Comic-Con is a fan-based community engagement that entertains comic lovers and has massively grown in the past 6 years. MarkUp got the inside story on how Jatin Varma,CEO,Comic-Con, India created a multi-genre entertainment and comic convention. They work for the entire year to make those 3 days memorable for their fans. Today, Jatin is on a mission to expand his initiative and reach all corners of the country. Embracing technology as core, Comic-Con extensively leverages and believes in the strength of social media platforms. This year, their mantra is ‘result-oriented marketing’. Know more about what goes behind the show from the man behind the mask.
How has the journey of Comic-Con been in last 6 years in India?
It’s been quite the ride. I started it just for fun and not really as a business. I was and I really am into comics. However, it quickly developed into a business and now it is the largest youth event in the country. It’s been quite a ride from building something from scratch, going through a startup phase and now molding it into a mature business.
How and when do you start planning for the event?
We start planning a year in advance, however the detailing comes in about 4 months before each show. The marketing effort starts around the same time and really kicks in the last 30 days before the show.
What all mediums do you use for advertising and marketing, and which one has fetched best results so far?
We advertise and market digitally – it’s our strength.Over the last 6 years we have built up a massive community and eco-system around our events to ensure footfalls. In the last few years as we have expanded our marketing budgets and brought in sponsors, we have slowly started doing some ATL – such as television and large-scale on-ground activations. We also have an extensive press communication effort, in order to ensure all the content at the show is showcased in the media. However, our digital reach is something that continues to give us best ROI. We play with a lot of data and are in the midst of really ramping up our data-driven efforts.
How has the marketing industry evolved for an event like Comic-Con in the past 6 years?
When I started, we were using social media simply because that was all that we could afford or manage. We did not have the money for mainstream platforms, however over the past 6 years these digital platforms have become mainstream,and we are able to leverage our community in a major way now.
What do you think will be a major change of trend in 2017?
I can only speak from the events perspective; like I mentioned, extensive data-driven campaigns, mining the data to figure out how best to connect with our fans and reach out to them in the way they’d prefer with the type of messaging they’d prefer will trend.
What were the biggest challenges you’ve faced while planning and executing Comic-Con and how did you overcome them?
Exhibitions and events don’t have industry status from the government; there is lack of infrastructure as well as high level of taxation. These are the biggest challenges that we face year on year, and as we attempt to grow each year, these two challenges continue to hamstring our growth.
What are you planning next for Comic-Con?
As I mentioned, we are now a maturing business, our sole aim is to not only expand our business but also profitability. We wish to expand beyond the 5 markets we are currently in and also start looking at new formats to tap smaller cities. Basically, try and service as many fans across the country as possible.
How do you leverage social media to build more awareness?
It’s a multi-layer effort – from content to ad spend, we are lucky to have some great content partners, therefore our handles become the places for disseminating new content and launches. We have a 24/7 – 365-days social media campaign. It heats up during the event months, but we keep it active even during off season.
What content marketing strategies have you employed to get maximum footfall at the event?
We leverage a lot of partner content on our channels.This year we are focusing on a lot of video content generated on our previous shows to engage with audiences online, and get more conversions in footfalls for the upcoming editions.