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Interview - Vinish Kathuria, COO at Digital Quotient

Interview - Vinish Kathuria, COO at Digital Quotient

Vinish_HighRes1[dropcap size="2"]AIM[/dropcap]Analytics India Magazine: What are some of the main tenets (philosophies, goals, attributes) of analytics approach and policies at your organization?

[dropcap size="2"]VK[/dropcap]Vinish Kathuria: In today's world, consumers are digitally active audiences who are 24x7 online - how a brand converts this audience into consumers is where the innovation lies. Digital Quotient is India’s leading data driven social and mobile marketing firm. Here we aim at helping brands convert digital audience into consumers. We are a team of dynamic & young professionals focused on bringing innovative and novel solutions in the vast and yet to be explored canvas of social, mobile and video marketing by applying analytics and the right technology. Our team has a unique capability interwoven across a sound technological background, creative marketing expertise as well as real analytics to bring the highest level of impact measurability.

Millions of people are accessing digital devices on a daily basis for a variety of activities. Our approach to analytics is to leverage technology to understand consumer behavior, demographics, action, and desires and present the optimal solution that can exceed their expectations. Our analytical offerings present the best solution to the consumers across varied platforms and markets.

AIM: What is your approach to face the challenge of meeting the needs of so many clients across vast geographies with limited resources?

VK: Today a consumer is digitally very active and technologically better-equipped than ever. A single consumer is also active on various platforms. Thus, the consumer is surrounded by multiple choices, messages, and in simple words, loads of data which at times might be confusing. So, what most brands fail to understand is to think like a consumer. Brands need to customize the messaging & campaign across these multiple platforms to create recall for themselves. Recall comes from leveraging technology to define and execute on processes that would lead to predictive results. Big data and analytics are corner stone of our ability to design and execute solutions that are equally effective in remote areas, metros or globally.

AIM: What are the key differentiators in your analytical solutions?

VK: We like to focus on consumer-behaviour before focusing on the solution. Brands consistently need to focus on technologies that would implement consumer-centric experiences. We firmly believe that Big data & Analytics have the power to reach target audiences and customers by harnessing the right information and implementing customized strategies. By leveraging this power, marketers would be able to increase the targeting of their campaigns both for Mobile and Social. We like to focus on integrated services to our clients whether it’s the backend or frontend – right from interface to campaign as well as integrate this campaign between different digital tools.

We are proud to have worked with some of the most renowned brands, namely, PVR Cinemas, Hindustan, Monsanto, Intel, and Cleartrip among others, and devised successful marketing campaigns and enterprise solutions for these brands.  In 2013, Digital Quotient was recognized and awarded by Mobbys Awards for our unique work done in the evolving Mobile and Digital arena. Mobbys are annually awarded to companies for excellence in Mobile Entertainment and Technology.

In the past, Digital Quotient has also created a unique tool to understand consumer behavior on social media platforms.

AIM: Please brief us about the size of your analytics division and what is hierarchal alignment, both depth and breadth.

VK: At Digital Quotient, we are a team of over 70 people coming from various backgrounds like technology, creative experts, industry experts, product and operational people. People who have a problem solving attitude. People who have passion for technology and are focuses on bringing innovative and novel solutions across social, mobile and video marketing platforms.  

AIM: What are the next steps/ road ahead for analytics at your organizations?

VK: At this moment we are working on solutions being used internally with millions of people touch points. Using this knowledge, productized offerings are being created which are in various stages and soon to be launched.

AIM: What are a few things that organizations should be doing with their analytics efforts that most don’t do today?

VK: I think most of the corporate and brands make decisions based on unrealistic calculations rather than a comprehensive data of internal as well as external consumer environment. Don't use data just to validate a decision you want to make, use it for actual decision making.

More than market research one should focus on consumer behavioural study and should include it for more informed decisions.

AIM: What are the most significant challenges you face being in the forefront of analytics space?

VK: There is a lot of fragmented data which creates a lot of complexity in the digital space. Corporates today are not equipped enough to store, manage, and segregate this flow of data. Technology must be used to drive consolidation, in much the same way as it has been used to align other areas of change driven by technology – think CRM and ERP. Brands need to allocate resources upfront to streamlined open platforms, and explicitly to technology that reduces waste and inefficiencies. There are also issues in finding the right human capital - people with the right mindset and passion for analytics.

AIM: How did you start your career in analytics?

