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Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.
Shubharthi is currently part of the strategic marketing team at Regalix. His expertise mainly lies in the account-based marketing and programmatic advertising space.
Priscilla is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.
Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.
Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.
Priyanka has covered every aspect of the IT industry as a tech journalist since its early days. She is now an independent writer, working on subjects like digital marketing, enterprise technology and high-performance computing, among others.
A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications.
Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others.
Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.
Priyokumar Singh Naorem
He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.
A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.
She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.
A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.
Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.
Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.
Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.
Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.
Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.
Concept and Direction
Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.
Monica Norton is Senior Director of Content Marketing at Zendesk. She directs the company’s merry band of social media and content wizards whose customer service and engagement products are the power behind the best customer experiences. Long before content marketing was a “thing,” Monica was generating content – also known as writing – and doing PR for technology companies like Salesforce, DigitalThink and Concur. A former journalist and super fan of the serial comma, Monica has wanted to be a writer ever since she penned her first (and last) novel in the sixth grade.
Interviewed by Shwetha Mahesh
/ / How has the content marketing function evolved in your company over the past few years?
Thanks to our CMO and our data analytics team, our content marketing has become much more data-driven over the past two years. We now have better access to more data about how our content performs, so we can spend more time on content we know will be effective while saying “no” to requests for content we know won’t work.
Evolving consumer expectations are another big driver of change, both for our content marketing and for the business that Zendesk is in – customer experience technologies. To continue on our successful path, we know we must pay close attention to the new and different ways that people want to interact with brands and continually adjust how we develop, deliver and market our customer service and engagement products.
/ / What challenges do you face while planning your content marketing strategy?
Our overall content marketing strategy doesn’t change; the challenge comes in staying true to our strategy when we get pulled in different directions. When stakeholders approach our team for content, our editors and writers work closely with them to ensure that the content we deliver not only meets the goals of that stakeholder and his or her audience but also is in line with our content marketing strategy and with the Zendesk brand.
/ / What are the things to be kept in mind before devising a content marketing strategy?
First of all, recognize that your strategy should articulate the audience, focus and goals of your content marketing program. “Publish two blog posts a week” is not a strategy. “Let’s do a podcast” is not a strategy.
Second, remember that true content marketing is about building enduring relationships with your target audience. Your audience must be at the center of your strategy. If your product and your messaging are at the center, that’s a product marketing strategy, and that’s okay because product marketing is really important. But that’s not content marketing – it has a different place in the marketing funnel.
And finally, accept that with true content marketing, the biggest dividends pay off over time, not right away. Content marketing is about building an audience of likely buyers; not all of them are ready to buy something right now. Some of them will, but many won’t. Your job is to keep them interested and engaged with your content marketing until the day they are ready to buy. When that day comes, you will already be known and trusted due to the good and helpful content you’ve provided.
/ / What tools and technologies do you use for content marketing?
We use Newscred for our editorial calendar and planning, and Sprout Social for our social scheduling, posting and tracking. For social media customer care, we use Zendesk (of course!).
/ / What are the different metrics you track to evaluate the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy?
Our CMO is very data-driven, which I appreciate. We track many different kinds of metrics on a monthly and quarterly basis to evaluate the performance and effectiveness of our content. We monitor consumption metrics to gauge audience interest and the relevance of our content (for example, number of visitors, page views, social engagement, newsletter open rates). We also track downstream, more sales-focused metrics to gauge the effectiveness of our content in attracting visitors who ultimately evaluate Zendesk and buy from us (for example, leads, touches, pipeline attribution, bookings).
/ / Does content differ with respect to the channel of distribution? Which channels have you found to be the most effective in reaching out to your customers?
We find that the type of content and the right distribution channel really depends on the audience and the message. Just like with architecture, form follows function. Once we understand the audience and message, we can work with the content requesters and/or stakeholders to determine the best format – or formats – and channels for the content.
/ / Do you think it is better to have an in-house content marketing team or to outsource such services (including ideation, content creation and marketing)?
Both! I like to have a healthy balance between in-house content creators and external voices.
Internal resources help you ensure you don’t miss key elements, messages and stories that are true to your company’s values and what your product or service stands for.
External writers help give you a different perspective and keep you from focusing too much on your product. No one wants to have a conversation with someone who only talks about himself. Similarly, no one wants to read content that is all about your company or your product, unless they are already very close to the point of purchase.
/ / Despite having different stakeholders and different content repositories, how do you manage consistency (tone, language, brand voice, messaging, etc.) in your company’s content?
Good editors and talented – and flexible – writers are critical for maintaining consistency in voice and tone. A style guide is also very useful for training new content creators and freelancers about how they should write for your brand. Always include examples of on-brand and off-brand language in your guides. Mailchimp’s style guide is a very good example.
/ / How relevant is content marketing today, especially considering the abundance of content available to consumers?
The abundance – some say deluge – of content available today makes true content marketing more relevant than ever. When it comes to content, you’re not vying with your competitors for your audience’s attention. You’re competing with a TED Talk on YouTube and their Instagram feed, and also the trailer for the new season of Game of Thrones.
To rise above the noise and get your audience’s attention, you have to create content that is entirely focused on your audience and their wants and needs, not about what you want to tell them. No one is forced to read or watch your content; it’s your job to make them choose your content over all the other options out there.
/ / What are the trends/technologies that you think will drive content marketing in the future? How should businesses gear up for this?
Video has been increasing in popularity for some time. Recently, we’ve seen an increase in short, informal videos, sparked by the popularity of Instagram Stories and Snapchat. For businesses, this means that it’s time to get real and unscripted, which can be scary. But I encourage even B2B brands to show some personality and start experimenting with social video. Your viewership and engagement numbers will tell you what your audience likes and what they don’t.
On the SEO side, search technologies continue to get smarter and smarter about sending people to useful and interesting content. It’s getting harder to cheat the algorithms and get ahead of all the good content out there, and that’s a good thing for those of us who have been investing in quality content. To win at SEO, businesses need to identify the topics their audiences care about, then write the best and most thorough content on those topics. Put in the hard work to create good content in the first place and it will pay dividends in the long haul.