@ ad:tech: Go beyond clicks, marketers told

24 Feb,2012


Text and Video by Shruti Pushkarna


ad:tech 2012 opened to a packed house today in the capital. The event boasted of digital experts not just from India but 15 other countries. Welcoming the delegates, Rammohan Sundaram, Event Chairman and Founder, CEO & Managing Director, Networkplay Media Pvt Ltd., said, “We promised to make this second edition of ad:tech in India bigger, better and bolder, and I’m excited to see such a huge turnout this year which is set to surpass our footfalls during the last ad:tech. This packed hall full of delegates, speakers and partners from so many different parts of the world, bringing in vast knowledge and experience, seems to have turned Delhi into the digital capital of the world!”


Day 1 saw parallel panel sessions on brand strategy, performance marketing, retargeting and remarketing, branded content marketing, innovative technologies for improving brand engagement, advertising opportunities in online and social gaming, and video as a driver for user and advertiser engagement.


Shiv Singh of Pepsico @ ad:tech 2012
[youtube width=”400″ height=”250″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnh9V8wlMd8[/youtube]

Real-time Marketing in a Hyper-connected Ecosystem

Shiv Singh, Global Head of Digital, PepisoCo made the first keynote presentation of the day on real-time marketing. With 30 billion status updates published on Facebook every month and 250 million tweets published everyday, Mr Singh reiterated the scary times a marketer is living in today. With this crazy amount of penetration where none of these people care as much about brands, a marketer’s job only becomes tougher. So to fight this, Mr Singh believes, “…brands need to use their budgets not just for distribution but for creating content and then depending on their users for distribution of that content.”


Mr Singh touched upon a few themes in his presentation, one of them being, real-time marketing. To explain real-time marketing, Mr Singh cited the example of Lady Gaga walking down Fifth Avenue in NY sipping a Pepsi. For real time marketing to happen, he would have to be there, smart enough to click a picture or make a video clip, send it to the Pepsi content studio, who would then rework and upload it for billions of fans in the next few minutes. That explains in a sense the power of real time marketing. Mr Singh admitted, “The entire marketing cycle from strategy and insight to execution takes months and months, and so how can one compete with a tweet or a Facebook status update which is published in seconds. That’s where real-time marketing comes in.” He added, “But for real time marketing to happen, six essentials are – real time insights, real time response, real time content studio, real time co-creation, real time distribution and real time engagement.”


Mr Singh also stressed on the need to focus on connectedness in real-time marketing. Brands he believes need to go beyond the role of sponsorship and play the role of an observer, a curator and a creator. He said, “What happens in the digital is seeping and pervading into every other industry. TV ads become trailers for larger digital experience. There is a need to weave social media in everything you do.” He concluded by stating that the ultimate goal for every marketer or brand is to create ‘value’ and value comes from not just transactions but human connections.



Brands are Now Publishers

The session looked at the pressing issue of ‘what is the need for brands today to embrace content?’ The panel was moderated by Ravi Kiran, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Friends of Ambition, and the panelists included- Wasim Basir, Director, Integrated Marketing Communications, Coca Cola India & South West Asia; Atit Mehta, Country Media Manager, Hindustan Unilever Limited; Nikhil Rungta, Country Marketing Head, Google India; Aditya Swamy, EVP & Business Head, MTV India.


Ravi Kiran kicked off the debate with a fundamental question, “What is the compelling need for brands today to embrace content? What consumer behaviour change does one see that forces one to embrace content?” Mr Basir of Coca Cola had the answer ready when he said, “Consumers don’t need messages today. We have to tell them stories.” Mr Rungta echoed Mr Basir’s view when he admitted that consumers today are bombarded with so many messages that it is becoming increasingly important to tell a story to catch their attention. He said, “Marketing today needs to be inside the content. Users will go and find you if they have a need. The user today is saying to us, ‘don’t come knocking at my door’.”


Atit Mehta also shared the worrying ad ignorance numbers that have gone up in the last two to three years. He said, “Advertisers today face a typical situation where they are spending more and reaching less.”


The question to address seems, whether the consumer is ignoring the messages because of proliferation or whether the message is boring in itself. Mr Basir agreed that it is not like the earlier days when advertising was between content, rather today content is between advertising. So there is definitely a need to tell one’s message differently.


