Mastering Marketing in the Digital Landscape with Nimish Gupta
Marketing is an integral part of running a thriving business. However, with the introduction of advanced technologies like AI, marketing has undergone a transformative change, enhancing its efficiency, focusing on customer needs, and becoming data-oriented. To stay competitive, marketers must stay up-to-date with the latest trends and adapt to new techniques and technologies. In this dynamic and continuously evolving industry, staying informed about these changes is crucial for marketers who aspire to succeed.
In this insightful conversation, Pepper talks to Nimish Gupta, Head of Marketing at Spyne about his journey of becoming a marketing division head along with some crucial insights on marketing, content, and what the future looks like.
1. Nimish, please tell us about your journey. How did it all start?
I began my marketing career in 2015 with a startup called Punch. It was a risky move, leaving a large conglomerate like TCS to join a startup, but it turned out to be an amazing journey. As the first marketing hire, I started as a generalist but eventually developed into a product marketer.
Over the four years I spent at Punch, we scaled significantly in terms of marketing and business. When I left, Punch was Series C funded and later got acquired by PAR Technologies for $500 million. It was then that I felt ready for a new challenge, and that's when I joined Ameo as the Head of Performance Marketing and Demand Generation for the non-US Europe market.
Despite facing the challenges posed by the pandemic, we were able to scale our marketing efforts at Ameo and achieved some impressive results in terms of leads, demos, and sales. I also took on a managerial role, leading teams for SDRs, performance marketing, and demand generation. We even tried account-based marketing for the first time, and it worked well for us.
After a short stint at Lambda Test as Director of Marketing, I joined Spyne as they offered me the opportunity to build their entire marketing team from scratch. It's been quite a journey so far, hiring the right people and setting up systems and processes to ensure stakeholder management, and leading the entire marketing effort. Today, in just one year, we have a stable team in place, and our efforts are making Spyne a marketing-led company.
2. In your experience so far as a Marketer, how do you think Marketing has evolved? How do you see it going forward?
As the saying goes, change is the only constant, and I wholeheartedly believe it. The marketing landscape is constantly evolving and will continue to do so. However, one thing that remains unchanged is the fact that marketing is all about being where your customers are. As you rightly pointed out, in the past, it was all about TV commercials and billboards. But nowadays, to grab your customers' attention and connect with them effectively, you need to be present where they are and communicate in a language that resonates with them.
For instance, if you're targeting millennials or B2B SaaS professionals, LinkedIn is the platform where they spend most of their time. Therefore, it's important to focus your marketing efforts on these channels instead of traditional mediums like billboards or TV commercials. At the end of the day, the key is to invest your time, energy, and resources where your customers are, and that's what matters.
3. What are your views on the AI tools like Chat GPT coming to the market? Will the human touch get lost in the incoming times?
Chat GPT is poised to play a pivotal role with the impact it's making. However, I see it more as a personal assistant, like Google, which helped us transition from books to the Internet. Chat GPT will help people in their work, democratized and accessible to everyone, resulting in improved output.
It can be especially helpful for performance marketing or paid marketing. ChatGPT can generate ad copies based on current market trends, and humans can then play around with it and add a creative angle. This process saves time and allows marketers to start one step ahead, rather than from scratch. So, it's a personal assistant that can boost your performance, and the human angle will never go away; in fact, it'll be amplified with Chat GPT.
For content marketing, say you're a B2B SaaS company, you need to develop content that resonates with your persona. With Chat GPT, you can create content, but you need to ensure that the content has the right flavor and tone that a company wants to communicate. With that creative angle on top, you can make it more personal and effective.
Furthermore, the same AI models used to build Chat GPT will be used to ensure strict governance and checks, to curb AI content abuse. However, if you can bring that human input, then you’re a winner.
Chat GPT is poised to play a pivotal role with the impact it's making. However, I see it more as a personal assistant, like Google, which helped us transition from books to the Internet. So, it's a personal assistant that can boost your performance, but the human angle will never go away; in fact, it'll be amplified with Chat GPT.
4. As a marketer, what are the main pain points you face that should be addressed?
I believe that one of the main challenges, particularly for someone in a management position like myself, is hiring and retaining top talent in marketing who can continually learn, unlearn and relearn to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of marketing practices. What worked three years ago might not be relevant today, so keeping up with the latest changes and incorporating them into day-to-day marketing activities is crucial.
Another challenge is the overwhelming number of options available in the marketing world. It can be difficult to pick the right avenues that will resonate with your customers and bring in the desired results. It's easy to get distracted by all the attractive options out there, but it's important to stay focused on what is required for your specific customer base and drive results through those avenues.
5. What is your marketing strategy? Do you believe in experimentation?
To succeed in the software industry, you need to be analytical and maintain a consistent feedback loop. For example, when it comes to inbound leads or website content, the strategies needed for B2C versus B2B differ greatly. B2C requires generating a large volume of regional content, while B2B requires a more strategic and targeted approach, such as a content pillar strategy.
