‘Digital is now front and centre’

The launch of dentsu-e4m Digital Advertising Report 2022 saw a panel discussion on ‘the evolution of digital media outputs from pure performance driver to performance + branding’

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Feb 2, 2022 11:49 AM  | 3 min read

At the conference following the launch of the dentsu-e4m Digital Advertising Report 2022 on Tuesday, many industry leaders came together to share insights on the industry. The conference also witnessed a panel discussion on the topic- ‘Performance + Creative = The digital stack: The evolution of digital media outputs from pure performance driver to performance + branding. The session chair for the panel discussion was Vinod Thadani, Chief Digital Officer – Media, dentsu and CEO, Iprospect. The panellists were Akshay Tapase, Senior Vice President- Digital Marketing, AU Small Finance Bank, Ravi Santhanam, CMO, Head – Corporate Communications & Liability Products & Managed Programs, HDFC Bank, Sadhana Daswani, Head Brand and Digital, JSW Paints and Shouneel Charles, Managing Director (India), Outbrain.

Opening the discussion, Thadani asked how the marketing thought process has evolved between traditional and digital means of communication. Answering the question, Santhanam said, “15 years ago when digital came in, CMOs were asked about the impact of the money spent. As digital came in, performance (measuring) became easy for the marketers as they could now measure it for any campaign. The agency and creative side were a little slow to catch up on seeing digital as a brand-building medium. The platforms also didn’t have a clear performance metric for the creative work you can do on digital; it came later. Today, there has been an industrial revolution, and with the right kind of tools available, there will be full-funnel marketing on digital.”

Building on the same point, Tapase added, “We have completely blurred the line between ATL and digital because the consumer is also omnipresent. Digital has been the second-highest impact driving channel for us primarily because of the relevancy, frequency and targeting which is difficult to maintain on ATL. Digital is now being used for branding.”

Talking about experiences of brands getting the success when they get creative, Charles added, “Digital is now front and centre. We are reaching a space where we are getting a lot of action happening. We have crossed most of the limiting factors in terms of digital marketing. We are seeing a lot of success stories emerging from EduTech, FinTech, Crypto, etc. Everyone is making a significant effort now in terms of content marketing meshed with native advertising.”

Further mentioning the approach to go ahead with, Daswani added “It is important that we understand the whole art that goes behind it because as marketers we love perfecting the balance between art and science. There is a lot of data available to us from various sources, and therefore making sense of that and making that into a great brief or input will help us. For example, initially, we assumed most of our contractors and paint workers would not be on social media but we were surprised to see how many of them were on Facebook. The mindset and consumption patterns have changed and making sense of the data and using it for the right briefing is critical.”

Answering Thadani’s question on the importance of ATL in the digital era, Tapase explained “What we have realised is that even if we go very high on digital, a full-page front page in a leading daily still creates a half-day or one-day impact because there is an entry barrier also. Yes, you can get onto Facebook or OTT ads quite easily with much less investment. The backing of the currency that is required for that (full page front page ad) to happen also shows that I have arrived.”

Thadani concluded the panel by summarising the main takeaways from the panel discussion based on the insights shared by the panellists.


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