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Our overall marketing investment is about INR 100 cr for next 12 months: Kashyap Dalal, Simplilearn

Kashyap Dalal talks about how the brand is aiming to break through the clutter in the crowded and highly competitive EdTech space. He sheds light on its recent campaign, their overall marketing budget, and driving leads & footfalls through communication.

Digitally skilled workers currently represent 12% of India’s workforce and reports estimate that the demand for digitally skilled workers in India will increase nine times by 2025. Tapping on this opportunity, Simplilearn launched a Job Guarantee Program. Kashyap Dalal, Co-Founder and CBO, Simplilearn, says that through this line of product, the platform has internally set a goal to train about one million people in the next three years.

Dalal further discusses how well the claims like job guarantee or money back should be communicated among the audiences and gives an insider view of their marketing blueprint.

Excerpts:

What is the objective behind your latest campaign #JobGuaranteed? What is the RoI you’re looking at?

From the campaign objective perspective, the goal is to create more awareness around the Job Guarantee Program. The creative is focused more on a storyline that really taps into the entire insight of people wanting to celebrate success. 

From an ROI expectation perspective, it traces back towards a larger goal at the country level. In the last three-four years, there has been a gradual acceleration of the requirement of digital skills in India. With the IT service industry doing well, it has been forecasted that it would need another five million people with digital skill sets, in the next four years. We, as a company, see a very exciting opportunity here. For our job guarantee line of products, we have internally set a goal that we want to train about one million people in the next three years, that’s what we are tracking in terms of RoI. Brand campaigns coupled with various other initiatives of marketing and performance campaigns, we are tracking to align to that goal of training people and that is how we will be evaluating the success of all the activities that we do.

Our overall marketing investment is about 100 crores for the next 12 months. In 2022, we are looking multiple campaigns where each campaign will look at driving a slightly different messaging and targeting different audiences.

In how many phases will the campaign be executed?

Currently, the plan is to keep it live for three months and then evaluate it further. This will be coupled with multiple legs across digital, social media and creating word of mouth. One of the very critical legs of this entire campaign is also to give it a relatable face. There is a lot of work happening on testimonial-based creatives, where we get real learners to talk about their experiences. The idea is to not only just have a marketing creative, but a testimonial-based campaign so that people can hear from real customers.

The brand has been active on print & digital. What was the idea behind that?

Firstly, we are continuously finding out that our audiences spend most time on digital. Secondly, we also want to keep this campaign very targeted and ideally want consumption of this campaign to be done by the audiences for whom it’s relevant. Television wouldn’t have made any sense for us.

When we talk about career outcomes, digital allows us to be more targeted. We have coupled it with print because we feel that strong claims like a job guarantee, print medium gives us the right level of credibility. We want customers to understand that #JobGuaranteed is a thoughtful claim. Print helps us to articulate the eligibility criteria and communicate to the people that this is a well-packed claim.

How would you define your overall marketing strategy? Take us through your budget allocation

We have two priorities – to create visibility, top-of-mind recall and to talk about the product line. Certain campaigns, for instance, the Ambition #CannotBeLockedDown campaign which was done last year in October, the focus was to create more brand visibility and brand recall. The #JobGuaranteed campaign is very focused on a specific line of products.

In terms of the choice of the mediums, digital will always be a large part of what we do. Our customers are online, and we want to also be able to target them effectively. Apart from that, we are always evaluating different options.

Overall, from a marketing budget perspective, in 2022, we actually expect a 100% increase in the marketing budget, year over year.

From a revenue perspective also, we look at doubling it in 2022, and both of those two go hand in hand.

Under digital, how important content marketing has become for EdTech players and for you specifically?

Content marketing is a huge part of our strategy. In fact, it’s one of our biggest differentiators since as a business, we have a very large portion of our revenue coming in from organic and free channels. We have a lot of investors lined up for this team, who focuses on building the right content, whether in terms of articles or in terms of the YouTube videos

Also Read: Road To 2022: Digital Marketing Trends in the EdTech space – what to expect in the New year

In your latest brand campaign, #JobGuaranteed you are providing 100% assurance of a job upon course completion- apart from offering a guarantee, there is a money-back provision too. Do you think for a brand to put such a proposition is kind of risky and how such offerings should be best communicated?

There’s a lot of thought that has gone into this before making communication and the claim of this nature and keeping this transparent. In fact, before we went live with this campaign, we were actually running the job guarantee programmes in a beta version for almost a couple of years with the focus of proving efficacy. We analysed the placement rate and made sure that all the learners who are coming in are getting the right outcome. Having analysed all of this, we’ve taken a call to make the larger announcement.

During the beta version, the data showed us that we were able to deliver a 92% success rate, which means that a majority of the people actually saw great outcomes. As a company and due diligence, we have been very clear before making a larger announcement of this kind. Secondly, we have very specific eligibility criteria, education requirements, and an aptitude test for the enrolments. For somebody who’s very keen to learn skills, but does not meet our eligibility criteria, we advise them on some of the other programmes.

What marketing trends do you foresee in the EdTech industry this year and its contribution to the overall AdEx?

The contribution to the entire advertising expenditure is only going to grow and there are going to be investments from all large players including Byju’s, Unacademy, or even Simplilearn. The industry will continue to grow at more than 100% year on year for the next three years and the marketing budget will also grow at a similar rate.

Also read: Digital Marketing Trends in the EdTech space – what to expect in the New year

How has the growth been for the company in the last year and what numbers are you eyeing for this year?

We aim to cross the 1000 crore mark in terms of revenue, in the Indian market by 2023. India is about 40% of our total revenue and the rest of it comes from the U.S and other key markets. India’s contribution to the overall revenue has been consistent because while India is growing fast, other markets too have a huge share/gain opportunities.

How do you plan to break through the clutter in this crowded and highly competitive space?

Our focus typically has been more on the product differentiation side. Having a much higher live interactive pedagogy of learning really drives better success for us. Therefore, repeat and referral is a huge part of our growth. At any given point in time, about 35 to 40% of the revenue and enrolments that we get, come from repeat and reference. It gives us a lot of confidence since it is more of a product that is driving growth for us. From a marketing perspective, the task at hand is to communicate the value and make sure that the differentiation is understood by all.

Article by Akanksha Nagar.

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