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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
The recently concluded second edition of our Digital Leadership Summit held in Mumbai saw many industry leaders sharing key insights and discussing trends in the digital marketing landscape. Among our speakers was Mr Abraham Alapatt – President and Group Head: Marketing, Service Quality, Value Added Services and Innovation at Thomas Cook. Mr Alapatt spoke about unlocking growth through innovation. Let’s take a look at some key insights from his speech.
Set up in 1881, Thomas Cook has been around for 137 years. Today Thomas Cook has grown in strengths from a travel agency to a brand that deals with travel, foreign exchange, business travel and many more. Thomas Cook’s massive growth since 2012 all boils down to innovation. For a brand or company to stay relevant and sustain success, they need to continually innovate to come up with new and fresh ideas for operations, products and service
Alapatt spoke about his role as head of innovation at Thomas Cook. Innovation isn’t something that is forced. Innovating your process or brand for the sake of innovation is redundant and will only do your company more harm than good. As a brand, try to look for a particular value to enhance. The easiest way for businesses to innovate is to find new customers or create a unique opportunity with an existing customer. The best way to this is by implementing a full-funnel marketing approach will help target and retain customers better. Take a look at our video on full-funnel marketing and how it can help your brand.
Many brands are still yet to make the shift from traditional marketing to digital. Today, ignoring the power of digital marketing means leaving your brand in the dust. By employing a digital-first strategy, any brand can achieve higher reach, better engagement and an increase in generating high-quality leads. Here, Alapatt cited two examples. The first was targeting people who make pilgrimage visits. The Thomas Cook website lets users create personalised tours and packages centred around pilgrim centres around the country, pre-book the darshan and continue on the holiday. This feature helped them tap into a whole new target audience including those in tier I and tier II cities. The second was adding an “Explore” feature to target millennials. The explore button gave millennials the chance to create their own personalised list of activities including adventure sports, sightseeing, etc. as well as a prompt to download an app that shows your every route needed for your vacation. The idea behind these features on Thomas Cook’s website was essential to explore new categories to tap into India’s next billion internet users.
Alapatt touched briefly upon Thomas Cook’s virtual reality feature that gives customers a sense of their planned vacation. In the last few years, virtual reality has become a significant part of mainstream digital marketing efforts. Google India’s Year in Search Report 2017 posits that the Indian travel market will hit $48 billion by 2020. Given these substantial numbers, VR is an excellent way for a brand’s audience to “experience” their products or services without direct physical effects. Not only does this help increase engagement, but combined with an effective digital marketing strategy, VR can help mould the future of marketing for your brand.
YouTube is currently the world’s second most popular search engine. In India alone, there are now around 225 million active users on YouTube, with this number expected to increase to 500 million by 2020. Brands need to leverage the power of YouTube or face losing out on a sizeable audience. From ensuring your video content uses techniques like YouTube SEO to exploring multiple formats, brands can improve performance and conversions. Videos have been around for decades, but have recently found their spotlight in terms of social media and digital marketing. Going forward, videos and interactive content will be at the forefront of digital marketing trends in 2019 and beyond.
Innovation does not need to be restricted to marketing efforts or revenue made. Several brands around the world focus on giving back to their community and society at large. Thomas Cook, too, with the aim of social impact started a Centre of Learning. The primary objective of this institution was to drive skilling and employability. They are also involved with multiple NGOs and government organisations that help uplift those in need. CSR via innovation is another way to scale up your business in 2019.
This session by
Mr Abraham Alapatt was insightful for several of the attendees. The pace of
growth today is astounding. Business models transformations that took ten years
are now changing in as little time as three years. To stay ahead of the
competition, industry leaders, entrepreneurs and brands must anticipate change
and act with the future in mind while continuing to deliver results.
One of the key highlights of the Digital Leadership Summit held in Mumbai was the panel discussion on the topic ‘Building a brand through digital marketing – Pushing the Frontiers’. The discussion moderated by Mr Suneil Chawla, the Co-Founder of Social Beat, had two reputed panellists: Mr Ajith Narasimhan from Sundaram Mutual Fund and Mr Vipin Guliani from Piramal Group. Let’s take a look at the key insights of the session.
Everyone has been talking a lot about the increasing impact of digital marketing in building a brand. But the most important factor that needs to be discussed is the nature of the digital marketing technique, which in fact, plays a major role in achieving the desired results. That very thought started off the panel discussion. So how strategic or technical is digital marketing today?
Ajith from Sundaram Mutual Fund strongly believed in the strategic nature of digital marketing techniques. To substantiate his stand, he explained how the shift of mutual funds from being a push-driven product to a pull-driven product, paved the way towards the necessity of digital marketing today.
Due to major changes brought in by GST and demonetisation, mutual fund companies no longer need a medium of distributors to sell their products. Customers from the newer generation are more interested in getting serviced by the companies directly. Therefore, it becomes very important for companies to build a connection with the customers as well as retain that connect for a very long period of time. This is why the industry gives a highly strategic approach to digital marketing. Doing that helps them understand the need of the customers and provide them with services as per their requirements.
Vipin, from Piramal Group, too emphasised on the strategic nature of digital marketing today. When the aim is to build and sustain the brand, it becomes important to strategise digital marketing. However, he gave equal importance to the technical aspect of digital marketing as well. He was of the opinion that only the technical data mattered as far as the sale of the service or product was concerned.
Both the panellists were of the same view that digital marketing has evolved to a great extent and is no longer just a marketing tool. Over the years, the type of customers who consume different products and services have changed to a great extent. The customers of this generation need to be acquired, nurtured, retained and engaged with.
The need to innovate new ideas in order to connect with and understand these customers is the need of the hour. Apart from giving companies the advantage of targeting the right customers, digital marketing also helps them to understand the needs of the customers and design their brands and services accordingly. Therefore, it becomes important to incorporate digital marketing techniques right when the idea of launching a product or a service comes into the picture.
With changing times, the kind of products and services that customers need are also changing. Ajith was of the opinion that in the coming years, there will be a need to re-categorise the products completely. The need of the hour then would be curated solution-based products and goal based offers. That is when there will be a great scope for bringing in innovation in the digital space and engaging with India's next billion internet users.
Vipin also agreed with him. The requirement now is to first find out what the customers need and then build the product. This involves a lot of research for which innovative ideas have to be developed to find the right information from the customers through the digital space.
The number of consumers has increased rapidly. And not all the people who consume data are recurring customers. There is a need for customer profiling in order to put forth the right suggestions to the customers. Both the panellists agreed that the digital strategy that needed to be applied here varied in the case of B2C and B2B.
Since there has been a shift from mass targeting to micro-targeting, strategies, too, need to be changed. Instead of bombarding all the people with the same digital ads and search ads, it is important to connect with people based on their profiles. This data-driven model would do wonders in the area of lead generation.
