05 October 2022 02:10


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- Sep 25, 2022
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Dentsu Aegis Network today announces that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Sokrati, India’s leading data-driven performance marketing and analytics agency, launching Merkle in the country – the first launch of the global data-driven performance marketing agency in the Asia Pacific region. Post-acquisition, Sokrati will be rebranded as Merkle Sokrati, further scaling Dentsu Aegis India’s data and performance marketing offering.

Founded in 2009, Sokrati is headquartered in Pune and employs a staff of 120 digital marketing professionals. The company develops its integrated marketing offering with the help of data analytics, CRM based marketing and the integration of offline data and hyperlocal marketing, with a focus on the automotive, telecommunications and banking and financial services sectors. It offers digital and performance marketing with deep specialisation in e-commerce, with service lines encompassing search and performance, social, retargeting, display and video production, and product ads.

Nick Waters, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific, said: “India is the fastest growing large economy in the world. It is on track for 400 million smartphone users, making it second only to China, and has emerged as a major e-commerce market. Sokrati’s strength in mobile, e-commerce, data, analytics and performance media provides an ideal basis from which to launch Merkle in India as we develop the roll-out plan for Asia Pacific. We will develop the unique M1 addressable media platform for India as a next step.”

Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia, said: “Sokrati has strong ability in CRM and data to accelerate the launch of Merkle in India and further bolster our data practice, which is becoming increasingly critical in all aspects of our business. It will also give our clients added value as we bring CRM and data into the heart of our digital offering. With Dentsu Aegis Network India already being a leader in performance marketing services, with iProspect and the recent acquisition of SVG, the complementary addition of Sokrati will enable the network to take a clearly dominant position in the rapidly growing Indian digital advertising market. With Sokrati on board, we will now be more than twice the size of any of our competitors in search and performance. Out of 3,500 staff in India, about 1,500 will be digital professionals, and over 35% of our revenue – a market-leading statistic – will come from digital.”

Over the past four years, Sokrati was consecutively ranked Deloitte’s top 50 Technology Companies in India. In addition, it has won Google India awards, including Best Quality Accounts and Largest Increase in Overall Revenue, consecutively in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Zhengda Shen, President of Merkle Asia Pacific, said: “Given Sokrati’s strong credentials and proven capabilities in data & analytics, Sokrati will be in the ideal position to give strong footing to Merkle’s launch in the Indian market, in line with Merkle’s global growth strategy. India is strategic to Dentsu Aegis Network and is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world.

“Sokrati’s data DNA, analytics-driven and performance approach to digital marketing make it a natural extension for Merkle into the Indian market. Furthermore, they are focused on expanding their CRM capabilities and connecting these capabilities across media and channels. Merkle is in a strong position to support this expansion and Sokrati’s ecommerce-heavy client base is data rich, innovative, and ready to benefit from Sokrati’s push into cross-channel marketing.”

The co-founders of Sokrati – Ashish Mehta, CEO, Anubhav Sonthalia, Enterprise Business Head, and Santosh Kumar Gannavarapu, Head of Innovations, will be joining the Dentsu Aegis Network leadership team in India. Anubhav Sonthalia will be the CEO of Merkle Sokrati and report to Vivek Bhargava, CEO of Performance, Dentsu Aegis Network India, and Zhengda Shen, President of Merkle Asia Pacific.

Anubhav Sonthalia, Co-Founder & Enterprise Business Head of Sokrati, said: “Our business is built on a highly data-driven culture, supported by the strong passion for digital and performance marketing from myself and two other founders – Ashish and Santosh. It is not often you meet amazing talent with the same drive and mindset, and we could not be more pleased to be joining forces with world-leading agency Merkle, as we expand our global footprint as part of Dentsu Aegis Network. It has been an incredible journey from the start, and we are all very excited about the next chapter for Sokrati.”

The deal is expected to close this week.

