The panel session titled, “Leveraging digital – pushing the industry to invest in ideas”, which was moderated by Harish Bahl, founder & chairman, Smile Group, saw industry heavy weights discuss the expectations they have from the digital medium, and the commitments they are ready to make in the coming future.
According to L K Gupta, CMO, LG Electronics, most marketers expect all mediums to help them reach their target consumers in ways that are different from what they have been doing so far and what the others are doing. “The spends will always follow ideas. LG’s digital spends have gone up from being less than Rs 1 crore about 5 years ago to excess of Rs 40 crore in 2011-12.”
For Gaurav Seth, senior vice president, marketing & communications, MAX, “To a content producer like us, digital medium provides a two-way engagement with our viewers – something that television doesn’t. We can gauge interest and traction achieved by a programme without having to spend money on research data and focus groups, and plug gaps accordingly.”
Airtel’s spends have gone up from being 2% of the total spends to almost 10% in 2011-12. “We are the largest advertisers on digital media and also have the highest ratio of digital to mainstream spends in India,” said Arun Sharma, VP, marketing – head, media & rural, Bharti Airtel Ltd. “The year 2011-2012 has been the inflection point for Indian digital industry as increasingly brand owners are coming up with solutions that offer much more than just awareness – which was never a challenge for a brand like Airtel.”
According to Sharma, the digital players need to understand the needs of the marketers and advertising spends are guaranteed to follow.
As a technology player, Sanjay Ahuja, director – & media, India & SAARC, said that technology can help brand owners and publishers react to their consumers on various social platforms in ‘real-time’ and thus provide better brand experience. “People expect reactions to their updates and tweets instantly and technology can help brands achieve that.”
Rishi Khiani, CEO, Times Internet Ltd., the only publisher in the group, reacted to expectations set by marketers from digital medium by outlining the various steps taken by Indiatimes to change the way it was selling. “We have verticalised our sales, thus, offering much more targeted, engaging and flexible brand solutions to our advertisers. One size no longer fits all and as the digital media explodes, customization based on marketers long-term goals will be the only way forward.”