The Pitch CMO Summit 2008 that was held in the Capital on November 13, saw some very diverse views coming across on the challenges that brands are facing in their marketing efforts, given the current slowdown. The Summit was an initiative of Pitch, the marketing magazine from the exchange4media Group, and was presented by Colors. While the marketers were clear that India was yet not in any slowdown, there was enough empirical evidence provided in the opening address by Anurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, exchange4media Group, that highlighted the de-growth in advertising in the festive period this year across most mainstream publications.
In his opening address, Batra cited numbers to show that when compared to the last year, markets like Mumbai and Delhi; publications like The Times of India, Hindustan Times and Mid-Day de-grew in the overall ad revenues. There were exceptions like DNA that saw some growth. Also, a sector wise display of ad volumes showed that most sectors had seen a drop in their ad spends.
While concluding his address, Batra said, “There are very clear signs of drop in ad spends and the slowdown in the economy. Our attempt today is to get some honest answers on what is the way ahead for the industry, and what should be done to address some of the problems that the economy is seeing.”
The event also saw Pitch unveiling its new positioning. Amit Agnihitori, Director, exchange4media Group, and Editor, Pitch, informed that beginning its latest issue, the monthly magazine had moved away from its tagline of ‘Advertising, Media and Marketing Review’ to ‘Face of Indian Marketing’. He said that there was a state of confusion in the industry and lack of clarity on what the marketing industry was facing. “People look for advice, and we at Pitch are working on different ways, through our content or events like these, to give the industry the immediate future, and the larger picture of the industry,” he added.
The Pitch CMO Summit is one such initiative that sought to be a platform where the Indian marketing industry’s direction could be discussed and advice could be given to brand managers on what is the next step.
The Pitch CMO Summit saw marketers reiterate new ways of looking at the media plan. Two key points that came up at the Summit giving a future direction was a faster move on adding more of New Media in media plans, and secondly, a shift from above-the-line media vehicles to below-the-line media vehicles in media plans.
General Motors’ Ankush Arora informed that GM had been spending around 4-5 per cent of their overall marketing budget on New Media, and this number had changed to 10-11 per cent this year. He further said, “We would be using digital and Internet in a much focussed fashion, and we are looking at spending 14-15 per cent of our budget in that in the coming years.”
For Samsung Mobile’s Sunil Dutt, this number was in the vicinity of 4-5 per cent at present. Technopak’s Saloni Nangia said that she saw a significant shift in below-the-line for sectors like retail in the near future. She added, “Worldwide, retail doesn’t use too much of ATL activities. Their investments are more in consumer loyalty programmes; India’s investment in BTL would grow as retailers look at growing by increasing their reach ability with the consumers.”