Kartik Kakar

Head of Marketing at Daffodil Software

Kartik Kakar on Evolution of B2B Marketing and the Power of Personalization

Dive into an insightful conversation with industry veteran Kartik Kakar as he unravels the nuances of B2B marketing evolution and demystifies the power of personalization. With an illustrious career spanning over 18 years, Kakar's journey is a testament to grit, passion, and determination to build powerful brands from scratch. This conversation takes you through his fascinating journey in marketing, his experience with tech businesses, and his significant accomplishments in the field.

At its heart, this intriguing conversation between Madhusha Bhati, Senior Account Executive at Pepper Content, and Kartik Kakar, Head of Marketing at Daffodil Software, explores the unique aspects of B2B marketing. It delves into the pivotal role of personalization in creating top-of-mind recall. The discussion also sheds light on the impact of generative AI on advertising and what the future holds for marketers. Get ready to step into the world of marketing through the eyes of a seasoned player.

Here are some excerpts:

1. Can you please tell us about your journey?

My journey into the marketing world began unexpectedly when I joined a company and ended up in the marketing division. As I got deeper into marketing, I became interested in building brands from scratch. That's what I'm genuinely passionate about. Throughout my career, I've been closely connected to different tech businesses, whether they're making products or offering services. My main focus has always been on the digital side of these businesses.

A big highlight of my journey has been creating marketing strategies from the ground up for businesses. Many companies I've worked with initially had small marketing teams that didn't contribute much to overall lead generation. I helped by setting up a robust lead-generation system using inbound marketing techniques. This approach has always guided our work. Once we have a good way of generating leads, we focus on building the brand and developing other parts of the business. We take it from the beginning stages to a more mature stage.

Looking at the trends influencing my journey, I feel lucky to see how digital advertising platforms have evolved over the past ten years. It's incredible how these platforms have advanced, shaping our marketing and advertising today. What's even more exciting is that generative AI technology significantly impacts marketing and advertising. This blend of AI and marketing is a fascinating area, with many possibilities and innovations changing how we connect with people.

I really liked the whole concept of building a brand from scratch.

2. Share your experience creating brands from scratch, especially in B2C with viral campaigns, and explain your approach to initiating B2B marketing.

Regarding B2B marketing, I've noticed some unique things that make it different from our usual marketing. What works well is personalization. This means adjusting your message to match exactly what your target audience is interested in and needs. Knowing where they go and what messages they like is essential. In B2B, the goal is to make your brand immediately come to mind.

It's not just about sharing your message and hoping someone sees it. It's about being the solution they think of when they need a certain product or service. The key is to be the first choice they remember. To do this, you must create smart ideas and consistently share helpful content your customers like and connect with.

3. Could you elaborate on the evolution of personalization in the past decade and its influence on brand strategies and marketing budgets?

In today's world, consumers want more than just seeing their name on a page. They expect brands to really understand them. When I go to a brand's website, I want them to know about my business, what I believe in, and what I need. This change is big. For example, if I work for a small IT services company, I want to see content that's about my industry. I don't want a general overview. I want to know how that company can help me specifically. Using data analytics is a powerful way to make this happen. These tools help businesses understand what customers like and need. This means they can give customers the exact information they're looking for.

4. What essential tools do you believe every marketer should rely on to enhance effectiveness?

My primary tool is a robust marketing automation platform that's been essential in all my different jobs. I use it as a crucial part of our strategy, focusing on creating content. I think about how customers go from not knowing about us to becoming customers. I also create profiles of different customer types and ensure our content connects with them.

I also use online research tools. These tools examine what words people search for online and what's popular. This helps us make content that matches exactly what our audience wants. Another essential tool is analytics. It allows us to see how well our strategies are working. This way, we can always improve our marketing based on what our audience likes and does.

5. How has the shift from performance to content-focused marketing impacted your role? How does organic content contribute to ROI, especially in terms of SEO? How are you adapting to these changes at Daffodils?

I think a good content strategy is like building a solid foundation. It should connect with the people you want to reach. To do this, you need to understand your audience well and offer them helpful information in different ways. Nowadays, people use various websites and social media, so you need to be present where they are. Also, being creative is essential and not copying what others have said.

At our company, we use special AI tools to learn more about our customers. We can have virtual conversations with these tools to understand what a CIO needs, especially if they want our products or services. This helps us make content that's just right for them. For example, we can imagine a CIO from an online store and ask them about their problems. This personal approach helps us create content that fits their needs, making our solutions even better suited. It's a way for us to solve challenges and give the correct information to the right people.

It's not just about always throwing your message out there and hoping somebody will read it. It's just about you being the first person they think of whenever the person requires a product and service.

7. What's your definition of outstanding content? Which format do you think works the best?

Quality content speaks directly to the audience and aligns with my marketing objectives. It encompasses top, middle, and conversion funnel stages, effectively forming a lead generation mechanism. Once this strategy is in place, I tailor content for specific industries or customer segments, covering topics, formats, and distribution channels and optimizing success metrics.

Video content's rise, fueled by generative AI, has spurred B2B businesses to dedicate separate channels in strategies, enhancing conversion rates. Looking ahead, I anticipate advances in personalization tools, with video and personalization integration holding promise to overcome challenges and make a significant impact.

8. How does the rise of vernacular content among B2C brands impact your B2B approach?

Our business primarily targets the Western Europe market; thus, using vernacular content isn't a prominent aspect of our strategy. However, I believe that content should strongly connect with the intended audience. If there's a logical fit to engage with a particular segment through vernacular content, it's certainly worth exploring. Yet, I must admit that this avenue hasn't been explored within our campaigns, so I can't provide extensive insights on this front.

9. How have your strategies evolved in the face of changing trends over the last five years? Could you highlight key differences from your past approach?

The marketing world is full of challenges, and it changes quickly. What works well today might not work as well in six months. So, we believe in trying new things fast. We test out ideas quickly. If they work, we use them. If they don't, we learn from them and move on. We keep changing things to find what really works.

There's a lot of competition now, which makes it hard to focus on everything that needs to be done. Building trust and making sure people remember us is even tougher. But I see these challenges as exciting opportunities. They push me to develop new ideas and change how I do things to keep up.

10. What advice would you give to aspiring marketers about brand building and creating effective marketing strategies?

In marketing, I strongly believe in constantly learning new things. I tell my team that being open to new ideas and trying new things is essential. This means we should be willing to experiment and use different tools. Let's look at generative AI, for example. When it first came, people thought making content would be easy. But what I've seen is quite interesting. Instead of having less work, our content team has more to do now. They spend less time researching and thinking about ideas because generative AI helps them. This means they can spend more time writing and developing new ideas. Surprisingly, technology has changed how we work, making our jobs bigger instead of simpler.

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