Hitarth Saini - Advertising Platforms Are Evolving Much Faster Than Their Adoption Rates (Head of Marketing at MoneyTap)

Head of Marketing at MoneyTap

Hitarth is one of the founding members and he heads the performance marketing vertical at MoneyTap. This is Hitarth’s third stint as an intrapreneur in a startup culture. Prior to starting MoneyTap, Hitarth was the Associate Marketing Manager at ‘TaxiForSure’ and had a short stint at ‘Freshmenu’.

In the initial phase of his career, Hitarth spent 2 years in the categories of market exploration; app promotions; offline media events and analytics. He is a B.Tech from the Institute of Technology, Nirma University, Ahmedabad and holds an MBA degree from VGSOM, IIT KGP.

1. Tell us more about your journey and background.

For a while now, I have had a growing passion for start ups, entrepreneurship and marketing. This passion was further stoked by my involvement in projects related to sales, marketing and start ups, while I was at university. I graduated with a degree in engineering with a specialisation in computer science from Nirma University, and an MBA from IIT Kharagpur’s Vinod Gupta School of Management.

I began my career with TaxiForSure.com (which was eventually acquired by Ola Cabs) and was fortunate to have a go at exploring multiple projects within the marketing team - from digital marketing to offline marketing, from marketing analytics to business expansion, social media marketing and so much more. 

This helped me get into the grind of ‘all things marketing’. I was also fortunate to connect with Bala Parthasarathy who is an industry leader, a serial entrepreneur and investor. There was an opportunity for something exciting in the Fintech industry and I decided to take it with both hands. Since then, it has been more than 5 years at MoneyTap and I’ve never looked back.

2. How according to you has marketing evolved over the years?

There has been a considerable change in how marketing is structured and perceived in just the last 5 years. Every year, we see greater budget allocations shifting from offline marketing channels to digital marketing. Thousands of apps are launched every day. 

Advertising platforms are evolving much faster than their adoption rates. More and more people are going digital and the space is getting cluttered faster. Grabbing attention of customers is a true challenge that is pushing advertising and engagement strategies towards greater creativity. 

Moreover, as information is largely available at one’s fingertips, consumers are more aware, expecting brands to deliver more on the promised value. Building brand loyalty and creating lasting experiences to build an edge over one’s competitors is a real challenge for marketers.

3. Where do most of your marketing budgets go, traditional or digital?

At MoneyTap, we have the majority of our marketing budgets allocated towards digital marketing avenues. Being an app first product, there is a considerable effort that goes into performance marketing and digital advertising. 

Also, since it was a first of its kind product, a new category, there was a need to set up an in-house dream team that could cover all aspects of marketing, namely performance, organic growth, content, social media, creative design, online reputation management (ORM), public relations and analytics.

4. How can one reach the top echelons in marketing?

Well, the ‘top echelons of marketing’ is a moving target; a plane that’s constantly shifting and adopting. Those with strong foundations in understanding the customer, knowledge of the market and hands-on experience reach there faster. 
My advice to the young blood out there would be - ‘bite off more than you can chew’ in the initial years of your career. 

Learn new skills and keep experimenting. Consider jumping from one island to the other to get your hands dirty and have varied experiences so you build a holistic picture of how things happen. Needless to say, once you take on something, commit to it with all your heart and soul, and dive deep.

5. How will marketing change in the next decade or so?

With technological developments growing at an exponential pace, consumer behaviour is also changing to keep up, and marketers will have to adopt even faster to catch up, or even predict and run ahead. There will be greater focus on personalised experiences and hyper-segmentation in campaigns. 

Machine learning in advertising campaigns is already helping but the missing piece of the puzzle will be to push the envelope on creativity while doing so. There will be higher immersion of AR/VR technology in brand and customer experiences. As always, content will be king but breaking monotony, breaking clutter and building a unique voice for one’s brand will be the key to win in the future.

6. Which is your favourite book and why?

I love reading books across genres from mythology and fiction, to business and autobiographies. I loved the Harry Potter series. Reading the works in mythology by Devdutt Pattanaik takes me into a worlds of heroes and of fantasy from the past, yet I find myself relating it all to real world situations of today. Among non-fiction books, I would highly recommend reading Losing My Virginity by Sir Richard Branson.

One of my current favourites is One Plus One Equals Three by Dave Trott, which is a collection of many anecdotes, each with a nugget of wisdom for a passionate marketer.

- Interviewed by - Sanjana Jain

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