Digital Marketing Trends in India

Building a brand for GenZ in India – In conversation with Simeran Bhasin, Founder, BRAG

  • Somya Aggarwal
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  • 17 August , 2020
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    • 5 min read

When you live the brand, it is so much easier to build it. Simeran Bhasin, Co-Founder of Innerwear Brand, BRAG, has lived by this policy that has constantly helped her gain over two decades of experience with brands across diverse consumer segments including kids, youth, and luxury. After having worked with Fastrack by Titan, Manipal Hotels, Britannia, and Wildcraft in 2014, she turned entrepreneur and launched India's 1st and only young girl focused Innerwear brand - BRAG, in 2016. 

During our webinar series, Simeran Bhasin shared her journey of working with some of the most iconic brands, her insights on making a campaign successful for GenZ, and how she scaled up Fastrack, Wildcraft, and now BRAG at a national level. Throwing light upon her learnings throughout her journey, she believes that it’s important to stay true to the brand essence and that each brand should find a way to become relevant to its consumers in order for it to become a success. 

Starting with your journey with Fastrack - from watches to a lifestyle brand for the youth, was the transition easy?

“Everyone in the team at Fastrack was excited about trying something new. I always believed that we have to live the brand to build it and connect with it. That was our starting point. In a company like Titan, the transition was easy. Entrepreneurship is in the blood of Titan. It’s the organization that allowed us to explore innovative avenues for the brand. It’s comparatively easier to build a new brand from scratch or with a relatively smaller brand that is open to experimentation.” 

How has it been like to scale brands with national presence? 

“It’s simply the amalgamation of a universal business insight, a relevant product insight, and the brand insight that gives the nationality and scalability of the brand across the country. Simultaneously, working on the other aspects of the brand to understand the consumers comes into play that help in scaling brands on a national scale.”

How did the insights garnered from other brands help in building BRAG? 

“One has to put oneself into the consumer’s shoes. We were always building a brand for ourselves. Having human bodies come in indefinite shapes and sizes, making the age-appropriate product and creating age-appropriate communication were some of the key parts of BRAG’s brand strategy. With some key hits and misses from the brand, having multiple channels explored, and a direct-to-consumer approach, it all fell into place.”

How would you define BRAG’s vision and why did you pick this particular brand name? 

“Brag’s vision has always been “To bring girls’ innerwear out of the closet and onto the streets”. It inspires and aspires for women to speak. Product stereotype, business model stereotype, and the gender stereotypes were the hurdles that we jumped to create the brand. BRAG- the name was short, simple and it connected with our target group. We, as marketers, need to make it simpler for the consumers. The aim was always to leave behind a legacy and create an impact, however, we have seen the definitions of impact change every few months. The priorities shifted from having a cool product to a comfortable one. It’s been a vertical learning curve.” 

Insights, Hits, Misses, and more...

“The approach was never to start off as a direct-to-consumer brand. 95% of India shopped for innerwear from offline stores. The game has changed now. Indian retailers have always been a tough nut to crack but they saw BRAG as an opportunity. Our biggest validation came from them. Soon, we were on leading brands’ radars. BRAG’s biggest selling product was for tweens but we were targeting teens. That was an opportunity from the brand to tap onto which gave birth to Ms.Brag (beginner bra for tweens), contributing to 80% of the revenue. The biggest learning for us was to change the consumers (especially teens) mindsets and selling the idea of ‘comfort’ with innerwear, who were habitual to a conventional bra. It was more difficult than convincing a beginner. Switching is a very big challenge and we faced too many barriers. The girls loved what the product looked like, more than what it felt like.  Some very strong cultural nuances like these would come up in conversations, revealing external-driven purchase processes. For example, how is it fitting vs how is it looking during the trial sessions? So changing behavior was one of the learnings.”

What according to you are the key drivers to build a brand for GenZ according to you? 

“Building brands is not just about identifying the demographic and we tend to get caught up in this a lot. It’s the mindset of the youth in the context of the age segment that is more important. Today, youth brands include Levis and we have seen 70-year-olds wear Levis. They are young at heart. At Fastrack, we defined it as the ‘campus-mindset’ that exists in older generations and younger ones too but the center of the gravity of the mindset is always on the campus. If we get stuck at the age, we still might go too wide and won’t be sharply defined brands. GenZ is extremely authentic and honest as consumers, and they are aware of almost everything, from gender-sensitivity to democracy. When they consume content, they are much more opinionated that previous generations.”

Marketing strategies and channels - what was so different about BRAG? 

“Balance between communication for the teens as well as the mothers was crucial. How will the brand look like if the consumer came across the content and how would a mum see it.  In the case of tweens, it’s the mother who is taking the user to the product. Hence, we are doing education for the mothers but it’s in the voice of a young girl and we have a separate brand presence on social media for that. Indirectly, communication is what a mum would relate to. It has to be more fun and less awkward, all of that coming from a tween girl to her mother. The trust is built differently hence a separate platform is dedicated to that audience set. As a brand, we also cannot forget to talk to the other set of consumers who have their own voice (the teens) because that might backfire. The content has to be relatable to both the groups.”

New Market Segment Vs Competing in an Existing one - what are your thoughts? 

Playing within the segment is relatively simpler because we don’t need to sell the relevance of the product. For a new segment, you have to build awareness around the need from scratch. That takes a lot of effort and it was the biggest learning for me. It’s not only about creating awareness for the brand but also of the need. Behavior change takes a lot more effort. The risk also revolves around being too early in the market. In the case of existing competition, we need to convince people that what they are buying is not good enough.”

Changing strategies, Changing times during Covid-19 - any message for the branding agencies? 

“Marketing is largely a variable expense. Given that there are fewer brands in the e-commerce space, marketing budgets will reduce. Brands are going to cut down projects. For agencies,  It's also crucial to recognize ongoing expenses, make operations leaner, and pick smaller projects to meet expenses and keep the cash flow going. It also comes with figuring out of the box solutions towards communication and media, which was probably not part of the mandate in the past. Being overly supporting and going beyond the original mandate will be much appreciated. Humanizing the decisions is the key when it comes to supporting employees...”

Building a brand’s digital community - what should be the starting point of this? 

“Ensuring the ‘why’ in place is crucial. Clear purpose, brand persona, brand tonality need to be in place, along with having a strong target group in mind, keeping your communication streamlined. The sharper it is, the greater the chance of success would be. Every brand is online today and everyone is saying they are cool. We  should also be very clear on what we will not do or talk about and it should be all part of the brand too.” 

Can Purpose become the Brand’s Voice? 

“Yes, the purpose can become the brand voice. The purpose can go hand in hand with the brand’s personality and can be used to communicate the end goal. We talk about things that matter to the brand. It may or may not directly talk about the product sometimes. Today, all of us are curating our feeds based on interest so every creation of the brand revolves around the interest. You will attract consumers of that kind.”

Watch the complete session of Simeran Bhasin in conversation with Social Beat. Feel free to drop your questions if you still have questions for Simeran.


6 Best Case Practices For Creating Thumbstopper Videos

  • Nandita Raman
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  • 24 June , 2020
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    • 4 min read

Why Thumbstopper?

The rapid rise of mobile devices as a medium of advertising has challenged all we know about how to capture attention and tell stories. 

Research has shown that the average attention span of a consumer is barely 8 seconds. To put it in context, one a second less than that of a goldfish.

According to Facebook, “Consumers take just quarter of a second to process an ad on mobile.”

Commensurate with this revelation, marketing professionals throughout the world are creating shorter, more attention grabbing content.

Recently, Malabar Gold and Social Beat came up with a campaign for International Men’s day to promote Malabar Gold’s ‘Men in Platinum collection’. Two thumbstopper videos were released which aimed to break the stereotype of the ‘macho culture’ and how all men should be appreciated for who they are. The video reached around 13 lakh people across Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. Malabar Gold’s Facebook page saw an increase in user engagement by 450%! This proves that thumbstopper videos, when done right, can change the way brands can connect with their target audience. 

 

Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and Facebook came out with what they described as the “first-of-its-kind initiative to redefine short-form mobile video creativity in the country”, called the thumbstopper.

What is a Thumbstopper? And how to make an effective Thumbstopper?

The thumbstopper is essentially a 10 second long, vertical, short-form video creative built around a strong emotional core to narrate a brand’s story. 

This fascinating new content format solves every marketer’s problem of addressing short attention spans in an era of growing mobile advertising.  Here are ways to nail thumbstoppers for your brands.

A successful thumbstopper video should meet the following 6 critical criteria:

  1. Video Duration
  2. Brand Placement
  3. Striking Visuals
  4. Sound effects 
  5. Grand Opening
  6. Surprise element 

1. Video Duration

“52% of the total brand lift driven by video comes from impressions that were short-view, or under views under two seconds.” - "Video Viewability and Sales Lift Research" by Facebook and Oracle, Sept 2017. 

As a thumb-rule thumbstoppers should not be longer than 10 seconds.It may be challenging to complete your story in such a short time. You can try and showcase a moment, a reaction or a visual representation of the product’s benefit.  For more complex stories, you can use more quick, multiple “chapters” that have a greater impact. 

2. Brand Placement

“Thumbstopper videos had a 2x lift in ad recall if branding occurs within the first three seconds” -  Stand Out in Feed: Optimizing Video Creative on Mobile" by Facebook IQ, Dec 2017 . It’s best to showcase your brand in the first 3 seconds of your thumbstopper. You can do this by showing a logo, well known spokespeople, striking colors, products or visuals. Also make sure that you communicate your brand promise in a simple & attention grabbing way to obtain the best results. You can do this by using cutaways to showcase multiple product colors or variants. 

Front-load your concept or script  - put your brand promise and key messages up front, in the most direct way possible. 

3. Striking Visuals 

MMA’s research shows that when an ad first appears on the screen (one tenth of a second), it is mostly seen as a blur but even this instant blur is enough to evoke an emotional response.

Make the most of the colors at your disposal: The usage of colour in advertising is often a very important strategy, since colours have a tremendous psychological impact on people. Our brain makes associations with certain colors that bridge the gap between your brand and your TG.

As a best practice, use of contrasting colors. This will make your creative stand out in a sea of monotony. 

And most importantly, embrace your brand colors. Use them repeatedly for your audience to associate your brand with those colors

4. Sound effects:

Facebook has created a system wherein you don’t have to turn up the volume to enjoy videos. This has got many brands and content creators thinking on how to embrace silence and find ways to grab viewers’ attention without sound: The thumstopper is no exception

  • Use knots and screenplays that do not involve dialogue and which are instead highly visually appealing.
  • Make good typography your best buddy. Text and graphics make your message easier to understand in a muted environment.
  • Make sure you always caption your thumbstopper video in case it contains dialogues. 
  • Make sure that the background score is soothing, feel-good and charms the viewer, just in case they decide to turn up the volume. 

5. Grand Opening 

MMA’s cognition study shows that people responded strongly to human faces, body parts or even icons that are shaped like bodies.

To get the maximum output, include a human element that is high on emotion. The hero should be at the center of the story. With all of us swiping quickly through our newsfeeds, your brand must make a real impact in just under 10 seconds. Hence, bring your most exciting frame upfront.

Capture attention with branding or text, quickly. An interesting way to open would be to use the hero element of your brand right in the beginning. You can also use vernacular videos as thumbstoppers with a grand opening as part of your video marketing strategy! 

Try using text captions to emphasize core messages at the outset. You can also add an interesting copy at the end of the thumbstopper so that the message is etched in your viewers’ memories. 

6. Surprise element:

Top-performing mobile ads always have a surprise element. Introducing surprise design elements may seem counter-intuitive, but it can transform the ad completely! 

Use the different creation tools that are already available on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Can the thumbstopper be a Boomerang or Hyperlapse? Have you used an IG sticker or Poll in your ad? The possibilities are endless! 

You can write a creative scene. Is it possible to use time as a creative device? Will a fresh copy approach work? 

There are several ways through which you can innovatively approach Thumstopper videos. In the end it’s all about creating a huge, positive impact for your brand.  The idea is to create memorable moments and create a lasting impression on your customer’s mind.

Through the Malabar Gold Campaign, Social Beat successfully managed to do this. Not only did the thumbstopper campaign create a visual impact, but also a social impact which aimed to change the way people currently perceive certain practices in society. Social Beat, one of India’s leading digital marketing agencies is helping several brands across the country leverage their video marketing efforts through innovative, path-breaking and high impact methods such as creating unique thumbstoppers. 

If you want your brand to reach out to millions of people, try the thumbstopper approach. You will not be disappointed!  


4 ways insight-driven marketing can drive results on digital

  • Meghana Chandani
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  • 28 May , 2020
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    • 5 min read

Gone are the days when marketing used to be about intuition and gut feelings. Today, in a world where people use their phones for about 60% of their day, it’s extremely important for brands to understand what a typical day would look like in the lives of their consumers. What time would they wake up? What kind of breakfast would they prefer? Would they take a cab to work, ride a bike or drive their own vehicle? Where do they work? Do they come home to a nuclear family or a joint family?

The questions are endless, and while it may seem that brands are trying too hard to sell emotions rather than products, well it is true! Maybe it’s time to stop a moment and ask yourself, do you buy a product or do you buy the emotion attached to it? 

It is because of this very fact, that brands are paying a lot more attention to deriving insights into their consumers and their lifestyles. Insight-driven marketing is nothing but tapping into your consumers at the right time and place with the exact communication that they would want to receive. Insight-driven marketing can help you navigate your way closer to your consumer, and it also plays a vital role in formulating strategic business decisions based on the marketing insights you receive from your consumers.  

How Insight-Driven Marketing Can Help Build Your Brand

Get to know your consumers, as you’d like them to know you!

Understanding the demographics and habits of your consumers is not just a matter of numbers but is an art in itself. With an exhaustive insight-marketing driven approach you will be able to dive deeper into the following:

  1. What your consumers prefer,
  2. Which channels you will find them on,
  3. Are they likely to buy your products,
  4. Are your price points suitable to them,
  5. Do they resonate with your brand communication,

And many more such questions, which then allows you to optimize your marketing strategy to deliver the best results.

Here are an astonishing few facts that we found online from a study that dives deep into consumer behaviour - 

Did you know?

55% of people interested in grocery online are men

51% of women are interested in social and casual gaming

60% of men are likely to be in-market for jewellery 

56% of fathers online are interested in being a chef

Build your brand persona, one piece of communication at a time

Tapping into your consumer at the right time, using the right channel, with the right communication, can result in higher conversions, higher engagement and higher revenues in return. Many brands in today’s era are looking at diversifying their persona and communication, making it more personal and customised for their consumers. For example, a brand that’s available in Tier 1, 2 and 3 cities may want to communicate with their consumers in each tier differently, based on the kind of content each group resonates with, and the different channels each of them would be present on. 

Cross-sell and Upsell to add more value to your consumers

Knowing the consumer behaviour and patterns through first-party data is crucial, helping brands cross-sell and upsell products that may add value to the lives of our consumers.

Being able to track their behaviour and journey helps us dive deeper into whether or not they would be willing to purchase more products at even a higher price.

Product development and business expansion decisions

If a brand initially thinks of venturing into a new line of services, building a new product or expanding the current business in different markets, these decisions can be made a lot stronger and effective if they are based on facts and insights taken from the marketing data and their consumer’s behaviour.

While all this may seem a tad bit overwhelming, here’s a step by step process on how you can go about analysing your data and putting it to effective use.

Step 1: Analyse the data that you have

While you may have run umpteen campaigns for your brand over the last year, giving you access to tons of data to look into, what’s really important is how you collate it, organise it and study the data. It’s extremely crucial to look for trends between your consumer demographics, age, gender, lifestyles and professions. For many brands, their data may not just end at consumer names, which cities they reside in, their age, profession and likes and dislikes, but also depend on which part of the communication did they most resonate with, that influenced their decision of buying the product or service.

Hence, for any brand that believes in connecting with their consumers, it is fundamental to understand:

  1. The Demographics of their consumer
  2. The lifestyle of their consumer
  3. Communication routes that they would prefer
  4. Creative routes that they would resonate with

Step 2: Learn and apply the marketing insights as you move forward

Let’s follow a simple rule: Gather data points ------> Derive marketing insights -------> Jot down a way forward and implement

More often than not, marketing professionals pause at stage 2 - Which is deriving digital marketing insights from the data points. The key here is to apply all the insights to your campaigns and communication routes, which will, in turn, help the brand see improved business results and higher conversion rates, where consumers will start to resonate with the brand on a personal level.

Step 3: Reflect, Compare, Repeat

Once you have implemented the marketing insights, the key is to compare data, both past and present, to be able to optimise your campaigns and strategy as you keep going. This will help retrospect on whether you’ve seen a rise in the sale of products and services of your brand and how much your brand has benefited from your insight-driven marketing approach.

Case Study

Here’s one such example of insight-driven marketing implemented by us for Tata Mutual Fund’s – #NoToKatauti Campaign

Brief:

To drive investments for their ELSS (Equity Linked Savings Scheme) Fund between November to March – which is the period when people resort to filing their taxes in India.

Process to gain insights:

We asked a bunch of 20-30 people over calls and video conferences, on how, when and under what circumstances they file their taxes. 

Insights:

  1. Most people in India file taxes in February and March, just a few weeks before the deadline
  2. Most people also file their taxes only when the fear of their salary getting cut arises to eat them up
  3. Most people hate not getting what they truly deserve, their income being one such factor

Hence from this very thought, stemmed the campaign idea of #NoToKatauti!

Consumer segmentation based on data and behaviour analysis:

We divided our audiences based on four major factors in India, namely people’s love for cricket, love for food, the housewife community, and students.

Not only did we first deliver the video to them that they resonate with most, but we also followed it up with the other three in line, creating a ripple effect and building tremendous brand recall.  

Results:

38.1% increase in brand lift

216.2% increase in brand interest

13.1% increase in brand awareness

25% of leads from YouTube

Case Study

Here’s another example of insight-driven marketing implemented by India’s No.1 cookware brand, Wonderchef:

Brief:

To create brand awareness, strategize and devise a campaign for a good cause. 

Insight:

We pulled out sufficient data to support the fact that the majority of men in India don’t cook, they don’t help out in household chores and they don’t have sufficient knowledge of ingredients. While we try to preach ‘Gender Equality’, are we really all that ‘Gender Equal’ as a country?

This very thought led us to create the campaign idea of #DearManHoldThePan.

