As marketers, do we really know whether our marketing campaigns are generating the kind of returns we anticipated? In early 1800’s American Merchant, John Wanamaker illustrating how difficult it was to qualify the response to advertising said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” 100 years later we are still finding answers.
We are joined in this quest by a new breed of agencies and marketers who are working at the intersection of technology to find answers. WhatClicks is among the new breed of companies that is working to redefine the digital media eco-system. We caught up with Rahul Vengalil, Founder of WhatClicks to know more about his team’s journey and gather his insights on the marketing space in India.
How did you come up with the idea of starting WhatClicks?
During my agency days, I was often asked two questions
1. What will I get in return when I spend the money you are asking for
2. What is the brand strategy for the year on digital
Most of the time I did not have an answer to these two questions. This is the case with the majority of the activities that are being done on digital. The beauty of advertising is that 1+1 can be anything one wants it to be. However, in digital, we realised it invariably ends up being less than 2 due to many reasons. WhatClicks was formed to help clients understand why it is less than 2. Only when clients understand this, would they be in a position to take corrective steps. Our time was perhaps propitious for a month into our existence P&G started the conversation for transparency and efficiency and the clients today are questioning the status quo.
How is WhatClicks helping companies with marketing and analytics?
Our primary mission, as mentioned earlier, is identifying WHERE, HOW & WHY businesses are losing money. There are cases where the losses are tangible and in some cases intangible. The latest Facebook saga of data breach is a typical case of non-tangible impact for business. The same goes for brand safety.
80% of our work deals with analytics, and by analytics, we do not mean website analytics. Digital is the only platform where any sort of response can be captured. The response can be linear or non-linear, it can be a positive response or a negative response. In today’s ecosystem, we believe that analytics gets the least focus and that’s the primary reason why businesses aren’t able to look at data holistically. Our intervention is about analysing data across paid, owned & earned platforms and create a framework that helps business actually to see what’s happening to the investment.
We have also created a tool that creates a unified view of digital marketing. It takes data from all possible sources (data democratisation), converts this into intelligence by correlating data across platforms (data intelligence) and create customised views for various stakeholders (data collaboration). This is a powerful tool, which 4 different clients are using today, and has helped them in improving marketing as well as operational efficiency.
What is the biggest challenge your clients face (both before becoming clients and once they are working with you)?
The biggest challenge that business today faces in the digital space is that of efficiency & transparency. There used to be an ad-age “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Today, that’s changed a little to “50% of digital spends are wasted, I don’t know which 50%” In the past 12 months, we have been able to help business identify INR 7,50,00,000 of digital spends that is wasted.
The other challenge that clients & we have together is accepting the new way of working that our services create, after all, we are the watchdog in the ecosystem. Also, we need to help clients unlearn what was taught about digital till now.
Where do you think is content marketing headed in India?
To take another popular ad-age, “Content marketing is like teenage sex. Everyone wants to do it, Nobody knows how to do it, Everyone thinks others are doing it, When it’s finally done, you are surprised as to why it isn’t better”.
What we keep forgetting is that content has been around for time immemorial. It was called TVC during TV era, Radio Jingle during Radio Era and Print ads during print era. Nothing has really changed when it comes to content marketing. With the democratisation of internet in India, the avenues for consumers to consume content has increased leaps & bounds. Consumers are spoilt for choices to consume content on OTT platforms, video platforms, news, live streaming, WhatsApp, Instagram, and so on. The challenge for advertisers, content curators and content creators is their readiness to adapt to this change.
If you are ready to create content, there are consumers to consume content, that’s not a challenge. We consume 11GB of content each month. The challenge that advertisers will have is to create good enough content to influence a consumer to change perceptions, make a purchase, etc.
For that to happen, following the marketing calendar and having 2 brand campaigns & 2 sales campaign won’t help. You need to be:
- Consistent with the messaging
- Increase the opportunity to see
- Find the right partners
- Analyse the results and course-correct
- Be agile
You can read more about how influencers & content has changed my perceptions in this article http://bit.ly/WCInfluencerswork
5) What’s your advice to companies involved in content marketing?
If you are investing in creating content, do justice and promote the content and not let it be a check mark on your KRA sheet.
Rahul Vengalil is the founder of WhatClicks. He has worked previously with leading brands like DNA, Interactive Avenues and Isobar. In his current role with WhatClicks, his team helps brands and agencies alike to manoeuvre through the intricacies of digital media marketing and improve efficiency and effectiveness by driving awareness to ad fraud, viewability, security, campaign optimization etc. Follow Rahul on Twitter and Connect with him LinkedIn.