In the case of B2B, the target audience is very limited. Therefore, a blended strategy could be used, wherein apart from directly trying to convince the distributors, the help of customers could be taken to influence the decision of the distributors. This could be done with the help of social media platforms like LinkedIn.
The new generation needs easy access to everything. Today, it is not difficult to bring a customer on board if your products are given to them in the most simplified manner. Going the digital way makes sure that customers get instant satisfaction. Therefore, it is necessary to spend the money to upgrade the reach of the company.
As compared to the other mediums, digital marketing is the most objective way of measuring ROI. It becomes easy to determine the success or failure of one’s campaign if it’s ROI driven. Not only does it help to determine the number of engagements, but it also helps in finding out the right platforms that help in targeting a specific audience. With ROI driven marketing technique, brands can easily recognise the right social media platform to connect with their customers.
Both our panellists were of the opinion that digital marketing is a key player as far as the game of connecting with the customers or distributors is concerned.
Events and conferences are a great time to network, showcase your product/service and learn from the best in the industry. However, choosing the best marketing events to attend can get a bit tricky. From the line-up of keynote speakers to the panel discussions held, there are a number of factors you need to consider before you head out to one. Read on for our hand-picked compilation of the top digital marketing events in Bangalore that you need to attend to enlighten your team and grow your business.
BEEGITAL’s digital and social media marketing summit is every digital marketer’s paradise, packed with the latest digital marketing tools, strategies and cutting-edge techniques. It is a one-day event that throws light on the use of social media to catapult your brand’s digital presence. Sign up for a day full of insightful sessions on Artificial Intelligence, Chatbots and Big Data Analytics presented by industry experts.
Where: Courtyard by Marriot, Bellandur, Bangalore
When: 15th February 2019, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Digital Leadership Summit in Mumbai, Bengaluru & Chennai is a CXO event which brings together Business Leaders and CMOs to discuss how to drive business results through digital marketing and share innovation across Video, Vernacular Content, Voice, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality. The business leaders and attendees would be from across sectors, including FMCG, BFSI, Real Estate, Entertainment, Education and Internet Businesses. The last Digital Leadership Summit is in Bengaluru was in February 2019. The one prior to this was on 15th Nov 2018 in Mumbai. The first edition of the Digital Leadership Summit was held in Chennai in 2016.
Brand Summit & Hot Brands is a regular event by Paul Writer and they do this across Bengaluru, Mumbai & Delhi. Paul Writer is known for its marketing through research, peer learning, and sharing best practices. The Brand Summit is conceptualized as a power-packed day of masterclasses, discussions, sharing, and learning along with celebrating the achievements of the Hottest Brands in the respective cities. The impressive line-up of jury members includes industry experts and marketing professionals from various renowned organizations of the nation. The keynote speakers include Ravi Desai – Director of Mass and Brand Marketing – Amazon India, Burhanuddin Pithawala – VP Growth and Conversions – OYO and Vivek Sunder – Chief Operating Officer – Swiggy, to name a few.
Where: Taj, MG Road, Bengaluru
When: 8th February 2019. 8:30 am to 6:00 pm.
Join the industry thought leaders as they come together to discuss the digital transformation of the innovative business world at the 5th Inflection Digital Transformation Summit and Awards. Hosted by the Alden Global Value Advisors, the summit is packed with an impressive line-up of panel discussions, forums, insightful keynotes and unmatched networking with the best of the best from the industry. The event also includes an award ceremony where industry leaders are identified for innovation and excellence in logistics, procurement and supply chain.
Where: Vivanta by Taj, Ulsoor, Bengaluru
When: 23rd January 2019. 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
What better way to celebrate the growth and transformation of the digital hemisphere than by conducting an online digital marketing event? DigiMarCon India 2019 is a larger-than-life online conference and exhibition scheduled to be hosted online – live and on demand. It will be the online hub of leading digital marketing professionals with sessions on a multitude of topics including digital strategy, content marketing, customer engagement, email marketing, programmatic advertising geo-targeting, growth hacking and all things digital. Learn all you need to know about digital marketing with keynotes, bold talks and big ideas presented by industry leaders from across the globe.
Where: Online – Live and On Demand.
When: 4th and 5th September 2019.
With seven keynote speakers covering seven powerful marketing topics that are the need of the hour today, 121 Digital Marketing Summit is a one-stop destination to learn all about digital strategies and branding. From the growth of influencer marketing and how digital marketing in India will change in 2020 to innovative ways to measure the impact of your branding campaign, it covers it all. Attend the session to learn what strategy works best for your business today and the digital approach you need to take up to stay on top.
When: 31st January 2019. 8:45 am to 6:00 pm.
Where: Novotel Hotel, OuterRing Road, Bengaluru
Whether you are a leading real estate giant, a top FMCG brand or a well-established financial organisation, make sure you attend these insightful events to keep up with the fast-evolving digital landscape. You can also check out Digital Bytes - our YouTube channel on the latest digital marketing trends in the industry.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Collect and collate your data from all the sources available. This can help you build the user journey from discovery to repurchase.
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.
The CRM process needs to be streamlined and constantly updated.
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.
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.
Are you looking out for some really interesting, inspirational and power packed events? Attend some of the biggest marketing and digital marketing events in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and other parts of India; that not just inspire but also give you an opportunity to network with the best marketers in the country. It’s an opportunity to listen to the finest in the advertising and marketing field – a forum that stimulates conversations and ideas around design, marketing, digital and more. You may also find it useful to read our book on digital marketing and view the Digital Bytes knowledge series on the Social Beat YouTube Channel.
Here’s a quick glance into our compilation of top marketing events taking place across the country in 2019.
Exchange4media organizes the Indian Digital Media Awards since 2010. It has always encouraged contributors in the 360-degree digital media space to keep getting better with the transformations taking place in the industry year on year. For this, it recognizes their talents, appreciates and celebrates them through these awards. It has showcased the work of many contemporary digital professionals and rewarded them for their beautifully executed digital blogs and viral campaigns. This event in itself is a huge networking opportunity for every business professional to connect and grow.
Campaign India is back with the ninth edition of its awards on 5th Jun 2019 to honour excellence in digital advertising and marketing. Rechristened Campaign India Digital Crest Awards (CIDCA) in 2013, the property has evolved over the last nine years from its origins (as the Campaign India Digital Media Awards), to remain contemporary, relevant and inclusive of the dynamic changes in the digital ecosystem. It also features an award evening. Placing greater emphasis on ROI and effectiveness, significant changes were introduced in the jury composition in 2018.
