Rising Star Awards 2022 – October 12, Gurugram - RSVP HERE

Best Media Info

Editor’s Picks
Special
Interviews
Events
IRS
Misc
BuzzInContent
bestmediainfo logo

Legacy agencies will either have steep learning curve or adopt inorganic strategies: Sidharth Rao and Madhu Sudhan

In an interview with BestMediaInfo.com, Rao and Sudhan spoke about Punt’s future plans, challenges faced by brands while deploying mar-tech tools and other related topics

Sidharth Rao and Madhu Sudhan

Indian media agencies excel at acquisition in the ad-tech space. However, the primary value in mar-tech starts in the post-acquisition phase, said Sidharth Rao, Co-Founder of Punt and former Group CEO, DentsuMB Group, in an interview with BestMediaInfo.com. 

“Even globally, this space is largely dominated by tech platforms and the likes of Accenture/Deloitte. Let’s just say that legacy agencies will have a steep learning curve or will have to adopt inorganic strategies to widen their skill set,” he added.

Earlier in May 2022, Rao took everyone in the industry by surprise by quitting Dentsu. His agency Webchutney, which he founded along with Sudesh Samaria in 1999, was acquired by Dentsu in 2013 after buying out Network18's stake in the agency. Come September 2022, he along with Madhu Sudhan, a serial entrepreneur himself, announced the launch of mar-tech firm, Punt.

Punt, looking at closing a seed round of investment very soon, aims to build specialist skills to ensure brands can identify and implement the right mar-tech products and drive outcomes with optimal utilisation of the mar-tech stack they have chosen. 

Sudhan explained, “Marketers are dealing with an increasingly complex set of products in their sales and marketing stacks to drive acquisition and retention. Quite often, marketers do not build the skills in-house to leverage these products to their fullest extent or to ensure they work well with all the other products they are using. This leads to a dual problem - poor outcomes for the marketer and churns for the product provider.”

Punt’s ambitions include servicing the North American/UK/ Middle East markets with delivery from India.

Excerpts:

What is the story behind the name Punt?

Sudhan: You can ask any serial entrepreneur with all the conviction in the world, and they will all agree that any new venture is always a punt and ours is no different. The name ‘punt’ itself is Sidharth’s brainchild and both of us like everything it signifies too. We’re both taking a bet on something and have got large ambitions here and aren’t afraid of putting in the work to get there. There’s also a nice little sporting reference in the word too. So yes, let’s just say we’re absolutely ready to punt the ball a very long distance up the field.

Sidharth, how did you and Madhu decide to come together and launch something in the mar-tech space? 

Rao: Madhu and I have been friends for over a decade now and have always talked about starting something together. He is usually my go-to man for all things and I can’t think of a better partner with such a rich body of experience than him.

How is the team structure at punt? What kind of roles are open at Punt?

Sudhan: Punt is structured around the key lines of business which are defined by the sales and marketing tech stacks. We are building the initial team around the new age SaaS platforms specialising in retention. For the legacy stacks, we’re looking to onboard industry veterans to incubate lines of business in Adobe/Salesforce which are key to several enterprises.

Mar-tech requires huge investments. How are you managing on that front? 

Rao: We are looking at closing a seed round very soon and have commitments from a group of wonderfully sharp investors, who are very bullish on the opportunity at hand.

Are you already working with some brands for their marketing solutions? Also, would you also be aligning with agencies and other mar-tech and ad-tech companies? 

Sudhan: We are piloting our solutions with some brands in the auto, BFSI and travel categories. We are also forging strategic partnerships with a few new-age SaaS partners, but it would be slightly premature to discuss the details at this stage. We will have more to share in the coming months.

What are the important skills needed to excel at mar-tech for a marketer?

Sudhan: An analytical mindset, with the ability to not just organise customer data, but also leverage technology to optimise it for desired outcomes.

What role will creativity and storytelling play in the era of mar-tech? 

Rao: Storytelling will always be the heart of the user retention journey. With Punt, the goal is to take it one step forward and sharpen and customise the narratives to address specific audience needs by simply leveraging technology.

What is hampering the process of mar-tech integration? 

Sudhan: Marketers are dealing with an increasingly complex set of products in their sales and marketing stacks to drive acquisition and retention. Most products are point solutions that specifically solve for analytics, attribution, communication, intelligence, automation, enablement and engagement. Quite often, marketers do not build the skills in-house to leverage these products to their fullest extent or to ensure they work well with all the other products they are using. This leads to a dual problem - poor outcomes for the marketer and churns for the product provider. Punt will address this problem by building specialist skills to ensure brands can identify and implement the right products and drive outcomes with optimal utilisation of the mar-tech stack they have chosen.

Where do you see Indian media agencies standing when it comes to having in-house mar-tech capabilities? Can it give a good fight to the tech companies of the world?

Rao: Indian media agencies excel at acquisition in the ad-tech space. However, the primary value in mar-tech starts in the post-acquisition phase. Even globally, this space is largely dominated by tech platforms and the likes of Accenture/Deloitte. Let’s just say that legacy agencies will have a steep learning curve or will have to adopt inorganic strategies to widen their skill set.

Currently, mar-tech services are very expensive. With the advent of more and more companies and services in this space, do you see the cost of deploying mar-tech decreasing in the near future?

Sudhan: Even with the advent of more companies, the cost of implementing mar-tech tools and maintaining them will continue to increase, at least till the near future. This is simply because of the limited availability of a skilled talent pool and the increasing costs of hiring/retaining them.

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

Advertisment
Post a Comment