Brands should evaluate their tent-pole advertising investments with sharper lens when it comes to advertising during the Indian Premier League (IPL), feels Chandrashekhar Mantha, Partner and Media and Entertainment Leader-Risk Advisory, Deloitte India.
“Brands must understand before committing spends that the past may not be reflective of the present, reassess behaviour of their target customers and set realistic expectations,” Mantha told BestMediaInfo.com.
Mantha said he has already seen downward revisions in sponsorship deal values largely driven by the pandemic and the overall economic slowdown.
He suggested brands can reap maximum benefit by analysing their TG behaviour to draw insights and make decisions with respect to team associations, positioning on merchandise, premium buys like co-sponsorships and others.
“Technology can also help brands predict and drive fan engagement across channels, as well as simulate plans, to decide on the matches to buy more free commercial time, and help with spend distribution across mediums, especially across digital platforms. On the other hand, festivals always create a positive consumer sentiment, which results in a higher propensity to spend,” he added.
“There is definitely an opportunity to maximise value if spends are optimised,” he added.
Marketing is strategic investment
Discussing why business leaders need to move beyond seeing marketing strategies as a cost and need to start thinking of them as strategic investments, he said, “There is an ever-growing need to re-look and re-evaluate A&M spends. However, one needs to view A&M spends beyond just driving sales. A&M spends help your brand positioning, recall value, brand loyalty, establish a strong emotional connect; communicate the brand purpose and its values to your consumers.”
Therefore, if one considers A&M spends as investment, he/she will realise it can ultimately contribute towards creating an iconic brand that emerges as a leader even through the pandemic or recession.
Just as brands keep a track of their consumers, the consumers are also watching their preferred brands and the initiatives they undertake to connect with their consumers.
Historically, brands that have sustained or even enhanced their A&M spends during a recession by adopting a more human-centric approach, sustaining their share of voice, and re-purposing their brand proposition have been perceived to be more stable, Mantha said.
“Consumer behaviour is ever changing in these times and sustaining A&M investments may enable brands to save the effort on brand building and recall after the recession. This can also enable brands to capitalise on the opportunity to increase their overall market share and prepare for the transition from ‘now’ to ‘next’,” he added.
While the pandemic has opened a wider space for the use of emerging technology solutions to map out media spends based on customer sentiments that are more uncertain now than ever, brands need to be able to keep up with the pace at which consumer sentiments are changing.
Brands need to track the changing consumer behaviour and sentiment at all times, as customers keep sharing their views, perspectives, needs and feedback across channels.
Technology and marketing go hand in hand
Talking about the investments in technological advancements during the Covid-19 pandemic, he said, “Brands are re-looking at their consumers’ path to purchase and their business models in the new normal, as competitive positioning has changed significantly in many categories. The future has arrived early in a way that brands will now have to accelerate their digital transformation journey in general, especially on the Marketing Technology (MarTech) front.”
According to Mantha, brands with an ability to continue their investments in advanced technologies, including Martech, will have the first mover’s advantage in their space. “Brands that may not be able to adapt to the new normal or may not be in a position to make any technology investments may eventually have to find investments or the right partners to support their revival,” he said.
The role of AI and ML is becoming more prominent in making the advertising decisions.
“These concepts are no longer new, but their seamless integration and application for business decision-making varies across brands depending on the maturity and adaptability of their respective organisations. Brands are setting up AI-equipped data centres to collect, collate and synthesise customer insights from multiple sources like CRM, social listening and traditional marketing research,” he said.
Although it is early days of adoption, Mantha said that brands are gearing up for the investments, change management and restructuring of skillsets necessary for large-scale adoption of these technologies.
“There is no doubt that job roles like CTO, Head of Insights, CDO, and Chief Business Officer will play a strategic role and have a more cross-functional interface to drive these initiatives and play a more multi-faceted role in the business.”