Campaign Execution:

We got out on the street to ask men their thoughts and gather more information on whether they knew basic ingredients, herbs and how to even break an egg without ruining its yolk! And guess what? The results were hilarious, but very satisfying in terms of numbers, reach and the appreciation we received. Not only did this make our case point stronger, but also helped us develop more content, in the form of posts, influencer videos and a whole lot more!

Results:

Reach – 14 Million

Engaging about 3 Lakh Viewers

And we turned a whole lot of eyeballs!

Insight marketing to drive growth

Various examples have shown us time and again that personalised marketing is a digital trend that adds a whole different dimension and layer to any campaign or brand. By reflecting different facets of an audience’s personality, a product or campaign is bound to be a success. Relatability makes room for connection, and thus engagement, which is why marketing insights will never fail you. And with performance marketing, the insights only ever grow, enabling you to drive growth continually for your brand.


Why every brand in India should leverage AR in 2020

  • Tejasvi Batria
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  • 28 May , 2020
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    • 6 min read

Interest and investment in augmented reality and immersive digital marketing is greater than it’s ever been before. Through the journey of evolving brands, we have witnessed the adoption of a mobile-first creative approach. Augmented Reality marketing provides brands with a highly desired tool in their belt when it comes to driving sales and enhancing brand value through mobile devices. 

The explosive growth of immersive marketing saw big brand wins during the early days of the adoption of AR in marketing. Because of this, AR emerged as one of the fastest-growing digital marketing trends, alongside voice commerce and the use of first-party data. Industries ranging from e-commerce to fintech and FMCGs raced to leverage AR marketing for their brands.

This growth has been witnessed with Augmented Reality marketing playing a key role in social media marketing as well. While Snapchat was one of the first social media giants to adopt AR, Instagram was quick to follow. Google, too, launched AR powered 3D images in searches for products on various e-commerce brands early this year. This proves that AR can be used in multiple ways for a number of different reasons, whether it’s increasing user engagement or offering interactive elements for consumers.

Tech giants fueling AR adoption

The first step to creating a space to build AR-powered apps, experiences and campaigns were taken by tech giants like Facebook, Apple and Google. They created platforms like Spark AR, Apple’s ARKit, and Google’s ARCore which made it simpler to leverage AR in marketing and products for any brand.

But the doors for AR marketing only really opened with the conception of Facebook’s augmented reality suite Spark AR Studio. This tool allowed anyone to create their own filters and campaigns which could be utilized for Facebook and Instagram Stories. Free for all to use, Spark AR by Facebook has provided a platform for many brands to create their own AR effects and filters. This quickly launched Augmented Reality marketing to new heights.

While e-commerce brands, specifically beauty and lifestyle, were quick to tap into the feature by allowing customers to try out products, brands also leveraged AR for high impact brand awareness. A prime example of this was Adidas Original’s decision to create a custom AR effect that was in line with the trend of vintage filters and retro photographs at the time. Their filter added a nostalgic look to your stories, including a ‘glitch’ effect. This custom AR effect was extremely share-worthy, very on-trend and was perfect for building brand awareness!

AR marketing witnessed a peak in the entertainment industry as well, with several well-known media giants tapping into Augmented Reality marketing for the launch of largescale projects. Known celebrities and producers used AR in marketing for movies, TV shows, and even new music. This was seen most prominently with Netflix. One of their largest campaigns tied up with the New York Times and Google Lens for readers to scan and discover images that led to a Stranger Things reveal.

India AR Adoption - Slice of the Consumer Pie

The use of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is expected to steadily grow as more brands across sectors leverage it to engage their core audience. India is projected to increase both the creation and consumption of immersive media following the global trend. Brands in real estate, media and entertainment, automotive, and retail are expected to showcase the maximum adoption due to clear use cases, as per the Nasscom Graphic: Geetanjali. 

By 2022, over $6.5 billion would be the estimated size of the Indian immersive media market, with a higher percentage of it pouring in from the Augment Reality market. Around $5.9 billion is expected, in comparison to the $0.5 billion estimated from the VR market, due to higher costs for creation and execution. The explosive growth of 172% from 2018 to 2022 can be attributed to the easily accessible tools and adoption of Immersive media by top Indian brands.

Top reasons for your brand to adopt AR Marketing

Branding and Buzz

AR marketing has the capability to improve and create an immersive experience thereby leading to better brand perception if created well. As such, it is essential for brands not to use AR for novelty purposes, but to build a more seamless experience that would provide a positive AR experience while thinking about the long-term benefits of the experience. 

Brands like Pepsi, with their #SwagStepChallenge and Lifebuoy, with #LifebuoyKarona, have used AR filters to create hashtag challenges on channels like TikTok to increase buzz around the brand. They roped in celebrities and influencer marketing campaigns to further amplify their AR filters. This helped create a massive awareness of their brand recording explosive cumulative reach of over 85 Billion views on both hashtags on TikTok, without the notion of driving sales or action. 

Better Product Visualization

Augmented Reality is often perceived with the restricted utility reserved for selfies or social media filters. However, the Augmented Reality market can stretch further this with the capacity for much larger impact. The ability to allow a customer to try out products without leaving their home or their screen is a level of immersion and interaction that even interactive ads cannot offer.

By creating AR versions of a product or set of products, brands can provide customers with a better idea on the actual look and feel, while simultaneously setting the right expectations for them in terms of the deliverables.

Brands that have most heavily used and relied on leveraging the tool are present in the retail, beauty and lifestyle segments. L’Oréal’s virtual makeup tool was a path-defining AR creation which helped customers across the globe test and try their makeup virtually anywhere. They added another step helping to enhance the marketability - the option to try the superimposed makeup in real-time with the filter, or take an existing picture to upload and have the filter tested on.

On the other hand, providing a vision to home and interiors, IKEA paved a way for real estate companies by allowing customers to view their products in real-time within their own homes. This increased the possibility of purchase with increased visualization, leaving very little to the imagination. 

The real estate sector now faces the need to implement AR in product visualisation as well, especially to keep up with marketing during COVID-19. With fewer brokers and agents taking on home visits due to the restrictions imposed by authorities, it has become difficult to meet the existing demand for house hunters. While many have turned to virtual tours, AR can significantly drive sales, during and after this pandemic.

Deeper Engagement and Rewards

Your core audience is bombarded with a colossal amount of marketing messages every day, making it hard for marketers to ensure their message is heard. Providing your brand with the parachute of AR and adding a layer of immersive marketing can place it above other brands in a consumer's mind.

Making the brand more interactive, healthcare brand Medlife leveraged Facebook Augmented Reality marketing to educate viewers on the CPR procedure. This created deeper engagement for the audience by providing learning and greater rewards to their subconscious mind as well.

Assistance for Improved Customer Relationships

For brands who are dependent on the physical store experience to drive business, Augmented Reality provides the potential to amplify this by creating a digital experience simultaneously. A frequent example of this is seen with QR codes and bar codes that can be scanned. Doing so pulls up an AR manual or experience with detailed information on the product and brand.

Two popular examples of Hyundai and Mercedes have showcased how the auto industry has utilized AR to improve customer experiences. While Hyundai created AR-powered manuals for drivers,  Mercedes created an app integrating AI to ‘Ask Mercedes’ any questions relating to the product and brand similar to a chatbot.

B2B Marketing

Augmented reality is a tool which can transform the B2B customer-vendor experience with the help of a single click. Limitations of what a vendor is able to provide, along with the misaligned customer experiences, is eliminated with the help of AR.

Creating dynamic sales presentation material to the customer with AR-powered content can provide a virtual 360-degree look at their product lines, and is one of the most used technologies in the B2B space. 

Use Cases Within An Organization, Going Beyond Marketing

Ever imagined that you could be in two places at once? With the help of a VR headset, this can be achieved. This novelty soon became a reality as the COVID-19 outbreak caused many companies to shift to a work-from-home model. Business continuity is a key focus for organizations while they are also looking to stay home to stay safe, but also want to provide real-time experiences. VR technology plays an important role to achieve this. 

Companies like Quess, which is focused on sales-driven marketing and human interaction has their employees getting AI-powered training on their mobile devices. The face-reading AI also provides them with real-time feedback on their voice modulation, tone and facial expressions and key notes to focus on for improvement. 

Kickstarting the AR and VR Journey for Your Brand 

The biggest learning digital marketers can take from this is that it’s time to adapt. Investing in the available AI technologies to maximize your results has become the need of the hour. It is critical for your brand to reach the objective of managing more data effectively and improving your consumer experience.

The creative potential of using AR in marketing can provide your concepts and campaigns with an increased potential for brand awareness and recognition. 2020 is the year to explore immersive marketing to maximize your brand’s potential. At Social Beat, we implement a mixed marketing strategy which includes AR to enhance our efforts and deliver results.


How AI and first-party data can be leveraged for better audience targeting

  • Roshni Chhabria
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  • 28 April , 2020
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    • 5 min read

In a constantly evolving economic landscape, there are many challenges that marketing leaders need to overcome. They are under constant pressure to improve the efficiency of marketing campaigns by lowering acquisition costs and increasing profitability. There has also been a significant shift in the data landscape along with increasing privacy concerns after the GDPR and Cambridge Analytica data scandal. 

A cost-effective way to overcome these challenges would be to start looking internally and utilizing existing business assets. Leading companies like Nestle, Ikea, and others, are also looking to leverage high-quality first-party data in their marketing strategies. First-party data becomes an important factor for a successful marketing campaign and marketers who don’t adapt would be missing out a great deal. 

Death of third-party cookies

Earlier this year, Google declared that Chrome, which is the most widely used browser in the world, would start eliminating support for third-party cookies. Third-party cookies are a simple line of code placed by websites on a user’s hard drive. These cookies form the basis of building behavioural profiles of users on the internet and help marketers in their targeting.

Companies who are at the centre of consumer data, including Facebook, Twitter and Oracle, are slowly moving away from third-party data. On the other hand, a widespread concern around data privacy has led to consumers becoming more aware and demanding increased levels of data privacy. Browsers like Chrome, Safari and Mozilla are now blocking third-party cookies in their browsers. 

All of this combined would have a large impact on the targeting options available for advertisers. With third-party cookies now becoming irrelevant, first-party data in marketing automatically becomes a brand’s best option to track and target customers for their online campaigns.

The rise of first-party data

Any data that you collect directly from consumers and with their consent is known as first-party data. This data is usually reliable and trustworthy and can help drive high-value leads and limit unnecessary ad spends. For a brand, their online sources for collecting first-party data in marketing would be the company’s website, app, CRM, social media, email marketing, surveys etc.

In November 2019, sportswear giant Nike had announced that they will stop selling on Amazon and focus on selling direct-to-consumer via its own website and app. This decision comes as a part of their vision to elevate consumer experiences and build direct and personal retail experiences with its consumers. Selling directly through their own online properties and retail stores would also mean Nike can completely control and own their first-party data. This move by Nike shows us that they are confident in driving all traffic to their own website to enhance the consumer experience and also lower acquisition costs and improve profitability. This might just be the tip-of-the-iceberg and actually be indicative of the start of a massive shift in how brands sell online and start opting for the direct-to-consumer strategy. And this, in turn, could lead first-party data in marketing to become a new digital marketing trend in the making.   

Tap into the power of first-party data using telephonic conversations with customers

For brands looking to accelerate their adoption of first-party data in marketing, one of the most important and invaluable assets they already own are in-bound consumer calls. As per a recent survey, consumers are increasingly turning to phone conversations during the path of their purchase journey. A lot of research happens online but they also prefer to call a brand when they want some specific information and are nearing the end of the decision-making process especially in case of high-value purchases or time-sensitive products and services. 

Consumers are having important conversations and asking brands for more information that is relevant to them. They are sharing their concerns, their purchase intent and so much more on these calls. These inbound calls are a treasure trove of highly valuable information and it’s time for brands to pay attention and listen to what their consumers are saying.

Policy Bazaar, India’s leading insurance aggregator strives to provide its customers with a smooth hassle-free experience by digitizing its processes. Considering that insurance is not a one size fits all sort of industry, Policy Bazaar has been constantly implementing AI and latest tech solutions including chatbots to understand their consumer personas and ensure to sell the right product to the right consumer. They were one of the earliest companies to discover a goldmine of consumer insights in their 35 million minutes of monthly talk time via voice analytics. One of the key insights they found after analysing the word cloud of their conversations was that a lot of their customers were using the word cashless. The marketing teams assumed that consumers would be more concerned with premiums, claims, bonuses etc., and so there was no focus on showcasing the cashless network. Within a week’s time, the team launched a new feature that would show the customers a list of cashless networks that were available in the policies they were interested in. 

AI in marketing intelligence can help turn calls into rich first-party data with actionable insights. Analysing these customer conversations and deriving key insights which can be implemented into the marketing campaigns and communication strategy will in-turn lead to a highly effective communication strategy, increase in conversion rates and lower acquisition costs. 

Improving customer engagement with personalized content 

Brands that are activating and collecting first-party data should be using this data to personalize the content on ads that are being shown to a particular user. In the case of e-commerce companies, understanding past purchase behaviour and knowing what your consumer likes or has added to their cart before will help you segment your audiences and show them relevant messages based on which step of the consumer journey they are in. Another key aspect is that brands should ensure to deliver personalized experiences across the entire marketing funnel of their campaigns. 

Tata Mutual Funds, a leading mutual funds investment company had launched a campaign called #SayNoToKatauti which aimed at striking the right chords with personalized content to deliver higher engagement and reach. The campaign had a series of four brand films that had a common messaging point of tax-saving investments. The protagonist in each of the videos was in different relatable and everyday scenarios, like watching a cricket match or ordering food, which was then targeted and shown to people based on their own interests. 

Personalized campaigns with AI marketing and first-party data would also automatically mean higher efficiency and reach of your campaigns across all your digital marketing platforms. On Facebook, you can create lookalike audiences from your first-party data which are very powerful and can help build the right mix of good quality and scale both. Google has also recently launched combined audiences which is enabling advertisers to narrow down their target audience and serve impressions to people who fit into two categories. For example, you could target people who have visited your site in the last 60 days and also are part of the in-market audience for your category. This combination makes your targeting more efficient and helps you spend your money effectively thereby improving your ROI.  

AI in marketing is also quickly becoming the future of digital. With AI marketing, you can make a campaign immersive and experiential for a user, encouraging them to engage with a website or ad better. AI can use first-party data to leverage information and display content or information tailored to their liking, thus increasing the likelihood of driving them through to the end of the funnel. A prime example of this is the streaming services that have taken the world by storm - whether it’s television or music. By using AI, these companies display personalised recommendations that push the user to engage further with the service, optimising their experience with first-party behavioural data. 

In today’s marketing scenario first-party data is becoming an increasingly popular choice and marketers are looking to utilize it across all platforms to accomplish their key marketing objectives. It is crucial for brands to take control and utilize their first-party data to improve ROI across their marketing efforts. Businesses must invest in building trusted and personalized relationships with consumers and raise the bar for transparency and data privacy. At Social Beat, we analyse first-party data from different sources to fuel campaigns and leverage different types of engaging content for target audiences to drive conversions. Is your company making the shift to first-party data? 


Marketing during and post Covid 19 – Guide for Indian Marketers

  • Rhea
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  • 22 April , 2020
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    • 6 min read

There are few instances in a brand's lifetime when it encounters a real litmus test. A test to see if the brand values it professes and communicates time and again to its audience are genuine or just marketing fluff. Today, we see ourselves right in the midst of this test. As the Covid-19 coronavirus spreads rapidly across the world with a complete disregard for national borders, class or gender, communities everywhere are seeing a complete overhaul of 'life as we know it'. In this time, marketing, which has always focused on staying relevant by leveraging trending topics, sees itself in a conflict. Not creating posts around the coronavirus might make the brand sound out of touch, but talking about the virus for the sake of it can come across as insensitive. 

So how does a brand stay true to its values and build equity during these challenging times? Here are some essential points every brand should keep in mind. 

Do not stall marketing activities

It's clear that the overall public health crisis and the drastic changes in buying behaviour caused by the Coronavirus have led the economy to go into a slowdown. In fact, the economic impact of the Coronavirus is expected to continue long after the last patient is treated. While companies across sectors have been hit, the biggest blow has undoubtedly been to the travel and hospitality industry. The chart below illustrates this best.

If you are noticing a steep fall in your organic and paid traffic, it might be tempting to pause all activities until the situation stabilizes. However, sustaining marketing during the Coronavirus period is important because it ensures that you don't lose brand visibility and recall among your target audience. Pausing your campaigns could mean that you will have to work twice as hard to regain your brand presence once the Coronavirus disappears. We recommend that brands continue to invest in brand marketing, even if it’s at a minimal level.

While marketing your products and services might not result in any impact at a time like this, you can start posting positive and informative content that can help your consumers. Posts that create public health awareness or uplift your audience's spirits during this time can be the best way forward.

Steer clear from scare tactics

With so much false information making the rounds, it's important that brands stay true to official facts stated by the world's leading health organizations. Given the immense reach and power to influence that every brand has, it's crucial that we evaluate every piece of information we put out. Brands should also keep a close eye on the tone of their communications. Doomsday-esque messages might bring in the shares and engagement, but our responsibility as brands is greater than that. Always include credible sources whenever you share a post on Coronavirus facts or safety tips. This could go a long way in ensuring every person takes the necessary safety precautions to combat the virus.

In one survey of what customers expect from brands during the coronavirus period, 28% said that brands should be a trusted source of information, while 27% said that brands should attack the crisis and show that it can be fought and 15% said that brands should offer practical advice that can help consumers face their new normal. Achieving these three goals can help your brand far more than sending out negative messages can.

You can learn more about the survey and other strategies to build a strong marketing plan in times of crisis through this video.

 

Build goodwill through user-centric initiatives

The onset of the Coronavirus pandemic doesn't necessarily mean that brands have to go into damage control mode. This could be one of the best times for a brand to create a lasting positive impression on their audience by providing something of genuine value. LinkedIn is one of the best examples of this, having come out with a number of complementary courses and resources on working from home and maintaining productivity to help those in self-quarantine. You can also use this time to branch into new techniques like influencer marketing and vernacular content, or a combination of the two, to reach your audience and build credibility. For instance, influencers can spread social awareness messages in the various regional languages your audience is most comfortable with to get the word across. 

