KUNAL DUBEY, Head of Marketing, Vedantu, talks of the ed-tech brand’s primary objective to make learning fun and engaging, and how they are realizing it through gamification
What are the big learnings that you have gathered as a marketing leader in the Internet and start-up ecosystem for nearly 10 years?
The most important questions faced by any marketing leader in the start-up ecosystem are - What is the spending philosophy? What is the right amount to spend? Where to spend? How do you measure the spends? How do you use data? My biggest learning in all these years is how HI (Human Intelligence) meets AI (Artificial Intelligence), where HI stands for the category you are serving. A lot of start-ups focus only on data, but forget the HI side of it. Who we are talking to must always be clear, and for us at Vedantu, it is the parents and students. It is important to know what is your addressable universe, phasing of the universe, media to reach with impact/efficiency, and measurement framework on both effectiveness and efficiency.
Also, in the start-up ecosystem, people perceive funding as marketing spends. But funding for marketing comes with a lot of responsibility. While at Flipkart, where I was heading the media team, the Big Billion Days were the perfect example of implementing ‘HI meets AI’. At Flipkart, we were the first ones to ride the personalization wave that came into the country. Vedantu too is a classic example of ‘HI meets AI’, combining data and insights of users.
You were appointed Head of Marketing at Vedantu last year. Where is Vedantu poised right now in the highly competitive ed-tech domain, and what is your primary mandate?
Vedantu is one of the largest K12 players and has seen a surge in recent times with students attending 75 million live hours of classes delivered across the Vedantu platform in 2020. The number of students attending live classes on the platform grew exponentially to over 7 million across the K-12 category and competitive exams such as JEE & NEET. In all the core matrix like paid students, free students, etc., we saw a growth of 7X. My primary mandate is very simple - we are committed to growth in a frugal manner. We aim to make Vedantu the most trusted education brand in India. We are a student-obsessed organization and I believe education is always like co-parenting - everything we do is keeping the focus on children.
Tell us about V.O.T.E. (Vedantu Online Talent Exam), the new ad film that you have just launched to address the academic gaps and loss of learning in 2020.
We want to ensure that every kid will have a come-back to learning in 2021. V.O.T.E. (Vedantu Online Talent Exam) is one of our initiatives, that aims to gamify this entire experience - it will provide learners with the right platform to prepare first-hand, in-depth performance analysis, achieve their academic goals and arrive at their all-India rank without having to appear for an actual competitive examination. V.O.T.E. will be divided into various grades for children at different academic levels.
We have designed multiple master classes before the actual exam, as well as quizzes. Kids make their own plan to solve daily challenges, also students get personal counselling after they get their report card. So far, over 4 million kids across the country have reacted positively towards V.O.T.E. We will give assured scholarships to more than 10 lakh students from a pool of Rs 500 crore. The mega winners will stand a chance to become CEO of the company for a day and win a trip to NASA. Our new ad talks about creating excitement for the proposition we have.
There seems to be online learning fatigue among students. Have you thought of it or strategized to address it?
Well, I think the fatigue is not about online learning; there is fatigue amongst students from an overall learning perspective. Online learning helps students to overcome fatigue by keeping them more engaged and excited about the way they learn. Our philosophy is to make learning fun and engaging, and we have made it more interesting with gamification through our interactive platform Wave.
What are you looking forward to at this point?
Vedantu is at a hyper-growth stage and professionally, I look forward to taking it to a level where it becomes synonymous with live online education.