Cyriac Joseph MRICS Senior Vice President Marketing – Vaishnavi Group
I am a curious learner, lover of music & fine things in life, profound team player and interpreter of dreams. After completing 23 years of my career in real estate and getting featured in the “Most Influential Marketing Leaders” listing at the World Marketing Congress, Mumbai, friends, colleagues and even my 15 year old son ask me – aren’t you bored with buildings, site visits, customer calls? What keeps you going?
My answer to them is – I’m not selling buildings – I deal with dreams and the aspirations of my customers, promoters, architects and designers; this is a profession where dreams of different segments converge, and as a seasoned marketing professional with a grounding based on feet-on-street sales, my job is even more exciting when I need to integrate these dreams and create a plan to make it a reality.
My role as a brand architect and marketing head requires a deep understanding of customers’ needs, the promoter’s vision and the architect’s creative idea. This makes it imperative to invest quality time to obtain this understanding. Stumbling blocks can come from anywhere – you could be handling a tough assignment where resources are limited and expectations are high. It can be a series of internal challenges and process issues. I have often found that being cordially persistent and focused can work wonders at all times. Work on your strengths that can turn around the situation rather than dwelling on limitations or challenges that can hold you back.
My advice to any marketing aspirant is to try and invest their initial years in sales; meet and greet people, understand the sales process, understand first-hand the customer perspective – in other words, do the feet work. This gives you an edge on two fronts – a first-hand experience of consumer expectations or consumer behaviour; and an understanding of the ground reality and some of the inherent limitations in executing marketing campaigns.
The fifth P of marketing is PEOPLE – and by people I mean people who are your team. Be open to ideas, ensure the participation of your team members, empower them, give them the confidence, help them make decisions, plan for their future and most importantly give them credit. My team comes first – Always. Organisational dynamics are always dynamic and you often find yourself in situations where you are expected to choose the interests of one over the other. Such situations can be invariably taxing, but with practice and principles, one is able to walk that fine line and always ensuring that the people in the team are never left in the lurch.
Large ideas and massive projects demands different approaches. Be ready to take a hundred small steps or make that quantum leap. Gauge the situation, understand the team strength, chart out a plan – remember, our strategies and approach can be flexible but never the goals.
Real estate is the convergence of dreams of aspirations – as you move up, your expectations and ambitions also grow. Remember, life is not about chasing numbers; it’s about pursuing your passion, and enjoying what you do. And that’s possible only when you see the journey itself as the reward.