A chat with the new marketing head of Porsche India.
After dreaming of being a sportswoman and creating a career in marketing, Puma India’s associate director and head of marketing Debosmita Majumder has moved on from the company. She is now the head of marketing, PR, CRM at Porsche India, Skoda Volkswagen Group.
In her new role, Majumder will be responsible for handling brand marketing, and will be in charge of the dealer management program, PR is a very important part of her role too. She adds that CRM, CPM, is an important element too because as far as Porsche India is concerned, there is no aspect of mass media maketing.
Earlier, Majumder, who has around 14 years of industry experience, had worked with Puma India for over five years. She was responsible for brand marketing, sports marketing, e-commerce, retail marketing and demand generation.
In her past stints, she has worked with Sony Six and Kix as corporate communications manager for over a year, MSL India as associate account director for around two years, and Genesis Burson-Marsteller as consulting associate for five-plus years.
Majumder reveals over the phone that her original ambition was to become a tennis player. But then, she realised that she needed to focus on other things to create a stable career and started working in public relations.
“I got marketing communication exposure when I was working at Sony Six, and that’s when I realised that marketing is where my strength lies. When I joined Puma, I focused on marketing. After a year, I became the marketing head.”
Majumder admits that learning new things excites her. In her new role, she expects to learn the nuances of a new industry altogether. At Puma, though, she was a sportsperson, she did not have prior experience in the industry.
“I never wanted to be an expert in any particular industry. I want to be a good marketer overall and I can become so if I have experience in different sectors because there will always be massive learning across industries.”
She mentions that at Puma, she had built a team of 17 members (from one initially), and the job was pretty hands on. She adds that with Porsche, while the brand has been around, it has never been very vocal. She’s looking forward to incubating it and helping it grow.
“From understanding the market to understanding a new audience – who happen to be a very niche – I’m looking forward to understanding the different aspects of the auto industry, including distributors, dealerships and so on,” says Majumder.
What is common between being a good tennis player and a good marketer?
Majumder says that one of the barriers to joining a large organisation is having an MBA from a prestigious college. “I didn’t have that, but I had a lot of diversity, life experiences, and a hunger to do well. There is no barrier to being a marketer if you really set your mind to it.”
As a sportsperson, what she wants to emulate in the world of marketing is that sportspeople tend to have a certain mental capacity. They think fast, act fast and are fast on their feet.
“I believe controlling time is important for success. It’s all about timing and learning to take control of your time,” she adds.
Talking about the Coronavirus and the challenges it threw at her, she says it was an unprecedented situation and she had no idea how to handle it, to begin with.
“This period has helped me evolve a lot and gave me a different perspective on life,” she recalls.
“I was working hard, but I never took the time to pause. I was in a high pressure job and I’m a very social person, but I never paused. I know it sounds quite philosophical, but the experience has changed me.”
She emphasises that the importance of humility is the biggest learning from her career so far. She adds that excellence and humility can go hand in hand without the ego taking over.
“I’ve met so many sportspeople who are so humble, even though they are competing with someone, they have so much respect for them. It is how you can make peace with great wins and devastating losses.”
Turning point in her career
Majumder calls her job at Puma, a turning point in her career. She reveals that the most challenging aspect of it was the newness of the industry she was to work in, her work profile and the fact that she had to be based out of Bangalore.
“I didn’t know anyone in the city, I didn’t know the language and it was a completely new. That was quite challenging and I learned so much on the job,” she mentions.
She explains that most industries, barring probably e-commerce, have been badly hit by the pandemic. What most people have done is defer their car buying plans to 2021.
Buying a car is a big purchase decision. So, Porsche is looking at new ways to speak to the consumers and revive that conversation.