MVS Murthy, Head – Marketing & Digital, Tata Asset Management, is a true digital maven with an illustrious two-decade career with India’s top Banking, Insurance and Broking companies in their Marketing and Digital spaces, and is now the go-to person for Tata Asset Management’s Marketing and Communication strategies.
Pavan R Chawla caught up for a deep dive with this inspiring Digital Marketing leader who is highly experienced and adept at handling Brand, Communication, Digital Marketing and Digitization of Customer Experience.
We bring you a truly rewarding read filled with excellent insights from the passion, knowledge and experience of a visionary of data-driven marketing who focuses on three crucial growth areas — revenue, customers and value. And doesn’t set too much store by the rear-view mirror as he drives Tata Asset Management forward during these extremely challenging times, to ever greater salience and growth. Read on.
How has Tata Mutual Fund been Reaching out to its Customers and Channel Partners , while the outside is shut?
One of the key principles of Marketing we have applied is taking the inside out and getting the outside in. This got us to create probes into ecosystems of Customers, Channel Partners and the Industry at large.
It helped us build deep connect – physically and digitally. And both worked in in tandem. With the outside shut, we are physically off but virtually on.
Be it reaching out views of our fund managers, connecting channel partners with our product teams or increasing reach of multiple Funds, we have never had a dot day.
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We have not only used the regularly channels of outreach but strengthened fledgling nodes of communication and built newer ones.
Just to give you an indication an investor education podcast run by us has seen over 10000 episodes being streamed – organically, in 2 weeks of launch.
What’s been different in TMF’s approach to marketing for your TGs pre- and during COVID-19?
In the pre-covid we were an outdoor plus digital marketer. Covid-19 folded up outdoor and added layers to our digital out reach. The key difference is that we have been able to add “the power of fluid” to our marketing efforts. And this has two aspects continuity and consistency of flow of communication.
We are creating far more content, on a daily basis and reaching deeper pockets of the country. For instance, we are doing 4-5 explainer videos a week, an ad a day, a podcast every week, curating English + Regional language content for connecting with newer markets and audiences.
My guesstimate is that we will be easily doing 100 units of unique communication a month – and this excludes sessions hosted by our Fund Managers. Must share that all this was not built during COVID times, we have been building it not for a situation like this but as the new BAU, it’s just that the foresight has helped us keep the going smooth. We are meeting less but definitely more connected than ever before.
How do you expect the new normal to pan out – What elements from your approch during COVID period occupy pride of place (i) in your marketing efforts and strategy, and (ii) For the BFSI sector as a whole?
Those investors and channel partners who have discovered the convenience of Digital are going to stay put with it. What has happened is that lock down forced us all to adopt digital and ordering vegetables on excel sheets sent on whatsapp groups was the initiation.
Then came ordering staples from e-commerce, as months rolled by comfort clothing for WFH got ordered.
Thus, these “practice sessions” have emboldened investors to try digital investing. Channel Partners have demanded digital support for executing transactions, for reaching out the AMC views to their customers, for being updated about their client portfolio, etc.
This has been a “transformation in a blink” kind of moment across customer segments, geographies, channel affinity any which ways you look at it. There is no reversing. Having learnt hyper-responsiveness at a snap, overcome the initial tardiness, as an industry we have collectively become agile in managing customer experiences remotely.
More investments will flow in non-physical or contactless delivery of not just tangible products but also intangible service offerings – say advisory. The industry as a whole will continue promoting low cost, high efficiency delivery and engagement channels.
Coming to us we will definitely continue being a content factory driven by data. The factory will be powered by Video, Vernacular and Voice.
We have absolute clarity that we need to be erring on over-communication and not under communicating, as the mobile phone is a second shadow. And doesn’t depend on the light above, it carries it within making us consume information or act all the while. We want to be a brand that is “staying alive” all the while.
What are the key communication themes at work for Tata Mutal Fund
We have become an everyday brand, our campaign Har Din Sahi Hai has run on the trot for 311 days (at the time of this interview). We are running “chota hi sahi, start to kijiye” encouraging new investors to start investing – last month our marketing initiatives brought in the highest number of SIPs for this calendar year.
Our channel partners have amplified the need for vernacular communication and we are facilitating it. Our Debt funds are also attracting interest, making it an additional layer of fund related communication along with equity.
Our investor education initiatives starring Prof. Simply Simple and Suppandi are amongst the buzziest in this category of communication. We have adopted voice as a key medium of message transmission to the Millennials and Gen Y.
IshqBhi Risk Bhi is India’s first audio drama on investor education and is in its second season. Mind Over Markets features Rahul Singh, our CIO – Equities, talking to audiences every week about his views on the economy, the sectors, the markets and how we need to manage our thoughts (read as approach) to investing.
Our lineage is an ice-breaker for trust, and the efforts we are putting in is making us buzzy enough for anyone who believes in investing in one-self and their cherished goals. We have not only made our communication stack contemporary but also created tech powered nodes for interacting with our brand.
Mr. Simple our BoT manages over 40K chats a month and is untiring. Imagine, how much of work load it must have taken away from our service channels, particularly in these times of anxiety.
