Bolder marketing leadership in a connected world

Highlights from the Marketing Society Global Conference

Like many wanderlusts and global citizens, I am a map enthusiast. I learned how to read maps at an early age because of my father. He traveled extensively on account of his import-export company and loved reading maps, especially plotting driving routes between cities in the UK and the US. We would all sit around the kitchen table watching him draw lines between cities. It was such artistry.

Fast forward, 30 years later, I caught myself getting nostalgic and inspired at the same time while listening to Dr Ed Lu, NASA Astronaut and Parag Khanna, author of “Connectography: Mapping the Global Network Revolution” and Ted Talk Speaker at The Marketing Society Global Conference held a few weeks ago in London. Highlights of the conference are on and in the Marketing Society Clubroom (members only).

Dr Lu shared his stories while on a 6 month space mission on a Russian Soyuz which he learned to operate in weeks (it usually takes months). He showed amazing pictures of our planet from the International Space Station which made any political proclamations of “Building a Wall” seem trivial!

“The safest place for ships is in the harbor. But then you don’t go anywhere” – Dr Ed Lu

Parag Khanna also asserted that there is no reversing globalism, no matter what Trump says. He talked about how Connectivity has become the new paradigm of global organization, wherein political borders, capitals and states are becoming less relevant. Instead  maps representing megacities, connected by highways, railways, pipelines, internet cables more accurately represents how millennials, Gen Y or even Z, understand the world. These “first globals” have no recollection of the Cold War or World Wars, represent 40% of the world’s population. Governments and businesses need to understand that they seek connections rather than divisions.

“The best maps juxtapose physical geography with man-made connectivity” – Parag Khanna

The notion of connectivity has really stuck with me since the conference. When people ask me where I am from, I am confused about the answer. While I was born in the US, I grew up in the Middle East, I have lived in US, Japan, Singapore and India. I have homes in New York and Sri Lanka and I currently live in New Delhi. My second language is French. So which country do I belong to? According to Parag Khanna, it may not actually matter. I am connected to all these countries and my colleagues, friends and family in them thanks to social media and cheap and frequent flights.

My marketing experience is richer for the global exposure I have received and the professional network I have maintained across countries thanks to LinkedIn. When I was in Singapore, I joined the Marketing Society Asia Chapter as a way to connect with like minded regional marketers who are all grappling with similar issues which were aptly summarized in a brutal but honest assertion by Thomas Barta, co-author of 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader, in his keynote:

“Marketing is important but marketers aren’t” - Thomas Barta

I saw so much value of being part of this network while in Asia that I am excited to partner with Hugh Burkitt, Global Ambassador and former CEO, to bring Marketing Society to India. I look forward to hosting Global CMOs like Keith Weed from Unilever, Silvia Delgado from McDonalds and David Wheldon from RBS who can really help Indian marketers think about bolder marketing leadership over inspirational breakfasts and uncomfortable dinners. I am also looking forward to building closer connections with regional marketers from the Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong Chapters. We will also have a mentoring program connecting rising Indian marketing talent with our member CMOs.

Looking forward to having India join the Connectography of Global Marketers!

About The Marketing Society
Launched in 1959, Marketing Society is an exclusive global membership network of 3000 senior marketers our purpose is to inspire bolder marketing leadership. Its vision is to become the leading global network of senior marketers our global members our mission is to have a hub in 10 major cities by 2020. Marketing Society India is now accepting membership applications for 2017 by senior marketers (email [email protected] if you are interested!).