SEIKO Watches India Pvt. Ltd. and Mr. Govind Raju, Area Sales Manager at Godrej Consumer Ltd. along with our faculty members Prof. Srinivasa Reddy, Prof. Utkarsh and Prof. Shirshendu Ganguli.

The participating teams analysed the industry, the competitors, presented their approach to the problem and came up with innovative ideas and solutions to spread the colors of Asian Paints to every household. They were evaluated on the basis of practicality and feasibility of the solution, ability to think out of the box, justification of the approach and presentation skills. The panel left no stone unturned to grill the students during the Q/A round and assess each and every detail of their idea and presentation. The event was a great learning experience for all participating teams and the students present in the audience and hopefully Mr. Prasher could take back some insights from our students as well.

M-POWER 2018: Interaction of Local Entrepreneurs with Industry Stalwarts

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An interaction between the local entrepreneurs and industry experts was held on the 10th of February 2018 at T.A. Pai Management Institute as part of the marketing conclave M-Power 2018. This unique experience gave the local entrepreneurs an opportunity to discuss issues and concerns about their industry with the industry experts. The event was graced with dignitaries from various parts of the industry, like Mr. Mahesh Kanchan- VP, sales and marketing, Carlsberg, Mr Vikram Ahluwalia- SRM diagnostics, Mr Rajeev Ranjan- Director Sales, DSM Foods, Ms. Ritika Rajpal- Assisstant General Manager, L’Oréal, Mr Pawan Pandey- Category Head, Dabur, Mr Vikas Gupta- Head-Foods, Liberty Oil Mills, Mr S Sunil Kumar- Business Director, Henkel Adhesives, and the Platform for Women Empower Register represented by Ms. Sadhna Mallya- social activist and entrepreneur.

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Mr. Mahesh Kanchan opened the discussion by mentioning that only 5% of food is consumed in the packaged and ground form the remaining 95% is sold loose and unbranded. He elaborated that there was a huge opportunity in the food and beverage sector. The government, he mentioned, was promoting agro-based food processing which was leading to an improvement in the quality and therefore an increase in the food life. He then quipped that the concept of a national player was a myth and that being local and hyper-local can make an entrepreneur a lot of money. Keeping a tab on consumer consumption behavior is important, he concluded.

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Mr. Rajiv Ranjan mentioned the dominance of local players in snack food. He pointed out that understanding consumer behavior, points of competitive advantage and converting observation to insights is what would make a huge impact for entrepreneurs. Ms. Mallya mentioned that 90% women despite having resources do nothing, it was important to motivate these women to work from around 62 villages. Mr. Kumar added that gathering the extra produce from all the houses and branding them as fresh produce and then selling them in localities would be a good idea. It would not need any branding or money for investment. He reasoned that if people start earning the extra money they would be motivated to earn more. Mr. Gupta suggested that they should register on Amazon or Flipkart so that their product would be shown on their pages across the country.

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The issues that were discussed ranged from the packaging of homegrown Udupi recipes that gave restaurant experience at home to utilizing the high tuna demand in the western world by exporting canned tuna. The experts also discussed the online and offline sale of cotton fabric as well as sharing the success story of the textile markets of Coimbatore. Mr. Mahesh suggested the selling of cold press virgin olive oil and juices as a private label so that they can garner a profit, while Mr. Ranjan warned about the competitiveness of the coconut oil market. A wide range other issues were brought forward to the experts and each of them was discussed to help the local entrepreneurs.

Mr. Ahluwalia stressed that a distribution set up was required with sharp metrics to decide the success of a pilot project in the first six months. Benchmarks had to be set and people had to understand how to promote and advertise their products. Mr. Kanchan ended the discussion by asserting that an entrepreneur had to understand the POD of their product. They needed to understand what the people needed and give them something that was better. Only then, he reasoned, would people chose someone local instead of the big brands.

M-Power 2018: M- Pulse: Mr. Raja Chakraborty, Head of Marketing-FMCG, Raymond

 

On 12th December 2018, Mr. Raja Chakraborty interacted with the students of TAPMI and shared his experiences of working in different companies throughout his career spanning 19 years. He started with Raymond and talked about a few brands which Raymond owns. He also talked about his first few days working in sales and how he learned a lot of things there. “Behind every success and behind every failure, there is a learning”, he stated.

