DMAi_Zain

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at the Global Marketing and Advertising Week 2015 (GMAW). This has become the leading organization representing digital, data and technology marketers in South Asia. I participated in two panel discussions and presented a keynote. I used the forum to introduce my next book that will be published this Fall. This conference provided me with an opportunity to meet and interact with leading marketers from the Asia-Pacific region. It also allowed me the opportunity to go back to India.

Yes, the conference was held in New Delhi. Most of you know that I moved from India almost 25 years ago. Even though we go back every few years, I hadn’t been to Delhi in almost a decade. I was pleasantly surprised. From the minute I arrived at the modern and efficient Indira Gandhi International airport to the ITC Maurya hotel and the experience in between… it was awesome. We’ve come a long way!

I was also very impressed by the quality of the GMAW 2015 conference. The content and the speakers were world-class. Attendees included Asia-Pacific leaders in marketing, data and technology, representing a majority of the global companies – from CPG to retail to technology to financial services and automotive. The quality of the intellect and robustness of the discussions really blew me away. The speakers and the audience were really switched on!

What became glaringly obvious to me during the three days is that the quality of talent in India is unbelievably top-notch. What could be the reason? I believe a big part of the credit should go to the Indian education system. You see, the acceptance rates for MBA programs at Stanford University (7 percent) and Harvard University (13 percent) are tough. But, “here’s a bit of perspective: Not even 1 percent of applicants were admitted to India’s top business school last year. The Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad (IIM-A) offered spots to only 0.25 percent of applicants for the 2012-14 academic years.”, according to Bloomberg Business. The leading schools, the IIM’s and the IIT’s (Indian Institute of Technology) are unbelievably rigorous and competitive. It is these types of educational institutions that are positioning India to lead the future of business, and marketing.

My keynote was titled “Marketing for Tomorrow. Not Yesterday.” It is about the new rules marketers need to win in this new Insight Economy. This presentation was extremely well received by the attendees. It resonated with the challenges they experience from the Asian vantage-point as they see the global economy developing around them. The economy that is quickly propelling India into “first-world” status.

The Indian marketers and business leaders have the education, intelligence and drive. They can frame issues and solutions credibly. They are all wickedly smart. And, they are all very, very successful. However, they face one barrier to their ability to scale… a lack of global experience. They haven’t yet seen how the integration of data, technology and creativity can converge to create exponential impact. And, they haven’t seen it done at scale. In my 30 years of building businesses globally and evolving from the attention economy to the information economy and now leading in the new insight economy, I have seen the value of experience first hand.

In business as in all other endeavors, experience is the biggest leveler. I believe that as these guys begin to operate more fully on the global stage they will begin to help accelerate the adoption and refinement of the rules needed to win in the Insight Economy. I predict this will happen sooner rather than later.

Again a big thanks to the organizers of the GMAW 2015, my colleagues on the panel discussions and the very engaged audience. I got to spend time with some terrific folks. For anyone in the marketing and business world who wants to be part of the developing future, I highly recommend you attend GMAW 2016!

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