He Answers
Yuzdi Badhniwalla
General Manager, Starcom IP India
Yuzdi joined Starcom IP in April 2009 as General Manager. The company provides end to end services in the digital marketing space with a focus on key platforms like Search, Video, Social, and Mobile. Yuzdi moved from Mauj.com, where he headed the consumer marketing and gaming Business. He brings nearly12 years of experience spanning media and digital. His previous stints include Rediff.com and Times Internet. A tech enthusiast Yuzdi has follows new technologies and trends passionately. He regrets not being able to devote enough time to music, games and travel.
His Questions
Nilesh Chhabria
Director, the Exchange – Mindshare
Earlier associated with Hungama Digital, Nilesh has been in Mindshare since 2007, and has played a pivotal role in the agency’s domination in the digital category at the Media Abbys & EMVIES. An MBA in marketing, his interest has always leaned towards the digital sphere. Nilesh’s job responsibilities include conducting social experiments on Facebook, social marketing, compiling data behind the social web, creating interesting web applications and media planning.
Nilesh Chhabria: Many companies are approaching social media tactically and making big mistakes. There’s a lot of encouragement for corporate social efforts to start with a strategy first. Do you think the same is true with SEO? Are companies approaching SEO tactically with little consideration of a search strategy?
Yuzdi Badhniwalla: Primacy of strategy to any business activity cannot be stressed more. SEO, SMO, or any other component of the digital mix is no exception.
SEO is one of the crucial elements of the digital communication mix; which is part of the overall communication strategy which in its turn is part of the marketing strategy. A disruption in this chain will inevitably result in failure.
I would refrain from a sweeping generalization about companies approach to SEO – however I cannot agree more on the necessity for a holistic approach to digital communication – of which SEO is often the foundational building block.
Nilesh Chhabria: What is one of the biggest myths you’re seeing perpetuated about marketing on the web? About social media?
Yuzdi Badhniwalla: The rules of communication do not stand suspended for digital media. On digital as on any medium – saying everything to everybody is saying nothing to nobody.
Very often the same digital asset is expected to build the brand, increase awareness, funnel traffic, provide leads and of course, sell the product – the site is e-commerce enable, you see! This is suicidal, more often than the result you get is – “None of the above”. The conclusion that marketers then draw is – ‘digital doesn’t work’.
Just as a single TVC/Press ad should focus on a single message to a defined audience – so also a single banner / app should deliver a single message.
The difference between broadcast media & social media is similar to the difference addressing a room full of people from a podium and having a conversation with one person in that crowded room. Getting X hundred/thousand followers/fans and then showing them your TVC is probably an incorrect practice. To lean upon the same analogy it is akin to seeking out a person for a conversation and then shouting into his ear with a megaphone – does more harm than good. Social is another mass media – is probably the most lethal myth.
Nilesh Chhabria: What advice do you have for companies still feeling uncertain about active engagement on the social web when it comes to dealing with budgeting and resource issues?
Yuzdi Badhniwalla: Firstly define the objective. Not in terms of CTR or effective CPM – in terms of what marketing objective is to be met.
Work with the digital team to codify that into measurable metrics that you would be satisfied with. Translate that into assets that would be needed. Make judicious ‘make or buy’ decisions.
That would yield the resources (not only monetary) that would be needed to achieve the objective. Very often a certain objective might demand executive time (a very rare resource) from the company – no budget can overcome this shortfall.
Nilesh Chhabria: The number of companies offering social media monitoring and analytics services has really mushroomed in the past year or two. Yet many brands really don’t have a sense for how monitoring and engagement fit within their marketing efforts. What are some best practices that you would suggest?
Yuzdi Badhniwalla: Measuring social buzz does give marketing teams excitement Initially. It soon becomes stale and of little value. Buzz measurement needs to then morph into marketing intelligence for it to be of value.
Very often that is outside the mandate (and sometimes expertise) of the teams that have commissioned it. It hence becomes of little or no value beyond a point.
While its good to know what people are saying about you – unless you know what to do with those conversations, it does little besides add novelty value. Handling conversations requires a lot of commitment from companies.
Nilesh Chhabria: There are new innovative initiatives like ARG, augmented reality and blue casting - Do you really think these initiatives create the engagement which is required? And if they do is the reach enough to justify the cost of such initiatives.
Yuzdi Badhniwalla: A sweeping generalization is impossible to make.
The approach is to - Set the objectives. Codify them for the medium. Translate into assets. Arrive at optimal investment needed. If ARG or bluecasting becomes a compelling part of the plan, then so be it. If it’s just there because of the wow factor, then it may not prove that cost effective.
Nilesh Chhabria: Now that the 3G auction is over how do you see the mobile landscape changing - what kind of applications/content do you think will take center stage?
Yuzdi Badhniwalla: Content always lags new media. Content for 3G will be no different.
Firstly existing services (including basic voice) will improve. This would whet appetite for newer bandwidth hungry applications. How will one ever conceive even a voice application when I know the call gets dropped every odd minute!
It’s only later that newer bandwidth hungry applications will start gaining acceptance. A good thing when you are not the pioneer in 3G is to look at existing 3G markets and learn.
Nilesh Chhabria: Any predictions for hot applications, services or strategies in the Digital space for 2010?
Yuzdi Badhniwalla: We have gone past the English fluent 30-40 million users on the internet. For the first time metros are NOT the largest contributors to internet users. Hence the next wave of users and growth will have to be from people who may know English but are comfortable consuming media in their mother tongue / regional languages. This in turn implies that local content & services will become supremely important. However, this doesn’t mean translating news into 10 regional languages.
Unfortunately most of (if not all) companies are housed in and employ people from top metros; which might slow applications and content from smaller towns. Nonetheless – if not bottom of the pyramid – apps that address the middle will flourish.
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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