Social Media Marketing Has Matured And Marketers Are Very Careful, Says Advit Sahdev, Founder At ODigMa

Interview with Advit Sahdev, CEO and Founder of digital agency, ODigMa, where he shares the agency's story of early days, challenges and future plans

Advit Sahdev

Last Sunday I landed up in Bangalore. Without settling in the weekend mood, I headed towards the city’s most happening place – 100 Feet Road, Indranagar. After surviving the Bangalore traffic, I was able to meet Advit Sahdev, CEO and Founder of digital agency, ODigMa over lunch and some interesting discussions.

Advit was waiting for me at a coffee shop and post exchanging a few words, we quickly decided the lunch venue. The clock had already struck two and being a stranger to the city, I left the job in the hands of the CEO. The location for our lunch and extensive talks for the afternoon was  decided to be at California Pizza Kitchen, a place known for serving amazing Italian cuisine.

Advit Sahdev

While waiting for our large thin crust BBQ Chicken pizza, we got talking over starters and coke. I was interested to know the story behind ODigMa, since it has been in the industry ever since social media was picking up in the country.

“Before starting my agency, I had the experience of working with Facebook Marketing teams of P&G, Unilever. They were my clients while I was based out of India; this was the time when I started learning about the medium. So I had a slight advantage about social media before it came to India. This experience pushed me in doing something in India and that’s how essentially the agency was started in May 2010,” added the Founder with more than ten years of experience in IT and Marketing.

In over three and a half years, ODigMa has evolved from being just a Facebook Marketing service provider to a complete digital marketing agency with offices in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. By now the agency has worked with more than 350 clients like Airtel, MakeMyTrip, Myntra, DoCoMo, UB Group, among others.

While the agency provides all round services of a digital agency but online reputation management (ORM) has been one of the core features that it has been vouching for. One of the challenging projects was managing the ORM of telecom brand MTS.

“MTS project was big for us, not only because of the brand but for the challenge that a telecom sector provides with the huge amount of queries. The project was a great learning exposure for us on how to streamline a customer service, optimize data, set the entire CRM. Ultimately the objective was to push the client and get customer queries resolved quickly,” added Advit, while explaining the ORM cycle and how companies can retain customers by solving queries in due time.

Meanwhile, the pizza had been served.

Apart from running campaigns, I was aware of ODigMa’s experience with campaigns for political parties building their brand image. I was keen to understand how interesting it is to work on political campaigns and the challenges one faces.

Advit shared that most of these campaigns are focused or have the objective of building a personal or a political party image over online. He further added that, “There are known challenges such as backlashes and bad mouthing, so as an agency one needs to be on their toes to manage the reputation of the party while being very closely connected to the party,”. Apart from this, political campaigns are interesting since they are mostly related to a cause and your job is to connect the like-minded with it.

While political campaigns do excite him, he thinks the brand excitement for the medium has gone done to an extent. One of the reasons he highlighted was that the medium is no more new or the freshness of the medium has died. “Two – three years ago the big networks were new and the excitement was great. Today we have tools coming up such as Vine, Pinterest but the magnitude is not the same and this has made the marketers more careful about the medium,” Advit informed.

[pullquote id =”lhipull” class=”left_pull”]Budgets are rising for advertising and not in terms of marketing[/pullquote]

With his freshness point, Advit also added that the market has recently seen a lot of ecommerce brands closing down. With the big ones doing well, the mid ones couldn’t gain the trust of the investors and their social media investments took a beating too. So overall marketers are very careful now but at the same time the positive part is that the industry has matured too.

“Today marketers, before starting a campaign on social are looking for a marketing goal and then they are deciding on tools to make the goals achievable. So this has helped the market to become more structured, he shared.

However, he still feels that many marketers still look at social media as a commodity and they are not ready to explore the true power of the medium. Advit believes this notion needs to be changed and the bigger agencies who can afford to take a stand should convince a brand to go for ideas and experiment since it is a tough call for smaller ones.

With time running fast on a Sunday, we winded up our exciting discussion with ODigMa’s 2014 goal – Multiple city expansion including abroad where it will be looking for partnering rather than growing individual presence. Before parting our ways, Advit also had a small message to the social media agencies that are working hard to grow big,

“Find a niche and stick to it like we had Facebook Marketing to start with and from there we grew. So find one or two expertise and work on it but don’t try to do everything.”