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Interview with Hitesh Malhotra, Chief Marketing Officer, Nykaa.com

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hiteshHitesh Malhotra has been involved in versatile roles throughout my career. He has a versatile background ranging from strategy formation and all level analytics at Levi Strauss, USA to best in class engagement practices with MakeMyTrip.com, Gurgaon. Hitesh was fortunate to get the opportunity to hone his skills in performance marketing, integrated communication and engagement strategy for the brand. In his current role as CMO- Nykaa.com, he leads the complete marketing function. 

How did you get into Digital Marketing? What interested you in learning Digital Marketing?

Hitesh: About 10 yrs back, I started my career as a pre-sales executive with an original equipment manufacturer. Till the time my role was more B2B, I was little ignorant about digital. Also, I think India wasn’t so ready in terms of infrastructure. Social media wasn’t emerging beyond Orkut and the internet speeds weren’t good enough to load anything more than basic HTML web pages. However, as my role moved from Sales to Marketing communication, I discovered the power of digital via Google Adwords. When the leads were getting costlier through traditional customer engagement activities like conferences and trade fairs, digital emerged as the single most cost-effective option in those days. Though the volumes were insignificant, my interest had reached a new level. I could identify that Digital isn’t ‘a gift of gab’ channel, but rather a completely measurable and actionable one.

Proud to say that I was one of the first few adopters certified by Google Adwords.

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According to you, what are the advantages of conventional marketing over Digital Marketing? Do you think that Digital Marketing is a threat to the future of conventional marketing?

Hitesh: Being an advocate of Digital, I can’t recall too many advantages of conventional marketing over digital. For the sake of introspection by readers, I can see one clear advantage –  Longevity.Finding ads in magazines and newspapers, or reading billboards are still familiar activities and people still do them all the time. These events do lead to a strong brand recall. Can’t nominate too many digital only campaigns that stay in people’s memory for a very long time. We don’t have a ‘Yev Fevicol ka jod hain tutega nahin’ or a ‘Raymond – the complete man’ kind of grandiloquence campaigns on Digital like we do on Television. Today, we see top Digital Savvy ecommerce brands investing a lot on Television advertising to reap such benefits.

Digital marketing is not a complete threat to the future of conventional marketing but we will see more and more consumer brands moving budgets from conventional marketing to digital in the near future.

Share about your 3 favorite Digital Marketing case studies. What did you like most about them?

Hitesh: 

  • Pepsi: Crash the IPL: A great example of a crowd sourcing initiative wherein people could identify themselves with the brand as they went about preparing their content.
  • Visa Payment Ring at Rio Olympics: A seamless integration of wearable technology with marketing. made an NFC-enabled ring that’s able to make the purchase at terminals that accept contactless payments. The idea was to make it as quick and simple payment interface without having the need to pull out credit card or phone — the visitors could just tap their ring to the terminal and complete purchases. The ring had an NFC chip that interacted with users’ payment apps real-time. Also, a lot of freebies/cash backs/coupons were given to users who would frequent to more than 2 games a day during Olympics 2016.
  • Dove: You are beautiful: A beautifully constructed social experiment that empowered digital media to spread a very positive message across the globe.
According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?

Hitesh: 

  • Offers/Coupons 1: Doesn’t lead to customer loyalty. They gave an option to let people make decisions with price over preference.
  • Measuring liquid volume by kilometer: A common issue wherein people attribute incorrect measurement metrics to different channels, or sometimes fail to understand the role of a channel. Case in point being – Content Marketing, often not given it’s due in completing user journey i.e. to educate, motivate and facilitate. While the facilitation/transaction takes place at the retailer level, a lot happens at the education stage at content level via social media, blogs, videos etc.
  • Looking London talking Tokyo: Traditional marketing and digital marketing teams frequently operate as two separate entities working cross-eyed. Just like and orchestra cannot function properly with siloed instruments, marketing teams cannot succeed if traditional and digital channels don’t work in unision or campaigns. Sometimes, in the race to efficieny of budget, both the teams acr miser, completely disregarding innovation. Such practices could possibly lead to de-growth of the organization.
      Between Agency and In-house, which approach would you recommend for maximum value of Digital Marketing? Why?

