Neeraj is a highly motivated, visionary and performance-driven marketing executive who has spent the last two decades building brands and businesses. He specializes in digital/brand/international marketing and brings with him a uniquely diverse work experience having both marketing and business experience, across several industries and also across several countries.
As part of his current role as Chief Marketing Officer PropTiger.com, Housing.com and Makaan.com, Neeraj is responsible for the company’s brand marketing, digital marketing, customer acquisition, content marketing, sales activations/promotions & communication. Prior to this, Neeraj has worked with many distinguished companies including India Today Group, Hindustan Times, Fever 104 FM, Tata Global Beverages, Tata Administrative Services, Bharti Airtel and Xerox.
India Digital Review’s Atul Verma caught up with Neeraj for a candid chat on everything digital. Read On.
As the Group CMO for 3 digital assets and all of them essentially are around real estate. How do you keep the differentiated brand positioning in the digital world?
The three brands are differentiated in what they offer to the customers. Thus, irrespective of the medium, i.e. digital or traditional, one needs to communicate the same. Housing.com is positioned on trust and optimism; Makaan.com is about Finding Joy in the journey of finding a home and PropTiger.com is positioned in providing a professional service in transacting while buying a home. The customer product offering is transactions which are very different from the platform businesses.
What are the digital marketing plans for the festive season for the group ?
In terms of performance marketing this is the seasonal peak and thus we will be active as per plan. We have recently launched ‘Home Utsav’. The one-month long festival started from September 28 to October 28, 2017 will present special offers and deals from renowned developers across the country. The festival serves as a one-stop shop exhibiting a complete bouquet of product offerings from developers for home buyers to choose the best deal this festive season.
How much percentile of the total marketing budget is allocated to digital marketing?
On an actual basis, it is 80-90% as of now. However, once the brand campaign spends are account, it will settle between 60-70% for digital
How have been the last 12 months for your brand and segment? What challenges do you foresee in the future?
In the last 12 months, we have been hit by three events (Demonetisation, RERA, GST) which caused to defer demand in real estate causing uncertainty, and during uncertain times people don’t make large investments. The challenges in the future will be only some Black Swan event , but otherwise, I believe real estate will be on the upcycle with renewed consumer interest.
There is this talk of AI and ML changing the way marketing was done before, what are your thoughts? Are there any changes in technology that could affect your category?
The performance marketing part is anyways using tools for optimisation and AI & ML will only make this better. Changes in technology that allow for better visualisation will have a wonderful effect on the category and the efforts to make real estate sales possible completely online.
How has your role as marketing lead changed in last 12 months or so?
Personally, it was more of mind shift than a role shift. Housing.com was a wonderfully exciting brand and a formidable competitor. From thinking how to beat Housing.com to now running campaigns for the brand is quite a enjoyable shift !
What are your key expectations from your digital agency partners and has it changed in last 12 months or so?
We brought in all our digital marketing so we don’t work with digital agencies for both performance and social.
Tell us the key digital trends that you foresee which could change the way this digital industry works currently.
I think AI & ML will change a lot around us, including what happens in the industry. The next is really voice search, it will change how we search on the net. And finally visualisation and social sharing , so if you look at Facebook spaces, it gives you an idea as to how one can even virtually co-opt and explore places and in our case properties.