Digital Mastery in EdTech Marketing: Building Brands in the Digital Era

Tara Kapur, Lead at Duolingo English Test and former Netflix and Vice Media marketer, brings a wealth of experience to the media and entertainment industry. With a background in journalism and a passion for storytelling, she leads Duolingo’s marketing efforts in India. Tara is also the co-founder of Vitamin Stree, a platform promoting gender equality through innovative storytelling. In

Digital Mastery in EdTech Marketing: Building Brands in the Digital Era

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    Tara Kapoor’s pioneering approach to driving growth in the EdTech industry through her digital education marketing strategy. As head of marketing at Duolingo, Tara leverages technology to transform educational experiences, making them accessible and engaging for learners. With a background in media and a passion for storytelling, Tara emphasizes the importance of building strong networks and engaging influencers to amplify brand messages effectively. She highlights the significance of staying adaptable and continuously learning in a rapidly evolving landscape. Through innovative campaigns like the collaboration with the film “Dunkey,” Tara demonstrates the power of aligning with cultural moments to resonate with target audiences, ultimately unlocking new opportunities for educational advancement.

    Key Take Aways

    1. Pioneering Approach: Tara Kapoor’s innovative strategy drives growth in the EdTech industry by leveraging digital education marketing techniques.
    2. Technology Integration: Utilize technology to transform educational experiences, ensuring accessibility and engagement for learners.
    3. Storytelling: Incorporate storytelling into marketing efforts, drawing from Tara’s background in media to create compelling narratives.
    4. Network Building: Emphasize the importance of building strong networks and engaging influencers to amplify brand messages effectively.
    5. Adaptability: Stay adaptable and continuously learn in a rapidly evolving landscape to remain relevant and competitive.
    6. Innovative Campaigns: Explore innovative campaigns like the collaboration with the film “Dunkey” to align with cultural moments and resonate with target audiences.
    7. Continuous Learning: Recognize the significance of ongoing learning and staying updated with industry trends to drive successful marketing strategies.
    8. Opportunity Identification: Unlock new opportunities for educational advancement by identifying and capitalizing on emerging trends and cultural references.

    Read Transcript

    Tara Kapoor:- When I was young I always wanted to be in the media space I was the editor of my school newspaper of my yearbook and because of that you know I think when you’re young you automatically try to go in the exact same direction so for us our existing students are probably our strongest influencers where we get them to talk about their experience talk about how the test has work for them the third is to really develop your network I think having a strong Network um and always trying to figure out ways that you can engage and interact with people is really important because you never know where opportunities come from right and I think that is something that I really value and my network has gotten me to where I am today.

    Mehul Ashar :- Where do you see organic search in the Journey of building and growing a brand like you know gingo.

    Tara :- Super important.

    Mehul : – Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome back to yet another episode of the growth genius powered by infidigit the SEO specialist this is where we bring to you growth stories in marketing and business our very special growth genius in today’s episode is someone who has been in the media industry for quite some time someh she felt media was her calling but at the end of the day she landed up in digital education at take as we know and she is making waves with one of the biggest brand in the world duolingo so without further Ado please join me in welcoming Tara kapoor who is the head of marketing for dualingo English test hi Tara welcome to the growth genius podcast thanks a lot for joining us and we are really thankful to you for your time.

    Tara :- Thanks for having me here I’m excited to see how this conversation shapes up.

    Mehul :- Yeah like wise to begin with Tara we would like to know your role at dualingo so can you let us know a bit about that?

    Tara :- Yeah so I think what’s interesting is I lead Marketing in India for the dualingo English test which is a high stakes English proficiency test that is run by dualo so a lot of people know dualingo as the language app product but we actually do have multiple products and the dualingo English test is is one of those um I’ve been with the company a little over a year now and my primary objective has been to grow uh marketing and awareness for the D in the Indian market so um a lot of my job is you know number one was kind of setting up things from scratch kind of building the foundations for the dueling of English test um because we’re we are a much newer test in comparison to other proficiency tests out there but um it’s super exciting and promising as a product and um I think I was really motivated and excited by the mission that dualingo has as a company and I think getting on board and being a part of this team has been super exciting in the last year that that I’ve been working on on it.

