In conversation with exchange4media, Ramesh Chembath, Marketing Head and AVP, Godrej Appliances spoke about the trends in 2014, challenges and the best marketing campaign of the year and so on...
What are some of the trends that emerged in marketing in 2014?
Marketing has come of age. It is no longer just about creating awareness or preference. In today's world Marketing is about getting both, the top line and bottom-line. It has moved from a softer emotional aspect to hard core number crunching.
Through the last year we saw the role of marketing shifting from that of creating the best communication strategy to identifying the best channels of communication. In the coming times, media agencies will have a much larger role to play. Data and the utilization of data will be the key to success in the Marketing game.
Some key trends that I would particularly want to highlight are:
1. Smarter Consumer
The consumer has become really smart. Today's consumer has access to a lot of information and his/her expectations from brands have risen significantly in the last few years whereas brands have not been able to keep pace. The key challenge for brands, therefore, has been to identify and deliver on these latent and unarticulated needs and expectations of customers.
Consumers now demand not just more customised and personalised products and services, but also more personalised communication. We have witnessed a number of brands trying to engage with the consumer on a more personal and emotional level to strengthen the bond with the brand and improve share of mind.
2. From Customisation to Co-creation
The world started with one-to-one trade, then one to many, many-to-one and now it will be back to one-to-one. Customers no longer need to buy what companies are mass producing or even mass customising. We are now moving from the era of Customisation to Co-creation. Consumers are increasingly getting involved in designing products through co-creation. This, combined with disruptive innovation will help in creating specific products and services to address specific needs of customers.
3. Virtual has become Real
Digital technology has come to age. Internet marketing especially social media marketing has become something that brands can no longer afford to stay away from. In 2014, we saw both, consumer facing and even non-consumer facing brands attempting social media integration into all marketing initiatives - be it design, research, sales or even after sales service and rightly so. Digital marketing has become a very powerful tool in the hands of marketers for targeted and contextually relevant yet low cost communication. However, for majority of marketers there is still lack of proper understanding on what tools are most suitable for businesses and how results can be achieved.
4. Visual Content
With increasingly shorter customer attention spans brands are gradually moving towards image and video-based connections. Viral marketing campaigns around sharable visual content were a huge hit with marketers this year. They made a notable impact on customer- engagement levels as well.
5. It's an App World
With customers’ lifestyles increasingly getting fast-paced and brands trying to adopt strategies to square with customers’ multi-tasking behaviour, mobile marketing became huge this year and will continue to be so. Two-way mobile devices, like smart phones and tablets have revolutionised the way people access the internet and web services. Many brands experimented with new and exciting ways to reach out to their customers- be it through rich media messaging, location-based marketing, contextual advertising, mobile videos or mobile apps for better engagement with the customers at all touch points- pre-sale, sale and post sale.
It's an app world now. Whether we believe it or not apps will start ruling the lives of consumers and will play a key role in defining the choices they make. Apps will change consumer's expectations from the brand not just on the digital front but also from products. The 'one touch all' will become the norm and consumers will start expecting all interfaces to be integrated and simplified.
Is there any industry specific trend that you have seen emerging?
The penetration in this market is still quite low and because of a growing middle class, this industry is poised to grow. One encouraging trend is that consumers are becoming value conscious and the market is moving towards high-end products. Therefore, with relevant technological innovations, brands have a good opportunity not just to gain share but to build the market as well.
E-Commerce has emerged in a very big way. It has become imperative for brands to adopt a multi-channel reach in order to maximise their reach.
What is the biggest challenge that the industry has faced in 2014?
2014 has fortunately been an exceptionally good year as compared to last year or even last three years. The three C’s- commodity, currency and climate which are the three most crucial factors for this industry have all been favourable in this year. Due to change in the government and improvement in the global economy, market sentiments have been positive. However, there has been a challenge of energy efficiency ratings becoming more stringent in both, Refrigerator and Air Conditioner categories which have pushed up prices.
Q. According to you which is the best marketing campaign that comes to your mind for 2014?
The Women's Day Campaign by Godrej Appliances
Having understood the great leaps taken by women in the field of education, science and fight for equality, Godrej Appliances decided to celebrate the ‘special woman’ through a unique Digital Video Commercial. The campaign aimed to engage, and act on a common miss by most men, wherein they often forget to appreciate the woman in their lives while she dons many roles with ease. This DVC aimed to bring this gratitude forward and urged men to be expressive and help make the women feel special.
Women are our most important consumers and hence we felt it is important to make them feel special on their day. Today women are equal counterparts to the male members in the household and are equally time pressed; which is why our products are designed to help make their lives simple. Often people misconstrue that women are not as tech-savvy as men, and hence need home appliances which are not very high-tech. On the contrary, women appreciate new technology and are quite adept at accepting the same. Our DVC helps to bring this out and showcases the main protagonist as a multi-tasker who is at ease with technology at home and at work.