Of course, brands in the healthcare space are best positioned to launch medical marketing strategies during this time. A hospital specializing in the treatment of diabetes can provide content specifically designed to help at-risk diabetes patients protect themselves from the virus. Below is an awareness video created by Dr. V Mohan, which exemplifies this: 

 

But virtually any sector can offer content of value during this time. For instance, an early learning education brand can start offering online webinars to continue a child's education despite schools being closed. These strategies can help users build a positive association with your brand that will outlast the pandemic. 

The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that empathy is one of the most powerful ways to connect with your audience. Brands need to listen closely to what their audience is saying and sharing on different platforms and then respond accordingly in a way that builds solidarity. It will also be useful to take a step back and audit your new marketing campaigns and messaging to check if they are having the intended effect. All too often, a well-meaning ad can be downplayed by an insensitive 'Subscribe Now' button that pops up at the end of it.

This presentation covers the blueprint that brands should follow to engage with their customers during the coronavirus crisis and examples of some of the brands who have been most successful at it.

Use the down-time to update your brand assets

Are there any existing evergreen brand assets like ebooks and whitepapers on your website that need to be updated and improved? Or perhaps, there have been long-standing plans to create new guides, a new video or webinar series or new pages on your website. Most companies have ideas in the pipeline which never go live because of a lack of time or organizational bandwidth. The relative slowdown due to the Coronavirus could often translate into a lesser workload. This means you can finally take all of those ideas off the backburner and actually start bringing them to life! You can approach this time as an opportunity to revamp your existing brand assets and create new ones that will rake in results once the Coronavirus clears up.

Keep your store information updated

Just as important as spreading accurate information about the virus is spreading accurate information about your brand itself. Since most physical outlets are shut, you should ensure that the most accurate information about your working hours is updated on your GMB listings and on social platforms. Change your working hours to 'Closed' if you have a physical presence and are not operational. If you are an e-commerce brand and are unable to ship products, make sure that your database of consumers receives a notification about it and that this information is displayed on your website. 

Prepare for post-Coronavirus marketing

While the situation might be grim now, there's no doubt that it will pass eventually. Brands need to gear up for when this happens by putting in place a contingency plan. This is especially true of the travel, hospitality and entertainment industry. Once the pandemic clears, the world isn't going to go back to normal overnight. Post-Coronavirus consumers are very likely to still be fearful of travel or of visiting crowded locations like malls and movie theatres. Experts postulate that there will be ten major shifts even once the coronavirus pandemic clears up:

  • Increased levels of anxiousness and depression
  • Decreased trust in hygiene of people and products
  • Travel restrictions
  • Permanent shift to work-from-home setups, at least for some job roles
  • Rise in conflict
  • High levels of unemployment
  • Increased home deliveries
  • Lesser contact with older people
  • Expanding our identity beyond just our job role
  • Value of certified immune consumers

This presentation goes into the above ten factors and breaks down how brands can navigate through them to increase their ROI on post-COVID-19 marketing.

In this scenario, brands need to put in place a holistic full-funnel marketing plan to instil confidence in their audience and reassure them of the safety of their safety. Special promotional activities and offers might be required to help brands gain traction.

 

The sudden spread of the Coronavirus has certainly come as a shock to consumers and brands everywhere. But with the right strategies, brands can emerge from this trying period with greater brand equity, more engaged audiences and powerful new assets. The most important thing to focus on now, of course, is to stay safe until this tides over!


Voice Commerce – The Future of E-Commerce in India

  • Nandita Raman
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  • 19 April , 2020
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    • 4 min read

By now, we’re sure you’re aware that smartphones play a huge role in driving sales in retail. But did you know that 28% of the search queries in India are done by voice?

BigCommerce reports that by 2021, mobile eCommerce sales are said to account for 54% of the total eCommerce sales & it also projects a 270% growth in voice-based queries in India.

What’s the current trend with Voice Search?

Most e-commerce brands are looking at voice as an opportunity to grow and expand their businesses. Reports state that 43% of brands surveyed agree that Voice Search in e-commerce is an opportunity to harness while 26% agree on the same to a reasonable extent. With added risks, the benefits still seem to outweigh for most brands. Voice assistants are now part of most homes’ everyday life, starting from morning alarms, reminders to turn off their cookers to even playing music. This seems to be a promising touchpoint for e-commerce as consumers could soon begin online transactions through voice, as the technology becomes more pervasive in their everyday lives. 

To learn more about Voice Search trends, watch our video on The Complete Guide to Voice Search Marketing 

Voice shopping happens to be one of the latest trends shaping the future of eCommerce and as we all know, retail is growing faster than anything else.

So, how did it all begin?

IBM, a tech giant, started way back in 1961, the first-ever speech recognition software. When you look back at the iPhone, Siri, for example, was started in 2011 followed by Amazon which released Alexa in 2014. It's not novel but it has certainly become more relevant these days with more households using voice assistants in their daily lives. Voice assistance technology is definitely creating a large impact on E-commerce.

What is Voice commerce? 

Voice Commerce is a technology that provides the user with an alternative option to purchase a product online instead of using a keyboard and mouse. It is 3 times faster than the web interface. In other words, it screams convenience. 

How would Voice commerce enhance a customer's buying experience?

  1. Shopping through Voice Search technology evidently simplifies and eases the process of transacting online. For starters - It is hands-free. Multitasking happens to the new fad for most busy households these days. All that the customer needs is to search and buy something online using a virtual Voice Search assistant such as Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri etc. With the assistance of voice shopping, completing a purchase becomes simple and can be done at any time of the day - even when you’re in the shower or eating if your voice assistant can hear you!

  2. Apart from being extremely convenient for first-time orders, it is also useful for repetitive orders. Since the Voice Search algorithm knows what you’ve purchased previously, it can help you with repeat orders.

Here are some disadvantages to keep in mind:

  1. You may face a slight difficulty in browsing, especially in the B2B space when product names are difficult to pronounce or if you have too many product codes or multiple colours, the technology might not be developed enough to grasp the subtle nuances and modify the searches just yet.

  2. Privacy concerns. Research states that many people do not feel comfortable about having a voice assistant or a microphone that’s always listening to private conversations in their household or office as they see this as a  breach of privacy. However, customers are gradually adapting to it in the current scenario and brands are leveraging the fact that Voice Search is growing rapidly in the market and if you do wait too long to optimise your technology for Voice commerce, you will fall behind.  

3 ways to leverage voice commerce for your brand to drive more sales:

  1. Build Google Norm Actions / Alexa Skills

With voice being the future, it is important that E-Commerce brands grasp & leverage these trends for their growth. Both Google and Amazon have made this easy for brands to get started with easy-to-use Voice Search assistant templates.

Jetson Ai is an all in one platform to manage your brand’s voice strategy - It is a voice-first market place which helps you connect with consumers across various voice assistants. With Jetson Ai, you can manage all your voice interactions from a single dashboard. Apart from this it also studies and learns about your consumers’ past purchase behaviour and customises their future interactions, making the journey as frictionless as possible.

  1. Build a multilingual voice experience

Various brands have seen rapid growth in consumption of vernacular content overall social media platforms.

Niki.ai is one such company that has a multilingual voice experience which enables consumers to interact with you in their preferred language. This is an interesting strategy which would help you reach India's next billion internet users.

Niki ai helps consumers from tier 2 & 3 cities make purchases online through voice on Redbus, Cleartrip and BookMyShow.

  1. Build conversational experiences across the customer’s purchase journey

The second thing you could explore is to build a conversational user experience across the consumer purchase journey starting from research, product queries to FAQ’s even. This has kindled companies’ interest by presenting a super-intelligent interface that’s going to help grow their businesses. Not only do they understand the text transcription of the consumers, but also the intention behind using those words. 

One such platform is Haptik. An intelligent voice virtual assistant which builds Voice Search based conversational Ai chatbots to help business enable voice commerce. 

These are three possible ways to build delightful voice commerce experiences for your consumers.

How have brands leveraged voice commerce?

A lot of brands have successfully leveraged voice to enhance their business. Some classic examples include Big Bazaar, Dominos, Whirlpool etc.

Smart search was introduced by BigBazaar in 2017 where anyone who searches with a prefix of Big Bazaar on Google was also given exclusive offers. With the success of this campaign and to reach out to more customers and benefit them, Big Bazaar also leveraged voice. 

Early last year, Dominos, rolled out their voice ordering app to make ordering pizza more accurate and efficient for their customers. This turned out to be an extremely successful campaign. With their inbuilt voice technology, they had a headstart over all other competitors!

What does Voice commerce hold for the future?

Voice commerce is not only a trend but is a complete shift in the way we communicate and share things with the world. This also helps brands innovate and launch campaigns which further enhances the brand reputation and in turn leads to a better ROI - This also widens the consumer base to newer audiences. Brands already selling on platforms such as Amazon need to start looking at ways to optimise their listings and create new opportunities on the platform itself starting today. A lot of research and surveys show that optimising for Voice Search definitely gives you a competitive advantage. This is why retailers have already started to use Voice commerce to expand their ROI and keep up with fast-growing technology.


Growth Marketing for Startups: Scale Your Way to the Top

  • Deepsikha Agarwal
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  • 26 March , 2020
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    • 7 min read

A product may be extraordinary, but only a stellar marketing approach will help give it the boost it requires to get the conversation going and keep it that way. In a digital age, leveraging growth marketing to lift your startup off the ground is a powerful way to grow your user base quickly, and growth hacking can be shaped to work with almost any marketing requirement. 

But to begin with, what is growth marketing? And how is it different from traditional marketing?

Growth Marketing versus Traditional Marketing

Growth marketing

Since your target audience isn’t aware of what you’re offering, your approach to marketing needs to be strategic. Simply put, growth marketing is a process of selecting and implementing scalable tactics used to swiftly drive a large reach on a budget. Experiential marketing allows you to test the waters, analyse trends and optimize marketing campaigns for optimal results. This helps increase acquisition, retention, recall, engagement, and a positive brand image, regardless of whether your company has a webpage, an app, or both. Growth marketing strategies will work for the common and unique components of both.

Traditional marketing

Traditional marketing focuses on the top of the funnel and follows the same principles in helping your brand build its market presence, but it does not implement optimized results the way growth marketing does. The latter nurtures the relationship with the audience, acting on the feedback of consumers, enabling growth in customer relationships, and thus, steady growth in the brand’s visibility.

With limited time, money, and manpower in the initial phases, it is unlikely that traditional marketing will be the right fit for bootstrapped startups that need to scale up quickly.

What are the elements of growth marketing?

Growth marketing for startups uses a combination of tools to drive growth and traffic, which can ultimately culminate as a marketing mix model strategy. With a 360-degree approach, growth marketing also doubles as full-funnel marketing, with brand-building aspects like search engine optimisation, performance marketing, and social media marketing. 

Here’s a look at how each element can work wonders for a brand.

Performance marketing

Assuming a startup has reached its market, the next step is to run ads online and track and analyse the data generated from various sources. Continually tracking and optimising campaigns will always be impactful since insights help pave a tailored path to achieve the desired results. 

Using programmatic and analytical solutions 

Media buying through programmatic solutions automates the process and enables the analysis and optimisation of campaigns with machine learning and AI. Using automated dashboards for analytical reporting allows you to consolidate campaign insights from various platforms to make swifter business decisions with a data-informed approach. There are also tools that help calculate the effectiveness of a brand’s campaigns in comparison to its competitors’. 

Leveraging and analysing first-party data 

Use Google Analytics and other tools to analyse which pages are witnessing better traffic and lesser traffic, and optimise both. Information like location, gender, age, clicks, session durations, ad engagement, and more, can all inform you on audience interests, helping you to build an insightful audience profile.

Case study

For our strategy for KhataBook, we leveraged TikTok, Facebook and Google to increase app installs, customer events, and acquisition, with different campaigns and creative resources. Alongside this, by using features such as ad scheduling and retargeting, we were able to achieve 1 million downloads on the Play Store. This goes to show that playing with different strategies will help you reach your goals eventually, but a lot faster. 

Social media marketing

Social media combines content and performance marketing to offer a one-stop-shop for guaranteed engagement. With so many different platforms for different kinds of enterprises, a startup only has to pick and choose which to use - from the most essential ones, like Instagram and Facebook, to niche ones, like LinkedIn and TikTok.

Leveraging the essential platforms

Your growth marketing strategy must include the Facebook family of apps, which includes Instagram, Twitter and even WhatsApp. With target audience segments and tools to run optimised ads, social media also enables measured results and insights. Apart from this, social media platforms offer readily available insights and data for the audience base you want to tap into. With hashtags volumes, follower counts, engagement through likes and views, and even digital marketplaces, your brand can drive ROI swiftly.

Extending your online presence

New platforms like TikTok are growing at breakneck speed and should be leveraged to increase your brand presence. By tracking the performance of your posts on a variety of platforms, you’ll be able to discern which platforms work best in terms of lead generation, audience engagement, and data collection. 

These platforms allow you to use multiple combinations of ad formats, such as video ads, HTML creatives, GIFs, and more. This is a great way to hack your content and see which creative resources are working best. 

Incentivize content

As discussed earlier, you can increase acquisitions by running referral campaigns. Audiences are always looking out for coupons, freebies, and bargains. Doing so will generate a buzz online around your brand, and will help to drive growth. While you should have these on your app or website, promoting these on your social media handles will give the campaign the boost it needs to generate and garner attention.

Engage with audiences

Social media is obviously the best way to engage with audiences far and wide, and it’s up to you to expand your strategy beyond likes and comments on posts. Explore the ‘stories' features that several of them offer, and come up with ways to be creative there. Data shows that over 400 million people engage with Instagram’s ‘stories’ feature daily. With both video and post formats available, adding elements like polls, countdowns, quizzes, filters, and stickers can increase your engagement rates exponentially. You can also ask customers to mention and tag you so that you can feature user-generated content as testimonials to your brand offering.

Influencer marketing

Social media is also great to connect with influencers and known personalities that can benefit your brand image. Seeking out conversations, tie-ups, and influencer posts work to create word-of-mouth marketing, amassing relevant audiences that are more likely to have a higher life-time value. Apart from the usual featured posts, other ideas include live streams on Instagram, re-tweeting posts, and following content based on viral social trends.

Content and SEO marketing

Content can be considered the driving force behind your organic marketing strategy. Continued and sustained audience engagement through authentic and valuable content will keep traffic incoming and ongoing, and your content will rank higher on search engines. It’s also more likely that these audiences will turn to you for trusted information over and over again, building customer loyalty.

The following growth marketing strategies are critical for increasing organic traffic and conversion rates. 

Blogs

Creating a blog is an essential hack to drive visibility and website traffic. Not only does it acquaint audiences with a startup’s product, but it also creates an opportunity to grow leads by offering relevant content in exchange for the visitor’s email. 

Other methods of creating content

Using out-of-the-box content marketing ideas will help your startup stand out from the competition. Based on the kind of product or service being offered, startups can choose to put out content through influencer marketing, customer testimonials, social media, by leveraging Quora and by creating multilingual content

Hacking your content

For startups, growth marketing with content also means efficiently using time and resources. Creating new content is essential, but it can also become time-consuming. In this case, repurposing existing content can help speed things up. For example, turn blogs into videos, ebooks, Instagram posts and more. This strategy builds your content base and simultaneously increases opportunities for shareability with your target audiences. It also offers variety to target different audience interests - someone who isn’t big on reading may be more open to watching a video on the same content. 

Encourage user-generated content

Ask customers to leave reviews whichever way they can, whether it’s through feedback forms, emails, or social media messages. A lot of brands that are just starting out also request their first batches of customers to send in their thoughts about the product through a note included with the packaging. This personal touch to the product compels them to comply, and you can then feature these across your online handles. This will build an element of trust for future customers and users.

Case study

To understand the facets of content, we can turn to our strategy for our client mfine, a cloud-based app where users can book instant consultations. They wanted to build a strong content strategy for overall organic growth. Since they are a newage startup, we analysed what would help them grow exponentially, and suggested running aggressive SEO strategies. This included building high-quality external backlinks, optimising existing pages with highly competitive keywords, building long-form content, and interlinking blogs and relevant pages.

This resulted in organic and increased visibility of their medical speciality pages, with an increase of 3,00,000 sessions in the span of 4 months. Traffic also increased steadily month by month, and 1000 of the keywords ranked on the first page of search results. The interlinks also helped decrease bounce rates and increased the amount of time spent on pages. All this goes to show that building on an organic strategy guarantees astounding results.

Video marketing 

Video marketing is a crucial part of content marketing as well but can be considered as a separate strategy owing to the number of ways you can go about it. Video content is one trend of the last decade that has taken off with virality, conveying dense amounts of information in a concise manner. To put things in perspective, 65% of viewers watch over 3/4th of a video, and 92% of viewers on mobile devices share videos with their circles. 

Types of video ads

By using a wide range of video ad formats across platforms, not only will you increase audience engagement, but you’ll also be able to track different parameters of data. From thumb stoppers, bumper and discovery ads to skippable and non-skippable ads, there’s a plethora of formats to play with. 

The kind of content you create with your videos also matters, since these will increase engagement, traffic, session duration, and customer loyalty in the long run. Your videos may fall into three broad categories, namely awareness, educational, and entertainment. Examples of these include:

  • Explainer videos, walk-throughs
  • Product tutorials, reviews, and reveals
  • Round-ups
  • PSAs
  • Case studies
  • Theatrical or humorous cuts/skits
  • Behind the scenes
  • Vlogs 
  • Q&A, interviews
  • Announcements, live sessions
  • Influencer tie-ups

Vernacular content

Implementing strategies in regional languages is, once again, another tangent of content marketing. With higher Internet connectivity in today’s day and age, new data users are increasing, and in India, it is estimated that there will be an unprecedented billion users that will make the move online. With this new wave of users, a new challenge is posed - ensuring that your content is in a language they can read and speak. 

Since over half of these audience segments come from Tier II and Tier III cities, having a multilingual marketing strategy can bring your brand to the forefront in a line of competitors. Moreover, it will not be enough to implement this on your webpage, but with your app, videos, creatives, ads, and all other content as well.

Case study

For KhataBook, we leveraged the growth of regional content online and created close to 200-300 videos in regional languages across platforms. On TikTok, we partnered with influencers who created these videos for us, and their relatable content in different vernaculars, with a large focus on the top South Indian languages, helped us garner 1 million app downloads, making the campaign a huge success.

Online and offline integration

While traditional marketing shouldn’t be your sole approach to hacking your startup’s growth, it is not entirely redundant to your strategy. By using the strategy of online to offline attribution, a company can work to uniquely build a strong brand presence. 

