≡ Menu
My advice below is a little better 🙂 Image: Cartoonstock.com

Ahem… some advice. My last post was on marketing for all organizations and this time, it’s the marketers who I am giving advice to. And as in that post, the ‘now‘ in the headline (‘Four activities that marketers should take up now’) refers to the current pandemic times we now live it.

Here is the advice.

  1. Develop your organization’s under served brands and the corporate brand
    I wrote about this in the previous post. That article listed 10 actions that organizations need to take during today’s pandemic times. You should be talking within your own organization about doing these.                                                      

2.  Help develop your organization’s online capabilities
Most marketers have not had a chance to develop their digital or online skills.                                                                                                                           

Very few will have worked in the Internet sector, by which I mean companies like Google or Yahoo or Amazon. Here, and I speak from personal experience, one really gets to understand the online medium. Nor do most organizations have an e-commerce business and even if they do have one, it is a small part of the whole. Therefore, few executives, marketers included, have had hands-on online experience.

In case your organization has an e-commerce business, I suggest you ask to be assigned to it, even temporarily or part-time. The value you will get: a richer understanding of the market. You will get to listen to consumers, sometimes one on one via their social reactions and sometimes via the data. You will also be able to test responses to alternate communication and to pricing changes. The consumers comments will be most revealing. 

Online consumers are most well-informed, and given the choices online, most demanding. By learning how to appeal to such customers, you will benefit overall. Online may be where you should soft launch and test year 2022’s product launches.

If your organization is a B2C business but is not in e-commerce, see if you can take the lead in starting one. Get an e-commerce website created. If this look difficult, see if the company’s products are listed on Amazon and other marketplaces and offer to help manage this channel. And if your products are not listed on these marketplaces, take the lead in getting this done. Selling on Amazon is ultra-competitive: you will learn about your products and the market.

If yours is a B2B business that cannot use e-commerce, see how you can take improve the ‘digitization’ of the business. Here are some ideas. If the home market (say India) is dull (due to the pandemic), see if you can give a push to your international marketing. Ask your website agency or team for help in getting more international traffic. Or help improve the online presence of your channel partners. E.g., if you are selling steel or appliances or cement, can you create a dedicated page on your company website for each of these partners?

I have more examples to share here but will save these for later.

3. Build your own professional skills                                                              

Yes, this is stating the obvious, it is a motherhood statement, but I find few professionals, marketers included, investing time in doing this.  Yet now, when business pressures are possibly less and one is working from home, there can be no excuse.

There are two situations. The first type of skill needs are common to many junior marketers that I encounter today. This is a weakness in what I call core business skills – oral and written communication, analytical capabilities and awareness of the world around them. These skills are vital for marketers.                                                                 

There is no one fix. Extensive reading helps improve some English skills and general knowledge. Coursera has a specialization on data analysis and presentation skills and the other learning portals like EdX and LinkedIn Learning may have similar useful courses too. There are many apps and videos that can help improve vocabulary and speaking skills. The British Council in India offers well-regarded English courses.

Can you use your professional talents for some voluntary work? Given that there are just a few marketers out there (e.g. just about 1% of the people on LinkedIn are marketers, as per my quick research), your contribution is sure to be valued. If you are already doing this, great. For most, it will be the first step, so start small.

The second situation: most marketers will do well to keep abreast of new developments in marketing and in digital marketing. I subscribe to the daily newsletter of the American Marketing Association. It mails a curated selection of about 7 or 8 marketing items – articles, blog posts and news items – everyday. You may also like to check out Interskale’s Internet marketing resources page.

4. Give back

The best example of starting small is perhaps my own. I recently used my understanding of colours (which marketers have) to get my apartment complex repainted right, in attractive shades that go well with the walls, the lighting and the ambience. And I informally advise a company that sells eco-friendly products on their branding.

Just two small examples. Hope you get the idea.

This blog post originally appeared on June 3rd, 2021 as an article in LinkedIn. Minor changes have been made vis-a-vis the LinkedIn article.


This blog post originally appeared on May 24th, 2021 as an article in LinkedIn. It’s meant to act as two bits of advice for senior management of organizations. Small changes have been made vis-a-vis the LinkedIn article.

The marketing that all organizations need


The ‘now‘ refers to the current period in our global history viz. the Covid-19 pandemic. At this time, this has been around for 15 months and it will be many months before it wanes.

The reference to ‘most organizations‘ refers to organizations who are not regular or heavy spenders on marketing and who don’t have a full marketing department. For instance, a look at the Economic Times 500, which consists of the 500 largest companies in India by revenue, shows that about 80 to 90% of them belong to industries who are not likely to be regular spenders on marketing. Similarly, of the 150 odd industries seen on LinkedIn, only about 20% are known to spend on marketing.

