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WE WANT TO EVANGELISE THE INFLUENCER ECOSYSTEM IN INDIA: ROHIT SHARMA

BY DIPALI BANKA

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The influencer marketing business in India is roughly pegged at around Rs 1000-1200 crore growing at the rate of 30% CAGR. POKKT, which merged with AnyMind Group in March this year, has brought its marquee platform CastingAsia, to leverage this burgeoning market in India. With its core focus on measurability and transparency in processes, POKKT intends to change the ecosystem of the business that is presently quite fragmented and unorganised. Subsequently the company also plans to bring in its Direct to Consumer Marketing (D2C) offering where influencers can carry out their own commerce using the platform. We chat with Rohit Sharma, COO of Anymind Group and Co-founder of POKKT, on how they plan to build the product in India

Q] You have just announced the launch of influencer marketing platform CastingAsia in India. What is going to be the USP of CastingAsia and how is it going to play out in India?
POKKT got acquired by AnyMind Group in March this year. One of the key reasons for the acquisition was that they have a very strong product in CastingAsia and India is a very critical market for them. CastingAsia is a robust, measurable and transparent influencer marketing platform that has been running across 30 markets since the past four years.

The Indian influencer marketing segment is highly fragmented and unorganised. There are around 20-40 small players offering influencer marketing with no big differentiation or focus on a vertical and most of it is being managed manually. CastingAsia has built very strong tools on automation, reporting, campaign management and data-led platforms that have worked very well for them, especially on Instagram, and that is why we are launching it in India.

We have two key differentiation points. First one is the core product and technology. CastingAsia has successfully been delivering campaigns in evolved markets like Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam and Philippines.

The second thing is that while most companies in this space are very small outfits, we are changing the rules of the game. This is a large global group launching one of its key marquee products in India. They are going to back it with huge investments and resources.

Q] What are the kind of tie-ups and partnerships you are initiating in India in terms of getting influencers and content on board?
We already have on board a very strong influencer development team. The platform is so robust that it can identify thousands of key influencers in India right now. Even POKKT has great relationships with advertisers and marketers here.

Hence on the back of the transparency model and the robustness of the platform, we will be able to monetise the product. We already have a team in place and will continue to scale up our influencer team.

We want to evangelise the influencer ecosystem in India, especially on Instagram, and really scale it up in a big way because it will also provide a good opportunity for influencers to monetise.

Q] What are the synergies between the POKKT team and AnyMind Group and CastingAsia in terms of content generation or revenue streams?
As part of the synergies between two groups, POKKT team is responsible for taking CastingAsia as a product to most of the large global agencies where we have strong inroads. For India specifically, the synergies are much stronger. The need of the hour is to have a very good product and a platform in the influencer marketing piece.

POKKT is a very strong brand in India, with great relationships within the advertising ecosystem. Therefore CastingAsia as a product can easily be launched in India and scaled up.

CastingAsia brings the product, technology, knowhow and campaign information and POKKT brings to the table local knowhow, sales team, agency relationships and the capability to quickly hire a team and scale up the business.

Q] AnyMind Group also has other products. How are you going about getting those products and services in India?
We are very clear that in the Indian market we will focus completely on Casting Asia for the next couple of quarters.

They have a very strong Direct to Consumer Marketing (D2C) offering in the influencer marketing space and are doing extremely well in certain markets. We will extend the normal influencer marketing business to D2C platform in India where influencers can do their own commerce using that platform. It is a huge proposition, and influencers can build their own private labels and market it within their own community and followers.

Q] What are your key challenges in the market today?
More than challenges, there are huge opportunities in terms of need for measurement, transparency and campaign management. In influencer marketing, people have still not gotten used to technology and data the way they are being used in other areas in AdTech or MarTech.

Also, most of the players offer similar services, and there is not much differentiation. Platform and technology will be a differentiator very soon. In addition, there has not been much investment in influencer management, technology or products.

WHAT CASTINGASIA BRINGS TO THE TABLE

CastingAsia is a full-stack influencer management platform that is paired with CastingAsia Creators Network. It will use POKKT’s leadership in India to bring measurability and transparency in the influencer marketing segment.

CASTINGASIA TO BRING THE FOLLOWING TOOLS AND TECHNOLOGIES:

Social Media Analytics for influencer and follower data
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Machine learning enabled tools which help in selection, execution and reporting of campaigns on Instagram
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Automation on various social media platforms for execution of large number of influencers
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The automation would be from selection of the influencers ( based on data), live tracking while the campaign is up and running (live tracking of when and how many posts are live with engagement metrics) and reporting (interim report and final report) – all this would happen from the dashboard
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Comparative analysis of past campaigns and competition handles for learning

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