Business & Marketing Lessons From Top Leaders At BW Mktg Whitebook Summit 2023

From Indian consumers’ role in shaping world economy & trade to tech equalising opportunities and AI’s transformative impact on time allocation, more than 50 industry captains share advice for future readiness

BW Marketing World, in collaboration with BW Businessworld, successfully hosted the 18th edition of the BW Businessworld Marketing Whitebook Summit. This annual summit, held on November 30 in Delhi and December 8 in Mumbai, served as a pivotal platform for industry leaders, marketers, and innovators to engage in insightful discussions on the evolving trends and strategies shaping the marketing landscape.

With the overarching theme, #iammarketer: From Gen Ai to Gen Z, the summit explored the transformative impact of generative AI and the influence of the always-online Gen Z consumers on the expectations from brands and businesses.

The summit witnessed the participation of Mohit Malhotra, CEO, Dabur India as a keynote speaker at the Delhi chapter.

He emphasised the pivotal role of the new generation, stating “The average age of India is 27 years old, the youngest in the world. The new generation is going to shape the world economy and trade. Gen Zs are going to be full-bloomed consumers and manufacturers. Going ahead they are going to shape consumer sentiment.” Malhotra further stated, “Internet penetration is becoming wider and wider throughout the country, be it villages, village towns or urban areas. India is leapfrogging in every sector. From the letter era to the smartphone era, India has leapfrogged. And the other economies have not gone through this curve.”

At the other leg of the summit, held in Mumbai, Sameer Satpathy, Divisional Chief Executive, Personal Care Products, ITC highlighted the game-changing impact of digital on the premium market, equalising opportunities for both new and established players. He stressed, "Digital today has consolidated the premium market in India. While not many people were stocking premium products before, all premium consumers are housed together today. As marketers, it has become easy for us to market to them, engage effectively, and distribute through this channel." "Additionally, you can customise and personalise your offer better," he adds.

Outside of marketing, Satpathy trusts the digital payments system is flourishing well in terms of its infrastructure and acceptance overall. 

Discussing AI, Richa Singh, Managing Director India & Middle East, Natural Diamond Council emphasised the challenges of AI integration and its transformative effects on time allocation. 

Reflecting on the transformative shift in time allocation due to AI, she underscores, “AI saves a lot of time. The amount of time we spend on gathering information, previously I used to spend 90 per cent time gathering data and 10 per cent interpreting it and analysing it. This has flipped over. Now I have that much more time for hypothesis and analysis, more interpretations and possibilities. You have more time on the intangible because the tangible has become so much easier.”

Advocating the incorporation of domain-specific skills to better harness creativity with AI, Sudhakar Rao, Director, ICFAI Group of Educational Institutions said, “To better harness creativity with artificial intelligence, we must have more domain-specific skills. We need to go towards problem-solving from problem-based learning.” He stressed the need to embrace new technologies for a more harmonious coexistence.

At the Delhi summit of BW Marketing Whitebook, Salil Kapoor, CEO, Hindware Home Innovation defined AI as the intelligence of machines with the promise of future tools operating at scale with higher speed. 

He accentuated, “A broader implementation of these capabilities already exists to some extent through data analysis, data mining, and productive analysis. It’s gradually improving, and the real evolved tools that will do it at scale with much higher speed are yet to be employed.”

On the evolving landscape of AI, Sanjay Bhutani, Managing Director - India & SAARC, Bausch & Lomb India observed the structured forms through various tools taking place in the present day, and noted its increasing exploration across different organisational functions. 

He further asserted, "AI initially wasn't a widely discussed topic, but now it has taken a structured form through various tools. Currently, they are exploring different applications of AI in their respective organisations."

On balancing innovation, operation and regulation in the age of AI, Vikas Gupta, Group CEO, VLCC discussed how AI helps in stitching together the customer journey. He expressed, "AI helps you to stitch together. The cohort of customers experience that customer journey and it gives so many tools to construct a marketing place, from an innovation, relationship management and communication standpoint, In overall market mix creation for the consumer segments. Sure, AI is easing the process.”

The BW Businessworld Marketing Whitebook Summit 2023 concluded with valuable insights embracing the transformative influence of generative AI and the expectations set by tech-savvy Gen Z consumers. The summit reiterated the importance of adaptability and innovation in navigating the complex marketing landscape.