60% of Unacademy’s ad spends is towards TV: Karan Shroff, VP, Marketing

Shroff talks about Unacademy’s ATL campaign ‘Let’s Crack It’, marketing strategies, media mix and more

e4m by Neethu Mohan
Published: Dec 26, 2019 9:06 AM  | 5 min read
Karan Shroff

A report launched by Google and KPMG in 2017 - ‘Online education in India: 2021’ states that the Ed Tech market will grow around 9 times to hit $1.96 billion by 2021.

Unacademy, a major player in this market, recently launched their first-ever ATL campaign to mark the beginning of a 360-degree campaign – ‘Let’s Crack It’. Through the three TVCs, Unacademy encourages students to prepare for challenging entrance exams without getting demotivated or disheartened.

Unacademy was founded in 2015 by Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini and Hemesh Singh and brings expert educators together with millions of students in need of quality education.

In conversation with exchange4media, Karan Shroff, VP, Marketing, Unacademy, spoke about the ATL campaign, marketing strategies, the media mix, goals and more.

Edited excerpts:

On Unacademy’s vision

We had our beginning as a YouTube channel by Gaurav Munjal in 2010. Today we clock over 160 million views a month across our channels and the ecosystem of Unacademy is growing rapidly. There are many students across the country from Tier 2 and 3 cities and smaller towns, also women who are not allowed to go out of home to study. The penetration of 4G has benefited a lot of brands like us. We moved in that direction, where we wanted to democratise education. Today we have some beautiful success stories coming through from smaller towns, where someone sitting in Tier 2 and 3 cities are learning from the best educators. That’s been the vision - we want to further penetrate, strengthen and expand our territories and get every student out there onto the Unacademy platform.

On the ‘Let’s crack it’ campaign

When we were conceptualising the campaign, we really dwelled on everything that's happening in the education space. I was fairly new in the system and was very strongly guided as well as supported by my team and the founders. So it was a collective beautiful team effort that came into existence. When we were doing research, we realized that there is an extensive pressure on the students. There is so much pressure and a lot of unfortunate cases keep happening. We didn't want to be another brand that's going to talk about the same thing. We wanted to be a brand that wants to be close to the consumer, a brand that understands students and someone that a student feels secure with.

A comment by a student said: “I am seeing a campaign, which is from our eyes.” All the three ads or creatives are about students and their journeys of life.

We also launched an anthem as part of the second phase of the ‘Let’s Crack It’ campaign. The anthem has been sung by Naezy (Naved Shaikh of Gully Boy fame) and is an ode to students’ hard work and perseverance while preparing for exams. Apart from it being a colloquial expression, Unacademy wanted to emphasize the ‘let’s’ part of the catchphrase as the company is democratizing education by creating a platform for students where there are no differential pricing or rank based batches.

On marketing strategies and media mix

We spend the majority of our advertising budget on Television. The digital and OTT platforms are very well accepted in the metros and the top cities of the countries. But TV dominates in Tier-2, Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities. We also learned that these students are more hungry for growth and success. A lot of our students come from Metros and hence digital was what we took into play in these cities.

Our 60 per cent ad spends would be towards TV, 15 towards Digital and the rest for OOH, Print media, Radio and Cinema.

We do very well in OOH campaigns especially in smaller towns. We have extensive presence and reach in student hub cities like Kota. We also use cinema as we learnt that students in these small towns walk into cinemas very frequently. So, it is a 360-degree campaign and has given some brilliant results for Unacdemy.

On ed-tech sector in India

I think one of the challenges across the Ed tech industry would be changing the mindset of moving people to learn online. A larger section of students across the country are hesitant or have an element of fear to clear their doubts. Online education platforms help the student to overcome that fear. Also, not all students learn very quickly, everybody has a different style. If a student is a slow learner and the class moves on it's left recorded for you to go back and visit, revise and clear your doubts. Also, every teacher has a different style of teaching, every student has a different style of learning, you can choose the teacher and what style works for you.

What next for Unacademy?

I think we want to be number one in every aspect. Currently, we are present in 30 exam categories and I believe growth is good for every business. We would want to expand into more categories. With the ATL campaign coming in we witnessed some jump in the number of consumers and would want to have more students on board. We want to become a household name when it comes to education.

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