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Knowledge Series takes a look at e-advertising potential

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Knowledge Series takes a look at e-advertising potential

Imagine the power of an SMS or an e-mail that takes you to the doorway of an estimated Rs 50-crore industry of digital and mobile marketing. To take a close look at this emerging new-age marketing vehicle, exchange4media organised a ‘Knowledge Series’ panel discussion on the ‘Impact of digital and mobile era on marketing’ in the Capital on June 25.

To coincide with the Knowledge Series, attended by the who’s who from the advertising, marketing and media world, exchange4media also launched its latest product, the weekly newspaper “Impact”, in tabloid format.

Well-known personalities from the Indian cyber world debated for more than an hour the strengths, scope and pitfalls of Internet and mobile marketing and advertising. The panel included Sanjay Trehan, Osama Manzaar, Sunandan Choudhry, Alok Mittal, Rajesh Sawhney, Princy Bhatnagar, and Raj B Singh who moderated the discussion.

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Panelists Osama Manzar of Digital Empowerment, Alok Mittal of, Rajesh Sawhney of Times Internet, moderator Raj B Singh of ActiveMedia Technology, Princy Bhatnagar of Samsung, Sunandan Choudhury of Universal McCann, and Sanjay Trehan of Hindustan Times Internet at the Knowledge Series session on "Impact of Digital & Mobile Era on Marketing" held in New Delhi on June 25.

Singh, Executive Director and Co-founder, Activemedia Technology, raised some relevant issues pertaining to the Rs 50 crore emerging Internet industry. “Are we really heading towards Internet advertising in a big way? What are the creative options? Is it a better value-added proposition for clients? What sort of campaigns lend to brand building on the Net?”

Describing Internet as a medium of the leading generation, Princy Batnagar, Head, Internet Activities, Samsung, observed, “According to my information, about 4.5 million users surf the Internet on a regular basis. Agencies are also recommending this medium for their clients. Ad spends in this medium are likely to grow.” But Bhatnagar expressed apprehension about whether “we are willing to take the infrastructure to the level that can enable the Net to emerge as a leading medium”.

Bhatnagar called for ways to curtail the extent of spam and junk mail thronging mailboxes. “There should be some effort to control consumer rights. If we look at creating brand awareness, we feel Internet or, for that matter, the PC, is the last choice in the buying circle of an average Indian consumer,” he said, adding that as a brand awareness medium, Internet was a potential tool and should grow at a faster pace.

Rajesh Sawhney, COO, Indiatimes, dwelt on subtle changes in consumer behaviour. “I do believe that change is aided by advanced technology or an improving digital environment which we see spreading fast in India,” he said. He felt mobile was more than about talking; it is perceived as a tool bridging the universe with the user.

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exchange4media group launched its latest product, "Impact", a weekly newspaper in tabloid format, at the Knowledge Series forum in New Delhi on June 25.

Sawhney said that the marriage of Internet and cellular telephony was beginning to make a strong impact on business. “The new-age digital technology has developed tools to lure people in making SMS or venturing into chat rooms. At, around two million ringtone downloads are made daily,” he said. Gaming too has huge business potential, he added. “The revolution is no longer niche. Technology is persuasive and it touches everybody. The only misuse of the Internet medium is pornographic material which cannot be ignored,” he said. In conclusion, Sawhney said there was a need to create a unique business proposition for websites because “it is the proposition that sells in a website”.

Content is what will drive business on the Internet, felt Sanjay Trehan, Chief Executive, Internet, Hindustan Times. “Content is the bedrock of Internet. Internet is the repository of information and the world’s largest library. For the e-advertiser what matters is contextually relevant content,” he said. While referring to the role of content in determining the future of e-revolution, he observed: “There is a plethora of niche magazines, news channels and other entertainment channels that have sprung up. Only top class content tailored to the targeted consumer will define the success of e-advertising, while e-books and interactive television will make a significant impact over the target group.”

Trehan emphasised the need to follow the typical content gateway mentality for e-advertising. “The lodestar will be on whatever, wherever and whenever content. Ad agencies will have to re-brand themselves and the advertising fraternity will see this as a cross-media approach,” he said. At the end of the day the client wants integrated solutions, and therefore the advertising industry must respond to this customer behaviour. While dwelling on the different initiatives adopted to boost the Internet industry, he referred to the recently set-up Internet and Online Association of India in Mumbai: “The association has two key objectives: the need to grow the internet user base from 17 million to 100 million and to increase the ad spend to 2.5% from the present 0.5% within three years.”

Dwelling on advertising revenue on the Internet, Sunandan Choudhary, Vice-President, McCann Erickson, said the total Internet ad spend had grown by 33%. What would help an advertiser choose a medium was its potential reach. TV enjoys a reach of 80 million viewers, whereas the Internet has a reach of 17-20 million out of which 3.2 million constitute the youth. “We are moving to quality from quantity and it is the numbers that will dictate the evolving scenario. Media planners are innovating to achieve a better connect with consumers. In India, we have at least four million SMS exchanged every day which means messaging has to be used more innovatively,” Choudhary observed.

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Chintamani Rao of McCann Worldgroup, Ravi Bhatia of Maruti Udyog, moderator CVL Srinivas of Maxus, Sulina Menon of Carat, Gopinath Menon of TBWA India, and Sandeep Vij of OMS at the Knowledge Series session on "Media Planning Vs Media Buying" held in New Delhi on June 25.

Osama Manzaar, founder director, Digital Empowerment Foundation, took a close look at the social market. “Brands are getting into the social sector in a big way. A social entrepreneur targets 80% of society. The social market is a big opportunity for e-advertisers,” Manzaar said. But to tap this opportunity, it was necessary for a fresh approach, like localisation of globalisation, or ‘glocalisation’. “The digital revolution will play a major role in a glocalisation strategy, and we have to focus on the bottom of the pyramid,” he said.

Alok Mittal, Vice-Chairman,, used an interesting analogy to establish his view on the emergence of mobile and Internet marketing. “When you see a tail wagging, there has to be a dog somewhere. The Internet is still a tail. The tail will grow at its own pace. The e-advertisers have to look for this dog in order to tap the huge potential that it holds. Personalised offerings hold the key on the Net. I will not hesitate to say that Internet companies like are doing a great job by entangling the targeted group of Internet and mobile users.”


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