Digital marketing can turn loyal consumers into evangelists: Arvind Bhandari, Nestlé


“Mass marketing is all about scale deployment and classical media perfectly complements the mass marketer,” said Arvind Bhandari – Executive Vice President, Director Nutrition South Asia Region, Nestle, who addressed  the Speaker Session  on the second day of e4m e-TechManch Digital Virtual Conference. His session was titled ‘Digital marketing aligned to classical marketing.’

Bhandari began by speaking about Nestle’s mainstay — FMCG products, especially food like dairy which has a short shelf life. Bhandari spoke about the need to generate consumer awareness on a greater scale to have a certain type of reach and frequency, which should prompt the consumer to buy the products off the shelf.

He said, “Now, typically that sort of scale only happens with TV media. Fortunately, in our country with a large population and very diverse distribution universe, TV still delivers the best.”

He explained that TV helps marketers reach maximum consumers and it is also a cost-effective medium. “So, mass marketer has no option but to go to TV because he needs to make at least 70% of the people aware of his product, of which eventually only about 25% will try it and 5% of the total universe will stay with the product for repeat consumption,” Bhandari observed. 

He further explained that one doesn’t have that much inventory available in a lot of these platforms whether it’s search or social. “What typically happens in the first and second week of TV you strike a GRP of 200 + and get the requisite 60-70% reach but in digital, it doesn’t happen,” he added.

“Now that’s the risk you cannot take on the shelf as you don’t get the consumer reaction and that’s the first barrier mass marketer has to tackle with digital is the reach. What people are doing now therefore, is that they put a TV ad out and then supplement with a digital reach option. So from a reach perspective, it works well as you get certain set of people who know you and then digital becomes an amplifier, it doesn’t have same urgency as TV but it certainly able to connect with consumers and build engagement and maybe improves the chances of repeat rates which TV may not be able to give you,” Bhandari explained. 

He further said that in the classical marketing, brands often lose consumers after having their attention because they can target them only once. “You don’t reach out to them one more time because you have nothing new to say, but in digital, you can retarget them. If you have spoken to them for the first time and you haven’t appealed to them completely, you can go to them the second time with a promotion offer, which can get them closer,” he asserted.  

Digital marketers basically focus on penetration, to get more consumers to buy more. Whereas in classical marketing, marketers create an awareness of a product, according to Bhandari.

“In digital marketing you move from mere awareness to resonance . In the high penetration scenario, which means a lot of people use the product but they are not using enough so in classical marketing you don’t have many solutions,” he observed.

“Now with digital marketing, which I call the moments marketing, where you can talk to consumers and tap them very gently. You can drive a consumption from occasional to moment marketing. In the scenario where you have a lot of consumers and they use you often now with digital marketing, you have the opportunity to turn this loyal consumer into evangelist like Harley Davidson, which doesn’t need to advertise or WhatsApp for instance. Classical marketing becomes a lot more powerful combined with digital,” he said.    

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