The 10th Indian Digital Summit held in New Delhi witnessed two stalwarts in their respective fields come together for a conversation. Kirthiga Reddy, Managing Director of Facebook India and Anuradha Aggarwal, Chief Marketing Officer of Marico discussed the future of ‘Digital Advertising’ in their session.
Kirthiga Reddy: These are the exciting times; in December India touched a billion Internet users, in January we crossed the US to become the number two smart phone market in the world, according to Facebook numbers, 142 million people connect on a monthly basis. So tell me, is the digital reach finally above the threshold?
Anuradha Aggarwal: This topic of digital marketing and digital reach has been really close to my heart. I feel that as a marketer and an individual, I’ve seen the growth of this world, and what is fascinating for me is that we are not having a conversation on “reach.” I mean, there was a time when the conversation revolved around “engagement”, talking to people and making them talk back to you, having a conversation, but it is fascinating that for the last two to five years, the conversation is all about the reach. I believe that digital reach has come of age.
Kirthiga Reddy: So tell me what kind of brands and audience is digital reach hearing now?
Anuradha Aggarwal: I think there is a lot of value that can be extracted from this thing we are calling “digital”. There are a lot of companies that have spoken to us to say it is possible to do this at the lowest strata of society, in the rural India using the mobile. On the other hand there are top end brands that are only digital and have become 50-100 crore by just selling online or advertising online. I think the spectrum is very large and is fuelled by imagination. Digital media is only limited by what you can think of.
Kirthiga Reddy: As we look across industries, what’s your sense on digital readiness, digital adoption, do you see any difference? Do you see them converging?
Anuradha Aggarwal: When I was a brand manager these were very small things which you would put on your CV saying I’ve done a little Facebook or Google activity, but I think the world has reached this point now where if I feel that a member of my team is missing out on a digital component, I feel that he is missing out. So, I think everyone is really excited about adopting this and make the best of it. I think many of us are switching off completely from television advertising and focusing just on digital advertising, because my target audience is now 78 per cent online. As a marketer, now I demand much more from the digital world than I ever did.
Kirthiga Reddy: There are two different aspects of what you said; one is on the target audience side, so how do you see the views of the audience change across different age groups?
Anuradha Aggarwal: There is a joke that we have in our circle, that our kids won’t even know how to use a rotary phone. And I’ve tried that. I gave my daughter a phone and she asked me where the buttons were. So there is one part of the very large Indian population that has no idea how to manage life or survive without a phone or Internet. The way we have to market to them, you have to understand how they think. Whereas on the other side there is the older age group that is adapting quickly to the changing technology.
Kirthiga Reddy: What are you doing to get your organisation ready for this digital change and get them on the same page as you are?
Anuradha Aggarwal: That is a very important issue we face as marketing leaders and organisational leaders. We are doing two kinds of work; one is predominantly on leadership where we’ve had digital strategy working sessions, on the other hand for the youngest members of our team this is almost a way of life, so we’re trying to figure out if they can go and spark some great ideas.