Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Bhupendra Khanal, CEO of Simplify360 Inc., the social business intelligence company. Headquartered in New York with a branch office in Bangalore, the product is sold in over 100 countries directly or through partners.
Social Wavelength is an amazing story born out of India. Hareesh and Sanjay established their social media agency during the time when social media marketing was absent from marketing strategies of organizations. To me, that was a very bold and futuristic move.
At that time, most companies spent around 10% to 15% of their marketing budget in digital, and around 5% to 10% of the digital budget in social media. To make things worse, over 50% of this social media marketing budgets were spent on ads on Facebook and other networks.
The market was difficult. Everyone talked about ‘Social Media Marketing’; no one actually took it seriously. It was like vitamins in pharma. Good to have, but not an emergency.
That was 2009 – the same year, we started Simplify360. We worked together as partners, advisors, clients and vendors. Later when Social Wavelength decided to resell Radian6 in India, we actually became the fiercest competitors. They gave us a very hard time at the client end.
But, the good thing was, that they worked with us to build the market for social media monitoring and analytics in India. We criticized the platforms and showcased our own good points, but respect always remained on both sides. We were always good friends and took the task of building the market as aggressively as possible.
Now that WPP and JWT have joined the fight, things have become very interesting.
The investment of WPP (JWT) in India’s largest social media agency has several implications. Here is my take on what’s going to happen next in the industry:
1. Established social media and digital media agencies will get acquired by biggies like Dentsu-Aegis, Publicis-Unicom, Havas and IPG. Smaller players are likely to get investments from them.
2. India is clearly in global radar now, and the market is going to grow quickly. More money flowing to the industry will mean, more good people joining and more awareness which is extremely good for the industry.
3. A great fight is likely to emerge between these bigger agency groups to own India. This is in line with most major economies. Cheil rules Korea, Dentsu rules Japan, US is mostly dominated by WPP, Publicis-Unicom, and UK by Havas. India is the new battleground. Local groups like Percept-Allied are likely to give a good fight.
4. As a WPP company, we expect Social Wavelength to be neutral towards social media platforms for monitoring and analytics. Seems good news for us.
5. Social Wavelength has expanded rapidly to become a strong 170 people team. This may go to 1700 with the backing of JWT in next 5 years, which will build a new benchmark in the industry.
I am excited about this story, and irrespective of being a vendor, client, partner and competitor, this is great news for all of us involved in the digital media and social media industry. Let’s rejoice and give hearty congratulations to Sanjay, Hareesh, Mihir and entire team of Social Wavelength.