Seth Solomons, global chief marketing officer, Digitas Worldwide and Mark Beeching, chief creative officer, Digitas Worldwide addressed a gathering of marketers, digital advertising and media professionals in the city last evening.
The focus of their discussion was ‘Marketing in the age of now’.
In his presentation, Beeching said that marketers must take cognisance of the speed at which the marketplace is changing. He also pointed out that consumers are increasingly taking control over brands.
Solomons added that advertisers therefore have to make sure that the customer gets to experience the brand in an "on-demand" manner. “If the consumer is going to buy a product, our challenge is in identifying what is the best channel we can use in facilitating that purchase. So brands have to act for customers and not simply talk to them.”
A panel discussion that followed their presentation saw Solomons and Beeching being joined by Neville Taraporewalla, director, Microsoft Advertising Solutions, Amit Dutta, CEO, Luxury Brands and G Ajay Row, vice president – customer relationship management, The Indian Hotels Company and NDTV’s Rajeev Makhani.
While all of them expected digital marketing to come of age in India between two to three years, Taraporewalla threw caution to the wind by throwing light on the roadblocks in the adoption of digital media amongst marketers in India.
“One of the biggest challenges is convincing the top management of a company that digital marketing is important. Secondly, I don’t think creative expertise has managed to switch over to the digital side of the business.” He also said that most FMCG brands are still being handled by traditional agencies with traditional media buying capabilities, who do not have the talent to make digital the centre of the creative process.
“We’re still seeing the TV script being adapted for digital. Let’s first think of a creative idea for the brand (and not the TV spot idea) and then adapt it for various media,” he said.
Row was optimistic in outlining the approach current marketers are using for digital advertising. "The spends may not be comparable to traditional advertising, but the amount of focus and willingness to learn and experiment is certainly growing, for digital marketing."