      Hitesh: Depends, if your organization has the right person at the top and the muscle power to hire right talent, then you should look at an in-house model. However, if you wish to test waters with limited resources and knowledge, you can look at getting a good agency to set you up.

      How do you ensure increasing Digital Marketing’s relevance and influence in the organization?

      Hitesh: Luckily, I work for an ecommerce firm where Digital Marketing is relevant above anything else. However, cliché as it may sound – with great power comes great responsibility. We try to keep our hits and misses transparent with other team so that they have a full knowledge of how Digital is supporting their businesses. Also, we spend time and effort in getting the other team members up the curve when it comes to digital know-how. I believe that spread of information should not be lop-sided events but every person’s responsibility.

      Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?

      Hitesh: 

      1. Adobe Analytics
      2. Google Bid Optimizer
      3. Facebook Ad Manager 
      Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?

      Hitesh:

      • For Entrepreneurs: To create a demand to hire digital professionals and therefore compete with the most profitable businesses globally.
      • For Professionals: To be aspirational for the traditionalists to venture into digital. To empower informed decision making by their respective firms and supervisors.
      • For Students: Can be role models for baby boomers and the ignorant lot by personifying everything digital, right from social media to chats and wearable tech.
        What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?

        Hitesh: 

        • General awareness of trends. Foresight with respect to upcoming tech.
        • Analytical abilities, love for the numbers
        • Team player abilities, one who can get her own hands dirty figuring stuff without depending on others.
        What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?

        Hitesh: 

        • Get AdWord certified. The race begins here, can’t learn English without knowing letters
        • Focus on logic, execution will happen. 
        • Be persistent, working in digital means working with various partners who may or may not know what you are up to. Learn to let people learn.

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        Free Digital Marketing Webinar

        Date: 20th Dec, 2017 (Wed)
        Time: 3 PM to 4:30 PM (IST/GMT +5:30)

        How do you stay updated on the latest trends in Digital Marketing? Which are the Digital Marketing resources (i.e. blogs/websites/apps) you visit regularly?

        Hitesh: 

        • Facebook Blog
        • Tech Crunch
        • Buzzfeed
        • Insider
        • Mashable
        Share the names of 3 people you respect when it comes to Digital Marketing.

        Hitesh: 

        • Sarfaraz Khiman- CEO Convonix
        • Arunabh Kumar – Founder TVF labs
        • Mousam Bhatt – VP Marketing, Flipkart
        How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2016?

        Hitesh: 

        1. Video Content Marketing
        2. Audience Exchanges
        3. Advances App Analytics
        Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?

        Hitesh: 

        Digital Vidya is doing a great service to this nation by aligning to Digital India initiative. Time and now businesses need an enterprising trainer that can change the way they operate and I feel one of the catalyst for this decade is Digital Vidya. I wish good luck to their team.

        Are you inspired by the opportunity of Digital Marketing? Start your journey by attending our upcoming orientation session on Digital Marketing for Career & Business Growth. It’s online and Free :).

        [Sr. Associate - Content Marketing] A content passionate, Jasleen handles the content writing and marketing activities. Additionally, she leads Digital Marketing Internship Programme. Her deep passion and enthusiasm for writing guided her towards being the Associate Editor in English for her college magazine. Only deep passion and zeal can guide a person towards a professional writing career. Apparently, Jasleen is one of those persons. She is in the content writing and marketing fraternity for 5 years now. A top-notch individual, she is proficient in writing content for multiple requirements including blogs, articles, books, brochures and social media. She embraces practical knowledge of WordPress CMS. Besides this, she is also highly engaging in Social Media Marketing activities.
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