MPG/Media Contacts organised a Round Table in Mumbai on June 18, 2010, that saw marketers, media owners and publishers joining the agency’s top management for a lively discussion on a wide range of subjects ranging from paid and earned media to the fallacy of last click and low investments in digital.
Organised in conjunction with IAMA, the event, titled ‘Navigating today’s complex and treacherous digital waters’ included sessions by Anita Nayyar, CEO, Havas Media of South Asia, the parent group of MPG/Media Contacts; Rajeev Bala, Managing Director, Media Contacts for India and Southeast Asia; and Josh Krichefski, Global Director - Client Development, Havas Digital. The presentations were followed by a panel discussion moderated by Vishnu Mohan, CEO, Havas Media, which included six panellists consisting primarily of senior client marketers.
The opening presentation by Anita Nayyar dwelt on the changes in media and advertiser dynamics in India. Nayyar outlined how advertising had evolved over the years from its days of Doordarshan and AIR to the current situation where media planners were finding it difficult to keep pace with the rising numbers of TV channels, radio stations and print titles.
Meanwhile, Rajeev Bala spoke about the need for new metrics for the new digital age and discussed ways in which brands could use new kinds of simple and powerful metrics to measure their brand health and media investments in real-time.
Josh Krichefski of Havas Digital took the audience through a session titled ‘Fallacy of the last click’ and why complete reliance on the last click was dangerous for brands. He talked about Artemis, a proprietary tool created by Havas Digital, which helped marketers understand the value of digital media exposure by spreading credit for customer conversions across full exposure paths and credited every exposure according to its role in the desired outcome. Krichefski also talked about the different attribution methods used by analytics companies, which ranged from attributing all credit to first click.
The highlight of the evening was a thought provoking discussion on whether marketers should invest more in earned, paid or owned media and how the three could work together. The panel consisted of Neville Taraporewalla, Director, India Advertiser & Publisher Solutions Group, Microsoft; Ronita Mitra, Head - Corporate Brand Group, ICICI Bank; Rahul Sinha, Chief Marketing Officer, Birla Sun Life; Suvodeep Das, Head of Marketing, Kaya Skin Clinic; Atul Agarwal, Vice President - Corporate Affairs, Tata; and Josh Krichefski of Havas Digital.
Vishnu Mohan of Havas Media kicked off the discussion by asking the panellists whether they thought social media was a fad or was here to stay. Ronita Mitra of ICICI called social media a revolution and felt that it was here to stay. However, she emphasised that marketers needed to be cautious about using it simplistically. Atul Agarwal of Tata said that social media was a medium that one needed to act upon and brands could engage on the platform, but not force it upon consumers.
The marketers shared how they were using digital for their brands and what their lessons had been so far. Rahul Sinha of Birla Sun Life admitted that as a marketer he found the power of social media “disconcerting”. “Imagine if your power of hearing went up 500 times. This is exactly what social media has done,” he said.
Suvodeep Das of Kaya Skin Clinic talked about social media as high involvement media, which was taken very seriously by his brand. “Researches show that 35 per cent of consumers who use search engines go back to Facebook for consultation, where they are advised by friends and Indians like giving advice. We can spend hours and hours giving advice,” he added.
The discussion also veered towards how brands could manage a negative situation through media. Neville Taraporewalla of Microsoft gave the example of British Airways handling of its recent crisis in the UK through its website as a good example of how brands could leverage owned media to reach consumers during crisis.
The other topics discussed included the measurement of digital media, how owned media could be best utilised by brands, how brands could manage negative buzz on social media, the relationship between paid and earned media, transparency and accountability on social media and the eternal question of low investments in digital.