In using the measurement card as the USP, do digital agencies shortsell the medium, asks Campaign India.
In India, the argument in favour of the digital medium has generally been inclined towards measurement and the ability of the medium to deliver quantifiable results. As the online industry evolved in India, that was often the USP used to attract clients. But of late, digital agencies have bemoaned the measurement argument as one that has become their burden to bear as clients fixate on numeric metrics, instead of looking at engagement and brand building metrics that the Internet offers. The common grouse is that digital is expected to deliver quantifiable results that no one expects from mass media like TV and press.
Taj Hotel’s Ashok Lalla feels that agencies made the mistake of building measurement as the Holy Grail and then using it as a selling proposition, rather than including add on elements like brand building and other brand metrics to it. He says, “The problem is agencies have not looked for answers beyond the numerical metrics. So in that sense, it has become a bit of disservice.”
Digital Law & Kenneth’s Anil Nair says, “Marketers in addition to the tangible expectations from this medium should also take notice of the intangibles like user generated content, consumer engagement, interactivity and community building. The strongest point is interactivity and engagement.” Rediffusion Y&R- Digital’s Karl Gomes agrees, “When a specialist unit goes out to fend for itself, it does not use a pitch that will differentiate itself from other guys. They end up selling themselves vis-а-vis other media by using values that the others like TV and press cannot provide, like measurement and lead generation. So, one does not end up talking about brand salience and engagement metrics which mass media can also provide. The market is used to talking about metrics, than engagement. Some agencies look at the medium this way. I believe, there is obviously a return on investment (RoI) but also a return on engagement (RoE) and a return on word of mouth. To succeed, we need to be integrated in our approach, with other mainline media.”
Neo@Ogilvy’s Prasanth Mohanachandran disagrees, “On the contrary, measurability has provided a sound foundation for the medium. This should prove to be the saviour in these times. It is the one medium which forces a differentiation in thinking, where you put the consumer first as you learn what consumers want to do and then build your communication around that. Add to that the factor of being able to measure everything from engagement to sales, it is the perfect medium for times when the efficacy of each media dollar needs to be measured.” Vodafone’s Harit Nagpal feels it depends on how one defines measurement. He feels that this isnot quantified only through sales but also through the click through rates on an ad. “I would be more confident about continuing to invest in a medium where I have the measurability of a click versus a medium like outdoor where measurability is in question. That’s why during the current economic scenario, outdoor was the first to be affected as there was no measure of results.”
Ashok Lalla, director, Internet marketing, Taj Hotels
“Agencies made the mistake of using measurement as the Holy Grail and sold it as a selling proposition, rather than including add on elements like brand building and other brand metrics. Soon clients debated on the quality of those metrics.
The problem is agencies have not looked for answers beyond the numerical metrics. In that sense, it has become a bit of disservice. Digital offers interactivity and the ability for unlayering the brand layer by layer. Online cannot be used in isolation of other forms of media. You have to integrate it with other mass media. But, to build successful brands today, you need digital as a part of the mix.”
Anil Nair, managing partner, Digital Law & Kenneth
“Measurement and accountability is the cross that digital is having to bear now. I am worried about the ability of this nascent medium to bear the weight of this onerous responsibility, when marketers don’t apply the same yardstick to TV and press where there is so much wastage. Marketers in addition to the tangible expectations from this medium should also take notice of intangibles like user generated content, consumer engagement, interactivity and community building. Digital offers interactivity and engagement. But communicators need to master this new lingua and get ready to abdicate a bit of control.”
Harit Nagpal, chief marketing officer, Vodafone Essar
“How do you define measurement? It is not defined merely by saying that x units were sold, it is also defined by how many users clicked on your ad and engaged with it I would be more confident about continuing to invest in a medium where I have the measurability of a click versus a medium like outdoor where the measurability is in question. During the current economic downturn, outdoor has been the first medium to be affected because there was a lack of quantifiable results.Brands cannot be built in isolation online. For mass brands, digital needs to be integrated into the entire media mix.”
Prasanth Mohanachandran, exec dir, digital services, Neo@Ogilvy
“Measurability has provided a sound foundation for digital. It is one medium that forces a differentiation in thinking, it’s where you put the consumer first. You learn what consumers want to do and then build your communication around it. On the web, one can track, monitor, and optimize both the spend side and the ‘sell’ of the equation in real-time, while remaining focused on the brand. Brand advertising in traditional media has been, to date, an attempt to influence conversations that potential consumers will have after experiencing the advertising. The web allows for advertising to join, initiate, extend those brand conversations.”
Karl Gomes, national creative director, Rediffusion Y&R Digital
“If a specialist unit has to go out and fend for itself, they end up de-selling other media and selling themselves by using values that the others cannot provide, like measurement and lead generation. Brand salience, engagement metrics tend to get ignored. Though mass media cannot give niche targeting, this also is neglected. The market has got used to talking about metrics, rather than engagement. Some agencies are clear that’s the way to look at the medium. I believe, there is obviously a return on investment (RoI) but there is also a return on engagement (RoE) and a return on word of mouth. Digital needs to be integrated with other mainline media.”