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Set a benchmark & then work backwards: Zafar Rais

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Set a benchmark & then work backwards: Zafar Rais

In the milieu of increasing platforms in digital media, brands often mislay plans in terms of media planning and budget allocations. To make the best out of investments in digital, brands need to target one primary platform and leverage other platforms to achieve its goals, says Zafar Rais, Founder and CEO, MindShift Interactive.

Rais is of the opinion that brands need to evolve with the medium. While Tweeters and Bloggers are traditionally looked upon as influencers, Facebook has emerged as a strong platform of influencers in India.

In conversation with exchange4media, Rais discusses emerging trends in e-marketing and stresses on the importance of defined metrics to achieve desired goals.
Mindshift analyses digital campaigns with its Mindshift Metrics tool. Please elaborate on the parameters used in this tool?
We plug in Mindshift Metrics in most of our services. Whenever we look at a new client or existing client, we put down certain elements right from day one. We track how the brand is evolving month-on-month in comparison to its competition as well as international benchmarks. When we run a campaign from a start to end, we look at how the brand has been impacted by the digital campaign, its effect on sales and how it helped in increasing the outreach or brand recall on digital platforms.

We set up benchmarks and accordingly start working backwards on marketing plans to attain the desired goal. One cannot create a successful campaign from day one, but can systematically think how they can work towards making it successful. For instance, one cannot make a viral video, but you can take certain steps to increase its outreach.

Please share parameters that can help create a common metric to measure the performance of a digital campaign?
Numbers of plays that it gets, number of shares, and range of virality are some of the parameters that we look at. For instance, a viewer may play a particular video a number of times, but how many times does he share it with his friends is also important. That basically helps understand how successful and addictive an app is.

Looking at the overall outreach of the application is also important. Another factor is the innovative elements in a campaign. So what is it that is different and new? It could be something as small as a new button or a new flow.

While social media does not have a direct connect with sales, it has some kind of connect regarding awareness about the brand, change of consumer sentiment towards the brand, etc.

With digitisation kicking in from November 1 and a blackout likely, will TV’s loss be a gain for other marketing platforms?
A lot of brands are now looking at the numbers on social media as a justification to their sponsors or partners, in order to get higher investments which are targeted towards festive funds. This year has seen more funds being allocated to Diwali campaigns. There is a definite increment from last year, but that could also be because the funds on social media marketing have literally doubled up now.
Please can you share 5 elements that can help create an ideal digital campaign.
Target the right platform
Look at the outreach you are creating for your brand
Have one priority platform and look at how others can help you grow further
Target efficient media planning and budget allocation
Look at online PR and digital press to connect to thought influencers, who will promote your brands across digital platforms  

What are some of the best practices to ensure an effective e-marketing campaign?
One of the ways to leverage a brand through e-marketing is cross promotions. We have done the same for our clients HomeShop18 and Head Honchos; similar for Big CBS ‘X Factor’.

Numbers are what brands look for in the digital media space. It is now time to move away from numbers and look beyond to a broader outreach that creates impressions and increases followers. It is time to see Facebook as a platform that can get influencers on board who will help in evolving brands through their shares and likes.

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