As India unlocks, will marketers continue to be digital-first?


Digital is expected to command a 30 per cent share of the AdEx in 2020 as per the recently released Pitch Madison Advertising Mid-Year Report, clearly pushing the envelope on the use of new and emerging online platforms.

These digital platforms have proven to be a safer bet during the pandemic as compared to traditional mediums but even going forward, top marketers seem to be changing their marketing mix and spends to engage ‘The Great Indian Consumer’ this festive season.

Below are a few brands for whom digital will continue to be on top of the agenda here on.

For Panasonic which recently released a digital campaign for ‘Parents Day’ last month, use of digital medium during the pandemic has been bringing them favourable returns. Shirish Agarwal, Head – Marketing Communications & Brand, Panasonic India, says, “At Panasonic, digital was always our main touch point when it comes to reaching our consumer base and TV as a medium for reach and brand building at the evoked stage of consumer purchase cycle. So we plan to continue that way. However, during the lockdown, the marketing mix has changed for most of the brands across the industry vertical. We have seen that brands are now investing more on digital and this trend will continue going forward. As mentioned above, digital will be our main medium for communication. Almost 40 per cent of our total investment will be in digital as a medium, followed by TV, Print, OOH and Radio.”

A brand like Grofers had refrained from bringing out a full-fledged advertising campaign, even on digital platforms in the initial months of the pandemic despite an increased demand for their services owing to the social distancing norms in place.

Talking about their plans here on, Prashant Verma, Head of Marketing, Grofers says, “The role of digital media in performance marketing has been consistent both pre and post-COVID. But, for brand building and impact campaigns, it previously played a support role to TV, Print, and other mass media channels with a 25 per cent share pre-Covid. Post-Covid, we have seen an increase in digital media consumption (across video, music and other e-content) and it has now taken a central role in our media mix with a 70 per cent share for brand marketing today. Within Digital, leading OTTs and shorter brand films on YouTube and Facebook have served us well and this trend will continue for rest of the year.”

“Due to the natural demand and shift towards online grocery, ROI on our media spends has improved 4x. Keeping this in mind, we have budgeted for moderate media spends this year as we are able to get more with less. Our focus will be on digital-led mediums as consumers are turning to digital devices to keep themselves entertained, engaged and informed while indoors,” Verma added.

Policybazaar has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the pandemic with health becoming one of the major concerns for the people as Covid-19 waited in the wings. The insurance aggregator platform has claimed to have seen a 60 per cent y-o-y growth in the life insurance business. Talking about how the brand has capitalized on that, Sharat Dhall, COO, Policybazaar.com says, “We invested majorly on TV and digital pre-Covid, and still continue to do so. So our overall media-mix remains unchanged. However, we have adapted our TV buying strategy to take advantage of changing viewership patterns in the WFH scenario. While our lead mediums continue to be TV and digital, we have actively started working on influencer marketing as a means to educate the customer about the need for health and term insurance, as well as the benefits of buying them on Policybazaar.”

While Policybazaar spends around Rs 25-30 crore on advertising per month on Digital + Mainline, of which 60 per cent goes online and 40 per cent is on TV, for Roca about 70 per cent spends are allocated to digital. R Sreenivasan, Head Marketing, Roca Bathroom Products Private Limited, says, “Given the current market scenario there is huge focus on digital marketing rather than in-shop and outdoor as customers now prefer to shop online. Prior to COVID, we had a 50:50 mix of ATL and BTL marketing strategies and digital too was a big part of the pie. However, adapting to the new normal, the outflow and engagement on digital front has risen followed by certain activities at BTL levels and this is going to be the trend for the year at least.”

For the past few months, apart from brands who have been making profits, even those who were suffering due to the market conditions caused by the lockdown had turned to digital to engage with the consumer. We are now seeing more and more brands relying on digital as their first sphere of influence, despite the economy opening up again and other mediums gradually gaining a level playing field.

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