Sipra Thakur has 14+ years experience focused on digital marketing. She has held start-up roles within established organizations, such as IMAX, The Wonderful Company, and Universal Music Group, in which she has led organizations' digital strategy. Based on this experience, Sipra has established her own consulting agency, One Thousand Suns, to help more businesses create successful digital strategies in an ever-changing landscape. Sipra was named a 40-Under-40 marketer in 2016 and in Women to Watch for marketing in 2017.
Ahead of her presentation at the Chief Marketing Officer Summit this March 20 & 21 in San Francisco, we sat down with Sipra to talk all things marketing, from engagement metrics to influencers.
1. How did you get started in your career?
I am a recovering attorney. My first role as a lawyer was working at Universal Music ascertaining artists’ rights in the newly forming digital distribution platforms. Although law was not the right job function for me, I discovered a passion for digital business while in this role. I was able to make a career shift within Universal and started-up the mobile division in a sales/marketing capacity in the Toronto offices. I was focused on increasing sales of our artists’ music in the mobile space through marketing partnerships. This was a much better fit for my long-term career goals, and as the adage goes, the rest is history.
2. Some look to the size of their audiences, others look at engagement metrics - how do you judge the success of your social channels?
Loosely following Pareto’s 80-20 rule, 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers, I do find engagement the more telling measure of success off social channels. It’s mostly engaged customers commenting, liking, posting about your brand on social. If I am engaging with those core customers, I have a greater chance of positively affecting the bottom line of my business.
However, the size of your audience still needs to be kept in the purview. This growth is a source of new customers and helps you identify your evolving '20%' as the business matures, so it’s also important to keep numbers up and continually grow your audience size.
3. Today, it seems everyone wants to be making video content. Do you think there’s a chance of marketing becoming oversaturated with video?
If an oversaturation happens, the customer will be sure to let you know! This can come in many forms: a drop in engagement, negative comments, unsubscribes, etc. If we see that with video, it’s our job as marketers to listen to the customer and shift priorities should this happen.
4. What emerging technology can you see having a major impact on digital marketing going forward?
AR. AR is at our fingertips already because of Snapchat and Pokemon Go, and a greater portion of the population are familiar with it in everyday life from this (as opposed to VR where the average consumer still needs a tutorial on its use). Pokemon Go was a seemingly overnight success, and because of that, it’s full capabilities weren’t necessarily planned out—like monetization strategies and driving impressions for products/businesses. As AR continues to proliferate, it opens up great opportunities for marketers to integrate the technology to reach customers in unique ways.
5. How can brands best merge data with creativity in their marketing efforts?
Good content (creativity) is 50% of the equation with the other 50% being distribution (data). If you have good content but no one sees it, what’s the point? And vice versa, poor content isn’t going to garner views. Having a continual dialogue evaluating content and data marketing as to which pieces resonate best with your customers will produce the best results for the company.
6. What can attendees expect from your presentation or panel participation at the summit?
My panel will be focused on the pros and cons of AR and VR marketing. Because the space is still relatively new, attendees can see what efforts have been made by brands and how/if to plan for integration of this technology into upcoming marketing roadmaps. Since VR in particular can be very expensive to produce, it may be helpful to see what returns other brands have seen to evaluate if it is worth the budget investment for your brand. And if attendees have already ventured into the space, how we can still benefit from collective learnings.
7. Do you think all brands should be considering influencer marketing going forward?
I don’t think influencer marketing is a right fit for all brands. Overall, it is not my go-to strategy. For A-list influencers, it can be expensive and often didn’t convert back to sales. If it makes sense from a goal standpoint and budget, it could be worth trying out if the goal is to drive awareness/impressions. I would make sure there are clear goals and deliverables in place before proceeding though.
You can hear more from Sipra, along with many other leading marketing executives, at the Chief Marketing Officer Summit this March 20 & 21 in San Francisco. To see the full schedule, click here.