The Summit to focus on the Real Estate sector post demonetization, GST and RERA implications

Including a special session of ‘Inspiring Converations’ with DIlip Chabaria - Founder DC Design

The implications of GST and demonetization have affected every industry in the country. News18.com’s third edition of Global Indian Realty Summit (GIRS) 2017 in association with St. Angelo’s VNCT Ventures and BMW Authorized Partner - Infinity Cars, is being held on July 27th at Four Seasons, Mumbai. The summit will enlighten attendees on the implications of the new reforms and RERA on the Real Estate sector in the country.

GIRS Mumbai brings together subject matter experts onto a common platform where attendees can participate in discussions. They will get to connect with expert speakers, who will share their knowledge on the current trends in the realty sector. The summit will prove to be instrumental in highlighting the implications of the new norms in the real estate market in the city.

The panel will comprise industry experts/practitioners such as Nagu Chidambaram (MD, St. Angelo’s VNCT Ventures), Agnelorajesh Athaide (Chairman, St. Angelo’s VNCT Ventures), Gulam Zia (Executive Director - Advisory, Retail & Hospitality, Knight Frank India), Srinivasan Gopalan (CEO, Ozone Group), Avikshit Moral (Partner, Juris Corp) and Harsh Roongta (Chartered Accountant & SEBI registered Investment adviser). The subject matter experts will share their insights on various topics including worthy real estate investments in India. Nationally recognized as the real estate expert, Manisha Natarajan, Group Editor, Real Estate & Urban Development of the Network18 group, will be the moderator for the panel discussion at the GIRS Mumbai.

With the implementation of GST from July 1st this year, analysts say that while there could be short-term challenges for developers in transitioning to the new tax regime, long-term benefits are expected for both, the developers and buyers. To further debate on the ‘New Normal in Indian Real Estate,’ Mr. Agnelorajesh - CMD of St. Angelo’s VNCT Ventures will speak on the changing real estate climate in the country.

Commenting on the success of Global Indian Realty Summit 2017, Manish Maheshwari, CEO, Network18 Digital said, “With GIRS peddling up its presence now in Mumbai, we at News18.com aim to build a platform to facilitate insightful conversations between industry experts and investors looking to invest in Indian real estate. With the current structure being reformed post GST implications, there are factors that need consideration and our esteemed panellists will help us understand the workings better.”

The unique element of GIRS is the beautiful integration of the ‘Inspiring Conversations’ segment that draws out insights of successful entrepreneurs. At Mumbai GIRS 2017, the session will witness the presence of Dilip Chhabria - Founder of DC Designs. Dilip Chhabria’s love for cars started with his fascination for doodling them on every surface at his home. Realizing his hobby could culminate into a career too, Mr. Chabbria ventured into automobile space in India. Country’s ace car designer will share his entrepreneurial journey and provide key insights on how to differentiate oneself in a cluttered and competitive marketspace.

About the speakers:

Agnelorajesh Athaide (Chairman, St. Angelo’s VNCT Ventures): A promoter of social entrepreneurship whose powerful and popular initiative www.inspiringconversations.in essentially encapsulates his passion and beliefs.

Nagu Chidambaram (Managing Director, St. Angelo’s VNCT Ventures): He is also the Director - Finance and Project Management for all the real estate initiatives of the group, and is a recipient of the National Award 2003 - Best Entrepreneur of the Year.

Gulam Zia (Executive Director, Advisory, Retail & Hospitality, Knight Frank India): With over two decades of experience across the entire gamut of real estate services -- transactions, project management, advisory – Zia is a well-known personality in the industry. He is also a member of the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors).

Srinivasan Gopalan (CEO, Ozone Group): He has formerly served in the capacity of the COO + CFO with The Wadhwa Group. Having joined the Ozone Group in mid-2014, he has taken the company towards a 2.5X sales revenue growth, in just 2 years through his excellent strategic guidance and leadership.
Avikshit Moral (Partner, Juris Corp): He is enrolled with the Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa and has been practicing law for over 9 years now. He is involved in drafting and negotiations of various commercial contracts, advising on society law related matters and advising various high net individuals on issues pertaining to personal law and inheritance.

