Muktesh Narula

10 Best CMOs in India

A Self-Starter Delivering Sustainable Revenue & Profit Gains

Muktesh Narula

Chief Marketing Officer,

Mukesh Narula, CMO, Pinnacle Teleservices, is transforming brand marketing and communication for the better. He leverages his 27 years of sales and marketing expertise to create tailor-made strategies for brands to succeed. A self-starter, Muktesh is passionate about mentoring and creating an exceptional customer experience, which helps him deliver sustainable revenue and profit gains in competitive markets. TradeFlock interviewed Muktesh to understand more about his methodologies, strategies, and winning mantra.

❓Please share your biggest challenges over the last two decades, as well as the strategies you used to overcome them.

Around 20 years ago, the journey of Pinnacle commenced with a humble beginning. Since then, it has been a witness to the ever-changing world of enterprise communication. We have seen amazing shifts in business approach, customer behaviour and demands, extensive use of technology, and it becoming a more organised sector in India. I have been very proud of myself for adapting to these changes. I have had my fair share of learning, some of which I have tried to capture here.
The marketing world is extremely fast-paced. A successful strategy that delivers results at one moment becomes a huge failure at another when the competition changes its modus operandi and starts eating your share of the segment. New market trends and new tools keep emerging; so the team must catch up.
Training new team members is another challenge, as the existing team’s efforts are diverted. But then, due to fast-changing technologies and professional development, the ongoing training of the entire team is imminent. So, the team leaders or the members must continue their learning while on the job.
Customer retention is another challenge. New customer acquisition is costlier than retaining existing ones. Also, a 5% increase in retention may enhance your business’s revenue by 2X. Hence, a focus on reducing customer churn by investing in retention planning by way of special offers to existing customers, improving customer support, and a loyalty programme certainly helps. On the other hand, evolving customer needs change everything. The attitude towards brands and the needs of customers keeps evolving. Hence, for the marketing teams, it is important to stay updated on these ever-evolving needs by way of surveys, and social media listening.
Entering new markets ensures business growth. It is critical to explore niches or new market segments to increase revenue. To achieve this, periodic market research is essential. Using the language that’s known to the new prospects and optimising the website and social media pages accordingly helps too.
However, the biggest challenge is measuring the marketing efforts’ ROI. The marketing team must gauge the effectiveness of a campaign and ensure that their inputs translate into profits for the organisation.

❓Addressing market uncertainty is the biggest hurdle for today’s CMO. What technologies are you currently leveraging to overcome the market research challenges?

The marketing landscape was already changing, but the pandemic accelerated this transformation. The COVID-19 period compelled most brands to bring about a major shift in their customer communication strategies. This made the marketing teams pivot and update their communication strategies.
Rapid digitalisation and marketing through data analytics were quickly adapted by successful businesses. How the available data is used to offer a personalised customer experience is the key to success for any organisation in the present time. Brand awareness campaigns have evolved using new technology and data mining sources. Businesses that can make smart decisions based on it will be successful.

❓We would love to hear more about your marketing practices. What have been some core strategies that you have restructured as CMO?

Steve Goldbach, Chief Strategy Officer at Deloitte, told a group of rising marketing executives that “The CMO sits at the heart of strategy at most organizations.” The toughest challenge for the marketing team is dealing with disruptions in the marketplace and changing customer preferences.
Testing new marketing tactics and techniques is the way forward. Using new marketing tools may be risky but waiting until these are tested is of no use once the competition has acquired them too. Bringing in-house brand strategy is the mantra, as no one else understands their business better than the key stakeholders. Staying updated with market analysis is extremely important, and hence, the CMO and the marketing team must have a deep understanding of the market. Therefore, periodic research is essential for developing or modifying strategies.

❓Tell us about the unique skills that differentiate you from your peers in the industry.

Alignment of key personnel. The most effective projects we have completed are when all team leads are involved from beginning to end — to provide guidance, voice concerns, and share lessons learned from their areas of expertise. 

❓How do you plan the growth of your organisation?

Involve all departments. Involve your key people in creating your transformation agenda so that you ultimately create a plan that people can rally around. The marketing department should reflect the ambitions of the organisation and adapt new techniques that provide a foundation for good implementation and success.
The growth of an organisation is directly proportional to its capability to capture the right data and synthesise it to achieve maximum customer satisfaction.

❓What is your success mantra, and how are you giving back to society?

“Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do.”
Our organisation has contributed to girls’ education. We have helped the needy during the pandemic. We have contributed to many schools for the poor in Nagpur and surrounding areas.