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Interview with Ram Jalan, Chief Marketing Officer, Omaxe Limited

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Interview with Ram Jalan, Chief Marketing Officer, Omaxe Limited

Pradeep Chopra, Co-Founder at Digital Vidya: Digital marketing has changed dramatically over the last 15 years. The main reason behind this drastic change is the technological revolution. Digital Marketing has been around for a while now, and it’s more important than ever. Not only it has provided lucrative opportunities to advertisers & marketers but also has resulted in a platform offering promising career opportunities.

In this interview, I spoke to Ram Jalan to know his views about Digital Marketing and how he was introduced to the Digital Marketing landscape.

Even before starting his professional career, he built and exited a boutique Computer training & solutions business for medical, legal and banking professionals. After his post-graduation, he started his professional career with branding and sales & marketing roles with Emami Limited, Reliance Telecom, IMImobile, UK. At Reliance Telecom, he managed the Value Added Services portfolio and built successful products like Reliance World, My Tunes and various SMS and IVR based subscription services.

Ram is an incessant learner and looks for opportunities to experiment and innovate. He has successfully implemented two Digital Transformation projects at Businessworld and Wave Group and now working on the third at Omaxe. As a CMO, he applies Digital 1st philosophy by integrating business groups using Ad-Tech & Martech, CRM and other Tech platforms. Also, each business is connected to one platform which provides a single view of the customer. At Omaxe, he has just launched a Pre-sales cum Audience Management system that is helping in Lead to Cash transformation and Insights.

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

Ram Jalan: I am a self-trained Digital Marketer. Those were the early days of Digital Marketing, I got the opportunity to build & market e-commerce and local search platform on web & mobile where I on-boarded more than one lakh SMEs online in India. We partnered with Google and Facebook to create their online store and promote them on social media. In Phase 2, launched the same platform in Malaysia. Digital Marketing is all about execution. During the same time, I invested and launched a deal & couponing platform and coffee booking app in Australia, which I later exited.

The most significant role of marketing is to drive brand salience and product/services sales. Real-time insights and consumer behaviour are imperative to measure reach, recall and response. So digital gives me these metrics instantly. It is exciting to blend offline and online marketing to drive numbers. Thus I live by Digital Marketing.

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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?

Ram Jalan: It will be unfair to conclude what is better between conventional and digital marketing without getting into specific cases. However, I recently analysed research done to test the effectiveness of Print Advertisement and Digital Advertisement, respectively. Some of the interesting findings are:

(i) Digital Ads are processed more quickly than Print ones.

(ii) In terms of engaging the audience, Print Ads are more effective.

(iii) Prospects are unable to sight preference for only one medium.

(iv) The same amount of information was absorbed between Print and Digital.

(v) After a week, Print Ads had a greater emotional response and memory. Brands with higher SOV had better recall than their peers.

(vi) Print Ads had more activity in the brain areas associated with Value and Desire (Ventral Stratum is the brain structure which can predict a future purchasing behaviour basis emotional response).

(vii) Digital Ads that were viewed on larger screens had better recall and engagement than the ads on Tablet and even lesser on Mobile Phones.

My inference is, in most cases, a media mix will be the best solution. Effective Print Ads will drive digital purchases.

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

Ram Jalan:

(i) TopShop.com implemented colour scanning technology to predict fashion trends using AI and ML: We are Prosumers, it is about the destination for us, not the journey. We want when we want it. The TopShop machine learning Algo scanned Pinterest and Instagram boards to predict colour choices and offered similar products.

(ii) Climate Change Campaign by WWF: It is freighting. Strong Visual image. Negative emotion, but it works!! Ranked among the Top 10 Ads on Climate Change

(iii) Paper Boat: Art of story-telling. Tiny-tots, building block by block.

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

Ram Jalan:

(i) Over-dependence on analytics and you lose creativity

(ii) Undermining creativity: considering audience stupid

(iii) Focusing on new, forgetting the old: not using the power of marketing automation. Makes brand look salesy.

(iv) Expecting results overnight: Brands do not give importance to always-on, which is an opportunity lost on the built virality. Second, too much ROI focus. Thus more push than pull.

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

Ram Jalan: Any company looking at going through Digital Transformation should look at three stages of building a team – Experimenting Stage – where you do internal and external validation, Building Stage – build a team and then you finally get evolved into a Digital 1st company. You need to build a Digital Excellence Team to excel.

It is a gradual process to graduate from 80% outsource to 20% outsource. When you reach there, you may have specialist agencies that work for you remaining everything is done by the in-house team.

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Date: 28th Aug, 2019 (Wed)
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How do you ensure increasing Digital Marketing’s relevance and influence in the organization?

