SAMCO Securities Limited is a fintech start-up which is one of India’s fastest growing companies in the Discount Broking Industry with over 1,00,000 customers. The company aims to solve problems and at an extremely affordable cost for its customers who actively trade or invest in the Indian capital markets with the use of algorithms, data science and artificial intelligence. SAMCO strives to provide some of the most unique margin products to enable its customers make the most efficient use of their capital and dodge complex problems like high brokerage and inefficient capital allocation that plague the trading and investing industry.
Chirag Joshi, CMO – SAMCO Securities Limited, talks to us about his journey with SAMCO, his learning’s, marketing initiatives in the broking industry and the skill sets one needs to possess as a CMO……
Tell us about your journey with Samco and how has the experience been?
Back in 2015, when i was working in marketing teams of CNBC-Awaaz & CNBC Bajar, my then boss Shilpi Singh called me in an unknown meeting with a new client called Samco, who was about to launch a trading and investment league. This was the first meeting after the CNBC-Awaaz & Samco signed a their first media deal, I was assigned to work on a complete brand solutions for the launch of Samco’s Indian trading league. During the planning phase I met Jimeet Modi (CEO, Samco) & I fell in love with ideas and passion for stock markets. That year Indian trading league was a super hit success, Next year I joined Samco as Vice-President Marketing and then there was no looking back. My journey at Samco has been too good to be true, from a single member marketing team to today a 28 member marketing team. Often vendors would get surprised to see all leadership teams to be under 30 in 2016-2017 @ Samco. Since then I have grown 10X personally and professionally working at Samco under Jimeet’s mentorship, now Samco is a part of my life and my family.
You come with great hands-on experience and not only have worked with companies such as CNBCTV18 but also taught young marketing enthusiasts at various prestigious institutes across the city of Mumbai… tell us about some learning’s from your long career that have held you in good stead today, as Samco’s CMO.
I am going to be honest and directly list down my learning’s here. I maintain a notepad where I write some learning’s until i consciously start following them in my day to day life
- There is no alternative to hard work
- Learning is actually dedicating time to study about new subjects, reading books and taking up courses on weekends.
- A Mentor / guru can be a great blessing and they increase your chances of being successful by right guidance.
- You never know everything about a subject, there is always more to learn
- Doing it yourself attitude is the best teacher
- The day you think you know everything, you will stop growing
- Never underestimate your own capability.
- Solving problems requires will because skill can be acquired by anyone and willingness can’t be
In my teaching stint I observed that new marketing students are extremely high on energy & fast learners, however they do not give importance to getting the right exposure and right role vs. getting more salary in initial days of career. Right exposure is so much important at the 1st phase of career because you learn things first hand and create your network. Imagine you get paid double the salary for a co-ordination job? Does that make it more lucrative? I have cautiously stayed away from such offers or roles. I always wanted to work on the ground and do more. Marketing is such a vast subject; you need to get your hands dirty without worry about your initial salary or designation. You need to get exposure and pick a job that lets you do the core ground work; watching cooking videos won’t make you a chef. Over and above this, choosing and having a mentor is utmost important. I have 3 mentors who have helped me in critical stages of my career.
How is Samco performing these days, especially in times of Covid-19 and how have you shaped the brand’s digital journey to touch millions of customers, online?
Fortunately Samco was always a digital first brand; I finished scaling up the team to 28 members just before the lockdown and overnight we moved from office to work from home.
Broking industry witnessed huge growth during lockdown and it was a challenge for me to set up operations of a new scaled up team remotely. However i must say i am blessed with a wonderful team that never gave up to the lock down and remote working pressure.
About touching a million customers at Samco, we do not chase numbers or valuation that look great for a PR exercise but we are focused on creating sustainable business by acquiring more valuable customers rather than just more customers. Our digital journey is focused on creating wealth for customers and profits for the company, meaning we do not have shallow business goals like just users or number of customers.
