DTU Times interviewed Sam Baisla, Founder and CEO of Brand Samosa, who was a keynote speaker at the Student Professional Awareness Conference (SPAC) under Invictus 2019.
Do you think digital marketing and bigger corporate markets are different from smaller markets?
Absolutely, the way it’s different is very niche. If you're a small business and you're providing services in a locality, you should only focus on that locality. For example, if you own a salon and you want to become the next VLCC or the next Jawed Habib, you have an outlet for the customers who come from nearby.
So, you should not be advertising in the Times of India as it takes a lot of money and there's no guarantee people will look at it too. If you do something like pamphlets, there's no point as they are slowly going out of fashion. Investing in billboards, banners or hoardings becomes very tricky. You have to target the people in your locality on Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. It's cost-effective, it's easy and you can do it in real time.
Bigger corporations work differently. They invest a lot in their branding and they reap those benefits in 10 years. For small businesses, it’s more real-time regeneration; spend money, get people, and close the deal. So it's different, empowering, and more effective. That's what we are trying to do at Brand Samosa.
Since your company is based in many places out of India, how is Digital Marketing different in other countries?
So, the most important thing I share here is: there are two sides of social media, one is the consumer side; wherein you make them watch the videos you make, and the other side is content creation; wherein you’re creating that content. The US, among the other countries, is on the creation side while India is majorly on the consuming side.
We have lots of users online, and if you can be that guy who creates content for all those users you end up making a lot of money. The best part is it's very cheap in India. For the same click on a YouTube video, you pay $1 in the US while in India you pay like 10 cents. On a $100 budget, you can do a lot of things on social media. I just recently started hiring for my company, and if I go to a consulting company they charge about 1 month of the salary which is about 8%. I ran a Facebook campaign and received 350 leads. We hired 10 of them. It cost me around $70 which is around ₹5000, i.e., 10 people on average cost me ₹500. All of that happened in a span of ten days. But, if I had to do that in America, I would have to pay more than ₹20000. This is an advantage that many don't realise, it's very cheap!
A lot of small businesses are coming up. How do you think these small businesses can cope up with others in a way to build competition?
I think it’s the other way around. Social media- what it has done is that you can completely focus on your market and you will not be in competition with anyone else. For example one of the startups which your incubation has is building something very similar to Airbnb or OYO, but they’re targeting the long term rental, similar to PGs. If the internet was not there, they would've never done that, and with this small difference, they can just expand it across the country. The internet gives them that capacity. Here either OYO or Airbnb is not giving them competition. They have their own market. You can do the same thing with a company based out of a small city.
How do you think new entrepreneurs can start their businesses?
The way entrepreneurship has been portrayed in this country is very disruptive. The whole idea of having a big idea and changing the world very disruptive. I suggest people go the other way around. Don't try to change the world in the beginning. Ask yourself about the skills do you have and the causes are you passionate about. Then ask another simple question- using your skills, can you solve a small problem around you? Once you’re able to do that using your skills, then you can ask yourself, “How many people are there in the world who have similar problems?”
Everything in the history of entrepreneurship started small. Apple wanted to build something better for themselves, Google wanted to build a better search engine for themselves, Henry Ford wanted to build a better car for himself, this is how it happens. Over a period of time, they become big. It's not that you launch something so amazing that grabs the attention of the entire world. I often use an analogy, “If life gives you lemons, stop crying about oranges, make lemon juice. If the lemons are dry, make lemon scrub.”
Do you have any final message you'd like to give engineering students?
When you’re an engineer, and all you're passionate about is technology, you want to build the best product using the best technology, and fall in love with it. Engineers need to learn the business administration processes; the hiring, the sales, and marketing. Because being good at technology and engineering is not enough to run a business, you need other things too. Search for people from different colleges, because you need people who complement your ideas. That is what business needs. If everyone is an engineer, then who will sell it?
Many would complain “Our thinking doesn't match”, but that's precisely what you need! Since that person will keep you in balance. Otherwise, you'll fall in love with your idea and go crazy trying to handle the business aspects. That person comes with an outside perspective. A change of perspective is extremely important for analysing problems, in the end, this change of perspective is what makes a business grow exponentially.