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Goafest 2011: Laurie Coots delivers the five mantras every marketer should know

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Goa | In Advertising | April 11, 2011
TBWA Worldwide's CMO Laurie Coots, kickstarted Day Three of the Knowledge Seminar at Goafest 2011 with a session on 'The Five Things Every Marketer Should Worry About'.

Laurie Coots, TBWA Worldwide's CMO (chief marketing officer), woke up a sleepy audience on the third and last day of the Goafest 2011, held at Zuri White Sands, Goa, on April 9, with a crisp presentation on what she believes are the five things every marketer out there ought to know.

The Era of Online Gaming

Coots believes that every marketer must recognise the kind of popularity online gaming is garnering nowadays. Online game designer Jane McGonigal estimates that overall, across the world, three billion hours a week are spent online!

"Online gaming gives users instant gratification and instant feedback, something absent in the real world," said Coots.

Farmville, apparently, has around 80 million players, of which, half are women above 40 years of age. "These women are stealing snippets of time from work to curate and nurture a parallel world; a world in which they can lead their dream lives," enthused Coots.

She urged marketers to notice that profit margins today, are great in the online medium.

Coots went on to draw an interesting parallel between online gaming behaviour (such as voting for something, 'liking' something on Facebook, and commenting on game-related information), and a role play of sorts.

"Managing virtual friendships and the whole gamut of social networking options at large, is all one big online game!" said Coots.

Information Overload

The second point that Coots made was about the kind of information overload consumers are subjected to these days, given the plethora of purchase options they have. Research has shown that the average individual is capable of holding only seven (give or take, two) items of information in their minds at any given point. The area, where these bits of information are stored, is scientifically known as one's 'working memory'.

A study in New England showed that the more information one gets, the worse are his/her decisions.

"This is important as our success as ad-makers hinges on the kind of strategy-related decisions clients make and the kind of purchase-decisions consumers make," Coots said.

Coots further added, that today, making quick decisions has become more important than making good decisions. Thus, 'deciding not to decide' has become a fundamentally prevalent management strategy, as people want information just to 'know' their options more than wanting to decide on one.

A suggestion to marketers to foster good decision-making, is to try and make the overall brand experience (mainly on the digital medium) more emotional. Additionally, reducing the fragmentation in the marketing fraternity may also help, said Coots.

"Com-vergence"

'Com-vergence', is the culmination of e-marketing, mobile marketing/mobile commerce and shopper marketing/in-store marketing. The new-age Indian shopper is exposed to a blend of all three. This, Coots opined, is the third thing that marketers must pay heed to.

By 2012, there will be 723.1 million mobile users in India, and 298 million users who will access the internet via the mobile phone medium. Given this, shopping will cease to be something people go out and do; rather, it will evolve into something people will be seen doing at all times, as they will receive constant updates on their phones regarding shops, prices, options and the like.

"With constant notifications reaching buyers on their cell phones, the journey from desire to acquisition will be completed within a nanosecond!" Coots predicted.

A Brand Strategy Called 'Purpose'

The fourth aspect was centred on why CSR (corporate social responsibility) is becoming important for marketers and clients.

This is because consumers are beginning to see sense in collective prosperity, not just in individual success. "Consumers now put 'we' before 'I'," said Coots.

She shared the example of Ben & Jerry's ice-cream -- a brand that was an indulgence, in terms of both calories and the wallet - that won over consumers with the proposition 'Great ice-cream from nice people', by stressing on its contribution to society.

The fifth and last tip Coots doled out to marketers was about creativity. According to her, advertisers will do better if they reach out to creative talent from different fields (say artists, architects, etc.), hailing from across the world and find a way to work together.

Coots further claimed that everyone involved in the communication process should be creative, especially professionals from the media (planning/buying) departments of agencies.

She concluded that the communication process would improve if marketers stopped placing undue importance on only one of the four P's of marketing, that is, promotion, and started focussing on the other three -- namely, product, price and place, as well.

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