How has the client-agency model evolved? Has this been for the better or worse? What recommendations would you make to own teams so they get better equipped to view priorities and strategies in a more digitally-driven workplace and marketing ecosystem?
One difference I see is that all agencies are batting to their strengths. We work with 6 distinct partners and they are all like a happy set of colours in a palette. The 360-Degree Agency has made space to specialists. Small effective teams are the norm of the day. And the relationships are deep.
The other aspect is because of the ubiquity of the work each partner does, they have also been able to connect up with multiple functions in the company.
This has helped every department be it compliance, fund management, product, or even HR understand the value marketing brings to the company as a whole.
This is not restricted to creating communication but also understanding of technological advances in creating better user experiences. Our BoT, Mr. Simple is one such case point – marketing is pivoting technology, customer service and operations to create customer delight.
The purchases made on this platform are the quick singles or rotation of strike with the sales teams, who by their function do bulk of the heavy hitting. You need a good runner too!
It is fantastic, since marketing is able to create compounded demand by going deeper in the trenches rather than being ATL – above the land. The labyrinthine tubes are nourishing every aspect of business. Very early in my career, which started in advertising, we were told to be the most informed person in the room, to earn the respect of the client.
Now the onus is more on us as a client to know our business, so that we can get specialists to perform at peak levels. The client is the conductor of the orchestra. And needs to know more than just the creative aspect business, which includes, technology, platforms, data, work- flows, channel partner needs, all of which together are playing out when Customers are making choices.
COVID-19’s impact on Business: TMF – Pre-COVID and now – the business and engagement levels, the pitch and intensivity of marketing efforts. How long will it take for it to arrive at a BAU (Business As usual) level?
We will never go back to pre-COVID, at best it will be a reference point. During Covid when the outside was shut, we grew from the inside. We made ourselves stronger for the long run.
Business attributed directly to marketing has seen a Q-o-Q and a Y-o-Y growth. Across metrics of transaction counts / volumes, purchases, gross sales, etc. we have grown. This for us is the new normal. We want to keep building a smarter machine by adding more intelligent experiences of education, service and sales.
There are 2 innovations lined up this month and we are sanguine that they will provide additional boost to our efforts, many times over. For us BAU is Business As Unusual – Purposeful disruption to create growth and scale.
What has been the customer response to TMF in these pandemic times ?
As mentioned earlier the every penny put in for marketing has brought a 2X response. New Customers, more SIPs, more purchases, more usage of channels – particularly the newer ones. Thanks to our investment and product teams we have put out the right set of funds for investors to choose.
And our marketing partners have woven some amazingly simple stories to generate manifold interest in them. If a fund is in spotlight it is highly unlikely that marketing won’t be able to generate demand
What is the role of technology in the rise for marketing, There is enormous digital performance based marketing and brands that are adopting it are seeing great results. What role, scale, place does performance-based digital marketing have in the TMF marketing plans?
Technology is integral to marketing. It has increased reach of the message one hand and on the other hand ensured relevance by landing up to an audience of choice. We haven’t veered away from the full funnel marketing approach.
However, the measurability of the medium makes the skew stronger to performance-based digital marketing. The onus is on the marketing team to innovate and find a fit for the brand story to play out given the discretionary nature of this craft. We have cracked that and honestly after trying multiple things.
Every aspect of Marketing is measurable within Tata Mutual Fund. With audiences moving digital the mobile phone is the watering hole where all platforms and formats of communication are accessed.
SMS / Chat Messages / Emails / Voice Calls / Videos / Images / PDFS, to name a few. All of this delivered through as much understanding of the power of technology and the Customer’s need to be recognized as unique.
All this is adding up to higher demands of performance from marketing not just in the limited sense of media spends but distinctly measurable impact on business – in monetary terms and persistency of the Customer franchise built
What are the new uses of tech that marketing has found ?
We are using tech to improve customer experience. Websites are par course. Our Bot Mr. Simple, debuted as a service assistant who gave you information about our funds. We added a layer of managing standard service requests.
We are working on making it more mass-based by adding a layer of local languages. From the time of launch which was about 6 months back, the users have grown 3X and the conversations 6X, with a 92% ISAT score.
We have enabled over 4000 channel partners with a social media presence on Facebook. Their daily dose of everything we do as a fund house lands up through a service called TMFPost which is integrated with telegram.
Marketing the NFO of our Quant Fund was a unique experience, for we had to dispel notions of artificial versus human intelligence. The NFO was a run-away hit with early adopters of anything tech. The retail participation and particularly that from tier-2 and tier-3 towns was higher than previous NFOs
Tech has helped us get closer to our Customers. In the next phase marketing is working on using technology to empower the Customer. Imagine the power they will have if they can talk with our BoTs. We are keenly learning and cross-pollinating from other industries.
Different sectors and companies view this differently, depending on the evolution of their businesses and the approach of their core team.
For us at TMF it’s a been a very exciting time, work on the communication aspects, we are responsible for the Customer Experience, our sales colleagues wish marketing to replicate digital experiences for all our channel partners including those who have digital models themselves, our Fund Managers seek us out to get their word across through newer mediums like podcasts.
