Sanjay Mehta is the Co-Founder & Jt. CEO of Social Wavelength. From last 16 years, he has been one of the Lead Internet Entrepreneurs of India. He started a company called Homeindia.com, way back in 1997 – 98. It was the early days of internet and this company was a B2C e-commerce company with a website where they were selling Indian products to the customers all over the world. It was an early venture in which he was for good 9 years; however, he shifted from that company. He soon shifted to Delhi and spent few years in a company called Compare Infobase Ltd. which is known for portals like mapsofindia.com and mapsofworld.com as Chief Operating Officer (COO), before shifting to Mumbai and starting this new venture of Social Media Space, Social Wavelength.
Social Wavelength is one of the largest social media agencies in the country and deals in social media marketing, social media monitoring, media buying, application development etc. As a company, it got acquired by WPP Group few months back and now it is a part of WPP Group aligned with JWT Group in India.
Digital Vidya: How did you get into Digital Marketing?
Sanjay Mehta: I came in Digital Marketing through Social Wavelength but I have been in internet business like ecommerce, web portals etc. since 1997 – 98.
Digital Vidya: Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?
Sanjay: This is the age of digital media and India is extremely large and young country. Today’s youth is spending most of their time on digital media. In terms of media consumption, digital is one of the efficient ways. It is consumed either through desktop or mobile or tablet. But the consumption through various sources came up with new challenges and questions like how media get consumed? Now-a-days, consumer is the customer. To reach that consumer, digital is the way to reach and it applies for any kind of company, be it for companies with the products like deodorants, beverages etc. So, if you want to reach the consumer when he / she is on digital media all the time, so you are left with no choice but to be on digital media.
If you are an entrepreneur or in any kind of business then you need to know how digital media works and what impact it can have? Thus, it becomes essential for any entrepreneur / professional / student to learn Digital Marketing and how to use it in the market.
Digital Vidya: According to you, what are the top mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?
Sanjay: Mistakes happens at various levels. Mostly, it happens because of the reasons like one is leveraging it without understanding the media or opportunities in digital media. So, there are various things to be kept in mind. One way is to become too cautious and doesn’t engage / plot too much. So, you are superficially present or might be little bit on Facebook page etc. and expect some sort of miracle to happen, which certainly not happen with that little participation. Or you go another way and become over enthusiastic and getting into spamming etc. and keep pushing messages one after other. So, it could be just a wrong utilization of the medium which is one of the biggest challenges.
Beyond that of course, it can be the expectations one would have. If you feel that one need to use the media to get quick results then you should have answers to following questions:
- Are you investing into digital advertising?
- What you are doing to get quicker results of your efforts?
- If you are into customer services then what is the way to create brand awareness?
- Are you mapping your efforts with the expectations?; and
- Are you finalizing about budgets as it is not free?
Most of the time people feel that Facebook is free, Twitter is free, so why do I spend money? But the reality is that getting into digital media and getting marketing plans done is not free. There is actually adequate budget which is developed so as to generate and impact the required results.
Digital Vidya: You led ‘Changing Role Of Marketing: New Challenges And New Opportunities’ Webinar for Digital Vidya’s community. How was your experience in leading the Webinar?
Sanjay: Its always been good for leading webinars for Digital Vidya. It is the second time, I led webinar for Digital Vidya. I think engagement was good, descent participation, Q & A was also interesting. I have enjoyed Digital Vidya’s webinars in the past and this one out as well.
Digital Vidya: Please share top 5-7 takeaways from the Webinar you would like to share with our community.
Sanjay: The key learning was that the marketing model is changing significantly. There is a way in which marketing should happen. Unfortunately, it was all about how a brand look out to its customer and tell him / her that you notices what is good for him / her. And proceed finally using that fear of customer. So, that era is significantly changed and today’s world is extremely connected and mature. Consumer himself is media. They talk, they connect, and they engage. In this kind of scenario where one is highly engaged / connected with the world and if a brand goes out and just expecting the consumers to listen to their one sided message / broadcast is definitely not the way the marketing happens. So, appreciating and understanding is the right way, as marketing is the different game now. You have an opportunity to engage with your consumers and one should try and understand:
- What their real sentiments are?
- What their aspirations are?
- What their fears are?; and
- What their goals are?
Based on the above, how you as a marketer of a certain product or a brand can help them fulfill those sentiments by really listening, understanding, engaging and then implementing, is basically what new age of marketing is all about. These were the few points I focused in that webinar.
It also involved understanding suitable proportion of that time and resources across the marketing effort. Earlier, there were simple ways for marketers to get the people to buy their product. One way was to invest lot of budget and resources at the time, when somebody is getting a product into the consideration set. So for example, if I am buying a car, the car should be available in my brand list, whether at that point of say when somebody is actually on the verge of buying then I need to offer the discount or offer him something as people are spending money only on tools or two main stages of getting into the consideration set. The other was closure to the point of say.
But today, people as consumer changes their mind or shifts in doing these two stages. After that, if you got a brand into consideration set when he is evaluating it and when he goes and interact with people on social media then based on those conversation, you may renew your brand out of that consideration set. So are you listening to those conversation or engaging with the people who are talking to each other about you? Are you evaluating your brand or the competitor brand? Are you there and engaging with them?
Also, the second stage is that after the purchase when people are sharing their experiences of usage then that experience impacts repeat purchase as well as influences others to purchase or not. Are you again their as a brand, listening or you are not there? So, traditional budget was spent only at two levels. There are two of the critical levels where shifts of brand’s preference happens and if the marketer does not impact or doesn’t focus on that then we have a chance of missing out and that was the other big point that I was making in the webinar.
So I think there were two fundamental areas that I have precised.
Digital Vidya: Do you have any suggestions for us to further increase the value of our Digital Marketing Webinars for our community?
Sanjay: I think you guys are on the right track. It has a lot of interesting and good content that keep getting shared in the webinars and other places. It is a great place for lot of young professionals to learn about Digital Marketing and related concepts.
Only thing I will say is, you are being little specific to digital media. At times, when you take a slightly higher view point in terms of soft skills requirement and how at larger level things like marketing are changing in this world, you see that the world is extremely and fastly changing as it is not that practice of digital media directly but bigger and macro issues. How that area is changing is also important for people to learn and appreciate. If you are already doing it, I am not aware and if it is not then these are some of the topics which you might also want to think up and this is the only thing I would like to say.
But otherwise, you guys are doing tremendous job and there is some great content which keep coming up and which I have always seen in the webinar which you do. So there is not too much that I need to suggest because you are already on the right track.
Digital Vidya: Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya.
Sanjay: I think I believe that Digital Vidya is one of the pioneers in the people education in the space of digital media and in this very fast growing area. You are the people who are helping, and creating a very valuable work for those who are ready to work with companies and agencies and help them in evangelizing the industry overall. So, I think you are a sort of sharing the direction to the people and creating the people and the workforce, which will definitely have a big impact to the industry in the years to come. It is a great role that you are playing as a company.