Harsh Roongta (Chartered Accountant & SEBI registered Investment adviser): He works as a financial coach & counsellor and is active in the area of financial awareness and financial literacy. Twitter handle- @harshroongta.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017 00:00

Mukundu Kumaran, Founder and CEO C1X

It is important to understand that in today’s complex and proliferated World Wide Web, getting to the right audience at the right time becomes the most important aspect .That is when you can claim to reach out to an audience when they are receptive. This whole process actually looks easy but complicated technically given you have multiple stakeholders within your stack, your publisher partners, your advertiser partners, your large DSP partners, ATDs etc; all of the mentioned have to be on the right time at the right place to ensure you have a process that is fully fool proof when it comes to intelligent buying. Platform like ours makes that possible.” Said Mukundu Kumaran, Founder and CEO C1X.

In an interview with MediAvataar India, Mukundu takes us on an insightful ride within the programmatic world. He answered question on various technical aspects of what all marketers are thinking and should adapt in order to make their life much straightforward and effortless digitally.

Here is the complete Q&A…..

MediAvataar: What made you start this venture in the first place?

Mukundu: I have been in the adtech space for over 10 years and prior to that in the CRM and Data ecosystem addressing some of the complex problems the industry was facing. With that experience on hand I thought there is a lot of problem solving opportunities in the adtech space which remained unanswered.

Thanks to my experience at Yahoo! where I was driving both product and engineering for Yahoo’s adtech offerings. During this period the complexity was constantly developing and not much had evolved in addressing the core aspects of the marketing community, which in today’s world attributed to data to make smart decisions in their advertising spends. I had to answer a few questions around these, which is when I realized the importance of transparency and audience discovery. These two points directly impacted smart decision making for marketers and I decided to focus on building a platform that had all aspects of the ecosystem covered in one roof, which is a very difficult thing to do.

With that as my bullets, I built my gun to shoot.

Given I knew data would address the audience discovery side of the problem, I decided to focus on bringing price efficiency as my core weapon to bridge the transparency issue. With that our offerings were born in 2014.

MediAvataar: What do you think is the USP of C1X and various platforms developed under it?

Mukundu: With the two core aspects addressed within the product my third vision of ease of use had to come up front. This is a key constituent in the mix given marketers are not technologists and if they had to become one then they needed to put in use a platform that had all the elements of technology and marketing embedded in one. So it became paramount that we built a UI that was super friendly and ensured even a peon in office could carry out instructions during emergencies.

With that we built our ease of use mantra into the front end of the stack and I believe that is a big USP today given you could build a great product but getting something great and not put to use would have been miserable. So today we have a great product and testimony is the number of marketers who use our products globally. We today address over 1000 brands globally.

MediAvataar: What it takes to facilitate intelligent buying?

Mukundu: You what we have built, that I have answered in the first two questions every aspect of intelligence gets addressed and therefore I can confidently say today that our platform enables intelligent buying.

Outside of that, it is important to understand that in today’s complex and proliferated World Wide Web getting to the right audience at the right time becomes the most important aspect that is when you can claim to reach out to an audience when they are receptive. This whole process actually looks easy but complicated technically given you have multiple stakeholders within your stack, your publisher partners, your advertiser partners, your large DSP partners, ATDs etc; all of the mentioned have to be on the right time at the right place to ensure you have a process that is fully fool proof when it comes to intelligent buying.

Platform like ours makes that possible.

MediAvataar: What drives you to take the business to the next level, product wise?

Mukundu: Innovation is a constant, it’s like life. One has to constantly look at innovating what is on the offer and on the table that particular day. Imitation is easy but to be one step ahead we have to constantly innovate and improve. So I am constantly working with my data and product teams on how we could innovate within or partner externally to bring in what would be break through offering for the advertising fraternity, sometimes even offline advertising fraternity. We already work with the largest holding company on some of their offline efforts and that’s where my energy is focused on.