Exchange4Media group boasts of another event that it hosts, the Pitch CMO Summit. It is considered to be their flagship event which gathers some of the greatest marketing minds to discuss the latest, complex and challenging marketing trends in the global market scenario. Every year, the event is theme-based. The theme for 2019 was “Reinventing Consumer Experience”. At the Pitch CMO summit on 7th March 2019, leaders from the Industry explained how to concentrate on ‘the buy’, underlines the challenges, and highlight the opportunities.
ad:tech is the original industry authority for marketing and media technology, where marketing, technology and media communities assemble to share new ways of thinking, build strong partnerships, and define new strategies to compete in an ever-changing marketplace. The 10th edition of ad:tech in Mumbai will take place on 13th and 14th November 2019. The summit will enable participants to explore the future of marketing and discuss the ever-evolving and complex landscape, focussing on how technology, data and content are helping brands win through superior Customer Experiences, regardless of the touchpoint.
Social Beat, a digital marketing firm present in 3 cities, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai conducts free events across these 3 cities.
Conceptualized by the online video analytics & marketing company - Vidooly, StreamCon Asia 2019 is a one-stop congregation for content creators, video platforms and advertisers from the online video industry in India. It is one of largest event of its kind in India with speakers and panelists from UC Web, Indigo Airlines, Eros Digital, Fab India, Oyo Rooms, Trent, Dailyhunt and more. It will also feature many content creators and YouTuber Influencers giving it a power packed event for anyone who is leveraging video content.
A niche awards night started by exchange4media in 2016, is now an annual summit. The last one took place on 7th September 2018. In the world of marketing, content has definitely changed the way marketers present their brands to consumers. As more and more brands choose creative content for engaging with their consumers, the need to stand out increases every minute. Indian Content Marketing Awards aim to promote and recognise this talent, expertise and hard work that go behind cracking breakthrough ideas & concepts to create exceptional brand stories.
The Content Marketing Summit is also going to have an Asia Summit in Mumbai in May 2019 so watch out for that too.
Adobe Symposium is one of the biggest Digital Marketing events in Mumbai. This event invites thought leaders in the field of digital marketing to redefine your experiences with Adobe partners. As their marketing promos claim – ‘Take it to another level, soar new heights like never before and extend your digital experience with courses straight from the Adobe Digital Learning Services’. Apart from these, there are several other reasons to attend this conference, including networking goals. This is the most sought-after experience for most digital professionals in today’s utmost competitive era and has been rightly defined as the event “Where digital marketing meets extraordinary experiences.” Every marketer looks forward to making the most valuable connections with their digital marketing pioneers and peers and if luck may have it, then with the digital marketing veterans and Adobe leaders too.
The next Adobe Symposium in Mumbai is scheduled to take place on 16th April 2019 at Mumbai's Grand Hyatt.
This is a grand event in Mumbai organized by the IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India). It is an endeavour towards establishing a great comprehension of the modern methods and mechanics of marketing.
Major Speakers were MDs & CEOs of leading companies such as Group M and Pepsico, top marketing managers of Times Internet, Starbucks, HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, eBay and Renault amongst others. There were Panelists to take the conversations to another level. The sessions were followed by networking breaks at regular intervals.
Topics of discussion revolved around Marketing in new age Digital India and around the globe that included:
Spread across three cities, the Paul Writer Brand Summit and Hot Brands 2019 is in its second year. The summit will focus on brand engagement, content marketing and marketing AI as an emerging trend in the digital marketing landscape. The summit will also feature a special segment on upcoming brands and startups as well as celebrating those brands that have achieved massive growth and accolades the past year.
The summit will take place between 8:30 am to 6 pm in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi NCR on February 8th, 15th and 22nd respectively.
Since 2015, a two-city conclave has been organised by Reputation Today in the key metros, skipping the metro closest to the PRAXIS venue of that year. Having started in 2015 in Mumbai the conclave has seen 7 editions already. In 2018 there was one each in Gurgaon and Mumbai. Since PRAXIS will take place down south in Hyderabad, Bangalore will not witness the conclave.
It is The Largest Digital Marketing Event in India. This conference generally takes place in September - October. This year it is scheduled to be held on September 4th and 5th, 2019 online. It is a Live Conference held as a response to the massive demand and the huge response it receives. Set your goals straight whether they are primarily aiming to reinforce customer loyalty, improve lead generation, increase sales, or even drive stronger consumer engagement, DIGIMARCON INDIA 2019’s agenda will enhance all your marketing efforts through perceptions of innovators and influential people. Pull up your sleeves for the sessions will enlighten you through remarkable insights through powerful talks on ways to build traffic, expand your brand awareness, improve customer service and finally know about today’s latest digital tools. A must-attend event that impresses you within 20 minutes, you can't afford to miss it.
CMS Asia is a premier not-for-profit event organized by the thriving marketing community across JAPAC and ANZ. This year the summit is being held in four different cities – Sydney, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Mumbai. CMS Asia will features speakers and attendees coming together to explore and discuss the various facets of content marketing, emerging trends, best practices and innovative though leadership.
The South Asia leg of the summit will take place in Mumbai on May 8, 2019.
IAMAI introduces the 14th edition of the Marketing Conclave - Game of Marketing. A Game of Thrones-themed one-day conference, where the work of marketing gurus and professionals come alive. Its taking place on 5th December 2018. Jaime Lannister, Daenerys, Khal Drogo or the popular favourite Jon Snow - we have watched them, loved them but now it’s time to live the glory of the kingdom with a twist.
The 3rd edition of VdoNxt Asia is India’s largest convention for those who live by the promise of digital video. Having taken place on 17th January 2018, it is the complete experience: listen and network at the conference; get in touch with the latest in technology at the exhibition, and celebrate the best work in digital video at the VdoNxt awards. The next edition will only be in 2020 and there is no event scheduled for 2019.
If you are based in Bengaluru, you may find it interesting to read our blog on Top marketing events in Bangalore.
Do feel free to comment below or reach out to us in case you feel any other event in Mumbai deserves to be a part of this list.
The second edition of our Digital Leadership Summit was a grand success with key insights shared by industry leaders from across the nation. Mr Omkar Rajadhyaksha – Managed Partners Lead, New Business at Google – was our first speaker who threw light on the strategic methods brands can take up to grow their business through Google in 2019 with focus on futuristic digital marketing trends to look forward to. Let’s take a look at the key insights of the session.
With 650 million active Internet users in the nation, almost half our population is consuming content online. However, 7 out of every 10 Indians access the Internet through mobile, entirely surpassing the desktop and creating a mobile-first ecosystem for brands to leverage. To add to this, the introduction of Jio has led to a five times increase in 4G data being consumed, when compared to the 2G and 3G plans used before. This has contributed majorly to the online growth of brands. Though the nation is still lagging behind in terms of speed, the easy access to inexpensive data plans, coupled with the drop in the prices of smartphones, is a good start.
