Head of Marketing, CRM & eCOM at C Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers
Bridging the Gap: Content Creation and Marketing with Sanjeev Shukla
In today's digital world, content marketing is key for any winning business plan. We spoke with Sanjeev Shukla, a skilled marketer with more than 30 years of experience. This spans many fields, including the auto industry. We discussed the problems content creators face. We touched upon the need to know the industry and business. We also spoke about how vital content marketing is in reaching a company's goals.
Sanjeev talked about the need for content creators to deeply know the industries they serve. He stressed that the biggest challenge is keeping up with fast changes in many sectors. He also said that content marketing should be an ongoing process. Content writers need to become content marketers who know their work's end goal.
1. Can you tell us a little about your background and experience in marketing?
I have around 30 years of work-ex in marketing. I started in the advertising world. I was part of the founding team of Hyundai Motor in India. Then, I worked with Hero and Ford India. Finally, I worked at the retail jewelry brand CKC. I have witnessed 3 decades of marketing evolution. I have experience working with different generations of content creation.
2. How has the importance of content creation evolved in the last 30 years?
Content creation, I feel, has evolved significantly over the past 30 years. It has been driven by changes in social and cultural aspects. Today's generation is vastly different from those even 5 to 10 years ago. Content needs to cater to people's changing preferences, lifestyles, and desires. They can vary depending on factors like exposure to social media and technology. The narrative style, quality, and focus of content have evolved. They now better align with the current generation's tastes, beliefs, and interests.
3. How have the metrics used to evaluate content changed over the years?
The metrics for measuring content have changed over time, depending on the life stage of the brand and the market. In the past, measuring content's impact was far simpler. There were fewer sources of information and stimuli available to people. Today, individuals are exposed to countless triggers from various sources. Thus, making it more challenging to attribute a specific reaction to a specific marketing activity.
Let me tell you about the Japanese concept of "Gemba". It involves being on the ground and knowing your customers intimately. It is an essential aspect of understanding what works and what doesn't. The metrics for evaluating content should be unique to the brand, market, and activity. Objectives should be clear and tailored to each campaign in each market. For example, the measure of success in Bangalore may be different from the measure of success in Delhi or Mumbai. So, it keeps changing.
4. How important is defining clear objectives for your marketing campaigns? How does this relate to measuring their success?
Yes, it is crucial. A well-defined objective will help you tailor your campaign to all the available measurement tools. It would better evaluate its success. The objectives should be tangible. They should be specific. They can include sales numbers, brand salience, customer consideration, walk-ins, referral customers, or loyalty program points. These objectives should be tailored to each campaign in each market. The measure of success can vary from one place to another. Ultimately, the starting point for measuring the success of a campaign is the objective itself. This is key. This will guide your assessment of progress and overall effectiveness.
5. What is the role of vernacular content in marketing?
Vernacular has become very important in marketing over the last two years. It has happened along with the rise in social media. Search and content in all languages are necessary to reach a wider audience. However, communicating in the vernacular language is not only translation. It means understanding the mood and emotions of the TG. It also involves a deep understanding of the social and cultural milieu. Each word has a meaning and a dictionary for people. Marketers must be aware of what each word conveys.
6. You are a veteran in the industry. How did you ensure consistency and standardization across different marketing collaterals in the classic forms of marketing?
My experience tells me that achieving standardization in marketing collateral requires a focus on 3 main aspects. First, we need to standardize the message we convey. This would ensure that the brand promise remains consistent across all channels. Second, we must be aware of the cultural differences among our target audience. We can then tailor our communication accordingly. Lastly, it is essential to create content that speaks to people in their language and context. This, I feel, addresses their social and cultural background as well as personal preferences. By keeping these 3 factors in mind, we can ensure a cohesive and consistent marketing approach.
7. What are your thoughts on the future of content creation? What do you think of the balance between human input and content generated by AI in the next few years?
I think it will likely be a combination of both types of content. However, the input from humans will remain critical. It will continue to ensure the accuracy and relevance of the content. AI content can be a valuable resource for repetitive tasks or long-form text. Though, human intervention will still be necessary for supervision and QC. Professionals need to enhance their skills and knowledge to effectively manage AI content. This will help to ensure that it meets the required standards. It would also make sure that it aligns with the brand's message and values.
8. How do you envision the role of human intervention in managing AI content?
I think the focus should be so much on the repetitive tasks. Instead, human resources should be directed towards higher-level, strategic activities. Supervisory roles will become more crucial. This is because humans will need to ensure that AI content aligns with the brand's message and objectives. This will require writers to be more knowledgeable. They will also need to be sharper and more skilled in their roles. At the same time, they need to keep an eye on the fact that they have to maintain consistency and relevance.
9. What are the 3 major challenges that you've seen with respect to content marketing in the last 30 years?
One of the challenges in the last 30 years is that content creators might be good at creating content. However, they don't necessarily understand the industry or the business they are creating content for. I feel it is difficult for content creators to keep up with the rate of change in various industries. This is more so when they are working with multiple clients in different sectors. Content creation should be an iterative process. There must be a strong understanding of the business by both the creator and the brand manager. In this digital age, there is less time for long discussions and revisions. Hence, the initial content must be of high quality.
Another challenge is the need for content writers to become content marketers. The creator should understand the marketing objectives and work towards achieving those goals. Content is just a means to an end. The ultimate goal is to achieve the desired business outcomes. They can then better contribute to achieving these objectives.
Lastly, the changing landscape of marketing has introduced new elements. Some of them are performance, influencer, and content marketing. They are all part of a larger marketing strategy. The content creators must adapt to these changes to remain effective in their roles.
Content is just a means to an end. The ultimate goal is to achieve the desired business outcomes.
10. Let's say you could change one thing about the way content has been done for the last 30 years. What would that be?
The one big change I would wish for is that content writers to become marketers themselves. This would allow them to fully understand the objectives and purpose of the content they're creating. The end goal should always be the focus. Content is just a tool to help achieve that goal. By being both, they can better achieve the desired business outcomes. They can also ensure that the content they produce aligns with the overall marketing strategy.
The one major change I would wish for is that content writers become marketers themselves.
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