2020, a time to elevate marketing, says WFA President, Raja Rajamannar

2020, a time to elevate marketing, says WFA President, Raja Rajamannar

2 minute read

WFA President, Raja Rajamannar, calls on brands to 'rethink how they turn up in people's lives'

Article details

  • Author:Raja Rajamannar
    Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Mastercard
30 January 2020

It is my honor to resume the role of WFA President at such an exciting and challenging time for our industry.

Technology has transformed the media landscape we rely on. Consumers have unprecedented choice for content and decreasing attention for ads. Bombarded by as many as 5,000 ads a day, a significant minority are turning to adblocking.

Brands must rethink how they turn up in people’s lives. To remain relevant in the 2020s, brands will have to rewrite the marketing playbook and figure out how to address three major challenges:  

First and foremost, today’s top talent is heading to Silicon Valley rather than going into marketing. Attracting the very best into our profession will take a twin-tracked approach.

More than any other function, marketing can make a positive social impact. This is our ace card. By showcasing our profession’s extraordinary ability to change the world for the better, we will be able to attract the very best talent to a career in marketing.

Within our own companies, we need to elevate the stature and gravitas of marketing as a function. This means ensuring today’s top marketers can marry left-and right-brain thinking, that they embrace an almost Da Vincian combination of technical know-how, creative flair and business acumen. The latter, in particular, is key to ensuring marketing gets the credibility it deserves in the boardroom and across the wider company.

Secondly, marketers will need to successfully harness the opportunities of AI. The promise it holds for more relevant, opportune and personalized communications at scale is unprecedented. The ability to successfully embrace AI will determine which brands survive and which thrive in the coming years.   

Finally, brand owners must put in place the necessary systems and safeguards for brand-safe environments in the digital age. The democratization of technology is exciting, but, as we’ve seen, it does not come without risk. As the universe where our products and services appear grows and becomes more and more automated, we must take extra care to protect our most sacred asset, our brands.

As the ultimate funders of the digital ecosystem, it is incumbent on us to drive the change that will ultimately better protect and better serve consumers and society at large.

The WFA plays such an important role in driving positive change across our industry and elevating the role and perception of our profession and our industry.

WFA’s core purpose, “better marketing”, ultimately encapsulates the essence of what will enable us to stay relevant to people in today’s fast-changing environment. 

I’m proud and humbled to be President of an organization at the vanguard of reinventing marketing for a new decade.