“Digital mktg has rendered traditional mktg obsolete”

There is an imperative need to move beyond Kotler’s 4 Ps of marketing to an engaging digital model, share industry experts

by Arshiya Khullar
Published - Aug 27, 2012 7:17 PM Updated: Aug 27, 2012 7:17 PM
“Digital mktg has rendered traditional mktg obsolete”

With the galloping growth of technology and the digital landscape, communication has moved beyond the traditional confines of television and print to encompass the plethora of choices available digitally. Whether it is web, social, or mobile – marketers are latching on to each of these platforms to make their brands more appealing and relevant.

For C Abhiroop, Head, Media Services, South Asia at HUL, the very notion of a brand has changed. It is no longer a term used to define a logo, identity or even a product; it is the experience dispelled by a brand that is most crucial.

Today’s consumer landscape is characterised by paucity of time and low attention span, and according to Namrita Sehgal, Director Digital, Taj Hotels, brands need to be smart, real and authentic to attract the discerning customer.

With ‘experiential’ connect thus being they key and multiple platforms available to marketers for establishing this connect, the digital world helps to provide an ambience to build a brand presence through one-on-one engagement.

According to Abhiroop, each of the different verticals of the digital space holds relevance for marketers. While mobile and video help in building reach, social helps to drive engagement and connect. According to estimates, the reach of YouTube, for example, is higher than that of mainstream GEC channels for the male TG genre.

For Mahesh Murthy, Chief Executive Officer, Pinstorm, digital media and marketing have rendered traditional marketing principles obsolete and there is a need to move beyond Kotler’s 4 Ps of marketing. “A brand does not exist on the shelf, it is the sum total of emotions that a customer has for a product or service. The traditional thinking about a product has changed. When we talk of price, the distinction between premium and discount brands isn’t as strong as before and marketers can now vary the prices of their products tactically on the basis of consumer’s needs. Even placement and promotion have evolved from their conventional meaning,” he added.

However, quality content, irrespective of the medium, still remains the overarching need. Engaging, entertaining, relevant content is a crucial prerequisite for a successful digital plan.

According to Abhiroop, marketers need to have a content roadmap for the next year and while digital first brands are poised to win, the stress should be on creating an effective content strategy, not just relying on the viral strategy to do the trick. “In the digital space, which is becoming an increasingly complex, the key to successful engagement is providing compelling content which actually offers value rather than adding to noise,” he added.

Brands also need to listen to, converse and collaborate with their customers on the digital front to create a unique connect and build a favourable perception of the brand. As influencers and brand advocates, consumers help create a ripple effect, thereby, becoming a media for the brand itself.

In an exclusive category such as luxury brands, the digital space is used to amplify the consumer connect by creating awareness and trust, sustaining active interest of the consumer, inducing trials, and strengthening loyalty and advocacy.

“If you don’t make your brand, customers will go out and make it. You need to take the brand where they wish to be,” said Sehgal of Taj Hotels.

Taj Hotels, for instance, has leveraged the digital platform as a storytelling tool to recreate a sensorial experience of the brand online. For their luxury Taj Safaris, the brand has built a consistent and interactive platform on social media where customers can engage with naturalists and share and discuss experiences.

‘The Taj at Apollo Bunder’- a book launched by the group last year also built up a aggressive digital marketing strategy prior to the launch to create a buzz through contests and videos inviting people to share their stories and their renditions of the Taj.

For Akash Chawla, Head Marketing, National Channels at Zee Group, a conversational approach works best digitally. To promote its Ramayan show, for instance, the channel launched an ‘Aarti’ application on Facebook, a move that, according to Chawla, saw the search activities for the show go up significantly. In another instance, for the channel’s horror show, Fear Files, augmented reality was used, both for on-ground engagement and for interaction on the social media.

While content and interactivity are paramount, is it time to look at brand communication in a whole new perspective, in today’s digital age?

Murthy explained the new methodologies, which in his opinion would be a better fit in the present scenario. According to research, word-of-mouth is the most trusted medium for consumers followed by the opinions posted online, indicating the trust that customers repose in digital. Therefore, brands need to absorb these numbers and invent strategies to leverage this potential. “At the same time, they need to search for the right influencer group. And from the agency perspective, digital is all about multi-specialisation and creative agencies need to ensure that solutions are provided round the clock,” he added.

The above are excerpts from a panel discussion on the ‘Role of Digital Media in Brand Communications’ held as part of Brandstorm-Building Brands Online, a marketing conclave organised by The Bengal Chamber of Commerce on August 25, 2012 at Kolkata.

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