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Stop treating media as a commodity, say experts

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Stop treating media as a commodity, say experts

On the occasion of the launch of the Pitch Madison Advertising Outlook 2015, a panel comprising of representatives from media, brand and media planning sides met to discuss how the advertising industry could change for the better. The topic under discussion was "Are advertisers missing the trick in utilizing media effectively?" Members of the panel included Arunabh Das Sharma, President, Times Group, Karthik Lakshminarayan, COO, Madison Media Ultra, Ashish Sehgal, Chief Sales Officer, Zee , Noomi Mehta, Chairman and MD, Selvel One, G.K. Suresh, Head of Marketing, Foods Division, ITC and Vivek Sharma, Chief  Marketing Officer, Pidilite.

Suresh started off by stating that the bigger challenge facing the advertising industry is the question of efficiency vs effectiveness of digital campaigns. "Some of the best campaigns have happened when we have involved all the stakeholders," he said. To highlight the advantage of this approach, he took the example of the launch of Bingo Mad Angles where, according to him, a similar approach was followed. "Identify and focus on areas where you can create an impact and you will see a ripple effect," he added.

Sharma opined that the debate over efficiency and effectiveness was a very old one. According to him, the discussion starts in the board room. Difficulties arise because most of the parameters used to describe success are purchase-led he opined. "Somewhere along the way we have lost sight of other parameters which can be used to judge the effectiveness of a campaign. The starting point is to set the right KPIs to judge the efficiency," he stated.

Lakshminarayan, who was also the moderator of the session, questioned the panel about how much money spent on campaigns was actually effective, irrespective of the KPI.

Pointing to the topic of the discussion, Mehta joked that marketers are not missing a trick but falling for each and everyone.

"It is not an either/or situation. When your brand value goes down, you start thinking about media effectiveness. TV is scrutinized a lot. Our every rupee is measures so I cannot shortchange anyone," said Sehgal.

Suresh opined that things tended to work better when brands went to agencies or media owners with an open brief instead of telling them what to do.

Agreeing with both Suresh and Sharma, Sehgal said, " Numbers are to tell you who and how many. Use it to decide how you are going to play the game."

Responding to a question by the moderator on how effective are spendings on OOH, Noomi Mehta maintained that response is incredible when an ad is created especially for outdoor rather than just being adapted. "We don't control pricing, product and distribution. A great creative with a bad media plan will work but not the other way around," opined Das Sharma. He further stated, "The big point is how are we working together to create impact. If everyone comes together, the impact matters."

Continuing with the topic of impact and partnerships, Sharma also opined that the industry stakeholders need to realize that there is a lot of clutter. He warned that communications have become very nuanced. " We need to take a step back and look at our media planning and evolution. How do we get together to buy media as a commodity," he said.

Suresh also questioned media owners about how much skin are they willing to give.

Das Sharma replied, "For print and OOH, we depend on advertising. So we are 100 per cent into it, as long as advertisers are also committed." Giving an example of the impact that a good creative coupled with a good media plan and the right medium can have, Mehta spoke about a campaign of Amul. "We saw that we were getting more than 100 per cent people were seeing our hoarding. This was because even people from the opposite direction (opposite lane) were also turning and watching the hoarding."


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