Prakash Gurumoorthy is the Managing Director, APAC at BORN. He is responsible for managing operations, including all aspects of business development, technology, strategy, operations, and oversight of all P&L in the APAC region. Prakash comes to BORN with over a decade experience in IT services, including project, account and operations management for Fortune 500 customers within a global delivery model.
Prior to BORN, Prakash worked with Cognizant Technology Solutions as Merck’s Client Partner in the Enterprise Shared Services Division, and was responsible for P&L, relationship management and managed a 100 million USD portfolio in the Life Science space. Prakash has won many accolades in his line of work, and continues to be a e-commerce /technology evangelist and strategist.
Please introduce yourself and where you work.
I’m Prakash Gurumoorthy, partner and managing director at BORN Group – An award-winning global digital agency focused on creative design, content production and ecommerce services. We combine eight specialisms – creative design, content production, commerce enablement, cohesion (integrations), multi-channel brand assets, cognition (analytics), conversion optimization and cloud solutions – to provide unique marketing solutions.
How do you think SEO has changed over the last 10 years?
A decade is a long period and SEO has changed quite drastically. Concepts like So.Lo.Mo (Social, Local, Mobile), which seemed to be a fad in the beginning have become mainstream now. The visible shift in SEO has been towards the emphasis on user engagement, mobile-first approach. Search is moving towards semantics rather than a keyword based approach. Search, in essence, is becoming more and more human!! However, I should make a point here. We are surprised at how majority of brands haven’t kept up with these changes. We see this happening more with big brands. We did an interesting exercise at BORN and took up top 10 ‘top of the mind’ brands across the globe. 6 of them don’t publish content consistently, 6 of them don’t have social integrations, 5 of them didn’t have a responsive website. It is as if, the entire SEO wave have passed by them and they haven’t even noticed. Smaller brands seem to have been more adept at embracing these changes.
How did you get introduced to digital marketing, more specifically SEO?
If you are looking for a ‘eureka’ moment, you might be disappointed. SEO has been our response to a market demand. And it has never been a Siloed activity for us. SEO was a critical part of our Attract, Interact, Transact and React framework. BORN is a digital enabler for Brands. We enable ecommerce through our suite of services which include SAP Hybris, Magento, IBM Watson Commerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Acquia integrations. Our core mantra is SOS- ‘Story-Telling, Omni-Channel, Sales’. This is every brand’s core mantra. You want to tell your story in a way that is relevant to your customer, across channels to amplify revenue.
We couldn’t tell a story without being listed on search engine result pages. Just a data point from our audits, a traditional & non-glamorous industry like Banking had 40% of its visitors coming from only mobile searches. That is huge. Think of the gen-next industries – Lifestyle, Auto, F&B etc. So, SEO has always been an integral part of our offering. Moreover, BORN always engages with sales convergence as an outcome – We realized that enabling our clients through a platform and not activating their brands is not a path to success.
We succeed if our clients make more revenue through the e-commerce sites we deploy. So, we embraced Digital marketing and starting doing SEO for the sites we develop. Given that we track cost-per-acquisition and ROI closely, SEO was a no brainer for us to embrace.
What are the services you provide to your clients?
In digital marketing, specifically, we provide SEO, SEM, Social media management, Marketing automation, Campaign management and Conversion rate optimizations, as a service.
What strategy according to you will prevail in 2017 for SEO?
Might sound cliched, but things are changing so fast. There are multiple concepts/trends in the air and any single strategy might not be the right recipe to success. A mobile-first approach, creating original engaging content and having a laser sharp focus on user experience are the key to succeed with SEO.
What would your advice be to people who are looking to take up digital marketing as a career choice?
Digital marketing, has been perceived as a left-brained activity – Ranks, clicks, ratios, conversion rates. In a world of Artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and availability of tools like IBM Watson, a number cruncher is outdated. I am of the opinion that the next crop of Digital marketing leaders would be more right-brained. The last few years have been a stabilizing phase for digital. Now, Digital has become a utility like electricity. We no longer look at a bulb with wonder. We would be rather interested to know the Illuminance. For the next-gen Digital marketer, knowing the workings of a channel may just not be enough. The future digital marketers have to know how to ‘Engineer’ the desired response from a user, from the digital channels. In addition to the digital marketing concepts, I would urge the future-marketers to develop the softer aspects of marketing communication – How to write good copy, What colors to use, What content really sticks? etc. Someone who has both an analytical and a thoughtful approach, would be invaluable.