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Experts debate mobile marketing trends at MMA’s #BuildtheFuture forum 2019

Topics revolving around adoption and leverage of technology to better understand mobile marketing were discussed at the forum where eminent names from the industry shared their perspectives

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) held its annual forum around the theme - 'Impact India — Build the future’, where topics revolving around the adoption and leverage of technology to better understand the mobile marketing landscape were discussed.

Marketing to Gen Z in an age of user-generated content, the cross-media reach of OTT vs. other media, leveraging data for precision marketing and how to leverage mobile voice — these were some of the themes around which eminent panellists from the marketing ecosystem shared their perspectives.

Different panellists discussed in detail about mobile marketing. Some of the speakers included Sanjay Behl, Chief Executive Officer, Raymond; Satya Raghavan, Director, YouTube India; Dolly Jha, Country Head, Nielsen Media, South Asia and Gauravjeet Singh, General Manager, Media (South Asia) Unilever, among others.

Behl, started the forum with a keynote speech on the topic — ‘Self-disrupt or perish’.

According to Bhel, any company, irrespective of size, history or market share, is vulnerable to perishing if they do not keep up with the changing times. He took the example of two of the biggest companies in the last decade — Nokia and Kodak. Both companies were market leaders in their respective sectors. "In 2007, Nokia had one billion customers and they were not slowing down. By 2012, Nokia went bankrupt and its $85 billion valuation fell to $10 billion," he told the audience. "Age, size, reputation, sales figures, brand equity — none of these factors guarantee a company's existence tomorrow. It becomes important to rethink why your brand exists and to envision a clear brand purpose," he said.

‘How to win in mobile’ was the next session held by Vikram Sakhuja, Group CEO, Madison Media & OOH. He gave major tips on how to win mobile marketing.

  1. Don’t try to own the board on advertising
  • Remember you need reach at higher frequency on mobile.
  1. Standardise 3rd party monetising for viewability and anti-fraud.
  • As publishers, submit yourself to it.
  • As advertisers refuse to advertise if publisher insists on using own data to bill.
  1. Marketing is about building both equity and driving presence. Balance ad formats that delight with those that hustle, hard sell, irritate.
  2. Develop a scalable engagement outcome metric. I am betting on time spent.
  3. Use AI to offer choice not take out thinking.

The third session was a panel discussion comprising Viraj Jit Singh, Head of Revenue, MX Player; Yogesh Manwani, Head AVOD, SEO, News and Stories Zee5 India and moderator Prasanth Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, South Asia, GroupM.

The discussion themed on ‘Cross-media reach and effectiveness of OTT versus other media’ that concluded with an advice to media planners and buyers to make OTT platforms a part of a brand’s marketing mix and not an option because the content is viewed by the viewers, be it native or urban.

“There are 40 OTT platforms at present in our country, with their sedative demands by viewers,” Singh said.

“With an increase in penetration of smartphones, we will witness more increase in platforms and viewership in coming years,” Manwani said.

The fourth panel was on ‘Leveraging data for precision marketing’ and the panellists were Channan Sawhney, Head, Media and Digital Marketing, India, Johnson & Johnson, and Gauravjeet Singh, General Manager, Media (South Asia) Unilever with moderator Vasuta Agarwal, VP & MD, Asia Pacific, InMobi.

The use of data in precision marketing will uphold the strategy and serve a better connect with the consumer, they said. 

According to Sawhney, technology today allows marketers to do a lot and there is far more power in our hand. Not only it helps in doing targeted marketing, but now it also helps in knowing what content can be relevant for whom. It also helps in generating improved and personalised content for customers and gives a better understanding to brands about consumers.

Singh said, “It’s not about precision marketing but about relevant marketing and the marketing doesn’t revolve around data signals, but right content that matches with the data is important.”

“There is a collateral advantage when it comes to precise targeting because there are chances of spill-over. This increases the chances of a customer, who doesn’t belong to the TG, making a purchase,” he said.

