Getting set for the mobile as the first screen

11 Jun,2015

L to R: ​​Prashant Singh, MD, Nielsen, Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network ( South Asia), Tushar Vyas, Chief Strategy Officer - South Asia, GroupM, Ravi Dixit, Head - Market Insights, Google and Partho Dasgupta, CEO, BARC India.​


By Dyanne Coelho


The eleventh edition of the Marketing Conclave organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) saw industry stalwarts from across platforms highlight key trends in the marketing world from the digital evolution, the changing role of the CMO, cross-platform marketing and the dawn of the mobile as the ‘first’ screen.


Day One kickstarted with a keynote address by Tushar Vyas, Chief Strategy Officer, South Asia, GroupM. “Today’s consumer doesn’t believe in the values of yesterday,” he began talking about how the mobile has taken over the internet and created a complexity in advertising.Rajesh Jain, Founder and Managing Director, netCORE Solutions emphasised that the trend of tracking consumer behaviour has grown mainly in the digital era. There is little or no data tracked in an offline world, like what a consumer goes and picks up in a grocery store, he said. “We ought to start thinking customer journeys,” Jain added. CVL Srinivas, CEO, GroupM South Asia delved into the challenges of marketing in the digital age.“There’s so much talk about digital, we forget that at the end of the day we’re in an ideas business,” he said, talking about how at times we get so overwhelmed with data that we lose focus of our core competency. “We ought to be able to change mindsets, not just technologies,” Srinivas added.


A panel discussion on the expanding roles of the CMO highlighted a study which said that by 2020, the CMO will be spending more on IT than the CIO. The speed at which the CMO needs to react is increasing, the panelists discussed.The argument of whether digital is being effectively integrated with other marketing media, or is just an extension, was the next hot topic of discussion. The panelists concluded that though the digital medium has taken the marketing world by storm, at the end of the day, it all boils down to how well you know and recognise your consumer and give them what they want, when they want it. The final session for Day One discussed whether we are ready for the transition from ‘mobile first’ to a ‘mobile only’ era. High value products like airplane tickets and high value electronic devices are likely to be purchased on the desktop rather than the mobile phone, the panelists discussed. Anurag Singh, Co-founder and ED – India (Ads Platform), Affle concluded by saying that there is no wrong and right, you have to decide what’s best for your consumer depending on what your product and service is.


Day Two saw industry captains like Kirthiga Reddy, MD Facebook, Satyan Gajwani, CEO Times Internet, Ashish Sahni, Head Digital Marketing Tata Motors, Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network, Partho Dasgupta, CEO, BARC, among others. The bias of the internet towards the English language was discussed in depth, with panelists arguing that an increasing number of regional languages, especially Hindi are picking up and the internet needs to adapt, lest consumers feel choked by the pressure of being force fed English language content online. With availability of cheaper smartphones and accessibility to internet, vernacular content is going to drive growth in digital marketing. Gyan Gupta, COO, DB Digital said, “Hindi as a language is witnessing 40 percent penetration in the online space. With non-metros witnessing steady growth in internet penetration, the vernacular language is certainly the flavor of the day.”


Ways and means of tracking consumer behaviour without being ‘creepy’ was the key point of discussion in the session entitled ‘Digital Footprints’ Data and Automation in Marketing: The modern marketers’ success mantra.’ How much is too much, was much talked about in the context of following consumer footprints in the digital space.


“The first thing advertisers ought to do if they want to undertake programmatic marketing is allocate 25 percent of the total marketing budget to it,” Reem Saied, Business Head, Cadreon India said while discussing ways and means of optimizing marketing efforts for an enhanced performance. The quality of talent that marketers need to hire have changed, Apurva Chamaria, AVP and Head of Global Brand and Digital Marketing, HCL Technologies said. “We now hire statisticians, technology experts and bring them into the marketing team. The pool we hire from has changed,” he explained.


“This is the age of technology where you can get hold of a specialised doctor on an app,” Rathin Lahiri, CMO, Meru Cabs said speaking at the session titled ‘Simplifying the Mobile Marketing Ecosystem’. The panelists discussed the advent of the digital evolution especially in the mobile space. Madan Mohapatra, Head Customer Strategy, Future Group, said, “If we are to look at the global advertising market, the industry around US $600 billion, with mobile advertising pegged at around US $100 billion. In India, mobile advertising is a fraction of global spends. The time has is ripe to increase mobile ad spend as growing captive consumers are found mobile.”The mobile screen has forced the marketing ecosystem to evolve. “Digital is not something you can ignore. If you don’t speak for yourself, your consumers will take you down,” Akshay Sharma, Head – Marketing, Eros Digital exclaimed.


Kirthiga Reddy, Managing Director, Facebook India, highlighted how Facebook is attempting to innovate. “We are constantly and consistently integrating virtual reality. Innovations on the creative side of the real estate industry has provided enormous boost to virtual reality concept.” Talking about Digital Marketing, Satyan Gajwani, Chief Executive Officer, Times Internet, said, “Technology allows the platform of digital advertising to enhance and create advertisements targeted at certain consumers. Hence we are seeing the growth of native advertisement, which tears through the clutter.


Having an absolute, standard method for measurement of the attributes of all digital platforms is the need of the hour the panelists discussed at the session entitled ‘Establishing a common digital standard’. “Cross media measurement has been talked about for a while. We keep measuring the media, we forget to measure the consumer,” Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network (South Asia) stressed. India is still far behind in trying to understand the consumers’ buying behavior, Prashant Singh, Managing Director; Nielsen said adding that the next step is for BARC to look at digital. BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta said it may not be correct keep citing examples of progress of digital in the US and the UK because “they may not be the best one can have”. “95 per cent of videos are still consumed on television sets in the UK,” he added.


Thoughts, ideas, statistics and case studies made the two-day conclave an insightful and informative event. The programme brought together some of the brightest minds in the marketing fraternity together on one platform and thus enabled an educative exchange of thoughts and ideas to light the path forward for marketing in India.


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