A MARKETER is a sniffer dog, a lion and a cheetah in that order.

I know of some marketing heads who are keen observers, sniffing out opportunities ahead of their time. They have been the most successful in the business. Through my career, I have discovered that a marketing head has to be a sniffer dog, a lion and a cheetah to succeed.


Opportunities are aplenty. The catch is that in most cases they come disguised as challenges or hurdles. Only those who are ever alert and are in constant search for the right ‘Keys’ like a Sniffer Dog will be able to grab them. A keen observer will realize the need before it arises and will be way ahead in designing a solution than the others who feel the need only after it has arrived. An alert mind, constant interaction with people who designed their own success and an ability to learn from others’ blunders are keys to success.

Identifying an opportunity is the first step. The next is the strategizing. That’s when a marketing head has to become a lion. A lion’s hunt is filled with strategy, stealth, stalking and the lethal leap. Having alternate plans and backups are also important as any plan may fail.


 After identifying an opportunity and developing a strategy the last step is in execution. It pays to remember that the race is truly on and there may be competitors who may be taking the same route to success. So at the final stage of execution, speed is all important. Like the cheetah, the marketing head should be able to accelerate to top speed within a very short time from take off. More importantly, he/ she should have the capacity to take an about turn at the same high speed if the need arises.

When a marketing head combines the aspects of a sniffer dog, strategizing lion and superfast cheetah, there would be no stopping the brand.

Learnings from our real Leaders

Dr. KM Cherian’s aim is to reach as many people with heart disease as possible with a cure. He never lets any opportunity to serve pass him by. Once on his drive from Chennai to Pondicherry, he heard the news over BBC FM radio about an Afghan girl who was to be flown to Paris for heart surgery. He wished to reduce the sick child’s suffering and offered to perform the surgery in Chennai, which is much closer to Afghanistan and so involved a much shorter traveling time. The child was brought to Chennai along with another boy who also needed surgery and the procedures were successfully performed. Dr. Cherian says, “Not everyone gets an opportunity to serve. Those who do are invariably alert, open and proactive.  If one has these virtues, one can rise up to any situation good or bad and help anyone in need.”

This is true in business too.

The importance of strategic planning is evident in the success of Netflix. Netflix’s video on demand streaming service allows subscribers to download video from their website. With thousands of videos on offer the problem was in the sheer number of movies and series that the subscriber had to go through before making a choice. If this could be simplified, then they knew they could increase the download percentage manifold. Netflix’s strategy was to develop, introduce and maintain an extensive personalized video-recommendation system. This reduced the choices to manageable levels and as predicted led to a whopping growth .
Netflix went even further to announce a $1,000,000 prize to the person who developed a video-recommendation algorithm that could beat its existing algorithm Cinematch.

The right strategy would invariably lead to success.