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Interview with Jignesh Dawda, Vice President of Marketing at IDFC Asset Management

Rhythm Singhal By Rhythm Singhal in Interviews on

Mr. Jignesh Dawda has over fifteen years of rich experience spanning Sales and Marketing. He has a strong track-record of innovative and differentiated campaigns, centered on brand building.

Mr. Dawda started his career as a frontline salesperson in the Platinum Credit Card division of American Express focusing on sourcing premium credit cards. Between 2010 -2013, he managed clients in the Group Credit Life division in Mumbai and Gujarat for Kotak Life Insurance. During this period, Mr. Dawda focused on strategic initiatives, including business planning and sales strategy development. He also focused on new business acquisition and generated new business lines from existing customers. In 2013, he joined IDFC AMC in retail sales and shifted to the Marketing division within a year.

Mr. Dawda holds a B.Com in Accounts from Kolkata University and is a Masters in International Business from Institute of Technology and Management, Navi Mumbai.

Your Journey as a Marketing Professional.

My journey, from a naïve MBA graduate to Vice President – Marketing at one of India’s leading Mutual Fund house, can be highlighted through a Steve Jobs quote – “it all makes sense now when we connect the dots backwards”. It taught me that the journey is more important than the destination and that mistakes were made on the way, but what you learn from them becomes your experiences.

My journey started in 2006 as a frontline salesperson in the Platinum Credit Card division of American Express. Starting in Sales rather than in Marketing, helped me understand the pulse of the customer better. Between 2010 -2013, I managed clients in the Group Credit Life division in Mumbai and Gujarat for Kotak Life Insurance. Finally, in 2013, I joined IDFC Mutual Fund in retail sales and shifted to the Marketing division within a year.

One of the biggest takeaway for me is that irrespective of which industry you are in, you should look at building your skills that are transferable across industries and keep picking up new skills on the way.

What are the primary marketing channels you have worked on? What will be your advice to young marketers on each of these channels?

At IDFC Mutual Fund, we focus on multiple marketing channels like print, outdoor, events and digital, to enable our teams to sell the right kind of products to the right distribution partners and helping customers build a strong financial portfolio.

Young marketers should be able to build their campaign by utilising the right channels, for example, Print is the best medium when you want to announce a new campaign and want to reach a mass audience. Similarly, an Outdoor marketing campaign will only be successful if it is catchy and innovative. Young marketers should also remember that while sponsoring an event can get you brand visibility, but your brand will be remembered, only if, you are able to create an impression on your target audience. Young marketers should learn to put their thinking hats on and create an innovative giveaway, create a differentiated campaign, etc.

A three-pronged approach through social, search engine marketing and analytics have shaped our digital strategy at IDFC Mutual Fund. The objectives driving our choices have been engagement, brand building, lead generation and targeted campaigns to our current customers and our potential customer base. Young marketers should choose, amongst the plethora of digital marketing tools, the right approach that will help them build a strong customer base.

What are some of the important marketing software that you have used and found to be really useful for your company?

At IDFC Mutual Fund, our marketing and promotional efforts are centered on the brand building which is to make ours the brand of choice for prospective customers and on sales activation, which is to be the most relevant product for customers actively looking for investment opportunities. Over the past few years, we have used SalesForce for automating our marketing efforts. This has enabled us to improve our return on investment in the business, both for client acquisition and for client retention.

Which companies, according to you, are your competitors? How do you differentiate against these?

Every company in the asset management space is our competitor. Some companies have better products, while some have the best learning and development techniques. We learn from their strengths and weaknesses. It helps us to develop and improve our products and services.

At IDFC AMC, we want to be clear, simple and consistent with our communication so that advisors and investors make a well-informed choice. We want to talk to them in a language that is easy to understand and jargon-free. The objectives driving our choices have been engagement, brand building, lead generation and targeted campaigns to our current customers and our potential customer base. We have used the medium of cinema in the past (2012) with One Idiot, a short movie, that was widely appreciated for its simple yet clear message. In 2017, we launched another short movie The Return of One Idiot, which highlights the importance of retirement planning and has registered over two million views on YouTube

Your 2 line advice to people entering in the marketing domain.

Differentiate yourself by being innovative in connecting with your target audience, for if you choose to be in Marketing, it was not because it is an 8-hour desk job, but because it allows you to put your thinking hats on and create campaigns that can shape how a nation thinks.

Aim for the stars, for even if you fall short, you will land on the moon.