To promote the recently launched book authored by 18 digital media professionals, afaqs! Campus partnered with Loop Mobile to host the event in Mumbai. Digital experts shared their views on social marketing and Loop Mobile's Surya Mahadevan presented his thoughts on mobile marketing.
The welcome note delivered by Prasanna Singh, chief operating officer, Banyan Netfaqs was followed by a brain storming session where experts discussed if the social graph is the new ammunition for marketers.
The panel of experts comprised Ekalavya Bhattacharya, head, digital, MTV India; Unny Radhakrishnan, head, digital, South Asia, Maxus; and Mihir Karkare, co-founder and vice-president, Social Wavelength. The discussion was moderated by Preetham Venkky, business head, KRDS India.
Venkky opened the discussion with his thoughts on social graph. He pointed out how social graph has taken social networking beyond mere connections by mapping users. According to Venkky, marketers need to understand that marketing is all about conversations and social graph is a tool to better steer conversations on social media.
The concept was further discussed as Venkky put forward questions before the panel.
Karkare said, "Social graph allows marketers access to not just structured data but also users' activity, which is a lot richer than the information a user puts up on his profile."
Bhattacharya said how one must stop looking at social graph as 'ammunition' and think of it more as a 'target finder' with the user being the 'weapon'. He stressed on the need for a brand to invest in content. Herein, Bhattacharya cited the example of 'Nano Drive with MTV', a social streaming show featuring the journey of four teams driving through the country in a Tata Nano and sharing their experiences.
Through the show, MTV India targeted social media enthusiasts and sent them on the drive. Tata Nano, on the other hand, exploited the opportunity to increase the cool quotient of the car by showcasing it as a vehicle otherwise considered for light city driving as an off-roader.
Deterrents to the idea also received attention, especially how privacy issues could be a constraint and how social mapping also depends on how much a user decides to share on the social network.
Karkare remarked that reliance on sharing could be a deterrent or advantage, depending on the product and the target group.
"The general trend is that people are sharing a lot more due to various reasons such as quicker internet, smart mobile devices and others. Even if there is less content, there are a lot of insights available," said Karkare.
When asked if marketers are investing in content, Bhattacharya said that marketers need to be smart and note that they do not have to create content but ride on what is being created by others.
Radhakrishnan said, "It is not going to be just a content game but context has to be considered too. One must keep the eyes and ears open and be aware of the changes. Our agency is investing significantly in research. Such initiatives will go a long way in understanding consumer behaviour."
The experts said that brands must listen as the listening exercise is hardcore research. Also, instead of the content, brands should continue to observe what is being talked about, what is working and what is not.
Towards the end of the discussion, Bhattacharya said that the ideal open graph would be a central one, to which all social websites would contribute, creating a system that is truly open.
"Facebook probably does not know what I do on other websites," he noted.
Following the brain storming session, Surya Mahadevan, chief operating officer, Loop Mobile took the audience through a comprehensive presentation showcasing the evolution and potential of mobile marketing.
Through his presentation, Mahadevan threw light upon how mobile telecom's revenue model has evolved from voice to VAS and now, data. He spoke of the evolving telecom applications and revenue streams which have made mobile marketing much more interesting and promising than before.
Mahadevan advised that mobile is a multi-dimensional medium and supplementing other media could prove to be a high reach, high frequency marketing tool.
He also spoke of various mobile advertising forms that could be text-based, web-based, applications, e-mailers, video, voice-based, bill envelope advertising and idle screen advertising. He said that with the appropriate conditions, improved subscriber profiling, the right kind of expectations on mobile marketing's potential, high reach and high frequency campaigns can be ensured.
Following the presentation, contributors to The Curious Digital Marketer were felicitated and copies of the books were distributed to the guests, drawing the evening to a close.
Later, talking about The Curious Digital Marketer and the partnership with afaqs!, Mahadevan said, "It is a very informative digital, social and mobile marketing book and I congratulate the afaqs! Campus team for a commendable job. This is a beginning towards creating direct awareness and this kind of joint effort towards educating media agencies and corporates is a step to establish ourselves as a strong contender in the mobile marketing media space."
The handbook covers most commonly asked questions in the digital marketing sphere responded by experts in the business. More details on the book can be found at http://campus.afaqs.com/book_details.html.