‘Direct marketing has to be evolved to create involvement, not irritation’

Q&A with Kanika Mittal, head - marketing and brand communications, Reebok India

‘Direct marketing has to be evolved to create involvement, not irritation’

On the sidelines of recently-held DMAi, Campaign India caught up with Kanika Mittal, head - marketing and brand communications, Reebok India, on the importance of direct marketing for a brand that sells through exclusive and multi-brand outlets and consumer privacy, among other things. Edited excerpts:

How is direct marketing important for a brand that sells through exclusive stores and multi-brand outlets?

Why it is important to us is that it ultimately helps us in two ways. One, it is a healthy engagement with the end consumer. So you may not really be selling something but you are engaging with them on some really good content. If somebody has, let’s say, signed up with us and has shown interest in running, then whenever we host the next running event  or whenever we do a training to run the right way or train to run a marathon, we get him through direct marketing. The person gets relevant information that he can use to make himself a better trainer, runner or a dancer.

Secondly, it helps us is to build a base of loyal customers. For our end of season sale or a new technology being launched, this base of loyal customers would feel privileged if we give them a preview before everybody else gets to see it.

What percentage of your marketing spends are allocated towards direct marketing?

We don’t segregate it as direct marketing .We just have a very broad segregation into ATL,BTL and digital. At this point of time its scenario-focused. We have a different definition of target marketing as opposed to the traditional definition.

Do you see direct marketing growing with increasing media fragmentation?

Yes, I definitely see it growing as I consider it as a non-traditional way of communication and like I said, traditional media allows you to have one-to-many conversations so it’s all vertical. But direct marketing allows me to have one-on-one conversations and that is all horizontal. That is a more healthy and more direct way of communicating with our consumers.

What are the concerns that are marring the growth of direct marketing as a channel for brands?

The concern is that if not done the right way, direct marketing can be construed more as spam. It can be more of invasion of privacy and something that the consumer is inherently not comfortable with. So direct marketing needs to be packaged in a really nice way so that the consumer feels involved and at the same time we are not intruding him in any way and kind of putting him off the brand.

There are certain risks associated with direct marketing and we need to really need to check to balance very carefully to ensure that it is involvement we are looking at and not irritation.

Which media vehicles are more suited for direct marketing?

Anything which is permission-based where the consumer has actively said ‘yes’, be it through SMS  or one-on-one. As long as the consumer has shown a very clear verbal or written degree of interest in communicating with the brand, whatever vehicle that is - it’s not vehicle-centric, it’s more like the consumer saying, ‘Yes I want to talk to you’.

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Campaign India
Campaign India
3 October 2014