Consumers in a Connected World

31 Jul,2015

 

By Dyanne Coelho

 

Businessworld in association with Nielsen launched the 11th edition of the Businessworld Marketing Whitebook 2015-2016 with much ado including an impressive lineup of speakers. Key trends in the marketing space were touched upon through the sessions.

 

John Burbank, President Strategic Initiatives, Nielsen set the tone for the release of the Marketing Whitebook with his insightful discussion on ‘Gearing up for a Consumer-First World.’ “I think the world is data-rich and analytics poor,” he said. The basic questions are the ones marketers need to be asking, he said. These include ‘How many are actually seeing my advertisement?’ and ‘How effective is my advertisement in delivering ROI?’ among others. Do not let the complexity of the amount of big data change these fundamental questions, he advised.

 

‘A Year of Cautious Optimism: What Lies Ahead for Business Leaders’ was the first topic of discussion. The panel included Devendra Chawla, Group President, Foods, Future Group, Rakshit Hargave, Managing Director, Nivea India and it was moderated by Gurbir Singh, Executive Editor, Businessworld. “A category comprising skincare and personal care is growing in single digits, the consumers are not opening their pockets,” Hargave pointed out, while Chawla said that food and FMCG products are not hit as badly as sectors like real estate and automobiles. High value purchases have been hit harder, he said.“Inflation, especially food inflation has eaten into the money supply of the family. The consumer is holding back,” Hargave mentioned. Chawla however highlighted that the beauty industry is actually growing 70-80 percent. To this Hargave, added that the pattern is no different for him. Beauty products in the men’s category are growing faster than those in the women’s category, he said.“Marketers ought to work on deriving more basic information, get more innovative, study different needs and tastes of consumers, etc in order to keep up with changing times,” Hargave said.

 

Salil Kapoor, COO, Dish TV moderated the next session which dwelled on the topic of the ‘Emergence of New Media for an Impactful Connect with Consumer’. “By 2020, 50 billion devices around you are going to get connected, you have to be smart about who to reach out to,” Avinash Jhangiani, Managing Director, Digital and Mobility, Omnicom Media Group said. Shripad Kulkarni, CEO, Vizeum India opined that this newness is here to stay. “We see a very bright trend emerging of experimentation which leads to all kinds of advertising. It is moving towards a new metric of performance. This is a good thing,” he said. The topic of big data was discussed in the regard. Tarun Jha, Head of Marketing, Skoda India spoke that the automobile industry is highly dependent on big data. “We run lean ships, spend money wisely, have a very focused objective for every campaign and ensure that every penny is accounted for,” he said.

 

Social listening has become a serious business, the panelists discussed in the session titled, ‘#iammarketer: The Realities of a Changing Consumer World’. “Socialisation allows us to build communities of like-minded people, build engagement, etc. This is where one gets insights from across categories and consumer behaviour,” Veetika Deoras, Head of Brand Marketing, Digital and Corporate Communications, Tata Capital said. While many marketers have evolved into digital, some are still experimenting, Ashutosh Gupta, Director Marketing Solutions, LinkedIn India said. “It’s not about social or digital, it’s more about the consumer journey,” he said. Sudeep Ghosh, VP Marketing at VIP Industries is of the belief that one should not follow the template. “Do digital if it works for you,” he said. Digital works differently for different brands and hence each needs to adapt depending on its needs, he added.

 

Prashant Singh, MD, Nielsen India lead the discussion entitled, ‘The Rise of the Connected Consumer’. The panelists included Kamal Basu, Marketing and PR Head, Volkswagen India, Prashant Peres, Director Marketing – Chocolate, Mondelez India, Sameer Satpathy, CMO, Marico Ltd and Tarun Arora, COO and Director, Zydus Wellness Limited. The session revolved around how the need of the hour is not about focusing on advertising or broadcasting, but on using an integrated approach to have a full conversation and up brand value for consumers. “Legacy marketers are often apprehensive about the impact they can make through new media, there is a fear,” Peres said. Arora on the other hand argued that the line between online and offline is blurring as both need to use each other to build the brand. “Multi-channel purchase is going to happen and FMCG cannot sit back,” he said. From an automobile industry perspective, digital is the lifeline, Basu pointed out as most buyers do primary research online before they walk into a store. Satpathy however believes that it all depends on the task for the brand.

 

CVL Srinivas, CEO, GroupM South Asia played moderator to an interesting discussion on ‘Decoding Diversity in India’ followed with presentations by Sachin Jain, President, Forevermark India and Samir Jain, MD, Bunge Ltd wherein each pointed out the growth of their brands and how they adapted their marketing strategy to different segments of India in order to target different sets of consumers.

 

Earlier, Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor in Chief, BW Businessworld (also Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of the Exchange4media group) delivered the opening address, gearing up the delegates for the rest of the event.

 

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