Conclusion

Combining all these strategies and tools might seem daunting at first, but they’re a lot easier to implement, and don’t take as much time to get started with either. Seeing results will take a few months, but with steady optimisation and performance tracking, you’ll be knocking your goals out of the park in no time. All it takes is an analytical approach to see what works and what doesn’t, and then tweaking it over and over again as you watch the numbers rise.


3 evergreen marketing trends of the last decade

  • Deepsikha Agarwal
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  • 24 February , 2020
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    • 5 min read

Marketing is all around us. It is more than the ads we see plastered across billboards, the jingles on our radios, and the ads on our TVs. With new digital platforms mushrooming, marketing has definitely evolved over the first decade of the 21st century. Having said that, there are certain aspects of marketing that form the crux of it and have remained timeless essentials that work to build a brand. Here are three such trends:

1. Storytelling

The art of storytelling remains powerful and paramount in the world of marketing. Simply because stories serve as effective communication that consumers connect with. Things that move us, be it with humour, emotion, or anything else, leave an impact, and brands have been quick to grasp the many benefits of utilizing this. Using storytelling captures attention and reels people in to see the story through to the end. This increases brand recall, awareness, and more importantly a connection with a brand that consumers can identify with. 

This is best understood through stories of how some brands used engaging narratives to set the stage to pack an emotional or meaningful punch, or vox-pop videos to increase engagement. Be it the films that BMW launched in the early 2000s to showcase their cars or the recent Puma campaign on what it is to be a “proper” woman that used the stories of successful women like Mary Kom, Dutee Chand, Anjali Lama, and others, to celebrate and give expression to individuality and women empowerment. The common aspect of both these campaigns is effective storytelling that got the audience’s attention. This is an evergreen trend that will continue to be the most important aspect of marketing. 

Using storytelling to spread awareness on gender disparity - Wonderchef

Our #DearManHoldThePan social experiment campaign with WonderChef used impactful storytelling to address gender disparity, starting in the kitchen, between a woman’s role in the kitchen in comparison to that of a man. Cooking is an essential life skill that shouldn’t be gendered as a role, and this is the story we wanted to bring out. The video sees conversations with different men and women based on their real-life experiences, notably proving that women still bear the brunt of kitchen responsibilities. Garnering over 2 million combined views on Facebook and Instagram, the video went viral upon its launch, with scores of people coming forward in agreement. Our influencer campaign #IHeldThePan had the likes of Jay Bhanushali, Swapnil Joshi and 73 other such famous personalities speak up for the cause, proving that storytelling is not only a great way to showcase your creativity, but also guarantees results.

2. Influencer/word-of-mouth marketing

How many times have we tried a product just because a friend said it worked well for them? We all do this. Hearing from someone else that a certain product worked for them, or about an interesting ad that piqued their interest can do wonders for a brand. This is where influencer marketing comes into play and this type of word-of-mouth advertising has remained a strong driver for customer engagement. Brands have employed influencers and celebrities alike to promote their products for them. 

People follow these personalities as they can identify closely with them and want to be like them. Word of mouth creates an image of trust and reliability around the product and serves as first-hand product testimonies. 

Case in point, Himalaya facial wipes, which focused solely on marketing through word of mouth, employed influencers from a range of different niches - from lifestyle and fashion. These influencers used facial wipes and created engaging content on both their blogs and social media handles.  The content was eye-catching, tailored to the kind of followers each influencer had garnered. By exuding class through the product itself, and reliability through the firsthand nature of its marketing, their facial wipes were featured in images across the globe, helping them to amass a total impression of 10 lakh and a total engagement and clicks of 1.7 lakhs. 

Driving app installs and purchases through influencer marketing - Bewakoof

With the objective of connecting Bewakoof with the relevant audience, we partnered with 9 millennial influencers from across India on TikTok. We asked them to create content to promote Bewakoof’s merchandise, with a call-to-action encouraging viewers and followers to download the app. The videos used the popular method of displaying before and after transformations, showing them as their most stylish selves once they wore Bewakoof’s line of apparel. This word-of-mouth marketing drove engagement and helped Bewakoof achieve over 25,000 app installs and more than 750 conversions, with a great return on ad spends. These results drive home the fact that consumers are more likely to listen to people they look up to, who vouch for the reliability of a product.

3. Personalisation

As we mentioned before, people connect with brands more when they identify with them. One of the key ways to make that happen is by creating personalised content for audiences. It is a crucial part of the customer journey and the experience itself. This is why brands incorporate personalisation with three relevant and significant elements in their marketing strategies - geographic, demographic and language. Personalisation, as a trend has remained unchanging because of how fundamental it is in any campaign. Segmenting your audiences and showing them customised messaging based on their likes and interests can positively influence any campaign and the brand connect. Personalised design and content, too, play an integral role in delivering results.

With marketers having access to real-time data and AI coming into play, personalisation is going to become a lot more accurate, making the customer journey much more enjoyable if used the right way. 

Driving higher impact at a lower cost with testimonial ads - Sundaram 

In order to bring out the long-term rewards of investing in mutual funds, we helped Sundaram run ads that showcased the end results of doing so. We created ads with customized investment journeys for different audience segments. These ads displayed different visuals which implied that by investing in mutual funds, people could reach their financial goals to achieve their dreams. For example, we targeted travel enthusiasts who searched for travel and investment-related brands and competitor keywords by placing ads on travel sites. Similarly, we ran personalized ads for car enthusiasts who had also searched for investment-related keywords. In our targeting segments, we excluded audiences who searched for car parts, servicing or accessories to ensure relevant audiences saw the ads. To add to that, the ads used images customized for a better fit instead of generic stock images. This resulted in a staggering 91% increase in conversion rates, a 32% decrease in cost per lead, and a 39% increase in click-through rates. This goes to show that personalisation gets messages across better, with higher impact. 

So while this decade saw some great new marketing trends come up, only the methods that get to the heart of the matter and look at long-term gains really stick their landing. As the world around us changes, these techniques also evolve and grow to accommodate newer inputs. With a whole new decade upon us, marketing in 2020 will see new technologies unfurl and change the playing field, pulling brands to think out of the box. 

This article was originally published in Business Standard.


Social Beat organises 4th Digital Leadership Summit in Mumbai

  • Deepsikha Agarwal
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  • 11 February , 2020
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    • 2 min read

23 January 2020, Mumbai - Social Beat’s fourth edition of its Digital Leadership Summit was held in Mumbai, in which the top industry leaders across sectors came together to share their insights and experiences, as well as forecast digital marketing trends for the future. Last year’s Summit, which was conducted in Bangalore and Mumbai, was a huge success, focusing on innovations across video, vernacular trends, voice marketing, and Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality. This year, one of the biggest talking points of the Summit was tapping into India’s next billion data users, how they will influence digital transformation across Bharat, and leading through disruption in various sectors.

The Summit focused on the prospect of the digital space this new decade, especially this current financial year. Sectors that are expected to see transformation were also discussed, including FMCG, retail, e-commerce, B2B, BFSI, real estate, and Internet businesses. Abhinav Jain, Co-Founder of Shop101 and Kaushik Mukhergee, Co-Founder and COO of SUGAR Cosmetics took up the first two sessions. They spoke about their individual brands, and how each of them introduced their products to consumers in the Tier II and Tier III cities - targeting to reach close to 400 million new Internet users. Abhinav also shared his insights on leveraging social relationships of sellers and democratizing commerce with a seamless product. He then spoke about creating micro-entrepreneurs in Bharat, driving 70% of transactions from outside top cities.

This was followed by a panel discussion on leading BFSI through disruption. This session included Ajit Narasimhan, CMO of Sundaram Mutual Funds, and MVS Murthy, Head of Marketing, Digital and Corporate Communications at Tata Mutual Funds. Moderating the panel, David Appasamy, Head of Brand and Strategy of Social Beat, said, “While the banking and financial service sector has been slow to adopt digital, many upcoming trends and new technologies are taking efficiency and outreach to new heights. Big data, AI, and voice are just a few major trends that are likely to make a huge impact on BFSI.”

 The next series of talks were led by Ravi Saxena, CEO of Wonderchef, Sandeep Lodha, CEO of Weddingz.in and of OYO, and Arjun Choudhary, Chief Business Officer and Founding member of mfine. Mr Ravi spoke about how Wonderchef has built its brand name and become a digitally-led business in a competitive market, while Sandeep and Arjun spoke about the disruption of their business fields in India, and solving challenges using the right channel mix and building great community networks. Sandeep also shed light on how innovation can impact a digital user’s behaviour, and the influence innovation has which can potentially disrupt the wedding industry.

The event came to a close with a final panel discussion on innovation and trends for 2020, digital growth, and focus on digital strategy and performance by industries across their respective fields, moderated by Suneil Chawla, Co-Founder of Social Beat. He stated, “The last decade saw a quantum leap in the growing number of data users. This decade will now witness the digital medium open its doors to vernacular content and marketing to a brand new audience, radically changing the landscape of digital solutions. It will be exciting to see the impact unfold.” He was joined by Vinesh Gadhia, Senior Vice President of Lupin Ltd., and Juhi Singh, Digital Evangelist, Digital Transformation and Strategy Division of Marico.


Top Digital Marketing Trends 2020 in India – What does the future behold?

  • Vikas Chawla
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  • 11 January , 2020
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    • 6 min read

The year 2019 has been a whirlwind in terms of growth in the digital space. The number of internet users has gone up to a number that was previously unprecedented - from 483 million users in the year 2018, India has now crossed half a billion internet users at a whopping 566 million. This means brands and companies have a whole new audience to market to and multiple innovative ways to do so! If you are keen to learn more about digital marketing, do check out our digital marketing training arm, DigiGrad.

Here are 7 digital marketing trends for 2020 that we expect will see the most traction:

The rise of new social platforms

While user growth has slowed down across most key markets, India has shown no such trend. This is a direct result of easy accessibility to mobile internet and cheaper smartphones with the advent of Jio. This has consequently led to the huge influx of new social apps in digital markets, like TikTok, Helo, Sharechat, Vigo, Bigo, Firework and some more in the pipeline.

The year 2020 will likely see a rise of even more such apps as these have proved to be a hit with new data users, having tapped into vernacular content and the interests of people in smaller towns. And since a large chunk of internet users from rural India - 251 million to be precise - have contributed to the growth in the total number of Indian internet users this year, 2020 can expect to see a higher demand for social apps that cater to this demographic.

It also doesn’t hurt that these media conglomerates have figured out a key factor in driving growth - offering social apps with access to entertainment like short-videos, gaming and live-streaming. 2019 has already seen these newer social apps climb the rankings on Google’s Android PlayStore, with TikTok ranking number one, and Helo at a close second. Facebook currently holds the third position, which may indicate that the dominance the Facebook family of apps has had may see a negative impact.

Vernacular will go mainstream for brands

On that note, with so many first-time internet users, the rise of a lot of social platforms have seen their tremendous growth simply because they offer their content and services in vernacular. Language-driven services have had such an impact this year, that even Amazon and Flipkart are planning to get on this bandwagon soon to catch up with new age players like niki.ai, bulbul tv and Shop101. With a higher demand for vernacular content online, brands across segments will be forced to explore and deliver too if they want to see bigger growth. Storytelling is an impactful way to engage and connect with customers, and when done in a native tongue, the outcome is very personal and unique. This is evident in the thumbstopper format that Facebook offers, which intends to tell a story without sound, in order to capture the essence of a story and be able to tell it to speakers of any language.

Featured below are the thumbstopper videos we did in collaboration with Malabar Gold to promote their ‘Men in Platinum’ collection. The campaign dismantles stereotypical gender roles and highlights the fact that men are at their best when they are in their element. With an overall reach of 13 lakh views across Facebook, Instagram and Youtube, the brand’s Facebook page witnessed a 450% increase in user engagement proving that relatability is a language in itself.

Speaking about breaking language barriers, Swiggy recently ran a campaign titled #SwiggyStarhunt - a platform for delivery partners to showcase their talent by uploading videos on popular video-sharing app TikTok. These videos come under the categories of acting, dancing, singing and musical instruments. Since the campaign was targeted at delivery partners, we created a robust social media strategy in 11 languages to grab their attention and encourage them to participate in the event. The campaign resulted in an outpour of uploads onto the video-sharing app, with a whopping 44+ million organic views, reaching a pan-Indian audience and giving Swiggy the uplift it deserved. #SwiggyStarhunt is also a testament to the fact that leveraging new social media platforms like TikTok, along with the relatability of vernacular content, is a great way to connect with consumers.

AR will pick up momentum

4G has taken India’s markets by storm, and Indian service providers are eager to capitalize on this moment to drive user and customer engagement. Augmented Reality can be used in a multitude of ways, changing experiences across different sectors, be it retail, live events, museums, real estate, education or automobile.

Facebook introduced Spark AR this year for the general public, which allows users on Facebook and Instagram to create filters and upload them online. Other users can then save these and apply them to their stories. Facebook has been seeing a lot of success with the launch of this product and this will probably ‘spark’ AR trends even more. Google had already rolled out Google Lens which is an image recognition technology that uses the point and shoot feature to show fitting search results. These two giants have showcased the diversity in the use of AR and how successful it can be when implemented right, driven by function.

VR will also start to pick up more as we enter 2020, but since VR devices are still too expensive for the Indian market, it is unlikely that it will pick up at the same pace as AR will.

Voice will also start driving e-commerce

E-commerce is the way of the future, and with search interaction having increased, leading companies will find voice a profitable technology to drive sales and revenue. This has already been evidenced in the huge investment Amazon has put into Alexa and Google into Google Home and its Google Assistant. Businesses will see voice user interface as an innovative tool that enables faster, more efficient customer engagement as voice commands surround every sphere of life, driving purchases, payments and more. Voice ordering, already a popular phenomenon in the US, will start picking up in India as well. Brands are also tying up with new-age start-ups like niki.ai to engage with the next billion internet users. These AI powered start-ups build user experiences that are not just intuitive but also in a language that the customers in the Tier II and III cities are comfortable in, making it easy for them to place orders using voice commands.

Looking for a few tips on voice search marketing? Here’s our tell-all guide:

Better audience targeting through AI and first-party data

It’s quality over quantity, always. Which is why many brands are now wanting to capitalize on their first-party data, instead of opting for second and third-party data. First-party data allows for exact, valuable insights into a customer’s direct engagement with the brand, whether it’s their individual interests, which ads they engage with, or how much time they spend on the brand’s website. This information is unfiltered, specific, and relevant, which helps to build an audience profile that is an exact match with the product or service in question. It is also cost-effective, as it’s free, and is lawful and transparent. Nike is one such company which has already announced that they will be selling only directly going forward.

Artificial intelligence fits into this equation as it can prove to be extremely beneficial in sifting through these data sets, which for a team of actual people, can be daunting. AI could uncover insights that could have been missed otherwise, identify critical data and trends, and all at unmatched speed with extreme accuracy. Thus, AI and first-party data may hand-in-hand serve to drive more personalized communication soon.

Influencer marketing will have a rocky 2020

Social media platforms have seen quite a few changes this year, which were a little surprising for everyone. At one end, there are platforms like TikTok and Sharechat, which incentivized influencers, and at the other end, Instagram rolled out an update that removed the like count. The Advertising Standards Council of India has also announced that they are framing new guidelines and rules in a bid to protect consumer interests, which will include influencer marketing under its purview. With the aim to curb forms of misleading information, the reach influencers have, the kind of information they put out, and the engagement brands have with influencers may all change in 2020.

Online to Offline Attribution will be more prevalent

It is commonly believed that as the world became increasingly digital over the years, physical stores began to see less engagement. But this doesn’t hold true for brands that rely heavily on location, like hotels, restaurants, and auto dealerships. For such brands, online to offline attribution is extremely relevant and useful, as this metric helps brands to trace and identify which online ads can be attributed to driving in-store foot traffic.

While Google Store Visits is already live and being used across brands, other platforms will also start leveraging location data, combined with first party and CRM data, to showcase what results digital is driving for retailers and offline stores. This can be a game changer for traditional brands that did not have digital as a key aspect of their marketing campaigns. The start of the next decade will likely see a lot of brands who are not yet using digital come online to use this tool to engage with customers better and drive sales insightfully.

Store visit ads were an integral part of our campaign with retailers like Malabar Gold, Khadims and Specsmakers. We leverage a mix of Google products using detailed demographic targetting as well as geo-fence the retail stores. The ads used online to offline attribution data to measure the increase in footfall to their stores. The below case study of Malabar Gold showcases how thousands of shoppers were targetted and tracked, for the recent Brides of India campaign.

All that being said, the trends predicted show a range of exciting opportunities to be used for growth. We at Social Beat are definitely eager to see what the start of the new decade has in store for the digital marketing sector and are excited to grow with it, scaling new heights.

This article was originally published in The Economic Times Brand Equity.


Is your brand’s marketing mix model digital-ready?

  • Nandita Raman
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  • 28 November , 2019
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    • 6 min read

The ubiquitous term ‘marketing mix modelling’ has been around for decades and with good reason. This strategy allowed marketers to identify the best channels and marketing techniques to maximise product performance. But as the channels themselves change, new digital trends emerge and customers begin to evolve, how relevant is traditional marketing mix modelling? Do the factors for a brand’s success still solely rest upon product, price, place and promotion? And if so, how has each of these 4 P’s evolved in the digital age? 

The changing face of marketing mix modelling

The concept of the 4 Ps was created at a time when data remained largely stable, technological advancements were slow and consumer habits were predictable. Today, in the age of digital disruption, each of these facets has undergone a wave of change. In this climate, traditional marketing mix models are simply not equipped to deliver a realistic marketing strategy and accurate channel-wise attribution. 

 This change is primarily because of the following features of the digital environment:

1. Advertising mediums do not exist in a vacuum

A typical consumer today is bombarded by more advertisements on more platforms than at any other time in history. They might be exposed to a brand while watching a video, while reading a blog, or while listening to music, to name just a few. Because of this, it can be close to impossible to evaluate the performance of each ad in isolation. Each instance of exposure has a cumulative effect on the buying decision of a consumer. Most marketing mix models are not equipped to handle a multi-touchpoint customer journey.

2. Technology and data is in a state of flux

Traditional marketing models are built on data extending from over one year. Marketers generally analyse long-term patterns of data to reach a conclusion on future trends. The digital age, however, does not afford the luxury of long-term analysis. Technology, platforms and algorithms can change within a matter of a few months, throwing even the most carefully crafted marketing mix model into disarray.

