'Digital has become a way of life'

A business leaders roundtable held by e4m, and powered by Google, brought together top marketing experts to discuss how businesses can keep pace with consumers in a world of digital transformation

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Dec 23, 2021 10:08 AM  | 5 min read
google roundtable

The Business Leaders Roundtable: Unlocking Digital for Growth held by e4m, and powered by Google, brought together a panel of India's top marketing experts and brands, for a thought-provoking discussion on how businesses can keep pace with consumers in a world of constant digital transformation.

The discussion, held on November 11, featured Dr Aditya Banerjee, CEO, Sahara Evols; Gagan Sachdev, Managing Director, Bodyline Sports; Nirmit Chandrakant Bhandari, Director, Vasant Masala Pvt Ltd; Susanta Kumar Panda, Director, Jay Bharat Spices Pvt Ltd; Akash Goenka, Director, Goldiee Group; Tanveer S Uberoi, Director, Agency, Partnerships and Sales, Google Customer Solutions (GCS), India; and Ruchita Taneja Aggarwal, Head New Business Sales, India, Google in a session chaired by Rubeena Singh, Country Manager, Josh (VerSe Innovations).

Starting off with how the pandemic has helped bring about a shift in consumer behaviour, Session chair Rubeena Singh spoke about how even the most die-hard traditionalists switched to digital simply as a means of staying connected with the world. “All of our needs are met through digital, from something as simple as ordering food to staying connected with loved ones to how we get information about anything and everything to accessing all the goods and services we were previously used to getting physically. And this has changed not only our behaviour and expectations as consumers but also how we interact with brands and how we consume content. And companies are recognising this change in consumer behaviour and pivoting tactics and strategies to serve and delight them in this age of remote working.”

The panellists all agreed that digital marketing has really evolved over the last couple of years, post the pandemic, and there has been a spike in how consumers and brands interact with each other on a regional basis, as targeted marketing focuses increasingly on not only vernacular, but regional choices and expectations.

Dr Aditya Banerjee, CEO, Sahara Evols, whose three year old start up deals with electronic vehicles, said that the pandemic brought with it both critical challenges and incredible learnings. “As a product company, we had always thought that we need to use conventional marketing as customers will always want a touch and feel of what they’re buying, but over the pandemic we realised this wasn’t the case. It’s after the pandemic hit, we went into digital marketing as sales isn’t just about introducing a good product to the market but building an entire consumer experience around it. As we were all sitting at home, and as a start-up, that’s what we concentrated on as everyone was on their social media. For those critical three months we concentrated on educating the masses about our product and creating brand awareness, while geo-targeting potential customers using data.”

The panellists further discussed the cost benefit of digital marketing as it is far cheaper than conventional advertising while also having a bigger reach than physical media. 

Gagan Sachdev of Bodyline Sports spoke about how his company had to pivot from a very traditional offline chain of stores to digital marketing. He said “This has been a huge learning for all of us, and the future is clearly digital. As a fitness brand, offline sales have always been our forte because it’s a very physical line of products, but going forward, I see there being a balance between offline and digital, in terms of marketing and sales.”

Susanta Kumar Panda, Director, Jay Bharat Spices Pvt Ltd, noted how his company had recently begun shifting to digital marketing to announce new products. 

Tanveer S Uberoi of Google spoke about how critical it was for companies using any kind of media platform, be it digital, print, OOH, or radio, to align their advertising with their business objectives. He further spoke about how digital marketing can help companies use available data to gain consumer insights and then accordingly strategize.

Uberoi observed that going ahead, digital advertisers would be reaching out to Bharat, saying “Tier one cities are mostly saturated. They are largely covered, but there are still significant numbers who will be coming online. If you reach out to Bharat in English, that conversion isn’t going to happen. So if you’re reaching out to certain populations in different regions, you want to advertise in their language and communicate with them in the same way they consume content. I think where the most mistakes are made is when you go ahead and use the same format irrespective of whom you’re advertising to.”

Adding to that point Ruchita Taneja Aggarwal noted that a significant amount of internet users, especially in Tier II and Tier III cities, used their mobile phones to access content and so companies had to ensure that they provided small screen-friendly content. “You have to convert those creative big screen ideas to small screens. Many internet users are using digital commerce for purchases, which means Bharat is not only becoming comfortable with using the internet but they also have trust in those services.”

As the panellists continued their discussion, it was evident that while digital marketing has come a long way in India, and has enormous potential, there are still learnings left, all of which will help evolve the market to greater heights.

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