Shoeb Ahmad

VP - Digital Marketing At Mobisoft Infotech

Dissecting Content Marketing With Shoeb Ahmad

Let's explore the fascinating domain of content marketing as we present an engaging conversation with Soheb Ahmad, a leading figure in the SAAS industry. Known for his strategic approach and adept execution skills, he gives an unfiltered look at content marketing from his perspective.

Shoeb Ahmad, VP - Digital Marketing At Mobisoft Infotech, talks with Rishabh Shekhar, Co-Founder & COO at Pepper Content, on vital industry matters, from budget allocation for different content types to leveraging remote teams and AI technology. Shoeb shares invaluable advice for budding content marketers based on his over two decades of rich professional experience.

1. Please tell us about your journey.

I began my digital marketing journey over twenty years ago. Early on, I dived into different aspects of digital marketing, gaining hands-on experience that taught me a lot about how things work. This experience is like laying a solid foundation for a big building, helping me stay updated with the constant changes in this field. I've taken on diverse roles throughout my career, such as starting my own business, leading digital marketing teams, and working as a company VP. I've achieved some impressive things, too, like revitalizing brands, devising successful money-making marketing strategies, transitioning businesses from physical stores to online spaces, and finding the perfect customers.

Beyond my roles, I've judged at significant marketing events, bagged awards over the years, and been invited to speak at various gatherings. I'm keen on using data to enhance marketing, creating more personalized customer experiences, and exploring the world of artificial intelligence. These trends are reshaping marketing and sparking my curiosity.

2. How has marketing, especially digital marketing, changed from 15-20 years ago to now in your experience?

Looking back over the last twenty years, I can see how marketing has changed significantly. It started small, and now it's a whole different ball game. Marketing is going through significant changes because of new technology and what people like. I believe a few important things will shape the future of marketing. One significant change is the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and using data to understand things better. Before, when we advertised online, we didn't have many options to choose who saw our ads. But now, with AI and looking at data, we can make ads that fit each person better.

Another thing is how we make customers feel when they interact with brands. Brands that make customers happy at every step will improve in the long run—also, customers like it when things are personal, like using emojis when they shop online. But there are challenges too. Rules about privacy, like GDPR and CCPA, mean we have to be clear about how we use data. Also, mobile phones are super crucial for marketing now. Even though we've made progress, there's still more to do in making things work well on phones.

3. In 8 years at your current company, how did your journey impact the brand amid booming content marketing, and how does content play into your current role?

You know the saying, "Content is king"? Well, it's still true today. Without content in any form, the digital world wouldn't be complete. In recent years, I've noticed a significant change in how people like to read and watch things. Before, it was mostly words, but things have become more varied, like videos and podcasts. Things are different now, and we need to keep up as marketers. Before COVID, most content was written, but now people prefer different ways to get information. They like videos, podcasts, and more. We need to know this and make content that people want.

Content is powerful, whether it's words, videos, or podcasts. If you're in digital marketing, you need to understand this. But it's not good to copy and paste things or not care about what readers want. Nowadays, people don't spend a lot of time on one thing. If content doesn't catch their attention quickly, they move on. This means content marketing needs to change too. To do well, marketers must use tools and AI to make content that customers and the people they want to reach will like. How people consume content has changed dramatically in the last 8 to 10 years. It's important to know this and adapt to it to succeed.

4. As an experienced team, what are your predictions, investment priorities, and areas where you're scaling back for the upcoming year?

In marketing, every marketer needs their own set of tools that match their goals, whether it's getting more leads, raising awareness, or offering support. Looking ahead, a significant change is AI becoming crucial; not using it could be tough. Voice searches are on the rise, meaning we must create content that suits people's needs. Being adaptable and ready for changes is key. Understanding AI and aligning content with people's desires will lead to success in the upcoming year.

5. How has your marketing budget changed from last year, and what percentage goes into content creation?

Regarding budgeting, the percentage can differ for each area, but generally, around 10% of the marketing budget is a common starting point. This can change depending on things like how many competitors you have and how much you want to reach the market.

Inside this marketing budget, a big chunk, about 40%, should be put aside for making great content. Good content doesn't come cheap, so you need to invest in it. When I plan budgets for my organization, I ensure that 40% of the budget goes into creating content that stands out. It's important to understand that making good content costs money. Putting 40% of the budget towards content creation is a smart choice. This shows that we value the impact of good content on our marketing efforts.

6. Among video, design, and text content, where is your current focus in terms of output?

In our case, the kind of content we make depends on what we're selling. If it's beauty or travel stuff, videos work best because they show things in a cool way. But in the software industry where I'm working now, things are different. To be recognized by big names like Gartner and Forbes, we need more written content, not so much podcasts. It's about explaining technical stuff clearly.

There's no fixed rule for dividing the budget between different types of content. It changes depending on what we're selling and who we're talking to. Beauty, travel, and software – they're all different, and so is the way we make content. The percentages like 20% for videos and 30% for text don't fit all. It's about knowing who you're talking to and using the budget best for them.

If I stick just for the content, it can definitely be taken care of from anywhere across the globe. With the evolving technology of AI and the tools, it can be taken care of from anywhere, any place.

7. With the surge in remote work influenced by COVID, how do you manage internal teams and the content supply chain, considering the cost benefits of remote setups?

Creating content doesn't have to happen in an office anymore. With AI and tools, you can do it from anywhere. Instead of focusing on organizing teams, we can use these tools to make content. There are many tools available, like the popular chat-based AI called GPT.

These tools make things easier and help us create content faster and better for the people we want to reach. But even with these tools, we still need people. After the content is made, I prefer to have a person called an editor look at it. They understand the content and make sure it has the right words for people to find it online. But the human touch doesn't stop there. After the content is edited, we use other parts of marketing like SEO or SEM to get it to the right people. So, a mix of tools and people makes content work well.

Don't be afraid to be innovative or experiment with new formats and channels.

8. For marketing newcomers, based on your 20-year experience, what advice would you give them for their early career actions and choices?

First, know your goals – whether it's telling more about your brand, getting more leads, or increasing sales. Match your content plan to these goals, ensuring everyone in your team understands. Understand your audience too – what they like, need, and do – so you can create content they'll enjoy. Planning matters; deciding topics, sharing methods, and team roles to stay organized. Quality matters more than quantity; focus on making good content, even for SEO. Track how your content does and adjust as needed. Try new things and experiment with sharing methods. Ensure people see your content through social media, emails, and ads. Building a strong content plan involves understanding your audience, your brand's uniqueness, and clear goals.

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