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BW Businessworld

Think Small Data And Treat Social Like Real Life

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Another edition of Goafest – the great ad jamboree - is over. This time there was less of the sweltering sun, sand and sea with the festival held indoors, but the fun-seekers among the 1,700 odd delegates did manage to get out and sail, boogey away at a foam dance (a newer version of the rain dance), and chill at the Google hangouts where there were games aplenty (and food and drinks as well as rejuvenating foot massages). For the knowledge seekers, even though the content was rather patchy, there was still plenty of food for thought from the presentations, and chats on the sidelines. Here are a few takeaways:
Think Small Data, Fast Data And Warm Data 
Data is the new natural resource of the 21st century, said Vanitha Narayanan, Managing Director of IBM India.  But even as IBM is leading the Big Data push, the advertising community at Goafest felt their needs would be served better by small data.  “Where we want to start is small data or the low hanging fruit. Search, social, Google analytics, these are all really cheap ways of getting actionable insights,” said Melanie Varley, Chief Strategy Officer, Global at MEC. Agreed her GroupM colleague, Norm Johnston, Chief Digital Officer, Mindshare, “Big data can be very overwhelming. In many parts of the world, data is simply not available. The point we make is not to focus on the size of the data but on collecting small pieces of information that is freely available and can be used to action things.”

Melanie Varley, Chief Strategy Officer, Global at MEC
An example, Johnston shared, is the way tissue brand Kleenex used small data for real time marketing.  Kleenex used search data from different regions to find out where there were flu outbreaks. It was pretty simple – as all it needed was to seek out in which regions the keywords fever and headache remedies were being searched. Based on the results, it quickly shifted its campaigns to the regions where these keywords were typed most. “96 per cent of media spend was shifted to regions with live flu outbreaks,” he said, pointing out how it helped Kleenex ramp up sales in a big way. So small data is not to be sniffed at! “Sometimes it is not even about starting with the data but with the consumer,” says Johnston. In other words, “warm data”.  From slow data, fast data, small data, big data to warm data, we certainly heard a lot about the D word!

Staggering Media Consumption
As Melanie Varley pointed out average time spent on media by people is going up staggeringly. Where media consumption was a few hours earlier, today it stretches over long periods thanks to the little screen - the mobile. “Though even TV is growing, broadcast is picking up too,” said Varley, “The biggest growth outside of TV in media consumption is in social through mobile,” she said.  According to her, the digital pie would soon touch 25 per cent globally.  Right now, the GroupM forecast is that digital will close 2014 at 21 per cent globally.

Get Social By Looking At Real Life
“Brands need to understand that social is part of life experience – not a separate virtual universe,” said Preethi Mariappan, executive creative director of Razorfish, Germany in a gripping presentation. As she pointed out, brands need to understand that consumers are talking about their offline world on the social platforms. Brands need to script a new kind of narrative on social, creating an interaction that is truly memorable, she said

Days of Channel Strategies Are Over
“There are so many touchpoints to a consumer today that you can’t do channel strategies anymore. Those days are over,” said Guy Hearn, chief innovation officer, Omnicom Media Group.  There is increasing fragmentation – be it on social, mobile or television. “But most marketers are not going to have infinitely expandable budgets. So even as one needs to get all bases covered, we also need to get away from mass targeting, says Hearn.

As new platforms like chat apps (WeChat, Line), video apps (Vine etc) open up, the challenge is to stay on top of things, admitted Norm Johnston. “You have to look what they are providing, sometimes they provide scale, sometimes they provide a relevant audience, in some cases they provide a platform for innovation that while they may not get to a lot of people, has a chance of getting talked about,” said Johnston.

Integration, Team One, Looping It All Together
T. Gangadhar, MD, India of MEC
With people using several devices at one go, agencies and brands need to think multiple screens for all their campaigns. “We have seen spikes for ecommerce when a television campaign plays out. For instance, Flipkart, OLX, Quikr all have seen sales surges moments after their TV campaign,” says T. Gangadhar, Managing Director, India of MEC. Several airlines have seen spikes in their mobile app downloads when a new TV campaign is on. But integration is not just about 360 degree campaigns on television, social, digital, outdoors. It’s also about an integrated approach from clients and agencies. About all the different teams involved in an integrated campaign being on the same page.

So, is going with an agency that offers an integrated solution a better approach versus trying to get multiple agencies to work together on a single integrated campaign? This was a heated debate at Goafest, flagged off by Deepika Warrier’s plaintive call for a Team One approach by all the multiple agencies that a client needs to work with.  The last word on this has not been heard yet.