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e4m Conclave 2005: More media vehicles a boon for niche players, say panelists

08-June-2005
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e4m Conclave 2005: More media vehicles a boon for niche players, say panelists

The Taj Land’s End Bandra seemed like a galaxy of stars as it saw the exchange4media Mumbai Conclave take off. The panel of members for the first session of the Conclave included Rahul Sen, Director, Alchemy Social Infrastructure Agency Pvt Ltd, V Chandramouli, Director, Strategy, Innovation and International Business, Upen Roop Rai, Head Zoom TV and Vice President, Times Internet Ltd, Shashi Arora, Vice President, Marketing, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Kaushik Roy, Head Marketing, Reliance Infocomm. Meenakshi Madhvani, Managing Partner, Spatial Access, moderated the first session.

The topic was “Getting the marketing mix right – Is the increasing number of media options an opportunity for marketers?” There were different views on the topic.

V Chandramouli gave his point of view by classifying the companies based on whether they cater to a mass or serve a niche, explaining that the opportunities varied for both. Chandramouli said, “Those catering to a niche have reasons to be happy as with more specific media options, the specific target groups can be targeted and better results can be achieved. However, the same spelt trouble for mass segment handling companies.”

“While brand proliferation would be the trend for niche players owing to new media options, the mass segments would see brand consolidation happening,” said Chandramouli. He remarked that in such a scenario, strategic planning linked with business objectives would act as a key driver.

Kaushik Roy of Reliance Infocomm said it was much like a task of mushrooming from amongst a variety of options. Comparing the yesteryears’ situation with that of today’s, Roy explained that the earlier days when DD ruled the roost, there were problems like babudom.

Roy pointed out to rapid growth of channels in different genres like kids, nature, fashion, religion, etc. Sharing that the marketers would face with the problem of plenty, Roy explained that channels like Zee Smile will emerge as effective platforms for advertising. Quoting examples of Saamna and Ganshakti, Roy drove home the point that these mediums knew their target audience well and the delivery of message was accurate.

In his brief speech, Rai said that he was the only media seller among a whole lot of media buyers, which placed him in an unfair position. He said, “I am thoroughly confused. From a seller’s point of view, this is indeed a tricky situation. Perhaps if there is a one stop shop, it may make sense.” Rai did mention though, “ The media buyers are the happiest people.”

Shashi Arora said that it was all about getting the marketing mix right. Stating that undoubtedly, there are more options in media, Arora pointed out to new trends and emerging platforms like SMS, emails, in-film product placements, fliers in Airline seat pockets etc. Briefing the audience on the advantages of new media options, Arora explained that while on one hand, they are low cost, they also deliver better. The negatives though are that it would be a hit or miss kind of situation.

Arora opined that it was not possible to have a crystal clear view whether more media options spelt doom or boom for the industry, he said that there is an opportunity for Guerilla Marketers.

Rahul Sen shared that marketers are exploiting the diversity of media. Sen, gave his 3-point agenda for marketers which included working on a brand vision, finding similarities among media vehicles and working on the concept of Return on Market Investment or ROMI.

As far as the measurement issues are concerned, Sen stated that in today’s information age, it is possible to measure the effectiveness of media options if one tries to do so.

Chandramouli quoted an example of his experience at Onida, wherein research gave insights and funds were more properly utilised by using local media options too, instead of spending more on mass media.

Overall, there were divided views on the topic. However, experts were unanimous in the view that niche players have better days ahead as they can target their audience more accurately, whereas mass players would need to use the media options intelligently, avoiding duplication.

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