Talking about the importance of taking risks, he said “There is no place for risk averse brands in marketing”. He then told the students about a few products which weren’t selling well and how he, along with his team, worked on the problems and revived the products. The first example he gave was of Meswak toothpaste which initially didn’t capture the market but when it was re-launched as a mystique ayurvedic paste, its sales took off. Another example was of the mosquito-repellent crème, Odomos, which didn’t work well initially. Later they found out that it was because the consumers found the crème sticky and smelly. With a few changes in the product from the R&D department, the product started selling very well. He gave some more examples of products like Babool toothpaste and Nerolac paints, which were not doing well in the markets, were revived after proper research, innovation and strategies.

The session ended with him answering the questions from the students. It was a very interactive session and the students gained a lot of valuable insights from Mr. Raja Chakraborty’s career.

M-Power 2018: Day 2: Symposium – The Panel Discussion: “Lean and Digital”

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On 11th February 2018, a panel discussion on the topic “Lean and Digital”, conducted as part of M-Power, the annual Marketing Conclave of TAPMI, shed light on lean and digital, conventional and unconventional marketing. The focus is on FMCG with all the guests being from that sector and the factors affecting the expenditure on digital media in their respective organizations. Prof. Surya Mahadevan moderated the discussion.

Mr. Pawan Pandey (Category Head – Beverages, Dabur India Ltd)

Mr. Pawan Pandey opened the discussion by drawing attention to the increasing digital viewership and the need to leverage the same for consumer marketing. Online advertising is valued by advertisers for its flexibility and targetability. However, he cautioned, these mediums are to be used with clearly defined objectives in mind. The relevant brand equity parameters are to be defined for the target audience and the message is to be communicated in line with the same. In addition to being specific, marketing objectives must also be measurable. Only then can you gauge advertising success in a quantifiable way. In the absence of measurability, he continued, digital advertising will eventually undermine itself. Thus, it is important to define KPIs at the very outset to measure the success of the campaign. While the marketing medium changes, what hasn’t changed is the need for marketers to connect to people, he underlined. He stated that FMCG companies spend over 10-12% on digital advertising, which is imperative in these times. Companies cannot afford to lose out on online visibility in the face of increasing competition, he concluded.

 Mr. Mahesh Kanchan (Vice President Marketing – Carlsberg India Pvt Ltd)

Mr. Mahesh Kanchan set the context of the discussion, talking about digital media penetration and the trends in the digital space. He quoted the Digital Desh reports, providing insights on internet usage in India. Over half a billion people use the internet in India, with mobile communication being the major driver. Falling data prices are further fuelling the rise in time spent on digital devices. In this context, he stated, traditional media such as television is facing stiff competition from the digital space.

He then spoke about the pitfalls of depending on TV advertising, with over 40 – 50% of advertising in this space not meeting the objectives. With digital media, on the other hand, models such as pay per click advertising minimize wastage. He held the view that, in case of budgetary constraints, it would be advisable to spend money on digital ads rather than on national TV. Mr. Kanchan also felt that marketers often take a myopic view on ads, sticking to the same narrow approach used for a 30 second TV spot, for a digital advertisement as well. While digital advertising has its advantages, it is not without its pitfalls, he continued. For instance, ad safety is a concern on Youtube, because companies have no control over where the ads are placed.

He then drew attention to a few examples of successful digital media campaigns, such as HUL Kan Khajura Tesan, Adidas Odds, Whisper’s #TouchThePickle campaign, Quaker Oats’ #BringYourTastiestBowl etc. Refuting the popular notion that brand linkage should be judged by the placement of the logo and number of times it appears, Mr. Kanchan underlined that it is all about the consistency of the messaging.

Mr. Govind Raju (Godrej Consumer Products, Area Sales Manager)

Mr. Govind Raju, an alumnus of TAPMI agreed to the point made by the other panelists that digital marketing is growing but he can’t say whether it is impacting sales or not. The fact will help in building a brand awareness is indisputable but will it result in sales of the products? That’s a question which is still up for debate. A case in point is how in rural areas the awareness of ecommerce is still very low.

