Srinivas Seshadri, Director, Performance Marketing at Interactive Avenues and High Chair winner in the Best Strategy (Search) category at BestMediaInfo’s Rising Star Awards, treats each brand he works on as a breathing and living entity.
“Each brand needs to be understood well and then taken to potential users in a unique way that befits it. While working on multiple accounts, I don’t look at them as just a bunch of numbers, but as actual brands. Each brand has a history behind it, it has founders who started the company with dreams and aspirations and people who want to take it in a certain direction,” said Seshadri.
These days, especially in performance marketing, one tends to boil everything down to numbers, he said. “While they’re important to be measured by, there creeps in a tendency to treat brands the same way, because all you look at is the bottom line. A lot of the approach to advertising devolves into ‘Let’s do these standard five things for all these accounts, and observe the numbers’,” Seshadri said.
The scope of advertising in the digital era is ineffable, he believes. “There’s only a handful of other careers in the world where you get exposed to so many different types of businesses, different types of people with different backgrounds, hundreds of ideas, and so much money (advertising spends). You get to take a peek under the hood of some incredible companies, get to speak to sharp-witted people, get to be a part of something awesome when you help these companies grow, and you get paid for it,” he said.
Seshadri has observed that both the dependence and the accountability expected from digital have gone up significantly. “There’s been a definite increase in the understanding of data, and what it can do for one’s business. I think the pandemic has only accelerated this in a way – most brands, no matter where they are in their digital adoption journey, now look closely at bottom-funnel metrics,” he said.
He explained, “Brands in India, driven largely by start-ups, are very careful these days about measuring their marketing efforts down to the last rupee with the help of data.”
One thing that intrigues Seshadri is the way people are using tech to marry the physical and the virtual in advertising. For instance, the Burger King-augmented reality campaign in Brazil in 2019.
Seshadri started his career as an SEO content writer and progressed into being a SEO Analyst by 2009. “That is when I discovered the power of search and keywords. Getting into pay-per-click marketing was a natural progression after that, and I’ve been involved with biddable platforms in one way or another since then,” he said.
Between 2015 and 2018, he worked in B2B sales and pre-sales apart from managing paid media for brands. In 2019, he started working for Infinite Analytics as Product Manager. After that, he joined Interactive Avenues, where he’s responsible for performance marketing accounts in Mumbai and a few key accounts in Bangalore.”
Seshadri considers Sir Martin Sorrell, founder of WPP and now the founder of S4 Capital, to be his idol. “I really admire the way he built WPP into a giant and aggressively championed to make it into a holding company through acquisitions.”
Other than Sorrell, his idols are David Ogilvy, Alyque Padamsee, Piyush Pandey and Frank Simoes. “These people are the ones who built brands when the idea of a brand wasn’t even a thing in most consumers’ minds – when India hadn’t opened itself up to the world, pre-liberalisation. It’s amazing what they did. They crawled so we can run now,” he added.
For Seshadri, a typical workday is best characterised by ‘Calls by day, console by night’. He said both these activities push his clients a little closer to their goals, and him a little closer to his. In his free time, he is busy reading reports; news; books on everything from data to scaling businesses to advertising history.
“Apart from that, I used to play guitar in a band, and I still enjoy playing once in a while. Before the pandemic, I used to box quite a bit and trained in a few MMA gyms. I love Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, specifically, I hope to start again soon,” he said.
Asked what he would be doing if not in advertising, Seshadri said he has always been fascinated by finance and would’ve been an investment banker or into private equity.