    Mehul :- That’s wonderful that’s quite a new space that you are in right now and uh coming to your professional lifea you know your professional Journey has you know transitioned across various Industries like media and whatnot so tell us more about your professional journey?

    Tara :- I think for me uh it’s actually interesting because it’s all very interconnected uh even though it seems like a like various Industries kind of coming together but when I was young I always wanted to be in the media space I was the editor of my school newspaper of my yearbook and because of that you know I think when you’re young you automatically try to go in the exact same direction you know I didn’t really know much about marketing as a career but for me because it was the editor of my newspaper I thought journalism was my calling right so I went to journal ISM school and started my career as a business journalist which I think was really interesting because I used to produce and report for a show called brand equity which was run by the times group it still exists as a as a show and during that journey I think that’s when I really realized I was really interested by marketing and advertising you know so that’s where I met the who’s who of the industry that’s where um I started understanding how you draw consumer insights to create powerful content and then I was also producing the show itself right you know so um I was understanding what works what doesn’t work what do people resonate with um I was speaking to everybody and then at after a certain point of time I realized that I wanted to actually be on the other side of the table so instead of just reporting on marketing and advertising I wanted to be creating the content that people spoke about and creating campaigns that people spoke about um and then try to make a transition so to do that I started out at an advertising agency when I made that shift digital was really starting to Boom you know so there were these hot Shar digital agencies that were coming up to take on the traditional agencies and I jumped on that bandwagon I joined a friend of mine who runs a very successful agency right now called Cy Collective or Safari Studios I was there with them for about four five four and a half years and through that process I was able to really prove that I can create campaigns you know cuz but when you’re an agency you’re creating campaigns for various other brands you know so I got to work with the likes of YouTube Twitter Red Bull you know massive brands people doing really exciting work and then because I had that proof of concept I was able to then move to Vice media um and then from Vice media to Netflix where I led series marketing for them for three years and now um finally at the St that I’m at um with with duolingo.

    Mehul :- That is pretty interesting you know the journey that you shared with us thanks a lot for that I would like to you know know further on in terms of how this is actually creating a rise in demand uh you know across the world in the attech space so what are your thoughts on that?

    Tara :- I think in general you know especially in a country like India we have such a large population of of people that aren’t getting basic levels of Education right so I think one thing that edtech is doing is really transforming how people reach education as well as making it a lot more affordable right so with things like AI you’re able to give customized experiences to people which is amazing right through technology um so you’re actually able to customize lessons and learning for people at different levels uh almost like a classroom experience and it’s sometimes actually better than classroom experiences because you’re not getting biased perspectives and you’re giving each student equal attention right and I think these are the reasons people are gravitating towards it as well it doesn’t mean it’s a core replacement to everything like I think with every sector there’s a level of balance but I think the reason we’re seeing growth and we’re seeing people adopting Ed Tech as a sector is because of the experience that it gives its consumers and the fact that it’s opening doors to a lot of people who didn’t have those opportunities earlier so I think that’s why you’re seeing the the kind of growth from from consumers across the world and particular particularly in India.

    Mehul :- You almost sound like you know you are on a path to democratize education for all and.

    Tara :- And that’s the that’s the objective right with with with it I think I think the you know for us as a company that is one of our strongest pillars in terms of being our mission right our mission is to make worldclass education accessible to everyone and uh I think when you work at a company like this you really believe that because you see people doing this day in and out and it’s something that they’re driven by and motivated by and they’re always thinking about how to make that experience better for consumers so absolutely I think I think you hit the nail on the head with that.

    Mehul :- Wonderful amazing and you know if you can share your outlook on the changing consumer needs specifically in the tech sector how would that be?

