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Interview with Sachin Kapur, Co-founder & CMO, Nearbuy

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sachin-kapurSachin Kapur has spent the last 12 years in building digital brands across India and South East Asia. He started with Info Edge India Ltd., where he was fortunate to work on leading brands like Naukri, Jeevansathi and 99acres.com. From there, Sachin went on to work on newer categories like Domain Registration where he was part of the team that launched Big Rock – India’s leading end consumer focused domain registrar and finally joined Groupon.

For the last 5 years, Sachin has been working on creating a new space called local commerce in India. This is a service marketplace where offline service-led businesses like restaurants, spas, salons, theme parks; movie theatres are listed so that customers nearby can discover them. In August 2015 Groupon India was re-branded to nearbuy and they shifted their focus from just deals to discovery. They believe that there is great merit in stepping out and discovering what your city has to offer. 

Technology is changing the way the world runs, as marketers our job is to introduce new products & services to the right customers. Their job does not end here, it is to make sure that people use the product, share their feedback and help them improve it. Thus, they need to ensure that they place their products and services in front of prospective customers using mediums that they use and trust. Digital marketing is a step in this direction. With the evolution of social media and the Internet, people rely on their devices to get information. If they are able to harness the power of the Internet in placing our product at the right time and place where the consumer is looking for it, they can drive massive adoption. Thus, digital marketing is not just a need of the hour; it’s here to stay.

As far as Sachin’s business is concerned, digital is the most important medium and 90% of their budgets are spent on it today.

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?

Sachin: Today, I do not see conventional marketing without Digital in the media mix. In a country like India with more than 200 Million people using some form of social media or messaging app, it’s impossible to keep digital out of the plan.

Thus, in my opinion conventional marketing without the use of any digital in it, is opportunity lost. Digital is not a threat to conventional marketing; it’s now an essential element of it.

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

Sachin: 

  • The launch of Bajaj V: A first for an Indian bike manufacturer to have launched a motorcycle exclusively online. Now, why am I calling it an integrated campaign is because it got together many departments and not just marketing to pull this off? Watch the video here and you will know more about the remarkable feat that the team at Bajaj pulled off.

  • Rise of Amazon in India: Source: Similarweb.com | Timeline: Last 18 Months | Comparison on Web Traffic only (Desktop + Msite)amazon-indias-website-traffic

Amazon came from nowhere and took a lead on market Number 1 Flipkart.com and I truly believe that this is the result of a fantastically well-organized integrated marketing effort. Amazon started with a massive PR push, which saw Indian media tracking every move of theirs. This was followed with a massive advertising blitz on TV and digital. The result is for everyone to see. Their website traffic has zoomed past their archrival and now they are racing ahead.

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

Sachin: 

  1. Attribution Model: Most organizations use standard attribution models that are built into tracking platforms. The most commonly used model is last click. This gives all credit to the medium where the customer last clicked before the goal was completed. This goal could be a transaction or a registration as decided by the company. This is extremely misleading and gives undue credit to media that if used alone will not convert at the same rate.
  2. Digital creative strategy: Your messaging is very important on every medium that you are present on. And this applies to the digital medium as much as it does to traditional mediums. Your creative strategy has to evolve accordingly. You cannot take the same offline creative and win on digital. An ideal example is Facebook enabling auto play for most handheld devices and your video content has to be optimized for making an impact while a mute video is viewed for about the first 5 seconds. Similar is the case with your copy, it should be catchy enough and adapted to the kind of devices that your audiences will view it on.
  3. Using digital only for performance: Millennials across the globe are spending more time on mobile devices. This means that messages on mobile and social media leave an impact and are viewed in highly personalized environments. Building trust for your brand is important. Just focusing on digital for conversions or using digital for performance only is a thing of the past. Today, digital is equally important for building trust and increasing recall.
Between Agency and In-house, which approach would you recommend for maximum value of Digital Marketing? Why?

