IDMA 2016: Digital will dominate marketing mix, say experts

IDMA 2016: Digital will dominate marketing mix, say experts

Author | Ruhail Amin | Monday, Jun 20,2016 7:46 AM

IDMA 2016: Digital will dominate marketing mix, say experts

exchange4media Group recently organised the Indian Digital Media Awards (IDMA) 2016, which honours the best work done in digital medium, at St Regis, Mumbai.

The objective of IDMA is to recognize, celebrate and encourage the work being done in the ever-growing advertising and marketing communications activity in the digital media space; specifically, related to internet, mobile, gaming, social media and blogosphere. As always, the awards saw competition from across the board, with a number of agencies battling it out for top honours

A panel discussion on ‘How is Digital Marketing Shaping Business Outcome’ was held on the occasion which witnessed the participation of industry stalwarts like- Amitabh Tapadar, Brand Group & Consumer Insights Head-Consumer Products Segment, Bajaj Electrical Ltd, Anuradha Aggarwal, Chief Marketing Officer, Marico Ltd., Siddharth Banerjee, Senior VP, Marketing, Vodafone India Ltd., Somnath Kedia, Business Head, IFB Industries Ltd and Praseed Prasad, Head of Agencies & Partnerships, Flipkart. The discussion was moderated by Ranjoy Dey, Head of Digital, Havas Media India.

Speaking about the scope and relevance of digital marketing in the coming time, Praseed Prasad, Head of Agencies & Partnerships, Flipkart, said, “I think in future digital marketing will be a significant part of the marketing mix. It is all about chasing where the consumer is. Though Flipkart is a digital platform, we regularly invest in print, television etc., because we believe we need to gain consumers from other sources too. But in the coming time everything will be digital and it will be a dominant player in the marketing mix.”

Commenting on how Bajaj is looking at digital investments, Amitabh Tapadar, Brand Group & Consumer Insights Head-Consumer Products Segment, Bajaj Electrical Ltd., said, “Earlier, the primary question for us was -should we have our own ecommerce website or should we go along with the existing ecommerce players. Now the challenge is how to work with the ecommerce players while keeping our business identity intact. There are many players who have done interesting things in the digital space. If you look at new brands as well as brands that have gone out of the market and are seeking to come back into the market, they have done a lot of stuff around digital. In our category of electrical appliances there is still a lot of touch and feel involved. So, when we go and talk to the end consumer, the retailer or the influencer has a lot of impact on the purchase. The retailer educates the consumer about the product and when we put the product on the ecommerce site, we provide detailed information about the product, but at some level physical touch and feel is still very important. I think there is still some time for the digital to take over fully.”

Challenges in digital marketing

Defining the role of digital marketing and its impact in today’s times, Anuradha Aggarwal, Chief Marketing Officer, Marico Ltd., said, “I think the word ‘digital marketing’ is a many headed hydra. I am pretty much an old fashioned marketer who has learned the journey of digital with the growth of the digital world. My basic belief is that marketers go where the consumers are, and this is really how it is, though it sounds very basic. But, at some point of time when all consumers are online, marketers and brands will also be online. I remember 4-5 years ago when I used to look at mass brands, we used to talk about 50 million users online and now we are talking about 450 million users online, and the scale of difference is so large that now we can sub-segment consumers online, and you can develop unique business models to reach consumers with only digital medium. You can decide that this is the only availability channel you have, so we have very interesting FMCG competition emerging with pure business models which are ecommerce led business models and awareness models which are only digital models. I have some premium brands for which almost 20 per cent business is coming from the ecommerce channels. And of course, I have brands like Parachute and we wonder if it makes sense to go online. But the interesting thing is that India is a young country and we are always talking to young people. So, if I want to talk to young people, I have to be online.”

Underlining the business impact of the digital marketing approach, she added, “The truth is that the linkage between the metrics that you can measure and the metrics that matter, like business, are really soft, and it is hard to say how the awareness models are linking to offline sales. And this is one of our bigger challenges as an FMCG company.”

Sharing his thoughts on the subject, Somnath Kedia, Business Head, IFB Industries Ltd said, “In my opinion traditional marketing and digital marketing are pretty much like husband and wife, only the role keeps on changing. Depending on the category of business, the marketing strategy changes, for example in the movie business online marketing is relevant, while in categories like medical equipment and aerospace, offline marketing works better. However, there is no doubt that digital media is going to play a significant role as far as marketing is concerned in the time to come.”

Understanding consumers for effective digital marketing

Explaining how digital marketers need to navigate the digital space, Siddharth Banerjee, Senior VP, Marketing, Vodafone India Ltd, said, “The term of digital marketing makes me uncomfortable. There is actually nothing called ‘digital marketing’, there is only marketing in a digital word, so consumers have started consuming more digital content, they are on digital media and suddenly we are talking about digital marketing. If marketers want to navigate the world where consumers have moved, some of the things will pretty much stay constant. If marketers don’t know the value of consumer insights, then whether it is the so called traditional marketing or the so called digital marketing, they won’t be able to navigate. I believe no one is an expert in marketing in the digital world; we are all students struggling to understand how do we market to consumers in a digital world, because consumers have moved faster in the digital world than marketers have. One way to be effective in digital marketing domain is to be experimentative, and basically it’s about the target audience and the marketing task that decide the ad spends and the medium. I would say my digital dashboard is far more complicated and far more comprehensive than my television dashboard.”

Explaining how the demands from the digital agency have changed with the coming of digital, Aggarwal added, “I ask the agencies to know more than I do, and I expect my agencies to be absolutely cutting edge in experimentation, in learning, in knowledge and in understanding what’s going on in the use of digital as a way of reaching consumers. I also ask my agencies to take risks, and I find myself more ready to take risks with the medium or with the content that I am generating, than the agencies. But, surprisingly, I still find creative agencies look at this medium with scepticism and fear.”

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