    Tara :- I think there’s certain things that remain the same um where when it comes to education it’s one of the most important things in anyone’s life right and especially when you look at Indian consumers education is one of the top priorities of families you know they spend such a disproportionate amount of their income on education which when you look at any strata of society right so I think the behavior That Remains the Same is when you’re getting into those kind of things you will do your research and you will spend your time and you will will do your due diligence because that’s what’s required you know and because you’re putting so much amount of your income towards education you want to make sure or that you’re getting the best opportunity for yourself so I think That Remains the Same whether it’s traditional education or edtech the amount of time that it takes for a consumer to decide to make a purchase is is a very long period of time they will spend you know they will speak to people they will do their research online do their Google searches collate their information create short lists do their math see if they’re getting a loone there’s so much that happens in that process right so that’s always existed the benefit of Ed tech is it’s made it much faster and made it much more efficient for for people so you have the benefit of hybrid education which didn’t exist earlier you have the benefit of you know being able to take classroom you know walk and and do do classes you know so for instance for me I did a virtual course last year with IM calata which was a one-year degree and I did that while having a full job and I would not be able to do that if edtech didn’t exist right so I think that’s sort of the process where you’re seeing larger adoption and you’re seeing people uh this that’s the shift you’re seeing people migrate to being able to do hybrid things whether it’s hybrid courses where they do a portion of their course in one country and another you know virtually there’s people like me who are able to work and and study at the same time so that volume more that you know that sector in the middle is growing significantly because you’re seeing more and more people being able to adopt things that work for them and each person is able to customize that experience for themselves and I think that’s the bigger shift.

    Mehul :- That’s very interesting because it opens up a lot of opportunities in terms of learning in terms of upskilling yourself as well you know so that is something that uh actually you know you answered half of my question my next question already in terms of you know how at Tech is changing today in the far pH digital age but also I would like to know about the pitfalls like you talked about the benefits I would also want you to you know touch upon what are the drawbacks if any in such a scenario where uh you know uh ech has grown so much in today’s digital age?

    Tara :- Yeah I think I touched on that a little bit in my previous answer as well I think it is uh making sure that it’s a credible experience right so um the businesses that do that are the ones that will succeed uh the others will struggle right because like I said it’s an important purchase in a student or any consumer’s experience right and if if it’s something they’re going to spend time doing research on they will be able to pick the better options versus the ones that aren’t it’s it’s any industry right like that’s sort of what happens so I would say that you know the challenge is sort of just building the best business and and that’s what exists in in any any business um so to say.

    Mehul :- Now today we know know that attech has changed over the past few years also because of Co but how do you build a brand you know ground up in such a scenario what has been your experience?

    Tara :- I think for a lot of these businesses because you’re focusing on younger consumers you can actually create your brand completely digitally right so you don’t necessarily need to follow traditional mediums to be able to create brand from scratch which used to exist previously for us for instance for the Dual lingual English test in India we’ve been completely digitally focused in our strategy so whether it’s social media or influencers or PR or even the ads that we run it’s all led by digital because that’s where our consumer base is and that’s also what our product is right so I think the the core is really understanding your consumer and where they’re at and being able to speak to them at every touch point when they want to engage with a brand like yours right right so while I worked at a business like Netflix where our core objective was to entertain there are thousands of touch points where people want to be entertained in their day-to-day right so it could be while they’re commuting it could be when they’re at home right after dinner it could be you know when they’re going out for date night there’s so many places where you can entertain somebody and Netflix would have to have a very varied strategy to be able to cater to all of those different touch points for Education it’s slightly different right when you’re catering to a person who is looking to study abroad you need to find them at those specific touch points because if I’m trying to reach out to the same consumer when they want to be entertained they definitely don’t want to be engaging with an education brand at that point right so but when they’re doing their research they want help they want support they want somebody to give them guidance and those are the places where we need to be present um so I think we’ve kind of built our strategy around really understanding what our consumer needs are and where do they want to engage with a brand like us right so um and because of having that kind of prioritization our budget is able to go way further um than it would be if we were just trying to slap our creatives everywhere right so um that’s a little bit about how we’ we’ve built our brand so far.

