In the last two years, online marketing has seen a steep growth and seems to be gathering mass and momentum. Though a poor cousin of its more developed counterparts in the mature markets of West and South East Asia, online marketing in India is happening.
While digital marketing is part of mainstream marketing activity in the more developed markets, the same is not the case with India where the sector is still in its infancy. Lack of awareness on the potential of the Internet and mobile, low awareness levels on digital marketing, and a general unwillingness to try new things out have been the primary factors responsible for the low level of digital marketing activity in India. However, in the last two years, online marketing has seen a steep growth and seems to be gathering mass and momentum. Though a poor cousin of its more developed counterparts in the mature markets of West and South East Asia, online marketing in India is happening.
But the industry players’ reckon that digital marketing has a lot of potential in India and has a long way to go. Talking about the advantages in the digital marketing space, Tina Singh, Head – Corporate Brand, ICICI Bank, said, “Marketing for financial products and services is very difficult as it involves providing detailed information. We cannot give two-page detailed information of a product in a print ad or a 15-minute ad film on television since the total cost of the ad would be very high. However with digital space, which is not just affordable, it gives us the opportunity to access information in detail. The consumer is therefore not forced to see the ad that pops up on the screen.” According to her, when a consumer clicks on her company’s banner or logs on to the bank’s website, it is a conscious effort made by the consumer and hence has a greater effect on him, which subsequently gets converted into sales.
Supporting Singh’s view is Ashok Lalla, Director, Internet Marketing, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces. He said, “It is very important to know the basics in any field. With digital marketing, bookings have become faster, and most importantly, the consumer is making a conscious decision of choosing our hotel and other services provided by us. The consumer thus has the liberty to choose from various locations and the services that we have to offer.”
While financial marketers and other service providers benefit from the space offered by the web, lack of awareness on the part of clients is cited as one of the major hindrances for the growth of the medium by the advertising fraternity. With the increasing penetration of Internet and mobile, this has seen a positive change with huge money being spent for digital marketing campaigns. After the success of campaigns such as the ‘Axe Academy’ and ‘Sunsilk Gang of Girls’, many brands are now opting for the digital space.
Speaking about creativity in the medium, K V Shridhar, National Creative Director, Leo Burnett, held that only unique ideas could help distinguish content. He said, “In the next level of this medium, advertisers will use consumer created content like blogs and amateur videos more.” Shridhar citied the examples of Bar.com and the online game ‘Second Life’ that creatively used the digital medium.
Priti Nair, Executive Creative Director, Lowe, also cited the Indian example of Sunsilk Gang of Girls, saying, “We need to know how to use the medium.”
The need to concentrate on content to build a brand is very important. Elaborating on the success of Sunsilk Gang of Girls, Rahul Welde, GM, Media, Hindustan Lever and Head – Media Services, Unilever South Asia, said, “Consumers have taken over the site completely and we are sure that we don’t have to advertise it again -- we will let it grow on its own.”
He added, “Initially when we started, we did not intend to advertise the brand on the site. In fact there came a time when there was no visibility of the brand on the site, except for the name. However, the subconscious registration of the brand through this site has helped us grow both in terms of sales as well as brand loyalty and establishment.”
Explaining the media buyer’s perspective of the medium, Vikram Sakhuja of Group M observed that it had the potential of getting to about 3-4 per cent of the advertising budget by the year 2010.”
Digital medium is also a breeding ground for new ideas. Whereas promotional marketing has changed due to the Internet and mobile, it has also led to a sudden spur in online gaming. Apart from gaming, other options like blogging and community sites helps digital marketers and promotional activity enjoy a smooth ride.
In the case of animation, films like ‘Hanuman’ did meet with reasonable success in the last year. The success of the movie boosted the potential for the marketing of films in the genre of animation.
Though animation films have not been the forte of the Indian film producers thus far, recent successes of some films have encouraged producers and distributors to view the genre differently. Also, the coming in of international animation films on VCD and DVD and also its increasing broadcast on Cartoon Network and other animation channels, have made players more hopeful.
According to P Jayakumar, CEO, Toonz Animation India, the global entertainment industry is worth $70 billion and animation is worth $37 billion, but in India the pie is very small. Nevertheless, it is a burgeoning industry, he reckoned.
Averred Jayakumar, “We feel that at least 65-70 per cent of the airtime on kids’ channels should be dedicated to the desi content and for which regulations need to put in place. These and similar other initiatives will considerably boost the growth of the Indian animation industry.”