TechBytes with Vasuta Agarwal, Managing Director, Asia Pacific at InMobi
Hi Vasuta, tell us about your journey into Marketing and Sales Technology. As a woman business leader in AdTech, what message do you have for young female professionals in the Marketing and Sales departments?
I started my AdTech career 8 years ago when I first joined InMobi as a part of the Founders’ Team. During my stint here, I have worked in a number of roles ranging from Product Management, Business Strategy, Business Development to Managing overall P&L for specific regions altogether. Today, as the Managing Director for Asia Pacific, I work with top Chief Marketing/Digital/Data Officers on their Mobile Marketing strategy and execution across the region.
I would tell young female professionals to always strive to achieve things beyond the ‘Job Description,’ and give everything to every role that you take up. One should not ignore opportunities just because they are outside of the current scope of work or no one asked you to do it. The other advice I have to offer is to ensure you make your presence felt and speak up. Often we hesitate to do that, especially at the start of our career but it’s important to speak up if you have a point of view.
What kind of team and technology do you handle at InMobi?
Currently, I work with a team of over 150 people from Pre-Sales, Sales, Business Development, Client Solutions, Strategy and Operations, Marketing and Engineering support. The team is spread across 5 sub-regions, 10 countries, and 10 offices. InMobi provides a wide variety of Marketing technologies and products, each helping marketers better understand, identify, engage and acquire their customers.
We offer a full-stack Mobile Marketing offering to CMOs around the world catering to their nuanced needs across insights, data, media and content. These include InMobi Exchange and DSP – Mobile Programmatic Advertising solutions for both advertisers and publishers, InMobi Audiences – a unique data-driven Marketing platform for advertisers and publishers, InMobi Pulse – a Mobile research platform to capture the “Voice of Customer” of consumers in real-time, and Glance – a lockfeed content platform that delivers personalized content on the consumer’s mobile lockscreen.
InMobi is a force to reckon with in the modern MarTech and Programmatic AdTech industry. What unique challenges and opportunities are you currently looking at, in the APAC market?
The APAC market is an incredibly exciting space to be as it is a unique region with different complexities and opportunities. While regions such as Southeast Asia and India are growing at an incredible pace, countries such as Australia, Japan, and Korea are more mature. This diversity results in ample opportunities and challenges since there is no real “one solution fits all” model.
Certain regions are more advanced in embracing the latest technologies such as programmatic in ANZ, while regions such as Japan and Korea have a heightened affinity towards gaming. Simultaneously India and SEA have seen a huge surge in the Video Advertising space due to change in user content consumption patterns. This requires continuously thinking ahead and balancing the short and long term needs of each market.
How is the APAC Marketing and Advertising tech industry standing up in competition against North America and EMEA? What are you doing to penetrate in newer markets?
Asia Pacific as a market is driving growth for a majority of global brands such as Amazon, Unilever, Uber etc. Therefore, APAC will be the next hotbed for the Marketing and Advertising industry – be it growth in spends, innovation, or consumer experience. In fact, Asia Pacific leads the world on various mobility indices and app usage. For instance, 90% of the time spent by an average smartphone user in India and Southeast Asia is in apps. Similarly, India and Southeast Asia are among the largest consumers of data and the biggest app economies in the world.
Also, what makes APAC different from North America and EMEA is that it is not a homogenous market. Each sub-region brings with it a unique need of its own. We are big believers in the Glocal model – while our product innovation emanates from Bangalore and California offices, we are always working on ways to package our offerings in ways that are most meaningful to regional marketers. We also take a more localized approach in terms of our strategic partnerships for APAC, for example with WPP in India to evangelize, educate and innovate for our clients.
Tell us more about your Product Development approach and how it engages with your current Sales and Customer Service departments to solve unique challenges that your APAC customers often raise.
In order to truly understand the needs of the Mobile Marketing ecosystem, we set up the InMobi Customer Advisory Board (CAB). The Customer Advisory Board is a significant way for InMobi to understand our customers’ goals and key initiatives, so we can align with their vision and better ensure their success. The CAB helps brands navigate the fast-changing landscape of marketing and advertising by being in the driver’s seat and furthering meaningful change that directly impacts both their business and the industry at large.
We also drive innovations by working closely with our partners and clients co-building unique solutions for them. A recent example of this was when we worked with Xaxis, a WPP company, to help Manyavar refine their targeting and measure the impact of their OOH advertising. We have helped brands such as Indiabulls scale their customer acquisition efforts by leveraging Machine Learning. We also help brands innovate and build immersive consumer experiences. A few recent examples would be our gamified campaign for Kingfisher and Augmented Reality experience for L’Oreal.
We’re seeing a rampant adoption of AI, Blockchain, and RPA in the SaaS and Cloud businesses. What approach should Product Development teams take in digitally transforming their functions and operations using the AI ML, and RPA techniques?
While there are several forms of Automation, AI has been a force to reckon with especially in the fields of media and advertising. Be it for the advertiser, platform or end-user, AI has helped solve challenges at an unprecedented scale. The best way a product can leverage AI is by keeping the consumer and their interests, at its core.
A great example of this is how Netflix uses AI to drive personalized feeds for millions of users. We have similarly leveraged AI to great results with advertising where we personalize creatives based on a multitude of factors including time of day and a user’s interests. Similarly, we leverage ML to identify audiences and create lookalike audiences to match user preferences with advertisers. By focusing on the consumer and their needs and interests, these technologies can be truly used to create disruptive innovations.
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Vasuta is the Managing Director for Asia Pacific at InMobi. She is responsible for the P&L, revenue, strategic partnerships and business for India, Southeast Asia, Japan, Korea and ANZ markets. Prior to this, she was the VP and GM for India business at InMobi. She has been with InMobi, for over 7 years and has served various roles from Founders’ strategy to product to business roles. Before InMobi, she was at McKinsey as a management consultant and with Intel as a chip design engineer. She is a graduate from BITS, Pilani and the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
InMobi is the world’s leading Marketing Cloud, driving real connections between brands and consumers. We create new paths for brands to understand, identify, engage and acquire consumers by leveraging our exclusive access to mobile intelligence and technology platforms.
As a leading technology company founded in 2007, InMobi has been recognized as a 2019 CNBC Disruptor 50 company and as Fast Company’s 2018 Most Innovative Companies.