3. Speed and adaptability are critical

In a traditional marketing plan, platforms and budgets would be decided upon based on a marketing mix model, the plan would be executed and the learnings would be dissected later on. Today, however, digital marketing empowers marketers to completely overhaul their budget allocation and platform-wise strategies at the click of a button. A modern marketing strategy isn’t truly over until budgets are exhausted. Marketing mix models need to be adaptable and scalable in order to be successful. 

How to build a digital-ready marketing mix model

Today’s changing market is completely different from what it was in the 1960s, which was when the concept of a marketing mix model was first introduced. Naturally, as a result, the traditional understanding of the 4 P’s needs to evolve to adapt to our current reality. 

Here’s how marketers can reimagine the 4 P’s and build digital-ready marketing mix models for a full-funnel marketing strategy.

1. Sell experiences, not products

Reduced manufacturing costs, less expensive advertising channels and the rise of a thriving startup culture have lowered many of the entry barriers for new companies. As a result, the market is more competitive than ever before, with numerous similar products vying for the same customer. In this scenario, a brand’s product cannot sell based on a utilitarian guarantee alone. Customers now want to purchase a product that sells them an experience. They want a product that they believe will help them reach their ideal self, aligns with their values and sells them a lifestyle. Brands who capture this essence will ultimately capture the market. 

2. Be present where your customers are

Previously, the concept of ‘Place’ in a marketing mix model referred to the selection of optimum distribution channels to reach a customer. These channels in the modern age, however, are not as clear cut as they once were. Customers divide their time between numerous platforms; watching videos, scrolling through social media, reading blogs or listening to podcasts. Additionally, they can also make a purchase decision at any time of the day and in any place, for instance, during their morning commute to work. The introduction of Whatsapp for Business has allowed brands to penetrate even further into a consumer’s routine. Because of this, the focus needs to shift from having a physical presence in an area where the target audience is present to simply being everywhere each member of the target audience is, virtual or otherwise. 

3. Influence rather than promote

On the whole, customers today are a more cynical lot than customers from previous periods. They seek information on product ingredients, are more discerning of what they consume and are more aware of marketing strategies. Because of this, it is highly unlikely that a consumer will believe your product’s USPs at face value. Brands need to eschew a hard focus on promotion alone and instead supplement it with efforts to build credibility. Two tools have become indispensable for brands looking to do so: influencer marketing and content marketing. Influencer marketing builds awareness of a product using ‘influencers’ whom consumers already trust while content marketing helps brands inform and educate customers and develop long-term relationships with them. 

4. Shift the focus away from price

Price is no longer the key differentiator it once was. This change can be attributed to two reasons:

(i) Improvements in technology and efficiency have allowed average prices of consumer products to hit an all-time low. Today’s customers need to pay less for a product than at any other period. As a result, most products are similarly priced and a consumer’s final purchase decision will rarely depend upon the price alone. 

(ii) With customers seeking experience over utilitarianism, many are willing to pay a higher price for perceived quality. For instance, an eco-friendly sustainable brand might be priced higher than similar products, but customers will be willing to pay the higher price for what they believe is greater value.

How to ensure accuracy in modern marketing mix models

Ushering in the age of digital marketing might mean saying goodbye to traditional marketing models, but it opens up endless possibilities for marketers. The availability of granular details, real-time analytics and diverse platforms enables marketers to create more effective marketing strategies than ever before. 

1. Create a shorter time frame

With rapid technological innovation, analyzing the impact of channels and strategies for a period longer than 6-12 months would be futile. Technology and ad formats from over a year ago might be irrelevant or non-existent today. Limit your analysis to just 6-12 months at the most - anything extending beyond that is ancient history. To ensure accuracy of the analysis despite the shorter time frame, you can use more granular details at multiple relevant geographic and demographic levels. 

2. Delve into granularities

Most digital marketing strategies today are characterized by their hyper-local, hyper-personalized nature. Unlike nationwide TV campaigns of the past, digital strategies now revolve around delivering personalized communication to customers. For instance, marketers might choose to speak to newly married women working in an IT job in Bangalore to promote their women’s health product. With such a wealth of targeting options available, it becomes critical for marketers to evaluate campaigns at an equally granular level. This allows them to uncover patterns and identify key drivers to further improve campaign performance. 

3. Split marketing elements by ad formats

With traditional advertising, budgets are usually allocated platform-wise, for example, separate budgets for television, radio and print. A common misconception is that the same technique can be used for digital platforms, for example, creating a separate budget for YouTube, Facebook and Search. However, digital platforms cannot be as easily segregated because multiple ad formats can co-exist within a single platform. On YouTube, for instance, brands can choose between masthead ads, 6-second bumper videos, TrueView videos or In-Stream ads depending upon your marketing objective. Each ad format will thus require a separate budget allocation.

4. Analyse format-wise performance

In the same way that budgets need to be segregated by format not platform, performance analysis also needs to be done format-wise. The wealth of ad formats that digital marketing offers requires marketers to do an in-depth analysis of the performance of each to uncover which format resonated the best with the target audience. This type of analysis is important because marketers might uncover that whereas one platform as a whole performed better than the others, a specific ad format on another platform out-performed other formats. This can help optimize future budgets and campaign strategies. 

 

Case study: How we generated 6000+ leads in 100 hours through a digital marketing mix

Objective

Our client, a leading real estate developer based in Chennai, approached us to help them reach a massive goal. For just 100 hours, their projects would be available at highly-discounted prices. Within this limited period, we had to maximize their reach, ad efficiency and results. 

Strategy

To achieve this ambitious goal within such a limited time period, we had to set up a flexible and adaptable digital marketing mix. We developed two strategies: one aimed at raising awareness among a consumer base who was not aware of the developer's luxury segment and one who were aware of the brand, but needed the final push to invest in a home. 

As part of the marketing mix, we leveraged a number of platforms and formats, including YouTube bumper ads, promotions across social media channels, Gmail video ads and countdown ads on Google. To create a holistic approach, we also launched roadblock ads on traditional print media, including many of India's leading newspapers such as The Hindu and Times of India. 

Results

This highly-segmented strategy delivered phenomenal results. Within the 100-hour window, we were able to generate an incredible 6,152 leads. These results highlight the fact that an adaptable digital marketing mix is critical for brands looking to drive business results. 

Watch the youtube bumper Ad below:

 

Marketing mix modelling has long been an indispensable part of marketing literature. Rather than do away with this tried-and-tested method completely, marketers should adapt each of the principles of traditional marketing models to the digital world.

 


Programmatic Advertising: The Future of the online advertising landscape

  • Nandita Raman
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  • 23 September , 2019
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    • 8 min read

Programmatic advertising is considered to be one of the biggest digital marketing trends in 2019 and Google has predicted that 60% of its advertising budgets will be put towards programmatic by the end of this year. Although programmatic advertising has taken over a fair share of the digital advertising space, there is still a level of uncertainty among many marketers. The main reason for this is the lack of information when it comes to programmatic advertising and the reluctance in letting go of traditional advertising methods. So how can programmatic advertising help Indian brands take their customer reach to the next level?

What is programmatic advertising?

Today, two important factors that play a crucial role in the success of a business is its marketing techniques and digital advertising tools. Earlier many companies were dependent on offline mediums of advertising, but in recent years digital advertising has become the primary means of marketing for many businesses. Programmatic advertising is taking centre stage when it comes to this type of marketing. 

‘Programmatic’, as the name suggests, is the use of a program or software to buy digital space/inventories. Not only is this process more cost-effective but it is also incredibly efficient. There was a time when the process of advertising involved numerous sub-processes and human negotiations that resulted in a lot of delays. But with the use of artificial intelligence, programmatic advertising has made ad buying in the digital space easier than ever. 

How does programmatic advertising work?

In its simplest form, programmatic advertising is an automatic bid on advertising inventory which happens in real time. This is known as real-time bidding. It gives the owner of the ads the freedom to create and optimise the adverts to their liking. However this type of programmatic advertising is just one type, there are other programmatic types that guarantee impressions from specific websites. This is referred to as programmatic direct. 

When a person engages with a programmatic ad, the website publishing the ad bids for an impression in an auction of the ad in the marketplace. This auction is run among the different advertisers who want their ad to be displayed on the webpage. The brand with the highest bid wins. 

Although this auction process may seem time-consuming in theory, the system is automated and the entire auction can happen in milliseconds that it takes for the web page to load. The bids of each of the competing advertisers is pre-programmed into the system. When the customer clicks on the ads, the advertiser will convert this into a sale.

To learn more about programmatic advertising check out our video on how can it help your brand scale your digital marketing efforts. 

Types of creative formats for Programmatic advertising

When it comes to programmatic advertising, there are many different ad formats that companies can use so that they can create the largest impact and scale using creatives. 

Here are a few:

Native video

Many brands prefer native ads because they can be customised to meet the look and feel of the publisher’s page. This can result in better visibility and higher engagement with the ad. Native ads also allow you to reach the market quicker because a set bundle of assets are used to fill in the ad templates.

Youtube ad

In today’s mobile-first world, it can be hard to grab the attention of the audience. Bumper ads a quick and efficient way to give the viewer snippets of your product or service while they are on the go. Insteam ads, on the other hand, can be skippable or non-skippable, based on the objective of the advertiser. These ads are optimised with the help of AL and ML for better traction. They also have the added advantage of tracking post-view floodlight activity conversions for a specified attribution window. 

Lighbox ad

Lightbox ad comes under responsive ads which have the ability to fit to any ad space depending on the display screen. Lightbox ads typically contain galleries with images and videos that enable the customer to effectively engage with the ad. Moreover, lightbox ads streamlines the ad engagement which can be done by clicking or tapping on the ad that is displayed. This way it prevents any accidental engagement.

App Promotion ad

The app install platform helps you to create an ad that helps in increasing the number of app downloads. You can promote your app by creating an interstitial ad containing images or youtube videos, catchy title and suitable description. App Install ads are designed to create awareness about the app and also allows users to directly install the app by engaging with the ad.

Parallax ad

Parallax ads helps you create a distinctive and creative ad display. By utilising the parallax animation effect, you can display different images in layers with description. Users can view the entire ad only if they scroll down screen. Unlike other types of ad, the engagement is measured with the number of users scrolling down for complete information, even if they do not click on the ad.

Audio ad

Audio ads helps in brand awareness for reaching to a wider audience thereby increasing the number of leads. With the availability of different platforms like spotify, Apple music, google play and many more, leveraging audio ads will be a potential ad strategy to improve brand reach.

Flipbook

Flipbbok is a unique way to grab the attention of users with a short video on the mobile screen. This video is as short as five seconds and if the user is interested to learn more about the video, they can tap on the clipping to view the entire video. The video clipping plays  while the user is scrolling down and and while scrolling up the video plays in reverse. Similar to parallax ads, the engagement rate is measured by number of users scrolling, even though they do not click on the ad.

How can your business do Programmatic advertising?

Many consider Programmatic advertising to be the future of digital advertising. A report by Magna global stated that by the end of 2019, 50% of all advertising will be Programmatic. 

So how can your business do Programmatic advertising? Like traditional advertising, there are many factors that a business needs to consider before they implement this. They include:

Set goals

Once you know how and where you are going to implement the programmatic ads, the next step is to set goals. You need to know what you expect to get out of programmatic advertising such as the conversion rate or the click rate and set goals accordingly.

Study the market

As with any medium of advertising, the first step is to study the market. Programmatic ads appear on webpages, apps and audio-video content, to name a few. So, you need to know what type of web pages your customers are visiting as well as what competitors in the same space are doing. This will give you a better understanding of what webpages to target based on the audience personas identified.

Take up a full-funnel approach

Programmatic advertising is a great way to put your brand name out there, hence, it is crucial that your ad appears in the right places to the right audience. It is a good idea to take up a full-funnel approach and target the audience based on the consumer's journey. Pick out the information that brings out the essence of the brand in the ad.

Select your audience

DV360 provides comprehensive targeting options in order to fulfill the campaign objectives. Advertisers have the option of choosing Google-provided audiences for no extra cost, along with first-party audiences or purchase third-party audience, based on the campaign goals. 

How to use your company’s data to your advantage?

With the help of data available on the market, the brand needs to gather behavioural insights to run a successful programmatic campaign. There are three types of data that come into play when thinking about programmatic advertising. The first would be the data collected by the marketer on the customers. The second would be the data gathered by an advertising agency who would use the information to help the brand build its programmatic advertising strategy. The third type of data, also known as third-party data are reports that can be purchased by any company online. 

Brands need to pay close attention to the data they collect as it can give them valuable insights into customer patterns and behaviour. Programmatic advertising can then be targeted based on scale and accuracy. If the target audience is small, the accuracy can be intensified on a small scale or vice versa if the target audience is large. 

When it comes to retargeting existing customers, it is important to use programmatic advertising to give them a story behind the brand rather than information about the product or service as you would with a new customer. But don’t focus solely on retargeting, your programmatic advertising campaign needs to be optimised from start to finish to keep the customer engaged at all times.

Challenges of programmatic advertising

There are many challenges for online advertising and programmatic is no exception to these challenges. Although programmatic advertising is slowly gaining traction, the concept is still in its nascent stage. This is mainly because of lack of information about the concept, where and how to use the technique. 

The next big challenge is , having invested money in ads, it is a natural expectation for brands to reap maximum benefits. But what if your ads are viewed by bots and not real audience? This is called as the AdFraud where your investment on advertisements yields no results. Here is where research and knowledge plays a key role in displaying your ads to the relevant audience. You should make sure that your ads are displayed on reputed and trusted websites, for which you should be sure of the website. 

Brand safety plays a prime role in securing your ads on the webpages. Here are some brand safety methods that you can incorporate for your programmatic advertising.

Brand safety measures

One of the key concerns for many marketers today is brand safety. In recent years many brands have become more vigilant about safety measures which were spurred by the many ads being placed next to political and violent content that often took the focus away from the brand’s message.

Here are a few important tips advertisers can use to ensure that their programmatic ad buys to protect the brand name. 

Invest in private marketplaces

It is recommended that advertisers leverage their relationships with publishers and run ads in the private marketplace (PMP). This is an effective way to purchase programmatic ads because you know exactly who you are purchasing the ads from and where the ads will be placed.

Opt for premium placements

It is crucial for advertisers to escape the vicious cycle of posting their ads in fraudulent and irrelevant websites. Your advertisement should protect the brand’s reputation by making sure you place your ads on premium and trusted web pages. Using brand safety you set a platform for the right audience to engage with your ad.

Whitelists

In contrast to blacklisting certain websites, you can also whitelist them. This is a list of sites that are safe to run your ads on. This may seem like a time-consuming task but there are many exchanges that require websites to complete an intense inventory approval process.

Make use of exclusions in your targeting

Not only do you focus on targeting relevant audience, you should also be aware of your negative targets. Under brand safety tools, you can exclude certain web pages from showing your ad, considering the site to be unsafe for your ad to be displayed.

Ad fraud verification services

Advertisers can use the services of third-party vendors to prevent ad fraud. This feature is present under the "brand safety" tab where you can choose between leading providers like Integral Ad Science, Double Verify and Adloox to prevent your ad from being showing to fraudulent websites while saving up on advertising dollars. 

Is programmatic advertising the future?

Programmatic advertising is definitely on the rise in India in 2019 largely because of the efficiency it provides. Traditional ad campaigns require a lot of iterations and can either be a hit or miss. But with programmatic ad campaigns, brands don’t need to worry about their ad expenditures. The program ensures that money is spent in the best possible way. All you need to do is enter the required information into the software and you are all set. 

Programmatic advertising uses customer’s data and company goals to create and set ads to effectively target the customer base. This type of ad buying frees up more time from brands and agencies that they can use to think more creatively about the customer and how programmatic advertising can be leveraged to engage with India’s next billion Internet users.


Digital Transformation of B2B Customer Experience – Digital Leadership Summit

  • Divya Premkumar
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  • 2 May , 2019
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    • 4 min read

Social Beat recently concluded the Digital Leadership Summit for 2019 held at Bangalore. The event was a grand success. With industry leaders sharing their insights. Mr. Atin Chhabra - General Manager, Marketing at Schneider Electric shed light on the digital transformation of B2B Customer Experience for large and diverse organizations like Schneider Electric. Here are some of the highlights of the session.

  • Linear supply models are outdated – customers now want experiences
  • Digital Customer Experiences help brands attract, engage and transact with customers
  • 70% of investments for Digital Capabilities go towards creating customer experiences
  • 86% of customers will pay a 16% higher price if satisfied with the experience

No more linear supply models:

Gone are the days when companies introduced a product in the market and it had to be accepted by the consumers. Times have changed, today there are more platforms for consumers, more architectures to experiment on and more connected products. This gives rise to a demand-side play, consumers these days do not demand more products or services but a more engaging customer experience.

Mr. Atin speaks about how it wasn’t long ago when the competition was determined on the basis of products or services. Another company selling similar products or services they were considered as competition. However, that isn’t the case anymore. For a company like Schneider which deals with energy, management, and automation, the competitor for Schneider would be Amazon. This is solely because of the customer experience offered by companies like Amazon. The thin line between who competitors are and who offers a better experience is diminishing.

Change in Competitive Advantage

Traditionally competitive advantage was factored in on the basis of 2 key points which are:

  • Lower cost
  • Differentiation

However, gone are the days when competitive advantage meant low cost and differentiation. Today there are a number of companies that offer both lower costs while also being highly differentiated. One of the most important takeaways from this differentiated competitive advantage is the scale of operations and the experience they have within the specific domain. This indeed is competitive for any traditional company.

To adapt to this companies may look at case studies on big internet giants like Google, Uber, and Amazon, but this constitutes only 6% of the total companies in the world. Other than these big companies that make the 6% while the rest of the 94% of companies which have existed for more than a century or two. What is it that these traditional companies that make up the 94% have done? How do they compete with the big names? According to the statistics, these traditional companies who have implemented digital transformation strategies have seen a 9% increase in revenue. They have seen a whopping 26% increase in profitability. Not only does the digital transformation for companies help in money making but also helps in saving costs. These companies are known as digital masters.

Digital Masters look at digital transformation on two dimensions:

  • Left-hand side - This side accounts for the Digital Capabilities (Google, AI, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc) introduced in the organization to be technologically sound and ready.
  • Bottom side -  This side accounts for the leadership capabilities. How digital talent is trained? How to upskill talent to think digital?

