MUMBAI: One of the biggest challenges facing CMOs in India is in recruiting marketers and content creators for whom digital is instinctive a leading industry figure has said.

"Mobile, tablets, social media, internet of things, connected devices, smart homes, wearable tech – these are just the beginning of the tech revolution," according to Vivek Nayer, CMO/Auto Division at Mahindra & Mahindra, who told Thinking Aloud that marketers had no choice but to adapt to the changing lifestyles that digital was enabling for consumers around the world.

Marketers needed to immerse themselves in digital and become users of it the same way that previous generations had done with television and newspapers, he said. And within businesses, digital teams needed to be empowered and properly aligned with brands. Only in this way would they begin to generate insights and discover what worked best in social media "and this then forms the core of the digital strategy and initiatives".

Alongside this requirement to find digitally evangelical marketers, Nayer's other major mission to find the right content creators – "people who 'think' digital intuitively" – as content marketing, especially videos, was a priority area for the year ahead.

"Content is an unprecedented opportunity for the brand to showcase its story and personality without the traditional restriction of time and space" Nayer observed, but it was easier said than done.

"First challenge is to create the belief that this works," he said. "Second is creating the right content – quality and quantity – with the available bandwidth within and outside organization. Last but not the least – the challenge is promotion – where and with what budgets."

Other priority areas included mobile and social media engagement. Mobile was already a difficult channel for brands to do well, said Nayer and the advent of 4G and faster internet access meant "the game is certainly going to go one level up".

On social media, he noted that Mahindra & Mahindra had shifted way from a focus on acquiring fans and was now seeking to "connect and engage with youth and fans as they are the influencers of today, buyers of tomorrow".

Data sourced from Thinking Aloud; additional content by Warc staff