    Mehul :- That’s interesting to understand what the touch points are and basis that you actually you know give that kind of a message so that people then get uh hooked on to it so to say having said that you also mentioned about influencers so would love to know more about you know what is your take on the role of influencers today?

    Tara :- Absolutely I think um especially for younger audiences they get most of their information from influencers so influencers are pretty much a distribution channel in themselves right so especially when you’re identifying the spaces you know so every sector has its own set of influencers that younger Generations follow you know so I look at influencers one as a distribution Channel where you’re just kind of getting them to serve the message that you want to the same way you would if you paid YouTube to push an ad for yourself right so I think one part is Distributing them to the audiences and identifying the right influencers that match the audience you’re going after the second part around influencers I think is influence goes beyond just following right influence can come from very like how do you get influenced when you want to buy something it’s through word of mouth right so for me my friends and family are my influencers or my counselor is my influencer or you know my tutor or somebody like that and I’m speaking specifically for the sector that my product operates in but for me influencer is not only about distribution which is one angle of it which are you know the influencers that we all know today the other part is about recommendation and testimonials which is for study abroad the strongest way of influencing somebody to take the test is to hear from somebody who’s done it before right so for us our our existing students are probably our strongest influencers where we get them to talk about their experience talk about how the test has work for them and then that to me really influences somebody who’s considering taking the test um and is doing their research uh so it’s twofold you have your mass influencers which I said that are the distribution channels and then you have the real influencers for the sector who are your friends and family.

    Mehul :- That’s pretty much defining influencers basis you know what industry we are talking about yes and education as such you know the influencers themselves are very different as compared to uh other Industries so to say thanks thanks for throwing light on that because otherwise everybody thinks influencers is just the ones who actually come on Tik Tok videos so.

    Tara :- Yeah and I feel like you know it’s we’re influencers in some shape or form right like we all have influence on somebody or somebody around you um and it’s now a day and age where everybody’s recommending something right so I actually probably follow what my friends are recommending on their social media channels more than a mass influencer you know endorsing a product so it it’s it’s kind of changing in terms of how people are looking at that today.

    Mehul :- Sure and I wanted to understand you know where do you see organic search in the Journey of building and growing a brand like you know doolingo?

    Tara :- Super important um you know the to give you a short answer to that question but I think the longer answer to it is like I said you know when it comes to Consumer Journey especially in education the consumer will take their time and they will do their research and they will spend time searching the internet right so when you do that you need to make sure your SEO is strong so that that you’re visible when your consumer is looking for you right or looking for even spaces around where your product operates right so um it it’s essential for an education brand to have um a strong search and SEO strategy because it’s a sector where you aren’t making impulse purchases you will never make an Impulse education purchase you will always spend time doing due diligence and in some sectors for example for University is it’s a super long lead time like it will take at least 2 years you know think about when anyone has started doing research for their universities you probably started when you were in 10th or 11th standard when you were going to graduate and then it was going to take three years for you to get to that University but you started three years before that right so um yeah uh search is is supremely important for for your sector.

    Mehul :- Thank you thank you for validating that for our audience as well very.

    Tara :- I know this works really well for you.

    Mehul :- Yes absolutely very grateful to you for that so having said that I wanted to understand you know we are we are in the last leg of the podcast so uh can you share some growth stories from your uh professional Journey which actually you know becomes an aha moment for our audience?

