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“Auris digital marketing platform is about marrying art and science, with technology providing the science”

Ravi Jain, Co-Founder & CEO, Geny Labs talks about the increasing adoption of Auris digital marketing platform, its business model and the combined usage of digital and conventional marketing in India –

 

Auris is the digital marketing platform offering from GenY Labs. What sort of data Auris uses to gain insights for digital marketing?

Auris is a platform that we have created, wherein professionals get consumer insights in real time using the data which is already out there. The sources of the data has been broadly categorised into two. One is the public data which includes social media, news, review boards, and all sorts of data which is already available like blogs as well. The second bucket is proprietary or private data. Private data would include company conducted self surveys by which they gather feedback on different assets—both digital assets as well as offline assets. Then you have contact centre recordings, when people call to complain or enquire about something. You have enormous amount of recordings, which are recorded for quality & training purposes. Then you have data which comes in the form of Email. Most brands have a public facing Email id like info@, customercare@, dominion.com, so there are a lot of Emails that comes in there too. So this is all Private data which resides with the company, but you  doon’t distil insights out of it. You may think to do it, you may also reply but you do not generally create consumer insights out of it.

How does Auris create insights from these data?

The premise is that how can we use the data gathered which is now already out there and curate insights out of that. In fact, it is not just curating but also analysing the data. So it goes beyond just bringing them together. The fusion is in fact in three parts. One is bringing the data all together. This is the first part. The second is where our IT Team comes in. This is where we deploy our AI algorithm to curate insights which are very industry specific, like if you are a Hospital, you will have a very different set of insights or if you are an E-commerce company, you will get a different set of insights contextual for your industry. We have developed a bunch of models corresponding to different industries and you get very actionable insights.

Now the third part is action. Whatever insights are there you can now take some action. Some actions are very long term, which is more of a strategy. So let us say there is consumer experience failing or going on well or there are consumer desires which are not met. Those kinds of data points and insights can be used for long term planning. But in the short term, you can take some actions, for example, there is a complaint related to an insurance brand related to claim, you can direct it in real time to the Claims Department, so that they are alert as to this is where consumers are facing an issue. We bring it all together so as to enable action.

As the information for data are coming from disparate sources, how does Auris ensure standardization for analysis?

Standardization happens as one of the subsets of the algorithm is only noise reduction which is starting point for doing any analysis. A part of our AI that we use is purely to clean up the data and standardize it. There are two forms of standardization. One is purely noise reduction, that involves discarding things like social comment which says “Thank You” and so on, which have no informative content, apart from that the customer is happy. We would clean out the data which is not relevant or does not have insights. Also, there is more textual clean up that happens and then we enrich the data by finding meaning in what has been said. So that also helps standardize the insights that we are getting from all data points across different platforms like Email, Social or news everything. So when you look at an aggregate level, you are able to see charts etc. which are across platform types and not just platform to platform.

Considering the sensitive nature of data especially among competitors in one particular domain, is there a possibility of the actionable insights getting compromised?

There are two ways to look at it. One is the way that you look at any service which provides insights. The equivalent in finance is the Bloomberg terminal. The same terminal or matrix is available to any finance group professional or trader. But it is up to them as to how to use that. They often use and apply insights in many different ways. Likewise we gather public data and give them insights. Which part of insight they pick up and run and in which direction is still the wisdom of their marketing Team. We give the insights and stop at that. But application of these insights is the real game, where you need the human judgement and context of your play, your own standing, status quo etc.. It is no different than you using a research report by Euro monitor of Data monitor. The same report is read by so many people but they are used and applied very differently. This is exactly the same basis. Like an open research report for people who are reading.

Another way to look at it is, like in the conventional research you are constrained by a set of questions. Say you have 20 questions in it and that’s about it. So the responses, knowledge or insight is a function of the questions you asked. In this case, our platform, you can query the data multiple different ways so there are infinite possibilities. Depending on what brand it is we can have very different set of consideration in questions and therefore their insight sets will also be very different.

What is your depth of engagement with the different brands and how does it function operationally?

Our engagement model is that we license the platform to the brand. It is a self-servicing platform. So brand Managers can just come, do a deep dive, try and exactly understand what is going on with respect to whether it is their brand or competition or the category. These licenses are on annual basis and renewable. We do annual licenses because it a self-service tool. After the basic setup the customers run the show on the platform. They ask very specific questions as they require very specific slice of data.

We have a data science team which pulls out the data, does the analysis and supports the Brand Team. That is more customer success measure versus what we are mandated to do by the contract. In fact, that is something we do over and above our engagement model.  Whenever our Data Science team spots some insights or trends, it alerts the team. There are inbuilt alerts, so the system itself alerts the team. If there is an impending crisis we have a crisis warning system which alerts immediately.

Can you elaborate on the licensing model?

There are two revenue models here. One is the subscription model which is the primary one. The range of the subscriptions is from $5,000 per annum to about $30,000 per annum. The variables here include number of users, number of instances, etc. The second model is the managed services one. You want a custom model deployed, you want a custom integration done or you want some, insights available by our data science team. these are all in additional services that we provide under managed services. About 15% of our customers will be managed services ones.