Ram Jalan:

(i) Instant Communication

(ii) Training and Development

(iii) Sales Process assigned to digital selling methods.

(iv) Analysis and Tracking – merging Marketing Analytics to Business Analytics.

(v) Top Management buy-in and implementation from the top.

(vi) Making it contextual to business needs. Example, Lead generation may be the business need, so follow that. Branding can be done while you generate leads.

(vii) Marry offline to online marketing. Organisational mindset cannot be changed by force.

Which are your 3 favourite Digital Marketing Tools?

Ram Jalan:

(i) Marketing Automation.

(ii) Customer management System with Data Management System.

(iii) Web & Business Analytics.

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

Ram Jalan:

For Entrepreneurs: be the driver of your business. Digital cannot be ignored. What they see, is what you get. Take the right business decision. Cheapest marketing is always not the best marketing

For Professionals: Unlearn and relearn. Marketers are like doctors. There are new business requirements and pains every day. You need to be ready to understand the ailment and come up with the right solution.

For Students: You have new assistants are here. Marketing Automation, Artificial intelligence and Consumer Neuroscience. You need to be smarter than your assistants to use them or make use of them. Whether you are a professional or an entrepreneur, you need to beat them or get beaten.

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

Ram Jalan:

(i) Fundamentals of Marketing

(ii) Marketing and Business Analytics  – AI understanding

(iii) Native Advertising understanding

(iv) Content Fluency – Text, Audio and Video

(v) Social Media Marketing strength

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

Ram Jalan: Digital Marketing Industry is like the fashion industry. Every day we get to see a new tech that promises to solve your marketing problem. We are plagued with Random Acts of Technology: a situation when a company throws its problem at technology without a strategy and clear objective. But marketing problems can be solved only by solving consumer problems. Fundamental understanding of marketing is the most essential. Learn digital marketing the hard way. Learn everything, SEO, SMM, SEM, Analytics, Content, UI/UX, etc. and then top up your knowledge with marketing automation, big data, audience management systems, etc.

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?

Ram Jalan: The Internet has thousands of material to learn. Look at trusted resources. Segment your reading around, industry news, knowledge forums, and authored articles. You must follow updates on Google Blogs, Facebook forums, etc. to access the latest content.

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

Ram Jalan: Rand Fishkin, Reid Hoffman, Neil Patel & Joe Pulizzi.

You led the webinar ‘Upgrade Your Digital Marketing Strategy Using Neuroscience’. How was your experience in leading the webinar?

Ram Jalan: Excellent audience. Great participation. Thrilled to see folks asking questions. And keen to know more on the future of consumer behaviour and its implications in digital marketing.

Please share top 3-5 takeaways from the Webinar you led for our community.

Ram Jalan: Companies knew that building a brand is both an Art and a Science. They implement strategies that appeal to their audience on an emotional and logical level. Research into the world of Neuroscience Marketing has given brands insight into the way the brain responds to certain stimuli. Neuroscience focuses on the behaviour of the brain, while Neuromarketing states how companies can adapt their marketing strategies to influence consumers on a psychological level. All this makes sense when you consider how much work we (consumers) put on our brain during a buying decision.

(i) 90% of buying decisions are made subconsciously.

(ii) Human brain process visuals 60,000 times faster than text – that’s why we include picture into our text and now videos.

(iii) 70% of the ads struggle to get customer attention (both online and offline).

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Free Digital Marketing Webinar

Date: 28th Aug, 2019 (Wed)
Time: 3 PM to 4:30 PM (IST/GMT +5:30)

Do you have any suggestions for us to further increase the values of our Digital Marketing Webinars?

Ram Jalan: Have more sessions on the same topic. In case the 1st session gains more response. Else it is difficult to cover all points in one topic. And make interaction possible on a topic within the community who registered but couldn’t attend due to some reason.

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

Ram Jalan: Serve to user moments. Starved for time and accustomed to more control consumers expect special service. “Fast Laning – quicker and more streamlined service”

(i) I-want-to-know moments, which are characterized by the need for information rather than the intent to make a purchase.

(ii) I-want-to-go moments, in which consumers are looking for specific businesses or products near them.

(iii) I-want-to-do moments, where users need help completing tasks or solving new challenges.

(iv) I-want-to-buy moments, in which consumers are poised to make a purchase and need help doing so

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

Ram Jalan: It is excellent. Loved the way Digital Vidya is hosting webinars each week on a different concept. I wish I could attend all of them and keep myself updated. Loved the ones I could attend. Keep up the good work. My two-bits, introduce new programs around new things in digital marketing. It is trendy, make it futuristic.

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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