Marketing must be aligned with a company’s digital footprint

Oct 30, 2018-

Pratik Aryal started out in marketing while still in college. Climbing through the ranks and switching companies, he gained the necessary know-how about marketing in a country like Nepal, where customs and business environments necessitate targeted marketing methods. Over the years, he has overseen projects, pursued public relations and built brands. Since 2011, he has been running his own marketing enterprise—81e—a management consultancy that offers creative management solutions in branding, marketing and advertisement. The company has built marketing campaigns for Suraj Vaidya’s FNCCI bid and Nimbus agri-business, promotions for Carlsberg premier league, and most recently worked for Savlon in its handwash campaign. In this interview with the Post, Aryal talks about the challenges of digital marketing and how it can help budding entrepreneurs in their businesses. Excerpts:  

What has your corporate journey been like?

I started my corporate journey as a part-time event coordinator in 2007, during my college days, at Vouge Ad and Event Management. The job gave me an opportunity to oversee projects and understand public relations along with brand building. My first full-time job was at Ad Media, a 360 degree advertising agency where I got the opportunity to work in the world of advertising and promotion. I worked there from 2010-2011. My next formal job was at Lead International, a corporate and development sector consultancy firm as a business development officer from 2013-2015. Here, I got the opportunity to work in the development sector for a change. My most recent job was at Nimbus, a major agri-business with multiple brands and products, from 2015-2018, initially as a national sales manager and then as brand manager until recently.  

What prompted you to start your own ventures?

I have been investing and assisting in ventures since 2011. My first business venture was 81e Pvt Ltd. in 2011, where I served as CEO from 2011-2013. 81e was initially an activation and event management firm, which has now morphed into a 360 degree advertising agency. Each of my firms has been involved in marketing, an area I have continuously tried to hone my skills in. I have been involved in marketing for 11 years now, with experience in each discipline, from product development, promotional campaign to research and sales.

How did you begin your first venture?

81e started with six friends with a common vision of better brand activation and corporate events. We saw a gap in targeted brand activation agencies, which had not been able to create value for their clients because of overpricing and under-delivery of promises. We started with a motto of providing the best value creation for clients and made sure we always delivered on our promises. In a short span, we managed to garner big name brands as clients and garnered a reputation as a prominent activation agency in Nepal. Today, with clients in corporate, development and government, 81e is a leading 360 degree advertising agency providing solutions from strategy to above-the-line (ATL) and below-the-line (BTL) execution.   

What are you involved with now and how did that come about?

Since 2016, I have been associated with a technological firm specialising in web, app and digital marketing called Gurkha Technology. This company is credited with over 500 web sites and numerous Android and iOS applications. We have been consistently leading in digital marketing solutions for the Nepali business market with a variety of clients, from national airlines to TV personalities.

With the dot com boom not impacting Nepal in the 90s, actual internet penetration started with smartphones and the social media boom of the 2000s. Today, we have 80 percent mobile and internet penetration in a country plagued by poverty. This new business environment was a great opportunity to tap. Furthermore, promotion has also grown, with the addition of social media to the existent traditional ATL and BTL mediums. We started Gurkha Tech with a vision to capture a major market share in technological solutions by 2020. Currently, we are leading players in digital promotion and web solutions in the Nepali market.

We also build tech products under Gurkha Tech. Currently, we have a beta version of under operation. Jhalko is a photo-printing web site where you can upload a photograph, choose your desired size and framing options, and we deliver it to your doorstep within the Kathmandu Valley. With this venture, we are trying to bring back the beauty of photographs with minimal hassle.   

How do your companies interest and benefit customers?

Each of our companies has the interest of creating value for our customers, with each catering to a unique area. A client can plan their overall marketing strategy, from promotion to execution, under one single roof. Where 81e provides ATL and BTL strategies and impact assessment, Gurkha Tech provides all technological support along with digital promotion while Jhalko provides complete printing solutions. By aggregating all major marketing solutions, we assist our customers in creating long-lasting brands and products for their end consumers.  

What sort of challenges have you seen in digital marketing while commencing your business?

The major problem with digital marketing today is that it is a buzz word that everyone wants to associate themselves with, but very few businesses, professionals, NGOs or brands understand how to leverage it with their overall marketing strategy and actions. Most marketing actions are not aligned with their digital footprint, as we have seen campaigns and brands that have failed to align their brand or product strategy with their existing web presence.    

How can digital marketing help budding entrepreneurs gain recognition in the market?

Budding entrepreneurs should not look at digital marketing by forgetting basic marketing fundamentals. Today, one of the major issues that entrepreneurs face is that they over-emphasise promotional aspects but forget the necessary work required in each of the marketing dynamics—from product development and distribution to the pricing of the product. Digital promotion, however, can assist them in getting their word out at a cost-effective and targeted manner.    

What are some qualities all leaders must possess?

First, learn to listen before you speak; second, develop a sense of good and bad with a keen eye on future development; and third, being open to continuous learning is the most important thing as hard work beats brilliance in the long run.

Published: 30-10-2018 12:25

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