IMPACT Media Conversations, presented by exchange4media in partnership with GroupM, covered wide ranging topics concerning the advertising, media and marketing space. Held in Bangalore on May 22, 2013, IMPACT Media Conversations was presented by Dainik Bhaskar.
The event brought together some leading names in the industry to discuss on ‘Making Media work for Marketers’. The panel comprised Avinash Pant, Marketing Director, Nike; KE Venkatachalapathy, CEO, Arvind Retail; Vikram Grover, Head Marketing - India & South Asia, Tata Global Beverages India; Arun Anant, CEO, Kasturi & Sons; Pradeep Dwivedi, Chief Corporate Sales & Marketing Officer, Dainik Bhaskar Group; Sanchayeeta Verma, Head - South, Maxus; and Ramesh Jude Thomas, President & Chief Knowledge Officer, Equitor Management Consulting.
The discussions primarily revolved around choosing the right medium for communication and reach. Referring to a statement made by Shashi Sinha, CEO, India, IPG Mediabrands that the industry has killed the media planner, KE Venkatachalapathy, CEO, Arvind Retail cited the example of Megamart to throw light on agency-marketer relationship. He shared, “Megamart being a value retail chain, we have international and domestic brand portfolio. We have to get the customers to the store, but being a value chain, we have very limited budgets. With the high inflation rates seen in the last 3-4 years and marketing being a discretionary expenditure, budgets get constrained and limited. Increasing the marketing budget and collaborating work between media owners and media agencies to ensure that the entire budget plan works – that is where I see a gap currently.”
Sanchayeeta Verma, Head - South, Maxus remarked, “The media planner has to match the complexities of today’s brand business demands with his media solutions and that’s what makes his job exciting. Which is why I think this is the most dynamic place at this point in time. I don’t think we are killing the media planner at all.”
“When I look at marketing, the one area that has changed the most is the media function,” said Vikram Grover, Head Marketing - India & South Asia, Tata Global Beverages India. “As an industry ecosystem, we need to change the discourse from reach and frequency to ROI,” he added.
On a different note, Avinash Pant, Marketing Director, Nike said commented that the marketers’ world is shifting quite significantly, and along with it the traditional model of communication is changing too. “A significant approach is moving on and becoming digital. It’s becoming a lot more about content, engagement and conversations, and that is the biggest challenge,” Pant noted.
“The media scene has changed drastically in India, and with the obsession on buying and negotiation, the stress is on negotiation and cost as against planning,” pointed out Arun Anant, CEO, Kasturi & Sons. According to him, the media surface is not well differentiated. “If different media vehicles within a category and across categories were highly differentiated, then there would be no need for planning against negotiation,” he added.
Stressing on the need for media houses to spend more time on differentiating the products, Anant said, “Sinha is right in that he is pushing media houses to differentiate. If there is no differentiation, then there won’t be media planners and buyers in the future.”
According to Pradeep Dwivedi, Chief Corporate Sales & Marketing Officer, Dainik Bhaskar Group, “In an ideal universe, a marketer would have a media agency which has efficient planning and intellectual organisation, gives the right plan to reach the audience, and then gets the plan executed at the right place. Hence, in traditional thinking, the intelligence or the quality of thinking takes precedence over conservative planning. What is driving behaviour in terms of media buying and media selling is the commercial consideration – that is, getting the best reach at the lowest possible cost. The value add of the media planer is being relegated to next to negligible.”
The speakers also pointed out that the growing clout of digital does not mean that print has lost its relevance. Depending on the kind of awareness that a brand is trying to create, the selection of the medium will vary, they said.
On the topic of media audit, the panellists said that it is a good governance practise and added that every industry needs to have its own norms and measurements and that this industry is no different from others.
The speakers concluded that media players need to follow a multi-media strategy depending on the relevance.