Ad:tech works with the foremost global and Indian leaders, from the marketing, technology, innovation and business world. Here we curate our conversations with them, as they give us some insights into their organizations, industry trends, and most importantly, things to lookout for in the coming years.
Ad:tech caught up with Rubeena Singh, CEO, iProspect, at the iMedia Brand Summit 2019, to talk about agency world, work culture, client expectations and its evolution over the last 5 years and so on.
After Hitesh’s incredible session on ‘How brands can tap the Direct-To-Consumer (D2C) gold mine, ’ at the iMedia Brand Summit 2019, we met him to talk about data, technology, AI and the host of innovative offerings from Silverpush.
The ad:tech team met with Sunder at the iMedia Brand Summit 2019 to talk about marketing agility, education systems, big data, Humanizing AI, and more. His session at iMedia was around ‘Redefining Agility in a Nebulous World.’
At the iMedia Brand Summit 2019 Pippa spoke about ‘The impact of emotional storytelling’ and how CNN captures bite sized positive stories on the Great Big Story. We caught up with her to talk about branded content, the role of tech in augmenting creativity, Gen Y and so on.
A tech evangelist and marketing veteran, Arun Gupta shares his thoughts on the evolution of mobile marketing, his research into this space, and the growth of programmatic marketing.
We caught with Nitin Sethi to understand the nuances of the performance marketing, the evolving airline space and his personal journey in the digital world.
We met with Kanwaljit Singh to understand his role in transforming the CPG business, new trends we can look forward to, and how brands should really re-look at their consumer engagement strategies.1. Fireside Ventures has been investing heavily in Indian startups. What is your strategy for an emerging marketing like India? We invest exclusively in early stage consumer brands. The emergence of the millennial consumers and evolution of the digital infrastructure has created opportunity for new age / challenger brands. We believe this is a secular trend and will lead to many successful brands being created over the next decade and more.
We met with Girish Chaturvedi to talk about B2B marketing, AI enabling a single consumer view and GDPR.Email marketing is an important part of every marketer’s arsenal especially when it comes to B2B marketing. Can you share any insights into the trends in this space?There are few trends which will redefine the way emails are used in near future. Firstly, there has been a major shift from emails primarily being read on laptops and huge monitors to being read on 4–6 inch screens (Mobiles), this having a profound effect on email design. Email copy has gotten much shorter. Next you can expect emails jumping from smartphones to wearables like Apple watch to IoT devices like car & smart fridge. This will lead short emails getting even shorter in lines of Push notification. So imagine a email message at the length of a subject line with a call to action.
As we start using IOT applications in our daily lives, we met with Sukanto Aich to understand how Phillips is leading the action on the ‘Smart Home.’As the global leader in lighting, Signify has always been a pioneer in introducing new technologies in the fast evolving lighting sector. We were the first company to introduce the concept of connected smart lighting solutions for homes with our Philips Hue range, five years back.
We met with Tushar Vyas to discuss the latest trends in the market.GroupM is working with almost every large and small brand in India. What according to you are the most potent trends in the digital marketing industry today?Digital audience profile and the trends around it are getting broader, cutting across pop strata and socio-economy class. While invisible tech is blending into consumer’s everyday life; day to day chore is getting outsourced to tech and bar is getting raised on an everyday basis eg: Maps, recommendations, discovery, bills reminders and payments, natural language processing, AI, etc. are omnipresent! Access to data at scale is allowing marketers to create new opportunities and innovations i.e. the emergence of the micro market across various categories and consumption baskets. This digital infusion in everyday life is driving a fundamental change in consumer behavior.While on the digital advertising front, next level of technologies is bringing a human touch to the personalization of message and making experiential.
We caught up with him to understand the trends in content on Mobile, the ROI of creativity, influencer marketing and the growth of programmatic buying in India.
