The 16th edition of the exchange4media Conclave held in Mumbai on November 16, 2016, witnessed an interesting panel discussion on the topic of ‘How to get the best of traditional media in the Digital World’. The panel consisted of Sunil Buch, Chief Business Officer of Zee Enterprise, Anuradha Aggarwal, CMO of Marico, Vivek Srivatsa, Head- Marketing (Passenger Vehicle Business Unit) of Tata Motors, Mohit Joshi, MD of Havas Media Group and Mallikarjunadas CR, Group CEO of Starcom India. The session was moderated by Siddharth Banerjee, CMO of Vodafone.
“I think we should be communication planners at heart and this communication planning should emerge from brand challenges that you guys (brands) are facing,” opined Joshi.
Banerjee queried whether there was a caste system when it came to digital and non-digital planners and have there been any brands that have navigated this divide successfully.
Mallikarjunadas stated that TV planners do not need to feel that they are doing something that it is not cool. He pointed out that substantial money is going to HD channels as compared to an year ago despite the lack of measurement. “The problem is solving itself. Planners and advertisers are putting up structures themselves,” he said. “Digital planners must be a little more humble and the TV planner should not be intimidated. It is just about learning something different,” he added.
Aggarwal was of the opinion that making a choice between traditional and non-traditional mediums should not be about ‘or’ but rather ‘and’. “The brands that are combining both media into a larger integrated media plan are the ones who are doing the best,” she said. Aggarwal took the example of Ustraa, a brand that she says has reached its TG and are generating a turnover despite spending only a tiny amount of money on advertising and despite being in a very niche segment.
“Sometimes I feel the age of pure experimentation is now over because we now understand measurement and what the right spends are and we must now go down this path with an eye on RoI and atleast that is what I am trying to do as a marketer,” she further added. Talking about social media, she said, “Social media has lulled us into thinking that a large number of likes is equal to reach. We don’t know what the likes are translating into,” she said.
Srivatsa echoed the opinion of many planners and marketers by pointing out that consumers do not think in terms of digital or traditional. According to him it is only about convenience. He stated that where consumers would visit five stores before making a purchase decision, this has now dropped to two stores as more and more information becomes available online and a majority of purchase decisions are done through the laptop or mobile. “There will come a time when we will be able to completely sell a car online apart from the point where the keys have to be handed over,” he said. Speaking about the ‘and’ approach towards integrated marketing, he said that it will be the only approach going forward.
Buch also pointed out that publishers like Google and Facebook and other third party publishers need to be open to audits by neutral parties. “Measurement on digital worldwide is a problem. There are issues about whether the impression is human. Desktop is pretty much sorted but mobile, which is going to be big, especially in India, still has issues. Measurement is going to be the big thing but it is not going to be easy. We have to keep the faith in digital for sure because there is a lot of potential but I think we cannot continue to play blind,” he said.
“It should be about an integrated communications approach. Every client should have a communications agency. This agency will provide you the roadmap about the so called traditional media, digital media and even new media that will come in the future. We have to be prepared for future touchpoints. It is about having one brand guardian to take the brand towards brand love domain. While we are running behind various brand metrics like awareness and marketshare, we are also evaluating the meaningfulness of the brand over a period of time,” said Joshi.
According to Aggarwal, the ecosystem has to work collectively to make an integrated approach successful. She suggested that currently, India was not ready from either an advertising or media agency perspective for an integrated approach. Giving her own example, she said that she feels more proximity with a smaller agency than with a large agency. She pointed out that the smaller agencies are coming out with some really good and agile solutions.
“The schism between digital and traditional media will disappear once we solve the metrics issue; when we start looking at both with the same lens instead of having 100 different metrics,” opined Mallikarjunadas. However, as Buch pointed out, this is still something that is far off as even developed nations are struggling with a solution.
Srivatsa argued that all brands are moving towards a more grounded and ROI-driven model. “We are moving to a phase where we are asking how rapidly is my advertising converting to sales,” he said.
Further highlighting the integrated approach, Joshi informed that Havas Media has started providing clients with an AV plan rather than a TV plan. “It has to be audiovisual versus static mediums,” he argued.
The e4m Conclave is presented by Dainik Jagran and powered by Zee Entertainment.