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"Effective utilisation of business dollars is a key challenge for digital companies"

We saw the pandemic accelerate the digital transition process of businesses last year. A year later, the implications of this transition have been significant and wide-ranging – from creating consumer experiences & engagements, to e-commerce, online education, e-payments, online medical consultations – almost all off-line activity is now done in the digital space.

Digital spends have gone up manifold, and brand strategies now incorporate reaching out to consumers in the online space. With this, there has also been the need for upskilling the workforce to tackle the business operational requirements in the new normal.

In the run-up to DIGIXX MEDIA SUMMIT 2021, Adgully will be bringing a series of interactions with India’s leading Digital evangelists as part of our series on DIGITAL DIALOGUE.

Keeping a sharp eye on all the Digital developments and disruptions is Adgully’s industry leading premier property – DIGIXX. Like in the previous years, DIGIXX MEDIA SUMMIT 2021 is all geared to discuss, analyse, crystal-gaze and explore the world of Digital trends in a day-long event comprising Panel Discussions, Master Classes, Keynote Addresses and Fireside Chats. 

In conversation with Adgully, Nikhil Bakshi, Co-Founder, Dineout, speaks about how Digital has helped companies in scaling up their business operations; how brands are evaluating and measuring their performance on digital as a medium and much more.

With the accelerated transition to digital due to the pandemic crisis, how has this helped businesses scale up their operations? How do you see this shift to digital panning out over the next 5 years?

The pandemic has definitely changed the way businesses have been functioning and digital became the new normal for marketing. The pandemic forced us to cut down our spends and with the limited spends, our objective was completely ROI driven.

Dineout has always led the charge for technology adoption at restaurants. With social distancing the new normal, Dineout realised that customers would be more confident dining out if restaurants adopted tech which would reduce interaction between people and objects while elevating the dining out experience. 

Adoption of technology allows the restaurants to operate more efficiently, thus bringing about monetary savings and enhanced customer experience.

With the increase in digital data consumption by the Indian consumers, we moved our 100% spends to digital and started optimising our spends. Initially there was a challenge with quality and scale, but with time our CPA was down by almost 35%. Moving forward, we’ll keep increasing our share on digital with a focus on content/ video creation and delivering the personalised experience to our customers.

Digital and performance go hand in hand. How are brands evaluating and measuring their performance on digital as a medium?

With the ever changing consumer behaviour and everyone & everything moving online, more and more businesses are becoming digital-first brands. Digital as a medium offers businesses cost-effective means to achieve their marketing objectives and hence, lead to increased brand awareness and sales. However, it is equally important for a brand to evaluate and measure the performance of its marketing goals. Setting up campaign goals and timely evaluation of those goals is the key to a successful digital marketing campaign. The well-constructed digital campaign is based on the current trends and user’s interests. For example, during the lockdown, we saw a significant drop in our app usage, and therefore, to be relevant again, we introduced an in-app gamification – Home TopChef. This campaign helped us build recall amongst users and increased our app engagement by 45%. 

Talent has always been a challenge when something new disrupts the media world. How are digital companies scaling their knowledge and imparting training to people?

Learning never stops. Technology is ever changing and one needs to stay abreast of all the new happenings.

For companies to become workplaces of the future, requires that companies hire the right talent and impart that talent with the knowledge and training to overcome and succeed in the ever changing work landscape. 

We recently launched a unique program, called Dineout Techpreneurs, to train and mentor software engineers who aspire to be future business leaders. As a part of the program, candidates from a software engineering background would get a chance to work in Dineout’s fast-paced environment and get a heads up on the start-up life. This program would offer B-School aspirants a chance to ideate and partner with the sharpest minds in the product domain to convert their ideas into actual product features. 

What kind of investments do digital companies need to plan to face future challenges, both in terms of skill and technology?

Effective utilisation of business dollars to maximise ROI is one of the key challenges that digital companies face. The spends have to be optimised and the results are maximised. This can only be solved through employing new strategies on the digital front, improving data quality & analytics, and developing the subject matter experts in using these analytical tools. Only if the team is aware and enlightened can they deal with what lies ahead.

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