After Google, YouTube is the second most-used search engine proving that videos are the future. This platform alone has witnessed a 400% increase in video consumption through mobile alone. These staggering numbers only prove that organisations should leverage the reach of videos to tell their brand story. The most-searched genre is that of entertainment with the top searches being comedy clips and song covers. The other genres that are very popular are food-related content, how-to series and mobile unboxing videos that have also contributed majorly to the expansion of YouTube.
The growth of regional content has been one of the biggest digital marketing trends in the past few years and is showing no signs of fading away. As per a recent Indian Readership Survey (IRS), each one of the top twenty publications read across the nation is in a regional language except for Times of India that ranked in the eleventh position. Furthermore, there is no surprise that the same behaviour is being translated online. As per a recent survey conducted by KMPG, a whopping 88 percent of online users said they would click on a multilingual ad rather than one that is in English.
Consumers are adopting innovative ways to search and shop, and voice assistants are playing a huge role in this aspect. As per a recent survey conducted by Google, 28% of queries are made by voice on search apps. Furthermore, there has been a 400 percent increase in Hindi voice searches ever since Hindi was introduced as a language on the assistant. There has also been a 63% increase in phone-unboxing searches, especially when the phone is bought online, with a 70% increase in price-related searches for smartphones falling in the range of Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000.
With digital and mobile merging together as one, the whole formula for brands to drive growth has evolved. Google closely observed the online behaviour of 100,000 active users and noticed that the marketing funnel is no longer just about awareness, consideration and purchase. It is filled with intent-rich moments of consumers when they make direct queries online, redefining the traditional funnel-like approach. The new-and-improved marketing funnel is now not as streamlined and has the potential of adopting an hourglass, diamond or a pyramid shape based on the intent-rich moments of consumers. These moments of intent, also known as micro-moments, play a huge role in either expanding or narrowing down the consideration set of the funnel. This proves that a consumer’s online journey is unpredictable and brands need to anticipate these micro-moments to target a custom intent audience.
So where does Google fit in all this? The world’s largest search engine has seven different products to offer based on utility. From Google Maps and Google Chrome to Gmail, these digital utilities are free and help in the day-to-day digital routines of consumers. They are updated regularly through machine learning and artificial intelligence to adapt to the lifestyle of the users. Furthermore, these products can be monetised to ensure your brand is present across the intent-rich moments of your consumers.
TrueView for action form ads: YouTube has come a long way from a mere video platform to the cusp of performance and branding. Organisations can now drive performance through YouTube with TrueView for Action form ads that present the user with a pre-filled form along with the ad. This is a classic example of how brands can reach out to viewers during an intent-rich moment.
YouTube home feed ads: Just like masthead ads, YouTube home feed ads are plastered on top of the YouTube home feed every day, targeted based on the content consumption pattern of the user. These ads have the potential to create a billion impressions with 100 million unique ones pan India per day. They are all the more enriching since they are in video formats and are far more effective than search and display ads that are almost static today.
Display ads in Discover: Formerly known as Google feed ads, these ads are designed to look and feel native to organic cards for seamless brand placement on Google feeds. However, it is important to focus on the creative and the messaging of the ad and not go in for plain Jane designs.
A lot of digital-first brands are looking at brick and motor. Since the consumer journey has now altered the traditional marketing funnel with more research going into the consideration stage, online brands are adapting to this change with pop-ups and stalls to showcase their products. Even if consumers are completely convinced to buy your product online, they prefer visiting the physical store to experience the look and feel before investing. This proves that it is a merit to integrate your online store with offline sales to capture the entire 360° of the consumer journey. Users get influenced online and experience the product offline making it a win-win for both brands and consumers.
Whichever sector your firm belongs to, marketers should hold their digital media accountable for business. Instead of basic digital metrics like the number of clicks and the CTR, you should also tie up your media spend to revenue, profit margin, gross margin and other business metrics.
It is time we stop considering the average value of metrics to measure digital performance. Instead, brands need to identify the consumers who spend more on online products and let go of the ones who are left over by your competitors. It is essential to look for profitable consumers who will build your business.
As the saying goes - the only thing that is constant is change! Google’s digital utilities work on automation to learn from the changes and provide higher ROI. It is safe to say that in today’s digital age, automation is the way to go. If not, your brand will definitely be left behind by its competitors!
The insightful session by Mr Omkar Rajadhyaksha was an eye-opener for leading brands and marketers. Whether you are a top real estate developer, financial giant, FMCG brand or a B2B organisation, make sure you adapt to the evolving digital ecosystem and grow your business.
16th November 2018, Mumbai - We at Social Beat organised the second edition of our Digital Leadership Summit - a convergence of several business leaders across industries. The first edition took place at Chennai with a focus on driving ROI from digital marketing. One of the biggest talking points of the Summit this year was innovation through Voice, Video and Vernacular with CMOs from various sectors sharing their insights and experiences.
The keynote speaker, Mr Omkar Rajadyaksha from Google, kick-started the event on what businesses can scale up with Google in 2019. The Summit also focused on driving business results through digital marketing with marketers and brands voicing out common challenges they face and upcoming trends.
While there are around 450 million internet users in India currently, this number is set to hit 650 million by 2021. These numbers prove even more significant as the vast majority of new internet users will come from Tier II and Tier III cities. The summit highlighted the importance of tapping into India’s next billion internet users by harnessing the power of Voice, Vernacular and Video for an effective digital marketing strategy.
The keynote session was followed by a panel discussion on building a brand through digital marketing. This session included Ajit Narasimhan, CMO of Sundaram Mutual Fund and Vipin Guliani, Group Head – Digital Marketing at Piramal Group. Moderating the panel, Suneil Chawla, Co-founder of Social Beat, said, “Digital spending is expected to grow 2.5x from $40 billion to $100 billion. This goes to show how businesses are leveraging the power of digital and how it will only continue to grow.”
David Appasamy, Head – Brand and Strategy moderated another panel discussion on AI, Augmented Reality and Vernacular in the future of Digital Marketing.
Appasamy opined, “Digital platforms have, over the last decade, redefined the way we communicate, build our businesses or entertain ourselves at anytime, anywhere. Now artificial intelligence and augmented reality are taking it to a whole new level in terms of efficiency and experience while vernacular is opening up the platforms to native language speakers and new markets.” Appasamy was joined by Channan Sawhney, Head of Digital Marketing at Johnson & Johnson and Pratyush Kukreja, Head – Product Monetisation at Haptic.
