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Interview with Anirban Mukhuti, Head of Marketing, Saint Gobain Gyproc

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Anirban started his professional career in IT after Engineering. Post-MBA he worked in Sales role. This was subsequently followed up with Marketing roles in the Lighting industry (worked with Philips and Syska). Currently, he is with Saint Gobain Gyproc business and heads the entire marketing function. Saint Gobain Gyproc is a typical product and manufacturing organization with customers and influencers spread across B2C, B2B, and Trade.

Digital marketing is an important pillar of our marketing strategy as most of our customers consume digital content across Google, Social Media and other platforms. With the availability of cheap data and increased penetration of smartphones, it is imperative that we to start engaging with customers digitally.

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?

Anirban M: I have worked in product-driven organizations for the better part of my career. Concept marketing has also been a dominant aspect of my marketing journey. Typically, in those situations, conventional marketing continues to play a larger role.

Consumer, Trade and Influencer engagements, thought and content leadership used to be predominantly through using conventional modes like exhibitions, meets, market activations, experience zones with some basic usage of digital marketing.

Conventional media like TV, Print was employed to drive awareness on a mass scale. The fact is that conventional media is still five times the size of Digital media in India and significantly larger in terms of reach. So conventional marketing and media will continue to play its role in the coming years as well.

Over the past 5 years what had started to happen was that the information dissemination and consumption moved from hard format to digital format. This was primarily because of increased internet penetration and higher usage of smart gadgets.

Hence, all the companies started seriously thinking about Digital marketing. In order to be effective, Digital Marketing efforts need to complement Conventional marketing. Digital marketing can help with more targeted and sustained engagement with the audience, can create significantly better data points for analysis and hence have better ROIs if planned well. An integrated marketing approach is ideal for the best results.

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

Anirban M: According to me, the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing are:

Mistake 1 – Digital is not only about website creation and about putting some content. Many organizations or brands think that by creating a website their job is done. There has to be a proper plan of driving traffic to the website (SEO, SEM, etc) or other digital assets and ensure that relevant content is presented to the audience. Analytics also plays a key role in understanding the audience sources and their preferences that can help sharpen the marketing strategy in terms of targeting and content creation.

Mistake 2 – Content created for the digital world is vastly different from content created for conventional media. Converting a standard conventional content into digital format is a recipe for disaster. Content should be created keeping in mind which platform the organization is planning to use. Example – a video content in Facebook can be different from the one presented in say Linkedin as these platforms talk to a different set of audiences. Also, content has to be made keeping in mind two things – screen size (more than 80 % of digital content gets consumed on mobile devices) and secondly content duration. Since attention spans are getting shorter it is critical that content pieces are succinct and to the point.

Mistake 3 – Organizations want instant results. While this is possible in some cases, however, in general, website rankings, genuine social media following take time to build. Content is the key lever for the same and creating viral content needs art, science and some luck.

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

Anirban M: This entirely depends on the nature of the organization e.g. for an e-commerce company or an online travel portal ideally most of the resources and skill-sets should be in-house. For traditional product-driven organizations, the agencies play a big role in facilitating the digital agenda. While it is critical to employ team members with a sound understanding of the digital landscape, they need to collaborate well with the agencies to drive the digital agenda.

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

Anirban M: By building good test cases and impact programs wherein a team outside of the Marketing domain is also involved. It is important to keep doing experiments and the successful ones need to be scaled up and promoted well within the organization. Also, as a leader, one should keep building the knowledge levels of the peer group as well as the higher management.

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

Anirban M:

(i) For Entrepreneurs: Simply because their customers will consume information online. Most consumers do their research in the digital world; hence lack of understanding of this space can prove to be costly.

(ii) For Professionals: To drive the digital marketing agenda a thorough understanding of platforms, formats and analytics is essential.

(iii) For Students: For the above reasons and for the fact that sound Digital Marketing skills will not only help them with employment but they can also start their own ventures.

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

Anirban M: While recruiting for the Digital Marketing role I start by assessing the general marketing acumen of the candidate. I am of the opinion that the fundamentals of marketing remain the same, in case of digital-only the platform is different.

Secondly, I try and understand the type of work s(he) has done previously in the Digital space – the objectives, the plan, the delivery, the impact and what were the KPIs being driven.

Thirdly, the candidate should be open to experimentation and failures; digital marketing is continuously evolving hence it is critical to learn through experimentation and move forward.

Fourthly, clarity in terms of which content type fits which platform and moderate to high capability in terms of content creation. Finally, the right thinking and ability to integrate digital marketing efforts with conventional marketing.

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

Anirban M: Be hands-on with your learning. Keep yourself abreast of the latest technologies. Most importantly understand what your customer wants and how you can reach them most effectively. Last but not the least think beyond a one-time engagement; so a sustenance plan is always good to have in mind.

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?

Anirban M: I read a lot of blogs and articles on varied topics related to Digital Marketing. I follow Hubspot regularly – their content is rich, diverse and contemporary. There are numerous videos on Youtube on inbound marketing, SEO, SEM that I follow. I also do certification courses from Udemy, etc. to keep myself updated.

How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2019?

Anirban M: Amongst all types of media, Digital media is growing the fastest and it is expected that in a decade or so it will be bigger than other forms of media. Some of the key trends of 2019 are –

(i) Video-based content will dominate the landscape. Live videos will be very much the in-thing and can be used for product demos, launch events, thought leadership. Through live videos organizations or brands can engage their audience real time. All the social media channels like Facebook, Youtube, Instagram allow live video streaming and this format makes the experience highly interactive.

(ii) Artificial Intelligence – AI can analyze consumer behaviour and search patterns, scour large volumes of data from social media platforms, blog posts and in the process help the brands understand their customer preferences, trends, competitive landscape and so on. AI-based real-time analytics also allows for personalization of the marketing content.

(iii) Chatbots – Chatbots backed by a good analytics platform and historical data will be critical in interacting with customers beyond office hours. In India, the Banking and Financial services industry were the early adopters; in 2019, I see many organizations across the spectrum implementing chatbots. Chatbots that learn fast and demonstrate some degree of empathy can set new paradigms in terms of customer delight.

(iv) Voice Based Search –  We need to be ready now for Voice based search. Currently, it is in a nascent stage but with Google and Amazon investing heavily, there will be a gradual shift from text to voice.

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

Anirban M: Digital Vidya has been a pioneer in the field of Digital Marketing education. Your course content is detailed, relevant and updated. As per my knowledge, Digital Vidya employs specialists and experts in the domain of Digital Marketing, Social Media and Analytics to deliver the curriculum. This is the reason these courses and certifications are highly valued in the industry.

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 :).

[CEO, Digital Vidya]
Among the pioneers of Digital Marketing, Pradeep has been part of the Internet Industry since 2000. He has been a serial entrepreneur for last 17 years and is currently a Co-founder & CEO of Digital Vidya, a leading Digital Marketing, and Big Data & Data Analytics training company.

A graduate of IIT Delhi and a recipient of Adobe Content100, Pradeep is one of the most sought-after international speakers in Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

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