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Integrating online and offline channels is key to digital marketing

By , agencyfaqs! | In | October 15, 2003
A day-long seminar organised by OgilvyInteractive focused on how digital marketing could be used to better a marketer's prospects


"In turbulent times when budgets are slashed, the web can help," said VS Sudhakar, managing director, Fabmall, while speaking at the day-long seminar organised by OgilvyInteractive on the subject of 'Making Digital Marketing Work', in Mumbai, on October 14, 2003.

Sudhakar was speaking about email as a marketing tool, and the relevance of his statement can be gauged from the fact that "email marketing is a low cost affair" when compared with many other offline channels. "However, it cannot work as a standalone medium and has to be used in conjunction with offline channels," he emphasised.

Email marketing, much like SMS-based marketing, should have an opt-in and opt-out (in the case of email, it is an unsubscribe option to the website being promoted) facility to empower users to decide whether they would like to view the messages sent, he said. "Don't spam on third-party lists," was his warning note.

Interesting subjects, simple copy and effective sender lines catch the attention of the user, initiating him to click on the message and read it. "Tracking results are very important apart from being clear about the objective of the exercise," he said. But the biggest concern was the need to be non-intrusive by limiting the number of messages sent, so as to avoid overkill.

Ajit Balakrishnan, founder, chairman and CEO, rediff.com, highlighted the broad trends of Internet usage in the country in the session on 'Getting the most out of your interactive properties'. "India is a young country and 80 per cent of the population on the net is in the age-group of 20-35 years," he said. "There are about 15 million PC-based online users to 25 million cell phone users in India," he added. In China, the figure stands at 60 million PC-based users to 220 million cell phone users.

For online marketers, the 25-35 year age group is the key target market considering that many in this segment are on their way to purchasing their first car or fridge, take a home loan or opt for a credit card. This, apart from being highly educated and sophisticated, emphasised Balakrishnan. "In the short-term, gold lies at the middle of the pyramid," he said, while hinting at the potential of this young population as a prospective target market.

In sharp contrast, Amitabh Pandey of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd, which manages the online rail reservation system, emphasised that it was time for online practitioners to go beyond the "T-shirts and roses syndrome". "Eighty-five per cent of transacting users on our website are in the age-group of 26-40 years, which proves that if there is something worth buying, people will come. E-commerce has arrived in India and online players should capitalise on it."

Interestingly, there was a general consensus that a great deal of e-commerce and Internet usage in the country happens in offices and not at home. "It speaks not so much about PC penetration but about general industrialisation in terms of offices getting connected to the net," added Pandey. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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