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To deliver creative, Indian brands have to combine tech and marketing, says Kartic Srinivasan of Ad2pro

The Chief Digital Officer at Ad2pro shares with how brands in India are struggling with managing data. He explains why brands need to map and manage users’ journeys through a scientific model. He talks about the agency’s plans to come up with next generation solutions for brands to help auto-optimise their campaigns

Kartic Srinivasan

Martech, a blend of marketing and technology, has become essential for marketers to maximise their investment in marketing initiatives. The increased competition for attention on digital channels also demands the use of Martech. To understand customers more closely, map their journeys, come up with a unique solution that can provide substantial ROI, and to deliver creative, marketers have to educate themselves on tech-based solutions available in the market. But India, somewhat, is considered a laggard when it comes to educated marketers, brands or enterprises.

Kartic Srinivasan, Chief Digital Officer, Ad2pro met on the sidelines of Adobe Symposium to discuss how brands in India are struggling with managing data and how due to lack of their knowledge, they are not able to leverage technology solutions to deliver creative.

Emphasising why mapping and managing users’ journeys have to be scientific, he said brands are getting smarter in the way they are pushing content out. He shared the agency’s plans to come up with next generation solutions for brands to enable them to auto-optimise their campaigns.

Explaining how educated Indian marketers are incorporating tech solutions, Srinivasan said the global enterprises in India are always taking a cue from their international partners, who are far advanced in the US, but this adoption is still in process and slow.

“If we talk about mid-market brands or enterprises in India, very few of them actually leverage technology solutions to deliver the creative.”

Highlighting how brands and enterprises in India don’t understand the role of product managers, who convey the workflow and features to the developers in their own language, he said it has become one of the biggest challenges for enterprises.

Continuing with the challenges, he said brands in India want to incorporate data but are struggling with managing it.

“Everybody gets data. But driving actionable insights is the way of the future. Sometimes, you derive and use AI to simplify the actionable insights. But we still don't have good huge cases of AI to derive actionable insights,” he added. He said brands need to accept that they don’t have visibility to data and need to work on this aspect.

Srinivasan said there is need for brands to understand and track the users’ journey, knowing which users got what and manage customers’ profiles. And a brand can engage the user only with a good scientific model to utilise that data.

“Everything in marketing, including mapping and managing user journeys, has to be driven through a scientific model,” he added.

For this, brands need not have a bunch of data scientists but a single person who understands business challenges, applies mathematics to solve business challenges for driving actionable insights, whether it is optimising the media plan, tweaking a creative, etc. 

The agency currently has a team of two data scientists.

The agency produces content for publishers for small to medium businesses. Srinivasan said it is trying to put together a channel to be able to repurpose content across multiple channels.

When asked if it is difficult for tech-based companies and brands to incorporate content marketing, he said technology companies and brands are getting smarter in the way they are pushing content out.

“People are consuming different devices at different times, with different time spans. So the ability to be able to take one big piece of content that you've written and remarket it to different people at different time on different devices is needed,” he said.

Talking about the tools to measure the ROI of content marketing, he said, “There are key data points of viewability, in-view time, and click-through rate, i.e. CTR.”

The agency is pushing a lot of marketers to imbibe form fills to the forefront as one of the measurement tools. He said that on a regular display ad, CTR rate is anywhere between 0.09 and 1%. And the minute a form is put up with some info, it gets tripled.

Explaining how data drives creativity of the digital ads, he said, “If you are an e-commerce platform, data tells you that if you throw in some sort of an offer, people are going to look at it. We consistently try to take a print campaign and apply it to digital. If Flipkart sends me one pager of Times of India commercial asking to give a digital ad, I will first look into the app and conclude what quickly gets the customer first. If it is the largest discount percentages, we take it to use in the digital ads.”

Ad2pro is in the process of rolling up next generation tech solutions that involve data science and machine learning, said Srinivasan. The agency is trying to provide data science insight for brands to be able to auto-optimise their campaigns.

“There is a big challenge on when to switch off a campaign if it's not working. Our data sciences-based optimisation programme will be able to tell brands if they’ve already gotten a million viral views on YouTube and when to switch off their TV commercial.”

The full service marketing agency has three divisions. Under one division that supports publishers’ journey, there is creative production, campaign operations and analytics. The JDx platform, which has technology products, helps brands create workflow automation, asset management and campaign operations. The third one, Madras Global, handles brands and solutions, marketing and communications.

Srinivasan said the agency’s unique selling proposition is that it brings the combination of technology and people to derive solutions that help speed of execution without losing quality and is cost-effective.

In 2016, the agency had acquired Somewhat, a creative digital agency. The idea was to leverage social media and tying social media to physical stores and offline stores. The agency now has phygital offerings, a combination of physical and digital.

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