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10 lessons marketers learned in 2017 for success in 2018

Marketers speak to about their learnings from the year 2017 and how they intend to implement those lessons in the New Year

We have bid 2017 adieu and preparations to take on the New Year have began in earnest. While, 2017 has been a year of change and some anxiety for everyone in general, it has also been a year of shifting trends for marketers. With digital gaining prominence, changing consumer behaviour, and newer policies coming in to effect the year has managed to keep marketers on their feet through out. spoke to a few marketers to understand what they learned from the year that went by and how do they intend to implement those in the New Year.

1. Innovation:

As the digital landscape expands and more and more marketers embrace the medium, innovations, not only in digital but on all mediums, is the way forward. It is imperative for marketers to be in the know about the latest innovation and try to keep abreast of the same.  

“Pace of innovations is increasing and its innovations which are going to drive the market. Marketers have to constantly be in touch with the consumer and its changing needs. We will be increasing the frequency of consumer researches and generating insights for new products. There will also be regular workouts with cross functional team to develop innovative products,” said Saumitra Prasad, Chief Marketing Officer, Kokuyo Camlin.

2. One market:

As technology gets smarter, the world continues to become a smaller place. Today, meetings happen on Skype and a person sitting in India can shop in a country far, far away with a click of a bottom. The world is essentially becoming one big market. It therefore, is important to keep a track of what is happening not just in one’s own playing field but also globally.

“The world is becoming one market and an innovation in one market travels to other very fast. One will needs to keep a strong connect with the best practices happening globally as the best will come to every markets,” said Prasad.

Echoing the same sentiment, Joy Chatterjee, AGM, Mankind Pharmaceuticals, said, “At the same time, we believe that we need to keep vigilant of any upcoming trends in the digital platform. Given that it is such a dynamic platform, there are bound to be more developments and we have to be on our toes to be on top of it.”

3. Social Media:

There was a time when social media was only about keeping in touch, not anymore though. According to Prasad social media has come of age and marketers need to look at it separately and consider social media strategy to be a separate module by itself and also an important pillar for driving growth

4. Multi-lingual videos:

Gone are the days when marketers only wanted to speak to the people living in metros. Today, for many brands their growth strategy includes tier I and II cities and therefore there is a need for content that can be consumed by people in their local languages.

“To widen our reach in the market, we have learnt that multi-lingual videos on YouTube go a long way in catering to a wide spectrum of audience. Investing more time in creating multi-lingual YouTube videos and bumper ads would help reaching a higher number of consumers,” said Chatterjee.

5. Visuals:

When everywhere you turn a screen greets you, it is time to realise I importance of visuals. While the right visuals will get your message across effectively, the wrong one can distort your message just as easily.

“Visuals are more effective in capturing the intrigue of the audience. Hence, display ads on Google are productive in reaching the right customers. Using images, animations and rich graphic media can help in improving brand reach,” said Chatterjee.

6. Shorter videos:

For a while there, long videos were all the rage. But according to Chatterjee shorter videos are much more impactful and get the message across faster.

“Shorter videos are more impactful because of its spot-on communication. The six-second bumper videos on YouTube allow for higher reach as well as more exposure of the brand to the audience,” said Chatterjee.

7. Don’t sell a product:

Customers today are looking for experiences and not things. It is important to understand the needs of the customer and supply solutions and not products.

“Products are a response. If customer agrees with brand’s attitude, they will automatically take interest in the product. We sell a culture, not only a thing. We have to accompany customers closely on these journeys and facilitate them further and handy solutions,” said Kamal Kant Mishra, Associate Vice President and Head of Marketing, Greenply.

8. Focus:

Today, when there are multiple options available to marketers, it is easy to lose focus in a bid to be present everywhere. According to Rajiv Dubey, Media Head, Dabur India, their biggest learning from the year gone by was to learn to focus their strengths and not stretch themselves too thin.

“One of the biggest learning from 2017 was to “Focus” on our strength. We decided to focus on fewer things and be sufficiently present in media throughout the year. Hence, instead of spreading ourselves thin across several available options, we decided on a core medium (Television) and this helped us to be present for longer duration and communicate with our consumers more often,” said Dubey.

9. Adaptability:

For Ajay Kakar, CMO, Aditya Birla Capital, the biggest learning of the year gone by came from demonetisation. When PM Modi announced his decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, the entire country was sent into a tizzy but it was also a lesson in marketing for the most ardent learners.

“A consumer can adapt and adopt a new way of living in very short spans of time if the benefits can be explained to him in his language or in his interest. If positioned right an entire category can be created in a week rather than the traditional way of doing it over years,” said Kakar.

10. Engagement and branded content:

Just being present on digital platforms is not enough. Engagement is the key and Vodafone has been leveraging branded content to achieve high engagement.

“We leveraged our presence on digital and social media platforms even more effectively to engage with customers whether it has been the #LookUp Movement which has touched more than 100 Million consumers or our much loved #GiftAStory initiative on Children’s Day demonstrating our increasing use of branded content,” said Siddharth Banerjee, EVP – Marketing, Vodafone India.

“We have continued to build capability amongst the marketing team at Vodafone and our partners Ogilvy, Wavemaker and Kinetic in a world which have gone digital which has continued to provide dividends in terms of more creativity and bang-for-the-buck. We plan to continue these efforts and learnings of 2017 into 2018 in even more effective ways, as the industry also re-shapes,” added Banerjee.

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