A look at what's keeping ad/media/marketing folks excited these days - in 100 words.
Thanks to the technological advancements, humankind is connected more than ever before. But it has come at a heavy price. We have more friends on our social network platforms than our speed dial. As a side effect of online connectivity overload, we have stopped speaking to each other. So now, I consciously make an effort to strike a conversation either in person or at least where talking and listening propositions are present.
As a marketer, I often think - 'am I really communicating with my consumers?', 'Am I building a social base for my brand or a social-networking base?' So, this year my mantra is to listen to consumers in-person through field visits and strike a meaningful conversation. It is the best way to peep inside the minds of the consumers and understand their pulse.
Digitisation and increased penetration of technology are gradually redefining the state of affairs when it comes to brand business. Specifically in the sales domain, digitisation has not only streamlined all the processes but also opened newer avenues for innovation. With the emergence of intelligent analytics, artificial intelligence-based, trimmed-down processes, we're seeing immensely targeted campaigns that leverage social media, etc. This wave is empowering brands to enhance their sales impact and ROI footprint. Right from mining prospective customer databases, to creating a virtual persona of the target audience, brands are aware that the 'one-size-fits-all' approach doesn't work anymore. Digitisation is leading to customisation.
Everybody has a hobby, talent, interest, an idea waiting to be untapped... if this idea, hobby, talent was to be shared with the world, not only would it earn you an extra buck but even a great name! That's the conversation I am having with most people these days.
Helping individual entrepreneurs and businesses navigate through the 'confusing' online world, helping them cut through the jargon and convincing them that e-commerce, in the long run, is about creating their own individual identities online, is what keeps my hours morphing into days."
Today, the internet landscape has changed dramatically. Online, we have more (local) language users than English users. Clearly, language is going to define the shape of the internet in the near future. We need to create a larger ecosystem for language, from search to creating a better mechanism to tap into the next set of internet users. While we are working a lot on content innovation, we are also focusing on new technologies like big data and recommendation, and on creating in-house tools for data intelligence and so on. From being a content provider, we have evolved and become a product-led company. We are also focusing on user-interface.
The interactive nature and reach of digital media has made it imperative in today's day and age for traditional media brands to explore serious possibilities on the medium, so as to enhance the value they bring to the table for their stakeholders. Brands who have stayed relevant have done so by rejigging their content and reaching out to a larger array of consumer touch-points that exist across digital platforms. Branded content, creating digital intellectual properties by building engaging social media campaigns, or even building on an iconic offline property to create a refreshed identity for itself online, are some of the strategies employed by established traditional media brands to tap audiences on digital media.
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.
"In two words - Mullen Lintas! Since we launched Mullen Lintas some 12 months ago we have executed 13 new launches. Voot, Vistara, Voonik, Gionee, Cleartrip Local, Honda BRV, Dabur HoneySpread, Yoodley, Almond Shampoo and Real Wellness Jamun, MTV Beats, Avenger FLG, Tata Coffee Grand. We are finding the waterscape on the client's side, the tech side and the audience side evolving everyday.
We are enjoying the challenges of new money, particularly. This waterfall of content, backed by VCs that audiences are stunned, amazed by. Dancing under that waterfall. Pulling eyeballs to little idea jigs for our brands, that's refreshing!"
"These are exciting times in the stationery space especially since today's children are well informed and prefer using superior products - thanks to social media. Schools have been imparting all-round education and are not just looking at academic curriculum, but are making children aware of pressing social issues facing the country. Kokuyo Camlin has been riding this digital wave with initiatives like tree plantations, Clean India and promotion of art. Our Camlin Experience App for smartphones gives children an almost real life experience of art."
"I'm excited to run an online video business at a time when India is witnessing an explosion in internet penetration. Almost all social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram are including video as a core part of their growth strategy, and the quality of internet connectivity in the country is improving every day. More and more people are consuming content, especially video, over the internet today. Live video streaming, original programs by OTTs, increased brand video advertising are all buzz words and I feel we at Vidooly are at the right place at the right time!"