10 takeaways from ad:tech 2012

27 Feb,2012

By Shruti Pushkarna


ad:tech 2012 concluded in New Delhi on Feb 24, with the two-day conference witnessing invigorating keynote sessions and insightful panel discussions. MxMIndia takes a look at some of the major takeaways from the biggest digital marketing, media and advertising event.


The world has gotten a lot more challenging for marketers- With 30 billion status updates published on Facebook every month, 250 million tweets published every day and 5.3 billion views in a 24-hour period on YouTube, marketers have a lot to compete against. With this kind of crazy amount of penetration, it’s a horrible time for marketers. Shiv Singh, Global Head of Digital, PepisoCo said, “From a marketer’s standpoint, from strategy and insight to execution takes a whole bunch of research, figuring out a creative, writing a script, it’s all a several months’ task. It’s so hard to compete with a tweet or a Facebook status update that is published in five seconds.” If Facebook were a country, it would be the 3rd largest in the world. With consumption patterns changing, it is important for marketers to take cognizance of where their customers are.


Everyone’s a storyteller- In the changing digital world, the source of information has ceased to matter. Everyone is becoming a storyteller, a relevant owner of content. Marketers need to realise that consumers are also content creators for brands. Arun Tadanki, Managing Director, Yahoo India said, “The purchase cycle is far more complex because consumers are not simply recipients of your brand messages, they are curators of your brand message.” Anurag Mehrotra, Vice President, Marketing, Ford India said, “People want to co-create, the control of messaging is shifting and consumers are increasingly critical of manufacturer-speak.” Viral Oza, Marketing Director, Nokia said, “Give the people the tools and a message and they will tell your story.”


Brands are now publishers– In a world where consumers are bombarded with messages, brands need to find a way of telling their message differently, they need to embrace the art of storytelling to engage users. Marketing needs to be inside the content. Nikhil Rungta, Country Marketing Head, Google India said, “Users will go and find you if they have a need. The user today is saying don’t come knocking at my door- users are beginning to ignore your message.” To fight this situation, marketers need to learn a new and better way of telling their message differently. They need to be content creators rather than just being content distributors. If they can create content, in a digital social world, the consumer will act as a vehicle to carry that content across. Therefore it is important for brands to understand the compelling need of enveloping their message in pure content form. Brands have to go beyond sponsorship, and become curators and creators of content.


Growing influence of social media- Study says that 57 percent of people talk to people more online than they do in real life. 78 percent of people trust consumer opinions posted online. Gian Fulgoni, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, comScore said, “Social networking has exploded globally. Nearly 1 in 5 minutes online is spent on social networking sites.” Brands need to take notice of the value of social in fundamental areas like connecting with people, finding long lost friends, sharing experiences. Personal connection on social can help brands connect and engage better with consumers. Digital is increasingly becoming a part of life and so marketers need to weave social media into everything they do.


Listen, engage, transform- The new mode of communication is Dialogue. Brands need to first listen to their consumers and then engage them in a dialogue to transform and inspire their purchase intent. Viral Oza, Marketing Director, Nokia shared data stating, more than 30 percent of consumers refer to internet for accessing information on brands. 40 percent of those convert into referrals. 30 percent recommend products to their peers based on their experience. Therefore a marketer’s dilemma is really to adapt or die. With millions tweeting, it becomes important for the brands to listen in rather than throw out more messages at the increasingly bored consumer. Narasimha Jayakumar, COO, E-commerce, Homeshop18 shared that in their model of business, social media served more for listening to consumers and helping solve their issues. He said, “We use Facebook mainly to address consumer issues, problems with products etc. Once your consumer knows you are listening it is easier to start a dialogue.” Pete Blackshaw, Global Head of Digital Marketing and Social Media, Nestle said, “Three operating pillars of our roadmap at Nestle are “listening, engaging and transforming.”


Technology matters less- An interesting point emerged from debates and discussion that it is the basics in the business that matter the most and technology should be looked at as a vehicle for delivering a powerful message. Technology enhances the message and the experience but marketers should not start with the technologies. They matter less, marketers need to focus more on user behaviours and the data they generate. Karthi Marshan, EVP & Head, Group Marketing, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd quoted Douglas Adams, “It’s technology if it was born after you.” The idea is to believe in the power of storytelling, believe that a strong narrative still helps engage and not be intimidated by technology.


Shrink, Simplify, Serve- Small is the new Big. Marketers need to rethink digital in a world of smaller and smarter screens. Pete Blackshaw, Global Head of Digital Marketing and Social Media, Nestle said, “We need to think harder about simplifying our messaging and serving the consumer. We need to shrink, simplify and serve. Our screens are shrinking and so we need to simplify to serve better.” The future of shopping is small screens and the world is increasingly becoming contextual. Richard Dunmall, Vice President, Global Accounts & Agencies, Microsoft Advertising said, “Every surface can become a digital source of content in the future.” Marketers need to focus more on creating simpler messages that can reach consumers in any form.


Youth driving internet consumption in India- Gian Fulgoni, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, comScore shared data that indicates that young people drive internet consumption in India today which in turn suggests that future overall usage will rise dramatically. com Score’s extensive research on the state of global internet also indicates that Indian internet users are much younger than the global average. 75 percent of audience is under 35 years compared to 52 percent of the world and 55 percent of the region. India’s heaviest internet usage comes from people in the age group of 26 to 34 years.


Move beyond the click- Gian Fulgoni shared some lessons learnt from online advertising in his presentation on the state of global internet. Research indicates that click is at best an ‘incomplete’ and at worst a ‘misleading’ metric. Clickers represent a small and declining segment of internet users. Global click ratio on individual campaigns are pitifully low. So, ad effectiveness needs to be measured beyond the click. Marketers need to go beyond the click and explore other ways of measurement. Mr Fulgoni said, “There are two other ways. One is that you measure the change in behaviour, so what we do in the case of comScore, we take the comScore panel, take the people who are exposed to the campaign and a group of people who weren’t exposed to the campaign and then measure how their behaviour changed. And that behaviour change could be, did they go and visit the brand website, did they conduct a search using the brand name, did they get information or did they buy the product, did they buy it online or offline. Those are all behavioural metrics. You can also see if you changed the attitudes. Did the awareness of the brand go up, did recall go up, did favourability go up, did purchase intent go up? But those are all kind of intervening attitudinal metrics and not hard behavioural ones. But both sets can be used and I think they are far better predictors of the effect of a campaign than a click.”


ad:tech is here to stay: ad:tech has emerged as ‘the’ premier destination for digital media, advertising and marketing and the organisers announced that the next year’s congregation would also happen in New Delhi on Feb 20-23.


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