Digital Capabilities

Digital Capabilities today are spread across 3 different functions.

  1. Customer experience - How good the customer experience is
  2. Operations - this is all about the connected products, sensors, etc
  3. Business model - looking to reinvent business models or supplement existing business models.

According to public data, close to 70 percent of digital transformation investments go to digital customer experience. This is because over the course of time customers have also changed, this change is not limited to B2C but also B2B customers.

The change is such that 57 percent of the B2B customers have decided what to purchase even before contacting the vendor. Almost 55 percent are looking for B2B products on social media platforms other than LinkedIn. The most astonishing fact is that 86 percent is willing to pay 16 percent more price for an amazing experience. While a good digital experience is important for the digital footprint, it is important to have content to offer a good experience. 

Digital Customer Experience

DCX or Digital Customer Experience is becoming the forefront to interact, engage and transact with customers. It is very important to get the basics of user experience correct.

Here are the four pillars for creating a digital customer experience function or strategy.

  1. Frame the digital challenge: At any large organization, the digital transformation is primarily run across various departments.
  2. Sustain the transformation
  3. Keep customers at the core
  4. Mobilize the organization

These four pillars need to be kept in mind while creating a digital customer experience strategy. As each pillar looks into important aspects of a digital customer experience this ensures the strategy covers these aspects.

Here are 4 pillars looked upon for the digital transformation agenda at Schneider:

  1. Secure: this function deals with cyber security which is essential when taking functions digital.
  2. Eco-Structure: these are the connected products, sensors that can provide data giving predictive analytics
  3. Operate for efficiency: integrating different platforms to create one platform with multiple functions
  4. Engage through experience: Schneider defines the metric of experience by looking at the digital net satisfaction score. When this score is equal to the country’s net promoter score it is considered to be delivering an experience. This translates to the customer being happy with the platforms as well as the services.

Digital Marketing was considered to be the future of marketing until a few years ago but of late it has all boiled down to digital customer experience. This digital customer experience works across the entire company. It is important to increase the competence of the people, while hiring is possible, the most effective way is by upskilling and strong digital community program. The top-down approach helps in building a stronger digital community within an organization rather than hiring a small group.


LinkedIn Now allows Marketers to Target Ads to ‘Lookalike Audiences’

  • Mrinali Fernandez
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  • 27 April , 2019
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    • 2 min read

Over the last two years, LinkedIn has become a go-to advertising platform, especially for the B2B segments. With new features such as lead ads and matched audience, advertisers have been able to reach a qualified target audience at a competitive cost per leads.  In an effort to constantly improve the ad platform, LinkedIn has recently updated its ad targeting options, providing three new features – Lookalike Audiences, Interest Targeting and Audience Templates. These new options afford marketers the chance to scale their marketing efforts and improve ROI. Let’s take a closer look at these features.

What are Lookalike Audiences?

Lookalike Audiences is a feature already used by Facebook. This powerful tool helps you target and reach audiences who are similar to your ideal consumer. LinkedIn’s new tool combines traits of your ideal consumer with their company and member data to help you reach newer audiences that are similar to your existing customers, website visitors and target accounts.

Here are the benefits of Lookalike Audiences:

Scale your campaign quicker

Extend the reach of your ad campaigns to many more qualified prospective leads. Lookalike Audiences can help improve your campaign reach by 5-10x, while still reaching only high-quality audiences that matter to your brand.

Engage new target accounts

B2B marketers can use this tool to target their ads to companies they may not have considered before. These new companies will match a similar company profile to their ideal customer. Here’s more on how small businesses can leverage LinkedIn to generate leads.

What is Interest Targeting?

LinkedIn introduced its Interest Targeting feature in January of this year. This tool gives marketers the advantage of reaching LinkedIn users with relevant ads that match their professional interests. LinkedIn has further expanded its marketing capabilities by partnering with Microsoft’s Bing search engine. This adds an additional level of interest targeting whereby you can now reach users via the topics or content they search for and consume. All this is done in a way that completely respects members’ privacy.

What are Audience Templates?

Audience Templates are a boon for marketers who are new to advertising on LinkedIn or for existing marketers looking to reach newer audiences. With this new feature, you can choose from 20 predefined B2B audience templates that include characteristics like job titles, skills, groups and so on. With just a single click, you can create a set model to target specific audiences, without wasting too much time at set up.

Lookalike Audiences, Interest Targeting with Bing and Audience Templates are now available to all LinkedIn advertisers. Leveraging these three new features will help B2B brands bolster and scale their ad campaigns to reach a more extensive number of highly-qualified leads via digital. You can also read our blog on LinkedIn Showcase Pages and why you must use them for more information on LinkedIn’s marketing tools.


YouTube Brandcast India 2019 – Some key learnings for marketers

  • Divya Premkumar
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  • 11 April , 2019
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    • 5 min read

2019 marks the 11th year since YouTube’s entry into the Indian market. To help marketers and creators understand the massive impact YouTube has made in India and its importance in the digital ecosystem today, Youtube hosted the 2019 Brandcast in India.

YouTube currently has over 265M users in the country and this number is expected to reach 500M by 2020. This incredible number is in relation to the increase in the total number of internet users in India that has grown from 15M just five years ago to 100s of millions of users today. Its ability to provide a personalised media experience and offer content in various languages has made YouTube one of India’s most-used platforms.

YouTube has become a platform for all types of content

Over the last 11 years, YouTube has become a platform for storytellers and creators to share content in different languages and reach an engaged audience in rural areas and big cities alike. It has become a success story for numerous YouTubers like ‘Mostly Sane’ who uses YouTube to discuss social issues such as mental health (the channel is currently at 3M subscribers) and more recently Priyanka Chopra, who chose YouTube to extend her audience reach with hew new show ‘If I could do just one thing’.

Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, says it is the preferred social platform for creators and businesses alike due to its ability to reach out to a large audience pool in a personalised way. When Pepsi ran an ad campaign on YouTube, it saw a 14% increase in sales and 3.3x return in ad spend. Alternatively, Hyundai’s ad campaign had a massive audience reach of 221M. The ability to scale and impact on YouTube can result in business leading results. Currently, vernacular content is taking centre stage and has helped increase engagement across all channels.

How is the media landscape evolving?

Mark Patterson of Group M discussed the video revolution in India and how it has changed the way brands communicate with their customers. Group M is a media advertising company that has had a presence in Asia for more than 2 decades and is responsible for 1 in 2 ads in India.

Mark highlighted the evolution of the media landscape and how mobile video has become a secret weapon for many marketers. One of the main reasons for this is the change in the way users consume content and seek entertainment. They look for three things: convenience, customisation and choice. Statistics show that 60-70% of people in India consume content on mobile video every day.

The digital spends in India remain comparatively low when compared to China where 64% of ad spends is digital while this is only at 18% in India. However, India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world at a 14% GDP and digital ad spends is expected to catch up soon.

Mark Patterson also discussed the three main themes on the why and how of digital advertising in India and how YouTube affects these themes.

1. Driving results across through the funnel
YouTube has allowed marketers to have a mass reach and gain more awareness of their brand with tools such as YouTube Masthead.

2. Unlocking creativity
YouTube allows for personalised messaging that has helped deliver performance. This has resulted in a 20% uplift inconsideration, a 31% increase in awareness and a 900% increase in search queries.

3. Cross channel planning
While this is still a fairly new concept for most media agencies. Group M has taken a step in this direction by integrating YouTube reach data with Group M planning tools. This has helped them optimise maximum reach across multiple devices.

How a Youtube Masthead helped achieve incredible results for Sundaram Mutual- Case Study

It is no secret that Youtube has become the secret weapon for many marketers to reach their target audience. To take advantage of the immense reach that Youtube offers, Social Beat collaborated with our client Sundaram Mutual to create a masthead ad to promote their new fund. This campaign generated incredible results, proving the effectiveness of Youtube as a medium to reach out to the target market.  

The objective:

Sundaram was launching an open-ended equity scheme and wanted to create awareness around their product within a short period of time. Digital marketing has been proven to provide finance companies with the reach they require so Youtube was the obvious choice when it came to achieving the objective.

How was the campaign executed?

Mastheads are usually charged on a daily basis so we used the 24 hour period we had as effectively as we could. To enable maximum viewership we ran the campaign over the weekend. For the entirety of the day any individual that accessed Youtube through their desktop, tablet or mobile device saw the masthead ad at the top of their pages. This helped us increase our subscriber base and drive traffic to the website.

The results

The 20-second Sundaram masthead achieved phenomenal results. Sundaram’s subscriber base grew from 356 to an outstanding 56,000! It has increased since then and is currently standing at 57,000 and growing every day. The video also generated 14 million views in a span of 24 hours.

To achieve these incredible results, we adopted a digital-first marketing strategy to reach the target audience. We were also able to track and measure our results to scale the brand to new heights.

You can read more about our Youtube ad campaign with Sundaram Mutual here.

What do brands need to consider to increase ROI

Ben Jones, Creative Director at Google says that 30% of ROI is driven by media elements and targeting data. The other 70% comes from creative. There are three elements that affect ROI in digital:

1. The consumer’s attention

Many people assume that with all the content out there, the consumer’s attention span is decreasing but this is not true because people today prefer long-form content to short-form content. What has changed is how quickly consumers reject and accept the content they consume. The content needs to be longer, richer, deeper and grab the attention of the viewer faster.

2. Understanding customers better

Another way a brand can improve ROI is by understanding the customers better with more personalised messaging. They should change content according to the target audience and in a way that will allow the brand to relate to the customer better. Statistics show that customisation of the ads specific to the target market can result in a 10% lift in ad recall.

3. The content needs to be mobile optimised

Research has shown that In India 60-70% of content is consumed via the mobile device. Therefore, when creating content, brands need to keep in mind that the shots framed and the stories told are optimised for the mobile user. It is important for agencies to rethink their digital content strategies this way so they are able to get the brand message to the target audience better.

To help agencies adopt the above strategies in their content plan, a new Rethink Council has been created to identify how brands can rethink their marketing and targeting to measure and maximise creativity to connect to the customer.

YouTube Brandcast India 2019 ended with an insightful discussion with world-renowned director Zoya Akhtar. She highlighted the importance of the role YouTube played in her recent film ‘Gully Boy’ and how she was able to discover and do in-depth research for the movie through YouTube. YouTube also played a huge role in promoting the supporting content for the movie such as trailers and interviews.

YouTube has played a crucial role in the evolution of digital media in India and YouTube Brandcast 2019 highlighted the importance of the digital platform and how it has changed the way people consume content in India.


YouTube SEO tips: The Secret Sauce to Ranking Your Videos in 2019

  • Nandita Raman
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  • 12 March , 2019
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    • < 1 min read

There are currently around 225 million active Indian users on YouTube, with this number expected to increase to 500 million by 2020. Interestingly, this platform’s popularity spans across age groups, languages and regions. 60 percent of videos are watched by audiences outside the top 6 cities in India. Brands are also increasingly switching to YouTube ads from traditional media

SEO in 2019 and beyond requires us to rethink our very concept of search engines in order to rank for them. Google might be the undisputed king in this realm, but YouTube closely follows as the second largest search engine in the world. To grow your organic traffic, marketers cannot afford to ignore YouTube SEO.

Our comprehensive YouTube SEO guide covers eight helpful YouTube SEO tips that you can start implementing immediately!

Read more:

 

 

 


Digital marketing for Jewellery: A complete guide

  • Nandita Raman
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  • 4 March , 2019
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    • 6 min read

A good digital marketing strategy is one that empowers your brand, but a great digital marketing strategy is one that empowers your consumer. This saying is particularly true if you belong to the jewellery industry – where the customer is queen! Today, digital marketing for jewellery brands is no longer an option – it is a necessity to drive store visits, increase brand awareness and elevate the image of your brand. Read on for fool-proof digital marketing tips to mark your territory in the online space.

Building your brand image

Building a household brand name is every marketer’s prime objective and the first step to that is by creating a strong online presence. Jewellery brands need to focus on the following digital marketing techniques that double up as a powerful foundation for future digital strategies:

A great website:

Whether you have an online store or a showroom, a great website is key to attract more customers and significantly increase your revenue. Opt for a crisp and clean design that helps tell your brand story. Apart from being aesthetically appealing, great design also provides unmatched user experience, creating a seamless transition from an inquisitive lead to a loyal consumer. However, a remarkable design needs to be backed up with great content that keeps your audience engaged. You also need multiple web pages on the homepage that provide in-depth information about your brand and landing pages that behave as e-commerce portals that highlight a particular line of products.

Featured below is the landing page design incorporated for Gehna – an online boutique that specializes in authentic hand-crafted jewellery. The page has a clean layout and enticing images for a pleasant user experience. As you can see, the product is described in a clear-cut manner with no distractions and a relevant CTA.

Search Engine Optimisation:

In today’s digital age, almost every process – right from buying a bracelet that matches your attire to deciding which type of jewellery should be worn for various occasions – begins with a simple Google search. Ensure your brand appears on the first page of the World’s most-used search engine by creating an ultimate SEO checklist accompanied by various link-building techniques and SEO plugins for WordPress. A detailed keyword research and competitor analysis to know what your target audience is searching for is a good way to understand what type of content works.

Engaging content:

The one thing that the Internet is known for is tons of valuable information that helps you make an informed decision – and blogging is one of the most effective digital marketing techniques to deliver that. Websites that feature a blog page have 434% more indexed pages on Google which means they are recognised and ranked easily, increasing the probability of appearing on the first page. Jewellery brands need to leverage the reach of informative blogs and go the extra mile with creative infographics, embedded videos and intriguing images that keep viewers hooked. The blogs can cover all aspects of buying jewellery – from tips to keep in mind while choosing a diamond to bridal jewellery looks for the contemporary bride.

Social Media:

Everyone who is anyone is on social media! Reach the very palm of your target audience with a strong social media presence that draws them towards your brand. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest are great digital marketing platforms to increase the exposure of your jewellery brand. Opt for innovative social media campaigns to create awareness about your brand, promote your products and engage with your followers.

Featured below is a Valentine’s Day campaign we ran for Malabar Gold and Diamonds. We created a series of grid posts on Instagram that utilise the entire screen space on the feed. This drove a lot of engagement on the page that led to a whopping 1500 new followers!

Videos:

Videos are a great way to tell a million stories in each frame. Connect with your audience and push them further down the marketing funnel with compelling videos that convert. Begin by creating a YouTube channel and attract subscribers through optimised videos that show up on the user’s feed based on the keywords entered. Digital marketing for jewellery brands through videos comes with a lot of creative freedom due to the luxurious and fun aspect of the product. Keeping your target audience in mind, you can create thought-provoking snippets through video campaigns that are guaranteed to draw in more subscribers and build your brand image online.

Influencer Marketing

Nothing is more powerful than an influential source suggesting your brand to a potential consumer. Leverage the power of word-of-mouth marketing through social influencers who have a strong following. Keeping the creative space of the jewellery sector in mind, marketers have a huge potential to tap through bloggers and lifestyle influencers. You can also collaborate with influencer marketing platforms, like influencer.in, to hand-pick influencers who resonate with your brand and reach your target audience in a seamless and hassle-free manner.

Featured below is an influencer marketing campaign implemented by leading online designer jewellery brand Voylla. The brand collaborated with top beauty and fashion influencers including Jhanvi Bhatt, Mrinali Das and Anusha, to name a few. Each influencer shared posts on Instagram wearing exquisite pieces of jewellery from Voylla and connected with their followers in the language and tone that reflected the image of the brand. The campaign greatly contributed to increasing the reach and visibility of Voylla with higher conversions.

GMB listings for store visits

Digital marketing for jewellery brands does not necessarily cater to online stores alone! You can drive visits to your brick-and-mortar store by posting your store on Google My Business Listings. Not only will your store show up on a Google Search and drive traffic to your website, but users can also get directions to your showroom and read reviews to get a genuine understanding of your business. As per a MOZ report on factors that help a page rank, GMB listings contribute to 14.7% of the overall influential factors, making it a vital aspect in digital marketing for jewellery brands. Read our blog on the 13 ways to leverage local SEO and Google Maps for your business for more insights.

Since most numbers of searches today are local in nature, an informative GMB listing, like the one featured below for Gehna, will drive more store visits and higher revenue. As you can see, the GMB listing showcases the address, working hours, contact details, directions to the store and images to make it more convenient than ever for consumers to pay a visit.  They can also visit the website directly and place an order!

Online ads for higher sales

Digital ads play a huge role in helping you reach your target audience and drive more business for your brand. From Facebook ads and Google ads to newer formats like YouTube and Instagram, you can choose your marketing platform based on your objective and the type of audience you are planning to target. Furthermore, if you are selling your product on Amazon, you can also run ads on Amazon and drive more relevant traffic to your e-commerce store. You can also opt for shopping ads that ensure 8 to 10X return on ad spends. Shopping ads run on a combination of optimisation, monitoring and bidding, with a keen focus on increasing average order values.

We ran shopping ads for Voylla – a contemporary jewellery brand with an e-commerce website. We used optimized images, titles and product descriptions that help the ad show up as a Google Search ad. As you can see in the image below, a simple Google search for “gold plated men's ring” shows up a series of shopping ads, out of which the Voylla ad is placed as per the position it was bid for.

When it comes to digital marketing for jewellery brands, it is safe to say that the world is your oyster due to the wide range of creative campaigns and ads you can incorporate in your strategies. You can also read our detailed blog on digital marketing for real estate, finance industry, insurance companies and FMCG giants. It is time to leverage the power of going digital and grow your business!


9 digital marketing trends in India that will shape 2019

  • Divya Premkumar
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  • 25 February , 2019
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    • 6 min read

It’s no secret that the world of digital marketing is constantly in a state of flux. What works today might be completely obsolete tomorrow. If your brand is still continuing to use the same techniques in 2019 as you did in the previous year, expect to see declining results. To ensure your brands stay on top of its digital marketing game this year, here are nine of the most important trends to stay ahead of.

An explosion of vernacular content online

The online space in India is set to get even more colourful and diverse. As even larger numbers of users get access to low-cost internet and affordable mobile phones, there will be a greater demand for internet content in the languages they understand best. To cater to this growing internet audience, brands need to push vernacular to the front and centre of their digital marketing strategy. Right from their websites, to their apps, social media campaigns, performance advertising and even social media listening, Indic languages should be the focus.

