With the introduction of digital platforms, the marketing discipline has been disrupted to take many different forms. Marketing personnel have an additional benefit of exhibiting products and services on various digital and social channels to influence customers at various stages of their buying journeys. A competent marketer is what an organization requires to cater to the widening use of modern marketing techniques. A knowledgeable practitioner of modern marketing methods recognizes, visualizes and executes actions that develop and analyze successful marketing strategies.
An effective marketing strategy follows an organization’s business approach. The organization’s outreach to the intended audiences relies on the marketer’s vision and determination. Maintaining an efficient and appropriate marketing strategy must be a chief marketing officer’s strength. One such successful marketer is Asim Zaheer.
Asim is the CMO at Hitachi Vantara, a multibillion-dollar subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. Rooted in Hitachi’s over 100 years of history, Hitachi Vantara helps companies digitally transform to take advantage of the full value of their data. Asim takes pride in being a B2B marketing executive with expertise in introducing disruptive new companies and technologies into emerging markets. He possesses a passion for generating results, winning in the market, building great teams and developing future leaders. He has lived through mega-mergers and has been a keen observer of what’s happening in technology and the world. And he is a tech geek at heart.
Hitachi Vantara helps data-driven leaders find and use the value in data to drive outcomes that matter for business and society. It combines technology, intellectual property, and industry knowledge to develop data-management solutions that help enterprises improve their customers’ experiences, develop new revenue streams and lower the costs of business. The company elevates customers’ innovation advantages by combining IT, operational technology and domain expertise.
As the CMO at Hitachi Vantara and a member of its Executive Committee, Asim helps drive the strategic direction and go-to-market initiatives for the company. This includes global integrated marketing campaigns, competitive and market intelligence, global communications and branding, and all demand generation and awareness. He also oversees the company’s global learning and education efforts.
Asim’s background includes product management and marketing roles at several high-tech startups as well as senior roles at large global corporations. He was on the ground floor of bringing new companies to market, disrupting established players and creating new categories. He started his career at Digital/Compaq, and later shifted to two venture-backed startups, Storability and Archivas. The latter was later acquired by Hitachi.
Asim believes that the key traits a leader must possess are agility to adapt quickly to a volatile market and quick decision-making to adjust plans promptly without being tangled in loops of analysis. Leaders must also have a desire to learn because they shouldn’t pretend to know everything. After all, knowing it all is never possible.
When asked how he strives to diversify his company’s marketing solutions in order to appeal to the target audience, Asim says, “You start with the business challenge. Understand the industry you are selling into, look at the buyer profile and buying center, and tailor your offerings and your message for the business needs of buyers. You must create complete solutions that encompass the necessary services, software and integrations needed to help the customer do something faster or more efficiently, or to help them innovate in their business.”
Voyaging Toward Excellence
Asim’s perception of constantly having to prove himself is what shaped him. “For the longest time early in my career, I was the youngest person in my peer group of leaders. I had to demonstrate the ‘vital attributes’ and most notably in those days, the desire to learn. I had a steep learning curve coming into high-tech out of school and needed to not only understand the technology, but also the market overall and how business was done,” he says.
“Indirect age-ism certainly existed given my youth and relatively fast career trajectory. In addition, there was more of a bias toward leaders in high-tech having an engineering background that was usually essential to advancing your career. Although I studied engineering in college, I earned my degree in marketing. I had to overcome the perception that I was ‘non-technical,’ especially in my first few roles as a product manager and later running a product management group,” he adds.
Asim is aware that the role of marketing has evolved over the years. In the present digital world, people interact much more digitally and now machines are interacting with other machines digitally, which is opening up entirely new markets and businesses. “Technologists need to further embrace and enable this new world, making it a better place and creating opportunities for people, business and society,” says Asim.
He believes that a marketer must now further rely on digital and online communications to his or her targeted audience through multiple media. In addition, a marketer must be a data geek and have knowledge of his or her customers and prospects, and their buying patterns and needs, which differentiate from the competition and anticipate the future to some degree.
When asked about his future endeavors, Asim said, “I see myself continuing to help drive the digital transformation of Hitachi Vantara. We are rapidly evolving as a company and have much more work to do.”
While advising the future leaders and tech enthusiasts, Asim says, “Stay humble. If you take risks, which you should, you will fail on occasions. Learn from it, don’t repeat it and move on.”