The next session focused on measuring return on investment through digital marketing. The speakers of the session were Prashin Jhobalia, Vice President – Marketing Strategy from House of Hiranandani, Monish Ghatalia, Founder of Focus Communications and Pradeep Nidamarthi, Head of Digital at Reliance Capital. Moderating the panel, Vikas Chawla, Co-Founder, Social Beat said, “Today we can track not just online customer acquisitions, but also store visits, leads, calls and brand awareness lifts. This allows marketers to truly attribute how much of an impact digital has on businesses across industries.”
The Summit also had a session on how brands can grow and innovate through digital by Mr Abraham Alapatt, Group President and Head – Marketing, Service Quality and Innovation at Thomas Cook.
The Summit concluded with an interactive workshop where attendees were asked to draft their digital strategy guided by the digital experts at Social Beat.
A number of members of the press and digital news publications were among the attendees and the Summit received a lot of coverage, from afaqs! in particular.
The number of people online today in India is greater than it ever was before. Currently, there are around 450 million internet users in the country and this number is likely to increase to 650 million by 2021. But what is more significant than just these numbers is that a majority of these Internet users will be coming, not from the big metros, but from the smaller towns and villages of India. Along with a shift in audiences, there has also been a change in the way audiences access the Internet and what they do on it.
In the first edition of our Digital Leadership Summit, we discussed how measuring ROI is one of the biggest challenges for digital and content marketing. For a brand to capture the next billion Internet users in India, finding a way to adapt to the new market is essential – which is exactly what we will be addressed at the 2nd edition of the Digital Leadership Summit by Social Beat. In this edition, marketers and brands can get a closer look at the biggest challenges and upcoming trends in the digital space from the reigning experts in the field. As a sneak-peek, let’s take a look at the three factors that have emerged as indispensable in a brand’s digital marketing strategy: video, voice and vernacular.
In 2016, Nicola Mendelsohn, VP of Facebook’s operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa predicted that in 5 years, Facebook’s newsfeed would comprise of videos alone. At the time, this claim sounded far-fetched. However, going by recent trends, video content will soon become the most important type of content created for the Internet. Each day, around 100 million hours of video content are consumed on Facebook alone. When Indians aren’t watching videos on Facebook, they’re watching them on YouTube. As per YouTube Brandcast 2018, the world’s second largest search engine currently has around 225 million active monthly users in India, with this number set to increase to 500 million by 2020. A majority of these users watch videos to help make purchase decisions. Clearly, the fastest way for brands to capture the attention of their target audience will be to make engaging, easily understandable videos to tell brand stories. Check out our case study on how Cholamandalam Finance harnessed the power of videos and vernacular content to widen their reach.
At the Google for India summit in 2017, the growing importance of voice search in India became even more evident. The Google year in search report also mentions, around 28 percent of all Google searches in India are through voice. Even more significant was the fact that a majority of these voice searches were conducted in vernacular languages. Hindi voice queries are growing by around 400 percent year on year. India is also witnessing the increased usage of personal assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Google Home. The advent of voice search points towards a fundamental re-thinking of tried and tested SEO strategies. Since voice search results only pick up the most relevant result (usually the featured snippet), digital marketers will need to optimise their content to ensure it is voice-ready.
Two of the biggest developments in India’s digital story in recent years have been the steep drop in smartphone prices and the availability of affordable high-speed internet, catalysed by the Jio network. Both of these factors have led to the growth of internet audiences from tier 2 and 3 cities and towns in India. For marketers, it is attracting these audiences and not the urban population that will prove crucial. A study found that around 70 percent of Indians trust regional content online more than English language content. If brands want to engage with the next billion internet users in India, the way forward is vernacular content. Currently, Tamil is the most used regional language online with 42 percent, while Hindi follows closely with 32 per cent. To tap into this huge potential, a strong, comprehensive strategy with end-to-end messaging in regional content is indispensable. Read our case study on how a multilingual approach generated 90% growth in leads for further insights.
Apart from these indispensible marketing strategies, the session will also throw light on how artificial intelligence will change the way marketers work. The newer emerging trends around AI, chatbots and machine learning, have proved to be a game-changer in digital marketing, working wonders for brands across all sectors. Immersive experiences like virtual tours of an apartment even before a site visit have added much-needed value to the content being consumed by potential buyers. Automation and machine learning have also pushed smaller brands to adapt programmatic advertising.
Does your marketing strategy tick the three V’s and marketing automation? Find out how your brand can gear up for the future at the 2nd edition of the Digital Leadership Summit by Social Beat. Our first Digital Leadership Summit covered the rise of digital marketing in India, but the digital landscape has changed drastically since then. Register now to get the latest industry insights from some of the biggest names in the field!
Whether you are an enthusiastic start-up or a well-established organisation, there is no doubt that you are missing out on a pool of potential customers by not tapping the reach of digital marketing. Keeping this notion in mind, Social Beat and Google were proud to collaborate for yet another insightful session of Digital Bites.
The event took place on the 9th of March at Bangalore, with thoughtful insights presented by industry professionals. The session focused on the importance of Video Marketing and how top video sites like Youtube are emerging as an alternative channel to television. It also threw light on the growth of regional content and how brands can leverage the ease of voice search to engage with India’s next billion Internet users. The previous Digital Bites session was held in Chennai during September, 2017.
Social Beat was proud to be part of the NASSCOM Content Marketing Masterclass which took place at Holiday Inn, OMR, on the 16th of November, 2017. The session was led by David Appasamy, head of Branding and Strategy at Social Beat and provided insight on how content marketing can be effective for lead generation in the B2B sector. The session introduced the attendees to the strategic imperative of marketing and highlighted the importance of content marketing in the digital space.
The insightful session threw light on how content marketing builds credibility, confidence, and preference by establishing thought leadership and helps win attention, engage with and convert prospects into customers. It also focused on the ways in which this marketing strategy enhances and amplifies other marketing initiatives such as Social Media Marketing, digital advertising, and lead generation.
The Masterclass included a workshop to provide insights into:
You can view the presentation from the workshop below:
The Advertising Week 2017, held in the fast-paced city of New York, was as insightful event throwing light on the relevant, upcoming trends in the advertising and marketing world. Held during the last week of September, the conference had a series of seminars, discussions and workshops hosted by the pioneers in marketing and advertising from around the globe. Read on to get a closer insight into the keynotes we took back home from the eventful week and how they can be utilized to build a successful brand.
Howard Schulz of Starbucks, Jessica Alba of Honest Company, Neil from Warby Parker and more - there were so many amazing brand creators who shared their insights on how they conceptualized the brand and how they built it step by step into successful brands. These inspiring stories do instil confidence on how amazing product combined with honest and creative advertising can build brands.
