Interview: All digital marketers need to be good with data, shares Saregama India’s Ajit Kumar

Ajit Kumar

In conversation with Social Samosa, Saregama India’s Ajit Kumar shares insights on the relevance of digital marketing in recent times and tips for marketers as they embrace the new normal.

With over 15 years of work experience in the A & M industry, Ajit Kumar, Senior Vice President – Sales & Marketing at Saregama India Ltd., sheds light on the marketing strategy of the brand with a focus on their latest campaign and initiative for the elderly. He also dwells on the relevance of data in digital in the current scenario as well as the future.

Edited Excerpts:

Please take us through the insight and objective behind the latest campaign for the elderly.

Our first campaign was, ‘Jo Abhi Bahar Nahi Ja Sakte Unke Liye Ghar Le Aaye, Saregama Carvaan.’ The campaign is based on human psychology. Though the unlock has begun, there is a fear of the unprecedented impact of the virus, especially on the elderly, who are more prone to it. So, they would be not left alone at home even as others start to step out.

Through this campaign, we aimed to position Saregama Carvaan as a companion to the elderly. The product will cater to and fulfil their need for entertainment, old melodies being an emotional connect. Children can gift their parents Saregama Carvaan, to help them cope with boredom during the times they are alone at home.

We took the initiative ahead by donating Carvaan to old age homes. For us, the simple act was more than just a transactional activity as it brought a smile on their faces.

Could you tell us about your target audiences and how you plan to reach them amidst such sensitive times?

Our product has always been something that the younger people will buy as a gift for their parents or elderly persons. We communicate primarily to younger persons who are more active on digital platforms. For the latest campaign, we leveraged social media platforms as the primary mode to reach our TG. In terms of ROI, digital performed much better this time.

Carvaan is a product that people want to have conversations about. If you were to buy an AC, you may not go and tell people about it. However, if a son buys a product like this for his father with the intent of driving off his boredom, the gesture is based on emotions and it means a lot to them.

We are reaching out to a relatively younger audience aged between 25 and 40, across social media platforms and the communication is based on nostalgia, optimism, emotions, and the role of music in healing and therapy for the elderly.

What would be the marketing strategy at this time? How does the marketing pie look for the coming months? 

There are two parts to this — sales-driven campaigns and awareness campaigns. As the consumers couldn’t find the product in physical stores due to the ongoing pandemic, our approach shifted from information-first ads to a more sales-driven strategy where we communicated that the product is available on digital websites.

Currently, our marketing strategy is veering more towards CPA (Cost per Acquisition) than just CPV (Cost per View).

For the coming quarters, our marketing strategy would be more digitally-driven. There has been a rise in engagement and we are able to analyze real-time conversations and ROI for our brand. With a limited budget, you are concerned about spending every penny, which is where digital is working very well for us.

How were the sales impacted during the lockdown? How will you boost sales assuming that consumers might be sceptical about spending? 

Sales have been impacted worldwide. The income for large strata of the audience has been impacted. People are spending their resources in a relatively conservative manner. But wherever there will be a need-gap for providing entertainment for elderly people, sales will increase for the product. 

As soon as the lockdown is lifted completely, the younger audience would want to gift this product to the elderly to help them stay engaged and positive. We will be using digital to target this audience during that point

What are some of the content consumption trends that you are seeing among your consumers?

Elderly persons switch on the divide to listen to songs, much like the way they used to switch on transistors. We have seen an engagement of over 6 hours. There is a huge engagement for podcasts as well. People are spending quite a lot of time listening to Geeta and Ramayana.

Also read: Interview: Siddhant Narayan, OnePlus India on launching a new product during lockdown

What is the distribution strategy for the brand? What are the challenges that you are facing at this moment?

Currently, we are trying to sell products online for obvious reasons. However, there is an interesting initiative in the pipeline for the distribution of Saregama Carvaan. You will get to know about it soon.

Could you share some marketing tips for budding marketers?

Earlier, marketing was a lot about creative but with digital marketing, things have changed. While launching an ad campaign on television, we were never immediately asked about the ROI. However, on digital, it happens on a daily basis. 

All digital marketers need to be good with data. The dynamics of marketing are changing and if you don’t love data, it will be more challenging for you. 

With data, you have to analyze things on a deeper level.

Personally, when I interview candidates, I look for people with a more data-oriented and analytical mindset than ones with only a strong creative outlook.

What were the challenges faced by the brand during the lockdown period & with the ongoing pandemic?

We were more productive during the lockdown period. The only challenge was with the logistics segment. With the unlock, even that is done away with. During the initial days of the lockdown, there was no way to make the product available to the people who wanted to buy it.

However, technically when there was social distancing, emotionally, we became closer to our TG, as a brand.

How do you see the industry shaping up in the post COVID world?

Moving forward, our communication would be more cause-based, emotional, attempting to bring more happiness to the family, and as well as the elderly. In the post-COVID-19 period, brands need to think beyond and explore innovative tactics to reach out to their audiences.

Organizations will have tight budgets in the coming 12 months. Innovation and data-based marketing would help in the future and people will have to continue upskilling themselves with changing times.

We, as a brand, will focus on two areas: Understanding consumer behaviour and knowing analytics. It would be key as the way consumers interact/behave would be different in the post-COVID-19 world than during and pre-COVID-19 era.


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