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Beyond the Numbers: Interview with Publicis’ Sandeep Padubidri

Vikas Bysani

In this week’s Beyond the Numbers, we catch up with Sandeep Padubidri the Digital Business Director for Publicis South East Asia. Follow him on Twitter for his thoughts on how brands approach digital and other engaging content.

Read on as we dive deep in to a discussion on how Publicis approaches social media marketing.

This interview is part of an ongoing series; see other great interviews with industry experts in our Interview archive here.

Sandeep_DPHow does your organization define social media marketing, and how does it fit into the larger digital marketing picture?

We define social media marketing as an opportunity for brands to connect with their prospects/customers in real time outside the points of sale, even when they are not in the purchase cycle. It’s a connection, a conversation which reflects the persona of the brand, in tone, mood and content, which in turn emphasizes what the brand believes in/stands for.

I am a strong believer that marketing comes first and channels are secondary. Having said that, social media marketing is increasingly taking center stage in most of the marketing initiatives we look at.

How have you seen social media greatly impact your business?

In the last 24 months or so, the impact of social media is huge. “Social Media” is a term, which is used most often in the RFP’s we get invited for. Among our existing service offerings, the share of social media to the bottom-line is increasing faster compared to the rest.

When is social media data most critical to your efforts: During the planning process; while you’re executing a campaign, so you can change course or allocate more resources; or afterwards, to measure your success?

With access to real time data, the use of data is no longer restricted to pre-campaign planning or post-campaign analysis great marketers do take advantage of this and design programs which are agile and allow them to continue making improvements seamlessly — right from the planning stage to campaign execution.

Whats more valuable, competitive intelligence on brands within your industry, or being able to look at the efforts from brands in other verticals?

Data points cannot work in silos. To get a complete and a more conclusive picture, we do need to look at all available metrics and best practices holistically. While efforts from brands in other verticals might not exactly fit into the category, it will help the marketer to broaden his/her outlook, get inspired by innovation, and inject the same into their efforts. 

Social media channels are increasingly moving to where paid content is promoted more than organic content. How do you feel about this, and how has it affected your social strategy?

This is a game changer of sorts and potentially could be an important milestone in the growth story of social media. Good or bad, time will tell.

The early days of social media were based purely on merit of content and organic sharing. Great content had even greater possibilities and could organically multiply its reach.

As we know, this has changed. Now not only do you need content that stands apart from everyone else, but brands also need to sponsor their content to stand a chance to be seen or else risk drowning in the sea of curated content.

One of the biggest way it seems to have impacted digital creative/social agencies is that they now increasingly believe, and see a need to, start offering digital media planning/buying services which earlier was the domain of specialist media agencies.

What do you see as the single most disruptive force coming to the world of social media marketing?

While social media has been gaining popularity and no doubt captured every marketer’s attention, there is still a large number of marketers who believe (unfortunately) that social media remains the cheapest (if not free) way of “engaging their customers. Lack of a planned approach and strategy (along with viable budgets) to social media remains the single most disruptive force to the world of social media marketing.

What are the social media metrics you don’t have access to today but would like to be able to leverage in the future? 

Today in the digital space, we have access to a lot of data points — sometimes and in some cases a lot more than the brand really needs. We need to think like the brand marketer and the challenges they face. What is missing today is a singular dashboard which not only looks at social media or digital, but compares them head to head along with all other marketing activities, be it an ATL/BTL campaign or events etc. Only then will brands see the real impact of new media and the potential benefits of investing in the medium.

Join us next week as we catch up with Ken Ericson the Director of Global Social Marketing at Xerox Corporation.

Click here to view more social media insights, thoughts and opinions from agency and brand experts.