In a fast changing world, every day calls for a newer idea. With a similar thought, Seth Solomons, global chief marketing officer and Mark Beeching, chief creative officer, Digitas Worldwide discussed digital marketing in the current times at an event titled 'The Age of Now Everything Clicks' in Mumbai.
Beeching said that marketing these days is all about engaging the consumer.
Citing examples, both Solomons and Beeching agreed that the world is witnessing rapid changes.
"The future is accelerating towards us," said Solomons.
They discussed what they thought were the four dimensions of marketing in the 'Age of Now'. Marketers have to make sure that communication is "timeless", with brand ideas being relevant all the time, ensure that communication is "live", consumers get to experience the brand in an "on-demand" manner, and the consumers are serviced "timely".
Neville Taraporewalla, director, Microsoft Advertising Solutions, followed Solomons and Beeching with a short presentation that furthered the idea of the need to keep pace with the changes in the digital world.
"Digital devices have woven into our daily lives. It opens up a world for marketers. We are now speaking to our audience directly and the sooner we realise it, the better," Taraporewalla said.
A panel discussion followed the presentation with Amit Dutta, chief executive officer, Luxury Brands and G Ajay Row, vice-president, customer relationship management, The Indian Hotels Company joining Taraporewalla and Solomons on stage.
The discussion focused on how to use the digital medium to engage the consumer beyond the Internet and was moderated by NDTV's Rajeev Makhani.
"If you have a myopic vision of digital and think it is confined to only the Internet, you are in for a surprise," said Dutta.
The panellists agreed that mobile marketing would be very significant in the days to come.
However, Taraporewalla cautioned, saying, "Advertising will go where there is an audience. Mobile has an audience. Both mobile and the Internet are evolving. To zero down that one is more important or better than the other would be incorrect."
"It is going to be a combination that will make the difference," he added.
The panellists also discussed the barriers in the way of digital marketing in the country.
"The foremost barrier is to convince the top management that digital marketing is important. Also, we must realise that consumers buy with their heart. Digital marketing has to appeal to the heart," said Dutta.
Row added that there is substantial attention being given to digital marketing and one has to understand that it will take time.
According to Taraporewalla, one of the big challenges is that creative elements have not been able to deliver on the digital platform.
"The pure creative talent is yet to crossover to the digital side," he said.
He cited the example of fast moving consumer goods companies that have heavy ad spends and still bank on traditional advertising.
"Can digital be made the centre of all communication? That is a big challenge," Taraporewalla said.
The panellists also agreed that digital marketing would take the lead in India in the next three to five years.
Solomons, however bet on his optimism, saying that it could take less time.
"Let's say 18-36 months," he said.