At the recent release of the Pitch Madison Advertising Outlook Report (PMAR) report 2016 in Mumbai, Vikram Sakhuja, Group CEO Madison Media & OOH at Madison World spoke on the topic; "Why advertisers do not get the most out of media".
One of the questions we need to start asking ourselves is; "Whether my marketing is really working, because players in one of the growth drivers of marketing spends in 2015; the e-commerce sector, definitely are", he said.
Talking more about the e-commerce sector, Sakhuja said, "Investors are not just going to keep putting in money without anything to show for it."
Speaking about the PMAR forecast, which pegs the advertising industry to grow by Rs 7,300 crore in 2016, he opined that a large part of increase would be accounted for by media GRPs as the industry continues to remain highly output driven. "There is nothing wrong with this but what we are supposed to do with it still remains a bit wobbly."
He pointed out that even in the late 90s, there were a lot of talks about media GRPs but there were also concepts like ad stocking and awareness planning that were considered. This, he opined, led to sensible outcomes about what media GRPs would deliver, which does not happen now.
Sakhuja also agreed that Share of Voice (SOV) was very relevant benchmark for advertisers and planners and was especially useful as it connects to spontaneous awareness. However, he also noted that SOV loses this relevancy if spontaneous awareness is not part of the metric.
He was of the opinion that there is nothing wrong with benchmarks like reach, frequency, GRP, SOV, impact marketing, etc. However, it is wrong to just leave it at that without asking what these are going to do for the brand.
Sakhuja also spoke about the relative virtue of active value transference by activating sponsorship rights. He suggested that it was "lazy marketing" to use sponsorships just as a way to hang one's product or brand out. He asked advertisers to spend the same amount of money on actively using sponsorship options that is spent in actually getting the sponsorship.
Coming to the topic of digital, he noted that a lot of campaigns are split into digital, social, mobile, etc., much in the same way brands have different radio, TV, print strategies. "The way to look at it I think is that digital is an ecosystem and conversations move through the consumer journey. See where in the consumer journey each medium fits in and then seamlessly formulate a role for which platform goes where." He admitted that he was a big believer in having an integrated media plan rather than having digital as just another silo.
He also noted that the industry is not asking the same questions of digital with respect to monitoring that are asked of other mediums like TV, even though the amount of money being spent on digital is increasing. "The same advertisers who are using ad networks, why are they not willing to ad serve through a campaign manager to find out for themselves how much traffic is coming through bots and how much is real," he said.
"We, as marketers, still seem to be perpetuating the 100-year old quote that "Half the money I spend on marketing is wasted, but I do not know which half". Of course we can tell which half. At this point, if we cannot tell which half then what is the use of this whole revolution that we are talking about," said Sakhuja.
He further added, "If the symptoms are (being) output driven, sub-optimal sponsorship, unclear digital strategy, then the disease is unclear objectives and briefs. We need to evaluate different media differently. The ability to think campaigns rather than POP is a big disease. We need to have 12-month plan to take the brand from Point A to Point B on the channel that has been selected rather than doing one ad campaign now and then another one in six months."
Sakhuja urged advertisers to move from output-oriented model to an outcome-oriented model and also to try and find out and understand the consumer journey. According to him, understanding the consumer journey becomes increasingly important in a media-agnostic world.
He also advised brands to understand the role the media has to play. According to him, there are 5-6 main ways that brands can use-----institution pipe, inventory, brand experience, associative marketing, sponsorship and word of mouth.
"If you understand what is the role your media needs to play, you will automatically choose the right medium," he said, while also urging advertisers to invest in ad networks and data analytics.