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IAMAI Marketing Conclave 2010: It's time for experiential marketing

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | April 30, 2010
The third session of the conference briefly touched various issues related to online and mobile advertising

A Marketing Conclave was organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in New Delhi on Thursday, April 29.

The third session of the conference briefly touched various issues related to online and mobile advertising. The panel discussion was moderated by SN Bhaduri, country manager, consumer media, Thomson Reuters. The panellists comprised Kartik Jain, head, marketing and eChannel, ICICI Lombard; Ramesh Krishnan, chief operating officer, 2ergo India; Ravi Kiran, chief executive officer, South Asia, Starcom MediaVest Group; and Satya Yerramsetti, chief executive officer, 160by2, an SMS advertising firm.

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Bhaduri, who was the only representative from the online publishers side in the panel, opened the session by saying that it is not easy to be a publisher in the online space. He said that though the industry has tried to come up with various monetisation approaches such as CPM (cost per thousand ad impressions), CPC (cost per click) and CPA (cost per acquisition), publishers are under pressure to monetise their properties well.

Kiran emphasised that marketers should understand consumer behaviour and should not bother about which advertising medium or technique they should use. Instead, they should aim for 'creating experiences', which actually lead to the intent of purchase.

He said, "It is not text or banner ads or any other format that works better. What will work is the experience that an advertiser can create for its customers."

Elaborating, Kiran said that the goal of marketing has evolved over time. Earlier, the goal of marketing was limited to creating awareness. Advertisers used TV and print ads to generate awareness about their products and services. However, now, advertising cannot be restricted simply to 'awareness levels'.

He cited the examples of the real estate and automobile sectors, where companies are using 'experiential marketing' to communicate with the consumers. He said that now, no one books an apartment without seeing a sample flat. Similarly, for cars, consumers always prefer to test drive the vehicle before finalising a particular brand or model.

Jain shared his learning from the use of digital marketing for ICICI Lombard brand and said that 'engagement' is a crucial element in digital advertising. He gave the example of an online application developed by the brand to engage consumers and figure out the type of health insurance product that will be suitable for them. He added, "We made available the application to a large number of online users through e-mail marketing and got good responses and leads through this engagement driven advertisement.

"We followed user behaviour on the digital medium. Since users search online before they make any purchase decision, we used search marketing. For us, text ads work better than banner ads. This happens because online is a text based medium - so a text ad has more chances of getting noticed as compared to banner ads."

Yerramsetti, too, emphasised the importance of understanding consumer behaviour for effective mobile or SMS based advertising.

For the uninitiated, 160by2 runs an ad funded free SMS service in which mobile users are allowed to send free SMSes (of up to 80 characters) to other users. The other 80 characters of the free SMS consist of text ad.

He gave the example of an SMS based campaign executed by 160by2 for magician PC Sorcar in Hyderabad, in which it first advertised or inserted footer text ads below the free SMS, saying, 'PC Sorcar show', assuming that people already knew about Sorcar. He said, "We did not get good response from the campaign. Then we changed the campaign a bit and added the word 'magic' - and it worked. We got good responses."

Krishnan, who was also representing the mobile side of digital advertising at the panel, said that mobile is a great medium for advertising as it offers a good reach with targeting capabilities. He added that customised mobile sites will have a greater scope than mobile applications, which are costly to develop.

He further added that the sectors which will take up digital advertising, beyond automobile, banking and financial services companies and information technology enabled services firms, will be pharmaceutical, media and the public sector.