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What Will Drive Marketing In The Coming Year

For Omnicom Media Group India, the newer forms of digital — mobile, e-commerce, wearable tech — all have important roles to play in marketing in the year ahead.

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For Omnicom Media Group India, the newer forms of digital — mobile, e-commerce, wearable tech — all have important roles to play in marketing in the year ahead. One factor, however, that will rise above all as the Internet finds its way to newer delivery mechanisms and markets in rural India is ‘content’

With the rise in smartphone penetration in 2015, brands sharpened focus on mobile-first strategies by keeping mobile at the epicentre of planning and creating assets that are responsive in design. By using messenger apps for personalised communication and e-commerce companies experimenting with ‘app only’, consumer trust has extended from desktop to mobile commerce. According to Omnicom Media Group India’s managing director for Digital and Mobility Avinash Jhangiani, this led to the appreciation for personalisation and context, making ‘native advertising’ almost hygiene. Much of this were predictions coming alive from Omnicom Media Group’s What’s Next 2015 trends.

“We also saw brands attempting to tell stories across channels. TV became a strong mainstream conversation starter, used in conjunction with Twitter, Facebook and ‘missed call’ methods to continue the discussion online,” says Jhangiani, adding, “something we could not predict was how startups influenced marketing. Their tightly integrated cross-functional culture that drives better customer experience and product innovation has forced established companies to rethink their marketing.”

Now in its second edition, What’s Next 2016 highlights 10 trends that will dominate marketing in 2016. One keyword that appears in more than a few of the predicted trends is the role that content will playing in marketing.

Message Above Medium
The report states ‘story rises above the medium’. Brands must have an always-on two-screen experience strategy. Going beyond TVC or print and into digital must become the norm. Digital ‘culture creators’ will be the new ‘brand ambassadors’, allowing brands ample opportunity to reach consumers across media for integrated storytelling. Omnicom Media Group also predicts the ‘rise of over-the-top (OTT) content’. The marked shift towards OTT content means that marketers will shift their advertising spend on digital. OTT tends to be based on subscription models and this presents both opportunities and challenges. Consumers would rather uncover a brand as part of their viewing than watch a piece of branded content. An indirect result is the rise in binge-watching. Brands will need to weave in their story with the content being consumed.

“Consumers are demanding more immersive experiences across channels and devices. We pay too much attention on the medium instead of consumers. Consumers are humans who don’t connect with media but interact with emotions. Research shows that ultimately feelings, not facts, drive decision making. In an age of selling without selling, brands need to weave in the story with consumer’s lifestyle,” says Jhangiani.

Rural Connect
Another trend is the ‘scaling up of the Internet from urban to rural’. The rise of e-commerce, social media and smart education has already encouraged the rural consumer to go online. In this backdrop, there would be a rise in ‘vernacular content’. To remain authentic, relevant and talkable, brands will need to create regional or local content and start engaging with consumers in their native languages on social media, websites and other owned media platforms.

“Rural is the Mecca of growth in India. There is a shift in Internet usage from a urban, young, high-income user, to rural and lower-income consumer across all age-groups. While a huge opportunity exists for marketing, brand influence and ultimately commerce for urban markets, a new segment of rural consumers is coming online. With the growth of low-cost hand-held devices, mobile first strategy will enable education, information, entertainment and banking amongst other services for rural India. A shift to a low-carbon economy, ways to connect farmers and ease of payments and business will mean that rural economy needs to be included,” says Jhangiani.

Top Trends
The other trends that made it to Omnicom Media Group’s watchlist are:
India gets mobile-ised: Each mobile-enabled moment is a critical opportunity for brands. While mobile first will be the way to go, for some, it will make sense to be mobile only.

Commerce everywhere: Mobile payment startups are partnering with brands to lure customers with discounts and cashback offers and even create branded wallet stores. This will lead to better micro-segmentation and personalisation as brands can better gauge the desires of individual consumers by analysing their online behaviour.

Moment marketing breaking silos: Brands need to provide value in key consumer moments with a more agile and collaborative marketing approach. Infrastructure and processes to integrate media, creative, social listening and analytics to study and engage with consumers in real time are needed.

Social moves into walled ecosystems: Brand conversations are less likely to be driven by advertising. Instead, brands need to show consumers authenticity and value to inspire peer-to-peer conversations held within chat apps and encourage community marketing.

Internet of me: Brands can target individuals across their consumer journey programmatically with optimisation and hyper-local targeting showing customers different messaging depending on attributes such as location, weather, device, local language or time of day.

Form vs function in wearables: As with intuitive technology, consumers are seeking a device that can help make their lives easier. Brands should place the consumer first and create a product that addresses real consumer needs.

[email protected]; @NFWarsia

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 28-12-2015)