In your broking /financials/banking space, how has marketing evolved over the years and what are some new marketing initiatives/adoptions/ideologies have you as the CMO at Samco have taken on?
Since my early start-up date I use to service a lot of BFSI clients and provide them strategy and digital solutions for lead generation and brand building. Digital was fairly new at that time and I was probably the first in the country to recommend a missed call based lead generation campaign to one of my BFSI clients. I have seen BFSI marketing going from heavy TV and on ground to completely digital acquisition, onboarding and servicing. As simple and cliche it might sound there is a lot of marketing and tech brains involved in getting things online and making it easy.
From ATL and BTL events it will completely move to Content, Organic and performance marketing. As head of marketing, I have dedicatedly trained all of my team to think away from the fancy advertising world to performance oriented marketing, and ask them questions like “how much sales did your campaign generate? ”We are now focusing on quality customer acquisition, and pure business goal driven marketing approach.
How different is leading the marketing efforts of a finance broking company vis-à-vis any other service-oriented brand?
The biggest challenge in the broking business is to explain an amazing product which took years to build in a 30 second ad. Generally in my head, the core rules of the game remain the same but there are few additional layers of BFSI marketing like comprehension of communication, compliance, response time & sensitivity of communication (because you are dealing with people’s money).
According to you what are the skillsets that a modern CMO should have?
I think time has come that no CMO can afford to not understand technology. There are just so many things that marketers do currently, that a system can take over reducing the operations and execution pressure. Modern CMO must be very comfortable with technology and probably even writing some basic HTML code.
Following are 5 skill sets that i think a CMO must posses
- Understand technology
- Content & writing
- Strategic thinking
- Data analysis and interpretation
Your thoughts on how a modern/ideal CMO must utilize tech to maximise its marketing efforts.
With such intense competition there is no way that companies can do away with marketing technology and still survive. There is just so much you can do with technology and data. Real world possibilities are endless. In my brief stint with a US publishing company, I spent time around 2 months with some of the marketing tech geniuses and I experienced eye popping use of data and automation that can do just so much.
Right from segmentation, automation, tracking your marketing activities and giving early signals that which marketing channel is working well for you. Spending more marketing budget at the right channel with data backed confidence.
And achieving scale overnight is only possible through technology. I have not seen anyone using marketing tech to the extent that I saw when I was in the US and I am putting working hard to get all those practices and learning at Samco by creating marketing tech assets internally.
In summary tech can be used at
- Segmenting, Finding right audience for your products
- Marketing automation: communicating to these people using tech on the medium they like
- Tracking data and finding right marketing channel
- Focusing on the marketing channel that’s most profitable
- Cutting down huge man hours on marketing operations
Some key important trends that you feel a digital marketer must be aware of?
I always have been training and telling my team that digital marketing is not just social media or a great viral video, it is not making a lovely looking website. There is a lot more to it, All aspiring digital marketers who really have their skin in the game should know these important trends, this is also my check list that I train my team on
- Video is no more an option
- Your products and services need to be integrated to voice assistance devices, at least we need to start thinking how they will be.
- You cannot not know how to write content and copy
- Great content and copy will always win
- Design your digital experience as if there were no humans available: chat bots, service and support, IVRs and resolution.
- If you are not testing enough, you will die soon.
- Personalization is the magic word
- Use digital platforms to activate word of mouth
- What works for your competition, may not work for you.
- There is nothing right or wrong, it’s just what is working what is not working.
- I love you, but I will only listen to data.
- Learn basics of HTML coding and a little more than basics on what goes in making a website
- Must learn about all marketing automation and optimisation tools that are available and most importantly how they work
What are some important aspects that you as a CMO look at when a young marketing professional comes for an interview at Samco?
I have a very clear road map on what I look at while hiring new talent. There these 3 great skills that I try and observe
- Ability and willingness to learn and get trained
- Logical ability and reasoning
- If a candidate can write and express his thought process in simple and straightforward note.