'Ratings and reviews on social media decide consumer's purchase nowadays'

At e4m's 5th Content Jam, Suparna Mitra, CEO, Watches & Wearables Division, TITAN, discussed how content marketing has become a challenge due to the growing influence of social media platforms

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Oct 11, 2021 1:32 PM
Suparna Mitra

Coronavirus pandemic and ensuing restrictions have changed the way companies and brands advertise their products. The traditional way of putting out print ads and TV commercials of 30 or 60 seconds, the focus has been shifted to 3-6 seconds of digital marketing on Facebook and Google. This shift has forced the Brands to revise their marketing strategy. The CEOs and CMOs are on their toes to keep pace with the evolving digital domain.  

Keeping that in mind, e4m organised a 'Content Jam' on October 8. In the Fireside Chat session, Nawal Ahuja, Co-founder, exchange4media, held a conversation with Suparna Mitra, CEO, Watches, and Wearables Division, TITAN, to understand the challenges of the brands in the dynamic scenario.

Explaining her challenges of the last 18 months of the pandemic, Mitra, who was also on the jury for the e4m content marketing award, said, “Earlier, the main focus of the brands was on TVC of 30 seconds or 60-seconds, followed by radio ads, and then consumer-driven contests etc...the marketing was mostly the one way. Today, it is two-way.”

Consumers are not much dependent on TV ads now, she noted, “Now, customers are contributing significantly in the marketing of the brands through Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Then there are influencers who are the brand ambassadors of products. All the information about the brands is disseminated on the internet within seconds of the TVC launch and consumers start discussing the brands soon. I tell my team often that no matter how much you focus on TV ads, ratings and reviews on social media will decide the consumer’s purchase.”

“People these days rely on reviews and ratings in digital space not only for buying products but also for services. I myself check reviews of other customers before purchasing anything, going to a restaurant or using any services. The reviews and ratings existed before the pandemic as well. The pandemic has come as a big accelerator.”

Mitra further shared that both online and offline purchases coexist now which is like the democratization of consumers’ purchases. Companies are building conservation around the brand on social media. Customers also look forward to interesting interactions. Now, companies are transitioning from “all physical” to a “hybrid model” of advertising.

When asked about the difference between the digital marketing space and the traditional print and TV media, Mitra says, “Digital platforms are pretty ruthless. Brands can’t hide anything anymore. Digital marketing is both easy and challenging at the same time. While 60 second TV ads require outdoor shooting, a lot of resources and a timeline, making digital ads is an easy affair. The digital medium allows us to prepare many versions of ads quickly and in limited resources. The ad is being created and put out within a day. Even the brand’s logo, whose colour used to be a permanent fixture for companies, is now being used in different colours.”

Citing challenges of the marketing teams, she said, “Brands teams need to be much more on the ground and also on the internet now. They must be flexible on creativity as set formulae have changed. They need to innovate quickly. But the speed has its drawbacks too. Some ads work, some don’t.” 

How did the Titan reorient itself to keep itself abreast with the changing scenario? How did the company analyse the customers’ behavior during the pandemic? 

Titan focussed on the customers data to devise its strategy, says Mitra, adding, “We have over 1,900 stores across India. We have the data on customers behavior-when they buy, what they buy. The data has the human face as well. We know people buy watches for birthday and anniversary gifts. Our stores often invite customers for their birthday or anniversary celebrations at the stores. We use many other resources as well and then join the dots. For instance, this year sales growth spiked in small towns.”

Such data is very crucial for chalking out strategy, driving the decision, and getting results, Mitra said. 

On the content marketing strategy of Titan, she said, “Most of the content generated by the marketing team is dependent upon consumers' data. What excites consumers, what they are really talking about, how genuinely they are connected with brands, all these factors play a major role in generating the content.”

“All stakeholders in the marketing and advertising segment have evolved over the time including the digital content creators and influencers.” 

How do these changes and challenges affect the CEOs and their thought processes? Mitra admits that the CEO’s role has changed a lot. “Fear of safety of the employees from the infection, vaccination targets and financial support to ecosystem partners and franchise so that they don’t fall apart in such war-like situations have been my priority. I have spent enormous time in holding people together through digital communication and physically meeting them in factories. It means a lot to them when I stand behind them while they work.” 

What would be her advice to young marketers and CMOs? “I don’t have any magic advice for each person who has his/her own way to deal with it. But I would like to say that they must have patience and resilience. The storm shall pass,” Mitra says with exuberating confidence. 

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