One of the central themes that were discussed at the Ad Week was how creativity is enhanced with the power of data and analytics. Using consumer behaviour data and analytics from advertising campaigns it’s possible to create more powerful brand campaigns. For example, Dominoes presented how they listened to their consumers and realized that many of them were not happy with the way the pizza was reaching them because there was a huge discrepancy on how pizza brand videos were made and how it actually looked. So Dominoes did a series of video which shows how food photography and food videography can be deceptive. Then decided to crowdsource images from customers to see how they received their pizzas and about 25,000 customers submitted their pizzas to “Show Us Your Pizza”. While most of them were happy with their pizzas, some weren't. So their CEO apologised to the customers and started implementing internal processes to avoid it again. Moreover, they gave a refund a free pizza to unsatisfied customers. Their honesty in advertising combined with the creative campaign helped them tremendously with growth in market share in the USA.
ChatBots have already begun creating a rage in the digital marketing space and Advertising Week 2017 left no stone unturned in letting us know that. The Facebook Messenger Bot leads the bot universe with advanced customer service that helps consumers reach the solution faster. This, in turn, helps in an enhanced lead generation. Furthermore, experts have also noticed an emerging trend of voice-based devices entering the digital market.
It is said that interacting with a bot is sometimes more effective than visiting a mobile site as it provides more customised and personalised engagement. For example, the bot designed by KLM Airlines can address numerous queries from travel information to a flight change. This makes the entire digital experience of the consumer more convenient and hassle-free. However, it is advisable to use existing apps, like the Facebook Messenger, to reach your target group instead of building native apps.
With Google Home, Alexa and others launching intelligent assistants it’s become an exciting space to watch out from an advertising perspective. With 40% of searches in the USA being voice searches, it is likely to change the fundamental business model of Google. While assistants still have slow adoption in India it’s a space to watch out for.
With users accessing websites, apps and content from multiple devices and some devices with no screens (i.e. assistants like Google Home), attribution is getting harder. The initial days of Advertising Week 2017 introduced us to the concept of split funnel advertising to help measure attribution for enhanced sales and lead generation. The model helped us understand consumer behaviour and figure out which touch points of the consumer need attribution. To begin with, the seminars held on smart attribution made us familiar to the fact that most funnel models highlight which channel is the most useful to increase conversions but do not explain why the consumer converted in the first place. It also helped us understand that consumer behaviour is critical to attribution and the only way we can understand consumers is by adding a twist of creativity to the marketing funnel.
Additionally, the workshop focused on how the marketing funnel model can be made even more efficient by gathering data from different fields and adding in multiple channels that generate guaranteed results. To achieve this, it is important to figure out which channel generates long-term revenue. Channels that add a lifetime value to the marketing funnel have the potential to change the attribution piece completely, especially when complex channels like that of TV and other non-digital aspects are involved.
Google recently launched a new tool called Attribution, which allows for data-driven attribution powered by Google’s AI. It brings your marketing data together to give you a complete view of your performance and insights you can use to optimize your marketing across channels and across devices. It will allow you to:
We just started testing it out and will share more insights shortly.
Digital out-of-home taps the concept of traditional advertising by adding a digital twist to it. It utilizes the conventional channel of outdoor banners, billboards and digital screens in public spaces to showcase a product to consumers. Since people are noted to be outside their homes 70% of the time, this mode of advertising helps in a more integrated targeting.
Viewers are not interrupted by digital ads on their personal screens but on the screens, they are exposed to on a daily basis. Additionally, digital out-of-home ads cannot be fast-forwarded, skipped or blocked, giving brands the added edge of reaching out to their audience. Apart from merely detecting the GPS location and retargeting consumers, these ads can also be triggered by other factors, like weather conditions, to showcase a refreshing product on the screens during a hot sunny day. Furthermore, digital out-of-home ads can also be customized for security cameras located up to 1000 feet away, making it a clear channel for providing data.
This digital OOH is still in a very nascent stage in India, the convergence of the physical and digital world is indeed exciting.
The Advertising Week was coupled with the Google Partner Summit held on September 28th, 2017. The summit presented us with an array of interesting Google product updates to fuel the branding and advertising industry for the upcoming year, apart from the basic digital marketing trends to expect in 2017. Listed below are few of the key product updates that are guaranteed to create a huge positive impact on your firm’s digital marketing plans.
AMP for Adwords landing pages: Gone are the days when AMP was available only for content-heavy sites. Google has noticed the importance of an ad to load faster for higher lead generation and introduced AMP for landing pages. While AMP has already been an important SEO factor, we have now started leveraging it even for paid advertising.
In-market audiences for search: Google has introduced in-market audiences for the search engine so brands can now showcase their products to those who are actively searching for it.
Brand Planner: Though still in the development stage, Google is planning to introduce Brand Planner – a tool similar to Google Trends – to track audience insights and to give brands more actionable insights.
Location extensions for TrueView ads: Brands can now showcase their location in YouTube TrueView ads to increase traffic to their showrooms.
YouTube Ad Sequencing: Brands can also sequence their ads on YouTube as per the viewing of the visitors.
Consumer patterns and life events in Gmail ads: Gmail Ads can be customised based on consumer data like marriage, graduation and birth.
YouTube Insights for search: Viewers can now watch ads that are customized based on the content consumed by them.
Local inventory listed on Google: Brands can get their inventories listed on Google Maps for increased footfall. They can also retrieve the data of the number of people who have visited their stores through these listings from across 19 countries and get a better understanding of how mobile search can help offline retailers in India.
Cross-device data for analytics: Brands can study consumer behaviour through data from advanced social media analytics retrieved from all digital devices – from a handy smartphone to a smart TV.
After getting enlisted as a premier Google partner and attending the Google Partner Summit 2016 in San Francisco, Advertising Week 2017 was a much-anticipated event for us. It provided us with glorious insights and practices of the international digital marketing industry. It is time you start implying these practices in your marketing strategies to take your business to the next level. We know we are!
It was a delightful day when we got the news of being invited for the Google Partner Summit and being upgraded to a Premier Google Partner. So when the time came, Rohit & I packed our bags and took the journey to cover 13,876 kms from Chennai to San Francisco. The journey was not just the distance, but the fact that at the Summit we were amongst 900 partners around the world, who together controlled about 8% of the global digital advertising spend. It was indeed a delightful experience to be part of it.
"Now is our Moment" was an apt theme for the Google Partner Summit with multiple interactions with senior Google product managers and account managers interspersed with knowledge on how to manage talent as well as clients. It was a holistic agenda to help agencies like us succeed.
While a lot of the inputs provided at the Summit were confidential, we have summarized what we are allowed to share. Below were the 5 key takeaways for us:
Apart from the product learnings, it was amazing for us to network and meet Google Partners from around the world and we even got to visit Googleplex and interact with product managers one on one (though we cannot share the details of these discussions yet).
