Marketers have used long used technology, in some form or the other, to engage consumers. But, with the evolution of the internet, technology is now part of almost every media plan and is impacting the media industry in an unprecedented way. Throwing light on how technology is shaping the future of marketing, Tim Andree, Executive Chairman, Dentsu Aegis Network & Executive Vice President, Member of The Board, Dentsu Inc, said that convergence of technology across platforms has swept away geographical boundaries in a way that people and technology are today seamlessly blending together with unlimited access to information. Andree, who was addressing the stellar gathering of industry stalwarts from around the world at the 14th edition of the exchange4media Conclave, said, “All of consumer communications, entertainment, transactions are converging on one platform. Convergence will continue to be a major driving focus for the global advertising industry.”
With digital ad spends expected to triple due to better infrastructure, increased consumer confidence in on-line transaction and growth of mobile devices, particularly smart phones, Andree said what’s important to note is that consumers are now very comfortable in these channels and want their brands to also be present here. With nearly 40 per cent of consumers on social media following brands, this highlights the high level of engagement that is possible. He adds, “It is a virtuous circle between supply side innovation led by new technology-centric global media companies, and led by demand side adoption led by consumer behaviour. This has attracted huge investments from the supply side from Google, Apple, Facebook, Alibaba who have capital to invest in new technology.” Andree added that this investment is centred on consumers, who connect via connection points, which are now much closer to the point of transaction. Social media has ensured that brands are just a click away from consumers and technology has enabled real-time access to brands, content.
A key aspect to keep in mind while engaging consumers is that content must be engaging, delivered in the right way and at the right time. Andree said, “Brands need to engage in real time with people’s passions and with their personal and cultural interests. Now, it is expected that we know what they need and when they want it. But, data and technology need to be used the right way.”
Need to embrace Innovation
Andree also spoke about how agencies need to be visionaries, embrace innovation and anticipate what is coming in the future to guide clients not just in marketing, but also in the future of their business. He said, “Communication and technology have always evolved together. The role of the agency has always been to help clients make connections to consumers to help drive their business.”
Story Telling the Heart of the Business
Reflecting on the origins of Dentsu, Andree said that foundations for the firm were laid on storytelling and technology, adding: “This has still not changed. We are still entrepreneurs who are excited about how technology is allowing us to tell really great stories. Story-telling is at the heart of our business.” He said that to be an effective marketer, you must move people, as engagement is not passive but active and emotional.
Era of Globalisation
The Digital explosion has accelerated globalisation and this has also impacted marketers in unprecedented ways. Globalisation has forced brands to evaluate markets and judge future growth and this comes with the challenge of introducing their brands to newer people. Andree said that for Dentsu, globalisation has been the driving force of how the organisation has been developed for the future and it has become necessary for organisations in the industry to change and evolve their business model. Elaborating on this, Andree said that Dentsu’s strategy has been to extend the model, which made the company successful in Japan, worldwide. He said, “We are re-inventing as an organisation and in many ways re-inventing the industry.”
Andree said that’s Dentsu Aegis Network is unique in the industry and the operating model has been designed for convergence. He adds that agencies within the network complement each other and are not competitive, enabling them to deliver integrated and specialist solutions at the same time. “The operating model allows a culture of collaboration among our people and it is truly differentiated from our competitors,” said Andree and adds that what sets Dentsu apart, is their approach to client centricity and said that the best way to serve shareholders is by serving clients, and this in turn will make shareholders happy. According to Andree when a company model promotes internal competition, this focus can take away the focus from the client competition.
Andree said that as Dentsu’s model is built on geographic market PNL, instead of business PNL, this promotes co-operation and collaboration and “puts the client at the centre where he should and has to be.” Another fundamental difference is the approach to scale. Andree said that scale with multiple competing agencies and offices are not very efficient and not really necessary in the digital age. The focus at Dentsu is on scalability by being flexible, adaptive and efficient. Instead of having multiple agencies working against each other in a pitch, he said it is better to have one focused group, “An assortment of competing and fragmented offering doesn’t translate to more value for clients or for the industry at large. Our strategy is to acquire agencies and talent and offer capabilities that complement each other. Our network will add value to our clients.” He added, “Our approach is to have specialist agencies that offers capabilities to clients on an integrated basis alongside other specialist. We are simply the complimentary portfolio of companies that are built around clients and changing consumer. That I believe is the advantage.” What binds the Dentsu Aegis Network together is efficient values and concept of focus on innovation.
Finally, Andree said that good innovation happens when you bring ideas together with technology and entrepreneurship. The key is to innovate technology with creativity to connect with people and move them. Andree said, “Technology can move people and create emotions. At Dentsu, we create solutions by combining technology with creativity with a focus on emotions and human relevance.”
Tim Andree, Executive Chairman, Dentsu Aegis Network & Executive Vice President, Member of The Board, Dentsu Inc was speaking on Marketing: The Future is Technology at the exchange4media Conclave 2014 in Mumbai. Noor Fathima Warsia, Group Editor, APAC Digital Market Asia, moderated the session.