Binu Mathew, Director, and the New Media Communication Specialist at Sustainable Mindz, tells us about his career pathway and how Sustainable Mindz works. Throughout this interview, we gained valuable insights about Sustainable Mindz and how it started. Binu Mathew is a marketing and planning specialist with extensive experience in his field, which helps him derive the best results in his work. Learn more about Binu’s business pathway and more below.
We wanted to know how Binu Mathew started his professional journey. So, we began by asking, “Which career path led you to where you are today?”
With that, Binu says, “I was fortunate to be part of the digital journey when Manorama Group, India’s largest regional publisher, recruited me as a trainee and allowed me to be part of the ManoramaOnline, which had its launch in 1997. Since digital media initiatives were still taking shape in India, Manorama arranged training for its digital resources with MediaTurf, India’s first digital ad agency. I got started with the medium from there.
When I arrived in UAE in 2007, digital media was less than 1% of the overall media mix, which is now over 60% the least. My long stint with my then employer IAS Media, allowed me to be part of the Washington Post, Reuters, Bloomberg, Forbes, Nikkei BP, Handelsblatt, Condenast group, Times of India, Rediff, and more as their representative media marketeer in the middle east. During those 12 years, many international and regional campaigns did come my way. I was able to learn continuously from these campaigns and marketing initiatives which were run or executed by the best publishing groups that are market leaders.”
He added, “While being there at IAS Media, we launched an AdTech backend company with offices in Mumbai and launched the region’s first programmatic platform, not just here in the Middle East but also in India. We piggybacked on a managed platform from Singapore, then. There was, again, tons of learning.
We had limited competition back in those days, with less than three similar companies in UAE in digital marketing, but it has changed completely. There are digital shops, desks, freelancers, and big and small groups all into what we are doing now. There is no differentiator, and therein we saw an opportunity. We wanted to take a different path from what was being offered in the market, one that is full of experience, best practices, better platforms, and a wealth of regional insights. This is how it all began.”
We further asked, “What inspired you to develop the idea of your company?”
“I have been a student of the always evolving new media domain. We wanted to be first in adopting the best practices of our industry. Being in the Middle East, and especially in UAE, there is an increased exposure to the best global practices. Moreover, people from different parts of the world bring their learnings, bringing in newer technologies and better platforms.
By virtue of being in the region’s first new media team and having executed the region’s top campaigns and marketing initiatives for the very best clients, we wanted to make the best new media services available as a service for smaller agencies and newer clients who are adopting the medium gradually. The medium is now growing strong and is looking to adopt solutions. And we are there.” shared Binu.
Every business has priorities that may change as it evolves, and we wanted to know the same about Binu Mathew when it comes to Sustainable Mindz.
We asked, “How have your priorities in terms of business evolved since you first started?”
“My journey over the last 23 years has evolved quite a bit. From hard sales and being number driven, it is more about inbound marketing. Digital media was used earlier to find more customers and push the message through heavy bombardment and frequent messaging. This has now given way to the inbound marketing principle.
We now look to craft a journey and have clients ready to take on the medium with the right approach. We insist on having market-ready web assets, a mobile-first approach, and search-friendly while listening socially. We are more consultative in nature and have learned to say no or walk away from situations that compromise the effectiveness of the communication journey.” he replies.
A business would come across challenges, whether it’s the starting point or the journey. In our quest to understand how different businesses deal with challenging situations, we asked Binu, “What are the most challenging situations that your company overcomes?”
According to him, “The understanding of the medium is still lagging even amongst the better-evolved clients. We often see business groups that are successfully trying to catch up with their understanding of the medium. There are many who have been advised wrong or not taken the right path, and then there are others who attempted to do it themselves using DIY (do it yourself) tools. It is mostly a clean-up act, and this requires time with added patience.”
What’s the key strength to overcome it?
He further continues, “We are brutally honest now. We had tried otherwise, but there is no better mechanism than plain speaking. We have learned it the hard way. We now make it a mission to deliver the good and bad news as it is. If your website is not good, or your social relevance is questionable, the content is missing, the reviews challenging, and the basic hygiene checks are not in place, then the client will hear it from us first.”
We further asked, “What makes your company stand out from all the other businesses in your industry?”
With that, Binu Mathew continues, “Experienced professionals with over 50 years combined experience in the Middle East region and in the same domains man the customer journey, and it matters. We work with the very best platforms in the world with all required certifications and are clearly guided by industry governing standards. We do respect the budget, and we work to deliver ROI for every marketing penny, cliché, but we do, and we are performance marketers. We take pride in that.”
What KPIs do you use to measure your business success?
“If we say anything other than revenue, we are window dressing. We are in it to make it work, not just for us but for all our stakeholders, be it the client, suppliers, vendors, or our team members. We are here to add value to their lives. Our success is measured in terms of growth, both topline and bottom-line.” he says.
We were curious about understanding the major services of Sustainable Mindz, so we asked Binu, “Tell us something about your services. What are you working on now?”
“We offer communication solutions, which include global media services, digital assets development, social, search, display, video, content, native, and programmatic advertising offerings. We specialize in performance campaigns, e-commerce marketplace management, and go-to-market strategies,” replies Binu.
Binu Mathew’s journey is an inspirational leader, and we were also curious to know how he manages his team. So we asked:
“How do you build trust with your employees and boost productivity without causing burnout?”
He says, “Two important things:
Take care of yourself. We insist on putting more importance on families than the job; your family comes first; they matter more.
Have fun while delivering value. If you stop having fun and your job becomes a burden, walk away. We have tasks to complete and daily client chores to attend to, and if there is no joy, all those efforts mean nothing.
We do have regular outings and plan to have an offsite trip this year, the first after COVID.”
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Nowadays, several businesses are focusing on technological changes and digitalization. To know how Sustainable Mindz stays up-to-date with the same, we asked Binu, “How do you stay on top of new technologies and trends in your industry?”
He says, “This industry is ever evolving. New media domain changes every day, new technologies are introduced, machine learning and AI have replaced many functions, marketers use technology and tools, and we must continuously adopt the best ones. We attend conferences and seminars and continuously keep ourselves certified in newer technologies. There are learning Fridays where a team member introduces the latest trends and services in our category, where newer products/tools are tried and dissected and presented for deeper understanding. The day we stop learning, we become obsolete.”
Our last question was, “What advice would you give to starting entrepreneurs?”
“It is not an easy ride; ups and downs are part of this journey. Moreover, your failures are failures. They do give insights about what path not to take, and then the number of failures will be more than the number of times you have succeeded. Fail spectacularly; it means you tried, and it does make your success sweeter.” He added.
Binu Mathew says, “Write your own story; it is unique.”
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