Adbuffs is an initiative to help D2C brands go all the way forward, says Ramasish Bhowmik, the Co-Founder of the company. Ramasish believes the client is the first and last thing his company is concerned about, and that is the key reason behind its rapid growth.
The marketing expert shares with Business Upside India how his start-up with Co-Founder Abhishek took shape, how they are running it and what their future ambitions with Adbuffs are. Here is an edited excerpt of the interview.
Edited Excerpt of the Interview
Business Upside [BU]: Why do you Think D2C Businesses will Choose your Company?
Ramasish Bhowmik [RB]: There are several reasons why would a D2C brand choose us over any other agency or marketers. The foremost reason would be that we train our people to take a holistic approach while working on our client’s accounts, whether it is Facebook, Google, or email. Although we have a dedicated team for each platform, the approach has always been holistic. Whenever a client is working, and we are making a plan of action or discussing what kind of media spending is to be done, all the teams sit together and decide on the approach to take it forward.
The second most important reason would be a fundamental ethic instilled in all our team members is to consider our clients’ businesses as their businesses. We do not consider our clients to be just clients; it has always been our focus to consider clients’ businesses as our own. So far, the kind of testimonials we have gotten from our clients speak of the same culture we are trying to build here.
These two are the most important reasons a D2C brand would choose us.
[BU]: What makes your Company Different in this Hugely Competitive Industry?
[RB]: Before explaining the reason behind me and my co-founder Abhishek co-founding Adbuffs, I would go back to a story before. Before Adbuffs, we were freelancing and had our clients in the US and the UK. We were also figuring out or exploring India’s markets simultaneously. That’s where we found the big gap, and it was the marketers or whoever was working on the accounts who were more focused on the dashboards rather than creating or focusing on the contents of the ads to be shown. Focus on content, and the creativities were lacking, and that’s where we tried to come in and build Adbuffs. So, the backbone of Adbuffs has always been not only to focus on the dashboard but on the overall marketing aspect of it. Building a powerful and dedicated creative team that looks after the entire consumer journey is the biggest weapon we have so far.
In fact, we have also started our own production house called Shutterbuffs. And I think what we are trying to do is to build content from very scratch. Our purpose is not merely to make images and videos from available software but make the content from scratch from ground zero. These are the most important weapons that I’m proud of in my agency.
[BU]: What is your Primary Ambition with Adbuffs?
[RB]: There are two parts to it.
One is from the people’s aspect, which means my teammates. I always have wanted to build a company where people would love coming to work. Because I have seen many people being reluctant to go to the office after waking up every morning, I would love to create a company where people would love working and be proud of what they’re doing.
Secondly, from the client’s perspective, my ambition is to form a company that, when people think of the D2C business, Adbuffs should be the first name coming to their minds. Whenever clients face a problem, they should think of Adbuffs. There should not be any problem which my company can’t solve. So, these two would be my primary focus in building Adbuffs as an agency.
[BU]: How would Shutterbuffs, your New Studio, Help you Better Serve the Clients?
[RB]: I think Shutterbuffs has served us very well so far in terms of getting more ROI, content delivered to the client and also into the ad account. It has been eight months since the team has been fully functional right now, and the entire goal of Shutterbuffs was to address two points.
First, reduce the timeline of getting content. Because in performance marketing, we believe speed is more important than accuracy, which was earlier missing when Shutterbuffs was not there.
Secondly, we have constantly seen clients giving us content and footage which were not very much usable for us to make conversion-friendly ads out of them.
To address both these points, we thought, why not make the entire content from the very scratch? Since we are into the account for already long, we understand what has actually failed and what has succeeded. So, it will always be better if we create the content from ground zero, as we know the hook that has failed and what has brought us more attention, like the kind of images and video that got us results. That was the goal of creating Shutterbuffs, and to be honest, I have seen all the assets that we have created so far, in terms of videos and images, outperformed all other assets in the ad account we have seen performing on. And I think so far, we have created 50+ video assets and around 250+ image assets. We are not going to stop here and going to scale it even further. That has been the biggest achievement of 2022 for Adbuffs.
