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Dhruvakanth B. Shenoy

Vice President – Marketing | 04 Jan 2005

“We are an Internet company that connects the progressive companies with most qualified individuals. And it is a self-service model. Job seekers go on to the site, post their resumes and apply for jobs. On the other hand, employers buy our services (offline); we train them to use the product and how to get the best profiles. We also train them on search technologies and once that’s done, they are on their own.”

Dhruvakanth B Shenoy has had a 15-year-old association with the Indian advertising and marketing industry. He started his career at TGL Quick Foods, a local FMCG player. Shenoy stepped into the world of advertising joining Clarion Advertising Services (now Bates) as an Account Executive in 1989.

In 1991, he moved on to Ogilvy & Mather, Bangalore. In his O&M days, Shenoy worked on brands like Mico Bosch, Madura Coats, Lipton Tea, Allen Solly Premium Apparels, BPL and IBM. His last assignment at Ogilvy was as Client Services Director, heading the 15-member team on the IBM account in India.

It was while working on IBM that he developed a fascination for Internet related businesses and after quitting O&M in June 2000, Shenoy pursued his interest as an independent Internet Business Consultant, under the trade name NetLateral Consulting.

Shenoy was however retained by O&M as a Consultant to guide the Account Management team on its Internet/tech businesses in Bangalore for a brief period, before he decided to take up an offer with Monsterindia.com in November 2000 as Marketing Manager and moved to Hyderabad.

As Vice President-Marketing of Monster Asia, Shenoy spearheads all marketing initiatives for the company in India, Singapore and Hong Kong. In an interview with Sakshi Talwar of exchange4media, Shenoy talks about the growth of Monster and the various brand building initiatives. Excerpts:

Q. How did Monster India break the ice in a new arena like online recruitment in the country?

Recruitment is normal. People have always been hiring. We were trying to bring in a concept, which was in line with growth of technology. We were saying that there is one more method of recruitment, which is more efficient in terms of cost and time, without compromising on quality. What was needed to facilitate this movement from traditional recruitment methods to e-recruitment was internet penetration and credibility of the product. It’s like you go to hypermarket and start looking for a pin or you go to a supermarket of pins and start looking for the pin you want. It is a ready pool of people available for one to recruit from.

Q. How did you build the brand?

Worldwide, Monster is a brand that believes in the power of the individual. Monster as a brand is very vibrant and positive. We had one key issue when we started in India. Monster was perceived to be a gaming or any such site. We could not go into an emotional brand building without tying jobs with monster. Our first year advertising was mainly in terms of building that connection that monster equals jobs.

After the first burst of mass advertising, our focus was on internet. We had a strategic alliance with Rediff and Sify with which we covered over 70 per cent of internet population. We did extensive online advertising with banners etc. that created an online buzz. However, it’s not just about advertising but also about the product. The product is about interface and availability of suitable jobs. Experience, interface and quality of jobs thus build the brand. We have a user-friendly interface and act as guides to people who log in. This is unlike other online job sites, which are more cluttered.

Q. How much increase in business do you see after the acquisition of jobsahead.com a few months back?

Monster was a leader in terms of traffic when it acquired jobsahead.com. We follow a measurement agency called MediaMetrix that turns out monthly reports on which internet site is seeing unique visitors. Thus we know the top job sites in the country. Jobsahead was second to us. Now, with jobsahead.com, Monster is twice as large as its nearest competitor, which is a huge competitive strength.

Q. Which sectors have contributed the most to your growth?

It’s definitely the IT sector. It helped us prove that this concept of online recruiting works. IT job seekers were the early adapters of e-recruitment. They came on to the site, posted their resumes and they started applying for jobs. IT employers too were the early adapters. They had infrastructure as IT companies have internet connection in offices. And it worked for them too. At one point in time, about 85 per cent of jobs were IT jobs on the site. Today, it’s about 55 per cent. More sectors have come in and in terms of resumes, beginning of 2002 saw 65 per cent resumes from IT sector. Today, it is 38 per cent – not because IT resumes are not growing but other sectors are growing faster. Now e-recruitment is not just limited to IT sector but has expanded to other areas as well.

Q. Do you simply bring together employers and potential job seekers through a listing of CVs and a listing of jobs? Do you also provide HR consultancy?

We are not consultants. We are an internet company that connects the progressive companies with most qualified individuals. And it is a self-service model. Job seekers go on to the site, post their resumes and apply for jobs. On the other hand, employers buy our services (offline); we train them to use the product and how to get the best profiles. We also train them on search technologies and once that’s done, they are on their own.

Q. How do you advertise your site and how much impact does it have on the number of clicks?

We took a strategic decision that until we achieve a critical mass, we will advertise only online. We are not in the business of increasing internet penetration but increasing penetration of monter.com among people already on the net. We have recently started exploring space beyond internet. The strategy of our offline campaign is that new internet users should come online wanting to visit monster. It’s too soon to tell the effect as our television campaign was launched very recently. But going by the response to internet advertising, more and more people want to try monster and be benefited by it.

Q. But you are advertising aggressively on television – unlike other portals. What is the reason behind it?

It is only in this quarter. As I said, we waited for achieving a critical mass till we go advertising beyond internet. Now, there is a network of sites that we are on and there are three large horizontal portals we are on, namely Yahoo, Sify and Rediff. To a large extent, we have covered 80 per cent of the audience on the internet. And, then we felt the need to expand the category of job seekers. The idea of going on TV was to get outside the realm of internet and be relevant to people who are on the fringe of internet usage.

Q. We see a mascot in all your campaigns – be it print or electronic media. What does it signify?

He is our corporate mascot called ‘Trumpasauras’. He represents all attributes of monster. He is big, friendly and he is the guide for job seekers. Monster stands for connecting people and brining together people to advance their lives is the vision statement. Monster wanted a personality to represent that value. And ‘Trumpasauras’ is the most apt for that.

Q. What is the revenue model for online job sites?

We make money out of employers. We do have revenue model from job seekers but it is so small that in the overall scheme of things it is insignificant. Employers pay us money to access our database, post their job advertisements and to put their brand logos on the site. Actually to do branding on site they pay us money.

Q. What is the resume base at present and how much increase do you anticipate this fiscal?

Combined with jobsahead.com, monster has a resume database of 35 lakhs. We acquire new resumes to the tune of 6,500 per day, which makes almost two lakh resumes a month. We are number one as we also provide quality resumes. Employers not only look at the database but also how many new resumes are you adding every month. We are constantly working on growing this number.

Q. What are Monster India’s future plans?

The year 2005 is going to be extremely big. We have just made a start in terms of talking to audience who are currently not on internet and we would continue on that strategy. We believe there is huge opportunity as universe outside internet is really big. We need to capitalise on the opportunity of these people coming on to the net. Our endeavour will be to make sure we become their preferred job site.

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