Interview With Nitin Chowdhary, Vice President - Times Mobile & Performance, Times Internet - Digital Vidya

Interview With Nitin Chowdhary, Vice President – Times Mobile & Performance, Times Internet

Pradeep Chopra (Co-Founder, Digital Vidya): The world of marketing has changed and transformed immensely over the past few years. 

Nowadays, having an online presence is no more an option for any business.

According to DataReportal 2022, there are 4.95 billion active internet users worldwide. The number itself is a reflection stating the importance of promoting your business online. 

Nitin chowdharyKeeping the importance of online marketing and promotion in mind, we are talking with several marketers to gain insights. 

Today, I spoke to Nitin Chowdhary (VP, Times Mobile) from Times Internet, to know about various digital marketing trends and extract relevant industry insights.

Being in the industry for 30+ years, Nitin has expertise not only in digital marketing but in other aspects of marketing as well. 

He also specializes in Business Development, Strategic Planning, Change Management, and General Management, along with broad experience in Internet and IT as well.

When was the 1st time you experienced the power of Digital Marketing? What did you feel about Digital Marketing then?

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Nitin: I first realized the true power of digital marketing especially in the context of India when I created PrecisionMatch inside Tyroo. The hypothesis was that India is an extremely diversified digital consumer market, unlike other consumer markets around the world.

In such a market, precision marketing at scale is so critical to building brands that are commercially viable. My belief is that the explosion of internet access has created the opportunity to build 1000s of new brands.

According to you, in what kind of situations, conventional marketing techniques (e.g. Newspaper/TV) are still valuable?

Nitin: Marketing mediums such as TV, Newspaper, and OH are very valuable too but not at the scale that was previously thought possible.

As the choice (of which media to consume) grows in India, so does the expression of individuality. Marketers must smartly use the mediums that best enable them to reach their target audiences in the most efficient manner.

Also, my belief is that there is an opportunity for these older mediums to rethink themselves. As an example, DOOH is changing the way OOH is done. QR codes are adding a performance marketing dimension to newspapers and so on.

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

Nitin: I don’t know if I can highlight 3, but definitely two –

  1. Too much focus on execution around marketing channels and not enough on a well-thought-out, data-driven attribution model that is iteratively refined. A marketing team should be able to execute to increase market share or profit by the most optimal combination of channels that drive incrementality and efficiency. This approach seems to be relatively rare in the digital marketing community with only the more sophisticated marketers using tools and techniques that nail down the attribution models with some degree of sophistication.
  2. Not enough focus on talking to the consumer in a manner that builds the brand story. As a result, a surprisingly large number of marketing communications are mostly functional. Marketing needs to be largely about telling a story rather than reducing a product to its simplest functional elements.

What do you recommend between outsourcing Digital Marketing to an Agency or doing it in-house? Why?

Nitin: It’s always best to use a good digital marketing agency to augment the in-house digital marketing team. Agencies give the ability to scale up capacity rapidly during high-impact events such as launches.

Agencies also give the flexibility to engage different types of skills such as data analysis and modeling (to build an attribution model perhaps). Lastly, a good digital agency should bring some best practices from other engagements to the brand to make it better.

Which are your favorite Digital Marketing channels/techniques (e.g. LinkedIn, SEO, Facebook Ads) and why?

Nitin: A well-crafted digital marketing plan will usually make use of multiple channels. Given the explosion of digital platforms – Amazon, Snap, WhatsApp, etc. fragmentation is likely to be the rule than the exception. My personal favorites are:

  • SEO/SEM – Search gives excellent insights regarding the feasibility of a product, especially at launch.
  • Video – Formats such as instream video (and even outstream video) are great because the impact created to the viewer is much higher than the plain display.
  • LinkedIn – Because these are much better sources of demographic and social graph data that can be harnessed for reaching a smaller and much more qualified audience.

Why do you think most marketers bet heavily on “online advertising” as part of their digital marketing strategy? Do you think that the resource allocation including budget distribution between Online Ads and SEO/Organic is justified?

Nitin: Digital marketing has the ability to reduce spill leading to the increasing popularity of this channel. However, as governments around the world make it difficult for online platforms to identify users individually, that advantage will reduce.

I see some brands investing disproportionately in search at the expense of other digital marketing platforms. Digital marketers will need to do the hard work to leverage each platform to its sweet spot rather than depending on the needs of the brand than picking personal favorites.

What do you think is the role of technology in marketing in today’s world? Would you like to share any good examples in which technology is efficiently leveraged for the success of marketing?

Nitin: Digital marketing and technology are closely linked. My personal favorites are the use of dynamic creatives based on audience data and attribution modeling.

Digital marketing teams have to be very aware of the state of the art in technology because frequently that can be the difference between super vs mediocre ROI.

How do you think Digital Marketing for B2B is different from Digital Marketing for B2C?

Nitin: B2B marketing is very different than B2C especially in India since the size of that audience relative to the digital universe is small.

The B2B marketer has to be heavily reliant on her 1st party data (CRM) and use of content techniques such as SEO and social. The B2B marketer also has to be relatively patient.

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

Nitin: Sites such as adexchanger.com, and exchange4media. Influencers on LinkedIn that write on digital marketing techniques.

How do you see Digital Marketing evolve in the future? What are the top trends you foresee for 2022-23?

Nitin: I see more cohort-based marketing (from a feedback perspective) emerge as platforms apply privacy restrictions – 3rd party cookies etc.

Do you recommend that freshers should consider “Digital Marketing” for building their career? What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at entering the Digital Marketing industry?

Nitin: Work for a very good agency and/or brand to really learn the ropes. Critical to add a top-flight digital brand to your resume because this trade is experiential – everything can’t be taught in the classroom.

What are the top skills (other than technical skills such as SEO/SEM) you look for when hiring a candidate for an entry-level role in Digital Marketing?

Nitin: Ability to structure problems, ability to do high-level to detailed maths. I ask candidates to solve puzzles in interviews.

Pradeep (to Nitin): Thank you Nitin for providing such insightful details about your digital marketing journey as well as the future trends of digital marketing.

Pradeep (to our readers): I hope you find the insights shared by Nitin valuable. In case you have any questions for him or me, please post them in the comments section.

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