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Kartik Sharma

At a time when marketers are increasing their focus on content marketing, most of them are still struggling to explain it to brands if their investment is paying off.

To make the impact of content marketing clearer, Wavemaker, one of the leading media agencies in the world, has started exploring scientific research techniques such as facial recognition and neuroscience for study results.

Talking about the methods being adopted and developed by the agency to measure the impact of the content initiatives, Kartik Sharma, CEO, Wavemaker, South Asia, said, “We are using various techniques to address this. Specific research techniques like facial recognition and neuroscience are some techniques being explored to see how content really impacts businesses and consumers.”

“There are multiple international companies with expertise in content effectiveness with whom we are in dialogue and discussion,” he said.

After the merger of Maxus and MEC last year, Wavemaker started operations last year with content being one of the three pillars of the agency along with technology and consumer understanding.

“For us, the content journey started much earlier. Investments have been made in content over the last seven to eight years. It has now become a pretty large practice for us and there are several experts from diverse fields related to content working with us,” he said.

“Year-on-year, our share of content revenue to the overall business is going up. It clearly suggests that there is a significant focus on that area,” Sharma told in an interview.

The agency that falls under the umbrella of GroupM will soon be releasing its thought leadership on content effectiveness in partnership with Ogilvy. Both the agencies had launched Effectiveness Lab in India in February earlier this year.

“Through this partnership, we will be coming out with viewpoints around content effectiveness and releasing our thought leadership around that very soon,” Sharma said.

As consumers’ fast-changing behaviour is forcing brands to engage with them with various formats of content, the absence of a concrete method to measure the ROI except social media engagement is proving to be a big barrier for them.

Sharma believes that the impact of content on businesses and ROI can be measured but the key is to know what you want to do before you start the project and what are the kind of KPIs on those clients you need to set and then you start measuring it.

With digital, many brands are either becoming publishers themselves or are trying to set up in-house teams for better control over their spends. Sharma, however, does not see this trend as a challenge.

“These, I believe, are trends that will keep evolving over a period of time. But the real reason why agencies or consultants exist is that there is a certain value that all of us bring to the table in an era of super-specialisation,” he said.

“Otherwise, this industry wouldn’t have survived for so long and there would not be repeat businesses from clients. It is an evolution; some advertisers are trying this model but it is too early to speculate where it will go or not go. But I genuinely believe that in the ecosystem of marketing communication, specialists do bring value,” he concluded.