Interview with Vinod Harith, Founder, CMO Axis

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As marketers, we are often concerned about how and where we invest our time, attention and budgets. Chief Marketing Officers often find it difficult to manage in-house marketing operations considering the rise of multiple channels and need for personalization. CMO Axis was the first to spot this trend in the market. They redefined the market with their unique sales and marketing outsourcing model.

CMO Axis doesn’t just deliver business and operational advantages but augments its further with strategic advisory, shared service delivery and business-results focused outsourcing. We caught up with Vinod Harith, Founder of CMO Axis to take us through his journey and thoughts on the marketing space in India.

1. How did you come up with the idea of starting CMO Axis?

As a marketer, one of the challenges I had faced was predictability and scalability of operations. You always had limitations in scaling your team and usually had to rely on multiple agencies who could deliver parts of the workload. CMO Axis is a response to the question why marketing operations cannot be delivered like a KPO, with a third party owning the people and process and driving delivery excellence across functional areas like content, design, digital, lead generation and sales.

2. How is CMO Axis helping companies with marketing?
We help companies manage their sales and marketing operations and drive execution excellence across various functional areas, especially where delivering at scale and in a predictable timeframe is critical. Take for example, a content lead who needs 200 pages of content a month to manage his/ her content calendar, a pre-sales head who needs to manage 3000 slides of presentation slides a month, a marketing manager who has to manage 100+ digital collateral a month or a sales leader who needs 50+ qualified leads a month.


3. What’s the biggest challenge your clients face (before and after becoming your client)?
The biggest challenge clients face before they sign up with us is that their internal bandwidth is usually stretched in managing delivery (both managing internal teams or external agencies), leaving them with little time for value-added work. One of the challenges we see post sign up is that clients take time to shake off the agency hangover and move to a low touch, process-driven approach as opposed to the hands-on, ideation based agency model. We usually encourage them to differentiate between tasks that require creative ideation and ones that do not (usually 80% of routine tasks do not require hands-on involvement from the marketing team) and either work with their regular creative agency or us for this 20 %. In the sales operations front, the issues are often around lack of control – we try and address these through tech-enabled near live reporting as well as skin in the game engagement models.


4. Where do you think content marketing is headed in India?
Content marketing is at a tipping point in India – there is a lot of focus marketers are giving to this space, but are usually constrained by internal capabilities as well as bandwidth. Unlike the west, most of us are not trained either academically or professionally to express ourselves eloquently or hold or express strong points of view on various topics. As a part of our content desk services, we work with content marketers to drive organization level points of view on issues concerning their industry and helping senior executives with thought starters or topics where they can take a view and help them further develop this into content assets for distribution. We are also pushing for brevity in content and for driving more visual content given that attention spans for long-form content are dipping fast.


5. What is your advice to companies involved in content marketing?
As a consumer of content, I feel that most of the content I come across is rehashed and lacks a unique perspective that can hook me into engaging with the content and possibly take the next step by clicking on the call for action. My preference would be to focus on quality rather than on quantity and drive more organic and original content that can deliver an ‘aha’ moment to the reader – that’s the only way he/ she is going to take the next step in moving from a casual browser of your content to acting on it.

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