Chief Strategy Officer at HiveMinds
Decoding the Evolution of Marketing with Deepti Bhadauria
Join us in delving into an enlightening discussion about Deepti's dynamic journey through marketing. Her odyssey began in sales and spanned illustrious enterprises such as HUL, Hindustan Times, and LimeRoad, amassing a treasure trove of wisdom over nearly twenty years. As an industry trailblazer navigating capricious marketing trends across diverse sectors and regions, Deepti unveils her most profound learnings and observations.
This conversation between Prateek Kalra, Associate Director-Sales at Pepper Content, and Deepti Bhadauria, Chief Strategy Officer at HiveMinds, promises a glimpse into the progressively interconnected, instantaneous, and customer-centric landscape of 21st-century marketing, a force shaping global businesses' destiny. Embark on this voyage with us as we deeply explore the metamorphosis of the marketing domain through Deepti's insightful narrative.
1. Can you please share your journey with us?
My journey began in the sales world, where I spent four to five years of my career. I found myself at HUL, delving into the intriguing realm of trade marketing. This role, acting as a bridge between sales and marketing, sparked my curiosity and set the stage for my evolving career. My next adventure led me to Hindustan Times, a pivotal point where my path transformed towards content and brand marketing. Within Hindustan Times, I was privileged to lead the events division and take on the brand manager role. I dedicated my efforts to this endeavor for nearly three to four years before pursuing higher education.
After my enriching experience at ISB, I ventured into the dynamic world of startups, a sector brimming with growth and innovation. My initial foray was at Lime Road, an exciting fashion e-commerce startup. Here, I grasped the profound significance of content and influencers, as the entire platform centered around influencer marketing. The concept of lookbooks, curated by individuals, directly translating into sales, left a deep impression on me. My journey led me to another fashion e-commerce startup, Unique. Additionally, I had a valuable stint at Vodafone, where I embraced a revenue-driven role focused on products.
Subsequently, I found myself in the realm of health tech, specifically at Portia Healthcare, India's largest home healthcare company. This new chapter introduced me to a world of profound impact, addressing crucial healthcare needs. Fast forward to the present, spanning over three years, I have been in a strategic role at Hive Minds. As a part of the esteemed Madison Group, Hive Minds is the country's leading digital marketing entity. My role has allowed me to work with clients across India, UAE, and parts of Southeast Asia, cutting across diverse domains. Our services span app marketing, lead generation, SEO, and influencer marketing while consistently striving to surpass industry standards.
We are serving clients in all these services and growing our capability to deliver better than the industry.
2. Considering past media variations to the integrated approach, how do you see today's marketing role? What are the main challenges in this evolution?
Over 20 years, I've witnessed many changes in the landscape. India's transformation, evolving consumer behavior, and rapid technological advancements have all played a part. Particularly in marketing, there's been a profound shift. When I started my career, marketing was more of a standalone function, merely in touch with sales. However, today, I perceive marketing as an integral part of the entire business structure.
Successful marketers nowadays thrive within this integrated framework, collaborating closely with customer support, production, and supply chain teams—the dynamic nature of marketing demands such cohesion. Unlike when we relied on periodic reports from market research companies to gauge customer sentiment every six months, we're now equipped with various tools and technologies that provide real-time feedback. With the advent of e-commerce platforms, product feedback, and insights flow in rapidly, demanding marketing's immediate attention.
This transformation is twofold. Firstly, marketing has evolved from a standalone function to an indispensable component woven into the fabric of the business. Secondly, the relationship with consumers has significantly deepened. During my days as a brand manager, we heavily relied on market research companies for insights derived from panels and trend data. Today, the scene has changed remarkably. Real-time data is at our fingertips, allowing us to stay closely attuned to consumer preferences.
In response to these changes, industries are pivoting towards an increased emphasis on understanding customer reviews. Clients seek our insights on better analyzing and leveraging these reviews to enhance their offerings. Moreover, the role of influencers has become paramount. Marketers are exploring avenues to engage influencers who can authentically endorse their products and services, bringing a fresh dimension to customer engagement. Indeed, while technological advancements have fundamentally altered the marketing world, the essence remains rooted in the ever-closer connection between businesses and their consumers.
