In the first part of this report, exchange4media had looked at the potential that digital marketing offers. While there is growing interest from advertisers in this medium, traditional agencies are yet to make any significant switchovers. However, there are a number of traditional agencies who have come up with their digital arms and are in the process of exploring the medium.
‘Visiting card’ online agencies
Citing a few reasons as to why things might have been a little tough for the traditional agencies, Atul Hegde, CEO, Ignitee, explained, “Unlike offline, for the online medium the entry barrier is high. More than talent, it is a mindset issue. Also, most agencies have taken the easy route out by starting ‘visiting card’ online agencies. Agencies have to realise that there is lot more to the digital business than adapting offline creative into banners and doing plain media buys on portals. Mindset change is the need of the hour.”
Some of the traditional agencies have come out successful with either their digital arms or through integration with big digital agencies. Leroy Alvares, Country Head, Tribal DDB, felt that lack of talent was the biggest reason for traditional agencies not coming out big in the digital space. “Even if we have got integrated with Mudra for quite sometime now, there has been a certain level of independent thinking that we have applied in our work, which is important for any digital agency. In the digital space, understanding of the techniques changes by the day, and that poses the biggest challenge,” he added.
According to Webchutney’s Rahul Nanda, “The Internet is a medium which needs to be treated in its own individuality and not compared with print or TV. Hence, the thought process, the approach, and the understanding, all need to change accordingly. Making the cut will eventually happen, but will they be at the cutting edge of digital creativity? Only time will tell.”
Krishna Kumar, Founder & CEO, Media2win, noted, “Most of the independent digital agencies have been start-ups and they have employed entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial approach to business is the key factor. Specialisation comes with focus and the ability to be flexible, and that is the biggest reason for the success of most of the digital agencies.”
Social media to evolve beyond the buzz
Just as the digital medium emerges as a more evolved and mature medium, the advertisers are looking out for newer methods and techniques to reach out to their
TGs. This has got most of the digital agencies devising latest strategies and creatives, of which social media has created quite some buzz. But what seems to be a bigger challenge is to take social media beyond the buzz and make it work.
Commenting on the growing buzz around social media, Manish Vij, Co-founder, Quasar Media, said, “The commercialisation of social media will not be that big. It will still be a platform where marketers will experiment this year in various ways and formats. We think social media is a platform that helps in connecting. Marketers should concentrate more on the way they will make their brand interesting enough to get connected with the customer and not forceful social media campaigns.”
According to Ignitee’s Hegde, “Social media will definitely be the buzz factor for the digital media in 2009. But how well brands and digital marketing companies can leverage it, is anybody’s guess. More than it being commercialised, I hope as an industry we are able to leverage it and make it an effective communication tool to build brands rather than just a device to create buzz. Social media desperately needs to evolve from looking good in PowerPoint presentations and actually making an impact in the life of a brand.”
In-game advertising is slowly evolving as an important tool for interactive marketing. Recently, Games2win has created a unique application on Orkut to promote Marico’s Hair and Care Almond Gold brand. This was strategically done to serve the dual purpose to expose new users to the brand and also leverage the existing community on Orkut.
Commenting on the newer interactive methods, Alok Kejriwal, Founder & CEO, Games2win, said, “It is going to be a slow and tricky process. Banners on social media sites in India and elsewhere in the world are not working. Either brands are very nervous to place ads in social pages that they do not have control or sanity checks on, or banners are getting un-noticed since friends are busy interacting with each other. ‘Fusion’ marketing is the business model to get brands to spend on social media. In terms of consumer influence, and I do believe that social media is now impacting purchase decisions in this country.”
Whether social media emerges the pop hero of digital marketing or not, whether traditional agencies join the digital marketing fray in a big way or not, the fact that digital medium has piqued the interest of the media and marketing industry in India proves that this medium has chalked out its success story for the year.
Digital agencies upbeat about 2009: A welcome note to traditional advertisers – Part 1