OTT and YouTube are the main elements of upGrad’s marketing strategy: Arjun Mohan

“upGrad’s TV presence has been limited because we know TV can’t reach a certain niche demographic despite its ability to reach a wider audience. Rather, OTT and YouTube are the main elements of our marketing strategy,” says Arjun Mohan, CEO of the Bangalore-based tech brand.

Arjun Mohan was the keynote speaker at the e4m 2021 conclave held virtually on Monday afternoon. In his “Scripting new marketing practices” session, Mohan shared the upGrad success story. The company started its journey in 2015 and records an annual revenue rate of INR 1200 Crore and is considered as the biggest high edtech brand in South Asia in a short period of five years.

upGrad is an international leader in online higher education offering over 100 courses in collaboration with leading global universities such as Deakin Business School (Australia), Duke CE (USA), Michigan State University (USA ), Liverpool Business School (UK), IIT Madras (India), IIM Kozhikode (India) and others. The edtech major has reached more than one million total enrolled learners in more than 50 countries around the world. upGrad ranked #1 in the LinkedIn Top Startups India 2020 list.

He said, “We conducted in-depth interviews and learner surveys to understand the problem statement and present a solution. We have positioned ourselves in the skills education market with the “Naam Ki Nahi, Kaam Ki Degree” campaign to emphasize that the degrees of the namesake have no value. Another powerful campaign was “Specialization is right, so the future is bright,” explained Arjun Mohan, highlighting upGrad’s narrative that specialists are valued more than generalists.

He said the company’s campaigns have created a mass awareness campaign around online higher education among employees and recruiters.

In his powerful presentation, Mohan said, “I would like to divide the upGrad journey into two parts. In the first part, from 2015 to 2019, we focused entirely on building our products. We tested several iterations before reaching out to customers. »

The upGrad has collaborated with over 100 content creators to create relevant and high-quality content with them, produced web series and originals with the aim of breaking the stereotype around the word “education”, in particular the online education.

“The placement of our content in influencer content was very very organic so we got good traction. There was a 100% increase in BDO on some content like that created by FilterCopy and Dhruv Rathee which we helped us engage with highly observant consumers. Three fiction and comedy videos were instrumental in the BDO lift. There was a 90% increase in our Youtube subscribers compared to 2020,” said Mohan told the audience.

“upGrad’s content-driven marketing focuses on social media, TV, OTT and PR in A&M magazines. We have partnered with the OTT show “Shark Tank India” which has a strong resonance with the brand. It will start on December 22. Our TV presence is limited unlike other major education brands in India. We have a clear strategy on what we want on TV (advertising) and which cohorts we want to reach,” Mohan explained.

In the second part of our journey, we thought that instead of going through influencers, let’s create our own IP. We collaborated with BeYouNick and created an “office canteen” campaign on youtube, Mohan said.

He featured some powerful brand ads, one of which shows how a woman improved her skills with online lessons and became the boss of her own classmates who made fun of her and the education in line.

“BeYouNick’s office canteen campaign struck a chord with consumers. The three-episode web series, which was a comedic take on workplace canteen situations featuring high-profile influencers, garnered 8.2 million views, a huge boost in search impressions and sales,” said said Mohan, adding that the same theme was used in TV commercials.

“We used a donkey to showcase the lighter side of office politics, although we remained focused on our core business which was upskilling. Today, our consumers choose only personalized courses.

Mohan says, “TV advertising is the most premium of all the verticals and the medium also has a wider reach, but TV cannot reach some niche consumers. Therefore, the company has focused on TV commercials for huge properties like live sports, as we know this will give us more reach as our audience follows these sports. upGrad is one of the main sponsors of cricket championships like IPL, ICC world cup, Wimbledon and UEFA championship. Mohan says upGrad has focused on data-driven marketing across all platforms.

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William L. Hart