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Discover the pivotal role of influencer marketing in the digital landscape. Dr. Shrishail Deshnur’s insights emphasize how influencer marketing significantly impacts brand growth. By collaborating with influencers, brands can harness their authenticity and reach diverse audiences effectively. The article underscores the influential role of influencers in shaping consumer decisions and boosting brand credibility. This strategy goes beyond conventional marketing methods, tapping into the power of authentic connections. The article delves into the diverse aspects of influencer marketing, highlighting its ability to foster brand awareness, engagement, and conversion rates. Dr. Shrishail Deshnur’s analysis elucidates how influencer marketing has evolved into a vital tool, making it indispensable for brands striving to thrive in today’s competitive market.
Key Take Aways
- Audience Alignment: Choose influencers whose audience demographics and interests align with your brand’s target audience, ensuring maximum relevance.
- Authenticity Matters: Successful influencer marketing relies on genuine and authentic content that resonates with the influencer’s followers, enhancing your brand’s credibility.
- Micro-Influencers Impact: Consider collaborating with micro-influencers who possess a smaller but highly engaged audience, leading to more meaningful interactions.
- Diverse Platforms: Explore a range of platforms like social media, blogs, and podcasts to leverage influencer reach and connect with diverse audience segments.
- In-depth Research: Thoroughly research influencers to ensure they share your brand values, have a solid reputation, and a genuine connection with their followers.
- Clear Campaign Goals: Define clear and measurable goals for influencer campaigns, whether it’s brand awareness, engagement, or conversions, to track success.
- Long-term Relationships: Nurture long-term relationships with influencers to cultivate ongoing advocacy and consistent, impactful collaborations over time.
- Transparency and Compliance: Adhere to legal and ethical guidelines by ensuring influencers disclose their partnerships transparently, maintaining trust with their followers.
Mehul Ashar:- Hi ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to yet another episode of The Growth Genius where we discuss growth stories in marketing and business. In today’s episode, we have a seasoned marketeer who has transitioned across various industries like insurance, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare as well. Please join me in welcoming Mr. Srishal Deshnur. Srishal, thank you so much for joining the show.
Shrishail Deshnur:- Hey Mehul, thank you so much for inviting me. It’s a pleasure.
Mehul:- Great. Wonderful to have you. And you have recently joined Indira IVF as the CMO. So tell us something about your role at Indira IVF.
Shrishail:- So Mehul if you were to ask me. I am the Chief Marketing officer at Indira IVF. And if you were to define this role, basically it’s a leadership role, part of the management where the core objective is to steer the organization to its next level. But along with it, the key component which I think I truly believe that this role entails is one of being the true guardian of the customer, right? As a marketing head, we are the conscious voice of the customer and that’s what we would want to understand, hold and retain and on the other end be the growth driver for the organization. In terms of what are the growth strategies you can develop, and marketing tactics that you can deploy to help grow the organization along with keeping the balance with the customer needs? I think that’s how I would like to define my role here.
Mehul:- Yeah, I think the consumer always comes first. It is a priority item as far as such roles are concerned to drive growth in an organization. I want to understand what your views in terms of influencers are today are more and more important in the marketing strategy. So what are your thoughts on influencer marketing? Srishal
Shrishail:- See, if you look at today’s world, it’s a very social media-centric world and the more and more we are looking at, a lot of consumers are spending a lot of time today on social media, and therefore that’s where the influencers come in play, right? So at one end, you have large influencers and celebrities who would help you provide reach and also probably try creating breaking stigma. And on the other side, if you look at it, there are a lot of these micro nano influencers who along with reach also help you to create more authenticity, trust, and also with all put together. What I truly believe that an influencer does in a marketing campaign is help you to create conversations, especially in a category like the US. Healthcare where a lot of issues are not really expressed openly. Social acceptance becomes a key factor and that’s why the influencers help do that. But the key in this is always about the right. How do you identify influencers who have the right ethos of a brand? I think that is key and that their audience is the right audience for you to reach out to. I think these are the key things that any marketer should look for. And I think there is no brainer here. Influencer marketing is here to stay and I think we have a long way with that to go.
