About This Episode
Meera Iyer is the Chief Marketing Officer of Medlife – a leading online pharmacy. She is a seasoned veteran in the sales and marketing domain for 13+ years. During her previous stints, she served as the Head of Marketing at Big Basket and Melorra. She has also played a crucial role in handling and managing some of our most loved brands at Unilever.
Full Video Episode
Full Audio Podcast
In this episode:
Here are a few excerpts from our conversation with Meera.
Priyam: Does a precedent exist for the current pandemic situation?
Meera: The last big pandemic was the Spanish flu, lasted two years, and had 3 large waves. It will be unfair to compare the current situation with any other health crisis.
→ The last few crises were financial, and the closest parallel is 9/11.
→ That changed a lot of things wrt security globally, and the current crisis will be ushering in a new wave of changes for health and wellness as well in the long term.
Priyam: What kind of impact has the online pharmacy witnessed?
Meera: Consumer demand has skyrocketed! More than doubled for the online pharmacy space!
Delivery of medicines has become the new norm, as consumers are expected to stay at home.
→ On the flip-side, we are struggling to service demand due to breakages in the supply chain network.
→ The biggest challenge right now is to figure out how to repair these issues, and fix delivery, and remain consistent. 1st, middle, and last-mile optimization is a key focus area for the brand.
Interesting trends in consumer behavior:
→ Consumers are hoarding products, and medicines are a big part of it.
→ Lockdown has created new challenges and issues for consumers, so demand patterns have been affected. → The nesting phenomenon is playing out in real life currently.
→ Behavior changes are long-lasting, as consumers are doing everything at home.
→ Digital transformation has sped-up: virtual weddings, concerts, education – all of it is going online. (*especially true for non-digital businesses)
→ Consumers are readying for a recessionary period
— Price sensitivity will see a massive spike
— brands will be traded down
— discretionary spends will go down
— the rise of wellness as a category will be meteoric
On the business front:
— a wave of consolidation
— several businesses will vanish
— the impact will be global, as most of the world is in a lockdown
— stopping economic activity for more than 30 days is going to cause long-lasting issues
— India is in a year of degrowth as predicted by the IMF
Priyam: What are the changes in the marketing strategy of Medlife?
Meera: The online pharma industry is witnessing unprecedented growth. The demand is overwhelming right now.
→ This is a slightly different perspective from other verticals
This is the time to accelerate digital marketing to capture new customer segments (older users, new entrants to the digital space)
→ Online advertising medium has high ROI for us right now
→ Critical to get the messaging and communication strategy right
→ Don’t overpromise & under-deliver!
Priyam: What is the communication theme/agenda right now for you?
Meera: It is customer-led almost ALWAYS – which means giving consumers the right information right now.
— There is too much COVID related information in the market, and most of it is unverified.
— We are trying to provide trustworthy, correct information about COVID19.
— Ensuring education of consumers wrt the virus, and letting them know about safety guidelines being followed by the brand
Please check out the full episode to hear the whole conversation. Thank you!