To expand, brands need to move into e-commerce: Josh Gallagher, MediaCom

Josh Gallagher, Chief Product Officer, APAC, MediaCom, believes growth in e-commerce retail in India will accelerate a change in the way brands grow

by Shikha Paliwal
Published - Oct 15, 2019 8:39 AM Updated: Oct 15, 2019 12:53 PM
Josh Gallagher

Growth in e-commerce retail in India will accelerate a change in the way brands grow, believes Josh Gallagher Chief Product Officer APAC, MediaCom. He is no stranger to the Asia Pacific region and in his present role at MediaCom, he has been working with regional client leaders across APAC markets. Exchange4media caught up with him for a tete-a-tete on the sidelines of a media event in Mumbai.

Elaborating on his view about the importance of e-commerce Gallagher says, “If you just rely on what you’ve always done that could be physical retail you won’t grow the same rate anymore. To be able to expand into new markets, to be able to do that more efficiently without a physical retail presence, you need to move into e-commerce. And you need to think about how e-retail works within your growth strategy.”

Marketers should think of e-commerce just as another channel and not treat it differently than normal retail presence, explains Gallagher. Underling his belief he says, “I think many marketers get seduced by a totally different way of working and they get seduced by the amount of information that they have on their own consumers and forget general marketing principals , so I think using it as a new channel but still remembering the marketing principals that you have , physical retail presence is still the same as online presence but you still need to build a brand and even more so building a brand when people can’t see everything on a shelf, they only see the top two searches that might come up or the recommended search the platform has. Being able to build your brand so people search specifically for your brand or when it’s an impulse purchase that they recognise what your brand is and that they may be bought before.”

But how prepared are media buying agencies themselves to help brands in the fast-evolving digital ecosystem? Gallagher has an honest and straight forward reply, “I think everyone is learning, everyone is playing catch up with the platforms, the advantage that traditional media agencies have and the way we think about e-commerce is as an en- to-end experience, we don’t just think about optimising on the platform, the advantage we have is that we have a clear line of sight throughout all of their media activity, all content activity as well. So the real advantage that whether media agencies have got it right yet but the opportunity is that they have a much broader look at how brands will grow throughout everything that they do.”

Of all the big digital trends he believes that Voice will be one to watch out for in the long run, he, however, has an interesting take on use of technology, he says, “Digital trends that are happening at the moment may not be around in the future, AR, VR, AI and voice assistants, potentially are overhyped in what they can do and the effectiveness of doing them. I think using artificial intelligence for targeting is not incrementally better than what we can do. Long term I think everyone is putting a big bet on Voice and Voice Assistance, I think new ways of buying things, new natural ways of shopping, we are seeing big shifts in markets around the world, around Voice and Voice assistance. I think that will be the one that will stick around.”

Speaking about programmatic advertising and what it means for media agencies, he explains how automation around programmatic advertising is here to stay but marketers should be cautious around targeting, “I think again markets are being seduced with programmatic around targeting but I think what programmatic does is enable you to have scale and to reach your audience on a platform particularly outside of some of the giants like Google and particularly Facebook. I think automation around marketing will be here to stay I think in a lot of markets you’ll see that move from just digital into digital OOH and also connected TV, which from a programmatic perspective is changing. I still think it’s just the trap of targeting that people fall into is a dangerous one. I think there is an incremental benefit in doing it all of the time”

Summing up on what would be his advice for the Indian marketer. “To be brave”, says Gallagher is his advice for all marketers, further adding, “take on things that we know have scale now , marketers still think e-commerce is scary or think of it as a totally separate piece of their business but I think for me being brave making sure its connected up to everything else that they do is something that Indian marketers have the advantage over everyone else because it has scale , this isn’t something that is small now , it is something that has scale, it will change the way people shop within the country so being able to take it on board and really understand how they are using that platform.”

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