To that effect we have launched a seller side solution for our ecommerce partners and have already some of the biggest names in the world like Shopclues and Zaastra in India and South Africa and announcing another 10 partners in the next quarter.

On the advertising front we are launching the world’s first SSP focusing on the fly contextual capabilities, which is 99.99% accurate and is disruptive in nature given that we will have over 350000 categories addressed and in over 20 languages in the first phase of our launch, which is on beta as we speak.

MediAvataar: Why do you think demand-side platform is the need of the hour?

Mukundu: I am not saying DSP is the need of the hour, I am saying that transparency, audience discovery and ease of use, is the need of the hour.

DSP is just one side of it, we can do the same on the SSP side too so neither of these are the need of the hour. Need of the hour are those three magical words which we have in our one stack offering that would remove the pain points from a marketer’s daily life when it comes to spends on digital advertising.

MediAvataar: How technology is transforming when it comes to programmatic and the way modern marketers should think?

Mukundu: How do you think all the above issues are getting sorted? It is only because of technology that these are getting sorted, right? Automation reduces costs and increases efficiency. And if that is brought into action in digital advertising then you get what you are seeing, which is programmatic advertising however when you see everything that gets addressed on a single stack then that is magic and we are producing magic on a daily basis with our offerings and modern marketers want magic.

It’s like how in today’s world pilots only monitor the plane and the actual flying is done by computers, right? That is how an A380 flies, fully automated and absolutely safe. Marketers are like pilots, they have to be on the seat to look at everything that is happening but the automation is the real hero unless you have some serious issues on automation and the pilots/marketers take over the controls, which is next to never in most cases.

MediAvataar: SPs, DSPs, ad exchanges and trading desks all working together to serve ads in an RTB environment, it is easy to lose sight on how all the pieces fit together. How do you keep it focused and still fragmented?

Mukundu: You never lose sight, which is why engineering writes such lovely codes on products that are detailed out. Without knowing the process how can you automate? That’s what is known as understanding the eco-system end to end, which is why it is very difficult to build something like what we have built and I am lucky to have a team that actually understands the entire ecosystem end to end and that is how we are able to address all the stake holders you have mentioned flawlessly on a single platform.

MediAvataar: Tell us more about Real Time Bidding (RTB).

Mukundu: Real Time Bidding is a process where buying and selling of online ad impressions through real-time auctions, occurs in the time it takes a webpage to load. Those auctions are often facilitated by adexchanges or supply side platforms.

MediAvataar: How the role of an entrepreneur changed the way you used to look at things professionally?

Mukundu: I continue to look at things professionally. You cannot mess around with a vision and when you have 15M$ that people have bet on your venture, everything becomes professional automatically, you are not only answerable to the ecosystem but also to the growing number of employees and above all your investors. So everything an entrepreneur deals with in his daily way of life on the professional front is mature, collected and focused.

MediAVataar: What is your vision for your company/product in five years to come?

Mukundu: First is to become the next unicorn in the adtech space. I don’t know what will happen in five years but our immediate goal is to expand into Australia, China and Europe in the next 12 months and in the next 24 months fully stabilize our offerings across board and in the next 36 months hit a top line of a billion dollars globally.

I will probably think of what we should do in our 60th month when we are in our 24th.


Somany Ceramics Signs On Ogilvy & Mather as Its Advertising Agency

Somany Ceramics Limited, the leading player in the Indian ceramics industry, recently awarded its advertising mandate to the global advertising and marketing giant Ogilvy & Mather. The pitch was initiated a month ago where six other major advertising agencies also participated. The estimated advertising budget for Somany Ceramics for FY17-18 is 3 to 3.5% of the revenue. Ogilvy & Mather will manage Somany Ceramic Limited’s operations from their Gurgaon office and the mandate consists of the brand’s diverse product portfolio.

