Dreams are many, but ways are few; objectives many, but resources few; ideas many, but executable few; however, hopes aplenty, but dreamers few! The year 2011 embraced courageous dreams and ignored the feeble ones. It was a sweet-bitter experience for marketers as they saw growth of categories on one the end and declining margins on the other. Constraints of inflation, interest rates and foreign exchange negated the rising demand and growing markets. And in the midst of all this, we saw some brilliant work, right from innovative products, tactical pricing, creative promotions and up-selling distribution. All in all, 2011 will be known as a year that broke convention and challenged paradigms.
Internet one of the strongest mediums in 2011
The shift from traditional marketing to new media had been accelerating over the past few years, but saw a true coming-of-age in 2011. Moreover, the launch of 3G services in India and the manifold increase in the broadband user base has resulted in greater accessibility to the digital market place as a whole. “From Google Adwords and the traditional SEO/ SEM, and digital advertising campaigns being a sub-shoot of the mother campaign, we have now moved to a more customised and targeted online marketing plan. The most memorable campaigns have been the ‘Kingfisher Beerups’ and ‘Cadbury Bourneville-Sula Wine’s Dark Duet’ campaign, which was carried out exclusively on Twitter and saw phenomenal responses. The recent popularity of the song ‘Kolaveri Di’ is also a perfect example of just how strong Twitter as a medium is,” said Anjana Ghosh, Director, Bisleri. Apart from Twitter, Facebook apps, mobile apps/ banners/ WAP and word-of-mouth advertising have all shown greater returns and more accountability in the industry as a whole.
Putting money where the mouth is
As media clutter increased, brands invested heavily on activation in the form of on-ground events and alliances in order to reach out to consumers and give them an opportunity to touch and feel the product and experience the brand. “Campaigns are being designed on how it can be taken forward from an experiential marketing point of view and that is being done at the ground level,” said Ramesh Chembath, Associate VP - Sales & Marketing, Godrej Appliances.
Media fragmentation leads to media integration
Super fragmentation of traditional media continued with every channel in every genre fighting for eyeballs and print helping advertisers with different innovations. But this led to marketers wisely using small portions of various mediums to maintain noise and be effective. Campaigns were actually designed keeping in mind their scale up at 360 degree level. Gillette’s W.A.L.S. (Women Against Lazy Stubble) was a great example of complete integration of event, advertising and digital and went on to win the Gold Lion in the Creative Effectiveness category at Cannes Lions in 2011. Also, with media cost on the rise and ROI becoming important, co-branded marketing took off in a big way where two brands reached out to the same set of consumers together with a product proposition that does not have a conflict of interest.
Campaigns around Do, Rise, Think surged and connected with the audiences. “Alternative Thinking using compelling ‘human behavioural aspects’ are becoming new mantras to break the clutter. Multi-million dollar campaigns are being replaced with carefully thought out ‘surge’ campaigns,” noted Indraneel Ganguli, Senior Vice President - Marketing & Communications, Mahindra Satyam. There have been lots of innovations and smaller creative centers got recognised, as is evident from Taproot India’s ‘Har ek friend zaroori hota hai’ series for Airtel.
Brands becoming bigger than products
Brands were no longer about their product benefits, but what they stand for on the whole. Larger aspects and ideas of the brands are considered for communication, for example, benefit to the community and other CSR activities to build trust amongst consumers. Companies are also using the digital medium in a big way to leverage word of mouth and create trust for themselves.
“There’s been definite erosion of trust in established authorities, be it the government or companies. What we see, instead, is the rise in consumer-to-consumer trust, as exemplified in the growing social-media traffic. Consumers’ trust in each other’s voice is growing larger through social media. Consumer has evolved with the times, while conventional media continues to be important, focus for change is on new media like the Internet and mobile phones. These form an important part of the consumers’ search journey in the buying process, and therefore, companies are increasing investments on online marketing,” remarked LK Gupta, CMO, LG Electronics.
With ever increasing growth in the user base in the digital hemisphere, we are just skimming the surface of the proverbial barrel so to speak. The best is yet to come.