Earlier today, I spoke to a packed audience of retailers (omni channel and offline retailers) at the Chennai Retail Summit held by Retail Association of India (RAI) at ITC Grand Chola. I spoke on Winning the Connected Consumer, The Digital Way and you can see my slides below.
Local SEO and digital marketing for retailers is very critical in this connected world. Its very important for them to leverage a mobile first strategy to capitalize on every micro moment.
When we conducted our Indian Industry Digital Marketing Survey we found that many brands were facing challenges in measuring the return that their digital marketing and social media marketing efforts were giving. Hence, we included an eclectic panel discussion on “Measuring ROI of Digital Marketing” at our Digital Leadership Summit.
We had four panelists moderated by Suneil from Social Beat: Mr. Vijay Anand - Sulekha.com, Mr. Arasu Shankar - Eshakti.com, Ms. Lavanya Hariharan – Zapluk and Mr. Shriram Sanjeevi - Oyethere.com.
Suneil started off by asking the audience as to how many of them believed you could get ROI from digital marketing; it was a pleasant surprise to see that over 60% of the audience believed it could. We as a digital agency couldn’t agree more. The panel started with a discussion on what each of them feels about the results from digital marketing. We also have had a Digital Chai Pe Charcha on ROI of Digital Marketing, and you can read it here.
The entire panel did agree that the choice of the channel varies with the services/products and the consumer segment. It’s also very important to be smart as you scale adverting, as Arasu pointed out. It’s essential to be clear on what is the message you want to give about your brand.
Vijay continued to be a strong propagator of Google Organic and Google Adwords and said it’s the most scalable as SEO efforts now start showing results in a few days, for existing/older sites. Since they focus on services with low engagement from end consumers they, tend to focus less on social media channels. They did spend 15 crores on their TVC campaign earlier this year it only gives 5000 incremental visitors a day which is minuscule for them as they get about 6-7 lakh visitors a day. Vijay added that for brand building to show results, you need to be at it all the time.
On the other hand, Lavanya, Arasu & Shriram all spoke on how social media and in specific Facebook Marketing has worked extremely well for their businesses to get scaleable results. Lavanya highlighted that for a service wherein the consumer still doesn’t know it exists, the search volume on Google is extremely low hence Facebook & Twitter were the driving growth as they were able to achieve leads along with building the brand and engagement around it.
Arasu & Lavanya also touched upon the importance of building the trust factor with consumers regarding answering their questions and doubts and also in terms of showcasing the products/service in a more holistic way. As Arasu rightly pointed out that Facebook allows for better product showcase via the carousel ads, videos, etc. Even brand awareness and the brand story is better executed via channels like Facebook and Instagram. Talking about the social trust that’s built out, Arasu added that they now see existing customers answering queries raised by potential clients and that it’s a game changer for them.
Shriram added that the approach they take depends on the message, the channel also changes. For example, when they ran a huge campaign around Kabali by selling t-shirts, giving away movie tickets and more; Facebook worked very well for that as it’s a mass channel.
We couldn’t agree more with Arasu when he said that "Channel will depend on product and customer segment." For example, if you are looking to target millennials then Snapchat would be an ideal platform. If your product or service is visual and you are targeting a sub 40-year-old audience, then Instagram would be an excellent channel but there is indeed a demographic difference across channels. eShakti also focusses a lot on Pinterest as it's relevant to many a fashion brand.
Emailer Marketing still works if it’s with your own audience. Vijay of Sulekha spoke about how emailer marketing is an important channel and delivers results when done smartly with smart targeting, in spite of Gmail pushing a lot of emails to the Promotions tab. Of course, once a user is acquired it’s up to the brand to retain them and emailers is a great way to do that.
Influencer Marketing was another channel that works very well and eShakti uses it extensively. Arasu shared that they work with 1000s of bloggers and they have built their network over a period. They calculate the ROI of influencers via direct referral traffic as well as transactions driven by the unique referral code given to each influencer. He also gave an interesting insight that there is higher trust from a consumer that comes via an influencer, so the 5-10% off that they give is covered up there.
There was an interesting question from the audience - Dr. Manoj from Dr. Smilez Group of Dental Centers asked about how they got very low engagement low on social as customers were not very keen on sharing their dental experiences. Lavanya shared her similar experiences as not a lot of women would like to share they got a beauty service or a wax treatment as it’s a personal service. The way Zapluk approaches it is to given them an offer or incentive but in the long run, content marketing is the key. Shriram added saying that ROI cannot always be attributed to direct sales - brand building and marketing is also to be measured
Everyone on the panel agreed that the return on marketing spend is not immediate; hence Life Time Value is an important metric to help scale up business and understand whether it’s moving towards profitability.
The LTV depends on different businesses, and we got varied perspective from the panel. Arasu spoke about phenomenal ROI wherein it just takes them 1.2 transactions to recover marketing cost as they have high-value transactions and very high repeat purchase. For Zapluk and Pamperazi it was three transactions to get the back marketing cost. Whereas for a brand like Sulekha, the end consumer was not paying anything, so it’s difficult to ascertain LTV.
Arasu mentioned that they look at the time taken to recover the marketing cost of acquiring the customer and for them, it’s usually the first 1-2 months whereas it is 3-4 months for Zapluk. Key metrics remain around customer acquisition, retention and finally on how to make them spend more and more often. It of courses varies by cohort, seasonality’s (for example, summer is a strong season for eshakti), types of customers, depends on the marketing channel and the marketing campaign that you run.
Shriram again had a very different perspective and said that "The word LTV is over done. Companies that boasted of High LTvs have shut down in the last couple of months because LTV was more of a myth." He gave an example of Chennai’s leading retail chain Viveks wherein in many cases three generations have been shopping there and apparently they are also grappling with LTV. He also questioned how come Flipkart only had 32% growth in spite of the perceivable high LTV.
One of the participants had a very relevant question - Sejal from Zoho asked what are the tools use for calculating ROI. In most cases, Google Analytics along with data from Google Adwords, FB Ads, Instagram Analytics and other social media analytics tools would suffice. Suneil added that Improvely could be a great tool to understand muti-touch attribution as consumers often interact with the brand multiple times before the sale is closed. This tool allows you to see the history of the person and how they interacted with your brand. Read more about Improvely and other similar analytics tools here.
Suneil also added that there is sometimes a time lag between generating a lead to sale and ROI can be improved if you can figure out how to leverage that time frame to communicate about the brand and the offerings.
Vijay spoke about Google Analytics Premium (GAP) which is more relevant for larger organisations as its costs around USD 90,000 a year. He talked about Google Analytics data being heavily sampled; wherein GAP has unsampled data which can also be downloaded. GAP has only around 15 clients in India but Vijay recommends it’s to e-commerce and digital businesses as repeat customers are harder to track in free analytics tools and attribution is not always clear.