Speaking to regional audiences involves more than just taking a brand’s main communication and translating it into various languages. Instead, it requires them to develop communications aimed specifically at these audiences, keeping their unique needs, challenges and desires at the core. Only by doing this can they create that all-important personal connection with consumers. 22 Languages, one of the top vernacular startups, is designed specifically to help brands reach out to a larger audience in vernacular languages.

Read our case study on How Multilingual Ads Helped Generate Higher-Quality Leads With Lower CPL to learn how vernacular techniques can produce unprecedented results for your brand.

Growth of voice search

The seeds of voice search were sowed back in 2018, but it is in 2019 that this trend will fully come into its own. Today, it isn’t just mobile that’s driving voice search, but the proliferation of smart assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Voice Assistant. The push for voice search will also be coming from the other end of the spectrum, from users who are just starting to use the internet or who might not even know how to type. But regardless of who the audience for voice search is, one thing is certain: SEO as we know it will have to change. Traditional keyword research will become obsolete since user queries will be completely different when using voice search. Voice also means that position zero, the ‘featured snippet’ will become even more coveted. 99% of voice search results draw from the featured snippet, so content creators will have to focus even harder on optimising their content for Google to pick it up. 

Be sure to watch our detailed video on a complete guide to Voice Search Marketing for more tips and insights.

Videos and interactive content

While videos have been around for decades, they have only recently started exploding on digital platforms and social media. In 2019, if your brand doesn’t have a strong repertoire of engaging, high-quality videos, you could be missing out on a sizeable audience. YouTube, the world’s second largest search engine, can become even more essential in 2019. Through techniques like YouTube SEO, brands can ensure that their content is visible to relevant audiences. For tips on how to rank your videos, read our in-depth article: YouTube SEO Tips: The Secret Sauce to Ranking Your Videos in 2019.

But the importance of videos extends beyond just YouTube. Videos on landing pages and in emails have been shown to improve performance and conversions. Facebook is also witnessing a growing popularity of videos. In one survey, around 44% of respondents admitted to watching at least 5 videos every day on the platform.

As videos gain momentum, multiple video formats are also being developed and explored. Interactive videos are emerging as a popular option due to the higher user engagement they deliver. In these videos, users are required to take some form of action which can influence the video. This could be either in terms of the content displayed or the storyline that the video takes. Apart from interactive content, live videos are also creating a stir. Currently, they are available on Instagram and Facebook, while YouTube is also starting to introduce it. Live videos are a great way for brands to showcase ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage and develop a more personal connect with their audience.

Smarter interactive chatbots

Chatbots have been slowly making an entry from 2017, however, chatbots in 2019 will be more intelligent than ever before. Most chatbots currently have a limited script, usually offering a fixed set of options that users can choose from. Once the query is narrowed down, users are often transferred to a human representative to resolve it. With the advent of AI, however, chatbots are likely to completely replace the human aspect previous involved. They are programmed to be smarter, respond to a wide number of queries in a meaningful way and resolve issues without requiring any human intervention. In fact, through AI, chatbots are likely to be able to keep up a long conversation with users without coders having to input a long script beforehand. As the technology matures, you can expect chatbots to become even more ubiquitous as brands capitalise on their low cost and higher efficiency. 

AI for better audience targeting

AI isn’t just for smarter chatbots; it is also becoming the most accurate way for brands to identify their core audience and develop core messaging for them. Through a combination of machine learning and artificial intelligence, predictive customer analytics can eliminate much of the guesswork involved with digital marketing.

One way they do this is by assigning a ‘lead score’ to leads generated. AI can analyse large volumes of leads at a time, identify common patterns, group them into various buckets based on their behaviour and help you create hyper-personalised content for them. Since personalisation is key to nurturing leads, AI can almost certainly lead to higher conversions for marketers. AI can also identify similarities in current consumers and generate custom targeting options that marketers can utilise to ensure more accurate delivery of ads. This will help improve the quality of leads generated via digital. 

UX and AMP for desktop 

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) was a crucial mobile ranking factor for websites in 2018. In 2019, the importance of AMP will not be limited to mobiles alone. Google recently made AMP available for desktops versions of websites as well. With this feature, users will be able to enjoy the same speed and easy navigation that AMP offers even while browsing on their desktop.

With the introduction of this feature, it’s time for brands to re-look at their website and how user-friendly it is. By making their websites (or at least critical, content-heavy sections like blogs) AMP-friendly, brands might be able to enjoy greater visibility on search engines. Since AMP pages are also easier for users to navigate through, an improved UX can encourage them to spend more time on the website and learn more information about the brand.

Find out how AMP landing pages helped us achieve a 33% lower cost-per-lead.

Growth of Programmatic Advertising in India

In 2019, almost 65% of all digital media buying will be programmatic. Programmatic is without a doubt the most cost-effective, efficient way for advertisers to purchase digital ad space. Programmatic advertising is rapidly growing in India with Google Marketing Platform (GMP) leading the way. Unlike previous methods which required human intervention and manual bids, programmatic algorithms can determine the best media mix and automatically purchase it. This technology enables marketers to reach a scale previously unthought of. They can target larger audiences over a wider variety of channels with absolutely no time or effort lost. Since it can optimise in real-time, markets can do a lot more with their budgets and reduce their cost-per-leads.

Decline in organic search and traffic

With every new SERP feature that Google introduced, organic traffic takes a hit. Click-through-rates have been steadily dropping and 2019 will be a continuation of this trend. Answer boxes, for instance, answers a user’s query without them having to actually click on a link. So while your page might show up on a featured snippet, you might not notice a significant rise in organic traffic to that page.

So does this mean the sun has set on the SEO empire? Fortunately, no. This just means that marketers will need to re-align their SEO strategy. For example, they will need to start focusing more on creating brand awareness and driving up brand searches. When users start searching for your company’s name, Google cannot prevent users from clicking on your website. It also means tailoring your content specifically for higher click-through rates. You need to give users enough information that Google picks it up and displays it, but not enough for their curiosity to be satisfied. If users are only getting half an answer from your snippet, they are more likely to click on your page to get the full information.

Decline in organic reach on Instagram

Previously, organic reach on Facebook had taken a hit, with pages showing close to zero reach without paid promotions. In 2019, all signs are pointing towards Instagram going down the same route. As Instagram grows in popularity and adds new users every minute, it predictably wants brands to start paying for higher reach. If your company page doesn’t have adequate promotional budgets, then it’s time to scale up this year. But while showcasing your brand on Instagram might become more expensive, it’s still completely worth it. India currently has around 71 million active users and this number is only set to grow from here. Clearly, brands cannot afford to neglect this audience, paid or otherwise.

2019 is proving to be an exciting year for brands, giving them opportunities to experiment with new ad formats and strategies. By taking advantage of these upcoming trends, brands can gain a strong lead over their competition.

This article was originally published in Campaign India.

If you're looking for more information into digital marketing trends that will shape India in 2019, do check out our co-founder Vikas' in-depth video below.

The great thing about the digital space is that trends are always shifting, making space for new trends to come up. Check out our article on the trends we predict will shape 2020.

Top 10 Digital Marketing Blogs in India – 2020 Edition

  • Lalitha Shukla
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  • 22 February , 2019
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    • 4 min read

A while ago, we shared the worlds’ best digital marketing blogs which covered a comprehensive range of the kind of content that is being created and shared worldwide. And then we got to wondering, how well-versed in the Indian market with the digital era?

An increasing number of Indian brands are going digital and the key is to keep yourself updated with the latest marketing trends and digital discoveries and use them to the best of your capabilities to expand your business. After all, digital media is all about growing. So, after a lot of backbreaking research, we got down to rounding up some of the best digital marketing blogs in India which could help you guide your way forward in the social media and digital space. You may also find it interesting to read our book on digital marketing insights or subscribe to our YouTube Channel or take up the digital marketing course at DigiGrad. If you think we missed some amazing blogs, please do comment below and let us know.

Social  Samosa

Founded by Aditya Gupta and Ankit Gaba, Social Samosa is the provenance of high-toned content which encompasses of agency highlights, in-depth case studies, interviews with prominent icons in the digital world, campaign reviews along with tips and tools that could help you grow profoundly in the social media expanse. The idea is to help businesses understand the world of social media locally and globally.

Digital Deepak

Deepak Kanakaraju is a leading marketing consultant from Bangalore. Prior to being a consultant, he worked as a digital marketing manager for leading brands such as Instamojo, Exotel, Practo and Razorpay. He is also a published author and his book “How to get your dream digital marketing job” is a handy guide for aspiring digital marketing professionals. His blog Digital Deepak covers a wide range of topics ranging from digital marketing tips to entrepreneurship.

Digital Ready

Digital Ready is a leading digital marketing training centre based out of Hyderabad. Their blog is a comprehensive guide for young professionals to understand A-Z of digital marketing. From latest updates and best practices to tips and tricks, Digital Ready covers everything in the world of digital marketing. They also offer digital marketing certifications and placement solutions for students.

Campaign India

Like Campaign Asia, the blogs at Campaign India cover the trending topics in digital media and they act like a solo powerhouse of information that is adequate for online marketers. The content found on this platform is mostly news and opinions from the digital world.

Social Beat 

Focused mainly towards digital marketers and CMOs who are looking to create a footprint in the world of digital marketing, Social Beat blogs cater to a variety of industries. The content in the blogs aims at helping businesses understand how different strategies can help them grow their business online. The blogs are enriched with quality insights and goal-oriented strategies to help brands get best ROI from their digital marketing efforts. You may also find it interesting to read our book on digital marketing insights or subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Light house Insights

From the latest news to the top digital media trends, Lighthouse Insights provides everything. Timely interviews with eminent personalities from the creative world are also covered in their content hemisphere. These articles are something to look forward to for people who love nibbling on digi facts and understandings.

DigiGrad

DigiGrad is a online training initiative for marketers to learn basic and advanced digital marketing skills. With top experts in India, it also has an excellent set of blogs around digital marketing as well as free weekly digital marketing webinars which can be beneficial to freshers and professionals alike. They also have multiple youtube videos

Shout Me Loud

The blogs of Shout Me Loud offer tips on WordPress, SEO, money blogging and affiliate marketing. Shout Me Loud also covers exclusive high quality content for beginners on how to make a career out of blogging. It is one of the award winning blogs that gives useful tips on how to become an entrepreneur with the help of blogging. Shout Me loud is  owned by Harsh Agrawal, a blogging expert from New Delhi. Today, Shout Me Loud has attracted about 900,000 readers across the world.

Digital Vidya

Digital Vidya is one of the leading platforms that offers digital marketing courses in India. Their blog section covers all things digital and has detailed step by step guides on each digital platform. Additionally, Digital Vidya blog also has case studies on various industries, which helps brands and marketers alike.

Influencer.in

Influencer.in is one of India's leading influencer marketing platforms, connecting brands with bloggers and Influencers. The blog provides excellent insights influencer marketing and tips for bloggers. It is the best resource to stay up to date with Influencer marketing news and tactics for a successful campaign.


Entertainment Goes Online- India’s $5 billion video streaming opportunity

  • Divya Premkumar
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  • 20 February , 2019
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    • 6 min read

The Over-the-top (OTT) content is the next big thing in video content according to the report  ‘Entertainment Goes Online’ published by the Boston Consulting Group. OTT is video content consumed over the internet as opposed to traditional media. The report states that the OTT market is estimated to become a $5 billion market by 2023. This shift in the market is a result of various elements such as the rising affluence in the country, an increase in the infiltration of data and smartphones into rural areas and the adoption of this data across numerous demographics in the market including older generations and women. In recent years, the OTT space in India has become incredibly competitive and is attracting various players with different business models such as Netflix and Amazon.

Why has the OTT market increased in India?

The study Entertainment Goes Online is a consumer survey report that aims to understand the reasons why consumers prefer OTT content over traditional forms of media. The results of the survey show that there is a demand for different forms of OTT like SVOD (subscription-based platforms), AVOD (advertising-based platforms) and TVOD (transaction-based platforms) where these models can not just co-exist but thrive as well. There are many reasons why OTT content has become so popular in India:

1. Improved connectivity in rural areas and a fall in data costs

Thanks to the introduction of Reliance Jio, data has become more affordable and accessible to people all over India. Research has shown that after the introduction of Jio, the quarterly consumption of data has increased by tenfold with the growth driven primarily by the consumption of data on a mobile device. On-the-go data consumption is more efficient and the Reliance Jio has made this accessible for all thereby creating a large market for OTT consumption.

2. Increase in the use of smartphones

In the last 5 years, there has been a large growth in the usage of TVs and smartphones in India and it has become an integral part of everyone’s lives. There are 3 billion smartphones worldwide with 450+ million of them in the Indian market. Smart TVs have also become increasingly popular and do not require a setup box allowing consumers to watch content on the web, on a mobile app or on their Smart TVs.

3. The supply of content

Indians usually consumed video content on Youtube but the OTT market started off with content from local market players. With the entry of global companies such as Netflix and Amazon, Indian consumers are prepared to pay more for compelling content. The variety of content available on these platforms has led to the growth in viewership around the country which has fed into an increase in online video advertising as well. In India, the OTT content platform Hotstar has had a massive reach in the audience and a 10x growth since its launch in 2015. Till date, there have been 350Mn installs, 180 Mn monthly active users with each user spending 43 minutes on the platform each day.

4. Favourable demographics

India is witnessing a large shift in the income distribution in the country with an increase in its affluent population. This upward mobilisation and increased access to smartphones have led to greater online consumption via OTT. One of India’s major media platforms, Hotstar, gets 88% of its traffic from the age group of 18-34. Additionally, the availability of internet in rural parts of India has expanded the demand for OTT content. Research shows that by 2020 50% of internet users will be from rural areas in India. The favourable demographics create a large market for OTT to take off in India.

Key learnings from the study

The study conducted by BCG identified three types of viewers in the Indian market:

  • Traditionalist- These consumers usually consume content on conventional forms of media. They watch TV but not OTT and account for 60% of those surveyed.
  • OTT experimenter- These are people that consume content on OTT and traditional forms of media. They are avid watchers of AVOD and account for 30 per cent of those surveyed.  
  • Early adopter- This is a person that consumes content on OTT platforms only. While this is still an urban phenomenon, more people will join this group in the upcoming years. They are heavy watchers of SVOD and accounted for 10 per cent of those surveyed.

By 2023, it is estimated that 48% of India’s internet users will be from rural parts. This will provide a largely untapped market for new OTT players who will have the opportunity to tap into rural markets that have access to the internet. ‘‘Indian content, including music, Bollywood content and cricket, have a large following in the Indian diaspora also. OTT players with Indian content have the potential to tap into this market too’”, said Gaurav Jindal, Principal at the Boston Consulting Group.

According to Kanchan Samtani, a Partner and Director at Boston Consulting Group, ‘one of the key insights in the study were that although OTTs use top-notch hero content to attract consumers, these customers do not stick on for long unless they are engaged by strong marketing efforts on the part of the OTT.’

How can OTT players capture the Indian market?

Although the market for OTT companies is large, there is still a long way to go before the market catches up to its counterparts in the western world. The BCG report examines six ways OTT companies can penetrate the Indian market:

1. Breaking the clutter: A strong marketing challenge

Many consumers today are faced with a choice of more than 30 OTT platforms that they consider to be mostly homogeneous. Many companies assume that consumers are rational and can decide which platform is right for them, but in reality, it is the duty of the companies to guide customers to their various choices and let them know how the platform can meet their entertainment needs.

2. Differentiated content is king

The best way for OTT platforms to gain customers is to differentiate themselves from other companies. There are many companies that provide the same type of ‘hero’ content so in order to be successful OTT, companies need to create an identity for themselves and provide unique content. There are still numerous untapped ‘niches’ in the Indian market such as music and programs for kids. There is also a desire to view and listen to Bollywood music which is still a feature that is not available on most OTT platforms along with a lack of kid-specific content on the platforms.

3. The strategy needs to be geographically focused

Creating more content in a regional language that is more culturally specific is in demand among consumers in India. The vernacular content can help the OTT platform cover smaller segments such as news, religion or spiritual content. There is also a market for ‘relevant focused religious plays’ in various parts of the country. Therefore it is important for OTT companies to leverage this to their advantage and pick important markets and invest carefully. Additionally, focusing on regional content can help an OTT platform differentiate themselves from their competitors. The OTT platform Hotstar offers over 40K hours of regional programming. It is estimated that up to 40% of their users consume content in Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi and Malayalam.

4. Consumer data, consumer insight, big data and analytics

Big data has become increasingly popular in recent years and it helps companies gain a competitive advantage in the market. Analysing data can help gain an understanding of consumer insights and the data analytics can help monetize the OTT platform.

OTT creates a large amount of data and it is vital for companies in the industry to understand where consumers come from and what they watch. This can help predict consumers interests moving forward so they can provide a service in the most cost-effective manner. Understanding customer interests at this granular level can help companies take their platform to the next level.

5. Establishing a new currency for the OTT industry for measurement

OTT companies need to create a currency to measure the impact of advertisers is synonymous with the value added. The currency is especially useful for AVOD models where the currency can help take a more holistic approach to the value and analyse the quantum, quality and segments. A common currency will also bring more acceptance among ad buyers which can help increase the number of OTT watchers.

6. Invest in the right tech, create a user-friendly, economically viable product

Consumers demand a lot from online platforms and are often influenced by various touchpoints. OTT platform companies need to be able to understand and address their concerns on technology in an effective way in order to scale their business. The companies need to create a user-friendly platform to help build critical mass. This critical mass will help platforms improve their overall customer service experience across different devices.

There is a big opportunity in the over-the-top market in India. It is important for companies to scale their business and monetise this opportunity which can help result in significant gains. With the rise in the affordability and accessibility of platforms, there will be a lot of competition in this market and only a few companies may emerge victorious.


Future of digital – AI, AR & Vernacular – Digital Leadership Summit Mumbai

  • Pooja Manoj
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  • 28 January , 2019
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    • 5 min read

As a part of our Second Digital Leadership Summit at Mumbai, a panel discussion was held on the future trends of digital marketing - AI, augmented reality and vernacular content. The two panellists were Ms Channan Sawhney - Head, Digital Marketing, Johnson & Johnson and Mr. Prathyush Kukreja – Head, Product Monetisation at Haptik. The session was moderated by Mr. David Appasamy, Head of Brand & Strategy, Social Beat.

