Interview with Chief Data Officer (South Asia), Dentsu Aegis Network – Gautam Mehra

Interview with Chief Data Officer (South Asia), Dentsu Aegis Network – Gautam Mehra


The most successful companies, are not those, that have fancy tech and data scientists, but those that have built/re-built their processes to incorporate good quality data flow through the business lifecycle.

1. Tell us about your role in Dentsu Aegis Network?
I serve as the Chief Data Officer currently. There are two broad roles that my team plays. The first is to ensure the data privacy, protection, and compliance of all the data that 30 of our agency brands produce or come in contact with. The second is to use big data as a multiplier to create proprietary products that are truly unique to DAN

2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
I’ve been into digital marketing ever since I can remember. I started the journey even before Google had their Adwords product launched. All throughout this, I’ve been very data-driven. So, when this opportunity came up, it seemed like a very natural transition.

3. How do you think technology is changing the Marketing Sector?
I think technology is changing every aspect of the business. There are some parts where, of course it has moved faster than others. Digital marketing has completed changes in the media planning/buying landscape. Web video has changed the way creative folks see the digital medium. The PR industry is seeing new age Instagram influencers becoming part of the mix.

4. Why do you think, the Brand building is gaining more attention in today’s world?
I think Brand has always been important. We all just got a bit distracted when digital folks started selling “performance” and created this apparent bifurcation between brand and performance. In reality, if you only focus on either, it’s a lose-lose situation. The brand is critical in today’s crowded marketplace, especially with competitors being able to copy/incorporate/steal your idea/feature and build it out into theirs in a few weeks.

5. What are the major aspects involved in brand building in today’s competitive market?
While, there has always been a focus on pushing brand metrics such as Recall, Top of Mind, etc. there is a bit of a change in the consumer mindset. Sometimes action happens even before fully realizing that one has taken it. The number of times, I see people wonder, before opening a parcel they have just received: “what exactly did I order, can’t remember, let me open it and see”. So, I think it’s important to address this new age super-fast consumerism. The other point is loyalty. I think loyalty metrics are going to be a great indicator of any brands strength. The rise of subscriptions is a clear signal towards that.

6. What are the Major data Trends according to you and how are they affecting marketing Companies?
I think data is getting more accessible due to the rise of inefficient collection methods and better analytics products. This means everyone involved in the Brand needs to be more aware and can’t just have beliefs without hard data to back it up. There is also a challenge since there are so many different data systems and also silos without how departments in organization work, stitching together all these data is becoming a hard task for most brands.

7. What advice would you like to give to the Martech Startups?
Have a clear business reason to exist. Many startups get excited that they can build so and so technology. And that’s great. But does it solve a real gap in the market or are you another me too in the market?

8. What Digital innovation according to you will mark 2019?
I don’t think a year is a right way to look at innovations. Innovations happen due to the intelligent use of emerging technologies that hit a tipping point. I see the Digital content continuing to grow in both generation and consumption. I also see AI moving from the “hype silver bullet” stage to an intelligent assistive layer in almost every product/solution we are exposed to, both as a business and as a consumer.

9. How Important is data Management in achieving Marketing Goals of a Company?
Data is critical. The most successful companies are not those, that have the fancy tech and data scientists, but those that have built/re-built their processes to incorporate good quality data flow through the business lifecycle.

10. What are the major developments you are planning, in recent times?
Data and technology are of prime importance to us at Dentsu Aegis. We have already built a tremendous world-class data-driven marketing system that is running in 20+ countries. I can proudly say, that it was all done in-house, 100% in India and is now being used across the globe. Our focus is to keep building on this success and make it solve even larger business problems.

11. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
The Data Sciences Team at DAN is like a product startup in a service-based enterprise. We are a bunch of coders, scientists and media specialists who just love solving problems.

12. Which Book are you reading these days?
21 Lessons for the 21st century by Yuval Noah Harari

13. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, so can you share with us some of the fun pictures of your workplace?









14. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
I have 271 apps on my phone. If I take out the communication apps like mail and WhatsApp, what I use the most is Apple News, Flipboard, Spotify and Blinkist.

Gautam has been a veteran in the digital Advertising domain for nearly two decades. From introducing the industry to the concept of an end to end web solutions firm, with Sigel WebSolutions, to founding the full service digital agency Ultraviolet Digital Solutions, Gautam has done it all. In his former role, he headed the Social Media Business for iProspect India, India's leading Digital Performance Agency. He has been instrumental in developing the agency's relationship with Facebook and has worked on building the digital best practices for some of India's marquee brands like ICICI Bank, AegonLife and General Motors, to name a few. He is currently Chief Data Officer for the Dentsu Aegis Network - South Asia, India's Second Largest Marketing Communications Group wherein he is spearheading the data story for the Group in the region. His most recent award was Campaign Asia’s 40 Under 40. When Gautam is not in office, he is usually hacking his own home network, doing a weekend coding project or teaching his nephew computer science.

Dentsu Aegis Network is ‘Innovating the Way Brands Are Built’ for its clients, through its best-in-class expertise and capabilities in media, digital and creative communications services. With consumers more connected, through a range of devices, the era of media convergence is presenting many opportunities as well as a new, complex media eco-system. From identifying who the consumers are, to how they make their decisions, Dentsu Aegis Network makes the best use of today's media mix to bring to life the right communication strategy and deliver the best results for clients.
For more information please visit our Website.

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