Tata Tea, probably the biggest brand is your portfolio has been an iconic national brand. However, where Tea once meant chai, the infiltration of a variety of infusions from green tea, to orange pekoe and hibiscus tea etc, has made it sometimes a health and sometimes a fashion statement. Have you seen any effects of this in the traditional ‘chai’ market, and if so how are your countering it?India still firmly remains “Chai” country and while the experimenters within us have looked at other indulgent or health options, Chai – whether it is the first cup in the morning or with a group of friends/ family – remains the most sacred of rituals for most Indians. The black tea market has been growing in double digits for a couple of year, led by upgrades from the unbranded segment. With that said consumers, especially young, educated & health conscious consumers are looking for unique tea-drinking experience & like to experiment with interesting and organic flavors. So clearly, there is an opportunity to cater to smaller niches like Green Tea or Flavoured teas which will continue to lead segment growth and create platforms for future growth. The art is to redefine the concept of tea drinking to keep the younger audience engaged with the category e.g in Tata Tea we have introduced flavors that are interesting to the Indian consumer (elaichi, masala mix) and offered Health & Wellness benefits in a traditional avatar. E.g. Teaveda
He said, "At Ford, we continue to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to reaching the consumer on the digital medium. Our mix on digital has grown significantly over the last several years and is one of the leading ones compared to other auto makers."
You’ve had an incredible journey as a marketer in India and have worked with some of the biggest brands in the country. What according to you should be the biggest priorities for a Marketing Head today?In the last few years, the term “digital” has undergone a major paradigm shift, moving from a marketing support function to a business platform in its own right. While an in-depth understanding of digital is a must-have, it is now critical for marketers to focus on how it drives not just innovation but also business impact across various marketing objectives, from awareness and consideration, to conversions and sales lift.
You have been a noted marketing veteran, speaker and digital enthusiast. What according to you is the typical growth pattern of a CMO, what should CMOs of today aspire towards?I think the core purpose of all marketing is only to drive higher revenue and healthier margins for the business. It is only in that context that all marketing programs and approaches need to take shape.
Your career has spanned across FMCG brands like Colgate, Unilever and investment corporations like Sequoia. What inspired you to join a new age brand like BYJUs?My association with BYJUs started in 2015 through Sequoia Capital. I was working very closely with BYJUs leadership team on marketing, media and digital. From 2015 to the end of 2017, we worked together on launching the first TVC campaign, marketing initiatives, brand partnerships etc.
Native Advertising has been catching the eyeballs of most marketers in the recent years, thanks to better user experience and better ROI. With native becoming an umbrella term for multiple formats, what are the major trends that you foresee for native advertising in 2019?Content consumption structure is changing all the time. Video content penetration level in some markets are higher than regular articles. We can use Vietnam as an example of what’s going to happen all over the world. Video content consumption reached 92% already which made the country #1 in the region.
What is the current scenario for ad fraud in the industry and how large is its impact on the digital economy?Mobile ad fraud remains a significant and pervasive problem within the digital advertising ecosystem. According to estimates, mobile ad fraud costs advertisers more than $6.5 billion. In India the situation is far worse. Mobile Ad fraud is costing marketers around $330 mn in India. Mobile advertising click fraud in India is 2.5X higher than global averages, and mobile app install fraud is 1.5X higher.
What does the media mix in an FMCG space look like? Are the brands still heavy TV spenders, or is the digital pie growing?It is important for FMCG brands to be salient with the consumers at all times. As the complexity of media is increasing, consumers too are getting fragmented. The variety of media options available to them are far more than ever earlier. Having said that, especially for a market like India, TV is still able to provide the most cost effective reach. However, for certain brands the role of digital is increasing to not only providing engagement but almost complementing the reach achieved through mainline media. For niche or low distributed brands, digital has a far stronger role to play than TV at times.
How big is the ad fraud industry in India and globally, and how much should marketers really worry about it?Globally it’s a $19 billion industry with APAC contributing 42% or $8 Bn of this. India is among key Asian markets, where its estimated to be $1.7 bn as of 2018 end. Ad fraud is increasingly becoming an organisation level issue not just affecting digital or marketing function.
What are the 3 biggest trends in digital marketing that you foresee for 2020 and beyond?With content marketing generating 3X the amount of leads (as compared to other outbound channels), I see massive increase in content marketing investment across both text and video content.According to Gartner, 25% of customer service will AI powered chatbots by 2020 (that’s up from 2% in 2017). I foresee a lot more business adopting AI to increase growth and save costs.