Mehul:- Great, And it’s an interesting thing that you mentioned about reaching out to consumers, especially in a sensitive area of expertise as far as IVF is concerned. So apart from influencer marketing, what are the other ways in which you reach out to your consumers?
Shrishail:- So if you look at it, especially while we are doing this at Indira IVF, I would like to take this broadly from a healthcare perspective. So typically if you look at the way healthcare marketing has happened, in most cases, it’s about creating the right awareness and educating the consumers because it’s a subject that it’s not very often discussed in drawing rooms because these are all personal conditions and people would want to hold it privately or secretly amongst themselves. In a few cases, there is a lot of stigma associated with it either with the condition or disease or at times with the treatment levels. And very often we have seen a lot of these either at a disease or at a treatment level. The myths and misconceptions are at play, right? And people really don’t know whom to talk to. While doctors are obviously the right people to talk to in this case. The role of marketing in healthcare is all about addressing these things. How do you really bring in the right awareness? How do you create acceptability for the treatment options while doing it? How do you really talk to the consumer? Keeping empathy at the core credibility is a huge factor because we understand that in healthcare marketing the social responsibility is far higher as compared to any other category. If you were to compare and therefore along with being such high socially relevant and responsible, being empathetic to the customer, how can you bring in credible information to the consumer? I think these play a very critical role when we’re looking at healthcare marketing.
Mehul:- So yeah, I mean you are almost being a consultant before they actually go to the real consultant that is the doctor.
Shrishail:- Not truly, because what happens is doctors obviously are experts, and from their expertise, there is no parallel to that. However we are with marketing, all we can do is probably highlight the issues that are relevant to the consumer and provide them the information about the available options. Right? And it’s just about educating them, creating awareness so that they can take the right step and they are able to meet the right experts, which are doctors here, I think it’s not an alternate, it’s more at the top of the funnel and we leave it to the doctors to do the right.
Mehul:- Right. You serve as the bridge of knowledge, if I may use that term.
Shrishail:- Yes, maybe that’s the more app.
Mehul:- Yeah, absolutely. That’s interesting. And Srishal, you have been working across industries and you have added a lot of value in your role as a marketeer across various organizations. As for you, what has been the change in the role of a marketeer today? Looking back on your career, what do you think has changed?
Shrishail:- So that’s a very interesting question, Mehul. And if you look at it at the core, marketing hasn’t changed, right? Because it’s still about identifying those consumer needs, defining who is the TG, who you want to talk to, add value to the consumer’s life by bringing in the right product or solution and possibly persuasive communication that will aid to build either a trial usage or loyalty. Right? So that fundamental piece of marketing hasn’t changed. However, what has changed is probably the context of deployment in terms of what’s the outer layer of this core thing possibly that has undergone a lot of change, be it in terms of consumer behavior or the preference of the consumer today. As we were discussing social media habits, probably the patient level of consumers today is far lesser. Today the consumer is getting bored with 20 second Creative whereas earlier he was very open to looking at a two, three minute creative as well or things like this or even just consumers getting spoiled with the number of numerous options that are available today for him, right? Technology again is another factor, fast-changing, rapidly changing. Technology again brings in many opportunities and complexities for a marketeer and also the broader business environment if you look at it that way. Right? So all put together, definitely these changes have happened and therefore obviously that has allowed marketing to start adapting themselves to this constantly changing environment, right? So if you look at it today from a marketing perspective, the AI or machine learning is here to stay. And while each of the processes we are looking at it, there is definitely AI or machine learning component that today we are seeing more and more as we’re going on. Voice search is another thing today with text searches that help us to take this entire thing to India. With voice search we are hoping that this will take us to create reach to Bharat and allow them to seek for the right information today. So that is another trend that we are looking at. Typically focus on consumer experience. I think that is key and that will stay. And I will continue to be a prominent feature in all the marketing plans that we are looking at. Also rise of influencer marketing, we just spoke about it of how important influencer is in marketing and we will see more and more of it as social media keeps penetrating and keeps taking away a lot of our time and our play on social media. Other thing trend that we are also seeing is the focus on sustainability, right? A lot of consumers are getting conscious on ecological solutions better for everybody, not just for themselves. So a lot of sustainability factor is what will help us bring in the, let’s say, credibility and loyalty and usage from a consumer perspective. The other factors that we could look at is personalization and hyper local marketing with options available today. I think that is undergoing a lot of change and rapid change as we see. If you look at it from overall, a lot has changed, a lot is changing and a lot will change. However, I guess the core of marketing as we said will remain same, possibly the context changing and those are the opportunities and challenges that a new age marketer will have to keep facing.