Below is the gist of the talk given by Mithun Sacheti on “How Digital drove the success of Carat Lane” at the Digital Leadership Summit in Chennai in August 2016.
Key Highlights from his talk include:
Mithun started off by highlighting that Chennai as the choice for Carat Lane did not come from the fact that he was based here but based on research that Chennai has the fastest clearing airport in the country. He goes on to talk about how opening the first Jaipur Gems store was challenging. Their biggest learning over the initial years was getting a clear understanding of the top/key customers since they used to get only about three walk-ins a day when they started out. They soon realized that making customers discover the store and new products is key. So when they opened their next store in Coimbatore, they were able to combine their learnings to ensure that 500 key customers walked into the store just on day 1.
They realised that discovery of products is a problem because of the limited walk-ins in retail as well as the limited scope to discover products before walking into the store. E-Commerce fundamentally changes the discovery process.
Today consumers make a choice before entering the retail store – the decision is usually made online. This is why global e-commerce started with books so that the discovery & shopping can happen online. For other products discovery is still lead by digital, but consumption is happening across e-commerce, offline retail, kiosks, etc.
In 2011, Carat Lane opened its first retail store – but they got it wrong in many ways. Firstly, they did not put much jewellery over there, though in hindsight they understood that consumers come in to try out the product. In Mithun’s words “We assumed customers were as obsessed with technology, as we were”. This changed when they opened their future stores. Moreover, their Perfect Look app allows you try out jewellery real time, and this was a big hit amongst consumers.
Mithun highlights on e-commerce evolution in India and candidly pointed out that between 2000 to 2009 there were early adopters who did not focus on last mile delivery and consumer experience - players like Indiatimes, Rediff, infibeam. This mostly led to distrust from consumers because they went through such bad experiences from these brands. This, of course, changed when the new age e-commerce companies started, including Carat Lane in 2008.
Mithun was candid in saying that “Understanding of ROI was missing when we started, but we understood it the right way.”
In 2012 when the company evaluated its results, it realized that cost of acquisition was so high; it would take three transactions to make the customer profitable but an Indian consumer shop for jewellery twice a year so there was something wrong in the approach.
Their retail stores were a game changer because the process of discovery started falling in place. Consumers now started coming to the store with the product photograph wanting to try the product. It became evident that conversions will happen where they have an omnichannel presence. Two years ago they opened six stores in Delhi and now 38% of their revenue comes from Delhi and is the only profitable city of operation at the moment.
Carat Lane is an extremely metric driven business, as Mithun pointed out. They track 4000 data points every month, but the critical ones are
Mithun aptly put it “There is never too little data”. Data helps bring clarity, and while it took Carat Lane 6 years to figure it out, it finally made sense. In the early days, the cost of consumer acquisition was never in focus. You need to know how much you are willing to pay for each of the above actions, as the business profitability depends on that. Each company needs to create its own attribution model - based on customer type. Google Analytics is a good starting point.
Mithun spoke at length about the advanced analysis that is done on TV ad spends. They used tools to find out in which tv program & which ad break & which ad slot had the highest visitors and highest brand search of Carat Lane. As per Mithun, searches & traffic ultimately reflect in conversions & sales assuming you have a great product + great UX. Of course, it’s not a perfect model. You can have assumptions and capture the ROI, in case there are two ads at the same time
Speaking on how they used the funding they got, Mithun admits “Money is like oxygen, the human body is like iron - money can corrupt you”. They have learnt it the hard way and now moving towards profitability with a data-driven approach.
Talking about his investor, Lee Fixel, he mentioned an interesting quote. Apparently, Lee said, “My Fund has ten lives. You as an entrepreneur has 2-3 lives. Carat Lane has one life. If you think omnichannel is the right approach, then let's do it.”
On closing. Mithun said that Digital would own discovery and budgets will move digital - which was also reflected in the Social Beat Industry Report. We, of course, agree when he said that India would be driving the digital transformation and even today with the worst internet bandwidth ever we have achieved this much – it's only up to our imagination what the future holds!
Key Highlights from the Social Beat Digital Leadership Summit 2016:
Chennai, 5th Aug 2016: The 1st Social Beat Digital Leadership Summit 2016 was a congregation of over 125 CMOs, Brand Heads & CXOs from varied industries. Mithun Sacheti, the Keynote Speaker kick started the Summit and shared insights on how a data driven approach at Carat Lane has helped it acquire customers and build a brand. Carat Lane's internal team analyses over 4000 data points, from across channels, including TV, Retail, Print, Radio and Online Marketing.
Speaking at the event, Mithun Sacheti, Founder Carat Lane said “Digital is going to be key for every business in India. The discovery of products and services is going to happen via digital, through consumption will be omni channel across digital, retail and other channels.” Emphasising on the importance of data and analytics Mithun said “The beauty of digital is that you can analyse and measure everything. It's never too much data to decide your action items. At Carat Lane we analyse over 4000 data points on a monthly basis.”
The keynote session was followed by a panel discussion on Measuring ROI from digital marketing. Moderating the panel, Suneil Chawla, Co-Founder of Social Beat, said “Depending on whether the business has a product which has high search volume or is an impulse purchase, Google or social media will be more effective.” Arasu Shankar from eShakti.com said “Apart from tracking the cost of acquiring a customer, it is important to understand the lifetime value of the customer in order to be able to understand the profitability of the business”.
Peshwa Acharya, CMO of Sterling Holidays speaking at the event said “Digital transformation has already happened from the consumer’s perspective. Now it’s time for brands to wake up to this opportunity. There will be many inflection points, for example, COD in ecommerce. Brands need to anticipate and leverage these inflection points to their advantage.”
The last discussion was around How Content Marketing can work for your brand with two successful brands, Matrimony and Murugappa Group sharing their experiences. Vijaylakshmi D, Senior Associate Vice President at Murugappa Group speaking on their successful content strategy around Madras Song said “Murugappa Group always had a strong connect with the city of Madras and we have had ongoing activities around this. When we looked at how do we connect with today’s generation we decided to use music and video as the medium to create the Madras Song to engage people to share their live for Madras.”. Murugappa Group in fact allocates close to 15% of marketing budget towards content marketing.
Rajasekar KS, GM – Social Media & Content for Matrimony.com speaking on their HappyMarriages content initiative said “Content Marketing is more about content and less about marketing. If you can understand your consumer’s problems and leverage that to build content, then it will strike the right cord with the audience.”
Speaking at the occasion, Vikas Chawla, Co-Founder of Social Beat summarised, “The digital medium is a powerful medium and only creativity is the limit. We hope that the experience sharing by CMOs and Marketing Heads would enable the entire industry to learn and grow their digital presence.”