Content conversation with Amit Tandon -
Vice President and Business Head, Brand Business at HealthKart

Q HealthKart is known for its innovative routes to become India’s #1 health destination. How did content help you in this journey?
A

Healthkart started in 2011 and in our early days only we recognized that for us to sell Health supplements we would need to first educate Indian consumers on benefits of health supplements and bust several myths that were floating around supplements. Content has been an integral part of our marketing journey since then and we have been regularly churning out innovative and authentic content to educate Indian consumers and grow the category. As a result, we have been able to create a loyal base of consumers over the years and keep our customer acquisition cost under control despite entry of biggies such as Amazon and Flipkart in this category.

Q Startups usually have a shoestring budget for marketing. What percentage of your budget goes to content marketing? Could you tell us medium wise breakup?
A

Yes as a start up, Healthkart is quite disciplined and prudent when it comes to marketing budgets. Having said that, content marketing is strategic investment for us to grow the nutritional supplement category in India where in the concept of preventive healthcare is still in nascent stages. Hence we have never put any kind of cap on content marketing or assigned a fixed percentage of overall marketing spends for content. Broadly speaking, in early days 25-30% of our marketing money was spent on content marketing; currently this number hovers around 15-20% (not by design though). Given that we are digital first brand company, most of our spends are on digital medium only.

Q Do you have an in-house team or an agency onboard to build content for you? What factors brands should take into account before deciding whether to outsource content efforts or do it in-house?
A

We started with in-house content team for first 3-4 years but in last couple of years have collaborated with agency partners to build content along with our in-house content team. This has helped us to get the best of both the worlds: faster execution speed, greater flexibility and sharper customer insights through in-house team while exposure to various digital innovations and learning from best content practices of other industries through our agency partners.

I believe some of the major factors that go into above decision are speed and flexibility of execution, technical expertise of team with regard to digital formats and most importantly understanding of core consumers.

Q What are the challenges you come across while creating content to align with reader’s perspective at HealthKart? How do you overcome them?
A

We operate in Health and Wellness category wherein the consumer is very inquisitive and constantly seeking out information. As a matter of fact some of the most searched queries on Google are around Health and Wellness – “How to lose weight?”, “How can I build muscles?” and so on. So we face an uphill task of creating up to date and novel content pieces that have to be scientifically well researched and authentic. This has been our single biggest challenge since inception. In order to successfully navigate this we have invested in a strong content team comprising of passionate category users and experts. Fuelled by their passion for health and fitness, they invest a lot of time in upgrading their domain knowledge and staying up to date with latest development/innovation in this sectors helping us create well researched and novel content.

Q Lot of brands emphasize on the need of storytelling but only a few have done it well. Where are brands lacking?
A

I believe in today’s digital age, most of the brands tend to be short -sighted and end up prioritizing sales over consumer connect. As a result most of their marketing efforts are transactional in nature. For brands to be effective storytellers they need to connect with their consumer’s emotions and craft their communication with their consumer as the protagonist and not their product/service. At Healthkart, we used the aforementioned principal to craft brand communication for MuscleBlaze, our sports-nutrition brand.

Q What percentage of ROI clearly reflects your content marketing efforts?
A

Given that content marketing is a strategic initiative, we don’t tend to peg any ROI against the same. We believe our content marketing efforts are largely responsible for our very high TOM among health and fitness consumers thereby making us #1 Health destination.

Q Which is your favorite content marketing initiative undertaken by HealthKart and why?
A

My favorite content marketing initiative is Healthkart Connect. Healthkart connect is our honest attempt to create a content destination for health and fitness consumer where they can get every information related to health and fitness –health blogs, transformation stories, videos, Ask Me Anything. This is a content platform of consumers, for consumers and also selective content by consumers.

Q What is the HealthKart’s content strategy going forward?
A

At Healthkart, we would continue to invest in creating meaningful content for our audience. One specific goal we are chasing in next 2 years is to focus on vernacular content starting with Hindi and then regional languages.

Q What advice would you give to young startups on how to leverage content marketing?
A

I am of a firm belief that content marketing is a marathon and not a sprint. So one has to stay invested in content marketing for long enough to reap its optimum benefits. If we start measuring the ROIs of content marketing in the early stages, we may end up killing it prematurely, so patience is the key when it comes to content marketing.

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