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Interview with Jermina Menon, Reliance Vision Express, Head of Marketing

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Jermina Menon is a shopper marketer having been in retail now for over a decade. (She started her career in advertising). Currently, Jermina heads the marketing for Reliance Retail’s optical retail arm, Reliance Vision Express (www.visionexpress.in) that offers world-class eye care products through its 160 retail stores across 30 cities in India.

 Importance of Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing is a very important communication tool for Reliance Vision Express – they have been using Digital Marketing including digital advertising since 2013! Prior to that even in Jermina’s earlier assignment with Mantri Square Mall, they were one of the first to embrace Facebook as a way to connect with their shoppers – this was in early 2010! 

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?

Jermina Menon: Conventional advertising has its place as it has a huge viewership/readership and is still part of people’s daily habit and routine. Having said that, it’s for an older profile perhaps 35+ more than youngsters. Digital marketing is a threat as younger people  – who make over 60% of our population – are consuming media online. Also more and more interesting content is being actively developed for online only use. So it is a threat to conventional marketing. Western markets have already established the decline curve for print, radio and TV and it will happen soon in India too. 

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

Jermina Menon: 

  • Red Bull: The integration across media was seamless
  • Ching’s Chinese Sauces: They were the first to innovate and try something different sp recipes – today its hygiene for any food category related brand to do so
  • Vero Moda Super Saturday / Super Sale: They were the first to do ‘invite only’ sales thru social media – creating exclusivity and giving their customers a feeling of privilege. 

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According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?

Jermina Menon:

  1. Social media is about pictures: Pictures posted need to be relevant to the brand and category and in line with the brand positioning too.
  2. Social media is for a younger audience so here my communication will have an irreverent tone of voice. : A brand has to have the same tone of voice across communication channels. If you are not an irreverent brand, to adopt the tone for online maybe a mistake. One, the wrong audience will see your communication but will not convert as the brand is not relevant to them (they may enjoy the communication but the objective is not to create likable communication) And your target audience will perhaps not connect with the irrelevant tone of voice! So, a two-way loss!
  3. Same post across all social media when each social media has a distinct audience and appeal: Poor engagement due to relevance not being good for all social media channels. 

Between Agency and In-house, which approach would you recommend for maximum value of Digital Marketing? Why?

Jermina Menon: In the long term, one should go for in-house team if your budget allows it. Less time consuming and higher brand focus is the reason why. However having an in-house team does not mean you do away completely with the agency.

Agencies can be used when digital marketing is new and organization is learning/understanding the same. At this stage, an agency can add value with their experience across other brands. Additionally, agencies should be used – even with an in-house team – for ideation and campaign development. 

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

Jermina Menon: Results! No other way can you convince other stakeholders how it’s adding value to the organization and its performance / financial performance. 

Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?

Jermina Menon: Overall, I feel Digital is the way the world is going and you cannot swim against the tide.

  • For Entrepreneurs: B2B marketing and reaching consumers thru these channels is lot cheaper than conventional channels. E.g. housewives who want to do limited business from home can benefit as well as a lawyer or architect setting up a practice
  • For Professionals: Networking for sure!
  • For Students: Access to digital libraries and case studies. Networking for opportunities – internships/jobs etc.

What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?

Jermina Menon: 

  • First, is the person a communications person. Digital marketing is at the core a communication method and while it is not about people physically talking to each other, its important that the person handling it is also able to make a conversation
  • Second, ability to learn and grasp  – it’s a new and growing medium so can the person pick up and move ahead fast. Then, ability to be agile and change with agility – you need to also discard learnings / methods perhaps every 2-3 years. So can you give up using what was once a successful approach is critical
  • Lastly, innovativeness and ability to think. Every marketer has to have a creative streak in them

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What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?

Jermina Menon: 

Digital Marketing is as much hard work as fun. Be ready to do both

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?

Jermina Menon: Actually being on social media sites is the best way to stay in touch with trends. 

Share the names of 3 people you respect when it comes to Digital Marketing.

Jermina Menon: Perry Van Beek of Social.One, a LinkedIn influencer and marketer. 

Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?

Jermina Menon: 

Digital Vidya has been at the forefront of digital marketing – if I remember I first heard of them way back in 2010! With their courses as well as online presence, Digital Vidya has made access to digital marketing education easy and correct too!

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 :).

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