The Hindu Group has come to be known for its tongue-in-cheek ads which aim to portray sense over sensationalism. As part of our special series of interviews with media marketers, this week we profile Sathya Sriram, Head of Marketing & Strategy of The Hindu Group, who tells us why it is critical for all marketers to incorporate data analytics into their day-to-day activities and battling the perception amongst advertisers that Print media is on its way out
Q] How has the role of the marketer evolved in the media industry?
With the surge in social media penetration, almost every topic today can potentially go viral with a tagged opinion, influencing perceptions. This essentially paves the way for a platform where the marketer can directly reach his/her potential target. It is, therefore, imperative for the marketer to holistically test every marketing communication across channels, before a 360-degree launch. Further, the marketer is being held accountable in public forums for any event/activity that might even be remotely associated with the brand(s)/he stands for.
Data analytics can enhance marketing communications by surfacing deep insights about new age consumers’ behaviour and enabling marketers to target them accordingly. Marketers also use this data to fine-tune marketing campaigns, ensuring they reach and stick with the right audiences. Therefore, it is critical for all marketers to incorporate data analytics into their day-to-day activities.
Q] What are the challenges in marketing for a media company?
The main challenge in marketing for a media company is to craft socially responsible campaign ideas portraying sense over sensationalism, with a view to retain the thought-leadership status among consumers. Another challenge is the perception amongst advertisers that Print media is on its way out. I believe that readers are yearning for credible information as well as opportunities to engage with Print media, and it is up to us to deliver on their expectations.
Q] Can you list three points of change you foresee in the marketing sphere for the media industry in the near future?
• Shifting the focus to tangible ROI on marketing budgets
• Experiential engagement campaigns with consumers overtaking passive communication
• Digital integration of innovations, targeting mobile captive audience
Q] Can you recount a career-defining moment or highlight in your journey so far?
We kicked into action within a day of the devastating floods in Chennai in December 2015, with a ‘Chennai Rising’ campaign to support the city’s come-back. In the first phase, we coordinated immediate relief supplies (such as blankets, mats, mosquito nets, repellents) in partnership with KPN Travels. Well-wishers from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and cities as far away as Delhi and Dubai extended their support over two to three weeks. We sought volunteers through newspaper advertisements to help coordinate and distribute these donated relief supplies. More than 100 volunteers came together to distribute relief material such as blankets, sleeping mats, rice, biscuit packets, milk powder, sanitary napkins, mosquito repellents, vessels, tooth brush, tooth paste, medicines, candles, notebooks and assorted eatables to almost 2.5 lakh families in Chennai and surrounding areas, including Cuddalore. In addition, we launched a fundraising drive to assist in medium and longterm rebuilding of livelihoods and homes as well as preventative initiatives to protect this region from future flooding disasters.
I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to enable The Hindu Group to be a bridge between generous donors and devastated families during such a critical time.
Q] Tell us about some marketing initiatives or campaigns that you are proud of.
‘Car Free Sundays’, an initiative that brings together the local communities to reclaim their streets by re-living childhood memories of playing on the streets, and sharing that joy with their families and friends. In Chennai and Coimbatore, at least 10-15 local organizations come together each week to bring these chosen streets alive, on Sunday mornings. It also aims at spreading the social message of adopting non-motorized transport in urban India.
Q] Name five brands/campaigns that you associate with and that reflect your personality.
Titan – The Joy of Gifting, Mattel/Barbie – Imagine the Possibilities, Airtel 4G launch – Ettimadai, Paperboat – the nostalgia series and Bharat Matrimony – Happy Marriages.
Q] Name a marketer whom you greatly admire.
Steve Jobs – a remarkable movement around a brand and its product line.