How mobile has become the marketer’s resilient channel

e4m Screenage 2020: Panel discussion with Anil Viswanathan, Sujatha V Kumar, Karthi Marshan, Siddhant Narayan, Pallavi Singh, Manish Kalra and Gulrez Alam

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Nov 23, 2020 6:02 PM
screeage panel

The second day of the 3rd edition of e4m Screenage Mobile Marketing Virtual Conference witnessed a high-power panel discussion on the topic -‘How Mobile has Become the Marketer’s Resilient Channel’. Top leaders from the industry shared their insights on the growing adoption of mobile in business and how Covid-19 further accelerated the growth.

The panellists for the virtual discussion were Anil Viswanathan, Senior Director, Marketing (Chocolates), Insights & Analytics, Mondelez India; Sujatha V Kumar, Head of Marketing, India & South Asia, Visa; Karthi Marshan, President & Chief Marketing Officer, Kotak Mahindra Group; Siddhant Narayan, Head Of Marketing, OnePlus; Pallavi Singh, Director Marketing, BMW India; Manish Kalra, Senior VP & Business Head, AVOD Zee5 and Gulrez Alam, Chief Investment & Strategy Officer, Affle as the Session Chair.

Speaking about the reach and efficacy of mobile marketing, Sujatha V Kumar said, “Today, we’ve really come a long way, from TV where we had a single channel to cable to digital, social and today mobile. So, we've seen growth like never before. And if you ask me what the reach and efficacy of mobile is, it's quite insane to see the growth. Today we have 700 million internet users in India and that's up from 300 million just five years ago, just look at the scale of the growth. Out of the 700 million, 582 million are on mobile. So, if you ask me if reach is there, then that's an absolute yes. And why this reach is there is because it's so efficient.”

Kumar further highlighted the effectiveness of mobile in marketing in four points. She shared, “Firstly, I don't think any one of us, even on this panel, don't have a phone next to us. So the accessibility of mobile is that, and that’s why more time is spent on mobile and we watch more content on mobile. The second point is that it's also very cost effective; you reach a huge number of people, but in far less the cost that it would be for mass media advertising. And third, for brands like ours, it is really important; you get very effective targeting, so mobile devices and their IDs are unique for each customer. We can actually leverage that data to do location based activity, proximity targeting and actually personalise the content. And being able to do that, therefore, allows the brand to actually have Interactive advertising based on what you're doing at that time and where you are and what offers can be relevant to you. So there’s very high reach and high efficiency.”

Explaining about the challenges and how difficult it is to translate the storytelling and brand proposition on a small screen, Viswanathan said, “It can be as difficult or easy as any other medium. Fundamentally, the trick is to start with the consumer and try to understand what the consumer is doing on that medium. And I think all of us brand marketers have gone through the journey of first starting to adapt what you've created for some other medium into some other medium and it's not worked. Over a period of time, we started to get a platform-first and the same story applies for mobile as well. 

“I think the moment you realise that the nature of storytelling has to change, that's something that clicks. And when you start looking at insights of what the consumer is doing in the medium, then you start finding out ways in which you can build your brand differently from the classical ways of storytelling. So I think that's where the penny drops and it's not difficult, it's just that the nature of building brands changes. It’s no longer about storytelling but it's possibly about a two-way engagement, where you are able to personalise and be open to receiving feedback.”

According to Kalra, videos are a great available medium to target users with a brand campaign. 

“I would say it pushes us towards targeting the right audience in a more effective way. It could be top funnel, it could be deeper funnel, depending on the goals of the campaign and the marketer. I agree that there is no other medium in the country which gives this kind of targeting, you can target me by my geography, device types, interest, age group and anything and everything that defines me as an individual, you can find my behaviour online. So if you want to target me with a brand campaign, videos are a great available medium.

What kind of video should you do? How do you make it effective in the first 10 seconds? How do you show the core story moments in the first 15 seconds? How does it catch attention and make you take an action, that's a great brand building medium and you can kind of gamify it, come up with new ideas to engage with the youth, or the middle aged guy or anyone in that spectrum. 

Elaborating further, he added, “If you want a bottom funnel campaign. Obviously, there are ways like CPC. So, I come from the e-commerce and completely online world, you can go hardcore CPC campaigns, you can go hardcore cost per transaction campaigns. So you can kind of define the core deliverables for this medium, and then optimise your creative, targeting, and your medium accordingly.”

Citing an example of Kotak Mahindra Bank’s campaign shoot, Marshan shared about the challenges of shooting an ad through a mobile phone during the lockdown. “I think creativity is best generated when there are guardrails with constraints, the more you squeeze, the more creative people are required to get. And I would say that the constraints placed by the small screen actually have taken time. Of course, we want to take time to learn the medium. But if I could illustrate with a plug for my brand. Early this year, during Covid, we had the opportunity not just to shoot but shoot on mobile, because our model Ranveer Singh was sitting at home, our director and creative director were sitting at their homes and so were we, but we shot for a product and a service of the bank, which is delivered completely by the mobile, that’s the account opening experience. 

He further added that brand is the brand experience, “When we were growing up, the 4Ps were all over the place. But today, every single P is in that device. It's not just about advertising, the brand is the brand experience and the brand experiences now largely for most of us, is on the device. So the opportunity to have the mobile integrated with every single thing you do is enormous today.”

Speaking about the launch of BMW’s contactless experience and mobile marketing, Singh said, “I think most important, for mobile marketing, are the people who strategize. Today, the world has changed the way marketers used to advertise. I'm a big fan of technology which leads to automation and customer experience. So when Covid hit all of us, we at BMW still wanted to be close to our customers and tell them that we are here to serve them. And that's when we launched something called the BMW contactless experience, and it was across the entire spectrum of the business: sales, service, aftersales, and most importantly aftersales because most of the people won’t be driving their cars but what they wanted was that once the showrooms open and the after-service starts, our car should be taken care of. I think that's what automotive is all about, the post-purchase experience and pre-purchase experience. And that's what mobile has done to launch the entire contactless experience with the whole objective of serving the customer, like any other brand like visa would do, primarily I can relate to that. From that perspective our customers and clientele would want everything at a click of a button - My car is serviced or not, I want to see while it's being serviced that what parts have been changed, are we clear with them is the communication. 

Singh stated that mobile marketing is all about transparency, especially in the luxury segment because these customers expect everything at the click of a button.

“Most times, it's about the customers and they are truly our brand ambassadors. So they expect much more than what we can sometimes deliver. But that's been the whole journey since Covid and I think digital transformation and mobile marketing has just accelerated its pace for marketers of tomorrow but marketers of today and we're all learning at that pace. But for us, the most important thing and personally I think as a marketer and a professional is how do you join all the businesses, not just marketing, marketing is a function to support the end goal of sales, how do we bring everybody together in an organisation to understand what this little device can do for us. Automotive in general is an extremely traditional sector, but we need to learn something which is more progressive, but more importantly, bringing the entire business unit together, not marketing as a function, because then it's isolation and it doesn't deliver on the business goals.”

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