afaqs!

Capture consumers by leveraging ideas across marketing channels

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | June 11, 2007
S Swaminathan, executive vice-president, iContract, explained Contract's approach of reaching consumers through the media that they are using at that point of time. To make an impact, an idea should be communicated across all marketing channels

On the second & #BANNER1 & # day of the workshop organised by Contract Advertising, S Swaminathan, executive vice-president, iContract, emphasised the importance of utilising various marketing vehicles to form an integrated marketing campaign and get up close with today's consumers.

According to research conducted by Forrester Research, of all the activities marketers undertake to reach the final consumer, measuring the value of marketing programmes and the investment thereof tops their list of concerns. In a day in the life of a consumer, he uses numerous communication media, including television, print, radio, mobile, Internet and ambient. Therefore, creating a single television commercial or a single outdoor or press campaign are not enough to reach him. Marketers today need integrated thinkers who can think of ideas that reach the consumer through different media.

Contract's approach has been to reach consumers through the media that they are using at that point of time. The biggest challenge here is to take the same idea across various marketing channels and keep its essence the same.

Swaminathan explains that to face the challenge and create value for marketers, there is a need to reinvent marketing and 'unbox' the approach to communication. He gives the example of a first of its kind work done for Cadbury's Temptation, seven years back, which linked one-to-one marketing across all marketing channels. So that the consumers would spend more time with the brand, Cadbury's introduced pack-inserts in Temptation chocolates, which had a key number. This key number when entered on a website revealed prizes, including merchandise from broadcasters such as National Geographic and STAR News plus a chance to be a part of the 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' audience.

He pointed to another example: The recent HSBC 'Your Point of View' campaign, which provided consumers with experiential association with the brand across marketing channels. Unique posters were put up in malls and shopping stores, which featured two different points of view about day to day topics such as love and cricket. These two points of view were written in the same poster in a jumbled up combination of red and blue text. The customer had to put on red glasses to see the point of view in red and blue glasses to read the point of view in blue.

The idea was substantiated with another instance wherein jars half filled with water were kept in malls with the message: 'Half Full or Half Empty, Your Point of View'.

To make and keep a customer and to find ways to get the consumer to buy more, Swaminathan gave the example of Shopper's Stop's 'First Citizen' Loyalty programme. Shopper's Stop has segregated its customers into four sections according to the time they have been shopping at Shopper's Stop and given them First Citizen cards to collect reward points. Customers who have spent less than a year are called beginners, those of one-three years are acquaintances, three-five years are friends and more than five years are family. In 2002, on the 11th anniversary of Shopper's Stop Andheri (in Mumbai), a mailer was created and sent to the 45,000 top shoppers inviting them to come to the store and receive gift hampers without buying anything. The shoppers who turned up for the gifts eventually ended up shopping. The result was Rs 17 lakh worth of purchases in a single day.

On another occasion in 2005, a mailer was created which was sent only to First Citizens. This mailer when scratched by the customer revealed the secret date of the exclusive First Citizen sale. Thus, giving special treatment to the First Citizens over normal customers gave them a sense of belonging and attachment with the brand.

Swaminathan also identified new methods to reach the consumer by citing the example of ICICI Bank's NRI Services. Some years ago, iContract ran a banner on the Internet at the time of Rakshabandhan. This banner offered women in India the opportunity to send an actual rakhi to their brothers abroad by filling up their own contact details and those of the receiver. The rakhi, when it reached the NRIs, asked them to transfer money to their sisters in India, as part of the Rakshabandhan ceremony, by utilising ICICI Bank's NRI Services.

For building personal involvement and engagement with the customers, Swaminathan discussed another example - that of ICICI Bank's Children's Growth Bond. To attract customers to invest in this bond, iContract organised a drawing competition in schools under the theme, 'What do you want to become when you grow up?' The drawings created by each child were sent to their respective parents with a letter. The letter pointed out the child's ambitions for the future and tactfully requested the parent to invest in the bond. This work also won the first Indian gold Cannes 'Direct' award in 2002.

Swaminathan concluded the session by emphasising on the fact that a good database can make six times the difference to a response and every contact should be looked upon to provide the opportunity to add information about customers.

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