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The Marketing Metamorphosis: WIP At Tata Mutual Fund

More efforts are being directed in guiding consumers on to digital assets, which are being built more aggressively by organisations, for they want to keep ahead of their Consumers, who have learnt a trick or two faster than the organisation was ready for.

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The last 6 months have been remarkable when it comes to an impetus to “change”. We achieved in 6 months what would have taken us 5 years of unhindered backing to the craft of Marketing. As much as that is a rare occurrence, the sharpened impact of marketing is becoming a norm. And it’s measurable. Over-night all marketing moved into the digital space, because our physical world fell apart. This held true for the purchases of products and booking of services too. My guess is that happened because customers naturally gravitated into the digital space not by marketing design but by their own needs. Marketing no longer impacting revenues with a lag BUT in near real-time. More efforts are being directed in guiding consumers on to digital assets, which are being built more aggressively by organisations, for they want to keep ahead of their Consumers, who have learnt a trick or two faster than the organisation was ready for.

If you look at the FMCG marketers in India, quite a few of them have taken active steps in defining their supply chains and have held up their numbers through strengthening of the digital infra. The battle is no longer about marketing versus digital marketing BUT online v/s offline marketplaces. The latter are going through seismic changes and may not be watering holes for crowds to throng.

One change in the way we work that will stick post COVID

For us at Tata Mutual Fund, changes were not dependent on COVID, 2 years back we had taken 3 calls, that we want to be: -

  1. A Content Factory Driven by Data
  2. Focused on Voice, Video and Vernacular
  3. Taking the inside out and getting the outside in, every single day.

It has been working for us across our B2C, B2B and the B2B2C engagements. All of which have ensured that our investors and those who are interested in our funds, know more about us, given that Mutual Fund Investing is still evolving in the country with roughly about 4 % of the population investing in Mutual Funds as a category.

Let me qualify what I am saying, with a quantitative impact – by end of August 2020, we have crossed the total digital purchases that we did in the whole of the previous FY. There is lot of ground still to cove and we will be backing ourselves on this strategic approach.

Approaching media planning and buying in the post-COVID world

There will be increasing demand in segmented targeting and creating eco-systems for community communication. Marketers always had information on who their buyers were. However, with more of them making purchases online, this information is getting sharper and we can run far more focused campaigns online because audiences are all there. DataReportal analysis shows that 3.96 billion people use social media today, accounting for roughly 51% of the global population.

At no point we could ever say that half the world is in the malls OR in the cinemas OR on the high-ways. This completely changes the way media is planned and brought. More dollars will shift into the digital platforms which facilitate “see-buy” transactions instantly, rather than off line which is “ see-remember-buy” later OR with a lag by taking your mind off the TV to your mobile phone for “ search-purchase”. The point is media will need to power instant purchases rather than with a lag.

The other big opportunity for media is being able to attract “people like me” once you know I have made purchase. Brands can’t go wrong if they follow their target audiences when they become customers, for these customers because of their digital connections with family, friends, colleagues, etc. can give leads to more consumers with less need to water spends afresh.

A serendipitous thought is that some big brands if they crack the code, will become top notch content creators themselves, which may not need spends on third-party channels. This customized content can be advertised through their own YouTube / website or app. Imagine a guitar manufacturer running a show broadcast live OR a manufacturer of sunscreens running a show on travel – the content for which can come from their own employees or customers.

Key-ways in which consumers have changed the way they engage with our brand

Consumers are giving companies opportunity to communicate 24X7. Prime time restrictions are gone, and Prime-Content opportunities are available all around the clock. Consumers also seek a straight through journey from Awareness through Interest through Desire and Action. All of it can play out in one sequence. Actually, consumers are willing to “binge-buy” viz. go through the buying process at the same very instance. In case of Tata Mutual Fund, we have created different kind of content formats – Fund Manager Interviews, Fund demystification videos, performance updates, etc. In fact a campaign run by us “ Har Din Sahi Hai !” meaning “Anyday is a goodday !” encourages investors to invest in Mutual Funds on any day of their choice, we have crossed 320 days on the trot, without a single day when the creatives haven’t rolled. The purchases on our digital platforms, tell us that we are on the correct path and must keep at it.

Cause related marketing increase during COVID

COVID did give an opportunity to focus on cause related marketing. TMF is the only brand globally to have run a “campaign-a-thon”, a communication every hour from 7 a.m to 9 p.m giving meaning and purpose to spending time at home when our Honorable Prime Minister announced “ Janata Curfew “ on 22 of March. We followed it up with another campaign when the 1st lock-down was announced and had a creative a day. Both these campaigns helped us connect with individual consumers and also gave our channel partners reasons to stay in touch with their customer or prospects. We have tried to balance the cause related initiatives within the context of investing and have not over-played it. Our message simply was to take each day judiciously and be cautious, while keeping focus on for better days ahead, when the world will open up.

Influence: From outside the organization partners who proved most valuable

We have different partners who work on specific aspects for creating ah! Ha! Moments for our brand. Our communication partners, the team managing our website, a very well-known company which delivered our state of art BoT Mr. Simple, partners who worked on demystifying specific mutual funds, etc. all of them rose to the occasion and kept reaching newer bench marks. While every aspect of the marketing stack was on an uptick, the most outstanding moment has been how our BoT, Mr. Simple has been conducting itself. With an ISAT score of 92%, it is the best in breed in managing service queries. Its, now building a strong muscle to deliver transactions and emerge as an alternate business channel. We crossed triple digit transaction processing in less than 6 weeks of enabling purchases. Mind you it’s not a mugger of FAQs but holds proper conversations.

Our marketing partners, is a “Start-ups Only “stack of companies, whom we are very proud of associating with. This is our way of strengthening the “Start-up India” story. Must be small but is solid as a rock.

COVID changed the way of work with our agencies

Our CEO and MD, Mr. Prathit Bhobe and me believe in strong deep relationships with all our partners, agencies included. It’s not that we haven’t been wooed by a very competent adversaries of the present set of partners we work with. However, there is a rhythm that is set and there is a clear understanding of our approach towards our Customers and Channel Partners. We have worked more closely with our agencies, ensured that all payments are on time, are speaking to them regularly and have continued creating refreshing work. 

We don’t know what’s “new” but it’s a “great” normal to walk into every day. Metamorphosis is always for growth and progress. There comes the charming butterfly….

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are personal in nature and in is no way trying to predict the markets or to time them. The views expressed are for information purpose only and do not construe to be any investment, legal or taxation advice. Any action taken by you on the basis of the information contained herein is your responsibility alone and Tata Asset Management will not be liable in any manner for the consequences of such action taken by you. Please consult your Financial/Investment Adviser before investing. The views expressed in this article may not reflect in the scheme portfolios of Tata Mutual Fund.

Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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MVS Murthy

Head-Marketing & Digital, Tata Asset Management

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