The marketing advice that I wish to share is for such non-marketing companies. Even non-marketing companies, which don’t have products and services that need active marketing, have a corporate brand to take care of, and my advice is about this (details below).

My recommendations here apply to marketing companies as well. However, these companies may already be following these measures.

For my recommendations to get seriously considered, one will need the ear of senior management. And I believe that today there is a good chance of this happening.

In normal (read “non-pandemic” times), most organizations are caught up in a whirlwind of activity. The leadership teams are most busy. In the current pandemic, however, business activity is at a somewhat low level – and management bandwidth is possibly available – for the marketing activities that I have in mind.

Here is the advice: Pay attention to your brands. Firstly, all organizations need to pay attention to their corporate brand. And organizations which have branded products or services need to re-look the strategies for these brands.

What does it mean to pay attention to the brands?

  1. What is our value proposition ? Is our offering to our customers relevant and distinctive? This is needed as much or more for corporate and B2B brands as for product and B2C ones.
  2. Are our customers happy ?
  3. Is our understanding of the above value proposition and customer satisfaction based on any factual data ? When have we last ‘listened’ to our customers and prospective customers?
  4. Today, in the majority of cases, customers first become aware of brands through online. And the world is global and interconnected, ever more so now after the pandemic. International customers in particular are most likely to learn about your brands and organization online. Therefore, how good is the (online) information about us ? Is it accurate and updated, complete, interesting and perhaps even compelling?
  5. Where all is this information ? Apart from the company website, is it on individual brand websites, company LinkedIn page, LinkedIn pages of individual employees (via their current job descriptions), other social media such as You Tube, on Amazon, on Google My Business listings (for retail businesses) and on marketplaces such as Alibaba (for B2B businesses)?Again, is the content about us on each of these channels accurate, updated, complete et al?
  6. Is there media coverage or customer reviews about us online? How well do we fare here?
  7. How good is our website ? Have we ever got a website audit done by a third party ?
  8. Are the social media channels well-managed ?
  9. When have we last got an opinion taken on our brand logo ? Have we ever got a brand identity exercise done?I once met a top visual designer. When I handed him my business card, he said it wasn’t designed well. He said he could tweak the design and that he believed it would improve my company’s image so much so that I would be able to command a 15% increase in our rates. We did get a more cleaner and sharper design, I must say.
  10. Can we set a simple way or a process to manage our corporate brand – inclusive of the pieces mentioned above – so that it stays relevant and attractive for time to come ?

While ten marketing activities may seem a lot to do, the good news is that not all may be equally important and doing even one will be rewarding.

In my experience, this corporate marketing exercise does tend to get neglected. The primary reason is paucity of management time. However, as given above, for most organizations, there can be no better time than now (the year of the pandemic).

Marketing image credit: https://www.marketingstrategy.com/marketing-extends-well-beyond-the-marketing-department/


A decade of Interskale: From the CEO’s desk

After a corporate career in FMCG marketing, the consumer Internet industry and in-house digital marketing, I set up Interskale a decade ago. On September 1, 2010.

The idea behind starting Interskale was to better utilize the techniques and methods I had learnt in my career – to do high quality digital marketing work. I believed that digital will be very effective in helping organizations realize their business potential, provided that the strategy and the execution are both sound and that here my industry experience would help make this happen.

In the last 10 years, my team and I have spoken and met with thousands of (my guess would be two to three thousand) individuals whose organizations are looking for digital marketing. It has been Interskale’s privilege to work with over a 100 of them. Many have very clearly benefited and have continued to work with us over the years.

A little over 50 associates, almost all in the the first decade of their careers, chose to make their career with us. They received solid on the job training and interesting work to boot.

This decade-long experience in this nascent discipline has enriched me and left me wiser.

I have found that there exists a gap in understanding – of what digital marketing really is and what it is capable of. The field does benefit from the work of bright minds at Internet companies like Google, Facebook & Amazon, thereby developing at a fast pace. Unfortunately, this pace of change often leaves behind both the organization that seeks to deploy digital as well as the digital marketing practitioner. There is a need for industry and academicians to pay attention to the profession or discipline of digital marketing itself. In the absence of this, myths and half-knowledge prevail.

I would like to thank all Interskale associates, past and present, clients current and inactive as well as the many partner organizations and fellow professionals that my team and I have worked with.

I wish you all well in your personal and professional lives, both now and post-Covid-19. Let us see what the future holds post this most unfortunate pandemic.


P.S.: Today, we are relaunching our website. The chief update is with respect to content: this site better reflects what we do and what we practice and believe in, the old content was simply outdated. Some finishing touches remain, but we thought it best to launch on our anniversary.