A look at what's keeping ad/media/marketing folks excited these days - in 100 words.
Food experimentation is on the rise. The affluent consumer is seeking variety in condiments. This has led to an explosive growth of categories like mayonnaise and its derivatives - spreads, dressings, dips.
We have a large population of diabetics, obesity and cardiovascular disease; impacted consumers are demanding products liked dried fruits, whole wheat pasta, olive oil, 100 per cent juices - products that are healthier (nutritionally) and cleaner (organic, free from artificial and synthetic material). This segment will grow very rapidly in India, with consumers willing to pay a substantial premium for the same. This, combined with the increasing need for convenience and on-the-go healthy snacking, is an interesting trend to look out for.
Marketers are focusing on aligning with partners and media who not just reach the relevant target audience, but also provide an accountability on returns. Associating with movies and cricket helps create high impact campaigns for a brand, given their mass popularity and extensive reach.
Routine product placements in movies or in-stadium branding during matches are now passé; marketers are looking at content marketing strategies beyond television and print, which can be integrated across digital & on-ground campaigns, to drive higher conversions. To increase brand recall, marketers must explore partnerships and deeper integrations through innovative advertising and targeted yet disruptive campaigns.
I am excited by data driven marketing and the opportunities it offers to marketers. Today's connected world offers new ways for marketers to target consumers and improve consumer experience.
Data driven marketing helps nano targeting through sharp consumer personas to improve efficiency of the spend. Strong consumer insights coupled with data can help you speak to the consumers when and where they are most likely to receive your message. The next big trend will be using data to personalise consumer experience and create a seamless communication platform across online and offline worlds.
Over the past few years, with the influx of social media and smartphones, technology is making inroads into the lives of customers. It is becoming a part of our daily pattern and connected culture. Through chatbots, personalised ads, enhanced mobility and artificial intelligence, technology is providing increasingly immersive experiences to people. Today, marketers have a huge amount of data to use. Big data, artificial intelligence and chatbots are becoming key marketing tools that enable personalised marketing and 'pinpoint analytics', making consumer behaviour predictable. Macro marketing is giving away to micro marketing.
Mobiles are omnipresent now and given their outreach, multiple devices will become a part of an inter-connected network. These devices will interact with one other constantly; such enabling infrastructure will be the game changer in times to come. Digital technology has emerged as a very effective medium for customer engagement across sectors and plays an important role in the marketing effort to bring sales and revenue growth. It also creates positive brand awareness and recall.
We are in the era of 'smart living' and technology will be the biggest enabler that will decide the way we live in the future. To rise to this challenge, marketers will need to think like their technology counterparts and wear not just the marketing but the 'Mar-tech' hat, going forward.
The Indian snack market continues to be dominated by chips, extruded snacks and traditional sweets and salted savoury snacks. In the snacks segment, new launches and investments have followed a set pattern - there is a tendency to follow leader brands. This has led to the growth of me-too brands. A differentiator brand helps create more value for consumers. Also, a key emerging category is gourmet foods (in snacks) which is fast gaining acceptance with more Indians travelling overseas, and getting exposed to new products and flavours. International gourmet snacks are now widely available at supermarkets and modern trade.
IoT (Internet of Things) and 'smart' devices have become the next big thing, and the current market climate in the country is gripping. It is hard to imagine a world without smartphones, laptops and other such devices today. There are breakthroughs every day and we are pushing the boundaries of conventional technology. Consumer preferences are evolving continuously making it important for brands to match the pace. Living in a world that is dynamic, governed by consumer preferences and powered by avant-garde technology, keeps me on my toes and makes it an exciting industry to be in.
Marketers in the construction and glass industries are slowly adapting ideas and methods that would traditionally be executed in the B2C industry, as consumers today are expecting personalised experiences with accessibility anywhere, anytime. While technology enables marketers to offer unique experiences with personalised apps, virtual and augmented reality, they are also exploring other innovative ways to stay close to customers. Creating 'Experience Zones' is another approach that offers hands-on familiarity with products and services. For a company to grow sustainably and thrive, it is imperative that it understands and embraces these trends.
The media is going through a process of digitisation and transformation creating avenues to be closer to its consumer in everyday life. Technology will be a key driver for change and 2017 will be a year of digital focus even for us. Regional print media is taking steps to re-energize its content with a creative and fresh approach keeping in mind the changing reading pattern of today's consumers. Although spoilt by habit, regional media has shown an increase in readership even in the age of mobiles and applications. Print media shall continue to garner a large share of the advertising pie.
Digitalisation, autonomics and IoT are what excite me. Technology has empowered consumers with seamless discoverability and accessibility, redefining customer experiences. Recent times have seen digital companies literally invent the future. Autonomics (Automation and Artificial Intelligence) - is perhaps one of the greatest opportunities. As long as we focus on using machine learning for good, providing right balance of power, and right standards, the benefits will have a transformative impact on future. To thrive in an interconnected world, companies will need to embrace the all-pervasive IoT. This induction requires a confluence of technologies and specialised IT support to seamlessly integrate physical and digital worlds.
The consumer durable industry has been on a high-growth trajectory. From 'digital India' to 'make in India', we are evolving with great velocity. The interesting part of our business is the various challenges we face on a daily basis related to technology and production. Technology of course, is ever-changing and dynamic - in this industry especially, and what is new today might become obsolete tomorrow. To tackle this situation, we envisage capturing the 'connected consumer device' segment via smart home appliances. This zeal to develop innovative and technologically advanced products is what keeps us going.
I haven't seen any sector in India transform as radically and swiftly as the Fintech space. Ironically, multitudes of naysayers felt that the, traditionally staid banking systems would be relatively insular to the tectonic shift that technology catalysed.
But the way we transact has undergone a significant change. From the demise of physical banking, to ATMs, to plastic money, to online banking, to mobile banking, to mobile wallets and online financing - the list is endless.
India is a unique market where the emerging digital modes of payment and cash will continue to co-exist, and presumably, even flourish simultaneously.
These are exciting times as we see surging interest levels in the co-working space segment, catering to entrepreneurs, start-ups, SMEs and professionals. Technology integration in co-working is becoming the next big thing, enabling guided discovery and app/web based real-time bookings and community engagement. In fact, early integration of technology in the designing process with 3D visuals and new age Building Information Modeling (BIM) systems will accelerate the creation of flexible work-spaces. The co-working movement coupled with innovative technology is redefining office space consumption in India. Flexibility and affordable pricing will become the key success factors for this industry in 2017.
With increased penetration of technology in our lives, it's exciting that the 'Internet of Things' (IoT) will transform everyday objects into an ecosystem to communicate sense or interact with the environment. As per Gartner, by 2020, IoT will reach 26 billion installed units excluding PCs, tablets and smartphones - a 30-fold increase from 0.9 billion in 2009. The market will also witness an up-trend in smart homes involving connecting of every imaginable electrical or electronic device. As technology advances and prices decline, smart home appliances are expected to be widely adopted- making this an opportune time for manufacturers to drive proliferation of IoT.
"The consumer durable industry is very dynamic, and to stay relevant one has to decide quickly - literally on one's feet. While competition becomes tough with each passing day, strategies and competitor's decisions need countering - almost on a weekly basis, to stay relevant. Technology, aesthetics, share of recommendation, visibility and consumer finance are other influencers. This competition brings in the exhilaration of a challenging environment, which I believe is the most exciting part of being in this industry."