Marketing intelligence is a complex field.

In a nutshell, it’s the process of gathering, analysing, and interpreting data to gain insights into customer behaviour and market trends. It helps marketers understand their target audience better, keep up with the constant change and identify opportunities for growth.

Marketing analytics is used to identify patterns in customer behaviour that can be used to inform marketing strategies.

As the digital sphere continues to diversify and change, the means of measuring and tracking all digital marketing activities must continue to evolve with it.

In this issue of the Marketing Expert Series, GrowByData’s co-founder and Managing Partner, Prasanna Dhungel, joins us to share his experience and insights into the complexity of marketing intelligence.

Welcome, Prasanna! Thank you for joining us in our Marketing Expert Series. Let’s kick off with a little context, can you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you get to where you are now? 

I am originally from Kathmandu and spend my time between there and Boston. I am a trained engineer and started my career working in a Healthcare IT startup, which did very well. I went to business school and consulted product and investment companies on how to do well with data.

This was the early stage of Big Data and I was noticing challenges with how companies were using data. So I formulated a concept of how data should be used and kept using it. At that time, e-commerce was starting to grow and I co-launched GrowByData to offer data insights to SMEs in e-commerce. That is how we started.

In the beginning, we did various data service projects and slowly started building technology to enable firms to process and share marketing data. We went into the competitive intelligence space to offer insights on pricing.

Here, we saw an opportunity to offer broader reporting on marketing metrics such as share of voice, pricing, merchandising and lots more. Today, we provide marketing intelligence on ingredients that help a brand get clicks from shoppers on the digital shelf.

You’re the Co-founder and Managing Partner of GrowByData. Please tell us about GrowByData and how you came to create the company.

GrowByData provides marketing intelligence to agencies and brands to win new business and boost performance.

The challenge today is digital shoppers are meandering on the web collecting information on their path to purchase. However, platforms such as Google are constantly changing. And competitors are constantly adjusting their strategies and offers.

Hence becoming visible and getting the click on this journey is vital for brands. We offer agencies and brands this insight so they are on top of these ingredients to purchase.

Through our agency partners today, our marketing insights and white glove services power the marketing performance of leading brands such as Marriott, Amazon, Williams Sonoma, Discover Card, Express, AutoZone, Lego and others.

What role do you believe the Marketing Intelligence sector – and GrowByData as a result – play in the development of the global digital space?

All firms face competition digitally. Marketing leads, customer retention and incremental revenue are impacted without an ongoing understanding of the digital ecosystem a firm plays in.

For this, marketing intelligence is vital – online across search, marketplaces, social and others – and offline. GrowByData offers search intelligence, marketplace intelligence and product intelligence – subsets of the digital marketing ecosystem.

We differentiate our offerings by breaking silos across these point solutions and offering a holistic view of the competitive landscape to the management team. With our white glove services, we offer deep custom intelligence for brands to adjust their advertising, product, pricing, channel and merchandising decisions. This is vital for brand leaders to build, analyze and refine their custom strategies and maintain their competitive differentiation.

Can you discuss data and analytics in digital marketing and how they can be used to optimise campaigns?

Data analytics must be used in digital marketing to create strategies and campaigns and monitor and optimize campaigns. You should use digital marketing platforms’ native data, customer data and external datasets to create a 360-degree view of your business landscape.

In our case, we provide holistic visibility on Google across various SERP features on Organic and Paid. We help SEO and SEM teams understand opportunities to improve content and advertising so they maximize ROI for their marketing investment. This holistic visibility is vital now for two reasons.

First, the economic headwinds have reduced the marketing budget and headcount so smartly investing is key.

Second, Google is heavily making changes and I expect we will see more as Google is on a war footing to stay relevant with ChatGPT. In light of this, using platform-specific data is also key to constantly staying on top of performance.

The world has changed in the last few years, with the Pandemic and the shift in the economy, how has GrowByData been impacted by these changes?

We help brands maximise lead flow and conversion from their digital marketing investments. Hence with the rise in digital for brands, our clients have seen more business, which means we have also seen the same. That said, we ride the sentiments and business dynamics of our clients.

However, we are a marketing solution that helps agencies and brands maximize performance with fewer resources and for a given budget. We break silos and offer newer insights with fewer resources.

