The second leg of the four-city event in Bangalore on Saturday witnessed top-notch marketing professionals discussing the return on investments and measurability of various marketing initiatives.
The discussion, moderated by Ramesh Jude Thomas Executive Officer, Interbrand Equitor focussed on the relevance of measuring returns for marketing activities in the current environment. The panel comprised Harish Bijoor, CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults, Meera Prabhu, Country Manager - Marketing, IBM India, Prakash Bagri, Marketing Manager, Intel and V. Balasubramanium, National Director, ATG.
Delivering the keynote address, Dilip Thakore, Publisher and Editor of Education World emphasised on the fact that a business is about marketing and brand building. "There is more to building a brand than just business strategy. There is not a single global brand in India and marketers should strive to make the Indian brands global", he said.
Said Prabhu of IBM, "We all agree that marketing is not about communication alone. But when we talk of investments, we tend to think of assets that we are putting in media and marketing communication in terms of events, direct mailers and advertising. Marketing is about business strategy. It is difficult to measure marketing but we have come a long way in terms of our accountability as a profession and its contribution to the business. There are measures by which ROI can be determined like the market share, brand image etc. and we are certainly making progress on measuring returns."
Extending the thought, said Bagri of Intel, "Role of marketing, its tools and expectations, all are changing. This is the right time for a strong level of measurability to come in. To measure marketing returns, one should focus on the goal of marketing, tools used and efficacy of the tools used."
Taking a counter point, said Bijoor, "All market expenses are investments. However, market cannot be measured fully. Probably only 20 percent of market can be measured with tools such ROI Analytics etc. Marketing is everything starting from building brands to consumer retention. Marketing is advertising dependant to reach consumers. Until marketing people are besotted with a brand, measurability will be an issue. How can you measure what happens to a brand in the mind of a consumer and what kind of delivery is going to come back".
Balusubramnaium said, "For return on investment, one needs to focus on the kind of measurement one is looking for. If I am investing Rs 1, do I need to get back more or less or an amount equal to that is the main question to be addressed."
As a concluding remark, said Thomas, "Intangibles have a much more powerful role to play in long-term cash flows. In India, the focus, the measurability and accountability for market investment does not exist as yet." The unanimous thought that prevailed amongst the panelists at the end of the discussion was that it is not possible to isolate the benefits of marketing in a business.