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BW Businessworld

‘Marketers And It Need To Work Together’

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We hear that marketers need to befriend technology and not fear it. How can they do this? 
Marketers need to embrace technology and the math in marketing. But they don’t have to be techies themselves. That’s where partnering with IT comes in.  In many cases, IT has been a sleeping giant for servicing marketing’s needs. It has not been fully engaged in helping marketing. But that is changing with digital marketing. It is not something you can de-prioritise anymore. As digital marketing gets more valuable to businesses, the attention it is getting from IT is more.

Is the relationship between chief information and marketing officer changing?
It is important for the two to understand and empathise with each other. Marketing is like a striker in a baseball game. Some shots don’t work, while a few go home, and you are the hero. IT is more like a goalkeeper who has to guard things. But we see the two finding a middle ground now.
We find that Asia is leading the way in companies going for digital transformation. When they come to us it’s no longer “come and show us the product”. But “come and tell us how we should do it”.

What are the key trends in digital transformation? 
Mobile (phone) is the biggest in this region. A lot of consumers are skipping PCs and going straight to mobiles. There is also a lot of social maturity. Social has always been a big trend, but now there’s a maturity in the way companies are relating social back to their businesses.

Are Adobe Social’s solutions not looking at chat apps?
There are some challenges with application programming interface, some bottlenecks there  — but we are looking at them.  

Do you think the desktop is dead?
No. I think we will see the reinvention of the desktop with transparent OLED screens coming in.

What differences in digital marketing do you see in a market like India and a 100 per cent mobile market like Singapore?
In Singapore, while 100 per cent consumers are on mobile, brands are still not.  Indian brands are doing as much as Singaporean brands. So there is not really a big gap there.  On the consumer side, yes, but that’s just a matter of time.
But with the business value of doing something in digital going up, I feel the impact in India will be much more because of the sheer scale. For example, take the cost of digital media. It depends on different industries and so on.  The same keyword in Singapore is usually more expensive than in India, but in some industries India is now getting costlier.
When you are paying 30 dollars per click for some keywords in India to drive someone to a site, and 97 per cent of people don’t buy or do anything, the amount of money you would spend  to make sure they engage and personalise is massive.

If I search for car insurance on Google, in the US, it is 100 dollars per person per click. In India, it is more than 10 dollars per click for certain keywords.  In western markets, sure, you have the value going up, but in India there are more and more people to reach out to underneath that value. So the scale and value of things in India are where the future is.

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 08-09-2014)