At Spyne, we pivoted from a B2C or SMB model to a B2B enterprise model and completely revamped our SEO and content strategy accordingly. We understood that to succeed in B2B SaaS, we needed to deliver the kind of solid content our target personas were searching for. To achieve this, we identified all the relevant keywords and started creating long-form blog posts using a content pillar strategy. Google recognized the quality of our content and within six months, our traffic grew almost exponentially.
6. What are all the tools that you use in your day-to-day marketing job?
Currently, our team uses HubSpot as our CRM and marketing automation tool, along with Lusha and Cintel for contact information. We also utilize Href for our keyword and inbound approach, having recently moved from Semrush. Both of these tools have proven to be powerful in their own right.
For measurement and metrics, Google Analytics is essential, as we rely on Google Search Console, Analytics, and Keyword keyword research through Google Ads. In addition to Google Ads, we also run ads on LinkedIn Ads and use LinkedIn Sales Navigator as a key part of our outbound strategy. These tools are essential to our team, and we use them day in and day out.
7. Do you find it a bit chaotic to stay updated on all these marketing tools regularly?
In terms of our approach, we have structured our processes in a way that everyone on the team knows what needs to be done and when. For outbound marketing, we first use LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Lusha to extract the right contact data and profiles. We then bring this data into our main CRM system, HubSpot, and use HubSpot's marketing automation to reach out to these contacts through calls and other channels.
It's a very seamless process, and while there may be multiple tools and it has to be a very innovative offering in the market that can appropriately fit in between these products, it's important to consider at what stage you are and what your specific needs are.
8. What do you think is the right type of content to target Gen Z? Is it long-form SEO content or something else that they find appealing?
When it comes to creating content, it's essential to understand what your audience is looking for in the market using the right set of tools, and if it resonates with your offering, create content accordingly. Your content can take many forms, such as blogs, videos, or any other type of content. It's crucial to have a spread of all forms of content because each form will deliver different results and outputs.
If you want to attract a Gen Z audience, it's important to consider what kind of offering you're providing. For us, our offering doesn't resonate with the needs of a Gen Z audience, so there will never be a connection. While we could create clickbait content to capture their attention, it's not sustainable, and there's no real growth in that.
Therefore, an outside-in approach is necessary rather than an inside-out approach. You need to understand your audience's requirements, document them, and map your offerings based on that information. Then, communicate your message in all forms of content to ensure maximum reach and engagement.
If you want to attract a Gen Z audience, it's important to consider what kind of offering you're providing. If your offering doesn't resonate with the needs of a Gen Z audience, so there will never be a connection. While you could create clickbait content to capture their attention, it's not sustainable, and there's no real growth in that.
9. Do you think the analysis metrics have changed with the pandemic?
The pace of evolution during the pandemic has returned to its usual growth rate. Physical events played a significant role in the past, but they were replaced by online events during the pandemic. This led to the development of various tools that allowed marketers to host or participate in industry events. However, physical events are making a comeback post-COVID, and timing is key in determining the market trends. So, we're kind of back on the same track as we were two years ago.
10. Is it the marketing trends or the target audience that has changed with the pandemic?
Undoubtedly, the pandemic has caused significant changes for many companies and industries. For instance, if the sales cycle is longer and not based on instant, impulsive buying, then it's important to keep up with the latest trends. For example, if people are now more active on Instagram Reels, then it makes sense to market your paid ads there.
However, when it comes to B2B SaaS, it's more about inbound and outbound strategies that attract visitors to your website, convert them into leads, and complete the sales cycle. In the enterprise segment, the sales cycle can take anywhere from a month to almost a year. On the other hand, for SMBs or smaller segments where the deal sizes and sales cycle are small, it can happen almost instantly. It all depends on how you package your product.
For example, at Spyne, we can demo our product within 45 seconds, while others may take up to an hour to showcase their offerings. That said, it's crucial to emphasize the key values you're delivering and ensure they resonate with the buyer. If you're able to communicate the key value proposition in under a minute, then why take an hour? Of course, there may be a suite of features and details to cover, but communicating the key value props should be instant.
11. For our audience, can you please explain what Spyne does?
Spyne is an AI-powered, B2B SaaS software solution provider that enables sellers to sell their products online in a faster, more efficient, and cost-effective manner. Traditionally, sellers had to hire a professional photographer, set up a studio, capture and edit product images, and then upload them to e-commerce sites, which took around 5 to 7 days and was expensive.
Spyne offers a mobile app that allows anyone to shoot their product from anywhere, and within seconds, transform the raw image into a studio-quality image. Spyne started by targeting the used car vertical in the automotive sector, where sellers had to either set up a physical studio at their dealership location or travel their used cars to a location and have them shot, costing around $20 to $25 per car.
Spyne reduces the unit economics to as low as $5 to $6 per car, and sellers can upload the images on their website, reducing the time to sell a car from seven days to a single day. Spyne's solution is not only cost and time-efficient but also eliminates the need for a physical studio, making it easier for sellers to list their products online.
12. What is your final takeaway for all aspiring marketers?
Learning and re-learning are crucial, not only for fresh marketers but also for experienced ones, to stay abreast of changes. Everyone has the potential to excel, given the right direction and guidance.
It's about taking the initiative to keep learning and growing, no matter where you are in your career.
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