'Think of the consumer in the centre and plan media around it'
The panel at e4m TechManch conference discussed how user behaviour is changing and how technology can help brands to stay in tandem with them
As digital marketing evolves and so does the technology, the line between performance marketing and branding seems to be blurring steadily. Marketers are mixing the two for having a stronger impact and improving measurability. And with tonnes of newer formats of marketing and touchpoints to access customers increasing, brands too are paying equal attention to how they tell their story and the ways they target and measure their audience response. But the different sectors are approaching this new-found differently, as an august panel discussing the topic ‘Reinventing ROI: Blending Branding & Performance’ on day 2 of e4m TechManch Digital Conference 2021 indicated.
Moderated by Microsoft Advertising Senior Partner Reena Mishra, the panel had digital marketing and technology stalwarts -- iProspect CEO Rubeena Singh; Kotak Mahindra Bank Joint President - Consumer, Commercial & Wealth Marketing Elizabeth Venkataraman; Zoho Marketing Head Praval Singh; Flipkart Head of Performance Marketing Shreyansh Modi; and Logicserve Digital Founder & CEO Prasad Shejale.
Speaking about the growing importance of merging branding and performance, Rubeena Singh said, “The ecosystem where branding and performance could be bought separately, in silos, has gone long past because we need to think of the consumer in the center and then plan & connect the media around that. We must use all the capabilities that we have; from understanding the brand to being able to do strategic planning and to be able to do marketing activation as well as a performance optimisation (together). And once you are able to do that, I think that’s where you can truly help brands accelerate.”
Speaking about the BFSI sector and how it is leveraging branding & performance marketing together, Elizabeth Venkataraman gave the example of how agricultural communities are leveraging the power of digital.
She elaborated, “The best example that comes to my mind is that of eNAM, the national agriculture market, where we are a payment partner. This is an online trading platform to trade in agricultural commodities, bringing together all stakeholders -- be it the farmer, trader, or the agri mandis. These kinds of initiatives are really significant, especially in the tier 3 to tier 5 towns, which are now adopting digital technologies like never before.
However, Flipkart is keeping the two functions -- branding & performance marketing separate. According to Shreyansh Modi, the e-commerce sector has to figure in a lot of different dynamics and aspects before merging the two. He shared, “We do understand that branding is critical, and so is performance. But we try to keep both separate because we don't want to merge both of these together and dissolve the overall output of this matrix.”
Elaborating further, he noted, “With performance marketing, your focus is more on ROIs; be it counting visitors, tracking and attributing sales, customer acquisition etc. But for branding, the end result is not that. We want to see how many people we could reach out to and create an impact, a top-of-mind recall. So it's very important to measure the right metrics for each frequency. And now when you run performance campaigns, you can probably decide, do you want to really go deeper in the funnel or measure only singular aspects like visits, add to carts, etc.”
Praval Singh went on to highlight the importance of product managers and marketers working together to create a better brand image. “Both of them are working towards the same goal, i.e, creating brand value. And that’s the premise on which all our software is built--creating alignment between the product teams and marketing teams. We are helping brands get all the departments of their businesses together, building everything ground up, and creating value for customers.”
Further, Prasad Shejale went on to share how marketing tools can be better sharpened to meet the changing demands and needs of modern consumers, with a focus on voice and vernacular (regional languages).
He said, “Voice search has gone tremendously up in the past few years. And also the translation of English web pages into Indian languages is increasing exponentially. All of this indicates that brands need to start seeing in that direction and build up their voice and language capabilities. One of the interesting factors to note here is how technology can help assess the tone of a voice note and understand the user's emotions better.”
The panel unanimously agreed that brands should work harder to gauge how the pandemic has shaped user behaviour and designed new behaviors to create real value for brands.
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