Founder and COO at BrandzGarage.
How do you evaluate traditional vs. digital marketing channels?
(Responding this query by assuming that we are promoting an online portal) Both traditional and digital marketing have their defined KPIs. Example - if you have put up a hoarding in multiple areas or have a newspaper ad, there are 2 things that will happen - either your user will open the browser and type your URL or search for your brand term on search engines. So, if you see a spike in the Direct traffic or brand term organic or google ad, it means there is some impact of your traditional marketing. Digital marketing efforts get directly directly mapped to their own dashboards like Google Ads, FB ads etc and the web analytics tool like Goolgle Analytics or MixPanel. So you can clearly distinguish the difference between them. However, it is always suggested that you plan hyperlocal activities (unless you are a big brand) and give equal weightage to both types of marketing while starting the campaign and then shuffle the budget based on performance analysis.
What is the single most important metric you want to improve through your campaigns currently?
There are two levels to this question - firstly, in my initial few years (and now my team), I used to focus a lot on quality score/ad rank and this metric would encompass all linear metrics like impressions, reach, clicks, CTR etc. currently, I am working on a product to build non-linear derivatives to come up with new metrics that would give a much clear understanding of the world between the extremes.
Why did you choose to become a marketer?
I love great software products (either B2B or B2C) and data analytics. And the primary way to be good at the above mentioned points is by reaching out to the real world users. Marketing helps you do that and the data you collect (based on cohorts, funnels, performance) will help you in building better products
Business-wise, do you think any benefit in 'work from home'?
I think the work has increased a lot :) However, the quick interactions for solving small problems (these small problems take the most time) is missing a lot. As a person, I don’t enjoy talking a lot on phone or calls.
What were the top 3 channels of acquisition for your first users / early adopters?
Try hunting for a famous person/influencer/founder of a company to run your beta. Use your own LinkedIn profile to create a buzz and try to build a small but loyal community. Talk about the smaller modules like how you finalized your logo, what kind of illustrations you chose, why did you create such a UI, what level of market research you have done etc. which will start bringing in people. Subtly, do place your brand. Other channels include going live on Instagram or FB, run some small budget FB ads or inst ads to check market status. Do try some sentiment analysis tools aong with it.
What will be the effect of the existing downturn now accentuated by Covid on your company and what do you need to recover?
There are cash flow issues definitely - some payments are delayed due to that. However, we will be looking forward to automate our processes. We would need to ensure how remote work operates and newer ways to market our services.
Amidst this Covid-19 World over lockdown situation, what are some of the key priority areas and challenges for your brand?
We have been primarily niched towards startups and they seem to be impacted the most. We are currently working on re-structuring our acquisition process and revamping our go-to-market strategy. We are running complex BCG matrix taking in account the such pandemics so that wr are able to tap the cash cows better and continue growing.
What is your most important customer retention matra?
(I will speak about B2B service sector) First thing - your customer might not be always right, especially in B2B service segment. So, have confidence on what you are doing and always back it with data, actually, genuine data. Your customer needs to be convinced that you understand the product better than them. Show empathy - you debate with client pleasantly and not argue. Try to respond as swiftly as possible.
How do you craft your media plan?
Okay, making a media plan is huge task. First thing, you need to know your customers - once you know that, you will always know which all platforms will have these customers. If you were already running camapaigns, maintain 80% of your used channels intact and try experimenting with the remaining 20%.
How did you rise in your role as a marketers, what career hacks can you share?
There are 2 types of learning curve - horizontal and vertical. I read a lot and kept exploring the inter links which gave me both of these learnings. Example: if you are reading about Google Ads and come across conversion, you could explore how to set up various types of conversions; how the websites and apps respond to pixels/SDKs; how the data is collected and mapped; how can you cross verify this data; hiw are these conversions similar to or different from other platforms; what are different types of goals a.k.a conversions and so on. Similarly, you need to be very clear about the important and ancillary data points and look into the straight forward data points, linear derivativea and non- linear derivatives. Experiment as much as possible.
How do you see your job evolving in the future?
There is a new wave of automation coming up which will be smarter, more robust and more user friendly. General audience will start moving out of discounting modules and product with great value, quality and marketing communication will take the precedence.
What is the one thing that you abide by in all your marketing campaigns?
Never make assumptions while planning marketing campigns. Take help of data to determine the strategy(if data is available). And most important, never put all your eggs in same bucket.
What was the most challenging moment in your career?
Transition from retention mode to acquisition mode and bringing product management knowledge to marketing campaigns and anlytics.
How did you go about finding your right target audience?
Simple answer - you always know for whom you have created this product for so run your POCs on them. (if you were not confident about that segment, probably you woildn’t have developed the product). Complex Answer - Run a BCG matrix for all possible audience sets and categorise them into Star, Cash Cows, Question Marks and Dogs. Try to run behind the Stars and Cash Cows (based on competition analysis)
What was your paid advertising budget and goals during your initial days?
My first initial days started with a monthly budget of few thousands which in next 2-3 years changed to Rs 1-2 crores a month. goal was to ensure 12.5% to 20% MoM growth.
What is the current important metric that you are looking to improve via your marketing campaigns?
I look at customer cohorts very closely. It also helps me figure out channels for acquisitions, campaign communications and budgets.
What is more important for a startup - branding or sales?
You need to understand the objective behind starting your company. If you really need VC funds, focus on position and branding. If you are looking for sustainability, focus on sales - with money in your bank account, you will have the leverage to build your brand which will be valued better by users and the investors.
What has been the most challenging task for you as a marketer?
Projections and introducing new channels without impcting the expected growth rates.
What role did your educational background play in your career?
I chose to dropout from college to pursue product management and technicalities if marketing with data analysis.
What's the advice you would like to give to an aspiring marketers?
Understand web analytics strongly - these fundamentals will never change.