He notes that the digital expenditure among organizations is going to come up in coming years. While he is skeptical on digital marketing yet he is ready to invest in it only in future keeping in mind the sensibilities of the Rural India which still relies on traditional media as a source of information.

Mr. Vikas Gupta (Liberty Oil Mills Ltd – Lead of Foods Division)

Mr. Vikas agreed on the points made by Mr. Pawan Pandey. He then elaborated on how his organization incorporated digital marketing. He said that he preferred using digital media for customer engagement as their customer base is housewives and the products their company sells are cooking oils. He uses Facebook for recipe contests to generate interest among customers otherwise his company doesn’t need any digital thrust. Digital marketing is not affecting company’s performance that much.

He used the example of Atta to prove the lack of impact of digital marketing in Rural India. Only 6% of Atta consumed in India is packed. Rest of it is consumed from non-branded non-packed Atta sold in small kirana shops. It takes considerable effort to do digital marketing in Rural India. He thus reemphasized on the importance of traditional media for marketing his products as they are for the masses. But he is not ruling out going digital when the need arrives.

Ms. Ritika Rajpal- Assistant General Manager, L’Oreal India Pvt Ltd

Ms. Ritika opened the discussion by stating how digital media has helped her company in lead acquisition. She said that targeting can now be done on various parameters of psychographics and is not just based on geography. Talking about the challenges she mentioned that conversion rate of people clicking on the ads and people buying the product is close to 3%, which is very less. The digital media is helping in brand building, but the actual customer acquisition is still very less. Also, a lot of customer data goes to third party e-retailers. “Today consumer data is gold”, she remarked. Companies spend a lot in acquiring this data.

Another challenge about which Ms. Ritika spoke about was the gap between traditional and modern-day ads. The senior management at most of the companies are used product plugged TV ads, where the product is very directly highlighted. On the contrary digital media uses a laddered approach of advertising, she remarked.

M-Power 2018: MarkNeeti

MpowerThe most awaited event of M-Power 2018, MarkNeeti, is a platform for students to showcase and apply their marketing skills in practice. It was a unique concept, where a local entrepreneur raised his concerns with respect to marketing challenges they face in their daily lives and the participants came up with strategies and solutions to overcome them. 65 teams participated and battled it out in the preliminary round. It required developing a marketing plan for a product, the teams chose from a list of B2C products given by the organizing committee, produced only in Udupi district. The plan consisted of two parts, a strategic aspect and a tactical aspect. The teams were evaluated by a panel of faculty judges on the depth of their research, ability to think on multiple dimensions and feasibility of their plan. Finally 4 teams, The MarketFoxes, Kotler’s Ninjas, Zeitgeist and Pratibha made it to the final round of MarkNeeti, that was conducted on February 10th, 2018 in the presence of esteemed industry professionals. Mr. Nikhil Kehair, Regional Marketing Manager at Colgate Palmolive, Ms. Ritika Rajpal, Asst. General Manager at L’Oréal, Mr. Rajeev Ranjan, Director of Sales at DSM Foods, Mr. Vikas Gupta, Head-Foods at Liberty Oil Mills, Mr. Shashank Gaur, Head Trade Marketing, Kraft Heinz, Mr. Prashant Parameswaran, Director Marketing Strategy of Coca Cola, Mr. Sunil Kumar Sathyanarayanan, Business Director at Henkel Adhesives and Mr. Pawan Pandey, Category Head at Dabur graced the event with their presence along with our TAPMI professors Mr. Anubhav Mishra and Mrs. Jayanthi Thanigan.
The teams were assigned a real life challenge/live project each that a local business was currently facing and they were required to come up with feasible solutions. The teams analysed the industry, gave an overview of the products and the challenges and presented their ideas and solutions to the panel of judges. They were stormed by questions and the teams rightly justified their stance along with taking great insights and learning from the guests. It was a thoroughly enriching experience both for the participants and the audience