“People should adapt data and put in their campaigns; marketers would see a difference once they apply it,” they agreed.

“Are you future ready?: A session held by Satya Raghavan, Director of YouTube India

What happens when consumer, content and creation intersect? Are you ready enough to handle it? This is how Raghavan gave a kick-start to his panel. “Knowing where your consumers are spending time and what they’re consuming has never been more important,” he said. “In that sense, mobile phones have democratised the content creation game. After smart TVs, smartphones have become the fastest-growing traffic source for YouTube.”

Raghavan mentioned four future revenue models.

  • Classic advertising is conversing in a fast pace and can fetch good revenue for the brands.
  • In America, digital advertising overtook TV advertising a few years ago. In India, it will do so in the next few years.
  • Indians have been paying for content for the last 40 years to their cable operators. Now also they have the capacity to pay for subscription to OTT platforms.
  • The most important thing that will happen is the online-offline revenue model. Lots of people who are creating content on YouTube are targeting a kind of consumer. They are creators. They are using a lot of tech into it but lot of realisation of revenue happens offline. The consumers can connect with creators to take exclusive content from them offline through a pay model. Brands and businesses can apply this model to fetch better sales and marketing results.

A panel on brand safety had Amit Rathi, Country Manager, India, AdColony; Anand Chakravarthy, Managing Director India, Essence; Savita Pal, Chief Digital and Media Officer, Diageo; Samir Vora, CMO, Dailyhunt as its panellists. John Montgomery was the moderator.

The discussion was started by the John Montgomery, Global Executive VP, Brand Safety, Group M, who shared with the panellists that India witnessed a growth of 60% of awareness towards brand safety this year, which was half of its previous years.

Asked how and who should hold the charge for brand safety, Pal said, “The brand owners are responsible for brand safety; they are trusted with keeping their brand safe to consumers. The brand should be aware of it and try to measure it and get to the right outcomes for themselves.”

“We have something called DMC, the Diageo marketing code, which results in a whole lot of best practices and principles and tools. More importantly, right now we have something called trusted marketplace, which is actually how do we want all the partners we work with, including some of the speakers who came before us today,” she said.

“The fundamental challenge of brand safety is that today we don’t see much ownership on brand safety. It’s currently fragmented on who takes a call and who should take a call. Many clients who have just started their journey on digital typically don’t want to invest on measurement; they can’t see the effective ROI. Most evolved brands tend to be a lot more focused using tool and tech,” said Chakravarthy.

“Brands should use right CPM in a brand-safe environment and in terms of the ad fraud point of view. If you have the right tools and tech in place, you are getting a good ROI. Global brands have started to use all the tools and I think local brands should start anytime soon,” said Rathi.

According to Chakravarthy, lot of awareness is still required although it is good that people in the industry are talking about who is the partner who will look after this dynamic, complex and very challenging environment in the brand’s organisation. “Currently, individual brands are doing what they think is right to protect themselves but if you look at India a number of apps and platforms are being launched, which are creating a lot of consumer interest and potential advertising platforms. I think it is important for the industry to come together and start creating standards for everyone to operate within. Ad safety is not only about brand but also about current and future consumers.”

They all agreed that it is a larger responsibility that we have towards society to make sure that we only support publishers and platforms where content is safe.

The forum hosted few more sessions titled ‘The Audio Surround Sound Panel’ moderated by Varun Duggirala, Co-Founder and Content Chief at The Glitch; the panel included Arjun Kolady, Head of Sales, Spotify India and Dolly Jha, Country Head, Nielsen Media, South Asia.

The other sessions were ‘Rethink your creative for digital’ by Suneet Singh, Global Head Marketing & Creative Solutions, Ignition Labs, Google; ‘Crossing the Chasm – winning consumers in the mobile-first age’ by Sandeep Ranade, Executive Director and Co-Lead West (Quantitative), Insights, Kantar; and ‘Keynote mobile voice’ by Sunil Kataria, Chief Executive Officer, India and SAARC, Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL).


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