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Lessons from 2023 and Looking Ahead

Lessons from 2023 and Looking Ahead

2023 was a year of many firsts. While I’ve had significant experiences building and growing teams and organizations, each one always feels like a fresh start. This time around at Awama, is no different. As we got through year 1, there was the familiar excitement, nervousness and enthusiasm as we tried to grow the business. The ideas are abundant, and the challenges plenty too.

Our Values

It’s never been clearer that there is a pressing need for good, effective marketing leadership. In today’s age of self-proclaimed experts and no shortage of advice on the internet, it’s hard to cut through the noise and still maintain credibility. The differentiator we have and will continue to build on are our values – to develop marketing programs that are scalable, sustainable, and ethical. This is something that needs the benefit of time and experience to get right. All experienced marketers will agree that a good marketing idea will serve you well to drive short-term results. However, in the absence of a long-term strategy, this can begin to feel like you are running on a hamster wheel.

Our work with our customers in 2023 reinforced that we are on the right path and the results with each of them are testimony to this.


We grew the team with the addition of Sakshi and Archana joining us to take charge of marketing operations and content. We’re poised to grow further in 2024 and I’m committed to ensuring that we continue to hire people who embody our values and carry forward our vision for marketing. I hope to build this with a remote-first approach and with team members across the world. On top of the list is maintaining gender balance within the team, prioritizing healthy work-life balance., considerations for differently-abled people, provisions for mental health, and building an organization that leaves people feeling proud of the work they do. 

We have been fortunate to work with clients, vendors, partners, agencies, and other marketers, directly and through clients, all of whom have been very supportive of our work and work culture.

The takeaways for us haven’t ever been clearer:

  • A diverse team is a stronger team.
  • Remote teams still work.
  • Blame the process, not the person.

Remote Work

I’ve been a remote worker for a decade now and am unabashedly a fan and advocate of it. It requires a certain discipline and organizational culture to maintain its effectiveness. Equally, it’s not for everyone and it’s important to recognize and identify people who can be successful in this environment. 

At Awama, we are building systems and processes that enable remote work. This isn’t just a matter of choosing the right software tools. It extends well beyond that. From establishing some ground rules around work styles to communication and capturing information, it takes a concerted effort to make it successful

I believe that most organizations, where permissible, should consider remote work. Productivity and employee satisfaction goes up, attrition goes down and it builds a happier team.

Marketing in 2023


AI was all the rage in 2023 and as with most shiny new technologies, marketers were the first to jump on the AI bandwagon. Given the landscape and development of tools, it’s hard to believe that AI is so young. I’m certain that AI is here to stay and that it’s a matter of time that all marketers employ AI in some form or fashion in their everyday work. It’s still early days, and while I recommend trying and testing out tools, it’s important to stay cautious, protect data and privacy, and not overthink it. Ultimately, AI cannot do the job for us, it can only make it easier. Not yet at least.

Ads, Social, and the Digital Landscape

Digital Ads and Social Media are layered and peppered with AI now making it easier to generate content. As has always been the case, this is a double-edged sword. 

Privacy grew in importance and rightfully so. More countries around the world are thinking of privacy laws that will govern this. This will drastically change the approach that marketers will have to take from being solely performance-driven to being forced to consider regulatory requirements. This is the ethics of marketing. We are generating more data than ever and as marketers, we have a moral responsibility in how we handle customer, partner, and organizational data even in the absence of regulation. Marketing programs built this way will stand the test of time.

The Role of the CMO

It’s a confusing time to be a CMO. There is so much to keep up with every day and it feels like we’re always playing catchup.

The good news is that the role of the CMO in leadership teams is significantly more pronounced. From only being measured against the traditional performance-driven results, we now have a louder voice to influence sales and revenue goals. On the brand side, companies are being forced to be softer and more empathetic towards people and geo-political, societal, and environmental issues. All of this can be influenced by a CMO and can have a real-world impact in terms of your customer loyalty, brand perception, talent acquisition, and so much more. This was all uncharted territory for marketers just a few years ago. 

The opportunity for a CMO to drive and influence change has never been stronger, and it is an impetus to build conscientious organizations. 

What to Expect From 2024?

Here are my hot takes on what will be big this year.

  • A lot more AI – A lot of gimmicky and trendy low-value software with AI plugged in but a lot of breakthrough applications that will become staples in the marketing tech stack.
  • A closer synergy between sales, marketing, and revenue teams.
  • A lot more no-code tools will enable marketers to build applications faster. 
  • A new era of experiential marketing led by technologies such as Apple Vision Pro, AR, etc.
  • Stricter privacy laws and more enforcement of these laws.
  • Video content will continue to grow.
  • The rules of SEO will change.
  • Community builders and creators will have to showcase higher value to capture audience interest and drive engagement.
  • Influencer marketing will get more structured. A good analogy is to think of it as how affiliate marketing works.

I’m excited for the new year and all the possibilities that come with it. There’s a lot of new work that we’ll be involved with and I’m looking forward to building scalable, sustainable, and ethical marketing teams and programs for all our clients and partners.

From all of us on the Awama team, here’s wishing you the best for 2024.

P.S. You should check out our Instagram page. We’re taking a shot at the lighter side of marketing and the daily work grouses.

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