I started out as a digital marketer before the ‘dot com boom.’ Yes, that’s what it was called back then, in the early 2000’s where we saw people pretty much lose interest in anything digital given its lack of access. I remember endless conversations amongst our tribe of evangelists that the digital renaissance would happen. In the meanwhile, we were the lesser mortals, the traditional marketers were the demigods. The year 2007 changed everything. We suddenly had this powerful device (read ‘the world’) in our hands. The rest as they say, is history.
I have always been a digital enthusiast and I am fortunate that I am able to follow my passion and make a difference in my current role with the power of digital. I look after the brand and marketing function for the EtonHouse Group. I have a great boss and mentor and a passionate bunch in my team, who may not always understand my restlessness and my penchant for all things new, but they always indulge me. Lesser known fact: I am also a trained early childhood educator and my ‘teacher’ persona comes into play with the right provocation!
The terms ‘marketing’ and ‘education’ are not usually mentioned in the same breath. ROI is a term akin to sacrilege. Even though education is a sunrise industry, I know people who cringe at the mention of the word ‘industry’ to define what we do in schools. The same goes for parents too. The idea of a ‘commercial’ school is probably the biggest put off. And I understand. I do (remember, I am part educator). ‘Marketing and branding’ in my opinion, should be interpreted differently in schools and other education settings; it is a way to build real connections with your most important stakeholders - parents and students. Because when real connections are made, you inspire loyalty for life. And while you are nurturing that remarkable connection, you are also bringing all elements of the education process into a seamless process. Not only does that process build efficiency, but also aligns everything and everyone to the vision and mission of the organisation. It focuses on the ‘why’ first before the ‘how’ and the ‘what.’ Quoting Simon Sinek, ‘people don’t buy what you do, but why you do it.’ It’s time to move away from advertising led messaging to messaging that connects with the core of the organisation. It’s time to ‘unbrand’ the ‘brand.’
The biggest challenge therefore for me has been to change mindsets, not just within my team but amongst all the internal stakeholders. It’s also not easy to build consistency in messaging and experiences both top and bottom of the funnel and across all our schools, especially with the added complexity of sub-brands and schools in many different locations and contexts.
Have you noticed a change in marketing strategies used at your current company in relation to education, compared with your previous jobs? If so, what are the major differences?
AI and data have proven to be vital when building successful, curated customer-engaged campaigns. How are you best optimising your data for marketing?
As digital channels continue to evolve, what measures do you take to adapt or embrace these new technologies?
Bipasha Minocha will be speaking at the Brand Marketing Leaders Summit on 24th & 25th April in Singapore. Her presentation will focus on EtonHouse’s digital transformation story and how they use MarTech for efficiency and ROI. You can find more details here.
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