VK: My passion for analytics has only grown stronger in the professional journey of 20 years, working with various companies in India and USA like Ericsson, Microsoft & Infospace to name a few. Prior to Digital Quotient, I was fuelling my passion for start-ups as the CEO of (a startup for online education) and as President of Mobisoc Technology (a technology venture for Mobile Internet), besides advising companies in Government, Travel, Education and Entertainment sectors regarding development and usage of innovative mobile and digital solutions. Ever since I have started working in the digital, I have always been amazed by the potential analytics holds in helping marketers and researchers achieve beyond selling a product.

AIM: What do you suggest to new graduates aspiring to get into analytics space?

VK: With several B-schools launching Analytics courses and professional training and institutes expanding their reach, Data Analytics is ought to become a career of choice for many. To the aspiring and budding talent, that passion is the key to success. If you don’t love what you do, there is no point in doing it. I would suggest not just acquiring the theoretical knowledge of technology but also about its practical implications, role in biz decision making, etc. Being aware of latest trends and skills to apply knowledge to the practical field are most important.

AIM: What kind of knowledge worker do you recruit and what is the selection methodology? What skill sets do you look at while recruiting in analytics?

VK: We are working in a rapidly growing environment, where constant innovation is the only mantra to survive. We focus on people with domain knowledge and innovative bend of mind. People who think and act differently! But most fundamental guidelines we follow while recruiting is to choose people with the right attitude and willingness to learn - with these two qualities a person can do anything.

AIM: How do you see Analytics evolving today in the industry as a whole? What are the most important contemporary trends that you see emerging in the Analytics space across the globe?

VK: We have heard a lot about the buzzwords big data and data analytics. But with the onset of 2014, more and more companies are rolling up their sleeves and started using Big Data and Analytics for better results and informed strategies and offerings. Big data revolution is here to stay and is constantly evolving. Terabytes of data are being created online and offline and remain to be analyzed. Analytics will help marketers of the future in more efficient marketing and communications spend, and using effective messages and channels, and better understanding of customer experience, and thereby better predictability and influencing ability. Today companies are looking for a holistic approach and 360 degree solutions for their marketing campaigns.  Brands are looking for partners to work with who understand their business and their consumers – which is only possible by studying data through the right usage of analytics.

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AIM: Anything else you wish to add?

VK: Collating, analyzing and leveraging big data allows advertisers/marketers to reach their desired target audience by illustrating an all-inclusive user atmosphere. This can be used for user profiling and segmentation exercises which help to target hyper-local ads repeatedly on its own. Today is the age of sheer mobility driving consumers to search, shop, buy and connect round the clock just with simple clicks and swipes on-the-go.

Once marketers find the right mix of technology to simplify the process of digital marketing they don't need to worry about when or where their ads are served and who they are reaching. They can then focus on the truly difficult, strategic task of creating great customer relationships. This is what Digital Quotient and its members strive for – customer relationships.

[divider] [spoiler title="Biography of Vinish Kathuria" style="fancy" icon="plus-circle"]

A digital entrepreneur, Vinish is a visionary in the fields of Social, Mobile, and Video marketing as well as Cloud Computing. He comes with a rich experience of more than 20 years across the corporate worlds of USA & India having experience with companies including Ericsson, Microsoft & Infospace to name a few.

As the Chief Operating Officer of Digital Quotient, India’s pioneering social+mobile marketing firm, he is spearheading the emerging ecosystems of Mobile & Social marketing.

Vinish has a passion for new business ventures, prior to working with Digital Quotient, he was CEO of (a startup for online education) and President of Mobisoc Technology (a technology venture for Mobile Internet), besides advising companies in Government, Travel, Education and Entertainment sectors regarding development and usage of innovative mobile and digital solutions.

A firm believer in the role of digital technologies in helping drive a society’s evolution, he has been involved with development of novel & unique solutions that have added value for masses. Some of his works have received recognition from JDPowers & Associates, India Digital Awards, Forum Nokia, Manthan Awards and m-Governance awards.

He is also an angel investor, a member of Indian Angel Network and has invested in select exciting startup ventures in the India.

A graduate of IIT Delhi, Vinish pursued his MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and MS from Case Western Reserve University. Vinish loves to spread his digital knowledge and enjoys teaching –he has been a guest lecturer at ISB Hyderabad and MDI Gurgaon as well as key institutions in USA.

After living in USA for 15 years, Vinish relocated to Gurgaon, India in early 2007. An avid traveler, one will find Vinish spending his leisure time with his wife and two sons travelling to new and distant places meeting interesting people and exploring the local culture. He is also an ardent sports lover and voracious reader.

Twitter: @vinkats


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