So with the economic headwinds today and many agencies and brands operating with fewer headcounts, we are a great resource to continue to delight clients in the downturn. We are optimistic that our clients will find more value in our unified insights and white glove services at a time when end clients are more demanding, but the stakeholders have fewer resources internally to delight their clients.

How did the developments over the last few years affect your strategies as Co-founder and Managing Partner?

Google is constantly changing SERP. We saw many changes during COVID. With the threat from ChatGPT, Google continues to make changes on the SERP to provide all of us who search for the right information so we don’t move away from Google to find our answers elsewhere.

Many brands and agencies are constantly trying to stay on top of this and become relevant for those who search. With the rising need for alternative platforms to advertise, brands are spending dollars on Amazon, Walmart, Target and others.

These changes have reinforced our goal of staying current across these platforms and supporting our clients to maximise returns on these channels – whether it be on search marketing, amazon investment or other retail media networks.

Tell us about some of the most effective digital strategies you’ve implemented recently. Is there a strategy or campaign you’re most proud of?

 We have been using massive datasets across categories and time to offer industry-level reports such as Google’s Pulse of the Market. This insight has been valuable to our clients to help them understand trends in their category. We continue to enhance this report to offer insights into other categories and are sharing it across our marketing channels. I am proud of our work on this and know this will be a powerful value-add to our clients.

How do you stay up to date with the latest digital marketing technologies and tools?

I regularly read relevant information posted on social media and credible journals by thought leaders and industry practitioners. We also like to experiment with newer tactics on existing platforms and test new capabilities coming out.

Our space is highly competitive and it is imperative for us to stay on top of new tactics and new platforms to retain our edge. We also have to experiment with a business model to offer value to our clients.

In your opinion, what are some of the biggest challenges facing marketers and digital experts in your industry today?

Information overload, excessive marketing, the proliferation of platforms and technologies, data silos and constantly evolving techniques are the biggest challenges.

Google is rapidly changing. ChatGPT is a new opportunity and a threat to many, and we don’t know how it will impact the way we ask, learn and buy.

That said, this is also an opportunity for those that stay on top, experiment and rapidly develop new working models that show ROI will do well.

Where do you see the Marketing Intelligence sector heading in the next five to ten years?

I expect to see innovation in the way we search and consume information. I expect that platforms will automate more routine tasks and offer deeper answers to marketers.

I see insights in non-text mediums like images and videos increasingly get used to answering questions. I see us getting away from finding our answers by going over pages and pages to get what we want quickly. ChatGPT offers a preview of this world.

We, humans, will elevate our thinking to go beyond reading/processing information to synthesizing processed information, thinking deeper and using our insight to build a hypothesis or rebut. We have also moved from a data-scarce society to a data-overwhelmed society and will increasingly prefer pointed credible information vs the current need to find the needle in a haystack.

We will narrow our focus to a few platforms vs the many now. I see certain platforms dying out with consolidation and business model death. I expect to see vast innovation to enable, grow and keep a check on the innovations arising. All this creates vast opportunities in our space to stay on top and lead the way.

Any advice you’d give to aspiring marketers and digital entrepreneurs? 

The future is exciting for those in marketing and entrepreneurship. The incumbents are under threat from new players. So we will see many innovative technologies and business models.

Existing ways of doing marketing will evolve. New ones with arise. New partnership opportunities will be there. So I encourage those looking ahead to pay attention to the activities of the key players and the disruptors. While you want to hear the pundits, I wouldn’t fully trust them as the experts have generally been wrong at times like this. I would get my hands dirty, experiment, be willing to fail and try new tools, businesses and operating models. I would find the early adopters and really build the way with them.

I don’t know what will happen. However, I do know that change will be there and the bold will lead the way.

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto/saying or something else that drives you forward?

Adding value to my clients, showing them the way forward and helping them win always keeps me motivated. When we do the right things for our clients, positivism flows. We can support our team members, our communities and the greater ecosystem.

I have a quote from when I was young that keeps me going – “No aim is too high if you climb with care and confidence”.

For me, the intellectual challenge of taking on a big goal of delighting my clients and building the team, processes and platform to do so at scale and with a sustainable business model drives me forward. While hard, it is intellectually fun.

It’s been great to learn more about you and your work, Prasanna, thank you for sharing your experience and insights with us. How can people connect with you if they’d like to know more about you or GrowByData?

I am available on LinkedIn.

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