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Bootstrapped Kenscio aims to transform the face of digital marketing globally

Sindhu Kashyap
3rd Mar 2017
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Bengaluru-based Kenscio brings a 360-degree perspective to digital marketing by customising the products and services according to clients’ needs.

In today’s world, marketing solutions cannot be restricted to one domain or space, and need to address both online and offline business needs. It has, therefore, become imperative to have solutions in an omni-channel format. And this is exactly what Kenscio does.

It is a full-service agency that provides omni-channel marketing communications, using personally identifiable information through the use of customer data and insights over direct digital channels. The core idea for Kenscio was brewing in the mind of 56-year-old Manjunath KG.

Having 20 years of experience in the IT industry and 15 years in digital marketing, Manjunath had even set up an entire team of 200 for an MNC. He says,

“I could sense the opportunity in India because we had just started getting into digital. I could bring together a couple of like-minded individuals from the company and we were able to start in late 2008. The eureka moment happened when a couple of guys came on board in early 2009, and we scaled up rapidly by signing on some large agencies who were serving large enterprise clients.”
Core team at Kenscio

The beginnings

At the time of inception, Kenscio was one of the first digital marketing solution companies in India. Manjunath adds that only big enterprises, BFSIs and retail companies were ready to go digital back then. Flipkart had just started its journey and Snapdeal didn’t even exist.

Additionally, the challenge was not only to get Indian clients but also to acquire international ones. “In fact, we started focusing on international clients very early and eventually signed a couple of very renowned international brands in 2009,” says Manjunath.

Also, the existing channels were not so mature - only SMSes were widely used as direct communication for marketing promotions. But Kenscio overcame this challenge by using contacts in the industry to reach out to clients in the US and India. And by 2009, the company was able to get clients.

What worked for the team was the agency approach, since the few niche agencies that existed in the digital marketing space were mostly outside India. Manjunath adds,

“We were able to supplement those products with our products, and provide the same services to the agencies with much better support and service. This also enabled us to serve large enterprises that were serviced by large agencies (through products from outside the country) by complementing it with our product offerings.”

Working on customisation

The idea of Kenscio is to change the landscape of digital direct marketing. For example, their product RTP (real-time personalised email), Manjunath says, came about as a request from one of its UK clients.

Multi-channel marketing intelligence solutions (McMIS), another product from the suite, enables personalised campaigns based on inputs derived from customer data accumulated from multiple channels. It unites all marketing efforts across paid, owned and earned mediums by integrating customer interaction data with campaign management across multiple channels.

By enabling marketers to understand subscribers’ channel behaviour, activity (or the lack of), and past purchase behaviour in relation to their demographic and psychographic information, McMIS creates a single view of all the customers. This helps in better targeting and accurate delivery of marketing campaigns. Big Data and innovation are core to all their products, Manjunath adds.

The team was able to build the entire product, and as a result is the recipient of multiple awards both in India and globally.

The growing digital marketing world

Today, digital marketing is one of the first things startups look into, in terms of marketing budgets and spends. Even traditional agencies like Grey Worldwide have ventured into the space and are trying to help founders and entrepreneurs make sense of the digital world. Apart from that there are startups like BriefKase, Langoor, What’s in The Name Creative, and several others.

According to a report by GroupM, digital advertising accounted for 12.7 percent of marketing spends last year. The report also said that the video-on-demand services saw an increase in popularity.

In India’s context, the report suggests that the country’s video traffic will touch 1.8 exabytes per month by 2017, making up close to 66 percent of all IP traffic of 2017.

As far as Kenscio is concerned, its key differentiator lies in its ability to function as a full-service agency that provides integrated marketing solutions across several communication channels.

Bringing in complete support

“We function at non-prohibitive price points like international players. We are not only competing in India but also with international companies, and are able to take on very complex integrated projects, unlike international marketers.

"Thus, we are a one-stop shop for a combination of these products and services. There is no single company that can give a combination of all that under one roof – that is our unique proposition at this point of time,” says Manjunath.

The team follows a SaaS-based revenue model, through a combination of retainer, licences and usage.

Team and growth

With a team of 127 people today, Kenscio has grown organically, given the firm's willingness to find talent in unconventional ways.

“My colleague, Amit Sarna, came on board with a LinkedIn message he sent that read, 'Hey, seems very exciting. What are your plans for Delhi?' Now, he is the Vice President of Client Success and Partnerships at Kenscio. Lot of our clients and even former colleagues came on board; former clients became colleagues and that’s how we built our caravan,” says Manjunath.

The team is bootstrapped and claims to have crossed a multi-million dollar revenue growth financial year.

Future plans

In the coming days, the team wants to continue positioning itself as a fully-integrated marketing solutions and service provider, in India, and globally as well. To that effect, it is already in the process of acquiring companies in India, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and North America.

“Recently, we acquired Bengaluru-based startup digital marketing agency Innovo Design. With Innovo’s strong expertise in creatives, content, social media engagement and motion graphics, we can now offer a 360-degree solution, all under one roof. In 2014, we had set a goal to become a 100-million-dollar company by 2024, and we are well positioned to become one,” says Manjunath.

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