The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) held their annual forum and Smarties Awards 2019 in at Taj Santacruz. The theme of the forum this year was 'Impact India — Build the future’. Different panelists took the opportunity to discuss in detail, the finer nuances of mobile marketing in an attention-deficit era. Some of the speakers included Sanjay Behl, chief executive officer, Raymond; Satya Raghavan, director, YouTube, India; Dolly Jha, country head – Nielson Media, South Asia and Gauravjeet Singh, general manager, Media (South Asia) Unilever among others.
Behl kickstarted the forum with a keynote speech on the topic — Self-disrupt or perish. The point that Behl was trying to drive home was that any company, irrespective of size, history or market share, is vulnerable to perishing if they do not keep up with the changing times. He took the example of two of the biggest companies in the last decade — Nokia and Kodak. Both these companies were market leaders in their respective sectors. "In 2007, Nokia had one billion customers and they were not slowing down. By 2012, Nokia went bankrupt and its $85 billion valuation fell to $10 billion," he shared with the audience. "Age, size, reputation, sales figures, brand equity… none of these factors guarantee a company's existence tomorrow. It becomes important to rethink why your brand exists and to envision a clear brand purpose," he said.
Also discussed at the forum was brand safety. The panel composed of Amit Rathi, country manager - India, AdColony; Anand Chakravarthy, managing director, Essence India; Savita Pai, chief digital and media officer at Diageo and Samir Vora, chief marketing officer at Dailyhunt. The panel was moderated by John Montgomery, executive vice-president, global brand safety at GroupM. The session focussed on different aspects of brand safety such as how to drive accountability and which CXO is responsible for brand safety.
Montgomery began the discussion by highlighting what an important issue ad fraud is and how it is becoming an increasingly growing problem. Pai agreed and pointed out that in the West, there is higher awareness about ad fraud and the impact that it can have on companies. She also said that she did not see the same level of awareness in India and pointed out that more needs to be done to create awareness. Chakravarthy agreed with Pai and stated, “In a country such as India, there is not enough ownership on brand safety. Marketers can’t see an immediate ROI if they spend extra on measurement of data to ensure brand safety — so they are reluctant to spend that amount.” Montgomery added that the level of sophistication of the tools we have, to measure data are not up to global standards and that everyone has a fragmented approach to brand safety as of now.
Chakravarthy said, “Businesses are under pressure to deliver ROI, but marketers need to understand that there are legal and financial implications that ad fraud can have on brands, beyond just impacting reputation.” He emphasised the need for marketers to spend that extra two or three per cent from their budgets on brand safety and ensuring the right environment for your ads. Montgomery agreed that the risks to reputation are huge and pointed out that ads work when you buy them from good quality suppliers on ad exchange.
The forum also hosted a discussion on leveraging data for precision marketing. The discussion between Gauravjeet Singh, general manager – media (South Asia), Unilever and Channan Sawhney, head of media and digital marketing, India at Johnson & Johnson was moderated by Vasuta Agarwal, vice-president and managing director, Asia Pacific, InMobi. Sawhney highlighted that for a marketer, frequency, reach and conversions are paramount. “Content needs to be precise to prompt action from the consumer. The objective defines the campaign design, so it’s important to have a clearly defined campaign objective in order to prompt the right action from your consumers,” she said. Singh agreed, adding that precision marketing was all about relevance. He said, “There is a collateral advantage when it comes to precise targeting because there are chances of spillover. This increases the chances of a customer, who doesn’t belong to the TG, making a purchase.”
What happens when consumer, content, and creation intersect? Are you ready enough to handle it? This was the crux of Satya Raghavan, director of YouTube India’s talk. “Knowing where your consumers are spending time and what they’re consuming have never been more important,” he said. “In that sense, mobile phones have democratised the content creation game. After smart TVs, smartphones have become the fastest growing traffic source for YouTube,” Raghavan mentioned. He also told the audience that channel owners were following an online-offline revenue model, where they create content for the online media, but monetise it offline. Such as, in the case of stand-up comics, who post clips of their performances online and monetise the content by selling tickets to their offline shows.
The forum also hosted a panel titled — ‘The Audio Surround Sound Panel.’ Moderated by Varun Duggirala, co-founder and content chief at The Glitch, the panel included Arjun Kolady, head of sales – Spotify India and Dolly Jha, country head – Nielsen Media, South Asia. The moderator began the discussion by asking, “How big is audio in a marketer’s mind?” Kolady admitted that in India’s current media landscape, audio constituted a small role, but that is changing; he admitted he saw it as the beginning of a ’steep curve’. “This is a space that has enough room for new players. But the question we really need to ask ourselves is, ‘Can audio ads really help drive action?” Duggirala agreed, since he felt that the audience on music streaming apps and podcasts tend to be a captive, yet passive audience. “If someone is out for a run and is listening to music, he’s less likely to skip the ad,” he explained. Jha also said, “As a medium, audio is yet to establish itself. The effectiveness of audio ads remains to be measured; but undoubtedly, audio streaming enjoys high levels of loyalty…”