ResourcesRaja Rajamannar, Mastercard: Multisensory marketing and preparing for the fifth marketing paradigm

Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard: Multisensory marketing and preparing for the fifth marketing paradigm

Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard: Multisensory marketing and preparing for the fifth marketing paradigm

Sight, sound, smell, touch, taste.

These five senses govern how we interpret the world around us. Each one is a receptor by which our brains receive and process information. But how often do brands limit themselves to the first two? And how infrequently do marketers take a scientific approach to sensory stimulation?

Multisensory marketing looks beyond this limited view of sensory engagement. In this episode, Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer and President, Healthcare, Mastercard, takes a deeper look at marketing to all five senses and offers invaluable insights on what it takes to become a world-class marketing leader.

Why marketing should mean multisensory marketing

The average customer is bombarded by five thousand commercial messages every day and has an attention span of eight seconds. Relying on sight and sound is not enough to cut through the noise. Failing to take a scientific approach limits your ability to stick in the minds of your customers.

Rajamannar has pioneered Mastercard’s multisensory strategy, including everything from the launch of ‘Priceless,’ a music album, to tweaking the colors of Mastercard’s logo. By changing the shades of red and yellow in its logo, Mastercard has seen spectacularly superior results in how its brand is perceived as aspirational, accessible, and future thinking. Touch cards, fragrances, and restaurants are all further layers.

In a recent episode of the ClickZ Marketing Masters podcast, Sabrina Rodriguez, Global Head of Digital at Ericsson, shared a useful analogy: That much like the color TV and TV have become interchangeable terms, all marketing is digital marketing. Similarly, multisensory marketing should become synonymous with marketing. This applies to the benchmarks that matter when measuring multisensory marketing.

“You need to have crystal clear KPIs. You need to know what you are targeting or aiming to get, and you quantify these into metrics which you can measure and judge your progress against.”

Is your message cutting through? Is there brand affection between your customer and your brand? What is the trust a brand engenders? These are all questions Rajamannar advises marketing leaders to ask when extending their marketing to the full five senses.

Inspire and facilitate learning

Marketers are shifting towards multisensory marketing at a time of unprecedented change. Emerging technologies are disrupting how customers think, feel, and act. Rajamannar highlights the shift towards the fifth marketing paradigm as being driven by twenty-four technologies: AI, AR, VR, IoT, wearables, and blockchain, to name a few.

Previous paradigm shifts were characterized by one or two emerging technologies, such as the internet and analytics in the mid-1990s, or social media and mobile in 2007. This time, the disruption poses a far bigger impact on marketing leaders:

“Unless they understand these technologies, they will become obsolete quickly. They do not have to become experts, but they need to have enough understanding to ask the right questions, make sense of the answers, and leverage the insights.”

Rajamannar emphasizes the importance of learning and creating an environment that encourages, enables, and inspires your team to get on this learning journey with you.


00:12 – Introduction

01:00 – What makes a great marketing leader?

04:01 – What is multisensory marketing and how has Mastercard brought it to life?

10:42 – What are the most important benchmarks when measuring multisensory marketing?

13:18 – What tips do you have for training talent and setting them up for success?

17:34 – What role do marketing leaders play in championing this new marketing paradigm?

20:12 – What is the most fascinating learning from your last few weeks of self-education?

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Raja Rajamannar is an accomplished, transformative global executive and Wall Street Journal bestselling author with 30+ years of experience and the last nine as Chief Marketing & Communications Officer of Mastercard and President of the company’s Healthcare Solutions.

He documents his groundbreaking theories and innovative strategies in his first book, “Quantum Marketing: Mastering the New Marketing Mindset for Tomorrow’s Consumers.” Award-winning throughout his career, Raja’s recent recognition includes Forbes’ Top 5 World’s Most Influential CMOs 2021, WFA Global Marketer of the Year, and Adweek’s Grand Brand Genius honoree.

Raja is the President of the World Federation of Advertisers. He also serves on profit and non-profit boards, including PPL Corp, Cintrifuse, and the Association of National Advertisers.

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