He Answers
Unny Radhakrishnan
National Director - Digital, Maxus
Unny Radhakrishnan started his career as a Programmer and later moved on to Marketing & Sales. Finally, he ended up mixing technology and marketing to land in Digital Marketing. Unny has been with Maxus as Digital lead since 2007. He likes to see Digital as not just a media solution but a marketing and business solution. Unny is also an avid traveller and blogger and ocassionally writes for travel magazines.
His Questions
Sudhir MD
Corp Comm – New Media, Siemens India
Sudhir is responsible for the digital footprint of Siemens, India. Over the last decade, he has worked in multiple communication functions ranging from pure marketing communications to internal communications besides a brief stint with public relations. In the recent past, Sudhir has “started inhaling and exhaling the web”. His interests have also expanded to the social and mobile media.
Sudhir MD: How skewed would be the success factor of an online campaign in India where 80% of the traffic generated is from 20% of the population?
Unny Radhakrishnan: If we have to apply the Pareto principle, it would be that 20% of the web pages account for 80% of the traffic. This means certain media properties will always be in demand from the planner’s perspective. Similarly, in Search campaigns (SEO or SEM) we can broadly say that 20% of the keywords drive 80% of the traffic. It is not correct that only 20% of the internet population drives the traffic. Campaign results are therefore not skewed. Campaign scheduling and frequency capping also helps. To take an example, if we look at those campaigns with a call to action as a lead or a registration, we see a reasonably consistent impression-to-response ratio during the campaign.
Sudhir MD: How social is social media for a B2B company?
Unny Radhakrishnan: B2B sales cycle, as we know is longer (typically 8–18 months depending on the industry). Research and peer reviews/recommendations critically influence decision making. Many queries are now also raised and discussed on social forums. So from a marketer's perspective, firstly, the opportunity is to track and listen to these conversations. For instance, a large IT company in India looks at twitter updates that refer its brand name and explores opportunity for a conversation. The marketing head of the company recently shared quite a few instances where such conversations led to new businesses. Secondly, it is also about the hygiene presence on social channels and utilizing them to share content, news, event updates, promotional offers, and the like. Some of the social channels help in reaching out to professional bodies or communities who are important in a B2B context. Some companies have used YouTube for video demonstration of a product or a technology. During the lead nurturing phase, all these channels will play an important role. LinkedIn pages of sales teams driving traffic to the website or making a contact is also common. The larger point is that when it comes to digital and social media, marketing is no more the only stakeholder in building the brand image or perception. Customer service, sales, product development, and even human resources have a role to play. Some of the large organizations are investing in the role of Community Manager who works closely with these functions and the social channels. If the question is about scale in India, I would say it is only a matter of time.
Sudhir MD: What is the penetration of social media in the PR domain in India? And how is it being leveraged, if it all is being leveraged?
Unny Radhakrishnan: Established PR players have not really built capability or made their presence felt on the social media space. A few of them have started to do this or tied up with some digital players..
Sudhir MD: Can digital marketers jump-start meaningful conversations in a social media campaign?
Unny Radhakrishnan: Yes, one can jump-start if there is a key idea or an association that is relevant to the brand. For example, if a brand can be associated with energy conservation, a campaign idea that lends itself to be spread on social media and have meaningful conversations is a great possibility. However the challenge here is that if there is no thought-through plan, the initial jump-start might mobilize a good amount of conversations but without really sustaining it.
Sudhir MD: Does a 6-figure fan base for your Facebook group transform into business?
Unny Radhakrishnan: Number of fans might not be directly proportional to the business it can generate. I think we all tend to derive a certain level of comfort from having a strong fan base. It is similar to that of saying that we have a registered e-mail base of a million or two. It could be a reflection of 'loyalty' (and therefore possible repeat purchase). One can safely assume that it is a bunch of people who are positively disposed to the brand. In that sense, the more the merrier. A huge fan base certainly does have the potential to drive business. Some research (though in the US) shows that over 40% of 'fans' say that they are there for getting 'deals'. While the channel can be used for delivering good content and engagement, it can also be used for coupons, sampling, consumer insights, and surveys.
Sudhir MD: What is the biggest mistake marketers seem to make with e-mail marketing, when we all know e-mail marketing is invasive marketing campaign, and we ourselves employ the most powerful spam filters for our inboxes?
Unny Radhakrishnan: For quite some time, the debate on whether e-mail marketing is dead or not is livid. It is true that effectiveness of e-mail marketing is now doubtful. But in reality, it is the mass e-mailing that is ineffective. Earlier marketers used to buy e-mail databases and fire marketing communication. That is not working anymore. But permission-based mailing lists, which are different from third-party databases, still have takers and it works in the B2B space. The content that is delivered is also important. I myself subscribe to few vendors’ mailing lists and find it valuable when I get case studies, white papers, or an invitation for a webinar. In the B2C space, e-mail marketing is largely being used for tactical offers. Here, segmentation (and segment-specific content), offers, subject line, body, and all that play important roles in making the e-mail campaign successful. For brands with a very large customer base such as banks, retail, or telecom, successful e-mail marketing solutions are a result of better segmentation based on modelling/analytics.
In conversation with

Vineet Mathur

Anita Nayyar


Rahul Marwaha

Shruti Kapoor


R.P. Singh

Gopa Kumar


Sandeep Singh

Rajiv Dubey


Yuzdi Badhniwalla

Nilesh Chhabria


Vishal Chinchankar

Shantanu Sirohi


Unny Radhakrishnan

Sudhir MD


Madan Sanglikar

Uma Sivakumar


Beerajaah Sswain

Raja Sanyal


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