How do you see the digital marketing especially the mobile marketing industry evolve in 2020 and beyond? What necessary skills should marketers equip themselves with while preparing for this foreseeable future?India is one of the most prominent markets for mobile marketing. With a population of 1.2 billion and smartphone penetration increasing at rapid pace, audiences are quickly shifting their viewing habits and internet usage to smartphones and mobile.
As competition in the OTT markets increases, brands demand more and more from video & content marketing, from brand building metrics to performance marketing. How is Voot gearing up to face this challenge?The OTT market has become a crowded space with many players launching video on demand services. In this competitive environment, it is imperative to constantly innovate and build a strong proposition to stand out and become a platform of choice.MAVARiC: Being an ad supported platform, it is important for us to ensure that we enable brands to connect with their relevant audiences. For understanding audiences, uncovering insights and helping brands connect with their target group, we have built a dedicated internal audience management platform called MAVARiC. We have built this platform using a mix of internal declared data, machine learning based inferred data and external data on internet viewership patterns outside Voot. This has helped us provide brands with unique propositions such as interest based targeting, retargeting and campaign optimization to drive click through rates. For eg: Using our MAVARiC platform, a car advertiser can target audience on Voot who are in the market to buy cars or target audience that has interacted with their car brand in the past.Voot Studio: We have also established a dedicated Voot Studio for managing branded content initiatives. Voot Studio brings together creative storytellers, business strategists and salespersons to help craft a personalised, data driven and tailored experience for every brand that approaches us. Different advertisers require different solutions depending on their advertising objective and type of audience they are targeting. Therefore, the type of content partnerships that Voot offers can range from pure inventory to creating customized commercials, from brand integrations to pure play branded content.Programmatic Enabled: More and more brands are moving towards programmatic buying especially FMCG clients. Since we have to double down on interventions that are relevant, targeted and measurable to the advertisers via technology, VOOT is a fully programmatic enabled platformProduct Innovations: Being a digital platform, it is essential to transform not only the advertiser experience but also the product and tech experience. Our Progressive Web App launch was an industry first and won us the prestigious IBC Award for Content Distribution. We have recently launched Google Watch Action, an industry first in APAC for premium OTT players. With this innovation, the Voot platform and content discoverability has now become easier.With all these interventions and innovations, we have brought together the best of content creation expertise, better targeting and measurement tools and easier discoverability of the platform.OTT platforms are no longer just publishers but also content creators. As the market for Original digital only Content heats up, how is your digital content different from that on TV?While content from the network across channels such as Colors, MTV, Colors Kannada, Nick etc is one of the main content pillars on Voot, we also have exclusive content on Voot that is not available on TV.Exclusives: One of our unique content offerings is Voot exclusives which is never seen on TV, behind the scenes content and extended cuts. This type of content is best suited to reality shows since there is a lot of footage that is not able to make it to the limited TV slot. Voot is the house of top reality shows across MTV and Colors and Voot exclusives help amplify this reality content and fan the fandom surrounding these shows. Eg: on Bigg Boss, 46% of our viewership comes from Voot Exclusives. In addition to increasing engagement of our existing viewers, this additional content helps us attract TV only audience to digital who want to watch more of their favourite shows.Voot Originals: Voot Originals are our digital only shows that are built for digital first audience and only available on Voot. This type of content allows us to experiment across different genres and formats. The Voot Originals slate has been developed using deep data-backed analysis of the interests and consumption patterns of our audience. We have recently announced a slate of 18 Originals with diverse genres ranging from comedy to thrillers. It’s Not That Simple, our latest Voot Original featuring the popular Swara Bhaskar is the one to go off the blocks.What do you think is the formulae to become a consumer’s favourite brand? How should brands go about winning loyalty and consumer love?In today’s digital age, brand building sees an onslaught from two big tectonic changes at the consumer front.Firstly, my most favorite brand has got replaced with my most relevant product- These days, consumers are less likely to have favourite brands, since “their favourite brand is going to be whatever Google tells them at that moment is going to match their exact needs. Hence the product’s ability to solve the most relevant consumer’s need has become critical. Personalization is not just a good thing to talk about. It is real, it is pertinent and it’s