The other point that was addressed in the session was if there is a need to create interactivity between consumers and brands. Mr Atit Mehta stated that interactivity is extremely critical today. He said, “I am spending on understanding and listening to the consumer. I want to know if the consumer understands what I am trying to tell him/her.” Mr Ravi Kiran asked the panelists of marketers are doing enough in India to embrace content. Mr Rungta replied, “Marketers are realising that this is important and if I don’t do this, I’ll not have a great feedback from my users. If your messaging is worthwhile, it will become content. Kolaveri video is a classic example in this sense, where an ad for a film turned into a viral on the internet.”


Marketing Masters

‘Marketing Masters’ shared their learning, insights and best practices on the usage of digital for their brands, in this session. The session was moderated by Arun Tadanki, Managing Director, Yahoo India.


Viral Oza, Marketing Director, Nokia shared his perspective on what’s the big deal about digital. Digital, he said, “…is a part of life and not a way of life. It’s neither offline nor online, but it’s both!” He also shared some data on the number of internet users in India. Out of the 100 million users, more than 75 percent of the internet usage is driven by youngsters. He reiterated the need for brands to ‘engage’ with consumers. Citing data, he said, “More than 30 percent consumers refer to internet for accessing information on brands and 40 percent of those consumers convert into referrals. 30 percent consumers recommend products to their peers based on their experience.” He added, “Marketers as we know it today are talking in a monologue- we don’t know if anyone is listening. Digital marketing means that we give the people the tools and a story and they will tell your story. The new communication mode is Dialogue.”


Karthi Marshan, EVP & Head, Group Marketing, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. chalked out the steps to transform digitally for a marketer. The underlying idea of his presentation was that a marketer need not be intimidated by technology, the real challenge is to convince the top leadership of the need for transformation.


Virginia Sharma, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, India/South Asia, IBM India spoke about a corporate character that IBM enforces and stands for, and how digital will help shape a belief over the next 100 years. She said, “To keep a brand vibrant and growing, it needs to be relevant and relevance can be created if there’s something deeper in the brand.”


Anurag Mehrotra, Vice President, Marketing, Ford India cited six trends in the market today in his presentation- i) increasing growth in reality television viewership ii) shift to ‘common man’ more pronounced than ever iii) growth in social media- 57 percent of people talk to people more online than they do in real life iv) growing influence of social media v) explosion In internet consumption vi) word of mouth is key.


The trends indicate the need for integrated marketing campaigns. Mr Mehrotra said, “Ford has recognized the inherent power of reality voiced through the words, thoughts, feelings of consumers. Hence the Ford motto is- Real people, Real experiences.”


Gian Fulgoni of comScore @ ad:tech 2012
[youtube width=”400″ height=”250″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQkpiJxLufg[/youtube]

All the presentations by the Marketing Masters seemed to underline one basic point, that of the need to integrate digital in everything you do, to build around platforms and not campaigns alone.


State of the Global Internet with Lessons learned from Measurement of Online Advertising

The last keynote of Day 1 was a presentation on the state of global internet by Gian Fulgoni, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, comScore. In the session, Mr Fulgoni tried to provide a comprehensive understanding of how to best measure digital advertising effectiveness based on lessons learned from comScore’s extensive research.



Some findings:


i) Among various research points shared during the presentation, Mr Fulgoni stated that US was no longer the centre of the online universe. In 2011, US internet population versus the Rest of the World internet population was a 13 percent vs. 87 percent

ii) Asia continues significant growth in the size of internet audience. Growth has slowed in North America and the European growth is mostly driven by Russia

iii) Indian internet users are much younger than global average. 75 percent of audience is under 35 years compared to 52 percent of the world and 55 percent of the region

iv) India’s internet usage is relatively low compared to similarly sized countries

v) Young people drive internet consumption in India today, suggesting future overall usage will rise dramatically. India’s heaviest internet users are in the age group of 26 to 34 years


Mr Fulgoni listed a few concluding points from the lessons learned from online advertising.


i) The click is at best an incomplete and at worst a misleading metric

ii) Display advertising is an efficient and effective way to build sales both online and offline

iii) Accurate delivery of media plan is critical

iv) Facebook is a very efficient way to amplify reach and persuasiveness


Mr Fulgoni closed the session by stating, “Online advertising is effective both as a direct response and a branding strategy.” But he added that ad effectiveness needs to be measured beyond the ‘click’.


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