Jyotsna Makkar is a senior marketing professional with rich experience across Business Strategy, Portfolio Management, Brand Management and Innovation. She currently leads the Central Marketing Organization at Microsoft India, responsible for consumer and commercial Marketing across Microsoft's portfolio of devices and services.
Prior to Microsoft, she has worked as an independent management consultant applying her skills across diverse business and marketing challenges including portfolio strategy, big bet innovation, brand strategy and capability build. During her stint at PepsiCo, she led key categories at company’s Snacks and Beverage businesses, scaling up brands like Pepsi, Mountain Dew, 7 Up, Nimbooz, Mirinda and Kurkure.
In an exclusive interaction with India Digital Review, Jyotsna talks about how crucial digital (web and mobile) is for Microsoft India. She also discussed video becoming a crucial medium for brands and how Microsoft to leverage it for its advertising and marketing strategy.
How Microsoft is leveraging the digital medium - both internet and mobile figure to reach out to consumers?
Owing to the diverse portfolio of Microsoft’s products, we communicate with a wide spectrum of audiences. Web and mobile hence are both compelling mediums for our brand. We use each one for its unique strength – while web gives us reach, mobile is used primarily to drive engagement and social media enables always-on conversations and generates virality.
Which according to you have been some of the most exciting online campaigns that the company has initiated for its brand so far?
FY13 was a big launch year for MS; we did a lot of exciting campaigns across consumer segments. For Windows 8, we reached the peer-influencer, through a highly integrated campaign across TV, print and digital. We leveraged video assets on mobile & social to create awareness & drove experiences through augmented reality on mobile. With our Office 365 campaign we reached out to SMB BDMs across key-markets in interesting ways – we took over the union budget livecast on MoneyControl website and drove real-time contextual messaging of government policies on small and medium businesses. Through a rich mix of print, online and offline activities we created a high-impact launch for Office 365.
In your category, performance based online advertisements works the best. With new engagement forms such as videos coming up on internet, what are your thoughts on visual brand building exercises on internet in India?
Growing usage of mobile internet has opened up interesting opportunities for brands & marketers and a lot of video content is consumed through mobile devices. This trend works quite well for a brand like ours as we move into the services & devices ecosystem. We have leveraged video to tell interesting stories about our products, which has resonated quite well with our audiences. Video is now an integral part of our content marketing strategy.
How do you see your brand leveraging display advertisements on internet?
As shared earlier, display adverts through web, gives us reach. Our endeavor here is to lead with interesting and relevant content, with a clear call to action – trial, download, event registration etc. We have used rich-media formats in interesting ways across campaigns and have been early adopters in using innovative concepts across display and social media.
What answers do you seek from your digital advertising agencies and digital media partners while promoting your brand on internet?
While questions like reach, audience profile, and content relevance, targeting options, measurement & performance are definitely there, we are also very mindful of brand safety. In an online world, things can go drastically wrong, if not setup & monitored properly – under no circumstances would we like our brand to be associated with inappropriate content of any nature. We also want to stay ahead of the curve; test & learn is core to us.
What innovations would you as a brand; want from online publishers in the country?
While new-gen platforms are quite progressive and agile, I think some of the traditional, mainstream publishers need to amp their game on innovation. We want to do interesting things online, but many a times are constrained by the platform’s ability.
How do you see the importance of social media for promoting your brand in India?
Social media has changed marketing from a communication art to an art of creating & participating in conversations with advocates and also the detractors. We have thriving communities across key social platforms, which we leverage for always-on engagement with our consumers.
People are speaking about mobile being a great medium for brand communication, but still, very less amounts are spent on the particular medium. What is your take on this?
That’s correct, and we are watching the space closely to stay with the trend & spend adequately on the mobile medium. Constraint we currently face is the limited relevant inventory and robust measurement.
How do you see Microsoft's’ digital spends moving this year - in terms of growth and focus?
We will be spending more across digital this year - social, mobile & video will be key to this. Focus will be to lead with innovative solutions to deliver high-impact for our brand; we would like to invest in digital solutions / programs that can deliver direct ROI for our business.
How do you see your marketing objectives aligning with what the online medium offers from two years down the line?
As shared before, we are watching the trend closely; we would like to leverage efficient ways of connecting with our existing customers & reach out to new ones, and believe digital will play a significant role in this.