There is an unprecedented amount of content out there today. A Statista report estimates that a mind-boggling 120 zettabytes of data will be collectively generated and consumed worldwide! Nearer home, the average Indian spends almost 2.5 hours scrolling through social media every day, according to the Global Web Index. Now that presents marketers with an interesting opportunity.
Based on a GWI survey from Jul-Sep 2022 of participating internet users in India
However, amidst the explosion of content creation and consumption, a big challenge for modern-day marketers is to break through the clutter with content that attracts the right audience and resonates with them. So, to shed light on creating meaningful content that not only engages the target audience but also guides them down the intent funnel toward conversion, Quora and afaqs! partnered to host a session on ‘Cracking the Content Marketing Code’. Part of the Marketing Thought Leader series, the session hosted a panel of content marketing experts from brands like Hero Electric Vehicles, ICICI Securities, Patanjali, and Modi Naturals.
Setting the context for the audience, Neha Chimbulkar, Head of Marketing, Quora Asia-Pacific and Middle East & Africa, presented five insightful best practices that Quora recommends for creating truly impactful content.
“To write great content, it’s important to know your audience and tailor your content to their needs, interests, and language,” she began, adding, “By starting with who you’re writing for, you can build a strategy that effectively speaks to your target audience, and helps you achieve your business objective.”
She advised that while distributing content, it’s helpful to label the content based on its intended purpose and identify appropriate distribution channels. Considering different content mediums and creating an editorial calendar is just as important as it ensures timely and relevant publishing. Neha also emphasised the need to use analytics to track performance and review and adjust content strategies based on what’s working and what’s not. Lastly, she urged her audience to be curious about their data and continually work on improving it. “Don’t be afraid to be curious with your marketing and don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo,” she concluded.
Next up was the panel discussion comprising luminaries from an eclectic blend of sectors – Deepak Saluja, Head of Marketing at ICICI Securities, Manu Kumar, Head of Marketing at Hero Electric Vehicles, Anita Nayyar, COO-Media, Branding & Communication at Patanjali and Mukesh Ghuraiya, Chief Marketing Officer at Modi Naturals. The session was moderated by Venkata Susmita Biswas, Executive Editor at afaqs!
The panelists shared their perceptions of the relevance of content in their respective industries and spoke about their learnings from years of experience in content marketing.
Coming from the BFSI sector, Deepak Saluja noted that people have become more conscious about investing in the past couple of years, with a push during the pandemic. That led to a flood of DIY investment content. “As a brand, we are empathetic to our clients and serve them content that enables decision-making rather than content that can just push products,” he said. “We see content as a very intrinsic part of our core marketing strategy and it’s here to stay.”
He added that his objective with content is to build trust by educating potential customers throughout the funnel from awareness to consideration to conversion.
From the auto industry, Manu Kumar shared his perspective on marketing automobiles, which are primarily touch-and-feel products. He shed light on how the pandemic really disrupted the marketing and sales of this traditionally offline industry. “Since everything was under lockdown, the online medium picked up for automobile companies as well,” he said. He recalled how auto companies rushed to start online bookings and create social media presence. The industry realised that they should start taking this medium more seriously as a means of engaging with their audience, sharing information and answering their queries. Another insight he shared was that since India is a vast and diverse nation, marketers need to put out regional content that is customized to speak to the personas of people from different geographies and cultures.
Anita Nayyar pointed out that creating a content marketing strategy for an FMCG brand could be extremely challenging because it depends on the brand’s objective. “While the overall objective for all brand categories will always be sales and conversions, the content has to be devised according to the response you want from your audience,” she explained, as there is no real need to educate customers on FMCG products like soaps, toothpaste, or hair oil, per se. To get closer to the audience, She believes in understanding the consumer and their needs first and then making the brand the core of the content strategy when communicating to the consumers to earn their trust and loyalty.
In Mukesh Ghuraiya’s experience, every brand has a different battle to win and this is defined by their consumer journeys. As a brand that was trying to move into the D2C market, he remarked, “Being a challenger FMCG olive oil brand, we largely use content marketing for a top funnel play. For us, it’s more important to right now spread knowledge about the oil and bust myths that exist in the market. So, we’re trying to use content marketing to evangelize healthy eating, and build trust for the brand.” He emphasised that brand trust is the most important metric and objective for his company. They aim to build a community of health enthusiasts and, fortuitously, the pandemic provided tailwinds to this mission which is now the heart of their content marketing game.
A pertinent theme that emerged from the conversation was how platforms like Quora enable brands to influence decisions during a consumer’s purchase journey. Mukesh Ghuraiya, an extensive user of the platform as a consumer as well as a marketer shares his experience, “As a marketer, I’ve been using Quora to discover my pain points and address questions out there. Quora can be used in multiple ways for a marketer, be it establishing authority or thought leadership, be it driving traffic to your respective website, or be it about doing secondary market research or understanding those problem areas.”
Anita Nayyar added, “I think platforms like Quora today make life a little easier because there you actually have the users coming in and informing you about the category, and also about your own brand.” Speaking about Quora as a content marketing platform, she said, “Quora, with its 100+ million reach, really enables us to push content with more focused targeting and drive home our point as a brand.”
Deepak Saluja explained that in the BFSI sector, people buy into people before they buy into a brand and that’s a perfect reflection of the behavior on platforms like Quora. He noted that the finance and investment category has a dominating presence on Quora, in terms of the kind of questions asked, which pertain to everything from banking and credit cards to investment, mutual funds and token trading. “As a brand, we have strategically been invested in Quora for a while. We work very closely with the Quora team to build trust across our product portfolio, position our brand and establish thought leadership.”
Manu Kumar agreed that a strong presence on Quora helps brands build thought leadership. Additionally, he believes that word of mouth plays a very important role. “FAQs have played a very important role for us. Being a sunrise industry, people have a lot of questions and what better place to ask these than on a platform like Quora?” he noted.
On Quora, people express their views and share honest reviews about products and brands, giving marketers invaluable insights into pain points and improvement areas for them to work on. It’s a great way to understand consumers and their needs, respond to queries, and create and distribute impactful content. Quora enables brands to establish thought leadership by educating and engaging with consumers and eventually driving high-quality traffic and conversions.