Sheikh Aminur Rahman, Chief Marketing Officer of Nagad postulates that to remain effective and impactful the product must speak for itself
Can you tell us about your 2-year journey with Nagad? What has been a professional challenge at Nagad that has contributed significantly to your growth as Chief Marketing Officer?
When I first joined Nagad, my biggest challenge came from my industry peers. Despite being a career marketer it was not easy to ignore other Marketing experts when they did not believe in Nagad’s potential. But I like tackling challenges. I knew there was a huge untapped market for Nagad given that at the time about 60% of the population was unbanked. A lot of companies tried to tap into this market for over a decade. The problem was, they only followed the market leader which obviously didn’t work. We didn’t want to follow anyone, rather we wanted to create our own recipe for success. The main ingredient for the secret recipe of success is – Innovation. Today as the CMO, I can proudly say, Nagad has reached a certain level where the people of Bangladesh have accepted Nagad as their choice for daily financial transactions.
You have a diverse background in marketing from telecommunications to fintech and now to Nagad Why have you chosen such diverse sectors? Have you noticed any common user behavior in these sectors?
I was working in the Telecom sector, but it was highly saturated with very good market penetration. Whereas the MFS sector had only one major player and a large untapped market. I knew the opportunity to grow and contribute here was huge. I always believed in impact. Nagad has had an impressive impact on the people of the country and also on the economy. Our services helped users to have financial freedom and assisted our
agents in supporting their families. Nagad has changed millions of lives and being a part of this gives me great satisfaction. I decided to move to the Fintech sector so that I can contribute to the sector and my country more.
MFS/DFS customer usage patterns are totally different from Telco customers. Although we are talking about the same population and the same segments of customers. We are providing services not only to the unbanked population but also banked corporate people to ensure convenience. We can say, we are serving the same customer base with different usage patterns.
The blessing of digital financial services (DFS) like Nagad cannot be overstated in the current COVID-19 scenario – how has the pandemic shaped the marketing strategies of Nagad?
Modern marketing success depends on one thing – the agility of the company. When COVID-19 hit the country we were not at all surprised because Nagad was ready ahead of time and we had some marketing preparations at hand. We moved fast and in the right direction – from day 1, we ensured content creation mobility. If you look at our contents during the first wave, it was evident. Our contents and their contexts were highly aligned with our message- “Stay home, stay safe’. Not only that, we successfully communicated the thought that Nagad is the tool that enables you to stay home and carry on with your daily tasks.
Nagad has recently launched a marketing campaign under the slogan of ‘Deshi Nagad e Beshi Labh’ – can you tell us what was the thought process behind the campaign and what features of Nagad is being promoted via the campaign?
In our last campaign during February to June this year, we massively promoted Nagad’s easy account opening process. We gave our audience a solid reason to believe that each service of Nagad comes with an additional value. Our cash-out charge through Nagad App is the lowest in the country, our send money, and bill pay service are free of cost, we come up with exclusive mobile recharge offers and merchant payment offers. The outcome of the campaign was fantastic. Our communication successfully enticed the audience and we got plenty of positive reactions. 130 Million+ Nagad Accounts were registered and the Daily Transaction amount dramatically increased up to BDT 750 crore. But we did not want to stop there. We constantly kept tracking the newly acquired Nagad users and we discovered that there is a decent number of existing users who do not use all the services of Nagad. So we devised this campaign under the slogan of “Deshi Nagad e Beshi Labh” where we wanted to talk to our inactive users, remind them of all the advantageous services of Nagad. Like before, we promoted our top 5 services to implant the idea of using Nagad Account regularly.
Nagad has some of the lowest cost-charges in the MFS sector. How is it allowing Nagad to remain competitive?
Not only from a cost-efficient perspective Nagad is also competitive from every viewpoint. From its inception, Nagad is playing an incredible role to popularize mobile payments through its state-of-the-art and innovative service developed with advanced technology and that also helps us to be cost-efficient. Using the super quality technology our cost of doing business was slashed down to the lower level and also helps to reduce the cost even under the existing revenue-sharing model.
What do you think is the secret recipe to success in the digital era of marketing? From your previous experience, would you say that bullet proof marketing strategy exists or is it just a myth?
If I have to be completely blunt here, Bullet Proof Marketing needs one core element – ‘Product Truth’. You can have a yearlong marketing plan and flashy campaigns, but solely depending on marketing won’t give you long term results. Through marketing maybe you can make an average product viewed as a good product. But you cannot make a substandard product viewed as a good product. The fastest way to kill a brand is to market an inferior product. Sooner or later consumers will find out the product truth. Marketing is very important, but only a great product can make it invincible.
If I have to add something in terms of secret recipe – whether your business has just been launched off the ground or you have been around, but you are getting ready to launch a new website or print a poster to promote a new product or service, you need to be prepared – ahead of time – with three key ingredients to make sure a fine recipe is in place. I say it is a not-so-secret recipe because we all are pretty familiar with these three basic elements. Firstly, understanding your market. Secondly, understanding your product and lastly, understanding your marketing message.
UK-based Global Economics Ltd. has handed Nagad, the “Most Innovative Digital Finance Service” award of 2021 – can you talk us through this win and how you envision further propelling this success?
I think such an esteemed recognition was possible because of the kind of culture Nagad has. Our culture revolves around innovation. We encourage each and every employee to take challenges and not be afraid of making mistakes. Every day we try to do something new – whether it is in terms of our content or product. I’m very grateful to our Top Management, as they always nurture this innovation culture. Of course, recognition pushes us to go forward and I can say this has inspired us to reach greater heights in the future. We will continue to innovate and change lives for the better.