here waking up traditional brands from their deep slumber.Secondly, if the quality of the product is good, half the battle is already won. A product’s reliance on advertising is diminishing. Case in point being Tesla that does no advertising and is built on the superior quality of its battery. Advertising has got replaced with Advocacy. How brands deliver on advocacy, positive word of mouth has a huge bearing on consumer’s decision making.Thirdly, shifting priorities from advertising to experience- Loyalty is being defined and created by what the consumer experiences on the platform and off the platform and businesses are being called to respond to this by realizing that consumer has multiple touch points through which the interaction of the brand happens. Even if one fails, the propensity of the consumer to come back or go ahead with the purchase decision will get weakened. Even at Voot, we realize that the business of content consumption cannot be devoid from the experience of it. Technology in this case is the saviour.Having said that, it doesn’t mean that pure play advertising is dead. The reality is that we are emotional beings and our decisions- what we buy, what we don’t, who we vote, who we don’t, would never be rational. Advertising that connects with us emotionally, makes us laugh, cry and delivers via a powerful story will be memorable that nudges the consumer to go the extra mil eon the purchase funnel. But advertising alone won’t be enough to help build or save your brand !Disclaimer: “The information contained herein (including any accompanying documents) is confidential and is intended solely for the addressee(s). If you have erroneously received this e-mail, please immediately delete the message and any attachments and notify the sender. Also, if you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this message or any accompanying document is strictly prohibited and is unlawful. 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India is one of the fastest growing Mobile Video markets in the world. How does SHAREit view this opportunity as compared to China and other major markets in the world?SHAREit is one of top 10 most downloaded apps in the world. We have 1.5 billion users across 200+ markets with India being the single largest with more than 400 million users. Ever since we entered India, we’ve seen massive growth in video content consumption. SHAREit started out as a file sharing tool, but now it has developed into one of the largest and fastest growing video content eco-system. Users discover, consume & share multiple genres of content in language of their choice using SHAREit.
Discovery is known for its international content, and engaging shows. Give us a little peek into the process that goes into deciding the themes for these shows, specially the large IPs that you launched in the festive season?Discovery is the global leader in real life entertainment that serves passionate fans with content that inspires, informs, and entertains with leadership across deeply loved and trusted brands. Discovery with its offering of 12 channels has clearly established itself as India’s numero-uno infotainment network.
YouTube is the largest VIDEO platform in India in terms of content & users. With the OTT revolution on the rise, what are YouTube’s plans for 2019 to stay ahead of the curve?YouTube’s strength is that we are a video platform for everyone. And in India, YouTube's combination of strong traditional and endemic creator content has proven to be very successful and appealing to Indian audiences across age groups and languages. We will continue to focus on supporting media partners and endemic creators develop more diverse content on our platform including Originals.
In the era of decreased spends on display, content seems to be the biggest bet for publishers. How has Network18 geared up to fortify its branded content offerings?Over the last two years, we have built one of the best branded content offerings in the industry through the creation of F.Studio. Link to the site here: http://www.firstpoststudio.com/
With the combination of 2 big powerhouses – AOL and Yahoo, Oath holds the potential to grab a substantial portion of the Indian digital market. How is the strategy to ‘grow in India’ evolving, and how important is India as a market for Oath?Oath has undoubtedly become a brand powerhouse for the Indian market, post the AOL and Yahoo integration, be it consumer brands such as HuffPost, Yahoo, AOL and Tumblr or AdTech brands like Flurry and Oath Ad Platforms. This combined with the exponential increase in digital and mobile penetration that India continues to witness, has led to our goal of reaching 2 billion users globally by 2020.
Nykaa has seen an amazing journey, being a true disruptor in the beauty industry. How was the idea born, and what propelled you to take this step?I once walked into a Sephora store and was amazed by the profusion of brands, the beautiful displays and the women behind counters who offered advice, sold beauty products and helped women discover a whole new side to themselves. This and other exposures to multi-brand online retail made me realize there was such a huge gap in India with a severe dearth of good multi-brand retail experiences in the beauty and wellness space. I saw the need for a multi-brand retail format that gives unbiased advice to consumers, being able to guide them on the right products for their beauty and health concerns. It was a risk I was willing to take but, I am happy to say that we have seen significant success with Nykaa.
