Automotive marketplace Carro has appointed Manisha Seewal as its chief marketing officer. Prior to the move, Seewal was the head of marketing at Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore.
In her new stint, Seewal will oversee the marketing function for Carro in Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand, reporting to Carro’s CEO and co-founder, Aaron Tan. The role is a newly-created and will see Seewal becoming a key member of Carro’s leadership team.
She will also be tasked to lead the marketing teams to deliver a seamless, integrated customer proposition. This is to drive brand awareness, consideration and transaction volumes which will result in building trust across all its business lines, the statement said.
During her time at Tokio Marine Life Insurance Singapore, Seewal was responsible for building the brand identity and all marketing strategies. This includes advertising, communications, media relations and external affairs PR and multimedia content production. She also led the launch of Singapore’s first chatbot from a life insurer, called TOMI (short for Tokio Marine Insurance).
“We are looking forward to seeing Seewal bring to the team her experience as a strategic marketer who is driven by deep understanding of consumer insights, and delivering integrated marketing campaigns,” Tan added.
“As a car enthusiast myself, who has changed 10 cars in the last 13 years (of which most were second hand cars) I believe in everything Carro has to offer to me as a customer. With its data driven proposition and clear purpose of doing business with complete transparency, I’m really excited to be joining the team and leading the marketing function for Carro,” Seewal said. Read the rest of Seewal's interview below.
Marketing: Thoughts on the current state of modern marketing?
Modern marketing is changing rapidly as customers are driving expectations – from comparing price points to seeking a personalised experience. Though there are several tools to empower the marketer which allow measurement of consumer reaction, including their sentiments, I have observed an over reliance on numbers alone, without taking a step back and doing a sense check on the bigger picture.
- Numbers never lie but let’s not shut out common sense:
While numbers don’t lie, the interpretation is dependent on the experience of the one reading it. I would advise marketers to use the numbers to support and enhance their marketing effectiveness, but stay true to the emotions that connect us to each other. After all, we are emotional creatures that attempt to make rational choices.
Marketers need to find a connection with the emotional and rational side of the customer and make it easier for them to make the purchase decision.
- Digital is the way forward, but traditional media is still relevant:
As marketers, we struggle to optimise the media mix, so we get the best value for our investment. I have seen instances where a brand decided to go 100% digital in media buy, but the online customer experience was far from optimal, which led to high drop-off rate. Digital media is great for customer acquisition, especially due to its low acquisition cost but traditional media contributes significantly towards building confidence and trust towards the brand, especially if it’s a new entrant.
- Same customer, different touch point:
Brands attract customers through online storytelling and targeted content push. But often the promise made online is not delivered in the offline experience, which leads to distrust. Brands need to invest time and effort to understand the decision-making process and ensure their brand promise flows through all the relevant touch points, throughout the consideration journey of the customer. This is especially important for high involvement categories such as financial institutions, cars and luxury goods.
Marketing: What drives you as a marketer? Are there any challenges?
The most exciting part of my job as a marketer is keeping up with changing customer needs and understanding the insight that drives them.
The key challenge that we are increasingly facing is the disjoint between creative, media and social teams.
While intentions are always to help the client, the agencies need to create a solid internal communication and sharing platform that improves their collective output, which is to drive business by executing a great idea with the most efficient media mix.
One example is sharing of performance reports internally with all internal teams. Often these reports tend to sit with the media team, but its value is maximised when it’s shared with the creative team, so they know which creative performed better and which copy had high bounce off rates etc. This way the team can collectively learn and improve for the next round.
I would also urge the creative teams to think beyond the “one big idea" (or video) and explore how that story can be told in different ways. Our customers are reaching their content fatigue a lot faster than before, so targeting and retargeting with the same creative is just not good enough anymore. In fact, it would first lead to budget wastage and eventually irritate the customer.
Digital and social is the glue that ties all loose ends together, but often we get too focused on delivering the performance KPIs and miss out on the story telling and user experience. This leads to high drop off rates, confuses the audience and may even make customers completely switch-off towards the brand. The customer story that drives the insight needs to be delivered consistently in online space.
Lastly, media plans are becoming interesting with online and offline synchronising, but the impact can be amplified by marrying the creative with the media space.
Marketing: So how can marketers be future ready?
My take is that senior marketers need to follow a maestro approach. In an orchestra, each musician is a master of their instrument, and a symphony is created when the maestro provides clear direction. Similarly, in a marketing team, there is an increase in specialised roles such as content, performance, brand, social, SEM/SEO, proposition, media, product, PR, UX/UI.
Like a maestro, senior marketing strategists need to guide the specialised functions to deliver a seamless, integrated campaign where the end result is a well-received message that resonates with the audience and is delivered on budget.
Marketing: Is there anything you would change about the marketing community?
I would encourage the marketing community to stop working in silos and communicate internally, especially if they offer all specialised functions in-house, such as creative, media, social, PR and digital. This allows the company to really help stretch the marketing dollar for the client, and deliver the customer insight with a consistent story across all media platforms.