Book Review: "Quantum Marketing" by Raja Rajamannar, CMO of Mastercard
Quantum Marketing: Mastering the New Marketing Mindset for Tomorrow's Consumers by Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing Officer of Mastercard is a highly enjoyable and enlightening read that I found applicable not just for business learnings but everyday life lessons.
In full disclosure, my company PostAds Group is Mastercard's global production consultant hired by Raja to bring greater visibility and efficiency into the costs of producing TV, digital and social videos. We have served Raja's team since 2015 and work directly with his VP Global Agency Operations Debra Hedgecock to assess process, technology and supply chains used in producing advertising content. The timing of the release of Quantum Marketing coincided with our company's launch of Prodigy, a cloud-based production data collection and reporting platform with AI technology that ingests creative briefs, agency estimates and supplier invoices without the need for data entry by brand or agency stakeholders. Mastercard was a founding early adopter of Prodigy whose input helped inform the design of our brand-friendly dashboards and in the months prior to reading Quantum Marketing we co-presented the Mastercard-Prodigy case study to Association of National Advertisers (ANA) trade organization. It was through this personal lens of experience working for Mastercard and launching Prodigy that we approached the information presented by Raja in his new book.
From a practical standpoint, the book is very well organized and methodical in presenting its thesis: that today's world is so filled with disruption that classic marketing theories, strategies and practices are failing - and will continue to fail - unless marketing leaders grasp the urgency of the unfolding future, expand their knowledge base and employ new ways of thinking in order to succeed in tomorrow's world. Over the years we have attended many of Raja's speaking engagements on a variety of topics and two common elements of his speaking style are also apparent in his prose: logic and calmness. When he lays out in detail all of the factors that are turning the world on its head - the speed of technology, the magnitude of social media and the tsunami of data being amassed on consumers and businesses - its very daunting but his voice is one of calm in making sense of it all. One feels reassured that despite the massive challenges, with education, personal discipline and a smart game plan we can execute on the opportunities that reside within these challenges. Throughout the book there are wonderful stories and anecdotes that color the narrative, all of which are fresh and bring a feeling of newly acquired wisdom to the reader.. The book is both a clarion call and a guidebook for the road less traveled. Each chapter ends with a summary of useful action items and is designed to become a reference book that can be revisited time and again.
For example, in the chapter "The Data Dilemma", the following passage gave us both an encouraging validation internally on Prodigy's value proposition in the ad world and useful guidance on how to best utilize data for ANY endeavor (BOLD added for emphasis): "The marketing technology architecture and process need to be able to:
capture data in real time;
aggregate it and map it in a sensible and accurate manner;
analyze it for specific or general insights;
link those insights to potential actions;
measure the effectiveness, or lack thereof;
update with further data received in the interim;
analyze, rinse, and repeat.
Real-time data assimilation and real-time analytics are both going to be absolutely essential in the Fifth Paradigm."
From the opening chapter to the last we've highlighted passages to help inform our go-forward strategy, lessons that can be universally applied to ALL businesses - and many that can also be used for personal development. For example, he quotes the designer Charles Eames: "Never delegate understanding." This really struck home with me from personal experience launching Prodigy and our journey in the use of machine learning and Artificial Intelligence. There is also dedicated chapter on AI, which delves into the true definitions of "artificial intelligence", "machine learning", "deep learning" and the importance of understanding the nuances of those terms as educated consumers of these technologies.
Another personal development tip we found useful is "staying close to industry developments", with Raja noting he sets aside at least six hours a week keeping up with learning and industry news. That's an impressive amount of time to devote to this discipline, but the book is proof positive why its so critical to do so - stepping away from the intense day-to-day to free the mind for acquiring knowledge and putting new learnings regularly into practice.
This summer my 17-year old son will be interning with us and his first advance homework assignment will be reading Quantum Marketing. I'll be interested to get his take on the book as a member of the digital native generation; my sense is that he'll readily understand the concepts and enjoy the immediate benefits of applying the learnings as part of his work.
For our friends and business colleagues, we highly recommend adding Quantum Marketing to your spring and summer reading lists!