Amrita Purkayastha

Global Head of Product And Content Marketing At Mettl

Navigating the Winds of Change In Content Marketing With Amrita Purkayastha

As the digital age evolves, content marketing is undergoing a profound transformation, challenging norms and opening new horizons. As the digital age accelerates forward, content marketers find themselves at the forefront of a revolution that challenges conventional norms and ushers in new possibilities.

In this conversation, we embark on a journey to uncover the winds of change sweeping through the content marketing domain.

Join Prateek Kalra, Associate Director of Sales at Pepper Content, and Amrita Purkayastha, Global Head of Product And Content Marketing At Mettl as they discuss all this and more.

Here are some excerpts.

1. Tell us about your journey so far.

My journey in the marketing field has spanned over twelve and a half years, and it has truly been a joy ride. Interestingly, my entry into marketing was more of a serendipitous occurrence. While I don't possess a formal marketing degree, my path in the field was shaped by my inherent passion for writing. It's a classic story of turning a passion into a profession. Writing has been a part of me since my childhood, and by the age of 10, I was already contributing to the Times of India.

This love for writing continued to grow, eventually leading me to a career in content writing after completing my master's degree. I started as a content writer and gradually progressed up the ladder, embracing more comprehensive marketing roles. These roles encompassed various aspects like public relations, corporate communications, and more. I embarked on this journey with Aspiring Minds, now known as Cetrel, where

I spent around six and a half to seven years. What initially began as a role in public relations evolved into a position of leading global product marketing and marketing communications across multiple geographical regions where the company operated.

Throughout my journey, I've embodied the role of a holistic 360-degree marketing professional, with content always occupying a central place.

As the saying goes, content is king, and it truly forms the backbone of any marketing effort. Currently, I am privileged to be a part of Mettl, where I lead global product and content marketing. This role has provided me with incredible experiences as we offer a diverse range of talent assessment products worldwide. Our strategies encompass content marketing and product marketing, making the journey thus far truly remarkable and rewarding.

2. Your current role involves overseeing marketing across various geographies. How do you manage the diverse markets and their unique challenges?

Indeed, my role at Mettl covers a wide range of markets, from the Middle East to emerging markets like Africa. While our roots are in India, we're now part of Mercer, a global brand known for HR consulting.

Tailoring content strategies to diverse markets requires understanding their unique preferences and trends.

To navigate these markets effectively, we focus on tailoring our strategies to each region's needs. It's about understanding the nuances, preferences, and trends of each geography, and crafting content that resonates with them. The challenge lies in striking the right balance between global consistency and local relevance.

3. How has the role of marketing evolved in this rapidly changing landscape?

The evolution of marketing has been truly remarkable, reflecting a sea of change over the past 12 and a half years. Looking back to when I started, the landscape was primarily centered around brand marketing.

Drawing from my own experiences, I began my journey as a PR executive during a time when gaining coverage on the front page of prestigious publications like the Economic Times was a significant achievement and a sought-after goal. The emphasis was on securing PR coverage and building brand recognition.

With time, digital marketing emerged as a transformative force, gradually altering the landscape. While the initial stages saw a limited focus on performance and SEO, the trajectory has since shifted dramatically towards a digital-first approach. Monetizing content and performance marketing, once lesser-known concepts, have taken on greater significance.

The rise of digital platforms and the influx of content across various channels, especially with the ascent of social media, have led to a paradigm shift. This has created an environment where consumers are faced with a plethora of choices, making it increasingly challenging to stand out and identify unique niches amidst content saturation.

Amidst the flux, quality content remains the constant that engages readers.

While traditional media's prominence has waned, the influx of content from diverse sources is staggering. Amidst this surge, the challenge lies not only in capturing attention but also in carving out distinctive spaces in a world where numerous voices vie for recognition.

4. What are the challenges which a content marketer is most scared of in today's state?

One of the most significant challenges that content marketers, including those on my team, grapple with today is the fear of becoming redundant and losing relevance in an ever-noisy market. This fear resonates strongly, and it's a pressing concern that my team often brings to my attention.

To address this, especially at Mettl, we adopt a strategy of tailoring our content creation to specific use cases. We allocate the necessary mental and effort resources to each type of content. It's important to strike a balance between producing a requisite amount of content to maintain SEO rankings while also dedicating the time needed for more comprehensive pieces, like thought leadership POVs, that require creativity and passion.

Another critical piece of advice that I emphasize with my team is the importance of avoiding fluff in content. We have an internal saying: "Arre ye to English hai" which loosely translates to "This is just English." The key is to focus on substance rather than mere language.

Creating content with substance ensures longevity and prevents short-lived success. In the B2B marketing space, where I predominantly operate, understanding the product inside out is paramount. Every team member learns to immerse themselves in the product, rivaling the knowledge of even the product owner. This deep understanding forms the foundation for crafting a compelling value proposition that resonates through our content.

5. With AI's emergence, how do you see its impact on content marketing?

I had early exposure to the world of AI, thanks to one of my mentors who co-founded Aspiring Minds, a pioneering company in India that introduced AI into the B2B SaaS space. We began working on AI products as far back as 2010, allowing me to witness the spectrum of AI's impact, from its positives to the challenges it poses. With the advent of the future of work and discussions about AI potentially replacing jobs, the landscape has seen various iterations of AI, including the recent emergence of ChatGPT, which has stirred quite a reaction.

In my view, the key to understanding AI's role lies in harnessing its potential to your advantage. While there was initial trepidation among content creators like us when AI tools like ChatGPT came into play, I believe that AI can be used as a powerful tool rather than a threat.

By integrating AI into our workflow, we can optimize ideation and topic preparation, as well as streamline monthly and quarterly content planning sessions.

When AI is leveraged strategically, it enhances efficiency and creativity, making it a valuable asset to content marketers. Ultimately, the future of AI hinges on embracing it as an ally that can amplify our capabilities rather than overshadow them.

6. What is your definition of ideal content?

Defining the ideal content is quite a challenge, and it's something I've discussed with colleagues. Content is inherently subjective, making it hard to set rigid criteria for what's ideal.

Just recently, I had a conversation with a colleague about this, and we realized how content's subjective nature makes it difficult to generalize. Even in my preference, I'm a fan of fiction, but even the most accomplished authors have their share of non-followers. This emphasizes that content's appeal can differ greatly from person to person, making it challenging to establish a universal definition.

That being said, I believe that good content often revolves around the art of storytelling.

After all, marketing is fundamentally about storytelling, and if you can infuse your content with a captivating narrative, it becomes a recipe for success.

Regardless of the domain, even in the seemingly "boring" B2B SaaS space that I specialize in, effective content can still captivate through narrative. Even if the subject matter is technical or product-focused, weaving a compelling story around it can make it engaging.

7. How would you define your ideal content marketing stack?

I have a bit of a traditional perspective when it comes to my ideal content marketing stack. For me, the most powerful assets within a content marketing team are passionate writers who excel in language skills. As a bit of a grammar perfectionist myself, language proficiency is crucial. Alongside talented writers, having an exceptional editor and a creative design team is essential. This combination lays the foundation for producing top-notch content.

While distribution strategies can vary across different channels like brand, digital, social, and email, my inclination leans towards a strong brand content strategy.

I believe in starting with a robust brand-focused approach that eventually evolves into a demand-driven strategy.

This contrasts with the common practice in startups, where demand-led content strategies often take precedence. Throughout my experience with startups, I've observed that prioritizing brands and building high-quality content gradually leads to a natural pull mechanism, resulting in increased demand over time.

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