Mehul:- Very well put. In fact, yeah, the consumer is more and more demanding these days and getting bored with even 20-second reels, so to say.
Shrishail:- Absolutely right.
Mehul:- And you have been in consumer marketing for so long, Sharp any growth stories that you would like to share from your career where you would say that this is something which these are some of the examples which are the highlights.
Shrishail:- So I would like to point at one of my previous experiences that I’ve had during my stay with Cipla. Cipla being the market leaders in the respiratory care and asthma and COPD, which are the large respiratory diseases, have been very prevalent. Yet the awareness levels and acceptance of the disease in India is very surprisingly low and we saw a lot of challenge trying to solve for the problems in that category. And at that point of time, Sipla undertook the the entire challenge of creating more awareness and acceptance for asthma as a disease and inhaler as its right solution. So I was part of conceptualizing a campaign that is even currently on called Veirog Zindagi. It lived with the ethos of creating an unhindered life and let not asthma be a barrier in anybody’s life and with the use of inhalers how anyone can live a fulfilling life. That was the core essence of the campaign. The challenges of course when we started off was humongous because there was very low awareness of the disease itself and also the treatment. The challenge was also on the myths and misconceptions regarding the usage of inhalers and also there was a social stigma in terms of just simply saying Log kya kahenge which is a typical case with any healthcare solution. And therefore the way we built the entire thing was on the three cohorts of increasing awareness for the disease and treatment options, increasing acceptance for the treatment options so that they can use it more openly, and creating adherence because it was a chronic disease and a long term usage was what was recommended by experts. So, therefore, the entire campaign was built by Bharat Sindhi with these pillars in mind. And we had started this campaign by bringing in Priyanka Chopra as a large influencer. And she came out on national television to announce that she’s arithmetic and how using inhalers has allowed her to live a fulfilling life. And thereafter, we used multiple influences. Not just celebrities and personalities on social media but we also got people from all walks of life who could share their stories which could then help create awareness and inspire people to adopt this treatment. So a lot happened over the five years that we were running this campaign and we were able to see Mark change, we were able to see the needle moving across awareness, acceptance, and inhalers where the consideration for inhalers doubled up during this period. So here is a classic case of how understanding what the key challenges of a consumer are presenting the right patients that can nudge them to take the right direction and create enablers for them not just in the digital or virtual environment but also in the physical environment coming together. How digital can play a role in this to create those enablers really helped us to take this far ahead from and that’s been one of the proud stories that I can share with you Mehull today.
Mehul:- That’s very interesting. You mentioned the term digital which is actually an amalgamation of offline and online space which helps to strengthen the connect with the consumer. And now since you are in this area of IVF which is more sensitive, what are the challenges you foresee in this industry to reach out to the consumer and ensure growth in your business?
