Rohit Khatua

CMO at Antara Care

Decoding Content Strategy with Antara Senior Care's Rohit Khatua

Businesses are constantly on the lookout for strategies that resonate, captivate, and convert. But where does one start, especially when the realm of content is so vast and multi-dimensional? 

To understand this further, we sat down with Rohit Khatua, the Chief Marketing Officer at Antara Senior Care. With years of industry experience under his belt and a clear-eyed vision for effective content marketing, Rohit has emerged as a thought leader with profound insights to share. From understanding audience perspectives to defining a brand's unique voice, he sheds light on the nuances that often make the difference between good content and great content. 

Here are some excerpts.

  1.  Please tell us about your professional journey.

Thank you for having me. Today, I'm eager to discuss the significant progress content marketing has made in our modern world. To provide a brief overview of my background, I've have over two decades of experience across various sectors, such as FMCG, financial services, and real estate.

I began my journey with Castrol, a dominant FMCG company, which during the early 2000s, thrived on consumer demand generated through its content. Following this, I transitioned into the equity and financial markets, contributing to iconic establishments like the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). Internationally, the BSE's stature stands parallel, if not higher than landmarks like the Taj Mahal, given its recurring appearances on financial broadcasts. During my tenure, we amplified our content marketing strategies, primarily targeting retail brokers and individual investors. This shift in strategy has not only revamped the BSE's image but also showcased it as a beacon of India's financial prowess.

I've also been associated with the Times of India, where content is intrinsic to its operations. My venture into real estate subsequently further emphasized content's power in spotlighting unique project features, ensuring project awareness, and driving customer consideration.

Recently, I've stepped into a distinctive domain, Antara Senior Care. Here, we cater to seniors across various facets: from providing senior-friendly residences to offering an array of assisted living services. Our latest initiative, a Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) platform, was launched a couple of months ago. This platform extends an amalgamation of products, devices, and services tailored to manage age-related conditions like joint pain or gut issues. Given its DTC nature, content plays a pivotal role in connecting directly with our senior audience, effectively conveying our mission and the benefits they stand to gain. In just two months, our content outreach through social media, websites, and PR has been vast, and we're only scratching the surface. It's indeed an exhilarating phase filled with countless opportunities for innovation and growth.

  1. Considering your current role at Antara necessitates engaging with a diverse group – from the seniors themselves, their families, to HCPs, not to mention the backend business intricacies – how do you believe organic marketing impacts and shapes the brand amidst such a multifaceted model, Rohit?

Great question. In today's environment, where much of the content can seem inauthentic or inorganic, the value of organic marketing stands out, especially for our target audience: seniors and their caregivers. These groups often seek information online, making it crucial that they encounter reliable resources and genuine solutions for their concerns.

Organic content plays an instrumental role throughout a consumer's journey, from building awareness and fostering consideration to ultimately influencing their purchasing decisions. What sets organic content apart is its credibility. It’s often sought out by users with specific intentions and needs. While sponsored content is abundant, genuine, informative, something that is  educational has a unique trust factor. Drawing a parallel from the past, newspaper articles were considered authentic and dependable compared to what one might find on an emerging social channel. In our current age, although news consumption patterns have shifted towards platforms like Twitter and Google, the craving for authentic information remains.

For Antara, another reason organic marketing is paramount lies in our audience. Seniors, with their vast life experiences and discernment, have distinct consumption patterns. They possess the wisdom to differentiate between genuine content and superficial pitches. Furthermore, with time at their disposal, they tend to engage more deeply with the content, seeking understanding before making decisions. This contrasts with younger audiences, who may be swayed more easily by catchy headlines or clickbait. Hence, for Antara, organic marketing isn't just beneficial – it's essential.

Organic market is important because organic content is credible. It is typically arrived at when you are a high-intent searching user, looking for something and you see the right kind of resources listed in front of you. There will always be sponsored content but when you're looking for something which is genuine, credible, and has been created for information and education and not so much to sell or to pitch, that is where organic marketing plays an important role.

  1. Given that organic content implies authenticity, how do you ensure genuine connections, empathy, and trust are conveyed in your content strategy, especially when targeting diverse groups like families and the elderly? How do you adapt content tonality for each audience?

Many businesses and individuals grapple with the challenge of determining the right content to share. The effectiveness of content is often multi-layered, so identifying where to begin can be daunting. However, for me, the key has always been to prioritize the audience consuming the content.

Before diving into content creation, it's crucial to ask: Who is the intended audience? Whether it's social media posts, blogs, brochures, advertisements, or even films, the content should resonate with its consumers. It should address their needs, answer their questions, and align with their aspirations. Consequently, my team and I always place the consumer at the center of our content strategy. By understanding what the audience – whether they are caregivers, seniors, or others – is looking for, we can craft content that genuinely serves their interests.

Once we've honed in on the audience's perspective, the next step involves detailing our product or service – its benefits, its problem-solving capabilities, and its unique selling points. Following this, we consider our brand's persona: Are we showcasing ourselves as a cutting-edge tech company? Or do we want to highlight our empathetic and caring nature? The decision here shapes the tone and approach of the content.

In summary, an effective content strategy begins by understanding the consumer's perspective, then detailing the product or service benefits, and finally, defining and communicating the brand's identity. These three foundational pillars guide our content creation, ensuring relevance and resonance, whether it's in visual or textual format.

