The three post-lunch sessions of the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of India (IAMAI) seminar stressed that advertisers and marketers need to be educated to reap the benefits of online marketing and advertising. Issues like brand building through the Internet, the challenges, media planners integrating digital media in marketing campaigns, and small and medium businesses (SMBs) noticing a scope in online marketing, were discussed.
The fundamental question that was raised in the third session was about the ways in which the web could help in brand building. Most of the panellists responded to this by saying that at large, television would continue to dominate, as far as ad spends, media campaigns and consumer responses are concerned. The session was moderated by Jaspreet Bindra, Country Manager-Online Service Business, Microsoft India.
Rohit Sharma, COO, Zapak, said, “Although the Internet can be used as the primary medium towards brand building, it is television that would not only stay, but also continue to make visible impact five years from now.” Rahul Agarwal, Director-Marketing, Lenovo, agreed on this and said that TV is the number one medium, while the Internet can be slotted in the second position, which definitely has a possibility to overtake television. He said that the Internet accounts for 75 per cent of the marketing buzz for Lenovo in India.
Lloyd Mathias, Directing-Marketing, Motorola, said, “Television would be the primary medium. There is still time for Indians to use the digital medium wholly.” When the panellists were assigned to rate the use of the Internet for marketing their company’s products, on a scale of 10, Mathias rated Motorola at four, while Agarwal rated Lenovo eight, which was the highest.
Agarwal said that the Cost Per Lead of the Internet as compared to print was half, while that of the Internet as compared to television as one-third. The reach of television is 400 million and that of print is 300 million in the country. The Internet, however, has a reach of only 30 million, but it helps reach 40 per cent consumers. “This is the reason why Internet can be the number one medium but there are no takers for it at the moment. Television is a popular medium for advertising because it entertains. Now it’s time to make Internet entertaining to attract consumers,” Agarwal said.
Although at the moment there are only 25 million people in India who have GPRS phones, consumers would access the Internet through phone in he near future, and thus the growth of Internet would not be limited, added Mathias.
Ashok Lalla, Director of Internet Marketing, Taj Hotels, Resorts & Palaces, emphasised that online marketing needs fresh thinking, and that the industry should not get entrapped in numbers and in the ‘number of clickthroughs’ jargon. Marketers need to know what they want and what really works, he added.
The fourth session dealt with how does proper integration helps in making campaigns effective. The question raised was about the need to make digital media an integral part of media planning. This session ‘Media planning: What’s breakfast without coffee?’ was moderated by Shashi Sinha, CEO, Lodestar.
Varsha Brajesh, Media Director, Lintas Media, said that each media has contributed some way or the other to convert consumers positively. The message has to be integrated with the media in a way that uses the media in the best possible advantage. What the brand needs to do in the online space and how can that leverage the brand, is what is important to know.
Avinash Kaul, Senior VP-Strategic Planning and Marketing Services, NDTV Media, highlighted through statistics that the reach of online audience and the cost effectiveness are far superior as compared to other media, but the Internet needs to be used effectively. “Online is the only medium to reach consumers, but nothing will happen unless marketers and advertisers wake up and shake the rest of the industry to act. But sadly, we don’t understand the value.”
According to Kaul, television is designed for different demographics, but Internet has no freshness; it is same everyday. Marketers invest money in other traditional media without asking questions, but when it come to the Internet, questions like number of clicks made, whether the product is selling or not, crop up. The scenario would change only when advertisers believe with what Philip Kotler believed in, that advertising creates ambience for sales and does not do sales. Internet is cost effective because it saves distribution and marketing costs.
Milind Pathak, Co-CEO and Country Manager, Buongiorno (HongKong), said that consumers would opt in for advertising specific to his interests in the near future as is done abroad, and interactivity in mobile will be exceptionally high. “We have touched 65 million unique consumers, out of which 60 per cent have interacted through SMS and have opted for a brand of their choice for promotion. Therefore, the future of advertising is interactivity, though digital will always remain small.”
Manish Vij, Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer, Smile Interactive Technologies Group, emphasised that advertisers should take risk and invest at least five per cent of their ad budget into Internet advertising. He said that digital is important and has a bright future.
The final session, ‘Small and medium businesses: Coffee is not expensive and it doesn’t put you to sleep’ was moderated by Shailesh Rao, MD, Google India. According to Vivek Bhargava, CEO, Communicate2, said, “SMBs are the best people to advertise with on the Internet because it builds one-to-one relationships.” Harish Bahl, CEO, Studio Smile Interactive, insisted that it is necessary to understand the jargons first and then the medium. Online marketing is essential in building relationship, marketing and brand building.