Yashwant Kumar is the Co- Founder and CEO of GenY Medium which is a full service digital marketing agency and their philosophy is to “Enhance your digital presence by combining the art of marketing with the science of digital”.
Yashwant studied at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and completed his Bachelors of Technology in Chemical Engineering and passed out in the year 2006.
Not only does GenY has clients all over India they also have clients Canada and North America.
In this Straight Talk Yashwant talks about the journey from P&G to GenY Medium, the various services offered by the agency, the way forward and a lot more.
How has been your journey? How did you start GenY Medium?
We have had a fun-filled adventurous ride over the last 7.5 years. I have enjoyed the experience of building teams, coaching people, engaging with businesses across different industries, start-ups, family-owned and large corporate houses. It has also been a privilege to learn from our investors, customers, other entrepreneurs, and our employees.
What started as a small 2 member team in Hyderabad in 2012 has now become one of the leading digital marketing-tech firms with a team of 120 digital experts with offices in Hyderabad, Delhi, and Bangalore and also an overseas office in Toronto.
Prior to GenY, between 2009 and 2011, my partner, Ravi and I struggled in using digital for building the businesses we were working on at the time. After extensive search internally and externally, we could not find the digital expertise required to deliver tangible business outcomes.
We recognized that business owners and CXOs had a serious interest in learning about the promise of digital and also that a lot of value can be created by employing insight-based marketing on digital channels.
Within a couple of months of this realization, I transitioned out of my role with P&G in Singapore and came back to Hyderabad in early 2012 to start GenY Medium.
Tell us about the services offered by GenY Medium and how is the agency different from any other agency?
We are a full-service digital marketing firm with unique skill sets in performance marketing and in marrying consumer insights with the latest technological know-how. We specialize in a few industry verticals such as Real-estate, Healthcare, Consumer Goods and Financial Services.
GenY Medium is a Google premium partner with access to industry-leading programmatic advertising platforms – DV360, previously known as DoubleClick.
We have also become a Gold partner with Oracle and have executed several personalized campaigns at scale using technologies like Eloqua, Responsys, BlueKai (DMP) and Maxymiser.
A brief structure of GenY? Size of the team? Leadership?
We are a 120 member team across 5 key functions: Client Servicing, Campaign Management, Content Development, Creative and Tech.
GenY Medium is led by strong leaders in each function and they are building their A-plus teams of achievers.Yash Kumar leads our company operations as the COO, Niki Singh leads our Delhi operations and growth in North India. Sandesh Gupta is the Head of our Analytics team and runs all campaign management and media operations.Sanchali Roy heads our content development team and owns communication and campaign strategies for all our enterprise accounts. Lalita Subrahmanyam heads our B2B division for both National and International accounts. Anupam Sahoo leads development for us and is building a team with varied skillsets across technologies. Jayaraj Frederick is an industry veteran with some 25 years of experience in the advertising industry. He leads our creative team. Munindar Lokerao, with over 15 years of experience under his belt, leads our HR operations and is responsible for recruitment and talent management.
How do you make sure that GenY delivers experiences that are both rewarding for the consumer and have the potential to deliver maximum value for the business, in other words how do you add value to your clients?
There are three unique ways in which we add value to the customer.
First, our own proprietary technology stack helps drive more value for each aspect of digital that we work on. These technologies help gather insights, target better, optimize media buys better and drive better advocacy.
Second, it’s essential for brands to think consumer-first. We strongly believe in the philosophy that only insight based advertising leads to brand growth.We work with our customer teams and try creating experiences that are premium, connected and personalized for the consumer.
Our teams always begin any engagement or campaign work with category relevant consumer insights. They do an in-depth research by interacting with consumers, understanding category insightsand competitive landscape and translate all these learnings into hard-hitting digital strategies through brainstorming sessions where multi-functional teams get involved.
Finally, our prior experience of leading businesses before starting GenY has helped us focus only on real metrics which matter – topline and bottom-line contribution for our customers. Vanity metrics such as awards and accolades do not excite us. In this regard we are unique.
How has your experience of working at P&G helped you service the clients at GenY?
At P&G, every function was encouraged to spend time with consumers. The belief was that insights come from such real interactions. This is something which has helped us run our engagements with customers. The source of truth stems from a thorough understanding of the consumer.
I believe empathizing with your business partners across the table is fundamental to a win-win and mutually rewarding relationship. In P&G, we were trained to think of the Agency-Client engagement as an arranged marriage. A marriage of equals, where two partners are co-independent and are invested in each other’s success. Where both parties understand that to truly achieve success in their own roles, each individual must be true to their strengths while supporting the other to do the same, in a climate of respect, appreciation, and trust.
This belief has helped us in building truly rewarding relationships with our customers. Some of them continue to work with us for more than 6 years, many of them have championed our cause and over the years have helped us grow together.
Which would be the 3 three learnings that you would want to share with our readers?
These three quotes summarize my learnings:
- If we don’t take care of the customer, someone else will. (never lose sight of customer’s business goals)
- The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. (Always stay focused on the real business challenges, don’t pick the battles where no one wins).
- All things are easy before we make them difficult. (Simplify. And then simplify some more).
How effectively do you leverage technology at GenY Medium?
We are huge believers and practitioners when it comes to technology and leverage the best in class solutions and tools at every stage from ideation, conceptualization to execution.
Our teams store all their works on the cloud and collaborate seamlessly both internally and externally with customer teams across geographies. We are a big fan of goal setting and for every customer account, real-time dashboards are set up which enable us to track progress and act swiftly in case of gaps vs. the goals we have set for ourselves.
We have also developed two proprietary platforms – Auris, an AI-powered consumer insights platform, now under GenY Labs, and TrueROI which enable omni-channel marketing with precise attribution across online and offline platforms.
By using these platforms, our customers are able to find insights to better understand their consumers, their wants and needs. We’re trying to use technology to create the best experience for the consumers — and ultimately build a relationship we can grow in the long term.
Do you think ML and AI can replace human creativity?
I see AI and ML not replacing but augmenting and empowering what humans are able to achieve. We are already seeing AI enabling personalization at large scale resulting in unique experiences for every customer and hence delivering more meaningful connections.
Conversational landing pages with chatbots interacting with users in their own native languages are becoming commonplace. Data generated from these conversations are leading us to insights that deliver stories which are richer and more relevant to our consumers. Telesales teams of customers using such AI bots are a lot more informed and aware of the consumer’s needs and are able to offer relevant and in-context products/services.
AI and ML can certainly help with completing repetitive tasks but businesses and organizations will be best served by taking a human+machine approach.
What according to you is more important for a marketer? Mapping trends or setting them?
For a marketer, success comes from creating remarkable conversations, contagious product or service ideas which spread on their own. While mapping trends can help you stay in the race, only new path-breaking ideas and innovations will lead to customers falling in love with your product or service.