We’ll maximise our reach on OTT & digital platforms: Mark Moran, CMO, Simplilearn

Founded in 2010 by Indian engineer Krishna Kumar, Simplilearn has been providing online training across technologies and applications in data science, AI and machine learning, cloud computing and other digital disciplines. Headquartered in San Francisco California, the company has offices in Raleigh, North Carolina and Bangalore.

Initially, Simplilearn started out as a technology blog. However, it later became a training website for project management related topics. As of 2020, the company's learning portal provides online certifications (MOOCs) related to cybersecurity, cloud computing project management, digital marketing and data science.

Recently, Blackstone, a private equity firm, acquired a majority stake in Simplilearn for $250 million.

Simplilearn has rolled out its latest campaign, Ambition #CannotBeLockedDown, in which it seeks to inspire aspirants to challenge all odds. The campaign focuses on how ambition and determination can enable individuals to realise their fullest potential despite the challenges that they face and grow beyond the restraints of the current times. As part of this campaign, the company has launched 3 new digital films highlighting the success stories of aspirants who completed a Simplilearn certification program during the pandemic.

In an exclusive interview with Adgully, Mark Moran, Chief Marketing Officer, Simplilearn, elaborates on the Ambition #CannotBeLockedDown campaign, the objective and the creative ideation behind the campaign, brand positioning an more.

What is the objective of the campaign Ambition #CannotBeLockedDown? Who are you targeting through your new piece of communication?

The campaign celebrates the inspirational spirit of individuals around the world, who have steadfastly pursued their ambitions even during the current global pandemic. This digital-first campaign will be launched across multiple digital platforms, print and television. The digital campaign is going to be PAN India and we are primarily looking at targeting individual learners and corporates. As a company, we have traditionally focused on tech-based learners, who range from fresher graduates, early career professionals 3-5 years into their careers and mid-career professionals.

What is the thought process behind the campaign? Any research that threw this insight and how did the creative idea germinate?

There has been extensive research and media coverage around the world about people feeling overwhelmed and despondent due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, as we’ve seen from our 100,000’s of learners, some people are seizing the moment to re-prioritise and invest in their future. We wanted to celebrate these individuals and bring some joy to our viewers.

For the #CannotBeLockedDown campaign, we drew insights from customer feedback along with a survey conducted recently by us. During our survey, we found that post the pandemic, 64.8% people had enrolled in an upskilling program to strengthen their careers. Around 57.2% believed that upskilling themselves is the next step for their future, whereas 29.6% cited lacking key skills as an obstacle in their careers.

These findings highlighted the fact that upskilling continues to hold prominence when it comes to career growth, and the pandemic and WFH were most definitely not barriers for aspirants.

How do you plan to engage with your target audience besides the three digital films? Are you looking at exploring any other media avenues to reach your audience?

Apart from the campaign, we are also engaging with the audience through our free learning platform, Skillup. Additionally, our marketing is primarily around content where we offer users access to rich resources like our online blogs to stay updated on recent skills, jobs, etc. In fact, the nature of our user experience in itself has helped receive substantial organic enrolments through learner referrals. Further, in the due course of the campaign we will maximise our reach on OTT and digital platforms.

The education space is highly cluttered. How have you positioned your brand and what’s the product differentiation that you are offering to the potential students?

As a brand, the primary differentiator is our product itself. We excel in a truly interactive learning experience via our bootcamp-style learning model which consists of self-paced videos, live virtual classes conducted by industry experts, hands-on projects and Masterclasses by academic heads across partner universities. Our technology stack has been designed to be truly interactive, and offers a product that drives better outcomes for learners.

What’s going to be the overall media strategy for the campaign to achieve the desired results and impact? How do you plan to measure the effectiveness of the campaign?

With the campaign going live pan-India, the overall digital strategy includes a phased rollout over several weeks. This means that there is a possibility that we may introduce edits based on audience response to the campaign. Currently, the campaign is digitally focused and will be run primarily using social media platforms, user-generated content, and contests.

The campaign success will be evaluated based on the increase in brand searches and direct traffic that would consequently lead to higher brand consideration and eventually customer conversion, as well as higher click-thru and conversion rates due to stronger brand equity.

(Edited and Additional Inputs by Shanta Saikia.)


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