Interviewing Raj Badarinath
CMO at RichRelevance
The ability to adapt to an evolving business climate is the difference between companies that thrive and companies that fail. In the ever-changing world of marketing technologies, where the average consumer sees more than 5,000 ads per day, personalizing every step of the customer journey is not only critical but essential for the next phase of omnichannel marketing.
Herewith us today is Raj Badarinath, CMO at RichRelevance, to discuss his experience working with marketing technologies for over two decades in Silicon Valley.
You’ve been working in Silicon Valley for over two decades, what are some of the most important lessons you learned?
Marketing is greater than technology. Products fail because people don’t get into the mindset of customers because of a lack of visibility and awareness. Value proposition and targeting always makes a big difference.
You mentor people, our founder is one of them, how did you get into that?
I have always had many mentors throughout my life. I value them a lot. I believe that everyone needs professional people interested in their career growth. Board of directors are not just for big businesses but for everyone’s life as well.
I would think about networking as friendships. Personally investing in people and focusing on creating deeper connections with them. Mentorship is about making time and there is always time to help others.
What is omnichannel personalization? How does RichRelevance differentiate from others in the space?
There is a process of purchasing products, a buying cycle. Today there is more than one channel. Omnichannel - you can buy from any channel. The second part of omnichannel is personalization. There is a need for a good, memorable experience. The goal is to take the cold experience of purchasing online and make it a warm interaction as if you were interacting with people at scale.
How do you incorporate AI & ML into hyper-personalization without violating the customer's personal boundaries/privacy?
Anytime you have a “segment of one” your journey will be different from someone else’s. AI custom crafts each person’s journey on a site. At RichRelevance, we don’t collect PII (Personal Identifiable Information). Instead, we collect and look at behavioral data. Each year, we send out “Creepy vs. Cool” surveys to make sure what we are doing stays in the cool category.
What business challenges have you faced in marketing?
Challenges are faced in every stage of a business’s life cycle, I have experienced each stage. Startups need quick traction, visibility to grow, and cross the chasm. Growing companies need consistent presence, staying in the mind of the customers, customer-facing activities. Mature companies need differentiation, new avenues of growth.
The future of marketing: How do you think marketing is poised to evolve?
One good idea no longer cuts it. Marketing has started balancing the left and right brain. Marketing is more analytical which leads to digital marketing. ¼ of the industry goes towards MarTech. We are seeing a growth in Martech. The space is getting crowded. However, you need to continue to innovate. There is always a saturation of channels that bring the creation of new channels. Customers are constantly moving to those new channels. Hence, marketing follows as well. A great example is TikTok.
What advice would you like to share with young entrepreneurs who are interested in MarTech?
Today is a fantastic time. The best companies are forged in a downturn when they are able to attract customers despite the conditions. The market is dynamic, never feel like you are late to the market or that there is no space for you. Think bigger, there is always an opportunity.