Shrishail:- While the challenges like I mentioned about healthcare even are true for the IVF category as well, india will be even despite being a growing population today, has large amount of fertility issues per se and the prevalence rates is very high. So if you look at it, one out of six couples have the issue and therefore need some kind of assistance to start their family. So this being the case, however, the awareness regarding the possible options for treatment is very low. Plus there is also an amount of stigma associated and there is a social pressure in large parts of the country today that young couples face during this course. So therefore, the role here for me to tide over these challenges and to create growth. What we’re looking for is to create the sing is on our four A, if I may to call it. The first way is awareness, educate everybody and so people understand their options and are aware of what are the right steps that they need to take. The second is acceptance. So because there is so much of myths, misc,onception and stigma, how do you create better social acceptance for this treatment and letting people know that this is the right thing and anybody who’s taking this route is probably doing the right thing not just with the couple themselves, but beyond India’s social circle as well. The third is about access. How do you create the right access today? As we said a few years back, lot of these treatment options were only available in the big cities in the country with indra IVF now today we are present in most of the BC town categories today and Indra IVF today has about 115 centers across the country. This is to provide access so that people get the right treatment at their nearby and convenient locations, right? And the fourth is affordability. Because health care is an issue, especially with the socioeconomic statuses in the country, especially with tier two, tier three cities, affordability can be a concern and therefore we are trying to ensure that we are able to get the best and right treatment at affordable ranges. So those are the cohorts that we are building to tide over the challenges and create growth for Indira IVF.
Mehul:- Amazing. That really gives a perspective of how it is now reaching from tier one to tier two and tier three cities as well. And you mentioned about reaching out to Bharat through text search as well, Shish. So any thoughts on that? How you are using that to reach out to the tier two, tier three through your clinics or through your online campaigns?
Shrishail:- So what we have seen is while text works and works beautifully with majority of the people today, as we keep penetrating and going deeper and deeper, and with digital penetration and access to smartphones today while the technology and connectivities are available, education can still be a problem. So people may not be very familiar with or comfortable using text as a medium. So we truly believe maybe voice search is the one that’s really going to help people to seek the right information and even provide this information more than the text formats, video formats are what we truly believe are the ones that will be better. Not just for people with rural or uneducated, but even that’s a format of choice even for the educated metro crowd as well. So these are things that we are clearly seeing will aid in the flow of information both ways people seeking information and for us to provide the right information.
Mehul:- Actually opens up a lot of opportunity for consumer outreach. When you talk of text and then voice and video, would you like to suggest any takeaways to buying marketers?
Shrishail:- Well, my takeaways that I would want to share are very very basic but I truly believe have stood the test of time, especially for me and this is what I would want the young marketers today to really understand and adopt. So the first one is always remember it’s the customer first. Always as a marketeer, the customer is at the core and you are the true custodian for the customer within the organization therefore whatever you do it has to be customer-centric. You’ll have to keep the customer at the core and build everything around it. The second thing is about being open to new. We just discussed how marketing is changing and how a new-age marketing marketeer has to adapt to all these changes. Whatever you’ve learned, the art of unlearning and relearning is a continuous thing and therefore you have to be open to new. Keep learning on the go. What marketing was a decade back doesn’t seem to be looking now in a similar way and possibly will not remain the same if you look at the coming decade looking forward. So, therefore, you will have to keep learning and adapting on the go. The third is to break the rules, right? So rules are meant to be broken, while rules teach us the right way of how things are to be done. But if seldom we have seen innovation being done by continuing to follow the rules, then when rules are broken, that’s what gives opportunities to new opportunities to innovate and opportunities to create breakthroughs. And therefore you have to be experimental in terms of what you do, and what has worked, just remember, things are changing. So what worked for us yesterday may not work for us today or tomorrow. So, therefore, always keep trying to look at newer opportunities and newer ways of doing things. And the last one, which is more on a personal front for any marketeer, is to stay hungry and stay foolish. Right now this never goes out of fashion. So the whole idea is to keep looking at how you really create aspirations in terms of what you’d want to achieve and how you start looking at newer ways. For that, you will have to be foolish, and break rules which will lead you to innovation. And that’s what any marketer aspires to.
Mehul:- Thank you. Thank you so much for the insights, Srishal. Those were really inspiring. Four pillars to actually look up to or live up to, I would say, for any market here. Thanks a lot for that. Thank you so much for your time.
Shrishail:- Thank you, Mehul. It’s been my pleasure to be here and love talking to you. Thank you so much.
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