Brands must learn to guess the intent behind search & serve appropriate content: Manoj Kumar, GSK

Manoj Kumar, MD& Area General Manager, GSK Consumer Healthcare, gives his views on digital marketing and how brands can get the most bang for their buck

e4m by Abhinn Shreshtha
Updated: May 31, 2017 7:46 AM
Brands must learn to guess the intent behind search & serve appropriate content: Manoj Kumar, GSK

Manoj Kumar, MD and Area General Manager, GSK Consumer Healthcare, believes that brands should be ‘always-on’ as well as engaging and relevant. Kumar is a jury member of exchange4media’s Indian Digital Media Awards (IDMA) to be held on June 16, 2017 and will give the valedictory address that day. We asked him for his views on digital marketing and how brands can get the most bang for their buck. Excerpts from the interview below:

How can digital advertisers ensure they are using the right metrics to judge efficacy of campaigns? What should be kept in mind?

As a brand owner, you are aiming for specific changes in the consumer’s perceptions towards your brand or you are trying to impact business outcomes by means of sales, share, etc. Performance against this should be the measure of effectiveness/success.Digital media today is fragmented across Search, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, display, etc. Brands typically use the platform that is most suited to achieve their task. Within GSK, we have agreed on defined output metrics like impressions, click-throughs and view-throughs to optimize campaigns and the outcome metrics to evaluate the success.

How can one verify the efficacy of the data that the publishers themselves provide?

As a brand, we focus on measuring outcomes. So, the publisher data serves as process metrics to understand the impact on outcomes. At times, we have also used third parties to independently verify the campaign deliveries. It is in the publisher’s interest to understand the outcomes we are seeking and enable us to make the right choices to achieve them. The better a publisher does this, the more likely he will attract our investment.

Ad fraud, viewability and more are becoming huge concerns in digital advertising. How do advertisers and brands safeguard themselves?

The underlying consumer behaviour remains the same. A decade ago, the consumer would physically turn away.However, today it’s as easy as a click of a finger.

In television, we started measuring delivered reach and evolved tools like brand track to measure the impact on consumer attitudes. Something similar needs to happen on digital. The industry needs to agree on standards for viewability, in-target across the formats/platforms. Till then, we are focusing on outcomes and deploy spends depending on their effectiveness in moving outcomes.

What are the key things that every digital marketer should keep in mind?

Digital opens up possibilities of a two-way 24X7 communication that didn’t exist earlier. In GSK, I urge brands to be always-on, always relevant and always engaging.

The basic principles of marketing remain the same like understanding the consumer, the need and designing an appealing piece of product/communication that takes oneon the path to purchase. When a lady searches for “healthy bones” or “acidity,” our brands must be present with relevant content that addresses her need be it 2a.m.or 2p.m. Brands must learn to guess the intent behind her search and serve appropriate content.

The same consumer may be watching online videos later. There is an opportunity to tell a story without the constraints of a 30-second TV commercial. For women’s Horlicks, in addition to the TVC, our online video “Chalk your story” brought alive the importance of strong bones for women to lead a healthy and happy life. It has already been watched by 5mn+ women. Of these, more than 30,000 have taken an online test to ascertain their own bone health.

Digital also allows brands to be more integrated into the context or the consumer experience. So, we can serve her different kinds of content on a beauty site and a parenting site to make it more relevant in that moment. This kind of multiple-touch points of engaging with the consumer through search, video and online test is only possible through digital.

What are your main expectations from your digital agencies?

I am expecting digital agencies to understand our brand/business goals and enable us to focus on the right effort priorities to achieve them. Given their experience, I would expect them to provide either a clear direction or a framework to equip our brand teams to frame the right priorities for digital.

Also a brand is looking for different specialist agencies (PR, expert marketing, digital, creative, media) to collaborate seamlessly with each other and recommend the best media-neutral idea for the brand. As a CEO, I am keen to see agencies building on each other’s creative capabilities to come up with a clutter-breaking idea. Agencies must learn to collaborate across their organizational boundaries to produce work that wins with consumers.

IDMA 2017 will be held on June 16 at Taj Santacruz in Mumbai. This year’s edition will also feature a full-day conference, TechManch.

More details about the event can be found here -

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