In conversation with Vedanarayanan Vedantham, Head of Marketing, Stayzilla
I am an engineer + b-school grad from SPJIMR, Mumbai. Dabbled with financial services consulting & product management before getting bitten by the start up bug. Have been a serial start up addict ever since and been a part of one other Chennai based internet startup prior to my current avatar. Today, I head marketing at stayzilla and am engaged in the intellectual and challenging pursuit of acquiring customers at a cost which makes business sense & and at a rate which can keep us competitive.
I also happen to be a fiction author with dreams of making it big. Created my own fictional character – Prince Surya and published 3 books as part of the “Adventures of Prince Surya” series
What would you say is the most important factor of running an eCommerce website in today’s highly competitive world?
There are 2 objectives which need to be solved for – Marketshare which is determined by the quantum & quality of footfalls driven to the website and second Mindshare which is determined by the level of user engagement with the brand or can also be measured in terms of brand awareness/ recall. Both of these are equally important to stay competitive.
What role has technology played in customer acquisition and retention?
Technology is pivotal. It plays out in different fashions be it in terms of implementing growth hacking techniques, leveraging product enhancement, landing page customization, user experience personalization based on marketing channels, past user behavior etc.
What ways do you use omni-channeling within your strategy to attract a customer to use Stayzilla?
We make sure we have consistent communication & messaging across all our platforms. We use Google (search) primarily for driving Marketshare and Facebook, Twitter & display campaigns for Mindshare. Plus we also keep re-engaging with our existing customers through emailers, remarketing & SMS campaigns. This ubiquitous presence makes sure we have close to top of mind recall when a prospect is looking for value & budget stays anywhere in India.
What do you feel the strongest digital platform used at Stayzilla is? And why?
Quite clearly Google. While google search (SEM) has helped us achieve our Marketshare (traffic) goals, our display campaigns have ensured brand recall stays intact as we scale and grow.
What according to you makes a good marketer?
10 years ago, marketers primarily needed the following skills in descending order of priority – Creativity, communication skills, analytical skills. Today, with “new-age”/ digital marketing becoming more prevalent marketers need analytical skills & knowledge of digital marketing channels apart from the softer skills. Analytical skills are even more important today with the preponderance of digital channels.
Name a well marketed product in any industry that caught your attention and why?
Since childhood, I have loved the marketing campaigns of Amul, the manner in which they stood out and entrenched their brand was amazing. The key was the presence of a strong humor quotient in their messaging which would be a common parameter across most successful brand communications worldwide.