Digital marketer Gogi Gupta urges students to ‘dive in fast’

by Matthew Gutierrez

September 25, 2018

Founder of Gupta Media recalls an uneven path to success

Gogi Gupta

Gogi Gupta is founder of Gupta Media, a Boston-based digital marketing agency that specializes in media buying, creative design and technology solutions. During a recent visit to the Newhouse School, he posed a question to more than 100 students: Could they remember three advertisements they’d seen that day?

Despite the estimate that the average person sees about 4,000 ads a day, only one student raised his hand.

“Impressions are almost meaningless as a metric,” said Gupta, whose visit was sponsored by the Bandier Program. He said that social media likes and impressions—the number of times an ad is viewed—are not terribly helpful for gauging real consumer interest; shares, when a user takes an active role in spreading a company’s message, are better.

Gupta predicted that in five years, people won’t be using Spotify. He said devices featuring artificial intelligence and voice commands, such as Amazon’s “Alexa,” will redefine how people listen to music.

These are a few of the insights Gupta shared with the audience.

He said he’s keeping a close eye on technology and looking for better ways his firm can meet the needs of the evolving consumer. Because Gupta Media has no outside investors, Gupta said he’s able to adapt quickly to market changes for a client list that includes Beyoncé and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Gupta was born in India, spent his formative years in Pittsburgh and finished high school in Buffalo. In 2000, he graduated from Cornell University, where he majored in public policy analysis and, by his own admission, underachieved in the classroom.

“I was a country bumpkin from Buffalo,” Gupta said. “I took my Bs and all of the smart kids went to office hours and got As.”

Eventually, Gupta discovered his affinity for numbers, but told students that this kind of self-knowledge can take time. “I think you'll be disappointed if you just think you can flick your switch and find what you were born to do."

Success for Gupta didn’t come easily. He said he thought he’d “be the guy Goldman Sachs would call up for advice about technology,” but learned quickly that he’d have to pay his dues first. Competition for jobs was fierce, he said, and he once got fired from a small consulting firm for not working hard enough.

“People who didn't get laid off were the ones making photocopies,” Gupta said. “They did the grunt work.”

When looking back at those early years, Gupta said, he realized that those experiences helped him develop some clarity for what he wanted to do. This clarity inspired him to start his business working with two passions, numbers and music, and has helped him find success with Gupta Media and smartURL, a global redirect service he launched in 2011 that automatically sends users to the right place given location and device type. 

Now, Gupta balances the demands of running his companies with a healthy family life. He makes a point to help his three daughters get ready for school every morning, he doesn’t let himself eat lunch at his desk and he returns home in time to play with his children before bedtime. Gupta has Boston Red Sox season tickets and under-schedules his calendar to allow himself a chance to breathe. He leaves little to chance, well aware of today’s fast-paced, global marketing industry.

He had this advice for students just starting out: “The trajectory of your career is decided in your first five years. You have to have your tick, tick, tick going and really dive in fast.” 

Matthew Gutierrez is a senior dual major in newspaper and online journalism at the Newhouse School and finance at the Whitman School of Management.