Gabey Goh
May 31, 2016

With branded content, Tech Mahindra angles for ‘ringside view’ of the future

Tech Mahindra’s chief strategy and marketing officer, Jagdish Mitra, talks to Campaign Asia-Pacific about the company's move to stand out through content and its deal with WSJ Custom Studios.

Jagdish Mitra
Jagdish Mitra

SINGAPORE - Indian multinational IT company Tech Mahindra plays in a technology space populated by traditional and disruptor brands all competing to be seen and heard.

For Jagdish Mitra, the company’s chief strategy and marketing officer, the biggest challenge is being part of the right conversations so that the team can help colleagues open the right doors.

“This is why we have embarked on a journey where we are collaborating with industry leaders to produce content that’s relevant to more than just our customers,” he told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “Almost every industry is currently going through digital transformation, and we want to share our best practices, our thoughts and help shape this future.”

In its quest to drive not just drive thought leadership, but also listen to the opinions of analysts, consumers and advisors—the company signed a three-year content partnership deal with WSJ Custom Studios, the custom content marketing division of The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in April.

“Our objective is simple," he said. "We want to be actively involved in this discussion on what the future of our businesses will look like. The partnership with WSJ gives us a ringside view of the future.”

Called In The Future, the multimedia programme is aimed at creating custom content focused on technology, including thought leadership pieces on issues aimed at global business leaders.

This will involve "the creation of original and compelling stories and video that span print and digital media, tablet and mobile, graphic solutions, social media and events," said a statement from WSJ. 

Driving conversations

Mitra said that as a brand Tech Mahindra seeks to be relevant to digital native companies, to inspire them and provide ideas on how they can constantly innovate throughout their business journey.

“We want to be able to effectively address the new community of buyers by becoming a business solution partner rather than a mere IT systems integrator,” he added.

The WSJ partnership is a start, and Mitra said the company plans to develop one or two more similar key properties as moving forward; a lot of its campaigns will be digitally driven.

“As a company with a dynamic view of the future, we are open to all ideas,” he added. “We will consider strategic partnerships that will help us drive thought leadership around the future trends that will have an impact on businesses around the globe.”

Asked about how the company’s marketing approach has evolved over the last year, Mitra said that while there is no common solution that’s suitable for all the markets the company is present in—digital forms the baseline for its strategy.

“We are big proponents of digital transformation, so naturally we walk the talk as well and it is part of the overarching strategy,” he added.

Mitra said that in a “data intensive” age, it is important to be able to turn data into meaningful insights.

“It is an exciting time for marketers and we are just starting,” he said. “The ability to analyse large amounts of data and turn that into actionable insights is now changing the way we create and amplify content.”

Every brand now has the power to reach out to its direct audience and measure the impact of such outreach. On Tech Mahindra’s part, the team currently tracks which articles are doing well on its website, via by looking at number of clicks, time spent on the article and if it has been shared.

“We also look at how people are accessing our website,” said Mitra. “Most importantly, we are also speaking to different teams to see if any of these visits have resulted in opportunities for us.”

By understanding these parameters, the marketing team is able to talk to executives and get them to contribute more on a certain topic, if it is particularly effective.

“Sometimes brands look at pushing their messages so hard that they fail to listen to what their audience want,” he added. “With the tools available today, marketing and communications is a two-way street.”

Mitra noted that while marketing efforts are now geared to be more digital, the company is also not neglecting traditional channels such as TV, print or radio.

With regards to its agency partners, Mitra shared that to date, the company has been managing marketing initiatives internally.

“However as we undergo our own digital transformation, we are in the process of identifying agencies that will help us in taking our marketing initiatives to the next level,” he added.

Asked about how much the company spends on marketing annually, Mitra said its marketing budgets are “on par with industry standards”.

“We prioritise innovative and disruptive marketing ideas that can help us ensure every marketing dollar invested goes a long way,” he added.

During its most recent earnings call, Tech Mahindra, part of the US$16.9 billion Mahindra Group, saw its revenue in dollar terms rise to US$1.02 billion, while net profit jumped 16.8 percent from the preceding quarter to US$134.2 million in the three-month period ended 31 March.

 

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