At the second edition of exchange4media Mobile Awards – The Maddies, the panel discussion titled Mobile: "How much is too much" involved notable speakers from digital world getting into a serious discussion on mobile marketing. Moderated by Vanita Keswani, CEO, Madison Media Sigma, the panel had Akash Banerji, Head, Marketing & Partnerships, Viacom18 Digital Ventures, Sachin Kapur, Co-Founder & CMO, nearbuy, Shamsuddin Jasani, Managing Director, Isobar India and VeerChand Bothra, Chief innovative officer, NetCORE Solutions
Keswani initiated the dialogue by asking panelists to talk about their profession and how they look at the theme from their professional perspective. Kapur started, “When we started out as Groupon, we were looking at desktop being the mainstay. Towards the end of 2012 we saw the emergence of mobile consumption where traffic started to rise. Later on, we wanted to focus on not only offers but also on relevance to make it a discovery-led platform. So from August 2015 till today, we focus on mobile to the extent that we have seen double retention rate on mobile app for our business. Everyday our energies are put into improving the mobile experience for the customer.”
This was followed by Banerji. “As a marketing head in Voot, we have seen it become one of the leading VOD digital brand in a space of four months. The success is due to massive digital exposure. This is due to three basic things: better access to internet across India including deeper pockets, deeper access to smartphones and gradual and certain lowering of data cost. These can act as inhibitors in different markets. With the announcement of Reliance Jio, things are going to be better and bigger from here onwards. For audiences, advertisers and content providers alike significant advantage will only be gained by understanding how the consumers are viewing the content and making purchases behaviour. But most importantly, why are consumers behaving in a manner they are demonstrating currently? We strongly believe that content will continues to be the king. Providers who differentiate on these two measures will continue to drive significant advantage. But having said that for marketers and, most importantly for users, too much of information and choices (being given out to them) can not only empower but even overwhelm at times.”
Bothra shared, “NetCore has been instrumental in being the enabler of most successful mobile marketing campaigns. We have seen the rise of mobiles from being the SMS and voice channel devices to multi-channel device that has been used in rural marketing for on-ground campaigns. At Netcore which is a marketing technology solution company, we help the marketer with planned campaigns and in the moment marketing which is taking opportunities with real time data provides and capitalizing on the opportunities.”
Jasani said, “As a digital agency, our thoughts are on what’s going to happen next? By 2020 there will be 1 trillion devices across the world i.e. one trillion opportunities and one trillion touch points of data. Imagine what insights you could get. As a marketer and agency person, the future is tremendously bright. It’s going to bring out insights to us to reach out to people in different ways. Beyond that we are seeing how we can take this to virtual and augmented reality. That’s what the future is about. We are living in the mobile world. As marketers we need to realize the mobile revolution is here and we need to get there.”
Following this Keswani moved to the debate which picked up on personalization versus intrusive marketing.
Both Jasani and Banerji felt that millenials don’t mind sharing information. “They are more than happy to share the information for what they are getting in return,” Jasani put it. Banerji added to it, “Young consumers are active when it comes to data sharing, privacy, personalization, and experimenting with new platforms and technological advancements. As marketers, we all need to ask for whom are we designing the products for and who is our TG sets? The millions of consumers on digital medium have minimal issues in traversing from one platform to another. Mobile apps, mobile sites and desktop sites behave in a different manner. Digital-first consumers don’t mind experimenting with any of these.”
However, Banerji believes that in the next five years the 100-200 million odd users will come from three-tier cities and more from rural set. One needs to ensure these consumers have the necessary skill set and knowledge to traverse from one platform to another at equal ease. And that is possible if the decision making process is simplified. “By giving too much information we will not necessarily yield higher consumption. Consumers are inherently lazy fellows. They want all the decision to be made in an easy format. It cannot be empowering should not lead to overwhelming the consumers,” he said.
Bothra disagreed with Banerji, “Millenials are open but they also have a threshold when it comes to giving information. It’s all about leaking information using it with permission but giving something in return. After providing private information if the consumer is not seeing value he will not be happy.”
Kapur made an interesting point over here, “They are willing to share information because they are always in a hurry to discover something new. While downloading the app, 90% users don’t read the terms and conditions. There are lots of apps taking serious information from Android devices (as Android is an open platform). They are taking snapshots of what we are doing on the phone. They know the last ad we watched on the television. But many of us don’t know what to do with that information. Secondly we use it as a shortcut. Thirdly with all these information, the day they realize they will start blocking the information. We should be prepared for that.”
Then he went on to speak about permission marketing, “It is when you give customers the choice of accessing their information. We see them happily giving information when they see the benefits. For example, lot of our customers told us that they use Nearbuy but they are not reminded of the offers they have when they step into a location. So we asked them if we send them push notifications. People started signing up for it. They started responding to it. So that permission is really important.”
With the flow of conversation, other topics forayed in like notifications. On that point, Keswani touched upon ‘fatigue engine,’ a terminology used by Kapur. He throws light on it, “We have seen popular apps in e-commerce and transaction categories have 3 to 4 month retention of about 7 per cent. Maybe they will re-install when there are offers and big sale. What’s important is to build the fatigue engine within the system and realize there’s a human at the other end of the device who will be bothered.”
The discussion was opened for questions when one in audience posed one on augmented reality and if there’s opportunity over there in India. Jasani answered it with enthusiasm, “As we go forward, VR is a big thing. But it’s the augmented reality that will drive stuff because it takes something physical and combines digital on top of it. As far as mobile goes it’s the integration of digital and physical world. I am extremely gung ho about it.”