Gaurav Suri is a curious and passionate Sales and Marketing professional having straddled across industries. He is currently the Sr Executive Vice President and Head of Marketing at UTI mutual funds, and working at the intersection of data, technology and consumer insights. Gaurav is also a part of the industry initiative by AMFI and member of financial literacy committee developing communication for Mutual Fund Sahi Hai campaign.
In this conversation, Gaurav talks about how Content Marketing has evolved as a vital part of the marketing mix and complements the overall marketing strategy. He also explains the best practices of Content distribution which he has implemented at UTI mutual funds.
Santosh: How do you strategize segment content at UTI mutual funds?
Gaurav: Content has always been integral to a marketer. It is the medium through which a product talks to its consumers. The nature format form factor and measurement of the content have changed with the popularity and growth of technology.
The core objective of UTI mutual fund is to democratize access for Indian household to Indian capital market by offering investment solutions. Since this is a regulated category, most of the content seems Greek for the customers. The primary objective of our content strategy is to make it more simplified contextual and relatable. Lot of times the content might be likable but might not do anything for business.
The human brain is programmed to identify risk and then take all steps to mitigate that risk. That is why for our content strategy we try to priorities fear of loss over reward or gain. From a segmentation point of view, we have around 8-10 personas built for our practice. Most of our products and ideas in the rural segment are sold through videos and vernacular based contents. The key here is to create storytelling content because if you tell products to them, then they will not be able to relate. The usefulness of the product in their daily life in the form of the story stay with them longer.
Santosh: How has the effectiveness of different content format evolved over the years?
Gaurav: Segmentation plays a role in deciding on the effectiveness of the content type. In the recent past, the way advertising was done, either above the line or below the line, was mostly one-way communication. With the advent of mobile and internet, it has become interactive. It’s not how the effectiveness of format has changed, but it’s how the different audience is consuming it. Therefore, we need to be present on every format.
We were one of the first AMCs to start investor education on a large scale under the platform of Swatantra. Today it has taken the shape of its own and became a multimedia delivery platform. We probably have the largest print outreach in the country today with 14 publications having a full page released fortnightly. We are there on radio, TV and social media.
The ability to create content at scale and frequently is the capability building exercise at our end. When we launched our investor education campaign, we made a journey of 54,000 km. We did a physical on-ground activation, during which we created short films in 10-11 languages. Role of different goals of our different solutions from a life stage perspective was woven into the content. These short films started conversation, engagement, and questions. With time we have discovered crowd sourced, long form or short story formats along with the form factor. We also started making more concise content for digital medium also.
Santosh: What metrics do you use to measure content marketing success?
Gaurav: If I have to categories metrics to measure the effectiveness of content, then it will be the volume of visits also called an impression on social media and traffic on the website. The second will be the quality of visits, which is the final onboarding of the prospect on the platform and last will be the value of the visits which is the revenue generated. On social media, we do klout scoring which gives us a quantifiable measure. We also use a framework used by a content marketing institute, useful for financial services perspective. It is a 2×2 matrix, on one axis you have at extremes like rational and emotional and on the other axis, you have the awareness to purchase. Where it is about emotional and creating awareness then we classify that type of content as entertainment. If it’s emotional and makes you do the purchase, we classify it an inspiring content. This helps us to know how to build, present and relate the content to your audience.
Santosh: How do you source and manage content campaign/operation?
Gaurav: We work with extended partners. To work with partners, you need people internally who understand the domain for able to have a conversation. It’s a journey which we started way back on email marketing, SEO or social media with outsourced emailing platform technology but now we our building our own in-house marketing automation suite. Over the years we have stacked up a ton of tools and it was getting very siloed. Time taken to integrate all these tools was very huge. Now we are in the process of implementing our own marketing automation tool, with which we will be able to integrate all activities of analytics, customer experience, and engagement.
Sourcing of content is done again through empaneled partners who we have cultivated over a few years and now we understand their strengths in various formats / form factors. We use them to build content. For the print partnership we have a central editorial board cutting across partnerships headed by a respectable journalist. The management of content is done through the framework explained earlier
Santosh: What are your biggest content marketing challenges?
Gaurav: Content tends to be considered as a separate discipline because of the noise around it. My number one challenge as discussed earlier is how can I integrate content with all the other pieces which I handle. Whether it is for internal or external dissemination, the storytelling is an integral part of the business whether it is data, digital or consumer insights campaign. Any activity be it be educating investors, product campaign or digital onboarding, content sits at the center of it. To ensure that customer is having a seamless experience right from pre sales, onboarding to post sales our automation suite will be of great use which we will be implementing soon. Another challenge which we face is the measurement and scalability in a timely manner. We cannot use the same measurement metrics for all formats/ form factors. We also need more people versed with technology to repurpose and create content at a faster pace