Commenting on the association, Mr. Abhishek Somany, MD, Somany Ceramics Limited, commented,” We are interested in exploring newer ways of targeting specific groups therefore, it became essential for us to collaborate with an agency who understand the dynamic media environment. Ogilvy & Mather comes with a fresh and progressive approach which will help us to focus on developing advertising and marketing campaigns to engage consumers with our products and brands.”

He further added,” To stay a youthful and trendy brand and expand our business and product portfolio, we need a partner and support team that understands how the brand communicates to the consumers in new and existing geographies.”

Speaking on the win, Chandana Agarwal, Managing Partner, Ogilvy & Mather “Somany is responsible for launching many firsts in the Indian Tile Industry. Innovation has clearly been at the heart of what they do and we see a great match of values between the two organisations. We are extremely excited about this partnership and look forward to creating some memorable work”.

Somany Ceramics has been a prominent name as a homegrown enterprise in the Indian corporate landscape since its inception almost five decades ago. They ventured into sanitaryware segment in FY 2011-12 and have recently trebled their sanitaryware production capacity from 3.03 lakh pieces per annum to up to 11.50 lakh pieces. The company has a robust distribution network with over 1,800 dealers and 12,000 touch points across India and plans to open 200 additional franchisee showrooms and experience centers by the end of FY 2017-18.

Omnicom Health Group and Illumina will host a provocative session showcasing the power of the human genome and the information it generates. Genomic medicine promises to transform healthcare and create personalized medical care targeted to each individual’s unique genetic makeup.

This dynamic presentation explores leading edge innovations and advancements in genomics and their influence on future healthcare communications. Genomics, which is at the center of personalized medicine, provides solutions by linking diagnostics and therapeutics with two of healthcare’s biggest problems - with the goal of driving new discoveries in cancer and rare disease.

Presenters Jo Ann Saitta, Chief Digital Officer for Omnicom Health Group, and Paula Dowdy, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Illumina, Europe, Middle East, and Africa will take to the stage to present “Getting to Genome You – The Potential Power of Personalized Medicine” at the annual Lions Health Festival in Cannes, France on June 17th from 12:00-12:45PM.

Saitta will deliver insights and observations on cutting edge digital health trends.

“Genomic medicine is a rapidly evolving medical discipline,” said Saitta. “The technologies have advanced, and what was once a vision for the future 15 years ago, is now becoming a reality. This acceleration is a result of the progress in technology and the ability to assess and analyze data in a much more precise way.”

Dowdy will share compelling genomic medicine stories that demonstrate the powerful intersection of advanced technologies, data and creativity. She currently leads Commercial Operations in EMEA for Illumina, and was part of the senior team behind the launch of the new sequencing system, NovaSeqTM. Illumina was named 3rd Smartest Company by MIT Technology Review in 2016.

“As a company committed to improving human health, we are delighted to be participating in Cannes Lions Health this year,” said Dowdy. “We believe passionately in unlocking the power of the genome to transform healthcare, and the festival reflects one of our key programs to connect genomics to the everyday lives of those living with cancer and rare diseases.”

“Lions Health brings together professionals from across the healthcare communications field. The festival is the perfect venue to ignite awareness around the topic of genomics. As technology and healthcare converge, healthcare communicators who are responsible for all facets of the care continuum will benefit from this knowledge that is changing the field of medicine and bringing a new dimension to our work on behalf of clients,” added Saitta.

Attendees will be inspired by the profound advancements that are taking place in genomics, as well as the impact that it is having on individualized therapies for a myriad of diseases. Presenters will provide data via case studies, videos and information gleaned from large-scale genomic initiatives launched by experts at the forefront of genomics.

For more information on “Getting to Genome You – The Potential Power of Personalized Medicine” taking place on Saturday, June 17, 12:00-12:45PM at the Inspiration Stage at Cannes, please visit: https://www.canneslions.com/festival/events-scheduled#/?activeDay=17%20June&activeFestival=Lions%20Health&event=14-20046


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