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BW Marketing Whitebook launch: Marketers discuss challenges in connecting with consumers with new age technology

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BW Marketing Whitebook launch: Marketers discuss challenges in connecting with consumers with new age technology

At the 12th edition of BW Businessworld Marketing Whitebook, marketing leaders discussed the new styles and new kinds of media to connect with consumer in relevant ways. The panel discussion moderated by Mallikarjun Das, Group CEO, Starcom India had Bhaskar Choudhuri, Consumer Marketing and Digital, Lenovo, John Burbank, President, Strategic Initiatives, Nielsen, Sai Srinivas, Founder and CEO, CREO and Siddharth Banerjee, Marketing, Vodafone. Emphasis was definitely on digital and challenges it presents.

Das started the discussion with a question on digital spends. “Why haven’t they picked up?”


Banerjee chose to go ahead first, “If we look at ad-ex this year for the first time we have reached double digit 12.5% on digital spending. In India, where digital takes the shape of a mobile phone as more people get immersed in digital world, marketers will spend more and more on digital medium.  As consumers are getting more and more on digital medium, marketers need to evolve in this current pace of time. Consumers are leading the marketers in adopting the digital medium. So lot of marketers have made huge strides in catching up. There are some who still need to make that transition. The question is 12.5% good enough? No, because there is so much more headroom. It will increase to 20-30%. Are brands doing enough? A lot of brands I have worked with are doing exciting things depending on target audiences. For example, a youth oriented brand like Axe and VodafoneYou will substantially have higher per cent of spend on digital media. As more consumers are exposed to smartphones and consuming content within that, we will see more digital spends.”

Srinivas agreed with a different perspective, “In digital media, it’s not important that people have a smartphone but more important on how active are they on the Internet on their smartphones. Lot of digital advertising depends on that. For a big companies like HUL, Lenovo and Vodafone the money that they have, 12.5% of that could be large. As soon as you see people having active internet connection, the digital spends are going to grow.”

Burbank brought up an interesting point here, “Advertisers don’t get enough confidence on spending on digital. So what does it take to build confidence? First thing that needs to be considered is the reach. Second is precedence. When I put an advertisement on the digital platform versus television does it move the purchasing? You have to build a measure in relative that values in terms of precedence. As better measure comes into the ecosystem advertisers are going to push money into digital.”

Malikarjun Das moved to legacy spenders, “Some of them are not coming as fast as others. Do you think CPG is spending enough?”

Das said, “If you look at the industrial sector alone this is a big antennae of digital. For people like us, digital is not a medium. It’s also a marketplace. CPG, by definition, is far more frequency based. You want to frequently interact with the consumer because frequency of transaction is very high. Device purchase happens once in a year or six months. The cost of targeting is drastically high and that’s very important. Time that’s spent on digital is on price comparison sites, e-commerce and review sites which influences lot of consumers. Consumer behaviour has changed drastically over the last 5-7 years.”

Discussion moved to programmatic and ad blocks and how the latter is an interesting creative challenge for advertisers and marketers to reach out to audience through quality creative product.

Das concluded the discussion with an interesting question: how is technology changing television and print? “What kind of change is happening in these mediums? What technology can they foresee later on?”

Choudhuri answered, “My personal opinion is one sees a lot of sophistication from technology in print and television. Digital is their marketplace. They can use activation models to find out nature of the reach and how is it changing. How is it serving on print and television? For instance, 15th August is coming and it’s getting sharp focus on television as consumer is considering this point. This medium works only at that point. You see an extreme sharpness on that point. There’s sophistication coming from the creative side.”

Burbank said, “Indian print are using asset and doing clever things to reach out to their audience.”

Mention was made of newspaper’s front page advertisements and jackets. Srinivas wasn’t too optimistic about it, “People are fixated with print. But in my opinion this front page advertisement is going to die. Technology innovations have to come like augmented reality where you can put your phone on ad and see what happens.”

At this point, Das added programmatic to the discussion, “Is programmatic happening in the market sooner than later?”

Banerjee shared his view, “From the principal standpoint within the complexity of languages that we have we have to see what’s the growth of television. Programmatic absolutely should happen. We can’t predict the time.”

Srinivas ended it on a skeptical note, “Only HD set top boxes can enable programmatic.” 

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