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How To Play The Big Game

Marketing and advertising: It is a specialised game and there is a lot happening; a specialist can bring in an advantage

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Mark Henning, head, Media and Digital, AMAP region, Millward Brown, a WPP-Kantar’s brand, communications and media research unit, talks about why it is important for marketers to understand, delve deeper and integrate digital into their marketing mix, as well as the several independent entities within the digital realm that need to be treated as separate platforms to be used for marketing and advertising.

Excerpts:

What is the rationale behind launching the Validated Campaign Essentials and Brand Lift Insight in collaboration with comScore? How will marketers take to these offerings?
I think there is a lot of uncertainty about how to get the best from your campaign. There is a lot of data around, but people are unsure whether their digital campaigns can be measured and if they will work. I guess the way we see it, the partnership with comScore enables us to give a holistic view of digital campaigns to our clients. We can look at the reach and frequency within the target audience and make sure that the brand is appearing in a brand-safe environment and the impressions that are being reported are real. At the same time we can also demonstrate the brand-effect by using the digital campaigns. The marketers have a very positive reaction and advertisers are always looking for guidance for their digital campaigns; I think this gave a positive sign, as it can help them to be more effective and move into the digital space with more confidence.

Though marketers intend to spend, they are still apprehensive about the digital marketing spends. Is there a need for digital marketing media agencies or the media to ramp up their practices? Will marketers be convinced then?
It’s new for a lot of marketers. They are used to dealing with traditional media; they know how TV and print work. The digital space is new and is moving very fast, so there is a bit of nervousness about moving towards that. But I think measuring, making sure what your objective is before getting into it, then checking what’s working and learning is a key part of it. I think the more the marketers jump in and start learning and get a better understanding of what works and what does not, will trigger the growth and bring success.

How important is it for brands to manage content so it is delivered in the right context? Does it work better in a B2B environment since a layman tends to accept whatever the brand offers in terms of communication?
The digital environment is very different from the traditional media environment. Traditional media is a mass push-out kind of an environment, while digital has a lot more control. It’s not about pushing things out because the consumer can skip the message or ignore it or just move over to a new web. In the digital environment, it is about how you engage the consumer; how they think at that point of time about what’s in it for them in the messaging. So the way you think about that and communicate with the consumer in the digital environment is different because there is an element of control.

In your 2016 trends report, you mentioned new media mix, including gaming, online retail, and review platforms other than the traditional TV, radio or print. Do marketers engage with these platforms independently or do they take digital as a unit?
A lot of marketers do take digital as a whole unit, but to actually get the best out of it, you need to consider each platform separately as each is consumed differently by different consumers. The way you need to talk to the consumers may vary as the mindset of consumers varies. Hence, you need to treat individual platforms within digital differently as though each is an independent media in many ways. When you are starting to think about your campaign and your target audience and who are you going to talk to and how are you going to talk to them, you need to think about the relevant channels. All the platforms should be thought about before deciding how to best tailor the content according to the channel.

Do you feel that digital as a mandate should be within the overarching marketing department of a brand or should there be separate digital marketers? In your global experience have you come across any?
As you are moving on that path it helps to have specialists along, whether it is with your agency or with your insights and research partners or in-house. It is a specialised game and there is a lot happening in that space; a specialist can bring in an advantage. We see a range of different models out there in the marketplace; we see digital specialists set out to actually evangelise within organisations; we see digital being brought under the marketing wing. What tends to happen is that digital specialists have been the starting point, but as people become confident it becomes a part of what they do and it’s bought back into mainstream marketing. I think there is space for more models along the way but the focus of digital specialists can help make the transition.

The trend report also states that in 2016 smart marketers will adopt more sophisticated online and mobile media plans to improve synergies across the overall media mix. Can you explain?

I think it comes back to how the audience is consuming and understanding the roles of different media and then tailoring the creative and messaging within each type of media. If you know that you are going to put a mobile advertising on YouTube and you know that people are going to see that on TV too, you can go with a slightly different type of messaging that will supplement the TV. I think it is the role of both marketer and the agency to work together to get their audience.

How do you compare Indian marketers to global marketers? And according to you, for a marketer today, is return on investment (ROI) more important or return on objective (ROO)?
Marketers in India are at a stage where they are learning how best to use the digital space. Across the world there are many different marketers, some are well versed and some at the start of their digital journey. In India, it is a matter of getting comfortable, getting the right measurement and guidance from partners and from the marketplace so that you are getting the best out of the campaign. About ROO and ROI, I think both are relevant and it depends on where they are in the campaign cycle. I think what is most important is a set objective for the campaign, whether it be sales based or attitude based or behaviour based, and to make sure that they are measured using the right metrics for measurement is really important.


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