  1. Could you talk more about the framework concerning what people seek? Specifically, in an ORM context where brands must respond with certain guidelines, how do you approach understanding the needs of potential consumers unfamiliar with the proposition? How do you discern what they're searching for, especially when introducing them to a new concept or offering?

Considering the nature of our business and our ecosystem, we foster deep connections with seniors and their caregivers. Our primary insights into their challenges and needs come from direct interactions during events like health camps, doctor consultations, and various webinars and seminars. We continually gather feedback during these engagements.

Additionally, we have a significant presence on social media, especially through our Antara channels. Our active participation in niche communities, such as specific Facebook groups, helps us understand their concerns and how we can assist. Lastly, our research on platforms like Google and Meta provides insights into prevailing search trends. Even if our brand isn't always top-of-mind for users, we can discern their needs through keyword research, giving us a clearer picture of their requirements.

If people are seeking a specific kind of relief or solution, it is important that our product and conversations build those terms and phrases into our campaigns, product definition, or product display pages. That is where the connection gets built from what is being sought to what is being provided.

  1. Considering your past experiences, how do you perceive the challenges of organic marketing in this industry, especially regarding research, content creation, distribution, and ROI? How do these challenges differ from more traditional sectors like investment or FMCG, where standard solutions often exist?

In addressing this question, I'll divide my response into two key areas. Firstly, let's consider the distinctiveness of sectors and how it shapes consumer personalities. A person choosing engine oil for their car differs in mindset and approach from when they're seeking a nurse for their parents. This difference in roles influences the entire journey – from awareness to consideration, and finally, the decision-making process. Financial considerations may dominate in some areas, but when it comes to healthcare, especially for parents, factors like trust and credibility take precedence over cost.

The second part of my response reflects on my 20+ year career, particularly the contrasts between FMCG and healthcare marketing. FMCG is a crowded space, characterized by quick consumer decisions. Companies in this sector focus more on triggering purchases rather than providing extensive information. However, in healthcare, especially in the geriatric segment, the journey is lengthier and involves more deliberation and consultation.

In our own experiences at Antara, particularly in the senior care and real estate verticals, we've seen that decisions can take over a year to materialize. This pace is drastically different from industries like FMCG, where decisions are made quickly.

Comparatively, in real estate, the decision-making process is prolonged due to the significant financial commitment and the long-term nature of the investment. Similarly, in financial markets like equities, there's a need for extensive awareness-building. With a large population yet to be penetrated in terms of investment, there’s a significant role for content to play in educating and guiding potential investors.

In summary, industries vary in how they utilize content, shaped by their specific customer journeys, decision-making processes, and the unique attributes of their products or services. This diversity necessitates different content strategies, from rapid decision-making triggers in FMCG to in-depth, consultative approaches in healthcare and financial markets.

  1. Given the evolving landscape with innovations like generative AI, GPT, and deep fakes, what challenges do you foresee specific to organic marketing in this industry? And how do you envision the future of content marketing, considering the current technology stack and challenges?

The senior care sector, like any other, faces challenges that also present opportunities. The primary challenge in content marketing for this sector is the unique mindset we're addressing. It isn't just about reaching a 65-year-old or their 35-year-old child; it's about connecting with their mental landscapes. A retiree, though free from many responsibilities of youth, may grapple with health issues and a different perspective on life. Ensuring our content resonates with this distinct mindset is crucial

Another challenge is selecting the right content medium. With seniors becoming more tech-savvy, especially due to the pandemic's constraints, deciding between print, videos, or blogs becomes crucial. This audience values reading but has also embraced the visual appeal of videos. The correct balance in these formats is essential to ensure effective communication.

Then there's the challenge of connecting with caregivers, typically the younger generation. Understanding their dilemmas, like seeking help for their parents, and presenting solutions without appearing too forceful or gimmicky is key.

At Antara, our brand's integrity is paramount. We prioritize maintaining our service quality over financial gains. In the senior care industry, trust is fundamental. While one might compromise with a fashion brand after a bad experience, seniors and caregivers won't easily return once trust is breached, even with substantial discounts.

These challenges, however, also represent untapped opportunities. The senior care market remains largely uncharted, with varied approaches to housing, care services, and targeted products. The inconsistency in how companies present themselves suggests that no one has found the perfect formula yet. This variance is an opportunity waiting to be harnessed.

  1. What do you think, is going to be the impact of AI in the coming years? 

From my observations at Antara, there's an increasing exploration of AI. However, it must be approached with caution. I won't delve into AI's implications on job displacement, as many experts can address that better. For Antara, the value of AI lies primarily in swift content creation. We're reaching out to a vast group of seniors who haven't been catered to directly before. Given our human limitations in content production, AI can be invaluable.

Specifically, video content has proven more effective than text-based formats. Platforms like OTT and social media reveal a strong preference for videos. The challenge is creating high-quality video content without the extensive resources of big production houses, while also avoiding a casual TikTok-esque style. We seek a balance: affordable, consistent, and quality video production. AI could be the solution. We're even considering partnerships with AI firms to produce such content. A concise 30-second video can convey a message more efficiently than a page of text.

However, the key is to use AI judiciously and ethically. Beyond industry considerations, regulatory perspectives require careful attention to ensure content accuracy and prevent potential misuse or misrepresentation.

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