Sachin: This is a difficult one to answer, as there is no one size fits all approach. It completely depends on your objective and current team strengths. If you have the capability in-house, nothing like it as it will give you greater control on your output, and a better understanding of the business always helps. However, if building in-house capability takes time, get started, because it’s highly unlikely that your road to success will be marked with some experiments. You need to learn along the way.

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

Sachin: The best thing about digital marketing is that it’s measurable to the last dollar spent. This makes it relatively simple to measure impact when compared to traditional media. This single-handedly allows marketers to push for digital compared to other forms of media. Also, as I had mentioned earlier, depending on the industry and product category you are in, your audiences will have different degrees of affinity to digital platforms. In the category I belong to, digital is our bread and butter and we cannot do without it. However, for traditional industries, there is enough data to show that our country and the world in general is going through a digital revolution and it will not take a lot of effort from marketers to show why digital is something no one can ignore.

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

Sachin: 

  1. For Entrepreneurs: Technology is changing the way the world moves today. It’s disrupting every industry. Entrepreneurs need to be ahead of the curve to ensure that they are not outdone by changing landscapes. Digital marketing will help them understand the user behavior and allow them to get more high quality users to discover their businesses quickly. They also need to know it themselves before they give the reigns to someone else to run it for them.
  2. For Professionals: Every professional can use knowledge of the digital world to enhance their profile and the outcomes they are driving themselves to achieve. Let’s take an example of an HR manager who is entrusted with the job of employee engagement. Now, he / she could use some digital marketing knowledge to understand platforms like Facebook and Twitter and use them to connect with employees better. Make it simpler for the organization to communicate and listen at the same time.
  3. For Students: Digital marketing has become an important part of the media mix for most companies today. Spends on digital are growing the fastest among all other media and this makes it a highly lucrative area for job creation in the future. Students who are proficient with digital marketing techniques have better chances of making it through interviews especially for marketing roles. Add to this a few certifications and they join a small group of highly sort after professionals. Add to this, that students can use these skills to promote their own projects.
What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?

Sachin: 

  1. For me marketers whether digital or otherwise can be divided into two categories. The Math People and the Mad People.
  2. The Math people are the ones who really look at data for their insights and marketing strategies. This could be business data or Big Data depending on the organizations requirements.
  3. The Mad people are the ones who believe in creativity and are creative enough to think out of the box. Go where no one’s gone before and work with human insight.
  4. Together they make up a team that helps the brand appeal to both sides of the brain, thereby creating a winning combination.
  5. Thus, for me the skills are number crunching and out of the box creativity. Depending on the role I am hiring for, I’d like to hire people more inclined towards one of them.
What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?

Sachin: 

  1. Choose your side: Will you join the Math Team or the Mad Team. Be good at both but become awesome at One at least
  2. Whatever you do, never stop learning: The world is evolving and digital marketing techniques become obsolete faster than you can imagine. Thus, a continuous learning attitude is a must
  3. Never be afraid to fail: Not everything you do will hit the Bulls Eye. Be prepared to fail & fail fast but learn from your mistakes
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?

Sachin: There are many digital marketing resources I use for staying updated. It’s important to know what’s happening around the world. However, here are a few resources that I check every single day:

  • marketingland.com
  • kaushik.net
  • adage.come
  • adageindia.in
How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2016?

Sachin: Three trends in digital marketing that I would put my money on:

  1. Video: With mobile Internet speeds increasing and prices dropping, video consumption will go through the roof. This will be an excellent opportunity for marketers to leverage and video content will be of great importance
  2. Social Media: Social media will continue to grow and newer platforms will emerge. Your social media efforts will have to be divided based on the affinity that your audiences show. Marketing on platforms like Snapchat is fundamentally different from Facebook and Twitter. Content needs to be in a different format and has to appeal to the right audiences.
  3. Mobile ecosystems will consolidate and browsers will become more powerful: Multiple apps are difficult to maintain for the average user. Thus, as browsers create more powerful tech, they will enhance the user experience to make it app like and thus become more powerful.
Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?

Sachin: 

Digital Vidya is one of the pioneers in imparting knowledge of digital platforms in India. Continue to do the good work.

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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