Embracing Change and Innovation: A Conversation with Marketing Expert Sameer Jain
In today's marketing landscape, staying ahead of the curve and adapting to new technologies is crucial for success. In this insightful conversation, we had the pleasure of speaking with Sameer Jain. He currently serves as the VP and Head of D2C Commerce for Max Life Insurance. He is responsible for driving growth and customer engagement through innovative strategies and innovative technologies.
Sameer shared his valuable insights on a range of topics. We spoke at length about addressing the challenge of reaching customers during their research journey, designing an ideal marketing software, determining content strategy, and the impact of generative AI on the marketing industry. These insights are especially important in today's competitive business environment. He believes that companies must continuously adapt to shifting customer preferences and harness emerging technologies to stay relevant.
1. Can you talk us through your marketing journey? How has the industry evolved?
Thank you for having me. I started my marketing journey with MakeMyTrip. I spent about four years there. At that time, companies like Myntra were moving their customers to their apps completely. They were shutting down their mobile websites. Flipkart and Amazon had just entered India and were very aggressive. From there, I moved to Shopclues and then Max Life. I have seen different phases in different industries. The world keeps changing. I have read that in the next five years, we'll see more change than in the last five decades. So, I'm bracing up for that change.
2. How has your marketing approach changed over the years?
Of course, it has changed as consumer behavior and trends have changed. Attention spans have gone down. It has made it more difficult for marketers to get user attention and have lasting conversations. We continue to try out new things and figure out what kind of conversations work best for users. We are also working on how to innovate across channels, platforms, and content to stay relevant.
3. What made you choose marketing as your career path?
I love solving problems at the intersection of business and customers using tech. My core professional DNA lies in taking up challenges at scale. I have worked in agile companies and fail-fast environments. This has allowed me to experiment and fail quickly. This, in turn, has increased the chances of finding successful propositions.
4. How has content marketing evolved to cater to the decreasing attention span of consumers?
There's still a lot that can be done in terms of content marketing in the industries I've worked in. A great content piece can give a 50% uplift in business metrics. I've personally realized this in the last six months. For example, we've seen that UGC in the form of Instagram Reels can bring down the cost of acquisition by half for the next 7 to 10 days. This demonstrates the power of good content in driving ROI.
5. Have you noticed a trend towards more personalized and relatable content in recent years?
Yes, I've observed that consumers now want to have conversations with relatable faces. They want to talk to people like you and me. If they can relate to the content, they trust it more than content featuring celebrities who lead aspirational lives. This change is not just restricted to the entertainment industry but is happening across various sectors.
6. Word of Mouth and Trust is important in your sector. Can you talk about the role of influencer marketing in the insurance sector?
In this sector, we haven't been able to quantify the impact of word of mouth, but we know that it plays a dominant role. No matter how many ads you've seen or what research you've done online if a relative or a family friend recommends an insurance company, you're more likely to go with that company. Insurance plans can last 40 to 50 years. So, trust is a very integral part of our industry. Trusting an organization with your money for such a long time is crucial for success in this business.
7. What are your thoughts on the current narrative of generative AI and its taking over of human tasks, particularly in content creation?
I don't think AI and humans are competing with each other. Humans will need to become smarter and use these tools to their advantage. The role of a content writer might change, but these tools won't replace us. In our organization, we are experimenting with AI content to minimize time to market. However, human intervention cannot be done away with entirely. The most successful approach will likely be a combination of both, AI and human input.
8. What are the top pain points you face in your daily work as a marketer?
One of the main challenges I face is trying to communicate with our prospects and customers across different functions and channels. These can be performance marketing, remarketing, engagement, sales, website, and more. We address the same user across channels. So, the challenge is to stitch our message together. We want to carry the customer context forward in every interaction, whether it's with a human or through a website. That continues to be the number one challenge to solve.
9. Customers might not directly interact with your company during the research journey. How are you addressing the challenge of reaching customers at this stage?
In our category, most customers go to aggregator platforms, like PolicyBazaar, to compare insurance plans. We realized that independent influencers' content, stating that our company is the preferred choice for term insurance, influenced customers early in their research phase. To gain a long-term competitive advantage, we are investing in content. We are also creating our content aggregator platform. This way, we can engage with consumers when they're researching, not just when they have already decided to buy.
We are investing a lot in content with the intent of playing at the time when the consumer is researching and not when they have already decided to buy.
10. If you could design an ideal marketing software, what features would it have?
I think it would be a marketing stack with 10 to 15 different tools that don't seamlessly integrate right now. It would be incredibly helpful to have a single platform that combines 80 to 90% of our use cases. It would make a marketer's life easier concerning customer engagement, SEO, or content management.
11. How do you determine your content strategy and ensure that it targets the right audience?
Understanding your TG is crucial. You should know their life stage and motivations. Also, it is crucial to know the platforms they spend most of their time on. What works on one platform may not work on another. So, one needs to tailor their strategy according to that.
A 'one size fits all' approach doesn't work, so it is essential to invest time in creating content that resonates with your TG on each platform.
12. There is a lot of talk about AI and other industry changes. As a marketer, what are you looking forward to in the next year?
I am excited about the potential for faster time to market. With new technologies coming together, we could bring ideas to market much more quickly than before. However, it's also a challenge. We will need to keep up with the increasingly rapid pace of change. I feel that will put more stress and burden on individuals.
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