The next session that engaged that audiences on the Delhi leg of the exchange4media Conclave 2010 was, ‘Evolved Marketer: Lessons of an unprecedented Slowdown.’ It witnessed the participation of Gaurav Gupta, Director – Marketing, General Motors India; Himanshu Khanna, Director- Marketing, Wrigley India; and Santosh Kanekar, Director - Marketing, Diageo India.
Session moderator Pradyuman Maheshwari, Chief Editor, exchange4media Group, started off with a question for the panel on whether they had increased or decreased their advertising spends during the slowdown period.
Gupta responded, “We increased our spends by 18 per cent. We didn’t cut down on training or advertising. We made sure we left no stone unturned to make the best of the economy during the slowdown. We continued with the partnerships that we already had. If one looked at 2009, one would know that a good drill down helped acquire better efficiency.”
Khanna observed, “In India, people played safe, but they didn’t really cut back. Just to quote something I had heard Shiv (D Shivkumar, CEO, Nokia India) say, this is like an F1 track, and slowdown is like a bend when you literally slow down and can overtake your competitor. Recession was more in the mind. When the situation is tough, everyone tends to be more careful. If your intention is to break the clutter, it must be done beautifully so that the message stays with the consumer.”
Kanekar said, “When I started my marketing career, my boss told me you will get the agency you deserve. We have to be aware that the markets are going to be affected by ROI (return on investment). We must look at agencies and how they are operating to get the best results from them. The way I see it, from a marketing viewpoint, either you have a damn good cost proposition or a great differentiation.”
Both Gupta and Khanna noted that digital had played a big role last year. Gupta explained that many of GM’s initiatives were digitally driven. He said, “Our chapter 11 was digital and digital has proved to be a much more powerful and engaging medium. We undertook a survey and found that 38 per cent of car buyers go on the digital medium first to check, and then zero down on a car before going for a test drive.”
Khanna added here that Wrigley’s digital spends were double-digit figures. He explained, “We focus on the digital because of the way it can reach out. For example, in a social networking site one comment by a friend goes to 100 other friends, and the network keeps expanding. Power of social media is huge and we have seen rich returns.”
The exchange4media Conclave 2010 is presented by Dainik Jagran. CNEB is the Associate Sponsor. The Mumbai leg of the Conclave will be held on June 11.
This year, readers can follow the latest developments and discussions regarding the Conclave on Twitter, the hashtag for which has been set as #e4mC2010. An exchange4media brand page has also been initiated on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/exchange4media/117658164936658