Ruchika Jha

#ARM Worldwide’s CEO on the popularity of podcasts and how he leverages the medium for clients

  • #ARM Worldwide marks a decade of operation with growth in 2023

  • Serving over 80 clients, the agency’s broader clientele is from health, finance, and education sectors

  • Manas Gulati hosts various podcasts aimed at educating clients on digital concepts and trends

  • The agency aims to achieve 250%-300% growth in the next five years

#ARM Worldwide, a digital marketing agency, completed a decade in its business. Manas Gulati, co-founder and CEO of the company shares that the entire concept of starting the venture was to have an integrated organisation divide our offerings into three subsets: content, conversion, and convergence. where they could offer all services together.

According to him, if one centrally knows a brand, they can maintain control over every aspect of a brand's narrative. A stronger brand narrative can be framed from content creation to media engagement. He also shared that the company saw a growth of 30% in 2023, ranking it as one of its major achievements.

“As the Covid-19 pandemic hit us, we thought about the sectors that will thrive moving forward and anything and everything that is people-intensive will have a longer shelf life. Therefore, these are the sectors that would survive,” Gulati says.

Currently, the agency has over 80 clients on board, especially in the health and wellness, financial, and education space. It also has clients from sectors like fintech, gaming and sports, and consumer-centric industries like FMCG.

It recently acquired Fortis Healthcare’s mandate. Financial companies like Bajaj Finserv, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Niva Bupa, and Bajaj Allianz are also some of #ARM Worldwide’s clients.

Bajaj Finserv is the client with the longest duration of 6-7 years with the agency. Gulati is of the view that he and his team never wanted to be in the race for the number of clients. “The idea of starting the organisation was to have a business orientation and not to earn money out of other people. Here, the business focus means reaching the goals for clients and growing our relationships continuously,” he says.

Foraying into podcasts

The trend of entrepreneurs starting their podcasts has seen a significant rise in today’s time. According to a Statista survey in 2023, over 25% of Indians tune in to podcasts at least once daily, signalling a steady rise in the trend's popularity in the country since 2021. #ARM Worldwide launched various new initiatives and offerings in 2024, one of them being podcasts.

Gulati mentions that in his podcasts, he talks about the basics of digital. “Through our podcasts, we aim to demystify trends in digital marketing.”

Gulati shared that one of his podcast series titled This Week in Digital was originally presented through written content on the website blog and social media. However, in 2023, recognising the popularity of video formats, “we transitioned the series to video and expanded it further to audio formats for enhanced accessibility,” he says.

“Our podcasts are available on YouTube and Spotify and the idea is to make sure that the senior leadership of the organisation is a part of it. Not everyone gets a chance to speak in front of a camera and I think that is something that the team is learning and they have done it well in terms of embarking that knowledge,” he explains.

Gulati shares that one of the key reforms that the Indian digital marketing industry is yet to fully embrace is attribution marketing. Despite ongoing discussions and sessions on this topic, there is still a significant gap in effectively implementing attribution models.

He explains that attribution essentially refers to the process of determining the impact of various marketing channels on consumer behaviour and conversions. For instance, when a brand invests in a YouTube video ad or a campaign on platforms like Disney+ Hotstar or Sony for brand awareness, it may not directly result in immediate sales.

However, it contributes to increased search volumes and eventual conversions down the line. The challenge lies in tracing this journey from exposure to advertisement to eventual purchase.

“Attribution marketing aims to track and attribute these actions to specific marketing efforts, providing insights into the effectiveness of different channels. Despite its importance, attribution marketing has yet to be fully realised in the Indian market, even though discussions around it have spanned over a decade,” he notes.

Global expansion

Apart from offices in India, #ARM Worldwide is also remotely present in Singapore and the Middle East and has clients from there. Gulati aims to open offices in these two countries and also shares his plan to expand in Europe. He says that the agency has partnered with numerous international clients for whom it is managing global marketing mandates as well.

The Middle East is increasingly attracting investments from global companies. Based on the World Advertising Research Center (WARC), the advertising market in the Middle East is expected to grow rapidly over the next two years, mainly led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Agencies such as TheSmallBigIdea (TSBI), Zoo Media, iCubesWire, and LS Digital are among the numerous Indian digital agencies that have extended their reach into the Middle East market.

Gulati explains that when considering the appeal of the UAE market for Indian agencies, a few factors come into play like tax policies being favourable. Additionally, the UAE also serves as a gateway to the broader Middle Eastern and Asian markets, offering significant opportunities for growth and diversification.

“Dubai, in particular, hosts many head offices for companies operating in both Europe and the Middle East, further enhancing its allure as a business hub. Overall, the combination of favourable tax policies, strategic geographical location, and business-friendly environment makes the UAE market highly enticing for Indian agencies seeking expansion opportunities,” he says.

Moving forward

Running in the 11th year, Gulati is contented with where the agency stands today, and depending on its growth graph, he looks forward to replicating the same in the upcoming years as well. He says that by the time the company celebrates its 15th anniversary, there should be close to 500-600 people in the organisation, expanding in one more city in India apart from Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, and having offices overseas.

“We have close to eight global clients and we aim to move it up to 50 by that time. In terms of revenue, we are looking to grow at least by 250% to 300% in the next five years,” he says.

Have news to share? Write to us