Despite its strength internationally, digital marketing is still in its infancy in India. Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) convened the Digital Marketing Conference 2007 on March 16, 2007 to provide a common platform for advertisers, agencies, online publishers, mobile marketing companies and others involved in this space, to discuss and share their views on the medium.
Digital marketing as a medium is catching on and big players like Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) and few others intend to use the medium to the fullest. These companies are marking a sizeable chunk of their promotional budgets for digital marketing.
‘Lack of awareness’ on the part of clients is cited by the advertising fraternity as one of the major hindrances for the growth of this medium. With the increasing penetration of Internet and mobile, this has seen a positive change with huge monies being spent for digital marketing campaigns. After the success of campaigns such as the ‘Axe Academy’ and ‘Sunsilk Gang of Girls’, many brands are now getting into the digital bandwagon.
The inaugural session of ‘What is and what can be?’ at the conference talked about the rise of online marketing in India with speakers including Murugavel Janakiraman, CEO, BharatMatrimony.com; George Zacharias, MD, Yahoo! India; and Ajit Balakrishnan, Founder and CEO, Rediff.com.
While Zacharias, with his international experiences, shared the global perspective on the topic, Balakrishnan shared his thoughts on the challenges going forward in this domain and observed, “The last twelve months have been exciting in the broadband space”. Meanwhile, Janakiraman moderated the session with his inputs on Indian online marketing.
The panel discussion on ‘Digital Marketing: How effective is it?’ discussed the efficiency of the tool in this medium. The discussion, moderated by Mahesh Murthy, Foudner and CEO, Pinstorm, had the speakers voicing their opinions on the ROI of the medium. Leroy Alvares, Country Head, Tribal DDB India, who was on the panel, remarked, “At Tribal DDB, we look at ROI as ‘Relevance, Originality and Impact’.”
Minimizing wastage of resources and tracking methods in the medium were some of the other issues where speakers including Citibank’s Srinivasan Rajagopal, ICICI’s Tina Singh, Rajjat Barjatya, MD, Rajshri Media and Taj Hotels’ Ashok Lalla, voiced their opinion.
Talking about the ICICI’s digital marketing initiative’s success, Singh shared that the internet transactions in March 2006, constituted close to 18 per cent of the total customer transactions. Sharing some of the ‘cool’ digital marketing things planned by Citibank, he cited the examples of ‘Podvertising’ and ‘IM Advertising’. Meanwhile, Barjatya talked about the success of ‘Video ads’ on their movie streaming site.
The discussions provided insights on the digital marketing space in India, the impediments to its growth and its future.