Marketers are always looking for ways to effectively build their brand. And they depend on television as one of the major mediums for doing so. But does TV give them the best returns on investment or are they looking beyond the numbers? Speaking about this and more Ajay Kakar, CMO, Aditya Birla Group – Financial Services, who is also a member of the jury for exchange4media’s Prime Time Awards to take place on January 21, 2015, said that while TV is used by marketers to reach out to relevant customers in large numbers and instantly, it is no longer just about creativity. Excerpts from the conversation.
What do marketers look for the most in a TV advertising campaign?
Let me pull back and say no marketer looks for a TV ad campaign. A marketer looks to use a medium to reach out to his customers, so wherever his customer is, that is the medium he will choose. Coincidentally TV has mass and instant reach and that is why a lot of people reach out through TV. Now giving the background, the answer is, TV is used by people to reach out to the relevant customers in huge numbers and instantly.
How effective is television for brands in terms of the ROI?
It depends. Every media has its own pluses and minuses as you know. Therefore the ROI or the measures of success will be different. For example, we use TV for creating awareness and empathy, so we measure it through brand equity index, which tells me about awareness and gives me consideration. It gives me desire to pay premium and empathy. So each medium has its own metrics of success and the way you use it also brings up metrics of success. If you use it for a corporate story, your metrics of success could be about awareness and consideration or ability or desire to pay premium. So I think TV should not be used with expectations of instant sales. TV is used for massive instant awareness, creating empathy, creating a brand and therefore the metrics of success should not be instant returns.
Are brands today more result oriented or does creativity matter more in TV campaigns?
Today any marketer will empathise with the fact that budget is a constraint. Whoever may be the brand, whoever may be the category. Even the biggest advertiser feels I wish I had more budget and the medium sized advertisers also wish they had more budget. So the fact is, there is never enough of a budget. Now the question is, where are you spending it and how are you spending it? So budgets are always a constraint and therefore today if you ask me marketers are more than ever conscious about the fact of the results. It is no longer about creativity, it is about effectiveness. It is the creatives that have the most impact. Pulling away from the question therefore you also see Effies or the effectiveness awards has a higher participation from clients than the creative awards. Because a marketer is looking at results, creativity is only a medium for him.
Is specific or contextual targeting of TV campaigns looked at more keenly by brands or do viewership numbers matter more?
Numbers matter but relevant numbers are more important. For example, India is a 1.2 billion opportunity is what we all say. But if I don’t have a product relevant to 1.2 billion then my opportunity is not 1.2 billion. I am a vegetarian, if you do an ad for food, it will reach out to everyone but I am vegetarian and a non-veg ad will have no relevance to me. So reach is important but relevance is more important.
What is the future for TV campaigns in India? What do you think would be the trends?
Today a marketer has many choices. But his first and primary responsibility is to bring his brands to his target audience. So to that effect TV has mass reach and instant reach. Being an audiovisual medium it can not only create awareness, it can also create empathy and help you create a brand. However, depending on your brand, category and message, the metrics will be different. At Aditya Birla Financial Services for example, we look at brand equity index which gives me awareness, consideration and likelihood of a customer paying a premium for my brand that becomes important for me. Typically I don’t see TV as an instant gratification or aiding instant sales medium. So to that extent, I see it is more about creating an aura, an image and a brand. Yes today creativity is important but results are more important or effectiveness is more important. So it is no longer a firing and spraying AK-47 or as I say, spray and pray that the bullets hopefully hit something. It is more of a sniper approach that can effectively reach out to my audience. And for effectiveness, reach is not important but relevance or contextual targeting to me is more important. Now where do I see the future of TV… the fact is as brands go national, as brands or categories have wider relevance, TV will continue to rule.