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‘Influencer marketing has become all the rage now’

Apeejay School of Management (ASM) alumna and digital marketing professional Sugandha Anand says Instagram reels have emerged as popular channels for promoting products

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Sugandha Anand

Digital marketing has already made its presence felt and is going to be the future, says Sugandha Anand, Executive-Performance Marketing, GroupM. An alumna of the Apeejay School of Management (ASM), Sugandha pursued her MBA in Marketing and Operations from the institute. In an interview, she tells us about digital marketing trends, from the role of influencers to YouTube. Edited excerpts:

What was your experience at ASM like?

I had a great experience at Apeejay. I made many friends there. I was highly indebted to the ASM faculty for teaching us really well. With marketing being my specialisation, I was keen to learn about it as much as I could. I also took part in co-curricular activities—I participated in the fashion show of the annual cultural festival ‘Synergy’, in my second year. The festival in itself was a great learning experience—I was part of its management team and learned managerial skills in the process. It has been two years since I left ASM, but I still cherish all those memories.   

Did you pursue marketing with the goal of getting into digital marketing?

Not really, I did not concentrate on digital marketing at first because I wanted to first learn the fundamentals of marketing. Later, when we finally got to learn digital marketing in depth in my second year—which was taught by Dr Preeti Suryawanshi–my interest developed and I realised the potential of becoming a digital marketer. Eventually, I started looking for digital marketing opportunities on job portals and secured my first job. So, digital marketing was not my first choice, but I was quite intrigued by what it could bring to the world. Digital marketing is definitely the future.

With more and more people using Instagram, how effective is the platform for digital marketing initiatives?

Instagram plays a great role in the field of social media marketing, which is just a subset of digital marketing. Through Instagram, influencer marketing has become all the rage now, where influencers make reels and Instagram TVs (IGTVs) to showcase products and give feedback. For them too, it is a good career opportunity where they can build their own brand as well.

Are companies investing in influencer marketing?

Definitely! Our company, for instance, has reached out to influencers like Kusha Kapila and Komal Pandey, among others, for events. Through influencers like them, the product is showcased to a large number of people, leading to not just awareness but the conversion of customers.

Tell us a little about what your job responsibilities are.

I am into programmatic which, in layman’s terms, is the buying and selling of digital spaces online using different web spaces, mainly YouTube. We create campaigns for clients that we run on YouTube and other ad exchanges (digital marketplace). The five-six seconds that you see on YouTube of different products and businesses are basically done through the programmatic exercise.  

Ads have changed a lot in their content. What are some of the trends you see when it comes to digital ads?

YouTube is a major platform for creating brand awareness. When it comes to consideration (the second stage where the consumer is familiar with the product and considers it) and conversion (purchase), social media is a better channel. As far as the content of an ad is concerned, it differs from one brand to another and from one product to another and is dependent on the kind of consumer you are targeting.

What is the difference between skippable and non-skippable ads on YouTube?

It is dependent on the goal of the advertiser. If the advertiser wants to increase Video Completion Rate — they want the audience to watch the video entirely to be able to measure the completion rate—then they run a non-skippable ad. In the case of skippable ads, the goal is to increase the reach and awareness of a brand.

What is the role of virtual reality in digital marketing?

Virtual reality and artificial intelligence are definitely making inroads and if we work on the technology, it will become a major part of digital marketing. In digital marketing, there is more scope for innovation as compared to traditional marketing.

Any message for students of ASM?

Focus on learning—not just employment opportunities, you need to aim for your overall growth. ASM professor Chhaya Ma’am told us once about how the faculty was focused on the overall development of the students. That is what the students should also keep in mind.

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Senior Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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