Harsh Binani

Vice President of Marketing At NeoSOFT

Scaling Heights in Digital Marketing with Harsh Binani

Dive into this riveting conversation with Harsh Binani, a trailblazer in the field of digital marketing. This interview provides an intriguing peek into Binani's transformative journey over a decade, his exciting stints with various businesses, and his instrumental role in building brands. Binani shares his insights on successfully enabling traditional companies to transition to the digital domain and his contribution to significant initiatives such as OYO's rapid expansion.

Harsh Binani, Vice President of Marketing At NeoSOFT, converses with our host Madhusha, ex-Senior Account Executive of Papper Content, about the exponential growth of content marketing and the impact of digital technology in shaping today's marketing terrain.

1. Share your journey across diverse businesses.

My journey so far has been satisfying. I've done many different things, like helping businesses grow and building up brands. I've worked in lots of other industries, which has been interesting. I once helped OYO when they were starting and needed to proliferate. They had just gotten some money from investors, and I helped them add almost 200 places to stay in six states. It was a busy time, and we were all about moving fast and making things happen.

Later on, I got an opportunity with Hero Enterprises. They do a bunch of stuff like digital learning and insurance. They wanted to use the internet more, so I helped them figure out how to do that. We launched four new things that changed how the company worked, especially when dealing with other businesses. That work still goes on today.

But then I wanted to try something new, so I joined a company called Qlogic. It was a small startup with about 400 people, but we had big plans. We worked hard for four years, and things went well. We joined up with another company called LTI Mindtree, and it was a big success. It was a journey filled with hard work and teamwork. And now, I'm on a new adventure. It's not exactly a startup, but it feels like it in some ways. We're doing big things but with the spirit of a startup. The next couple of years looks exciting because the industry is changing a lot, and we're right at the forefront of that change.

It's all been about building things, growing businesses, building brands as well.

2. What's your take on today's content marketing landscape and the impact of digital technology on its shaping?

Content is a big part of our online world. It does many things, like telling people about products, sharing intelligent ideas, and convincing folks to buy stuff. There are three main parts to it: finding out what people like, making the content, and getting it out there. With all the new technology, these parts are getting even better. It's like giving a speed boost to a superhero! So, here's the big question: how good are we at using these tools to tell people about our stuff?

Before, whether you were a marketer or a boss, making content and knowing what people wanted was hard. But guess what? That's not the most complex part anymore. Now, the real challenge is doing these things on a big scale. Things that used to be tough are now easier, thanks to fancy tech and AI. People argue that tech is taking jobs, but I think differently. These new tech helpers are like sidekicks, not bad guys. They're not stealing jobs; they're making us better at our jobs. It's like going from doing regular homework to getting extra credit – we're doing more work in a good way.

3. Are you actively exploring and experimenting with these technologies?

Yes, we're totally into these technologies! As soon as we heard about them, we jumped right in. We're all about trying out new stuff on our own and as a team. We're like explorers checking out different platforms and tools to see how they fit our goals. In the world of marketing, a lot of us have great ideas, but sometimes we struggle to make them happen fast. That's where technology comes in. We're actively working on what we call Proof of Concepts (POCs). These things don't take up a ton of time or resources; they help us do big tasks more efficiently.

Tech has changed how we do things. POCs are like our partners, helping us figure out what's working for our audience and our business. Armed with this knowledge, we can get things out to the public super fast.

4. Switching from OYO to Hero was a significant shift. Any campaigns you were part of during or after that change?

Reflecting on my past job, I have something important to share. It's not just about the job; it's about how much they appreciated my ideas. This shows how valuable the things we discussed were. Our business success hinged on what we wrote and shared. In startups, resources can be limited, but people pay attention if they have exciting things to say. We made our company intriguing by sharing helpful information, and we did this consistently.

One remarkable thing we did was use our content to step into new markets. It's like shining a light on what those places need regarding technology. Think about African countries like South Africa and Nigeria. They're embracing digital, but their needs differ from advanced places like the U.S. So, we tailored content to fit each group's needs. We did this for 30 countries – a significant feat.

Crafting unique papers, stories, and messages for each group was a significant task. It took time, unlike today's fast pace. But the outcomes were impressive. This experience taught me that understanding what different markets want and using content to connect with them is vital for a business.

5. Have you tried using vernacular content to connect with diverse audiences? What results have you seen?

Using vernacular and national content is a big deal in our digital world. Since we're all about digital stuff, we often need to mix global and local appeal. Imagine a travel website trying to talk to people in Australia, Madagascar, Mexico, or those who want to explore the world's wonders. But here's the thing – how do you share the same stuff when people speak different languages and care about other things? That's where our tech skills come in. We ensure that even though people are different, they can understand the same ideas.

Talking about using local languages, we're focusing on India. We're in nine different places, and we're thinking about whether talking to people in their languages can help us find the best people to work with. We have about 4,000 talented people working with us, and we want to find more. It's like trying to get the best team.

Using the right language is like building a bridge in a world where everyone is connected. We're excited to see how using local languages can make a big difference, especially in finding the best people and beyond.

We became an online company. We do a lot of good work in the B2B space.

6. What, in your opinion, forms a potent content strategy mix that balances the essentials with innovative experimentation?

As we move ahead, the main challenge isn't just about getting new tools and platforms. It's about finding the right people who can use these tools well. There aren't many people who understand both business and these platforms. We wonder if leaders are born or if they can learn to lead well.

Matching the right people with these complex platforms is like solving a tricky puzzle. Getting tools like ChatGPT, Pepper.ai, Surf Ratio, and Semrush might seem easy, but the real trick is using them to get good results. Even though platforms change a lot, having the right experts matters. These are the people who can understand how things are changing and use these tools effectively. This, I believe, is where real success comes from.

7. How do you define a successful piece of content?

To me, crafting compelling content rests on three pillars: context, personalization, and above all, simplicity. Ensuring content aligns with specific contexts is vital, followed by making it relatable. However, the true magic lies in simplicity.

Whether I'm conversing with a high-level executive or sharing thoughts with my grandmother, the principle remains the same – simplicity wins hearts. Content that's easy to understand bridges gaps. Of course, distribution strategies play a role in ensuring content reaches its intended audience across devices and platforms. Yet, at its core, these three aspects stand as pillars.

8. What advice would you give to budding marketers today?

For a thriving career, merging hard work and intelligent work is essential. Adding dedicated effort to astute approaches creates an edge. Understanding business and human behavior is vital for impactful marketing. Data enhances creativity; let it guide without stifling. Combining insights and imagination paves your path to success.

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