3. What challenges do marketers face today amid integrated marketing, complex data, transparency demands, and feedback ecosystems?
Depending on the industry, distinct challenges emerge, yet one constant thread unites them all. As you mentioned, the sheer volume of real-time data from various sources presents a formidable puzzle. This challenge revolves around deciphering what precisely to extract from this data. It's a problem as data can be molded, not in a manipulative way, but rather influenced by preconceived notions. Approaching data with a predetermined viewpoint can skew interpretations and lead to misconceptions, especially given the many correlations.
A pivotal challenge lies in attributing the correct value to each channel. In the grand tapestry of a comprehensive campaign, it's no secret that channels can sometimes overlap and compete. Yet, each channel boasts its unique strengths and purposes. This calls for a nuanced understanding of how each channel contributes to reality beyond surface impressions.
The second universal challenge revolves around engaging customers effectively. It's no secret that today's customers possess fleeting attention spans. The TV era now has the dichotomy of light and heavy viewers, most gravitating toward other platforms. These platforms demand concise, impactful content. The art lies in crafting a brand narrative that aligns with these customer preferences, encapsulating the essence within a time frame that holds their attention.
Now there are so many different tools, technology. You don't have to rely on a market research company to tell you what your customers feel every six months. Right now, you can get real-time feedback.
4. What's your take on AI's role in marketing? Have you witnessed its application and impact across different functions? What, in your view, genuinely contributes value, and what might be considered more of a gimmick?
From my perspective, based on the experiences I've had and the tools my team and I have employed, AI's role has been quite impactful. The current landscape demands a diverse range of content, and this is where AI shines in terms of scalability. AI-driven content and visual platforms have allowed us to swiftly and efficiently adapt content, notes, and more, even on a large scale. This acceleration is especially valuable in the constant cycle of testing and learning that shapes campaigns.
One of the prominent benefits of AI lies in its ability to act as a brainstorming partner. This is particularly evident in content creation, where I often encourage my team first to draft original content, though sometimes the initial draft emerges from a chatbot platform. Despite this, AI aids significantly in the brainstorming process. It provides a platform to bounce ideas off, eliminating the need for extensive collaborative sessions. In this dynamic, we've found that the AI-driven process often produces a more decadent array of creative concepts.
However, while AI's role in enhancing scalability is evident, its contribution to quality is a work in progress. As business partners, it's crucial that the tools we use to address the challenge of scale and uphold high standards of quality. Clients seek partners who can deliver both, not just quantity, without quality. Therefore, our expectations from AI and other tools are rooted in their capacity to handle scale and elevate the overall quality of our work.
5. If you had a day of Godmode power in content marketing, how would you reshape the content marketing platform according to your vision?
It's undeniable that consumer preferences have continuously evolved in recent years. Nowadays, what customers seek is personalization. The days of one-size-fits-all or addressing the needs of the masses have shifted. Individuals desire solutions tailored to their unique interests and queries. Therefore, personalization has become paramount. Another significant shift revolves around the nature of the content itself. It's no longer confined to written text. Visual content has gained immense acceptance and popularity.
Given this context, if I were endowed with the power you mentioned, I'd envision a platform or solution designed to deliver content precisely as customers desire, right when they need it. This platform would excel at providing visual and text content of the utmost quality while tailoring it to suit each individual's preferences.
My ideal content solution would seamlessly combine three essential elements. First, personalization would be at the core, ensuring that content speaks directly to the intended recipient. Second, the platform would enable swift content creation in multiple formats, recognizing the demand for varied content types. And third, measurement capabilities would be robust, allowing for assessment from ROI or other pertinent metrics. This measurement aspect would facilitate ongoing testing and learning, ensuring the content continually resonates with the audience. The loop would be closed as insights from the audience's responses are funneled back into refining the platform.
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