One of the key highlights of the Digital Leadership Summit held in Mumbai was the panel discussion on the topic ‘Building a brand through digital marketing – Pushing the Frontiers’. The discussion moderated by Mr Suneil Chawla, the Co-Founder of Social Beat, had two reputed panellists: Mr Ajith Narasimhan from Sundaram Mutual Fund and Mr Vipin Guliani from Piramal Group. Let’s take a look at the key insights of the session.
Everyone has been talking a lot about the increasing impact of digital marketing in building a brand. But the most important factor that needs to be discussed is the nature of the digital marketing technique, which in fact, plays a major role in achieving the desired results. That very thought started off the panel discussion. So how strategic or technical is digital marketing today?
Ajith from Sundaram Mutual Fund strongly believed in the strategic nature of digital marketing techniques. To substantiate his stand, he explained how the shift of mutual funds from being a push-driven product to a pull-driven product, paved the way towards the necessity of digital marketing today.
Due to major changes brought in by GST and demonetisation, mutual fund companies no longer need a medium of distributors to sell their products. Customers from the newer generation are more interested in getting serviced by the companies directly. Therefore, it becomes very important for companies to build a connection with the customers as well as retain that connect for a very long period of time. This is why the industry gives a highly strategic approach to digital marketing. Doing that helps them understand the need of the customers and provide them with services as per their requirements.
Vipin, from Piramal Group, too emphasised on the strategic nature of digital marketing today. When the aim is to build and sustain the brand, it becomes important to strategise digital marketing. However, he gave equal importance to the technical aspect of digital marketing as well. He was of the opinion that only the technical data mattered as far as the sale of the service or product was concerned.
Both the panellists were of the same view that digital marketing has evolved to a great extent and is no longer just a marketing tool. Over the years, the type of customers who consume different products and services have changed to a great extent. The customers of this generation need to be acquired, nurtured, retained and engaged with.
The need to innovate new ideas in order to connect with and understand these customers is the need of the hour. Apart from giving companies the advantage of targeting the right customers, digital marketing also helps them to understand the needs of the customers and design their brands and services accordingly. Therefore, it becomes important to incorporate digital marketing techniques right when the idea of launching a product or a service comes into the picture.
With changing times, the kind of products and services that customers need are also changing. Ajith was of the opinion that in the coming years, there will be a need to re-categorise the products completely. The need of the hour then would be curated solution-based products and goal based offers. That is when there will be a great scope for bringing in innovation in the digital space and engaging with India's next billion internet users.
Vipin also agreed with him. The requirement now is to first find out what the customers need and then build the product. This involves a lot of research for which innovative ideas have to be developed to find the right information from the customers through the digital space.
The number of consumers has increased rapidly. And not all the people who consume data are recurring customers. There is a need for customer profiling in order to put forth the right suggestions to the customers. Both the panellists agreed that the digital strategy that needed to be applied here varied in the case of B2C and B2B.
Since there has been a shift from mass targeting to micro-targeting, strategies, too, need to be changed. Instead of bombarding all the people with the same digital ads and search ads, it is important to connect with people based on their profiles. This data-driven model would do wonders in the area of lead generation.
In the case of B2B, the target audience is very limited. Therefore, a blended strategy could be used, wherein apart from directly trying to convince the distributors, the help of customers could be taken to influence the decision of the distributors. This could be done with the help of social media platforms like LinkedIn.
The new generation needs easy access to everything. Today, it is not difficult to bring a customer on board if your products are given to them in the most simplified manner. Going the digital way makes sure that customers get instant satisfaction. Therefore, it is necessary to spend the money to upgrade the reach of the company.
As compared to the other mediums, digital marketing is the most objective way of measuring ROI. It becomes easy to determine the success or failure of one’s campaign if it’s ROI driven. Not only does it help to determine the number of engagements, but it also helps in finding out the right platforms that help in targeting a specific audience. With ROI driven marketing technique, brands can easily recognise the right social media platform to connect with their customers.
Both our panellists were of the opinion that digital marketing is a key player as far as the game of connecting with the customers or distributors is concerned.