India market is like a network in itself: Global Chief Strategy Officer, Mindshare Fast

Gowthaman Ragothaman on ensuring cross working between various global markets and the fast paced working of a year old Minsdhare Fast’s Indian wing

e4m by Naziya Alvi Rahman
Updated: Apr 12, 2018 8:59 AM

Gowthaman Ragothaman, Global Chief Strategy Officer, Mindshare Fast, is known for his data-driven approach and deep understanding of marketers' requirements. Popularly known as G’man, who was on a short trip to India for the Mindshare APAC huddle, talks to exchange4media about Mindshare India’s winning spree, ensuring cross working between various global markets and the fast paced working of a year old Mindshare Fast’s Indian wing. Here are the excerpts:-

Mindshare has been winning a number of awards everywhere. The company has been upping its quality of work as well as quantity by adding new businesses. What are the lessons that other APAC markets can learn from Mindshare India?

It’s not about winning awards or competing with each other. Each market has its own unique selling proposition and capabilities to focus on. Take the example of China which is very good in e-commerce whereas Indonesian market is very big in mobile marketing. Vietnam is good in content. So they all learn from each other.

How do you manage cross-working between different markets and ensure that best practices are followed in all the markets?

That’s the purpose of an event like huddle. So we meet every year in some country/market. We’re coming to India after a long time but we keep connecting with everybody. This gives us an opportunity to learn from each other. And they pick it up. We don’t prescribe anything at all. I think that the market leadership is fairly matured to know what applies to them and they do pick it up. It gives everybody a view of their capabilities in each other’s markets. Huddle is like Cannes. We don’t suggest anyone to go for any particular sessions here. They can go for ones they like. We’re running more than 40 sessions between the days. That’s the best way to seek and learn.

Fast was launched in India in early 2017. It's completing a year now. Can you take us through the development of Fast? How is it going?

The reason we set up a separate unit such as a Fast was for our own organization as well as clients to get adaptive-marketing ready. That’s got bunch of things to do. One is how are we getting the data and using the data. Today, it’s not like your own data is enough. You need to get multiple data streams from various market ecosystems. Fast, at one stage, is to ensure that our data strategy is right. Once your strategy is right, you get the data, how does it help you to look at consumers differently? Once you know how to reach consumers, how to engage with them? So this is an entire journey of a data-centric organization. The reason we’re calling it Fast is because it’s all about fast-moving data and how we bring it into the system. That’s why, it was launched a year and a half back and we are now building capabilities of these markets. It’s not a separate division and is meant to be at the heart of Mindshare making Mindshare data-ready and helping clients transform their digital businesses.

What does an event like Huddle mean to you?

Huddle is a concept which we use consistently across the world and it is our way of bringing people together. The purpose of huddle is to ensure that people voluntarily seek information that best suits them because there’s so much happening out there. Not all markets have the same level of evolution. Some markets are extremely data-strong like Australia. These are data-rich as well and so they can do things that other markets cannot even think of doing. But other markets know that when they get data-ready, they can just pick it up from Australia. And then, there are markets like China which are extremely self-sufficient and very good at e-commerce capabilities. India as a market is one which has five offices and is a network in itself whereas every other country is just one office market. Here we have Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata.

So each market has its own strengths and capabilities and we cannot say that you should do this only. The weaknesses are also up to the market to decide and work on. We cannot say that this is your weakness so go and fix it. So they should know. Huddle is not meant to identify weaknesses. It’s about the highest common multiple not about least common denominator.

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