AdAsia 2011: Moving beyond the 3 Ds of marketing

By Anushree Bhattacharyya , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | November 01, 2011
At the second session of Day One of AdAsia 2011, the discussion was about the evolution of communication, consumer behaviour and the game of marketing.

A marketing strategy that worked 50 years ago is no longer relevant today. With constantly evolving consumer bases, brands, too, have to continuously look for solutions which will capture consumer attention. On the first day of AdAsia2011, held at the Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi, the second session titled 'Decoding the new age consumer' had Adil Zainulbai, managing director, India, McKinsey & Company, Laxman Narasimhan, director, New Delhi, McKinsey & Company, and Koichi Yamaoto, general manager, Global Solutions Centre, Dentsu, discuss the new age consumer and his/her behaviour pattern.

The session started with Zainulbai stating that the world is fundamentally re-balancing itself. He said, "The future remains uncertain and is constantly changing. Marketers are unable to gauge in which direction the world is expected to move towards in the future. There are four hypothetical scenarios, and the future scenario can be any one of these."

Citing the four situations that can unfold in the future, Zainulbai remarked, "In the first scenario, the world can be seen re-balancing its original growth and the world gross domestic product (GDP) could be $77.6 trillion; in the second scenario, unable to sustain the growth process, emerging markets could derail.

According to Zainulbai, in the third scenario, which can be called as the period of the dragon and tiger, the growth process for the developed world could slow down; and, in the last scenario, with further globalisation, developed economies will continue to face problems."

Narasimhan, next, talked about how multiple forces are re-shaping consumer behaviour. "The new age consumer is spoilt for choice. There's a drop in the price of mobile devices, and technology is now available at a cheaper rate. This has led to the emergence of global tribes. Also, consumers are now spending time differently -- mostly, on the digital platform -- where they tend to multi-task," he said.

Narasimhan further talked about consumers using price comparison tools such as the RedLaser to compare the prices of products. "It has been observed that almost 70 per cent of consumers compare product prices online, and purchase that product offline," he said.

Narasimhan emphasised on the role of marketing, which according to him, is changing from three dimensions to four. Earlier, the role of marketing was more functional, as consumers wanted a better product, value for money, and lastly, a process by which the customer could look for a simple and neat product.

"However, this process has changed completely, with engagement ruling the roost. The consumer is now looking for an engaging brand, and most of the time also decides the conversation. The entire process of marketing has evolved from a funnel to a wheel -- where communication plays a dominant role," he said.

He then stressed on the need for brands to adopt the digital means in order to secure a safe future, and continue their conversation with their target consumer base.

Yamaoto gave examples of Dentsu's marketing strategy in various situations. He said, "Before the pre-networked era, we followed a strategy called AIDMA that comprised attention, interest, desire, memory and action. During the network era, we followed another strategy which comprised attention, interest, search, action and share, known as the AISAS model."

He explained that with the evolution in consumer behaviour and technology, the group further changed its strategy. He remarked, "We adopted a strategy called SIPS, by which a consumer sympathises, identifies a brand, participates, and shares the brand. The reason why we adopted this strategy was because we wanted to change the consumer from being passive with the brand to being more active. We started looking at things from the consumer's point of view, in order to understand him/her, and what he/she needs from the brand."

In the end, Yamaoto once again stressed on the funnel and wheel concept, as it is a marketing strategy followed extensively across the globe, today.

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