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Social media is like a rented house: Abhishek Punia, ARM Worldwide

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Social media is like a rented house: Abhishek Punia, ARM Worldwide

Basking in the completion of half a decade, ARM Worldwide has introduced into the industry innovative digital marketing and communications strategies not just for the country but globally as well. In an interaction with exchange4media, Abhishek Punia, Co-founder and COO, ARM Worldwide, talks about their journey, re-branding themselves from ARM Digital to ARM Worldwide, marking their presence globally, AI as an opportunity for digital marketers and more. 

Edited excerpts below:

Please tell us about your journey from ARM Digital to now ARM Worldwide.
The journey has been really exciting. When we started, me and my colleagues came from a professional background and we were not from business families so it was a new experience. This is the fifth year of our journey and last year we rebranded ourselves. I think our reach and the way people look at us has changed. We are not just an India-based consulting company, people know us for our global presence and because of that we got heavily exposed to technology. That’s an advantage we have now.

Do you think digital marketing practices will replace traditional marketing practices in the near future?
No, they’ll not, primarily because digital is just one form of marketing. It’s not the core form but it adds to the marketer's key performance indicators. So how it works largely is that, it’s one of the pillars that has been driving some goals, which are maybe ROI-driven.
Traditional marketing practices are definitely never going to be replaced but they’ll always add value to the digital form of marketing and that we have seen over a period of time. Whenever a client is doing a print or a television and adds digital to it, obviously the brand recall, awareness and ROI will increase.
Lastly, I would like to say that digital will always supplement traditional media but will never replace them.

How much do you think social media plays a role in increasing traffic on a website?
Well to add to this I would like to share that I am a hard believer of saying, ‘Wherever a consumer is, let him stay there’.
Nowadays, social media is there for a purpose and that is for consuming content. Content is consumed on specific platforms. Moving that user to a different location which you reflect is good for you. But then the questions arises, ‘Will the consumer do it?’ And answer to that is ‘No’, because his mindset is of consuming content at that time.
So rather be at that place where he is consuming content viz a viz getting him on your website and spending money on that. I don’t think of social media as a large player. Social media is like a rented house, even if you are not staying there, be present there.

Where do you see digital media in the next five years?
I think future will be somewhat like this- social will definitely merge everything into content. Content will be again, highly technology driven. If we talk about banner ads, they would die and with their death Programmatic advertising will rise up.
The biggest trend that I am excited about is wearable. I think that’s one space where brands will definitely get in. Because today with the advancement of technology every other minute, screens are getting smaller and content duration is getting longer. That’s where the digital video concept is coming from. But I think merging of that longer form of content on a smaller screen will be definitely great. All I would like to say in the end is, ‘Faster it is, better it is.’

Do you think Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an opportunity for digital marketers today to grow phenomenally, given the fact that competition is tough today?
First experience of AI as a marketer you get is that of chatbots. Lots of brands have started adopting this. But there are some flaws in it. The problem is before any technology comes, too much hype is created around it. If brands go with this slowly, eventually machine learning and AI will play bigger parts.
Chatbots will definitely turn automated because consumers today do not have time so it will play a bigger role and the moment players like Google, Facebook will adopt it, as a larger reach is with them, it will become a normal practice to have AI. There are talks that Facebook is initiating a lot of investment towards AI but that will take another 3-4 years.

What are your views on mobile marketing? Has it become the easiest platform to target customers?
So data says, 42-45% searches are happening on Google. And the space that has been explored is vernacular. Lot of local searches are happening. Beyond Facebook, Whatsapp has become a channel where news is being transferred. So it has become a way of communication and with internet penetrating parts of India with about 460 million population, if we get into that space where mobile is in the hand suddenly it becomes a bigger advantage. I think, the desktop is going to get killed. Times have changed, today we are primarily communicating and consuming content on mobile so it’s going be the biggest player.

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