Mayur Gupta, Raja Rajamannar and Vineet Mehra Among Forbes’ Most Influential CMOs of 2020

Forbes magazine Oct. 1 unveiled its eighth annual World’s Most Influential CMOs list, honoring the top marketers worldwide, with three Indian Americans named among the 50 honorees.

Forbes used data from news reports, websites and social networks to measure influence, and worked with research partners Sprinklr and LinkedIn for the 2020 list, it said. Among the group were Mayur Gupta, Raja Rajamannar and Vineet Mehra. Gupta, at No. 14 on the list, is the former CMO at Freshly.

As Gupta explained to Forbes in April, when he was still CMO of the meal-delivery company, Freshly pulled back on a lot of its usual marketing and is instead relying on organic traffic and word of mouth while also switching from a top-of-funnel strategy to something more focused on partnerships and customer engagement, Forbes notes in its report.

It also partnered with Nestlé to donate $500,000 to Meals On Wheels to serve senior citizens across the country, the magazine wrote.

“We felt that during this time even though we’re still a growth-stage company, we had the responsibility to take care of people who are highest at risk,” Gupta had said, according to the report. Gupta departed Freshly in May and is now chief marketing and strategy officer at media-company Gannett.

At No. 18 was Rajamannar, the chief marketing and communications officer at Mastercard. In an April thought piece in Mastercard’s LinkedIn newsletter “Marketing Sense,” Rajamannar explained how he believes brands should respond to Covid-19, the report notes.

Among his directives: “In these uncertain times, brands can be either destroyed or elevated. The outcome depends on their response. Brands’ considerations must reach beyond businesses. In these trying times, marketers need to identify how their brand can best convey compassion.”

Long one of Forbes’ World’s Most Influential CMOs known for his innovation and industry leadership, Rajamannar actively shared his expertise with peer CMOs during the pandemic, it said.

“As I have said before, and it is even more relevant today, marketers need to operate like general managers—general managers that have a deep knowledge in marketing,” he said in an interview with Brand Equity.

Mehra, the global CMO and chief customer officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance, is No. 43 on the list. Committed to democratizing health and wellness, per Mehra, he prioritizes data-based, personalized shopping and experiences for Walgreens and Boots customers, Fobres wrote.

In an interview with tech partner Microsoft, he said, “The recent events around the racial equality movement are showing there are ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ in our society. Your postal code, in some cases, dictates your health outcome more than your genetic code,” according to the report.

“We have pharmacy deserts in America. We have food deserts. We have areas without access to health care. But imagine if we knew who you were, we could offer those experiences to you in multiple ways,” he continued. “We can offer up an experience to deliver it direct to your door. And we’ll set up delivery lockers in certain neighborhoods where people can pick things up.”

The eighth annual special report that assesses measures of influence—defined as the impact a chief marketer’s actions and words have on his or her internal organization’s motivation and performance, corporate brand perception, broader marketing and advertising trends and, ultimately, corporate financial performance, including stock price — this year also evaluated influence as impact on corporate, industry or community response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the racial-justice movement. 

This year, 427 global CMOs were eligible for consideration. To be eligible for evaluation, CMOs or their brand must have appeared on at least one major brand or marketing list in the past year. To make the Top 50, a CMO must be in the top 20 percent of CMOs on at least three different indicators of personal, industry or internal influence, or show extraordinary impact visibility on the conversation around Covid-19 or Black Lives Matter.

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