Going vernacular seems to be THE latest trend in publishing and marketing. What was the inspiration behind Ways2News, and how is it different from other vernacular news apps and publications in the market?Going vernacular is not only the latest trend but also going to become the fundamental strategy for online businesses in the near future, to sustain the growing competition.
The digital marketing space is in a state of constant disruption, providing newer opportunities for both marketers and solution providers every day. What according to you are the newest trends/opportunities we need to look forward to?Demands coming from brand advertiser in digital is booming. In India markets, TV ads and print ads used to be the absolutely dominating ad formats, and it gradually shifts to digital ads, especially video ads, to reach target audience
Kotak has emerged from the legacy field of Indian banking to embrace modern technologies like 811, higher interest rates and other features to appeal to other modern Indian client, and provide competition to international banking conglomerates in India. How has the journey been, and how can Indian brands truly stand out in the face of increased competition from international players.Interestingly, in banking at least, it’s not international players that are presenting any big threat just yet. Yes, initiatives like 811, India’s first downloadable banking product, as well as our superior savings account rates, coupled with myriad other benefits like the ability to book train, bus, air and cinema tickets, buy books etc within the banking app itself have really helped Kotak distance itself from the legacy players in the banking space in India. Our first million customers took us 8 years, the next 2 million took just 4, thanks to the 6% offering. Similarly, we were 8mn accounts in 2017 when we launched 811, and within a year, we added another 5mn, growing more than 60% year on year.
DAN has leaped ahead when it comes to digital expertise by acquiring a number of digital agencies over the years – Sokrati, SVG Media, WATConsult, Fountainhead, Happy Creative, and Fractal Ink. How to do see the new agency model evolve, and how will these acquisitions help?Ashish had a clear vision when he took over the reins of DAN close to nine years ago – DAN must be the undisputed leader in digital. I believe with more than 1800 digital professionals focused on India, a huge gap has been created between the digital expertise at DAN and the other networks. This is also in line with the global goal of DAN of becoming 100% digital by 2020. Acquisitions work for DAN as more than 70% of the entrepreneurs stay back in DAN once the earn-out is completed (me being an example for India). I believe this percentage is in the lower 30s for other networks. In the digital world, collaboration is a competitive advantage and the one P&L philosophy of DAN allows all the digital agencies to truly collaborate to solve our client's challenges, which is again something that other networks cannot replicate. The new agency model is going to depend on Data Expertise, AI and becoming a Sherpa consultant for the clients. A Sherpa walks with the partner upto the summit, rather than giving them a blue print on what they need to do.
MG Motor is an iconic British brand with a long legacy, and awareness amongst auto enthusiasts already exists. While you work towards the launch, how are you building the community of MG followers, and an aura of the brand in India.That’s right. MG (Morris Garages) has a very rich legacy and heritage which is 94+ years strong. Also, MG has always been about people and experience, hence, our first focus is to build connected communities using all the tools available to us including mediums like Facebook. We did a digital campaign to identify and connect with our first loyalists – the classic MG owners in India. As a result, we have been able to create experiences for them and as the year progresses, we will be creating more initiatives to connect with the classic MG owners and future owners. We recently hosted MG Car Club all the way from Abingdon, UK in India and created an exclusive meet and greet with classic and future owners. We are also focussing on rich content as well as creating awareness about the brand for people who might not fall in the auto enthusiasts bucket.
News has been one of the most popular genres on TV and Digital. What is the kind of shift that you have observed in News consumption in the last few years?News is the fastest growing genre across TV and Digital. Digital News reaches nearly 90% of all Indians online today vs. 50% about a year ago. We feel news is the first thread of content Indians likes to consume online every day. There has been a very clear and evident shift in the overall content consumptions trends online towards Mobile and Video. As more Indians are getting connected to digital content their preferred mode of access is a mobile device and preferred format is video.
We've challenged marketing and ad-tech leaders to answer a series of questions in five words or less. No frills. No fluff. Just rapid-fire responses. Read Sunder’s thoughts on Industry shaping trends and the marketing world In 5 Words.
