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Pitch Exclusive: Is digital overhyped?

27-June-2011
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Pitch Exclusive: Is digital overhyped?

“Digital’s impact on sales is a challenge”
Sajid Shamim, ED, Marketing and Product, Reebok India
The web is a very personalised space and whenever brands get into that space it may become very obtrusive in the consumer’s life.

There has been a drastic increase in consumer interaction with the web. I have always been made to believe that India’s a very conservative country but our ‘butt dance’ campaign for Easytone saw great response, so as a medium digital is more tangible in terms of reach and raising awareness among consumers. Traditional media’s reach does not guarantee that the consumer has seen your advertisement.

On the flip side, there is a challenge in digital to identify whether that reach is actually translating into sales. With that the marketer is in two minds whether to increase investments in a particular medium. Since the marketer has been using traditional media for the past several years, the inertia to stay on with traditional media remains higher.

There are two ways to see the old digital forum: one is where we feel that it is impacting sales with a direct correlation through a digital e-commerce side, the other is to see digital as reinforcing the campaign and ensuring consumer walk-in to your store. So, in terms of interaction and awareness it is working, but to isolate the impact on sales is still a challenge.

“Brands can be experienced online”
Ashutosh Tiwari, EVP, Strategic Marketing, Godrej
If you ask any marketer who has taken the digital route, he will say that it is an emerging platform, it is nascent and small as we have 59 million connections in a country of one billion people.

Thus, it’s less than 5 per cent penetration or 89 million users. Actually this is an inaccurate representation, because if you consider 59 million Internet connections in the country, we can safely say that there is at least one connection per household. And I assume that these connections are in urban India, which has 60 million households, almost suggesting that at an average every one household is wired to the net – so that’s humungous reach. And Godrej has caught on that very rapidly with Gojiyo – a powerful customised brand experience with substantial investments.

Digital marketing should not be treated as a plank for conventional marketing.

“Digital is yet to achieve stature”
Ajay Kakar, CMO, Financial Services, Aditya Birla Group
Though the digital medium is new, it is becoming very important and effective for marketers. For example, if you can pay from your mobile, it brings a lot of convenience to you. The Internet and mobile are new, but bringing convenience. But they are yet to achieve stature. So, every medium which adds to convenience, will work.

 

 “Few can milk the potential of digital”
Nadia Chauhan, Joint MD & CMO, Parle Agro
There are very few people who are able to milk the potential of the digital medium. There is fast growing relevance of it, and Parle Agro saw phenomenal results with Hippo’s inventory tracking campaign. Today, marketers should evolve campaigns and content that is relevant to the potential of this medium, and not just plan anything for the sake of going digital.

That said, many fail to tap the digital medium because of lack of digital skills from the marketing perspective.

“Digital cannot ensure boost in sales”
Soma Ghosh, Director, Marketing, Nivea India
Digital is one tool that should be very well integrated with the core campaign of the brand. Companies can get quick feedback from their consumers. Digital marketing is integral part of those brands whose target group consists of digital consuming audience. However, the only setback is that one cannot measure the output. It is difficult to measure the accountability, and also digital marketing doesn’t ensure instant boost in sales.
 

“Digital is no longer a niche”
Suparna Mitra, Global Head, Marketing, Titan Industries
It is no longer niche. Digital marketing is core to brands that have digital consuming audience. For a particular kind of consumers, digital marketing works best. In the present marketing landscape, a brand will start media planning keeping in mind the digital platform.

 

Our Take
“Hey look… me too!” every other marketer is shouting on the digital platform, where brands have intruded even the personalised web space of consumers. Brands are communicating and directly interacting with consumers, who are treating them more as living entities. Moreover, social networking is a big way of two-way communication.

Using social media as a platform and enriching the users’ online social interaction through branded experiences can form a true social branding. Also, many marketers consider it as a great tracking mechanism to calculate ROI. But is that the real picture? Are clicks enough to measure sales? Clicks often lead to over-measuring, making them inadequate tools to measure impact on sales. Such metrics are meant to provide quantitative guidance and cannot become a long term approach for brand building.

Though the enthusiasm for online marketing is high and evolving, some brands are unable to realise the true potential of the medium as most marketers belong to the old school of marketing. They do not understand the usability of digital; and merely extend the same communication message from traditional to online. Today, marketers are not ready to spend large shares of their media budget on this medium. The challenges ahead for digital marketing are the need for innovation, evolution of engagement levels with users and better measurement parameters. From a brand and agency perspective: communication thought process is still governed by TVCs and print ads.

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