“Eighty per cent of marketers pay lip service to integrated marketing, as 80 per cent of the budgets are spent on TVCs,” feels Sam Balsara, Chairman, Madison World. However, the subject of integrated marketing versus advertising evoked mixed reactions from business heads, who wondered on the relevance of the very debate. Integrated marketing has been always there, they felt.
According to Chander Mohan Sethi, Chairman & Managing Director, Reckitt Benckiser (RB), integrated marketing has been happening for decades. Giving an example of a toothpaste brand like Colgate – even though it’s not a RB brand, Sethi said that the genesis of the brand was not with TVCs, but with the dentist checking the health of gums and teeth and the need for marketers to associate with the dentists. “Advertising has a role to play, but integrated marketing is pre-given,” he said.
He lamented the fact that marketers were taking the easy way out. “Advertising is all about GRPs and how much money you have in your pockets. That is easy. But it is difficult to do integrated marketing, which is a different ball game,” he said.
The whole scenario of technology and the way one interacts with one’s consumers has changed. “The one-way communication has evolved into a two-way dialogue,” Sethi said, adding that marketing had to be integrated by interacting with the consumer through every touch point.
Similarly, Michael Perschke, Head, Audi India, too felt that for a luxury brand like Audi, print advertising was useless. “The toys for boys,” as Preschke liked to refer to the luxury brands, “need to be experienced... and get people to put their butts on the seat.”
Emphasising on the need for peer to peer marketing, Perschke said that the likes of Anil Ambani, Mukesh Ambani and Adi Godrej did not buy an Audi after seeing an ad in the newspaper. “It’s peer to peer marketing that works for the super rich,” he said.
The need for the luxury brands is not only to engage the customer, but the prospective customer too. Students studying in IITs and IIMs “may not be my customers right now, but they would be four to five years down the line. They are the opinion makers and can influence purchases at home. So, we have to engage them as well,” Perschke pointed out.
So, what are the specifics of the Indian market as far as luxury marketing is concerned? Design, quality, lifestyle, price and performance, according to Perschke were the demands of the Indian market. However, he warned that irrespective of the abundant money the consumer had, the Indian consumer was stilling looking out for a “great deal”.
Shripad Nadkarni, Founder Director, Market Gate Consulting, too, thought that Integrated Marketing was given. The tools of integrated marketing, according to him, were the product, design, service design, organise alignment, besides others, and even brands like McDonald’s and Big Bazaar had them. The latter, according to him, was an “air-conditioned self-serviced chaos, aspirational for middle class and a modern day haat”.
Hence, he felt the question to be debated shouldn’t have been integrated marketing but, “integrated marketing communication”.
He pointed out four different shifts in the consumer world – consumer as a mere 'message recipient' to 'empowered to choose and edit'; from 'rational' to 'emotionally distractive'; 'brand owner as the primary source of information' to 'brand owner as one of the sources of information'; and while earlier the brand competed with other brands in the category, today it was competing with other categories.
Meanwhile, Kainaz Gazder, Marketing Director, Procter & Gamble India, delved on two examples of integrated marketing – Olay Total Effects and Gillette – where the brands went beyond TVCs. While Olay went beyond its brand ambassadors Shilpa Shetty and Soha Ali Khan, and was discussed online with over “seven million convinced women”, Gillette’s WALS (Women Against Lazy Stubble) got the world talking about the brand. She pointed out that there were men who sent out an SOS (Save Our Stubble) too, but eventually what mattered was that “at least it got people talking about the brand”.
The session also had Trevor Beattie, Founder Partner, Beattie McGuinness Bungay (BMB), who felt that integration was an “awful word” and “is misunderstood”.
His central thought for the session though was the 'Big Idea', which, he said was a “big myth”. “Anyone saying that they've got a big idea, throw them out of the room, as they are lying,” Beattie said jokingly. He said that it were “small ideas that had big impacts”.
The only big idea, he said, was the invention of the wheel three million years ago. “It took million years to improve it, but not better it. For example, a suitcase on wheels, which is a small idea and makes the big idea look better,” he said.
Heaping praise on an Indian air-conditioner brand, which allows people to switch the AC on through an SMS to allow one to cool the room, before one reached home, Beattie felt was a “small idea” with a “massive impact”.
His next example was the letter '@' which he felt remained unused for many years on typewriters. However, the 'small' letter had a “big impact on the internet, which again is a formation of tiny ideas put together”.
His final advice to the audience was to “adapt and change with small ideas”.
The speakers were at the 11th CII Annual Marketing Summit, hosted in Mumbai on March 31, 2011, which was the first day of the Summit. This edition was chaired by Madison World Chairman and Managing Director Sam Balsara.