Programmatic buying and selling of media has seen unprecedented growth in the last couple of years, thanks to machine based learning and quick adoption of newer ad formats like native and video. What trends do you foresee in the programmatic video space in 2018?Programmatic video is already on the rise as of 2017. In markets like the US and Europe, spends on video via programmatic channels has been embraced wholeheartedly by early-adopters in the ecosystem. As per eMarketer’s 2017 report, 60% of all digital video spends in the United States is expected to come from video via programmatic. By early next year, I feel we will be witnessing a similar trend on the rise in India and across Asia Pacific.
How is Jubilant FoodWorks Limited looking at innovation outside of products and offers? What role is technology playing in this journey?At JFL, Innovation brings together digital technology, data driven insights and human centric design together to re-imagine consumer experience. Our innovation approach is agile and pragmatic; focused on the biggest challenges being faced by the business. Too often, retail brands especially in the QSR space indulge in ‘experiments’ that may create PR buzz but don’t scale and deliver ROI. And obviously, you don’t hear anything after the first announcement.
How do you see Content Marketing shaping up in India vis-à-vis the rest of the world?The content marketing ecosystem in India has the potential to become a content hub for the rest of the world in the long term, but we still need to tackle a few challenges. Today, more brands are focused on producing and amplifying content. This is important, but it isn’t enough. To truly create content that resonates with your target audience it’s critical for marketers to recognize their audience’s heterogeneity. Your audience is heterogeneous; their needs, interests, and passions are constantly evolving to keep up with the speed, scale, and direction of change in the marketing and advertising landscape. At Zirca we are going several steps further by bringing back the audience to the center of content marketing.
AD:TECH – The total number of mobile internet users is likely to double to around 650 million by 2020. What would be Citibank’s one key strategy that you could share with us, for mobile marketing in the coming year?Nikhil - High speed mobile internet adoption is expected to surge from 56% to 85% of total mobile internet users by 2020 with close to 550 Mn consumers with high speed internet from a total of 650 Mn consumers in 2020. Data consumption is also set to expand to 7-10 GB from 700 MB. All these growth trends will amplify Citi’s digital first strategy for mobile marketing for years to come. We will continue to invest in innovative tools to further listen to our consumers’ needs and aspirations so that we can continue to contextually reach out to them communicate the most relevant offers and content. We will be investing a lot in our online assets such as our website and Citi Mobile App. We already have introduced a lot of cutting edge features such as snapshot where-in consumers can view most relevant details without even logging in. We will also be coming up with a gold standard product – “Hello” which is the WhatsApp/skype equivalent in banking. With this product, some of our affluent consumers will always have access to their relationship managers with a click of a button and most of the transactions/decisions can be made on the spot.
AD:TECH - What has been a key success story of Logicserve in the past few months and it would be interesting to know how was that made possible?Prasad - One of the key reasons for growth and success of Logicserve Digital lies in understanding the customer/consumer behaviour in-depth. The customer is the prime focus for us across all our initiatives. Every new tool in the digital marketing space is directed towards enhancing customer engagement.
Looking at Digital media projected to contribute 27.3% to total advertising revenues by 2021, how has the role of the new age ‘Digital’ CMO evolved? The CMO's role is evolving fast and no longer limited to the traditional marketing aspects of brand management, creative, advertising and market research. While digital media, performance marketing-measurement occupy larger parts of the CMO’s portfolio then before - the whole shift in consumer behaviour has brought in the both the need and opportunity for CMOs to embrace technology, data analytics, omni-channel in a big way and become custodians of customer experience. In doing this, CMOs find themselves playing a pivotal role in the larger organizational transformation and co-owning business responsibility with their peers.
Looking at Digital media projected to contribute 27.3% to total advertising revenues by 2021 how has the role of the new age ‘Digital’ Marketer evolved? The beauty of Digital is that its trackable at any point in time, you know what you're doing, how much you're spending, what are the results of a banner, what copy works, what colors are performing more and so on and so forth. So digital is beautiful. However, as a digital marketer, the key is to look at data more than ever. Everyone know that digital can be measured, but I see not many digital marketers doing the deeper analysis which drives better results for them. Still many people are doing digital as many agencies are suggesting them to do the same, but it needs investment of time & energy to drive the maximum bang for your buck and that's the direction that Digital Marketer need to move towards. Focus on a lot of experiments, pilots to know what works & what doesn't, basis the results push the paddle further. That's one strategy which a digital marketer can follow.