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Innovation on digital or digital for innovation?

Learnings from hands-on experience about marketing on digital.

‘How brands think about marketing on digital in innovative ways’ was the core theme of a panel discussion conducted on day two of the Star FLOW fest, Times of India’s premier marketing and communications festival held at The Leela Ambience in Gurugram. Panellists included Sunil Suresh, Group CMO, MakeMyTrip; Meera Iyer, CMO, Medlife.com; Praveen Sharma, Senior VP, Ad Business, Paytm, and was moderated by Shveta Singh, national head - Digital for Motivator, GroupM.

(L-R) Shveta Singh, Meera Iyer, Praveen Sharma and Sunil Suresh
(L-R) Shveta Singh, Meera Iyer, Praveen Sharma and Sunil Suresh

Shveta Singh sets the context of the conversation by asking why ‘digital’ and ‘innovation’ is used interchangeably. She explains that digital, unlike linear communication, put more power in the hands of the consumers who are restless and that is a challenge. And then it is a very fertile space with a lot of opportunity with many platforms and newer choices.

Asked about data-driven marketing MakeMyTrip’s Sunil Suresh says, “For us, it is all about consumers and influencing them. It’s really about using the data to be a part of the consumer story. It is across two big chunks – one is acquisition across all areas and then there is customer lifecycle management - deeper segmentation and then to deploy Machine Learning (ML). Tailoring our marketing messages.”

Singh further asks Medlife’s Meera Iyer about her learnings based on working across categories, she responds saying, “Nuances change from category to category. It is in two parts – performance marketing (mostly sales oriented) and marketing which is brand metrics like top of mind and differentiators.”

Speaking on the impact of platforms on a brand's presence on digital PayTm’s Praveen Sharma says, “When publishers like PayTm become an advertising channel they can offer interesting insights – audiences based (targeting) and as an interesting advertising platform. There is a great opportunity to design advertising and marketing according to users.”

Sharing his take on the need for marketers to experiment the mix for new and tried and tested options, Suresh says, “We follow the now-new-next format and maintain a ratio of 70-20-10.”

Putting forward her POV Iyer says, “It is about new mediums gaining mass. I would wait for it to grow. Digital provides targeting benefits to a micro-level alongside many options and it is a delight. Paytm’s Praveen Sharma opines that smart marketers must always experiment to figure out what models works for them.