Learn about Product and Retention Marketing from Abhishek Guhathakurta

Your communication strategy should be based on frequency, content, and time of communication and on your existing campaign data sets. – Abhishek Guhathakurta

Abhishek is product marketing manager at IndiaMart Ltd and He has earlier worked with Vodafone and DishTV.

We talked to Abhishek on effective product marketing strategies in today’s time, how it has evolved in the past years and mistakes to avoid. Read on to learn more. 

1. Tell us about your life journey, Abhishek?

Having grown up in a business family and always possessing an inherent entrepreneurial spirit, I did want to opt for MBA after having completed my Btech in Information Technology.

I have always believed that having management and technical background in parallel, would give me a much-needed push in my career and would help me with broader career options to pursue with post MBA.

Starting my career with Vodafone helped me explore various roles in the field of Sales & Marketing, before finally landing up on Retention Marketing in the DTH industry.

Thanks to Vodafone & Dishtv, my career started working with top industry strategists, crunching data and inhaling numbers on a daily basis.

It’s tough translating yourself immediately from student zone to a mature professional; but with the time you learn, unlearn, and grow into a self-motivated individual with time. 

Nearly 6 years down the line, I do realize that I am now a seasoned Product marketing professional, having worked in Vodafone India, Dishtv, and now in Indiamart with subject matter expertise in Customer Segmentation , Product Pricing, Cost Benefit Analysis , Revenue Planning and Customer Communication/advertising.

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2.  How Product Marketing has evolved in the last few years?

With changing business dynamics, and increasing number of competitive players in the market, across different sectors, marketeers have also shifted gears adopting new technologies and building new ways of customer engagement to build a loyal customer base.

Nowadays there has been a paradigm shift towards digital media communication and this is a new marketing gateway.

Besides, most businesses are thriving on Big Data to build predictive models to arrive at strategic business decisions and not to forget, use of several Marketing automation tools, which organizations are using to leverage on segmented campaigning, capturing customer footprints, and analyzing key ROI metrics.

Nowadays, marketing is multi-dimensional. Moreover, the intent could differ–for example, some marketing campaigns are done solely to generate leads while some could be done in order to establish the brand name and ensure brand recall.

Ten years ago, people had limited choices and made a decision based on that information. Today, however, the information available about products is almost endless.

Today marketing has become so robust, that it is driven by customer dominance, and hence incorporating changes in products and processes have become more critical than ever, be it, price, product feature, communication strategy, or even customer service.

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3. What are the effective Product Marketing strategies small businesses can adopt?

Any product marketing strategies revolve around 3 main questions : What we are selling, to whom we are selling, and how we should communicate it

Gone are those days, where you generalize the market sentiments. For a business to succeed, the foremost thing is segmentation of your customers, basis behavior, demography and geography.

Secondly, when you have identified your segments, you can customize your product portfolio to cater to your segment needs ; important parameters for customization are product content and pricing.

Customer VOC is the most underrated parameter in every industry, but actually it is the driving force. One thing  I have learnt from my senior, best  products are not made in air conditioned offices, they are made on the ground, while talking to customers.

So, product re-iteration, basis performance, and Customer VOC shall remain an integral part forever in building future products for an organization.

Last but not the least, Omni-channel communication holds utmost importance to gain traction for your product.

To summarize, below are the most effective strategies :

  • Micro-segmentation
  • Market Research & Customer VOC
  • Customized product, differential pricing for each segment
  • Omni-channel Communication (SEO, SMM, Email, Push Notifications, SMS, IB/OB CRM)

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4. What is Retention Marketing & why it is so important?

In the subscription model based industry, you can say Retention Marketing is a subset of Product Marketing.

Retention Marketing team is responsible for maximizing revenue from existing customers, that means keep a hold of your existing user base, to make sure that subscription revenue gets rolling  and with a higher ticket size. 

For any organization, building a roadmap for its revenue, it depends on subscriber base management. This is broadly broken down in below subsets :

Subscriber Base Management

  • Focus on new acquisitions / gross adds
  • Active base Retention
  • Win-back De-active base

Ignoring retention marketing and solely focusing on customer acquisition results in customer churn, which ultimately leads to a loss in revenue and profit margins.

Measuring the customer lifetime value (CLV) of each customer will give you a view of the potential net profit from each person during the amount of time they are engaged with your brand. 

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5. What mistakes businesses should avoid when it comes to Marketing?

No matter what sector you’re in, marketing can make or break your business. Below are some of the mistakes I will mention, as top key ones for every business to take care of :

  • Targeting or retargeting everyone: It’s imperative to know which segments are more likely to get converted, instead exhausting your marketing budget targeting on a macro level, which eventually leads to a negative ROI

  • Overcommunication: It means you communicate too much. Your messages have reached the point at which there are too many details or you start to annoy the audience with your repetition. While it may reap short term benefits, but in the long run, it ends up annoying some of your customers, who may leave you permanently. Hence your communication strategy should be based on frequency, content,time of communication and based on your existing campaign data sets.

  • Failing to Invest in Social Media Marketing: Social media is one of the most powerful tools available to market your business in the modern marketplace, yet the penetration is very low in terms of adaptation. Businesses can connect and reach out to maximum audiences in this virtual world, where more often than not, your conversion metrics can reap success.

  • Sole focus on Acquisition: I’m not suggesting marketers should stop spending on the acquisition, but they should spend a significant portion of their marketing budget on focusing on repeat purchases or visits.  It costs 6-7x more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one. Also, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70% while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20%.

Last but not the least, for every business, “Change gets costlier every day, yet not changing can be costlier still”

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