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Has digital over-reliance worked for brands?

Digital has grown to become the second-largest advertising medium after TV. Is there a flipside for brands spending too much on digital? finds out

While brands continue to spend monies on digital expecting organic engagement, multiple studies have stated that more than 56% of ad impressions are never seen by consumers and billions of dollars of marketing budgets are being wasted on poor digital performance.

Is it right to say that the sudden expansion of digital budgets by brands may not be realising the expected results?

Shashank Srivastava

According to Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director, Marketing and Sales, Maruti Suzuki India, in general, overreliance on any medium is not healthy.

“Marketers need to discover the right mix of media choices rather than reliance on one medium. Clearly, some mediums act as multipliers depending on the type of consumer and marketers need to be aware of this.”


However, none of the brands that have spent big on digital believe that the right results weren't delivered by the medium.

MVS Murthy

MVS Murthy, Head, Marketing and Digital, Tata Asset Management, said, the challenge in getting a digital campaign activated is the intensity of the work involved and the agility with which it needs to be dished out, deployed, measured and the next stage of the campaign to get triggered.

“The diversity and scale of work is much higher when you are applying a digitally intense approach to marketing,” he added.

He said there has been an increase in digital activity and the lines between natives and migrants are completely blurred.

Jayen Mehta

Jayen Mehta, Sr. General Manager (Planning and Marketing), Amul (GCMMF), said, seamless execution on digital is a challenge.

“It takes a lot of effort in planning and implementation. We have been doing it, with our own team, every single day since April,” he said.

The brand has seamlessly adapted its topical advertising campaign and other brand campaigns in digital media, which helped the brand in creating greater buzz and procuring organic engagement.

Digital spends by auto companies have also seen a phenomenal rise.

"Digital, which was just 3% in FY 19, increased to 16% in FY 20 and in FY 21 it has touched 40%,” Shrivastava said.

Agreeing that there has been a spurt but the trends were for some time now, he said this has happened primarily due to a change in behaviour of the consumer.

Digital has grown to become the second-largest advertising medium in the country. The medium grew exponentially during the lockdown.

Sharing his experience on how his brand is gaining from digital, Murthy said, “Since we have been honing our digital marketing capabilities for the past three years, we are able to attribute every unit of budget to channels and their responsiveness to deliver numbers. There are days when we have changed the budgetary mix on a near real-time basis. Today marketing had delivered 46% higher Gross-sales as compared to last FY from retail customers who purchased from our digital platforms. Near 70% of these digital sales are from fresh purchases and not portfolio reallocation. In retrospect, as we compare the impact marketing has had on the AUM, we are ticking all the boxes, ahead of last year and a quarter yet to go. A well-engineered machine that is well oiled is humming along. No spillages whatsoever ."

Murthy said the bubble is not created because more marketing dollars are being spent.

“Even brands that were otherwise telling their stories offline will remodel their approach to fit the medium and be close to the consumer. There may be a glut of data spewing out from every initiative. It is not for brands to be overwhelmed but tame it and make communication better and sharper. We could end up missing the woods for the trees, unless we keep looking deeper,” he said.

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