Artificial Intelligence is revolutionising the digital domain: Rohan Mehta, Social Kinnect

Rohan Mehta on the standout trends in digital marketing, AI, appointing Gerard Jayaranjan as National Creative Director and the importance of influencers

e4m by Anam Khan
Published: Dec 21, 2017 8:51 AM  | 6 min read

Digital marketing agency, Social Kinnect has created a benchmark of sorts and hopes to win a few awards with the new appointment of their National Creative Director, Gerard Jayaranjan. Rohan Mehta, CEO and co-founder of Social Kinnect, talks about the new appointment and his expectations of creating campaigns that will be acknowledged globally and have a good impact on brand businesses. Excerpts:

What are the three most important trends in digital marketing today?
So continuing in 2017 and going into 2018, I think video is one of the most important trends. We are seeing video of all formats, sizes, shapes and length being utilized, everything from a six second video to maybe a long format video. Today brands and marketers are using video to communicate their brand message.
Moving on to the second important trend, we have already heard and spoken a lot about pick data by now. Consistently, marketers are now in a better space and a better place to use their CRM data and their digital data more effectively to drive digital campaigns.
And the third trend has become actually very popular by now and that is the use of influencers. I think influencers are being increasingly used across all marketing campaigns but now brands have also started striking long term deals with influencers where they are connected for more meaningful and deeper relationships as opposed to a standalone campaign. (This is) Similar to how celebrities used to engage with brands in the mainline space.

Do you think digital marketing will replace traditional marketing practices in the near future?
Digital marketing is one such domain which will keep growing and I think brands will keep finding their ways (to shift) from traditional marketing to digital marketing.
But to comment on something like digital replacing traditional marketing practices, is a very strong statement. I think each platform and medium has a role to play and those roles will definitely adapt, evolve and change over time. In future, a lot of those role might be consistently taken up by digital marketing.
Talking abut traditional marketing, it has a place to play and it will continue to show it’s presence, may be in a different state.

How is Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolutionising the digital domain sphere?
I think AI is definitely bringing a smart and definitive change, it has been impacting media buying and media spends in the digital space a lot. AI is playing a key role to help plan those spends better, predict trends and target customers more effectively,.
In my opinion, from both targeting and money spends stand point, AI is substantially helping to make spends better.
The other platform where AI has definitely had a huge impact is Web and Mobile Web experiences; now that’s playing a deeper role in personalising products, content, and shaping each maker's and user's behaviour. Though I feel there are a lot more places where AI can actually lend itself to but that we will see in the coming years.

How do you think has mobile marketing become the most effective platform to target customers?
India is a mobile first economy. We have more than 400 million users accessing the internet through mobile and compared to all another economies, we have a much larger percentage of people who access the internet through mobile rather  than using desktop or other methods. So automatically it becomes the medium which would be the most effective.
And to make this happen, few things have played a major role over the last year. First is of course the democratisation of phones and it’s availability. Smartphones are now available under 5k rupees, which a lot of people in India can afford.
The second is with the advent of 4G and players like JIO, the access to internet that too with better speed has increased, which has pushed more and more people onto mobile phones.

What is preferred more, offline marketing or online marketing?
I think that purely depends on the basis of the brand you are talking about. There are a lot of brands which are targeting tier-1 cities or a luxury market and are bending towards digital marketing platforms aggressively. Brands which are still targeting tier-2 or tier-3 cities or rural audiences do spend a lot of time on traditional platforms of marketing. Though over time this behaviour will also shift but I think it’s got to do a lot with a type of brand we are talking about.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
As an agency we see ourselves deeply rooted and want to become the dominant force in the digital marketing space. We are digital natives and we have invested a lot into learning and development within this field itself. We aim to become one of the largest digital agencies and help brands to effectively carve out their digital transformation journey.

There has been a recent appointment, that of Gerard Jayaranjan as National Creative Director. What are your expectations from him at Social Kinnect?
Social Kinnect has grown pretty substantially over the last few years and we have grown to almost a 200 member team. Well the appointment of Gerard was crucial and we had lots of conversation with him before finally getting him onboard.
The reason why we have chosen someone like Gerard is because he has a unique blend of understanding the marketing trends in India. He hails from the mainline world and now has shifted to digital over the last few years and that brings to him the understanding of both spaces and more importantly, a deep understanding of brands and brand campaigns.
Gerard will be responsible for leading our creative efforts across India and his aim will be to partner with brands and build fantastic brand campaigns which have long term effects on both brands and businesses of these brands and while doing that we hope to also win a few awards along the way. Gerard has been part of campaigns that had won at Cannes among other notable awards and we hope to create such campaigns for our clients that feature across the country and the world.

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