Is it possible to connect Auris with and make it talk with the internal ERP or other system and application software already present in that organisation?

Yes, this comes under our managed services. We have already built integration with almost all enterprise SaaS software which are generally used. In CRM itself, we have Eloque, Hubspot. Even the Indian CRM companies like Leadsquared, Zoho are already integrated. For example in real estate, you find the kind of person who is looking for recommendation for buying a house in a particular place, which is a buying signal thathe is indicating that he is interested. So he is a marketing qualified lead. We can directly push that into the CRM so that they can pursue this person. We have automated work flow now which can detect buying signals, which is one of our AI models and push it into the CRM. It is almost like a routing machine, scanning the web, looking at people who might be interested in the service and then automatically pushing it into the CRM.

Beyond integration, sometimes people need customization. For example they want a custom AI model. During the set up itself, we create a custom AI model for them, so that they can feed the data in the manner they want. Also they have internal non-standardized system where they need integration, so our setup personnels take care of that and build the integration they need and their use pattern is supported.

What are the verticals Auris has found traction and who are some of your customers? Do you directly work with clients or through marketing agencies?

We started with healthcare and practically all hospital networks like Apollo, Fortis,    Continental, Global, Gleneagles are using Auris for insights to monitor different locations, gather location specific insights or department specific insights or specialty specific insights. Then we have financial services like Aegon Life, Cigna using Auris. Real estate guys like Purvankara, Provident are also users of our platform. Within E-commerce, we have NetMeds who uses it, CredR which is a auto, second and auto selling ecommerce company. Is also using Auris. In consumer goods we have ID fresh, then we have 24 Mantra which is the organic food brand which uses it and so on. We also have some administrative customer models. For example, there is an arm of United Nations which monitors the implementation of the programs across countries who is also one of our customers

Though marketing agencies are not yet our clients, we have started engaging with them. Some of the customers that I mentioned actually came through agencies. We have a referral program and recently worked out programs purely for agencies so that we can give out a license which can be used for multiple clients. Though we have worked out the agency model, but it is early days yet and we do not have a working relationship yet. We have a couple of agreements but no action yet.

How are Indian brands combining digital marketing with conventional marketing? Is digital overriding conventional or are they complementary?

There is definitely an element of complement and hardly any evidence of just replacement. I am only talking about enterprise brands which have decent size and they are doing the combo model. The one trend is obviously that the proportion of spends on digital is increasing versus traditional. There is a credibility associated with TV and to some extent print, but mostly TV. And you will notice that even the digital brands, the brands which are born out of basically E-commerce like Ola or Uber, also have to advertise on TV and print because all said and done when you need to acquire customers in millions, the cost of customer  acquisition on KPL is lower than digital. So there is complementary mode for sure but it is not replacement. Brands sometimes use it as the primary means purely because they are constrained by maybe budgets. But, if you remove all the constraints and give them a choice, most will choose a combination.

In a regionally diverse country like India, does Auris support a vernacular context?

The Auris platform has a vernacular content capability as well. So if some comments are coming in vernacular, we can ingest that information and also understand what is being said.  It supports all the mainstream languages, about 15 or so that 99% of the population is covered. For localizition, we get demographic insights–like which location is the person around when he is speaking. Even when we do advertising, there are so many techniques now, where you can pinpoint a latitude longitude and do advertising around that in a within a mile radius as small as that. Across the board, there is a lot of localization that is possible now, which was not possible earlier.

How big is the Indian market for digital marketing providers and how does someone like Auris differentiate itself?

India will have about 8000 -10,000 digital marketing providers and these are all sorts of agencies. The market is very fragmented and ultra-competitive and that’s why the need for differentiation using technology. We use a variety of technologies, both proprietary and third party. Our proprietary technology is there to make the digital experience better. And third party has a certain degree of sophistication for example, deployment of automation systems, personalization, personalized marketing campaigns. Those kinds of things require technology bandwidth. Some others have taken a different route like agencies that have started specializing only on digital video. Our approach has been marrying art and science and the science part is purely technology. How do we use marketing technologies, our own or otherwise third party to do digital?

What are going to be the trends in digital marketing in the next 18 months and how would you sort of align yourself with those trends?

 

There is going to be a massive increase in exposure to digital and therefore, we by design being a specialist, digital agency, are quite well positioned there. Like we don’t do anything else, we only do digital and the depth of experience matters especially when you do media buying and so on a scale. The second is the trend on personalization and automation. That is the Holy Grail that everybody is trying to crack. People have been talking targeted advertising and so on. There is targeting which is better than any ATL medium would provide. But one on one is the Holy Grail. The ad you see and I see and somebody else sees are all different and catering to personal library based on your knowledge. That is one engine that will happen and we are kind of trying to play in there. And this is very technology intensive. One other trend is multi moment marketing. So this is basically connecting offline and online. People want, like a seamless experience. That seamless experience, let’s say people are talking augmented reality mixed reality, connecing offline and online is going to play a big role. You can actually transition from a print ad to a microsite and experience something there and come back again. All of that will play a very big role. So people can who can stitch this together should do well.

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