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Sandipan Ghosh

Assistant Vice President - Marketing | 28 Aug 2013

The entire digital and social ecosystem must be viewed as a two-faced sword by today’s marketing fraternity. The perpetual infiltration of digital marketing has for one, raised the visibility, awareness and (hopefully) the desirable quotient of brands amongst the consumers, especially the prospective breed. This can influence a higher top-of-mind recall of this demographic, thereby directly enhancing the likelihood of product trial.

Sandipan Ghosh, Assistant Vice President, Marketing, Ruchi Soya Industries has experience in both Indian and international markets. Ghosh has seen not only the food industry grow, but also seen the changing demographics of consumers, which demands skilled marketing tactics. Prior to Ruchi Soya Industries, Ghosh worked with renowned brands such as MTR Foods, Tata Salt, Mother Dairy, Dhara and Safal in India; Electrolux in Singapore; and Tiffany Foods in the UAE.

In conversation, with exchange4media’s Saloni Surti, Ghosh chats about how digital marketing changes shopper dynamics, impact of mobile and other digital trends.

Q. As a marketer, what are your objectives from digital?

The most important object of our digital marketing activities is to add a transparent layer of communication and trust with our consumers, and use this medium to build a loyal relationship with generations of each consumer’s family.

At a business point of view, we aim to maintain a consistent point of contact with majority of our consumers, and engage them in our brand experience via innovative campaigns and thus, boost our offline sales by integrating our brand in their online and offline needs, wants, expectations and desires.

Q. Please share your digital mix.

The online mix for our brand is targeting both in digital and social domains. However, we will soon add mobile in the mix.

Q. How does apt digital marketing help in mainstream campaigns?

Any campaign planning should have a very distinct communication objective and defined target audience. Currently, digital marketing is just a last leg of mainstream campaigns and hence, always been neglected with respect to developing digital-oriented content and campaign plans. For online marketing, brands need to set up a separate objective and create content accordingly. This will help to qualify digital marketing into mainstream campaigns.

Q. Mobile is said to change the research online-purchase offline phenomenon. What are your views on it?

Absolutely. In fact, I believe that we haven’t even scratched the tip of this iceberg. As the world converges at our fingertips, our universe of options diverges. Today’s consumer is social, smart and savvy. Any marketer still stuck selling his products as in the 1990’s is going to bear the brunt of this informed and opinionated consumer. Hence, the best bet for every marketer is to put his money where his consumer’s mouth is, meaning, to join the conversations and more importantly, make conversations with the consumer, if he even scarcely wishes to make a sale; let’s not even begin talking of building loyalty here.

Q. How has active digital marketing impacted shopper behaviour?

For one, digital marketing has given birth to a smarter consumer. The entire digital and social ecosystem must be viewed as a two-faced sword by today’s marketing fraternity. The perpetual infiltration of digital marketing has for one, raised the visibility, awareness and (hopefully) the desirable quotient of brands amongst the consumers, especially the prospective breed. This can influence a higher top-of-mind recall of this demographic, thereby directly enhancing the likelihood of product trial. Alternately, the seasoned consumer is kept on the hook by being socialised, engaged, entertained and thus, converted time and again. It’s a cycle – once you roll it, there is no looking back.

Q. How can marketers use digital in terms of customer retention?

The consumer is out there, the feedback is out there, the debates are out there, the reputation smoldering reviews are out there, but is the marketer out there too, listening to it all? Being a vigilant listener is the first commandment of the digital marketer, because the scope of amplification one bad word has on your brand is unimaginable and unbearable. In case of a disgruntled consumer, the brand should primarily reach out to him and understand the cause of dissatisfaction. After objectively understanding the situation, the brand must right the wrong as fast as possible and as personally as possible. The time lapse is a ticking time bomb awaiting explosion if the brand doesn’t act within a reasonable time of consideration that the consumer expects. This should be followed by the social outreach to the said customer, plus the audience, so they reinstate their faith in your brand.

Q. Please share one of your most impactful digital campaigns.

We created a very impactful social campaign to portray the versatility of Nutrela Soya (‘Roz kuch Naya, Roz kuch Soya), wherein we have taken very specific women-centric website, which were linked to share their Nutrela Soya recipes. We attracted huge online response, which helped us to create a library of Soya recipes that were not known before and the participants were gratified. Even the ads were on through pre-rolls and this created awareness and increased participation.

Q. What is your content strategy for social media?

The content strategy is to engage and create a discussion-cum-learning platform for fans to learn, share and discuss healthy Nutrela Soya recipes that they can prepare for their kid’s tiffin or husband’s lunch boxes. This became a runaway hit and talk point among ‘socialites’ and our Facebook page became a destination board for new fans as well to exchange recipe ideas with Soya.

Q. What can Indian marketers learn from international digital campaigns?

The Indian digital community has a long way to go and capture social pulse of the consumer; the international media community has created some amazing campaigns in the recent past, which have inspired and instructed the fraternity in the optimum use of this media powerhouse. The biggest takeaways these campaigns offer are creativity and innovation, impact and influence, and considering they are competing in the noisiest ecosystem, their memorable and viral quotient as well.

Q. What are the five things you would suggest marketers to keep in mind while investing on digital?

• Build loyal communities
• Offer an extra emotional value to the digital community to foster brand loyalty
• Don’t speak to your community, but talk with them
• Make them feel like a stakeholder in the brand’s journey, nothing works like this feeling of brand-ownership

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