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In-depth: Advertisers bank on digital-plus-print hybrid strategy to gain traction

Brands that usually stay away from advertising too much in print are now finding the medium much more affordable and are filling inventories to ride on its credibility, trust and reach, albeit at a lower cost

Newspapers are back as a major component of the media plans of brands. And the factors that are making them a preferred choice of brands are the low ad rates and higher return on investment.

The medium had taken a beating when circulation fell by almost half—especially the English and business dailies—last year when Covid first broke out. However, during the second wave of Covid, the medium did not lose any more circulation; in fact it built itself stronger by offering attractive subscription schemes. As a result of that, brands that mainly focused on digital are now buying newspaper inventory as well.

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Experts believe the charm, reach and credibility of newspapers is high even for the new-age digitally built brands, and most advertisers are adopting the digital-plus-print strategy.

Rajiv Dubey

Rajiv Dubey, Senior General Manager and Head of Media, Dabur, strongly believes in the power of print. He said brands should invest in newspapers this festive season for greater results. While TV has already saturated, he said newspapers have good visibility and the cost factor isn’t an issue.

 “TV adex is already above last year, so it is saturated. Companies should go for print as it offers a great opportunity to advertise and greater visibility in the marketplace. Their rates have dropped significantly as compared to the last two years. So both the pricing and availability (in terms of spots for advertisers) are good,” he said.

 

The pandemic has changed the nature of advertising and many brands are opting for the digital route to reach consumers. And for many, including iD Fresh Food, the focus is to gain maximum visibility this festive season, with minimum spends. Along with this it is betting big on regional print media. 

Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi, CMO, iD Fresh Food, said the brand’s mantra is to do more with less and has been prompt to address the gaps and adapt to the changing scenario quickly.

“Brands need to choose the advertising and marketing mediums wisely, based on careful tracking of media monitoring reports. In the absence of new content creation, the traditional mediums may not serve its optimal purpose, so don’t be afraid to explore social commerce and e-commerce platforms for better returns. Also, small opportunities can be the beginning of great endeavours,” he said.

According to experts, it is important for brands to keep an ear to the ground to understand consumer sentiment, especially in these times. 

Manish Chowdhary

Manish Chowdhary, Co-Founder, Wow Skin Science, said meeting the consumer's needs in a timely manner will help in building not only awareness but also consumer loyalty. And since digital media is the fastest way to reach more people at a reasonable cost, brands should look at influencer marketing to spread awareness about products and solutions.

The most efficient and cost-effective marketing strategy is to ensure the brand’s content directly addresses an existing need or challenge faced by the customers. The emphasis has to be on the ease and safety aspects as these are the primary concerns of the audiences today.

Deba Ghoshal, Vice-President and Head of Marketing, Voltas, said that in today’s scenario, keeping the uncertainties of the pandemic in consideration, brands need to adopt a hybrid and always-on strategy, primarily because their audiences are always consuming content, and widen their presence on digital and social.

He emphasised that brands need to spend on digital not only for engagement but also the call for action.

“With social distancing bound to remain as the new norm, digital spends will continue to go up as more people end up searching online and making purchases online. Digital needs to be used strategically with dual objectives. Firstly, for engagement, and secondly for call-for-action. Digital is an asset which we use very effectively to drive Search and Social. We believe in the fact that digital should deliver tangible results, and not merely followers and likes. Hence our weightage on Search is maximum, followed by Social,” he added.

Apart from sales, brands can focus on building a community on their owned channels where they not only talk about products, but ideas and solutions that add value to the lives of audiences.

For instance, instead of just sharing product details of an air conditioner, the brand can share content that helps the customers to self-service the AC and its filters. DIY tips regarding maintenance of appliances definitely helps build affinity and TOM recall.

Ghosh said there are multiple ways in which brands can innovate and re-look at marketing this year, including an omni-channel approach, in order to leverage both offline and online opportunities.

The best way to get maximum visibility is to be present where there is less clutter and high engagement, Sooraj Balakrishnan, Head, Marketing, Acer India, said.

“Using relationship marketing, CRM, cross-selling can bring in business from your users or audience who have already engaged with your brand, which means less investment in conversions. OTT platforms, including music streaming apps, short-video platforms such as TakaTak, and micro-influencers at scale can bring in a visibility for brands. This doesn’t mean brands ignore mainstream platforms but it helps to get an optimal balance between spends and conversions,” he said.

Targeting high intent and affinity audiences is the key to get the most out of the marketing investments. It is also important to use relevant communication that matches the interest of the brand's consumer persona.

But what is more important is to understand the source of the revenue.

Mathew Joseph

Mathew Joseph, Co-founder, Sleepyhead, said the digital medium has evolved and is helping brands measure their return on investment, and if done strategically, brands can definitely achieve maximum visibility with minimum spends.

Vijay Kaul

Vijay Kaul, Deputy General Manager, Marketing Communication & PR, Yamaha India, said “There are multiple options this festive season that a brand can use to leverage on properties such as IPL on Hotstar and others to create visibility. But more than reach it is essential to look at effective reach/customer attention or engagement. Be present, patiently listen and adapt quickly.” 

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