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Display works 2.5 times better than search marketing: NDTV New Media Congress

The fourth and final session of NDTV New Media Congress discussed Branding, Marketing and Advertising Strategies. The panel discussion was moderated by Anurag Batra, managing director and editor-in-chief, exchange4media. Other members of the panel included Lloyd Mathias, marketing director, India and South West Asia, Motorola; Ravi Kiran, CEO, Starcom, South East and South Asia; Rohit Sharma, COO, Zapak Digital Entertainment; and Manish Vij, co-founder and chief business officer, Smile Interactive Technology Group.

The fourth and final session of NDTV New Media Congress discussed Branding, Marketing and Advertising Strategies. The panel discussion was moderated by Anurag Batra, managing director and editor-in-chief, exchange4media. Other members of the panel included Lloyd Mathias, marketing director, India and South West Asia, Motorola; Ravi Kiran, CEO, Starcom, South East and South Asia; Rohit Sharma, COO, Zapak Digital Entertainment; and Manish Vij, co-founder and chief business officer, Smile Interactive Technology Group.

Anurag Batra tried to incorporate some humour in the discussion. He said, “I normally ask my panel members not to use PPTs (power point presentations) because they are used by people who are not powerful and don’t have a point of view.” But, his fellow panellists didn’t have to take the cue seriously. For, Batra himself was carrying a PPT in which he had put down the points that he wanted the panellists to talk about.

But make no mistake. Anurag Batra didn’t just have humour. He also made a strong statement. He said, “Digital agencies should work like a consultant but most of them are currently working like brokers.” Batra also said that his company exchange4media doesn’t sell ad space on CPM (cost per thousand impressions). He even asked other website publishers present at the Congress to make a pledge that “We won’t sell on CPM.” Don’t know how many agreed.

Manish Vij of Smile Interactive seemed to have a clear agenda and he tried to focus on it. He said, “We have undersold this (online) medium by selling it on CPC (cost per click) and CPL (cost per lead).” He wondered, “Has anybody focussed on building a brand online?” You might ask, what’s so wrong with CPC? And Vij was ready with an answer, “The problem with CPC campaigns is that the moment you stop spending, the leads stop coming. Also, on SEM (search engine marketing) a brand ABC is just like another brand XYZ. It’s not digital marketing.”

Manish Vij also believed that lots of marketers are not focussing on analytics. “We have found that display marketing works 2.5 times better than search marketing,” he said. “Please come out of this leads business,” Manish Vij appealed. But he was quick to add, “I am not asking you to give up tracking and accountability that the online media offers. Just don’t put 100 per cent of your means on acquiring leads. Lots of people just focus on leads and don’t care about reputation management online.”

While talking about the number of internet users in India, Manish Vij said, “It’s not just about 4 per cent of the country’s population but about the 40 million of the influential people. You must build your brand here.” He was also critical that people spend crores of rupees on a single showroom but they don’t spend the same amount on their largest showroom, their website.

Manish Vij also suggested that online marketers should try to have confidence in digital marketing people. “We (online marketing agencies like Quasar) are not into product business, we are into servicing,” he said, adding, “Don’t squeeze our commission.”

Lloyd Mathias of Motorola said most marketers are not savvy enough to take the new media seriously. According to him, new media is still new; marketers are still from the analogue world; specialists have still to evolve; and consumers are still flirting with the medium but are not developing or creating it.

In the online space the brand ambassadors are consumers, said Rohit Sharma of Zapak Digital Entertainment. According to him, gaming is the most potent tool to build brands in the online space. He said his company Zapak is doing both in-game advertising and advergaming for its clients.

Rohit Sharma said, “If you create the right content and the right platform marketers are going to spend their money on it.” But he added, “To build a brand you will have to go for a 360 degree campaign. It can’t be TV, print or online only.”

Ravi Kiran suggested that media planners should first try to understand their consumers and then choose the medium where their consumers are. Manish Vij also agreed that one would have to adopt an integrated approach to build a brand, saying Zapak wouldn’t have been where it is if it had not used TV. But Vij added, “It’s also true that great brands like Google, eBay and Facebook have been built online.”

Ravi Kiran of Starcom was a little critical of some clients who would often ask him to “bring your digital guy.” He said most people believe that digital is not a medium like TV, print and radio. “But the fact is our whole life has now become digitised. Our movies, music have digitised, even our relationships, smiles and winks are digitised. It’s no longer about digital and non-digital divide. So, why this special requests for the digital guy,” Kiran wondered. “After all, in a company like Starcom you can give only certain people a designation which includes digital, but clients won’t understand.” Let’s hope they do, at least for the benefit of Ravi Kiran and Starcom!

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