Thus, we are the nudge for every team to move their metrics and experiences higher.
Thanks to the frame work laid out by Prathit Bhobe, MD & CEO, Tata Asset Management, marketing is directly attributed with business generated through traditional digital platforms as well as those coming from investments in new channels like the BoTs.
As a team we are clear that when everyone has a metric to look forward to, there is much more purpose in the walk.
Ultimately the Investor smiles on the efforts of enthusiastic minds across the board
What’s new in marketing for TMF?- what are the long term and short term goals for marketing?
The next frontier is the increasing use of AI to create better experiences. Mr. Simple, our BoT is the leading batsman. We would like to bat right down to the tail and bowl our Customers over ! The increasing use of voice is the other area.
Using digital to crash the user journey from lead to closure is another cherished goal. There are a couple of radical ideas being implemented and we will know by October how we have fared. I did like to add that a lot of it has happened because we trusted the partners in our marketing eco-system, we respected the ideas they brought in basis their work in other industries.
They definitely see the new things in technology much earlier than anyone else and help us reinforce our marketing efforts leading to better contribution to business.
Sustained Marketing definitely helps build demand over time. This effort of ours should help us improve market share and move up the ranking table. In the immediate now, we are focused on Q-o-Q and Y-o-Y growth through channels and initiatives we are directly responsible for. We work towards doing well in every parameter compared to the previous month.
Business attributed to marketing is 2X as compared to last year, it is important to keep sustaining the momentum and growing. Once, we get over COVID our physical channels will come into bat and together we will have a much higher score on the board.
How important is demystifying products for finance firms? For consumers to grab their attention and inform-educate them to trial and persistent adoption?
My guess is banks have done their bit and initiatives on identity, payments, ecommerce have all managed to ensure that a lot of us transact digitally. Besides the new Customers coming in are anyways digital first. From a product perspective MF is still needs a deeper understanding or learning.
It is here that demystification has a key role to play. It is not as much about the product, but simplification helps Customers take DIY – do it yourself, kind of calls. This helps both ways, the have an informed conversation with a channel partner OR go ahead and invest. The same holds true for insurance too. Simplicity generates speed for the industry as a whole.
In our case, we have moved into short explainer videos. To increase its appeal, we dub the same videos in regional languages too.
Infographics are another demystifying agent. This is backed by the solid support ecosystem manned by our channel partners, the ease of our websites, the speed of our BoT – Mr. Simple. The effort is to pass knowledge and the power of choosing to the Customer. Language and Ease of Execution will help persistent adoption.
What do you find has really helped you most – the top three things that helped you cut the clutter in an increasingly crowded advertising space?
Video, Vernacular and Voice – undoubtedly. We chose to become a content factory and to keep a balance on effort and RoI, we are driven by data.
We have become an always on brand, for our social handles and you will experience it.
In a growing industry like financial services, it is a huge challenge to communicate regularly with both B2B and B2C audiences. Do you agree? How do you go about achieving it? What is your suggested solution to the marketplace?
We need to be in an election campaigning mode, beginning to the end of every FY. Now once you take on that kind of an approach then you are everyday meeting new audiences, developing new communications, going to new markets, speaking out of the comfort of your language of choice, using technology to reach multiple places at the same time, articulating an unchanging purpose despite the vagaries of the weather (markets), changing communication formats, meeting innovators outside your comfort zone to challenge you to move to the next level and fill up gaps.
When you adopt this frame-work your audiences see it, you can tweak the messaging basis the recipient and being a custodian of the brand, the onus is on you to ensure growth and consolidation of trust.
Everyone will have their own ways to adapt and adopt, what works for us is 24X7 Staying Alive as a brand
What are some successful TMF campaigns that have gained remarkable results?
- Har Din Sahi Hai, is perhaps the longest running campaign in the world 300 days + now, on the trot with out a miss. It reaches out across our social channels, to our channel partners, our website. We have a feeling that it might have knocked off quite a few good morning messages!
- Tata Mutual Fund launched a new digital campaign “Meri Aazadi” The key message of is that Retirement is not about an Age but a matter of Choice – Meri Aazadi: Freedom to Be. Freedom to Do.
- Daily Campaign series 365 X 365 – Launching #HarDinSahiHai ! – 365 days a year | 365 nudges to invest | 365 creatives a year! The campaign will pick up on everyday events and we weave a Tata Mutual Fund Investment Story.
- Tata Mutual Fund launches “#TakeCharge – Women must invest“, an educative initiative on occasion of Women’s Day. The campaign aimed at encouraging women across the country who straddle multiples roles across home, work and their own goals. Being financially stable and independent is most critical. Mutual Funds will help them create wealth over the long term.
- Tata Mutual Fund launched a new digital campaign “Meri Aazadi” The key message of is that Retirement is not about an Age but a matter of Choice – Meri Aazadi: Freedom to Be. Freedom to Do.
- Tata Mutual Fund has launched ‘Tata Quant Fund‘ an Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) powered fund.
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.