Summary of the session:

  • Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality has a huge role in driving sales and ROI.
  • Brands must adopt artificial intelligence to deliver the right brand messages to the audience.
  • It’s high time for FMCG companies to adopt AI technology to break the clutter in the industry.
  • The future of digital marketing lies in localised content.
  • Brands must utilise the power of voice search and multilingual marketing to build an effective conversational AI.
  •  Marketing automation has become much easier with the advent of AI and AR.

Evolution of AI

Prathyush from Johnson & Johnson enlightened the
audience on how the perception of AI has changed over the years. He said that
in 2015, AI was just a buzz word and no one really knew what AI was. The
preconceived notion was that AI will automate everything, leading to
unemployment. But, in 2018, the scenario has changed. Expectations have become
realistic and technology has come to a place where it can add value to
achieving the necessary business objectives.

Artificial Intelligence - A tool of competitive advantage

According to Prathyush, this is an era of Conversational AI, a subset of Artificial Intelligence backed with data collected by brands and advertisers. Brands must build conversational AI to communicate with the users based on their behavioural and transactional or historical behaviour.  Unlike a television commercial or a radio advertisement, conversational AI is not linear and one-to-one. When you use conversational AI in advertising and branding, each and every customer is unique and the content will be customised according to the needs of that particular user. He further added that Artificial Intelligence considers several other factors such as the buying nature and purchase frequency of the user. This where AI is today. AI is no longer a buzz word today, but, it is a tool of competitive advantage. Currently, brands are competing with each other to develop better AI to deliver better ROI in terms of acquiring users and telling better brand stories.

AI can break the clutter in the FMCG industry

Channan from Johnson & Johnson said that AI technology is not utilised to its fullest in FMCG industry. If used properly, AI has the power to break the clutter and make the brand stand out. Brands can convey right messages to the user in such a way so as to create a long lasting impact on the audience. Johnson & Johnson is employing AI technology rather than AR. Google and Facebook have already started their AI and AR journey. Other brands have huge benefits from this. But, for FMCG companies, implementation of AI technology is extremely important since this is an industry that communicates with its audience on a day-to-day basis.

The need for localised content

According to Channan, consumers are always on a look out for good content on the Internet. In the case of Johnson & Johnson, there is a huge demand for content related to pregnancy and newborn care. It is observed that most of the customers prefer consuming the content in their own local languages. If you are a market leader in a particular industry, it is important to take the lead and provide the kind of content that the consumer is looking for. That’s why Johnson & Johnson has adopted an active native content strategy. One of the biggest priorities for Johnson & Johnson is to strengthen their regional content strategy so as to deliver the right brand messages for the audience in a manner that they want to hear.

The power of voice search

Prathyush highlighted the importance of integrating voice search and vernacular content to build the effectiveness of conversational AI. Nowdays, majority of people are accessing the Internet using vernacular languages rather than English. The Internet has witnessed a commendable shift with the introduction of voice search. This technology is much user-friendly in the sense that users can directly talk to the device without even touching it. Hence the power of voice search is immense. According to data from Google, after the introduction of voice search, Hindi is the most preferred language for content consumption. Taking this into consideration, Haptik is also working on developing a conversational AI with vernacular capabilities. Many of the leading advertisers are also leveraging Devanagari scripts and other local languages in their lead generation and branding campaigns on various digital platforms.

How are brands benefitting from investing in AI technology?

Channan cited that one of the biggest wins of investing in AI is that market study has become easier like never before. With the adoption of AI technology, brands can provide efficient solutions to customers in a much faster manner. This technology has the huge power to transform the way in which data is processed and maintained for delivering business results

Prathyush spoke about an interesting campaign that Haptik had conceptualised for the Bollywood movie Thugs of Hindostan. Google Maps was a great digital marketing tool for this movie. When somebody asked for directions, instead of the usual voice, users could hear directions from Aamir Khan himself. These innovations by Google and Facebook can be adopted by companies specialised in AI technology in order to help brands and advertisers offer value to their customers.

Artificial Intelligence for story telling

Prathyush cited a recent case study on how HDFC Life
executed a branding campaign using AI. The brand wanted to create awareness
about importance on investing in Life Insurance among the millennials. For this
Haptik created an AI personality called Shayari
wala
who educated the millennials on the importance of investing in the
form of shayaris. The main reasons why HDFC strategised their campaign in this
way is primarily because millennials love story telling and they consume
content that is fun and quirky.

Can Augmented Reality become a reality in 2019?

According to Channan, Augmented Reality is a great
story telling tool for brands if it is used for delivering the right message.
For instance, some of the brands have incorporated AR for product packaging. A
well conceptualised AR lead can communicate great brand stories to the
consumers.

On the contrary, Prathyush said that the use of AR in
branding and digital marketing is still vague and unclear. There is no clarity
on how brands can measure ROI, drive sales and generate leads using an AR
campaign. Augmented reality is a great platform for education and can be easily
adopted by real estate and gaming industries. But, it will take a few more years
for AR to establish itself in the digital landscape.

Role of AI and AR in marketing automation

AI plays a huge role in automation of ads, said
Prathyush. The time taken for education and lead generation have become much
faster with the use of AI technology. According to Channan, marketing
automation is all about programmatic ads, best custom audiences and precision
marketing that help in delivering right brand messages for the right target audience.

Migration of content users to vernacular chatbots

Channan also highlighted the importance for brands to
identify ways to migrate content users to vernacular chatbots. For this, brands
must focus on investing in real time machine learning and customised content
that can play a huge role in understanding your customers, drive sales and
generate leads.

This was indeed an insightful panel discussion and brand strategists from across sectors understood the need for adopting such advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and augmented reality to drive sales, generate leads and withstand competition.


7 tips to create compelling videos that convert

  • Ayesha Rafeeq
  • |
  • 8 January , 2019
  • |
    • 6 min read

Looking for ways to create thumb-stopping content for your brand? Then videos are definitely your best bet! Video content was one of the biggest digital marketing trends of 2018 and is here to stay. Thanks to the cheaper data plans available in the market today, videos can easily be streamed online, without any hassle, on screens of all sizes. Furthermore, smartphones have evolved with high-precision cameras, editing suites and a plethora of video-based apps, making videos easily shareable on all platforms. Moreover, with so much content being shared in the digital landscape, brands are looking for newer ways to stand out of the crowd. These reasons have paved the way for videos to be the lever in boosting conversions for a brand.

Now that you are convinced that video marketing is the way to go, let’s take a look at a few fool-proof video editing tips to make compelling videos that increase conversion rates for your business.

Be precise and direct

Plan your video in such a way that it is crisp, short and communicates your message quickly and effectively. The first 3 to 4 seconds of your video are most crucial. Make sure your brand name and objective of the campaign is communicated within this time. According to a recent Facebook survey, you can expect a 20% increase in the number of people finishing the video by practising this technique. Additionally, it is important to incorporate text on videos since most videos are watched in mute, especially on mobile. You can use text in the form of subtitles or any other medium to keep viewers engaged and communicate your brand story even with no sound.

You can also experiment with short versions of your video instead of treating it as one big aspect. One of the best video editing tips is to cut it down with multiple storylines. You can also add effects and use the multitude of formats offered by Facebook and Instagram to make it interesting. By doing this, you can create multiple videos that target different audiences, widening your chances of going viral. Here is a sample video that we did for a real estate builder:

Tap trending topics

Emotional content works wonders on viewers, especially when portrayed in the form of a touching video. Increase the visibility of your brand by tapping trending topics that may not directly speak about your products and services but creates a stir because of the emotional quotient. This is one of the most effective video making tips that will help in creating soul-stirring original content which is always a hit in the digital space.

When Sundaram Mutual – one of the top clients in the finance sector – approached us for a video campaign, we decided to go outside-the-box and create a vox pop video. The video was launched on Father’s Day and spoke about the various financial lessons you’ve learnt from your father.

Go across platforms

When it comes to video making tips, it is best to tap audiences across all social media platforms to get the most out of your campaign. With most platforms giving priority to content that drives more engagement, videos have the potential to be your trump card to get ahead of your competitors. Leading social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram also give users the chance to share your videos, increasing the chances of them going viral. However, it is important to make sure the videos are targeted at the right set of audiences who relate to the product or service being showcased.

With 225 Indian users active on YouTube every month, a lot of brands are making the shift from traditional forms of advertising to YouTube ads. You can choose from a wide range of types of YouTube ads based on various factors like reach, budget and length of the ad, to name a few. Featured below is a YouTube bumper ad of one of our real estate clients – Asta Properties – who leveraged the reach of YouTube ads to introduce a newly launched project.

The ad played in Tamil and English, witnessing an outstanding reach of around 18,000 users with more than 4,000 clicks. The ad was targeted to users who were interested in a real estate investment of Rs. 1.5 crores, within the age group of 35 to 54 years.

Speaking about going across platforms, one of the most important video editing tips is to check the aspect ratio of your video for full-sized viewing on hand-held devices. As per a recent study, 97% of consumers access Facebook through mobile and Instagram has witnessed a 150% increase in video consumption in 2018. A traditional 16:9 video occupies very less space on mobile screens. Instead, change the aspect ratio of your video to 1:1. This will occupy the entire mobile screen and reduce distractions from other posts. Here's a video on how to optimise your video for Instagram and Facebook for more insights:

Optimise your videos for discovery

Just like any other form of content, videos too need to be optimised to be discovered on search. As per a recent study, 74% of active social media users follow brands on YouTube, stressing on the fact that search engine optimisation for YouTube is now as important as ever. Additionally, with voice search emerging as a top trend in digital marketing, ensure your video is optimised with long-tail keywords that answer the public. Create a comprehensive on page and off page SEO strategy with the right meta-descriptions, a custom thumbnail, a click-worthy title and alt text to ensure your video ranks on the first page of search engines. It is also important to add an appropriate call-to-action and social share buttons to push potential consumers further down the marketing funnel. These are the most crucial video making tips that can either make or break a campaign.

For more tips on how to rank your videos, read our in-depth article: YouTube SEO Tips: The Secret Sauce to Ranking Your Videos in 2019.

Do not forget your landing page

Landing pages are known to be the weapons of mass conversions and what better way to engage with your potential consumers than an attention-grabbing video? Videos provide a lot more information about your brand with much lesser effort and half as much time. This creates a win-win situation for users being able to get a better understanding of your services and your landing page generating a good amount of high-quality leads for your brand.

We leveraged the reach and high engagement of videos in a landing page for Shriram Properties – one of our top real estate clients. The video provided users with a walkthrough of one of their new projects, giving them a closer look at the property even before the site visit. This, in turn, generated a higher rate of conversions.

Apart from attracting users with engaging content, brands can also generate a list of potential leads who have viewed the video through event tracking on Google Analytics. These leads can then be retargeted and further nurtured until they ultimately convert to your brand.

Try influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing techniques that give your brand the visibility it deserves with a word-of-mouth approach. Pick an influencer that resonates with your brand and come up with influencer marketing campaigns across the platforms that are relevant to your audience. Influencers come up with trendy and engaging videos that extend your brand’s reach to their loyal follower database. This, in turn, can open up new opportunities for your brand and boost sales.

We partnered with BioMiracle India to create awareness about their new collagen sheet masks with the help of top beauty and lifestyle influencer Sushmita Agarwal. The video featured on her Instagram handle threw light on how the sheet masks need to be used with peppy background music, driving high engagement and brand awareness. It received almost 8,000 views with profound reach.

Go vernacular

With the introduction of cheaper data plans by Reliance Jio and the drop in the prices of smartphones, Internet usage has seeped into the tier 2 and tier 3 regions of India, releasing a whole new wave of consumers waiting to be targeted. Videos are now more relevant than ever, with brands going the extra mile to engage with India’s next billion users. In order to reach India – all of it – it is important to incorporate videos in vernacular languages for increased brand awareness. This is one of futuristic video making tips that will ensure conversions!

We leveraged the power of videos in regional languages for Cholamandalam Finance by creating an animated video on the life-changing financial lessons one can learn from an ant. The video was targeted at small business owners and people in tier 2 and tier 3 regions. The video received around 96,000 views with 3,116 shares. The same video was created in Hindi which received a whopping 2.3 million views and 80,528 shares, proving that the growth of regional content online is here to stay!

 

Whether you are a real estate company, leading FMCG brand, a top financial organisation or a leading insurance firm, make sure you incorporate these video editing tips and ideas in your next video campaign to increase your conversion rates and boost your sales.


ROI Through Digital Marketing – Digital Leadership Summit Mumbai

  • Divya Premkumar
  • |
  • 7 January , 2019
  • |
    • 5 min read

The second edition of our Digital Leadership Summit was a grand success with key insights shared by industry leaders from across India. Among the interesting topics discussed, one of the panel discussions was on ROI through digital marketing videos. The panel was moderated by Vikas Chawla and our panellists included Pradeep Nidamarthi of Reliance Capital, Monish Ghatalia of Focus Communications and Prashin Jhobalia from the House of Hiranandani. They discussed the industry-wide approach to digital marketing.

Key takeaways from the panel discussion:

  • Adopt digital marketing as a vehicle and understand the digital behaviour of a person
  • In the real estate industry, identify the individual, their needs and reach out to them at the appropriate time
  • Digital marketing gives businesses the ability to show numbers as proof and justify spends
  • Focus on the number of leads and not just the number of impressions.
  • Don’t spend 99% of the budget for leads to covert, a sizeable amount is enough to achieve brand loyalty
  • There is no one secret sauce to digital marketing, the solution lies with the marketer. Understand your objectives and use relevant information to remarket to customers
  • People are going to become more aware of privacy so digital marketers need to err on the side of caution when using customer’s data
  • Although everything about marketing will change in the next five years, the way a customer thinks will not. Use that to leverage your business’ position in the market.

How has digital marketing impacted your business?

According to Pradeep Nidamarthi of Reliance Capital, the impact of digital marketing can vary from each organisation as they have a different outlook on its success. Some people in the organisation view it as a long-term strategy where the payoff occurs over time while others have a short-term view and look at digital marketing as something that should bring them value on a quarterly basis.

He says that the success metrics depend on the discovery, conversion and repurchase components of the main cycle. The impact of discovery on digital marketing is often hard to measure, so companies usually look at their engagement and conversion rates as the major success metrics.

Monish Ghatalia of Focus Communications said that one of the key metrics of the business is to understand the digital behaviour of the person. That is how they behave when they watch a commercial on TV vs when they watch an advert on Youtube. As customer behaviour changes, the mindset of the company has to change as well. Additionally, this shift from traditional to digital marketing can also affect various sectors of the business as they start thinking digitally. Statistics show that 5-10 per cent to 15-20 per cent of a business' marketing budget is used towards digital marketing when acquiring a new client.

“For the real estate industry, many companies are not as marketing savvy as they would like to be,” said Prashin Jhobalia of the House of Hiranandani. “This is because they find it a challenge to segregate their customers into different buckets.” However, the impact of digital marketing in the business is its ability to put up numbers as proof. This helps them understand what the money is put towards to justify spends and measure return on investment.

How has attribution changed the business?

Real estate needs depend on the need of the client and the stage of life they are currently in. Jhobalia believes that a business is able to market its brand to the company if they are able to identify this individual and reach out to them at the appropriate time.

“The customer journey is different for each business,” said Nidamarthi. For example, with Reliance Capital’s general insurance policy, if a person has decided that they want to buy insurance, they have already done the research on the different policies available before approaching Reliance. At this stage of purchase, there is not much the company can do to change the customer’s mind other than the price. Therefore, digital marketing does not have an impact if the customer is already aware of the product. But for products like mutual funds, digital marketing has an impact as the discovery process is longer. He adds that brands should not just spend money on impressions but should also give importance to the visits that lead to your digital property and the interaction with the customer.

What is the secret sauce of digital marketing?

Monish Ghatalia says that the fundamentals of marketing believe that more is more (that is, more budgets, more people). However, with digital marketing, the mindset has shifted to less is more. Digital allows us to build the core customer base and because we live in a sharing economy, we can convert this customer base as well. He believes that if 100 core customers are acquired and nurtured, they can lead a business to its next 1000 customers. Therefore, the secret sauce for the business is in its approach to acquiring clients and adopting the framework of the current digital marketing industry. Additionally, businesses should aim to move their customers from conversion to brand loyalty. Instead of spending 99% of the budget on lead conversion, they should spend only a  particular amount of the budget to go beyond just conversion and encourage customers to become loyal to the brand.

In the real estate industry, Jhobalia says that the secret sauce lies with the marketer and there is no single solution to success. The business needs to understand its objectives and use relevant information to remarket the brand to the customers.

All businesses have a digital marketing funnel and it is the duty of the companies to either drive people through the funnel or improve conversion through the funnel. Take a look at our in-depth video on full-funnel marketing here for more information.

Alternatively, the business needs to drive the right people into the funnel at the right time. According to  Nidamarthi of Reliance Capital, there are 4 steps that all companies need to use to maximise their digital marketing strategy:

Collate

Collect and collate your data from all the sources available. This can help you build the user journey from discovery to repurchase.

System

Once you have collected all the data, you should have a master view of all the channels used by the business. That is the channel used to promote a good or service and the frequency at which the ad is shown.

Process

The CRM process needs to be streamlined and constantly updated.

People

You need to have employees who are native to the digital world. They should have a good understanding of how digital marketing impacts the customer journey.

Having a good understanding of all these four components can help a business master their business digital marketing strategy.

Overcoming key challenges

Reliance Capital has numerous lines of businesses and each of them is in different stages of digital marketing with different regulators across the board. The biggest challenge for the companies over the next three to four years is that the common man will become more aware of privacy and will interpret it differently. When it comes to the use of data and systems, companies need to be more careful about how they use customer’s personal data and err on the side of caution.

According to Ghatalia, the biggest challenge faced by businesses is their ability to converge traditional marketing, digital marketing, technology, Artificial Intelligence and data. Companies need to understand that although these components will change in the next four to five years, the way a customer thinks will not. As a future marketer, they need to leverage this idea and be able to marry vehicle one (digital) to anything else in the digital market.

In the real estate industry, Prashin Jhobalia says that the ability of companies to recreate traditional content for digital media is a challenge. Another problem is the overpopulation of ads that creates competition within the industry. The developer might create an ad to target their customers while the distributors and brokers create different ads to target the same customers, this self-inflicted competition can create a lot of confusion in the industry. In order to overcome this challenge, businesses need to understand and react to the customer’s changing needs in a timely and efficient manner. One way of doing so is making use of vernacular ads.

The panel ended with a discussion with the audience, the panellists provided numerous thought-provoking ideas on the the future of digital marketing and improving ROI.


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