Interview with Ajit  Sharma – Head of Marketing- South Asia – Elsevier Health Sciences, A Reed Elsevier Group Company

PW: As a marketer what would you say are your current priorities?

AS: My top areas of focus span from optimizing our Customer Data Management & Analytics and developing our Social Media & Digital Communication channels to improving on New Product Development, E-commerce and, bridging the gap between Supply Chain and Marketing Initiatives.

PW: At Elsevier Health Sciences, how has technology played a role in customer acquisition or retention?

AS: We have used Social Media and Web Resources extensively to acquire new customer base while still retaining our existing base while simultaneously keeping our customers meaningfully engaged.

We also have the largest Health Sciences Community on Facebook with over 51,000 fans and have generated sales both in pre-order and regular format for over 60 K USD. Our database grew over 125% last year which was over a 72% growth in database the previous year.

PW: How has technology played a role in new product development, market expansion or other areas?

AS: Our exciting new products such as ExPharm Pro , MBBS Consult, Elsevier Interact Cyber Anatomy etc. have all been based on a product seeding evaluation and development process online.  In fact, these are real products to be launched in the markets in the next 3-9 weeks.

This has been the beginning of our online endeavour right from review to feedback, to alpha and beta testing conducted online, and now we are ready with products which cater specifically to the online population.

PW: Do you have a separate budget for the IT component of marketing? And how aligned are the marketing and IT functions in the organization?

AS: Over a period of last 3 years, we have consciously re-aligned our marketing budgets from being print marketing specific to a current scenario, where about 40% of our marketing spend is on digital marketing and marketing of digital products.

The reason for his re-alignment is that the reach and timeliness of awareness increases by leaps and bounds when we invest in the digital marketing space.

While IT is a separate function in the organization managing networks and systems. Digital marketing is managed by digital marketing specialists.




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