Charu Gupta

Director, Brand & Content Marketing at Hiver

Charu Gupta on How Marketing Has Evolved Through Years & How to Do It Right

The marketing industry is constantly adapting to new technologies and consumer behaviors. From traditional print and television advertising to the rise of digital marketing and social media, a lot has changed over the years. It has changed how brands create content and promote their products. Now, artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing marketing strategies, taking personalization and data-driven decisions to dizzying new heights.

To help you navigate the twists and turns of this ever-changing landscape, we at Pepper Content have secured an exclusive interview with Charu Gupta, a top marketing expert, to ensure that you, as a marketer, are well-equipped to conquer the wild frontier of modern marketing.

So, here are the excerpts from the interview.

1. How did you get into marketing?

I have been in this space for about 14 years now, and my journey in this space has been anything but conventional. I did my master's in economics, and I was all set to be a financial advisor or an economist. In my first job, we were working on a financial product. It was a subscription-based financial website. Back in 2008, when we started selling that product, I told my founder I wanted to work in the marketing team. He agreed to guide me, and we just started putting out content on Facebook and Orkut. As and when we were doing that, I realized my passion lies more in this space. I am more of a creative person, and I took the risk and switched to social media marketing. 

In these 14 years, a key lesson I've learned is the importance of tailoring content for each unique audience and brand. This approach allows for more effective communication and engagement. For instance, I had the opportunity to work on Whisper's "Touch the Pickle" campaign, which aimed to break the taboo around discussing menstruation in India. On the other hand, when working with Enamor, a lingerie brand, we took a humorous approach to address the topic of bra sizes in the "size does matter" campaign. Both campaigns targeted Indian women but required distinct strategies.

As the industry evolved, so did my career. From the early days of paid marketing on Facebook to the current complexity of specialized roles within marketing divisions, my experiences have led me to the B2B space. Contrary to the belief that B2B content should be technical and formal, I've discovered that maintaining an engaging and enjoyable tone is crucial to effectively communicating with decision-makers.

At Hiver, we are proud to create fun and innovative content that resonates with our audience, emphasizing the importance of a tailored and engaging approach to marketing.

2. How have you seen marketing as a space really evolve from then (14 years)? Is there a drastic change?

Absolutely. In my childhood, we had TV, print, hoardings, and radio with memorable jingles. Primarily, it was a one-way communication from brands to consumers. When I started my journey, things were simple. The focus was on connecting with audiences, not algorithms, using Facebook, Twitter, and forums for one-on-one interactions.

Today, marketing has become complex and overcrowded with numerous brands, content, and channels all competing for limited consumer attention. To address this, various technologies have emerged. Rather than creating a single ad for one medium, brands must now tailor their content based on their stage and target audience, focusing on multiple factors.

The landscape has grown more intricate, but there are also more tools to help. My key focus remains on uncovering the right insights to create content that connects with the audience.

5. What are some of the pain points marketers like us face daily? Do you see this changing in the future or staying for some time?

Challenges in marketing have evolved, with brands facing multiple complex business problems that require various solutions. To address these issues, marketers must prioritize and deprioritize potential solutions, even if they seem equally important.

For example, brands must choose between investing in content for lead generation and revenue or content for brand recognition. Large brands like Coke have established strong brand identities, but smaller companies continually struggle with this challenge.

A flywheel model can promote continuous growth by converting existing content into a brand's eventual list, leading to more leads.

However, the challenge of prioritizing solutions remains. Measuring success and ROI in brand campaigns is another significant challenge. Not every aspect of a campaign will have a direct ROI. Some strategies offer immediate leads and revenue, while others provide long-term benefits. Marketers must identify the potential outcomes of each approach and make informed decisions accordingly. This prioritization process is one of the most pressing challenges in marketing today.

6. How do you think AI is impacting marketing now and in the future?

I believe AI is here to stay. It solves a lot of problems that marketers face. It is only going to reduce mind space. But AI isn’t going to take over the human intervention that you need. It can suggest what a social media strategy or post should be, and it can write a post or email for you. But it’s up to humans to define a brand’s identity.

AI can provide original content, which can be a good starting point for research. It's important not to resist AI but embrace it to enhance our work. Our tools and platforms will keep evolving, and we must be open to change. AI is here to stay, and it's time to shake hands with it.

7. When someone says, “Get your content right,” what does it mean?

Defining good and bad content isn't easy, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Do you remember all the last ten reels u watched? No, right? Because there’s too much content, little mind space, and only a few can captivate your attention. To do this, you need to understand your target audience and their psychology, as well as your role as a brand in their lives. Honesty is also crucial, both with your brand and yourself.

Once you understand the audience and focus on their feelings, you’ll want to elicit some kind of response from them. Capturing their insight and eliciting response is very important. Moreover, consistency is key when it comes to building a brand message that sticks in people's minds. For example, the golden arches of McDonald's are instantly recognizable. Brands like Blissclub are also doing great marketing by consistently presenting their message to the audience.

However, if your product isn't valuable, no amount of content or marketing will make it successful. It's essential to create content that's relatable and enjoyable to make a connection with your audience. Avoid being too salesy all the time and instead focus on sharing something you believe in and showing it in a fun and engaging way.

At Hiver, we identified the passion of our team members. We found that a lot of them are into music. For instance, we need to create a report on all that we did this year. A typical approach would be to make carousels. But, we created a very unique rap. While the consumer can’t understand each of the lines, they won’t either read a carousel or something to know what your brand has achieved in detail. But showcasing something cool is a great way to can capture their mind space.

Great content is content that fits your audience and brings you joy while creating it. It should also elicit some kind of feeling like humor, fun, a hit-the-pain point, or something.

6. Do you have a set machinery or strategy that you follow to get the right content every time? 

We need to think about it every time. It cannot be a set formula you apply everywhere. Take a look at the problem at hand, and figure out the objective(s). Your primary objective should be clear. Then figure out what you can do for this kind of content (digital, video, written, in-person event) at this point to give you the desired result. Doing it every single time is the key to getting it right.

There are multiple tools, such as Google Analytics, Hubspot, data, social listening tools, etc., that you can use to get data and insights based on your requirements. Then use these based on what and how you want to communicate.

7. Do you have any tips or guidance for anyone starting or struggling in marketing?

Don’t take yourself and this life too seriously. Marketing people have made it a point to make it sound very complicated. There’s too much to learn and do. In principle, it’s very simple. You just need to learn the basics and apply them. Keep reading and figuring it out while trying it out. Learn from your mistakes, don’t repeat them, but repeat your success.

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