‘Personalization is going to be key as far as digitalization is concerned'

The first panel discussion on the dentsu-e4m Digital Advertising Conference 2021 focused on the change in consumer behavior and what that means for brand marketers

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Feb 5, 2021 9:08 AM  | 7 min read

Dentsu-e4m Digital Advertising Report 2021, which was unveiled yesterday, stated that the digital ad industry has grown by 15.3% and reached Rs. 15,782 crore by the end of 2020. Since the pandemic, brand marketers witnessed a change in purchasing behaviour moving towards digital and this change has only amplified since the

In keeping with this, the panel discussion of the Dentsu-e4m Digital Advertising Conference focused on the topic: ‘Change in Consumer Behaviour and what it means for Brands’. The panellist Anuja Mishra, Vice President & Head of Marketing-(Personal Care & Hygiene), Godrej Consumer Products Ltd; Bimal Kartik Rebba, Co-Founder & COO, Trell; Rohit Dosi, Director, Microsoft Advertising at InMobi; Vaibhav Kumar, Vice President & Head, eCommerce & Digital Marketing at Max Life Insurance Company Limited; and Yadvinder Singh Guleria, Director, Sales & Marketing, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd.(HMSI) were a part of the discussion headed by the session chair, Rubeena Singh, CEO, iProspect. 

There has been a rise in digital investment from brands during this pandemic. Starting the discussion about the change in consumer behaviour, Dosi said, “The active internet user base has gone 25% up from last year in terms of monthly active users and 60% up in terms of daily active users. A mobile-first universe is on the rise and India is leading in that area. The device shift itself is a big change that has taken place from a consumer behaviour perspective. Hyperlocal services and e-commerce are the trends that have been boosted. There is also a focus on online learning and education as a category has gained popularity. There is increased attention towards health, finance, home, and gardening as people continue to WFH and are trying to improve their lifestyle. These are a couple of changes that will stay in a post-pandemic world as well.” 

Dosi remarked that ‘Personalization’ is going to be key as far as digitalization is concerned. The trend will have a single unified view of a consumer. 

Speaking about the trends that will stick around, Kumar noted, “The changing trends in behaviour can be broadly classified into three categories: Reversal of past trends, acceleration of existing trends, and complete new habit formations. The behaviour of trading down and bargain hunting, utility shopping in the reversal of past trends are some of the trends that will be temporary and will settle back.

He said that the Life Insurance category had a much lower impact as an industry. "The specific challenge in our industry was the minor de-growth in the ticket size of the policy and we are hoping this will get reversed. This financial year the DTC online business for Max Life is now contributing 18% of new customers. Mental wellness and physical wellness is also a big acceleration that has taken place," Kumar added.

Mishra shared her views about FMCG products: “We have seen a large acceleration and adoption from consumers who were very reluctant to shop on e-commerce for touch and feel products. It has also opened up the opportunity for having conversations with consumers about the brand beyond product benefits. Even in traditional modes of shopping, while interacting with your local shops, cash is no more the preferred mode of currency. Therefore the whole digitization of payments and also placing orders on apps like WhatsApp will become an opportunity for brands to consider.

"It is not just about the transaction of consumer products in the e-commerce or DTC space but there is a lot of opportunities to have meaningful interaction and content. Very recently, we saw that people were missing out on travel and that was trending. For Cinthol, our brand which emotes the feeling of being an explorer and encourages you to go out and feel alive, we built a strategy around it with travellers, known influencers to share the experiences of all their past travel experiences. We saw a phenomenal response from a consumer brand and the increase in watch time of our content.” 

Rebba commenting on how rural markets have amplified in digital purchasing commented, “There is a shift in online nonshoppers to online shoppers. Now the pandemic has pushed people to use digital modes for their daily purchases. Certain stakeholders accelerate digital consumption behaviour and the shift from impulse-based purchase to consumption upgrade, booming at-home economy, and brand creation. Also, the share of voice for the at-home economy has moved from the mega influencers to markets where people are comfortable with speaking their language and sharing the content with their audience to help in the discovery of new-age brands.”

Guleria expressing the digital strategies his automobile brand undertook said, “The experience of searching, comparing and even shortlisting has gone drastically high on social media. Therefore we need to increase our digital footprint. Where we were unprepared was in Tier 2&3 towns where the dealers own capability in terms of social media presence was limited. We reached out quickly to our network and guided them on how to take advantage of this digital platform and what their do’s and don'ts are. Many of the dealers started making a website and we made sure that there is a brand standardization in terms of the communication and creatives. Moving forward it is going to be marketing hygiene to be present on social media. We need to realize the efficacy of using this media and carefully mix and evolve into a new medium to cater to the challenges of the new normal.”

Speaking about e-commerce and how their brand is leveraging the new digital opportunities, Mishra remarked, “There are two aspects that we are sustaining one is authenticity and relatability or relevance. COVID pushed brands to a dark side which has made it necessary for them to try various new marketing strategies rather than the traditional mediums. Influencer marketing is also a booming marketing strategy as it does result in a great impact on the consumer as it intimidates them with a more personal approach.”

Talking about data and how that will be beneficial in a brand’s digital marketing strategy, Kumar shared, “Cookies is a huge opportunity for brands and marketers. The opportunity comes from masking first-party data and turning it into a comparative advantage. First-party data is going to be a powerful tool. Engineering has become the go-to marketing. You can not have your digital analytics team anywhere but within the marketing shop.”

Dosi addressing personalization says that it should align with the user experience to create a better digital experience. “There are valid concerns however on the rise of privacy. There should be the power to the consumer in terms of personalization. Brands and publishers should be mindful in terms of how they are leveraging data whether it is first-party or third-party and not use personally identifiable information. An ecosystem should be built to garner trust so that the users value what the brands are trying to recommend”, shared Dosi.

On a parting note, Rebba concluded by saying, “The CDMs have picked up at this point of time in terms of having their head servers across the country. People today can pick up vertical videos on their mobile devices and consume content. Going forward there is going to be unique digital opportunities for brands and at the home economy. People will be introduced to new products services online and the payments infrastructure will allow for quick purchases.”

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