[BU]: What were the Challenges you Faced While Starting the Business, and how did you Overcome them?
[RB]: There were multiple challenges, not one or two specifically. Since my partner and I do not come from a business background, those challenges were pretty new and at a very different scale. We had language issues; hiring was challenging, as maintaining cash flow and setting and following a standard operating procedure for onboarding employees and a client until they’re off-boarding. We had to figure out how and when to send reports and the format of the reports, and we had to set up calls, among many other things.
There was no such rule that either of us followed to overcome these challenges. It was more from the experiences that we have learned to overcome challenges, and we have failed multiple times and learned from them to build a process of facing challenges.
We still face problems, but those are different and easier to resolve now, with the time and experiences we have gathered.
[BU]: What are the Key Areas you Focus on for Marketing your Business?
[RB]: Two things should be focused on. One is the results because we didn’t have anything other than the results in the initial days, and the results spoke for themselves, and we have got numerous clients based on the previous results.
The second most important thing we should focus on is whether our clients are pleased working with us and the kind of retention we have for our existing client base. To be honest, we still possess a client base of which most are referred by other clients.
We would focus on these two things while promoting Adbuffs as an agency.
[BU]: What have been your Most Significant Achievements in this Business?
[RB]: The most important achievement I would like to mention, among quite a few that we have, is having 100+ team strength in three years, and we celebrated it all the way.
The second milestone that comes to my mind is becoming a partner for Meta, Google and Clavio, and it gave us the kick-start we needed while scaling ourselves up as a business.
Having a five thousand square feet office in Kolkata was the third most crucial achievement we gained one and half years back.
[BU]: What is the Next Target you wish to Achieve?
[RB]: I have a bigger target in my mind: 200+ team strength by 2023. The second is to expand to other cities, maybe Pune, Delhi or Bangalore.
These two are our ambitions for the upcoming years from a business perspective. From the client’s perspective, we have seen that 40% to 50% of our clients have been successfully invested backed by an investor or VC funds, and that’s an outstanding achievement for those brands. I would personally like to see this contribution go up to 70%-80% in our existing client base.
[BU]: Which, According to you, are the Most Essential Skills a digital Marketer should have?
[RB]: Calling them out as digital marketer is not the right way. Instead, I would call them teammates because we still focus on hiring generalists rather than specialists. In that way, pro-activeness and good communication are the qualities I would love to have in any of my teammates. That is what I look forward to when I hire people. What backgrounds they are from and what kind of skill sets they have don’t really matter to me.
[BU]: What, According to you, the Industry you are in should you Focus on More?
[RB]: As I already spoke about it a lot more in this conversation, content and final ads may be a video or images. The content is the primary focus one should have, or other we will also have going forward to make better content, to make richer content so that we can connect more with the end consumer of our clients would be the central focus.
The second, of course, is including research as a service or helping our D2C brands or our clientele with product research and consumer research, which is a good way to make it a more integrated solution. That’s a vital part we need to address very quickly because we have seen D2C brands coming up and the space is very rapidly expanding. The entry barrier is comparatively easier now than when people had to work harder to start their companies. It’s easier and quicker these days. What happens with this is that we fail to bring out a better product or research first about the product rather than focus more on starting the business. It’s essential for a business owner, a D2C brand, or anyone who dreams of making their own D2C brand to invest most of their time in product and consumer research. We have seen bigger companies or FMCG giants spending vast amounts of money on consumer research, and that’s an ongoing process. It’s not only during the start; it’s an ongoing process to see how people are thinking, how their consumers or the end people are thinking. When their thought changes, your entire proposition has to change, and so do their marketing and packaging.
These are the things every D2C brand owner and an agency like ours should focus more on, which will put them forward in the coming years.