Mansi Piplani

Vice President of Marketing at Toothsi

Education-led content drives conversions, says Mansi Piplani

As brands pioneer new categories, content can play a key role in converting traffic into customers. What does an ideal piece of content look like in such a scenario? What are the challenges marketers can anticipate in the process of content creation and dissemination?  

In this interview, Prateek Kalra from Pepper Content dives into an insightful conversation with Mansi Piplani, Vice President of Marketing at Toothsi. She shares useful nuggets on how brands can harness content as a tool in driving conversions, especially in newer product categories. She also comments on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation can help address some of the pressing struggles faced by digital marketers, today. 

1. Tell us a little about your career journey so far

I have about seven years of experience purely in the marketing domain. I was one of those people who entered college thinking I need marketing in my life as my career. And that's what I went after. I began on the business development side as a key account manager at Zomato. And that's where I had my first tryst with content.    

In the earlier days, Zomato was a content platform, getting content together for consumers who wanted to know where to eat and order from. As a part of my role, one of the things that we would do was tell our restaurant partners and clients how to market themselves better with content through, how people search, what people want to consume, and how to trigger them to make that purchase. I started appreciating the importance of content. 

You can have a structure or skeleton in place - how you decorate - that’s what content is

2. Share some instances of when you’ve come to appreciate the content as a marketer 

Post Zomato, I completed my MBA from the Indian School of Business (ISB). There I got into beauty content as a consumer myself. I understood the importance of storytelling in how brands create consideration in your mind. It’s telling you that there is a friendly recommendation happening through that content. It tells you why you should trust a particular brand and give it a try. It was a huge space that brands could unlock. 

After ISB, I got placed at L’Oreal, a hardcore beauty company, backed by content consistently. One of the first L’Oreal brands I got to work on was NYX Professional Makeup, which, globally has grown on the back of zero-dollar marketing. Their entire strategy was seeded through influencers who would use their products, and showcase them to potential consumers. 

That taught me how alternate marketing channels play out in building a brand, very effectively. They make sense from a Return On Investment (ROI) perspective as well. 

3. Tell us about a project where content led to conversions.

At Urban Company, one of the first projects I got was “Massage At Home”. A fun fact - there are about 70% of people in India have never gotten a massage in their lives. Any massage brand is going to get those kinds of people coming in. 

I was tasked with this entire thought of how you drive business growth. We were getting a lot of traffic; people were interested. But how do we get them to convert? 

We were able to drive a 40% delta conversion just by changing the way we presented our offering. We used an education-led content approach. People didn't know what massages were about. They didn't want to know about a fancy-sounding massage. They wanted to know what benefit they would get out of it.

By reordering a set of content based on consumer triggers, barriers, and what answers they wanted, we were able to drive up that conversion. We used the existing architecture but changed the way we decorated it. 

The point is that content creation by itself won’t do much if you don't have the backing of insight on it. Put those two together - then just on the back of good content, you can drive real business outcomes.

4. How are you leveraging content in your current role at Toothsi?

Tootsie is in the business of category creation - teeth straightening or the aligner space, a fairly new space in India. There is a lot of education that needs to be driven about this space. Similarly, if you look at the other business we have as part of the MakeO brand - Skinzee - where we do laser hair reduction and advanced facials - this is again a very education-lead domain. 

Laser has been around for 20 years. But if you ask anybody, do you know what a laser is - they say “yes”. But if you ask if they know what it does - they say “no”. Those are major questions in people's minds. 

If you have your consumer insights in place, right from what makes your consumer tick to where they are consuming content, it makes sense to mix all of that, with the “tadka” of creativity. 

A lot of new-age brands that I'm personally exposed to are following this route of creating education, and content-driven advertising and channels to build awareness and consideration. This is a low-cost way of acquiring as compared to running ads. It also has a more long-term impact on brand-building and growth.   

5. What are some key challenges faced by content marketers today?

I'll divide it into two spaces - content creation and content dissemination. Most of the advertising world tells you that if you optimize for the dissemination stack, and work backward to the content creation stack, then you should be able to deliver the full potential of that particular piece of content. 

When people would shoot pieces of content earlier, they would shoot in one go for one medium - mostly TV. Now that format does not work. The content creation space has undergone a boom from traditional advertising. Even the most organic reel can become a piece of content that can be utilized on the paid front, and give you returns. That’s what people want to engage with. Content creation itself has become a large beast because of the ripple effect from the content dissemination space. 

As a marketer, always shoot for the channel that you are spending the most money on. By default, shoot in a way that you can create a lot of edits out of it, so you can effectively target different formats. 

I am hoping that in the future we can unlock more tools that allow some level of standardization or a way to fasten the process of adoption and create efficiency. 

6. What percentage of AI do you believe will become a part of your marketing media mix? 

With AI, there will be some level of aiding, or cannibalization. The biggest space where I see this is in written content because the pace at which you need to write and put it across is very, very high. This is like SEO, which guzzles content. You need to put in a certain number of content pieces in a month. 

When it comes to more creative forms where the stakes are higher - like campaigns - there I believe assistance is possible. For instance, making cut-downs of a master idea for five platforms that I want to advertise on. What is the right way of representing this idea across them? That's where I see AI coming into play. 

Today, I see AI primarily being used on the performance marketing side of things in the running of ads, and at some level on the creation of ads, in the barest form possible. The bottom level of the ecosystem - say copywriting - will take a hit from the AI domain.

Speed becomes the most important benefit that you get out of it. The second is cost. Costs are not the easiest to manage with an agency’s marketing P&l. 

7. How would you define ideal content? 

As a consumer consuming content, first and foremost, I should enjoy it. I'll give you an example. Say, I have been thinking about laser hair reduction for the last year. But I have not been able to make up my mind. If I keep seeing my ecosystem deliver video pieces that show people talking through their experiences, I’ll be able to make up my mind, a lot quicker. Or in the direction, the brand wants to push me in. 

If the content is relevant to me, answers my questions, leaves an impact on me, and is served to me on a platform I enjoy, it makes me engage with it. That is an ideal piece of content for me.

8. What would your ideal content marketing stack look like?

My ideal stack would be 60% driven by human intervention, and 40% by technology, as I believe there’s a lot of work being done today which can be enabled by technology. I would keep a creative, thinking brain but I would automate making adaptations of the content. 

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