In an Exclusive Interview with Mr. Sanjay Singal, Dabur India Ltd.


Mr. Sanjay Singal, Head of Marketing – Foods, Dabur India Limited, in an exclusive interview to Nilotpal Chakravarti, outlines Dabur India’s digital strategy and talks at the length the challenges and opportunities of the digital marketing.

TA:  How are you ensuring that you have an integrated marketing effort?

SS: At the present time, you can’t afford to miss out on a particular medium. Since both mainline and digital are imperative, we brief both the agencies in tandem to ensure all our marketing efforts are integrated into the core campaign thought.

TA: How are you leveraging the digital medium to acquire customers or create an amazing customer experience?

 SS: The nature of digital being real time, the intent is to seed in useful content related to health and fitness, in the form of videos/images/articles to our social platforms and website where the audience is keen on consuming such content. This will further create a positive brand impact.

TA: Social Media Marketing and ROI are often discussed and dissected. What are your views on Social Media marketing and how do you gauge the ROI?

 SS: Social media marketing is primarily an engaging medium. Digital has become a very important part of the overall marketing mix. ROI is perceived differently by different categories like Financial Services and FMCG. For us, ROI is about getting users to engage with us on a regular basis and provoke conversations. Our objective is to become a part of our customers’ daily lives. That being said, we closely monitor our website analytics and see the traffic generated on our pages from social media. Our campaigns are created with the sole purpose of generating the interest of our customers or enticing them to check out our delightful range of products.

 TA: As a marketer, what according to you, are the key challenges for any CMO, especially for digital marketing?

SS: Marketers are aiming at higher standards these days than ever before. Businesses are expecting visibility from digital campaigns and consequently, performance is being scrutinized more closely. This expectation raises marketers’ accountability, and that accountability sharpens as new data sources enter the space. Traditional marketers can feel even more pressure if digital is not their medium of preference.

Below are the core challenges:

  • More variables and players to navigate with: Managing consumer data, personalization, mobile, and social have all become front-and-center priorities in the digital marketing space. For marketers, it’s challenging to get a clear view across disparate systems, data sources, internal departments, and outside agencies


  • More issues that require marketers to quickly react/adapt: Marketers are expected to be “at the ready” to put out or manage fires. In an environment of immediate feedback, we must have our teams on their toes. We get more negative reviews, comments, posts etc. That must be responded to efficiently and effectively


  • Expected to be more proactive in more areas: As channels and product knowledge proliferate and “constantly shifting” consumers’ expectations, marketers feel increasing pressure to continually create and refresh content and ideas in a proactive manner. We need to be proactive in site optimization, mobile deployment and social conversations. But we’re also operating in a digital marketing environment that has yet to mature fully to meet the demands of the industry.


 TA: What can be done to address the challenges?

SS: There’s really no escaping it. No matter how innovative your use of the latest tools and technologies in digital marketing may be, no matter how closely you follow industry trends and implement solutions that reflect the cutting edge in digital marketing practices, it will always come down to the measurability. Being able to demonstrate the rupee-to-rupee benefit that your marketing efforts provide to your organization is the elusive brass ring that we marketers are perpetually striving to grasp.

From every perspective, it is data that provides the backbone to strategy. Without proper data management, you won’t have the analytical capabilities to understand the behavior of your customers. And without that, the systems you have on hand to activate your business strategy will not be able to reach their full potential.

But even with great data and capable analytics, determining how to calculate and conceive of the ROI for a digital marketing strategy might not reveal how many sales were generated by a particular campaign. ROI is not always calculated with a sales metric. Companies struggle with measuring the strategic benefit. In the old days, radio and television were seen as awareness-building tools. Many of the technologies we use today in digital marketing-social media play that same kind of role. Also, it can be hard to assign specific values to those tools.

Making sense out of how to convey the inherent and often intangible value of certain digital marketing strategies and tools is one of the most significant challenges any marketer faces. It is important to determine that which strategy is working and whether that certain strategy needs increased institutional support in order to succeed. By thinking creatively and strategically about how to give those upper-level managers a sense of the real ROI for digital marketing efforts–including the concrete sales numbers—marketers  go a long way toward overcoming that perennial challenge.

TA: Is it true that the emergence of the digital medium has put enormous pressure on CMOs to realign their strategy? How critical it is to be on the same page with your CEO and CTO?

SS: Not really.. The brand strategy does not change..The possibilities for execution have become richer as one is not restricted anymore to monotonous 1 way communication, but can have more meaningful and richer engagement and dialogue with the digital consumer.



TA:  What are your marketing plans going forward?

SS: Well, Foods is a very exciting category that thrives on Innovation that you will keep seeing from us in the market.

TA: What are your digital advertising spends? Can you give a number to it? Has it risen over the past year and if so, by how much?    

SS: I can safely say that as a % of our total spend, it doubled last year and again doubled in quarter 1.


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“Thinking Aloud” reflects the emerging trends and varied outlook of the rapidly evolving internet and communication sector. An IAMAI publication, this is a part of the market education initiative of the association.

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