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FMCG may spend 12% on digital advertising next year, says Dawinder Pal of Bikano

Pal, Head of Marketing at Bikano, tells that BTL and on-ground activities to form major chunk of advertising for FMCG in 2021

Dawinder Pal

Digital adspends in the FMCG industry will grow from about 7% at present to 10-12% next year, feels Dawinder Pal, Head of Marketing at Bikano.

Digital and smartphone penetration of the rising mobile-first millennial population are driving spends towards digital, he said, adding 20-30% of the total digital budget would be towards interactive content like videos and influencers will be a big part of it. 

However, for a traditional snacks manufacturer like Bikano or any packaged food for that matter, the advertising medium is still dependent on the market demographics, he said.

“For rural and Tier 1, print and TV are still the go-to mediums to reach mass audiences. BTL and on-ground activities will still form a major chunk of advertising for FMCG,” he said.

The company plans to raise its budget for digital and the online channels more for consumer engagement. ATL will be a part of the strategy next year and with the restrictions getting eased, it will have more on-ground consumer engagement too.

E-com is an upcoming revolution that will have strong contribution in packaged food. And that is where Pal feels Bikano needs to scale up its online network and presence in response to the widespread disruption caused by the pandemic.

He said other than e-com, the biggest trend next year would be reaching consumers through their handsets as that is where they are spending their time. Advertisers and marketers need to account for that change in expectations of consumers and personalisation of communication would become more frequent, he said.

Pal expects its partner agencies to adjust their sails to the wind of the change on account of the recent pandemic and the consequent change in behaviour of clients, customers and the market in general.

Social media and consumer behaviour are changing the dynamics of marketing faster than brands could even get a grip on the current trend. So what can help a brand to keep pace with these changes?

Pal suggested, “The mantra is pretty simple. The best way to test the waters is to first get into the water and feel for yourself. We will join all social media platforms not just as marketers and advertisers but also as average consumers. Only when we maintain a constant engagement with real customers on a day-do-day basis, would we know what the latter really think and want. Also, we will strengthen our connections with social media influencers and icons.”

With the wish to continue to serve its customers with the same zeal and commitment, the company plans to continue to achieve its intended goals in the coming year too. With its ability to adapt and fine-tune strategies in the quickest possible time, it overcame the challenges thrown by the pandemic. As the first two quarters of 2020 have gone in filling the existing inventory only, new product development got ignored and that is why in 2021, it will have multiple products ready in the pipeline for launch.

Packaged snacks are also finding more takers as people are looking for convenient and easy options in their food requirement.

Talking about the insights for 2021 for the packaged food category, he said rural and metro markets are the highest contributors to the sale with Tier 1 and rest of urban performing similarly.

*Packaged foods have seen higher acceptance and this has been accelerated over the past few months due to higher customer focus on hygiene.

*Western snacks is a high growth category with extrudes alone clocking 25% growth.

*RTE is seen as a high-potential category, which can be a key driver for growth in the coming years.

*Small packs (Rs 5/10) contribute to 70-80% of the sales in the snacks category.

He predicted, “There is one thing that will never change about snacks based on Indian traditional culinary traditions. And that is that they will never go out of fashion. More and more people would always want and crave for those sweets and savouries. Therefore, snacks would continue to draw more and more people in the coming year.”

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