Ad land’s Young Guns: Abhishek Hundekari, Amnet India

Abhishek Hundekari leads Amnet India from West India region, working on programmatic strategy for some major brands, including Abbott, CEAT, Warner Bros, and Godrej Security Systems, to name a few. 

‘Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed’ - Hundekari swears by this quote by Dan Zarella, an award-winning marketing scientist. He has always advocated the extensive use of data signals in deciding the marketing strategy for any brand. His consistent efforts have resulted in brands such as Wework and Abbott practice programmatic as a crucial part of their overall media strategy. He also works on educating the brands about how the ad tech landscape is revolutionising and how they need to be on the front to adapt to these changes. 

He has successfully collaborated with cross functional teams of Dentsu Aegis Network’s agencies to roll out industry first innovations, including those for AMFI and Sony Pictures. 

How did you get into the role you are serving?
I studied Electronics and never thought that I would be stepping into this area. My first exposure was when I got a chance to work with Aamir Khan’s ‘Satyameva Jayate’ on its digital media insights. The amount of data that was processed and the way how the same data was being used for insights was mind-boggling. An opportunity with PubMatic came at the right time, and I got to understand the SSP side of the business. I got an extensive amount of exposure working on Spotify and eBay. Later I was keen to explore the demand side of the business, and that’s when I got to know about Amnet. It’s been two incredible years. Amnet has always been platform agnostic, and hence, the amount of exposure which I have received, be it through ideas, innovation, and multiple platforms, has been very valuable. 

What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?
Work has always been about more than a to-do list for me. Of course, my energy is led by my time management skills. I love being a problem solver and can analyse situations from a different standpoint. I can get my work done even in the face of difficult obstacles. Having worked on both the supply as well as demand side of the programmatic ecosystem; I have the perspective of a publisher as well as that of an advertiser. 

How did Amnet come about?
Amnet India has been revolutionising the way how brands in India stack their digital strategies. Be it driving innovation or fuelling automation for their clients, they have always been on the forefront in the industry. Having worked with a leading SSP for their US market, I wanted to connect the dots and explore the demand side of the business. Fortunately, an opportunity to join the India Team came in, and it has been a spectacular journey since then. The learning has been truly immense here. 

Icons in this field you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?
Salil Shanker, who is the Chief Operating Officer at Amnet India and an industry stalwart, has always inspired me to hit my potential. He clearly stands out for his caring yet effective leadership style. His intuition and his ability to tackle complex business challenges are admirable. I still get to learn a lot of valuable stuff from him. 

I have great respect for Jeff Green, who happens to be co-founder of a leading Demand Side Platform, The Trade Desk. He has been a visionary person, who has redefined the way how advertisers benefit from the power of programmatic. 

What are the five most productive things that you do in your everyday routine?

  • I make it a habit to have a healthy and fruitful discussion with the team for at least an hour. Not only does it help everyone to share new ideas and thoughts, it also helps to build a good team culture.
  • Dedicate time to read about emerging new solutions in the market and how they are shaping the ever-changing ecosystem.
  • Understanding how these solutions can help the existing set of brands to bring an uplift in media efficiency.
  • A curated playlist, which I hear while working. It helps invigorate the mind throughout the day.
  • Morning meditation as it helps me get rid of grogginess.

Do you think a career in this field is a viable one in the long term?
Without a doubt! We have seen how ad tech has evolved over the years. Few years ago, there was little or no awareness about what it could do for publishing houses and brands alike. Now, the same businesses are considering programmatic as an important part of their stack. And the demand only goes up from here. This has been possible because of the value and efficiency; ad tech brings for them. For shaping a career in this domain, they key is to keep yourself updated about the latest trends in the industry. 

What does it take to succeed in a career?
I think it has a lot to do with believing in yourself that you can do wonders. Without imbibing it, there’s little scope that you would get what you want. With every step, you must challengeto transcend yourself. Effective planning also matters; be it planning your next 4 hours or planning your next 4 days, it surely puts you in a much better position. 

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?
While chasing results, we sometimes lose out on gaining vital piece of information which could help in a longer run. So, it’s important to focus on knowledge than only results. Secondly, it’s pretty much essential to make the whole journey fun. Yes, there would be good days and there would be bad days as well; but you need to make it an awesome game. The moment you make it way too serious, there’s a big chance of losing perspective which would lead to disasters ahead. 

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I love leading from the pack! With the experience I’ve received over the years, I would love to take it further and establish myself as an industry leader, giving service to the same industry which shaped my career. I want to be pioneering; someone who drives a positive change in the way how programmatic is looked upon. 

Is there any organisation that you would like to work with in the future?
I am not stressing much on it at this moment. I am enjoying my current role, which helps me to weave new ideas and put them across the table. It has been an excellent journey with Amnet and DAN till now and I would like to continue giving the best of my services to this organisation.


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