Mahesh Murthy: Big Boom expected in social media and mobile marketing

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi and Mumbai | In Digital | February 10, 2011

In 2011 we want to help brands connect with their customers better by using relevant media. And a lot of it is likely to happen digitally. 2010 was the year when digital stopped being a niche medium in India - we crossed the 100-million-internet-users mark.

This year, brands will realise this and adjust their spends accordingly. In many cases, digital is already bigger than print or TV in India. I would like Pinstorm clients to take the advantage of this mega trend first, and work to build long-term relationships with their digitally savvy consumers.

We would like to add a lot of people in Pinstorm from across a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds - design, above-the-line advertising, analytics, technology, UI and product management. We can definitely see a future where I can foresee the company doing a broader range of integrated work for our clients, from social listening and buzz analytics to re-building their websites to on-going Facebook engagement, online video creation, distribution and mobile application development - in addition to paid search, optimisation, display advertising and digital media planning.

We really believe that the era of being just a specialist is over. It is time for the fully integrated marketing firm. Pinstorm is all geared up to face this. I am really excited about the clients who are beginning to see that a very viable alternative to TV spends is to build the same brand ethos with a larger number of prospects for less on places like Facebook and Twitter.

I'm excited about the growing role for social media management and analytics, the growing role of online video and the growing role of using mobile devices to fulfill brand-marketing needs.

But the thing that can be of a bit of concern will be the rapid decline of the credibility of mainstream media. TV and print - in the wake of BarkhaGate and RadiaGate (not to mention MediaNet) - present a huge opportunity for online media to grab credibility and brownie points by displaying the transparency that has all but disappeared from traditional media. But I'm not seeing any action yet in places like and other portals to move to this bottom-up driven news and views world.

There's an opportunity going a-begging to become a radical, revolutionary news source for India. I don't see anything yet that can be our own Huffington Post, our own WikiLeaks. I happened to come across IAMAI numbers that say that the digital ad market is `993 crore. But if you see Google at `650-800 crore and do the rest of the math, you will get a sense that the digital business is actually more like around `1,300 crore or so this year and has a real possibility to grow out close to `1,800 crore next year.

The big boom areas will be social media management (which is not a media spend but a marketing firm gain) and mobile marketing which will be done through media buying as well as app development (also not a traditional media spend).

The revenue numbers in the business will need to be detached from the usual media spends and creative fees metrics. You will need to add new categories like classified advertising, site development, social media management, application development and as such, the picture of digital advertising will be very different from that of how we have always seen traditional advertising.

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