Wed. Sep 22nd, 2021
 Neel Pandya - Chief Executive Officer- APAC
Neel Pandya – Chief Executive Officer- APAC

Neel Pandya is the Chief Executive Officer- APAC, at one of the leading software companies in India- Pyxis One.

Neel Pandya is a skilled marketing and advertising professional with over 12 years of experience in digital marketing. He was felicitated with India’s top 40 under 40 disruptive minds and is the Head of Media Forum at the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA). 

Neel Pandya is an expert leader and has a demonstrated history of working in the FMCG, Telecom marketing, and advertising industries.

Innovative, vivacious, and passionate, Neel Pandya is a brilliant media expert and has been associated with mammoth organizations like L’Oréal, Vodafone, and Group M before his alliance with Pyxis One in 2021. He believes in growth and success.

Neel Pandya, the Chief Executive Officer- APAC, at Pyxis One, talks about his background, journey, accomplishments, and the tricks, techniques, and hacks of marketing, branding, advertising, and technology with Devleena Neogi, Editor-in-Chief, Icons Behind Brands.

How does it feel to become a leading AI-Infra CEO and what changes can we look forward to?

I have tried to pick up roles in my entire career that challenge me and I was extremely fortunate to have worked with brands like Vodafone, Group M, and L’Oréal. 

For almost 13 years, I have been into media and marketing on the brand side and being a part of this digital marketing technology, I have always been inclined towards technology. When Pyxis One came my way, it was a very natural choice of career.

After all these years in media, research, marketing I look forward to being at the forefront of the artificial intelligence revolution in our country and globally. 

The immediate perspective in the next two to three months is two-folded and is both internal and external. In the first three months, I am going to ensure I set up sales and marketing team, process everything in place if we are to become a billion-dollar organization soon into the artificial intelligence infrastructure space. To reach this goal, we need to ensure that our pillars are strong.

Externally, I would educate or bridge the gap between artificial intelligence offerings and the needs of marketers. My experience of visualizing every marketing spend would help me to bridge this gap and build relationships. 

How are the outside forces and trends impacting consumer behaviour? What are the emerging trends for marketers?

The rise and fall of the pandemic have changed the behaviour and mindset of the consumers. Previously, operating banking through mobile phones was prevalent among the youngsters, but nowadays, the elders have also incorporated the same into their lifestyle. People, these days, are ordering fruits and vegetables from local sellers through the use of WhatsApp.

One of the major changes I saw in L’Oréal is that consumers are buying makeup products without trying them. This is a big leap change that we have observed where consumers are showing confidence in buying products online.

The pandemic, social distancing, and lockdown made us adapt to new things and led to the emergence of outside trends. 

We have witnessed multiple trends in the past one to two years but something which has struck me personally is globalization. Another striking change is the adoption of artificial intelligence which is a relevant factor of career. 

Today, consumers are somewhat educated about artificial intelligence but are showing more confidence in adopting it internally instead of isolating it.

In India, digital spending is growing at a rate of 30% year on year while advertising spends is growing at 8%. 

What are you going to do if you are given an unlimited budget on programmatic ads this quarter?

An unlimited budget with a bad strategy is even worse than having no budget. So, having a structured strategy in place is very important.

Putting unlimited budget and programmatic in one sentence would not sound good because the object of your programmatic is to ensure that whatever budget you have is sharply targeted and optimized to the maximum level. 

If I would rephrase your question from unlimited budget to heavy or aggressive budget for a brand, first of all, I would ensure that through programmatic, wastage of the media or marketing spends is avoided. 

It is important to target the audience, gap them with the frequency and reduce all the duplications, which will, therefore, serve my purpose of programmatic.

To ensure whatever creative you are doing of programmatic we need to bring personalization at a scale. I will spend a portion of it into programmatic, and the other portion into things like DMP and CDP, where I will be investing consumer data points within an organization to become independent of a third-party platform. 

In the world of data and algorithm, how do you balance between dealing with the data yet connecting emotionally with the consumers? 

Data is what helps brands to connect consumers personally. Data and algorithm can help us target better, serve the ads in a personalized way and ensure the consideration of customers interest in life stages.

I believe data is the backbone for any connection between brands and consumers. Companies who provide an artificial intelligence infrastructure tool helps brands to manage the data and turn it into an actionable insight and therefore, acts as the spinal cord. If we merge both of these together that is where the emotional connect will come.

How do you see the market opportunities in the new market?

Though the pandemic has led to the downfall of not only individual’s mindset but also organization’s assets, it is believed to have opened up multiple opportunities for advertisers, and business growth.

The biggest opportunity for any advertising marketer is to embrace online business and the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of online business.

I personally feel, a major business opportunity which has already seen a global wave is called cryptocurrencies. This is an entire new ecosystem which is growing and if you are an early adopter this system has potential to replace currencies or wallets all over the world. 

Message to aspiring marketers

Treat your organization as your own organization and have the ability to learn and unlearn. Give your family as much time as you give to your start-up. 

It has been a tremendously engaging and insightful conversation with Neel Pandya where there was a detailed discussion on programmatic, artificial intelligence, data and algorithm and it was indeed an exhilarating journey for any marketer.