    Tara :- Yeah I mean there’s tons uh you know i’ I’ve been working in this industry for a while so I will always have stories um but I think for me the most recent one one that I’ve been excited by was a very recent opportunity we had with the D and srk’s film Dunkey um where it’s a film that sort of talks about illegally migrating to the UK right but the whole strategy that we had around our campaign was to say that hey cool in the ’90s maybe they didn’t have other options but today the smarter way to do this is to take the d you know and it was just a little tongue-in-cheek kind of campaign talking about don’t do the dkey way do it the D way you know because you don’t want to go through this crazy process that they’ve gone through in the movie to get to the UK right and it was really nice for us to be able to be a part of a cultural movement uh because you don’t get so many opportunities to do that um as an English test right but what it did for us was get us closer to our consumer because you know students are watching donkey and they appreciate brands that kind of are speaking to them in their language um and engaging with pop culture as long as it’s relevant right like I couldn’t do this for any movie out there but I could do it in a movie that uh was touching on the space or the sector that we kind of operate in right so um I really enjoyed that process it was literally over the December break you know so we ran with it uh in the middle of the holidays but um but was definitely a meaningful opportunity for me.

    Mehul :- It’s like a sign from the universe Tara.

    Tara :- Yeah it was run with it.

    Mehul :- I mean you you cannot have so many things coinciding together you know which actually resonates so much with your brand and that to with a brand like srk so that actually you know gives you an opportunity to have a home run as far as communication is concerned.

    Tara :- Yeah absolutely.

    Mehul :- I think you know we we’ll probably need uh some more guests on our podcast to Top This growth story.

    Tara :- That’s a big compliment I appreciate it.

    Mehul :- Yeah thanks for sharing and uh uh lastly I would like to uh request you to share some takeaways from your journey uh which can be helpful to wedding professionals?

    Tara :- Yeah so I think I have a few um so I think the first is to always have a learner’s mindset um I think that’s something that’s worked really well for me in my career um and I hope it will keep on helping me as I progress um I want to keep learning uh I appreciate people who want to learn and I think as you do that you just keep enhancing yourself because the world is evolving so quickly and if you’re not keeping up with it and you’re not uh educating yourself then you will get left behind so having a strong learner’s attitude I think is my number one tip to people the second is having flexibility right because um again spaces move really quickly um and I just gave you the Dunkey example right like that was an opportunity that came to us without us thinking about it um and if we weren’t flexible with it we wouldn’t have had that campaign run out um which was a great piece of content for us to put out so and then there’s also opportunities where the environment changes so you know there are certain things that don’t fall in line with where the world is today so you need to be flexible and Nimble to be able to keep transforming the work that you’re doing as well as yourself and the third is to really develop your network you know I love that you and me met at an event you know and now we’re doing a podcast today we’re working together in some capacity right and I think having a strong Network and always trying to figure out ways that you can engage and interact with people is really important because you never know where opportunities come from right and I think that is something that I really value and my network has gotten me to where I am today and I think I think as you cultivate and create that Community it will be very meaningful for you and finally yeah I think that’s it I think those would be my my top tips.

    Mehul :- So top three is like you know have a learner’s mindset uh be flexible and Nimble to adapt and keep networking.

    Tara :- Yeah.

    Mehul :- Right wonderful thank you thank you so much for sharing these nuggets of wisdom for our audience I think they will learn a lot not just with this answer but also with the Insight that you have shared throughout the podcast so thank you again Tara for joining us on the growth genius podcast and we wish you all the best.

    Tara :- Thank you for having me it was great chatting with you.

    Mehul :- Pleasure great so ladies and gentlemen this brings us to the end of yet another episode of The Growth genius what an insightful episode this has been starting from media and coming to the edtech industry what we know of today talking about how influence ansers are relevant in the attech industry today and also Tara shared some of her nuggets of wisdom talking about how one should have a learner attitude how one should be flexible and at the same time always build your network and as they always say your net worth is your network today so coming to an end to this episode I would suggest you like share and subscribe the content if you feel like it and as you know we are present in all social media platforms we are also available on all the audio platforms the link to all of these are mentioned in the descript below so till the next episode of the growth genius thanks a lot and keep learning keep inspiring.

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    Digital Mastery in EdTech Marketing: Building Brands in the Digital Era