Day Two of the Digital Summit 2006 saw interesting debates on the potential of the online medium from the marketer’s point of view. The first session of the day saw speakers brainstorming over whether media planners and marketers have set very high standard for the online media to deliver and whether publishers are unwilling to be transparent about the end-results.
Raj Gupta, President, Insight tried to redefine the well-classical decision-making AIDA model (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action) for the online media terming it as AISAS (Attention, Interest, Search, Action, Share).
He said, “61.2 per cent of the population in India is below 30 years of age and 22 per cent of product advertised in this country cater to the youth. As we don’t have any other youth medium, the Internet can fulfil it.”
“Other than that, time spent on the Internet is rising. With mass audience turning into masses of audiences and ad avoidance on cable and satellite television as high as 70 per cent with most of them richer TG, online becomes the obvious choice where the ad avoidance is minimum,” he said.
Responding to the popular perception that the Internet is not the medium for brand building, he said, “If you want to use the Internet only for brand building, then you are in fact short selling the medium.”
Pearl Uppal, Director-Sales, Yahoo India, said, “The online media is unique because instant two-way communication is possible only through this medium. It has made brand management and brand engagement possible.”
Raj Naik, CEO, NDTV Media, who started saying that he was unqualified to speak on the subject, turned to be the person who invited most applause from the audience. Taking a layman’s stand, he said, “There is a lot of mystery behind the Internet. The herd mentality of online advertisers need to be changed,” he insisted.
Drawing comparison between ad revenues earned by the traditional media and the online medium, Naik pointed out, “Though the Internet has a 3.8 crore population in India, the online media has been able to attract only 100 advertisers, whereas TV, on the other hand, has 5,000 advertisers.”
Summing up the first session, moderator Ravi Kiran, CEO, Starcom MediaVest Group, South Asia said, “We have long seen the medium from the media planner’s, the advertiser’s point of view, now we should look at the Internet from the consumer’s point of view.”
Agreeing with Naik’s proposition against the title of the session, Ravi Kiran said that, “What is mainstream and what is emerging is fast changing. On the controversy over the Internet’s ability to deliver the marketer, Kiran said, “It is not about counting heads, rather understanding heads.”
If the first session was interesting, the subsequent panel discussion saw some hot discussions. The moderator set the ball rolling on the topic ‘CMO Panel: Delivering Digitally’ posing questions like “Have the traditional agencies been able to handle new media marketing?” “Will some marketers form digital marketing team?” and so on.
Lloyd Mathias, Marketing Director, Motorola, came out with some brilliant advice. He said, “Don’t use online for ‘building’ just for building on your ‘traditional media’ campaign. Rather create communication specific for the net, using the inherent advantages… Get the ad agency to think online as agencies are rich with creative folk who can write only TV scripts.”
Naren Chandra, Head of Marketing, International Banking, ICICI Bank, dug into his own experience to state how he had to give explainations for a small rise in his online budget, whereas he did not have to do the same for the so-called mainstream media. “Accountability has to be ensured within the medium,” he added.
Dinesh Sharma, Marketing Manager, Samsung CDMA, made some pessimistic observations on the potential of the medium for the marketer, “While on net, users tend to look more for information, so they hardly pay attention to advertisements, whereas while watching TV, their attention is leisure oriented.”
He counted varieties of challenges before the online medium like limited reach, lack of independent offline research to justify claims, new competing 3Ms (Mobiles, Malls and Multiplexes) with web, lack of human and qualitative element in online research, traditional media’s performance and the count goes on.
However, others were not so pessimistic.
Kedar Sohoni, Director, Cross-tab, made a superb case in favour of online media saying, “The consumer has changed, but we have not been able to change our own apprehensions of the medium. That is why the status quo for the online medium remains.”
Supporting Sohoni, Sudhir Nair, Associate VP, Grey Interactive, said, “We have set extreme standards for the digital media for getting results, which is unhealthy for this new medium.”