Our focus will be a multi-pronged strategy that will rest on Customer Intelligence to steer growth in Hyperlocal markets
Hemant Jain, Sr.EVP & Head of Digital Business at Lokmat Media lists the key focus points of Clickstart, the digital media division of Lokmat Media Pvt. Ltd. for 2021
Lenin had it about right when he said: There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen.” One big change that has happened in the last 9 months one has been the dawn of digital. What demonetisation couldn’t do, Covid-19 did for mobile payments, OTT platforms and the online news publishing sites. As an unprecedented lockdown set in India, the newspaper groups were faced an uphill task to maintain its devoted readership. At Lokmat we seized this as an opportunity to further reinforce our belief in digital and expand our footprint. We ran multiple user-outreach programmes across multiple online channels to ensure that our readers got their morning newspaper and daily updates at the touch of a button. Our efforts resulted in a 100% growth in monthly user traffic on www.lokmat.com coupled with a significant increase in revenue in digital advertising.
Given this background, we envisage 2021 to be a year when we truly reap the benefits of our actions and learnings of 2020. Our focus will be a multi-pronged strategy that will rest on Customer Intelligence to steer growth in Hyperlocal markets.
Steering Growth in Hyperlocal Markets
In 2012, a Nesta report defined hyperlocal as ‘online news or content services pertaining to a town, village, single postal code or other small, geographically defined community’. In the recent times, hyperlocal reach is becoming more and more relevant as the relatability among the audience of that community is high.
National issues don’t really interest or directly impact the daily life of audiences in tier-2 and tier-3 towns as much as civic, political and social issues in their local catchment. They are interested in knowing more about local events or growth opportunities available within their own surroundings. Such news has huge ability to empower the society at large to evolve, formulate an opinion and take informed decisions.
While our focus continues to be on Maharashtra and Goa, hyperlocal for us is about empowering our audiences down to the last mile. Hyperlocal has been part of Lokmat’s growth story for the past 40-45 years. And today, through the multiple editions of our ‘Hello’ supplement and 4000+ onground reporters across 35 districts in Maharashtra, we serve daily news and updates to close to 25 million readers across Maharashtra.
Through regular training programs and investment in infrastructure, we have trained our team of on ground reporterson mobile journalismand gradually building a digital first philosophy in news reporting. In 2021 we plan to complete the training of all our ground reporters on our digital first philosophy and create a more broadbanded digital organization. We are in the last phase of implementing the in-house developed tech piece which automatically publishes the hyperlocal print stories onto respective city pages on Lokmat.com. We expect to start 2021 with a bang as this would make us the largest online publisher in Maharashtra and Goa of hyperlocal news and information from across 35 district places. We firmly believe that one of the drivers of success in the hyperlocal news space is to engage local audiences in this journey and provide them with a platform to share their concerns and achievements. In 2021, we aim to become such platform with an objective to digitally empower and improve the life of millions in Maharashtra and Goa. Technology will form the backbone of our hyperlocal growth story and driven by our multi-platform, multi-format philosophy of content creation and distribution.
Customer Intelligence for accelerated growth
As mobile becomes the primary platform for news consumption, the need to provide connected personalized experiences to Lokmat.com readers is of prime importance to us. Going hyper-local and driving engagement to monetize audiences are key use cases that we plan to drive in 2021. Investing in native advertising based on a clear customer view & creating, funding or influencing editorial content that supports the brand is another route we plan to take for Lokmat.com. We plan to work with world class companies to democratize insights while using data integration to see its readers in full, brilliant colour.
- DISCOVER high-value audiences through flexible and holistic data collection, audience segmentation, data science, and machine learning
- ACTIVATE customers with audience profiling and management
- ENGAGE your audiences and drive action with targeted ads, content, and options
Drive Business Innovation
At Clickstart (digital media division of Lokmat) our mission is to build the largest community of millennials in Maharashtra around various local experiences in local language. Our primary objective is to educate, inform, entertain and empower our audiences with relevant and segmented content offering.
In 2021, our goal is to expand our digital content offering, vertically, in newer content areas offering a 360 degree branded experience across desktop, mobile, Facebook and Youtube. We plan to build the best in class technology to create some of the important components to deliver rapid scale to empower the people of Maharashtra to become politically, socially aware and opinionated, and help them make informed decisions
Branded Content Marketing
One of the very exciting successes that we’ve had last year has been the work which we have done specifically around creating branded solutions for clients, online and in addition to this, we’ve also created some very good robust IPs, both offline and online.
A couple of years back, while planning for the future expansion of our digital footprint in Maharashtra, basis market trends and data insights, we realised that there is huge potential in the original content space in Marathi language. We decided to launch a content studio business to create multimedia content that is engaging and relevant. Our idea was to satiate the growing needs of the Gen-Z and millennials for “visual experience” in their local language.
Our multi-media reach, deep (local) consumer insights, on ground communities across 35 district places of Maharashtra, expertise in digital media and our ability to create engaging content experience in video and other forms offers a very unique opportunity for brands to take complete control of the conversation with an intent to increase the audience engagement and drive commercial success
Since the inception of our original content studio we have worked with some of the power brands like Maaza (Cocoa Cola), Rin (HUL), Amazon etc. with a multi-platform branded content marketing solution
To us at Lokmat, 2021 brings renewed hope and positivity. Fingers crossed!