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LinkedIn's Ashutosh Gupta connecting the Finance bigwigs!

The Second edition of LinkedIn Finance Connect is just one day away. Adgully caught up with Mr. Ashutosh Gupta, Director Marketing Solutions, LinkedIn.

He spoke to us exclusively about his move from Google to LinkedIn, what is LinkedIn Finance Connect, how this summit is going to help advertisers and marketers, benefits from social and digital platforms and much more. Mr. Gupta has been with LinkedIn for close to two years. With over 15 years of experience in IT sales, digital strategy and business development, Ashutosh has honed his skills with some of the biggest technology giants like Infosys, Covansys and Cognizant At LinkedIn Finance Connect, marketers can learn first-hand about how leading brands and financial institutions are harnessing the power of social and digital engagement to meet their marketing goals. Some of the key speakers include:

·         Jennifer Grazel, Global Marketing Director, Financial Services Vertical, LinkedIn

·         Olivier Legrand, Head of Marketing Solutions, Asia Pacific & Japan LinkedIn

·         Ashutosh Gupta, Director, Marketing Solutions, India, LinkedIn

·         Sagnik Ghosh, Head, Marketing, Axis Bank

·         Manish Jain, Group Marketing Head, Bajaj Finserv

Here are some excerpts from our interview with Mr. Ashutosh Gupta:

Tell us about your current responsibility at LinkedIn?

My focus at LinkedIn is to scale up the local Marketing Solutions business. My team and I engage with customers and provide them with customized and result-oriented solutions to reach out to their target group.

Can you tell us about product portfolio and the growth that you’re looking for in India?

In general we have products which are auctioned directly where we match demand to supply and depending on that advertisers bid for the product. So reservation products, like display which are fixed prizing but it all varies by the audience and with geography you are targeting. So it’s very difficult to give you a number but depending on the demand supply and what targeting you are trying to achieve in the campaigns the numbers vary.

How can advertisers benefit from it?

As you know, the two most important things for advertisers on LinkedIn are - the professional context of our platform and the audience. We have over 30 million members in India. When a member creates a LinkedIn profile, he/she mentions his personal and professionals details. These details helps us create rich targeting capabilities. So advertisers use both the context and this rich targeting capability available on the platform to drive their brand message to the target audience.

What are the key features of the service that you are providing to the advertisers?

There are three or four ways to visualize the marketing funnel, so there is upper funnel solutions which are basically to reach to your target audience through display products. Middle funnel features or products such as sponsored updates which is primarily content marketing and then there are lower funnel solutions such as LinkedIn Lead Accelerator which help drive performance to meet your business outcome. With the recent launch of LinkedIn Lead Accelerator, we now also have the capability to reach our audience outside LinkedIn. So for people who are LinkedIn members but visit other websites, we are able to reach them as well.

Are there any current initiatives at LinkedIn?

So in current initiatives in a full funnel marketing solution we have introduced two new products in February. These are LinkedIn network display which is the ability to target a member outside LinkedIn on other display property and then we have LinkedIn Lead Accelerator through which where we are able to nurture the audience which comes to your website, show them relevant display and social messages. This core product is our expanded effort to deliver relevant ads and content that engages prospects anywhere online; it is the means to delivering high quality leads to sales teams and a way to impact pipeline for customers.

What should financial institutions do to reach a larger audience?

LinkedIn provides an environment where a person’s career goes through various phases. To elaborating further, the needs of an individual who is starting his professional career to an individual who has already spent a decade or so in a professional space, are different. For the financial services industry this means that their needs may range from Home loans to wealth management service and therefore they need to be targeted differently. LinkedIn provides an environment for the Financial Institution with a unique targeting ability to connect with the right audience depending upon the product they want to sell.

What is LLA?

LLA combines a website’s visitor demographic profile and online behaviour to make it possible for marketers to deliver relevant content, based on what a prospect cares about and where the prospect likely is in the buying process.  Based upon this data, the marketer can engage their prospects through nurture streams that are a set of sequenced messages across display and social ad formats.

What is the recommendation for your financial clients?

Content marketing is very important these days so we need to think of content as giving insights to the audience. Marketers should be aware that they are not only telling their target audience about your brand or product. But you are helping them think through important aspect of financial planning like how to think of home loan or how to make an investment decision.

What are the other marketing solutions?

Like I have mentioned, there are two types of solutions - Upper funnel and Lower funnel. Another targeted solution that I have not talked about is Sponsored InMail. Sponsored InMail is a significant part of the expanded full-funnel Marketing Solutions portfolio that helps marketers effectively nurture prospects. Unlike traditional email marketing, it personalizes and customizes email to the member and most importantly preposition it. Once a brand sends an email to a member, the member does not receive any other email for sixty days.

What are the other markets where LinkedIn finance connect has been successful?

Finance Connect is a premium and a very exclusive event for marketers from the Financial Services industry. Previously, we have held local editions of Finance Connect in New York in Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong and now in Mumbai for the second time. Basically the idea is to get the community together to talk about the international trends as well as the local trends that are shaping the industry. We will have organisations like American express, Axis bank, Black Rock who are going to come and share their learnings.

How are you benefiting from social and digital platforms?

There are two ways to look at it, first is the brand advantage. You are consistently talking to your audience, invading their mind space with your brand. The other most important part is building engagement because digital gives you the opportunity to always be connected with your members.  We are always connected with them and it’s very important. The second advantage is the business outcome; whatever business outcomes are, you know you can drive business performance through social and digital platforms.

Other than the finance sector, which are the other sectors that can benefit from the Accelerator program?

The LinkedIn Lead Accelerator product solves a major challenge for B2B marketers and that is reaching the right prospects across a long and complex purchase process. The product is tailor-made for them. That said, it’s just as relevant for the premium or high-consideration B2C marketer, as well since the challenges involved in influencing high-consideration consumer purchases are similar.

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