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Marketers need innovation, not consumers

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Marketers need innovation, not consumers

Innovation, the most heard term and hot topic for discussion at most forums today was put under the scanner by Shailesh Rao, Managing Director, APAC, Google, when he addressed the issues plaguing the implementation of innovation in organisations. He noted, “Unlike in developed countries, where digital has taken centrestage, in India every media – television, print and digital – is a shining star. Consumer choice is increasingly complicated in a hyper market environment, where stakes are high. There is a need for innovation to successfully render effective marketing messages.”

Sharing his views on the current advertising scenario, where ‘Youth’ and brands wishing to ‘go young’ being the new fad, Dheeraj Sinha, Regional Planning Director, Bates 141, said that innovation was needed in terms of marketers looking for newer opportunities and audiences. “Consumers don’t need innovation, marketers do. Not everything needs to be young and the youth brands need to be far more youth. While the youth is a 56 million market, there is a 27 million segment of population beyond 40 years of age – a TG that needs to be more celebrated. What we have today is a section of middle aged teenagers, 40-somethings who have the spending capacity and are being targeted by the youth brands while the youth are being ignored. Innovation is in building a purer youth.”

According to Sanjay Purohit, Country Manager, LS India, great ideas needed a mentor with clout to be able to weave through the bureaucracy of organisations, without the fear of failure and a philosophy of “Unless you tried, you will never know. Innovation may be defined in two words – new and meaningful, something that adds value right across thus, bringing about change. Behaviorally, organisations need to create an ecosystem that encourages mini-entrepreneurship or risk taking. People who believe in the power of an idea must be backed with the money and support system.” Yet, as a paradox he pointed out that the larger and more successful an organisation became, the more it was structured to minimise risks and resist change.

Sharing his insights on the right approach to innovation, Saugata Gupta, Chief Executive Officer, Marico, said that a creative idea must be media-neutral, where it was applicable for all brands and not be dependant on a specific target group. “Ideas should be able to be tweaked and transcend seamlessly beyond TV and mass media. The best innovations happen when there are budget constraints as without a restriction on spends, the easiest way is to allocate a large portion for TV and have a print ad on each page. India is at the bottom of the consumption curve and the two biggest drivers for innovation are Price and Availability,” Gupta noted. He also spoke of influences such as NGOs and government organisations as new potential businesses.

Projecting the distant future, Sinha said that from targeting the 25-40 age group, which is the India story today, he was hoping to see the other end of the spectrum becoming more significant. “In our experience with clients, we have seen entrepreneurs more willing to innovate than established brands that prefer to stick to a formula. Differentiation and market forces will drive the market to become more innovative at the back end. Entry level luxury segment and the affordability spectrum are other areas of innovation, rather than the mainstream youth section,” he pointed out.

The speakers were at the 11th CII Annual Marketing Summit, hosted in Mumbai on March 31, 2011, which was the first day of the Summit. This edition was chaired by Madison World Chairman and Managing Director Sam Balsara.

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