Helming one of India’s leading content agency is no easy task, but someone’s got to do it. Read about our director Khamir Purohit‘s journey in the world of content, and his thoughts on the industry – as told to Sooraj Divakaran of Content Slide.
1) How did you come up with the idea of starting LexiConn?
It was back in 2008, when I worked with a bank, that I sold mutual funds and life insurance. It was probably the worst time for anyone to be doing so in India. Throughout my tenure as a banker, the market kept tumbling. From the heavenly highs of January 2008, to rock bottom in just 14 months.
My job involved meeting retail clients and convincing them to put money into the markets. We often indulged in a lot of direct sales. However, it was always a push. It felt like nobody wanted the products we were selling. In hindsight, I know that a consultative, need-based, and collaborative approach would have helped. I realized that one needed to spend time educating clients, clearing myths, and backing sales talk with data and success stories. I learned that everybody wants to buy, but nobody wants to be sold to. This became the basis for what I now call the ‘content marketing mindset’.
I am an Engineer, who studied marketing, and then became a banker. Only to realize that writing for business was my true love. LexiConn happened by chance. I moved on from my job as a banker, to delve into the content space. I soon realized that I was a tad over-qualified, or let’s say differently-qualified, and significantly over-paid to land a job as a copywriter at an advertising agency.
It was July 2009, when, to satisfy my urge to write, I had no option but to start a content writing company. Back then, we called it Content Processing Outsourcing. I guess, we were the only people calling it that 😊
2) What is the biggest challenge your clients face (both before becoming clients and once they’re working with you)?
While ‘going digital’ has been staple boardroom talk for a pretty long time, clients at times are not even clear about the Who and Why. When it comes to digital, there is a herd-mentality. This is where the biggest challenge stems from.
At times, we educate clients that ‘not doing something’, is actually doing a lot of good for their brand. Shortlisting the most appropriate channel for the specific marketing opportunity or challenge, developing a robust content strategy, and then execution and then monitoring it – clients come to LexiConn to seek solutions for one, more, or all of these.
Right from the tone of voice, to the design and layout of the creatives and from measuring engagement to benchmarking content performance, clients face challenges when they try to measure digital content using traditional mass media yardsticks. This warrants that clients evolve to develop a new set of eyes. Luckily, most of the MNCs we work with, have dedicated teams for managing their e-channels and know exactly what they want.
3) How do your clients measure content’s performance? What metrics do they use and have they changed over time?
In recent times, this is one of the most critical and talked-about aspect of content marketing. While page visits, bounce rates, and time spent have traditionally been the go-to metrics to measure content performance, clients often ask, ‘How long do we do this before we see results?”
To this, I give them our own example. Since we believe so strongly in what we do, we let our website and its content do the talking. LexiConn does not have any outbound sales or marketing efforts. 95% of our business comes to us through our website, while the rest happens through referrals. In the 8+years that we have been in business, we have not spent a single paise on direct marketing or sales. Since the proof of the pudding is in the eating, we let content marketing lead the way for us. We demonstrate the power of content. Today, we have worked with clients from across 20 countries!
We recently completed a year-long social media campaign where we published one content marketing tip each day. We called it #365ContentMarketingTips. Our Twitter followers went up from 80 to 3000+. This also meant that we added 365 blog pages to our website – taking the total no. to well over 450 pages! This positioned LexiConn as a thought leader in the content marketing business. It helped us inform, educate, and certainly earn!
While this might not work for all sectors and product stages, it helps highlight that a ROI-driven mindset does not always work with content marketing.
If you like to measure things, you can always turn to Google Analytics that offers metrics like flow of visitors, traffic sources and inbound links, that help marketers gain insights about the performance of their website. Of course, the no of leads generated is also an important metric, but then, you might have engaged the right consumer, but at the wrong juncture in the consideration cycle. Nevertheless, good content means that you are always in contention.
4) What’s your advice to brands involved in content marketing?
As self-fulfilling as it might sound, we advise that every business should also be in the publishing business. This is because we strongly believe that to win the consumers of the future, one needs to treat them with respect. Marketers need to empower consumers to buy, educate them through any means necessary, and then subtly present themselves as a worthy choice. Gone are the days of cold calling and hard selling.
Consumers, B2B as well as B2C, like to be guided, not misled. They can easily see past the tall, too-good-to-be-true claims that traditional mass media communications rollout unapologetically. Being honest is the best thing you can do for your brand!
5) Where do you think is content marketing/curation headed in India?
There are a lot of exciting things happening. Since it is the youngest entrant on the marketing bandwagon, it has a lot to learn and will play catch-up for a while to come. There are several broad threads that one can talk about.
The approach to content is becoming customized. Most MNCs now have clearly defined buyer personas across product types and stages. Technology is helping them deliver the right content, to the right consumer, through the right channel, at the right time. There is some serious work happening within the content analytics and performance measurement space too.
Marketers are also likely to experiment with newer content formats like info-graphics, podcasts. Gone are the days of bulk content projects. The focus on quality, along with quantity is likely to increase.
On the other hand, content marketing companies are also experiencing the skill shortage – especially the B2B and technical editorial content creation space – the need of the hour is an academic intervention for creating content professionals.
In a nutshell, with content marketing, we’re just warming up!
This article was first published at Content Slide, a platform created to educate beginners about all things Content Marketing.