How the digital media has changed the very fabric of marketing industry

Representative image
The advent of digital media and technology has changed the very fabric of the marketing industry globally. From Hyundai Elantra’s virtual reality drive with Shah Rukh Khan, to the “Watch Now Buy Now” fashion show by FBB, brands are breaking with tradition in using technology-led marketing. In financial year 2018-19, digital advertising spends in India alone amounted to Rs 16000 crore-plus — a clear sign of the fact that there is no technology-in-marketing anymore. Everything is MarTech.

While traditional marketing has relied primarily on people, modern marketing has used technology as a pivot to smart-target consumer touchpoints and for better outreach. The availability of big data combined with digital marketing channels today offers a gargantuan opportunity for marketers. Digital-first brands are the absolute rage. Concurrently, technology has increased cut-throat competition. In the race to reach consumers first, brands are deploying technology to automate the spine of behavioural research — that is, market research and data collation.

Sagar Kochhar is Global chief marketing officer, Rebel Foods
As much as this may be the future, marketing is made up of sentiment and numbers. Of the two, while numbers can be digitised, sentiment is sentient. Let me elucidate how.

Bridging the gap

According to a Gartner CMO survey, nearly one-third of marketing budgets in 2018 were allocated to MarTech. Among the many facets of marketing, market research and media buying were and are the key beneficiaries of deep-tech.

It has become easier for brands to unders-tand a consumer’s behavioural patterns, using deep data. Interactive tech-led marketing brings us a lot closer to our consumers by helping brands engage with them more effi-ciently and personally. Omni-channel exper-iences for instance, are a classic example of brands trying to reach consumers across touchpoints, never missing a beat — anniversaries, birthdays or even weddings. Thus, technology ensures not just conven-ience for the consumer, but proximity for the brand.

Measurement is another aspect that technology has helped simplify for marketers. It helps marketers understand what worked, aka return on investment, what did not work, aka spillage, and what could have been done better, or learnings.

The opportunity, therefore, lies in the data brands collect from consumers and driving actionable insights thereon to make better marketing decisions. With the world as connected as it is today, the only way to encompass fundamentals and sentiments to make a consumer’s heart skip a beat is no doubt technology.

Building digital brands

As social media advertising becomes more accessible and affordable, consumers have become more intelligent and aware; and intelligent consumers are fortunately, difficult to please. Netizens are supremely mindful of the content they consume and it is here that entire content strategies are formulated, based on keyword analytics. Personalisation has become the new mantra. Brands create atomic content strategies and use micro-influencers driven campaigns tailored to cohorts, in order to build communities, which in turn help bolster the brand’s persona. Big is small; and small is massive!

The essence of marketing, however, remains fundamentally resilient to change. This is due to the inherently customer-centric nature of an industry that relies heavily on subjective creativity. While technology may help understand behavioural patterns and insights that further help formulate brand strategy, ideas that make decacorns out of bootstrapped start-ups will come from the sandbox of creative folk, in turn continuing to enthral increasingly mindful audiences. Thus imagineers will continue to have as much clout as engineers in understanding an ever-evolving consumer and her needs.

Keeping it simple

Convincing contributors to bottom lines is no more about gimmicks. Brands understand that consumers aren’t convinced by AR, VR, AI, flashy ads and highfalutin jargon anymore. This is especially true of a growing millennial audience — one whose attention most brands are vying for. Inversely, the audience today also understands that a lot of brands play on emotional content to drive home an average product. What matters to Gen Y is purpose-led marketing and the impact it has on the two Big Es — the environment and economy. For this discerning audience, no matter what wow factor MarTech brings to the table, there must be a personal connect that makes them feel things are real, and pushes them to buy into a brand’s offerings.

Imperative for marketers, therefore, is to understand that while technology plays a crucial role and presents a significant opportunity for easy consumer outreach, nothing can replace sentiment, and nothing will catch the eye forever that isn’t solving a need or a problem and therefore is impactful in the larger picture, and above all, real!

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel