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Is the A&M industry in need of ‘Marketing 3.0?’

In an exclusive interaction with BestMediaInfo.com, Asymmetrique’s MD, Nitin Gupta, talks about navigating the evolving consumer landscape and regulatory tightrope with a focus on experience and responsible innovation

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Khushi Keswani
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Nitin Gupta

Nitin Gupta

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New Delhi: Amid the brewing debate on regulations binding advertisers to work coherently on reducing violations, especially on digital, programmatic advertising is becoming collateral damage, according to Asymmetrique’s MD, Nitin Gupta. 

Gupta expressed his concerns about the growing regulations and said, “India is a baby when it comes to programmatic advertising. When you over-regulate at such a baby stage, you are actually killing the industry.”

Gupta further said that regulation should be measured and designed to strike the right balance between industry growth and the containment of malpractices. 

Traditional agencies, structured for large clients with deep pockets, often neglect growth-stage businesses. These smaller businesses lack in-house marketing expertise and are forced to rely on basic services or tactical solutions that don't address their strategic needs. 

Addressing this need, Gupta said, “Most of the smaller organisations don't even have marketing departments. They're just very sales-driven, and it's perhaps the first step they are taking into the world of marketing, which requires a very different mindset. It's push versus pull. They even end up working with consultants who rarely consult.”  

“I think we are a company that is perhaps the best solution the industry has to offer, especially for companies on the cusp of hyper-growth, although that's not the only space we work in,” said Gupta. Asymmetrique offers a comprehensive suite of digital-first services, including brand creation, experience design, integrated communications, content marketing, performance and growth marketing, and even e-commerce solutions.” 

Looking at the transitions that led to what is called modern marketing today, Gupta said, “Things have changed a lot because there's data, and there's the ability to have hypotheses—if not real intelligence—knowledge about what consumers want and how they behave. Because consumers have a choice—the ability to reject or review—the brand is not a sacrosanct element anymore.”  

Herein, Asymmetrique's data-driven approach allows them to tailor solutions for each client and measure success based on business-impacting metrics, a far cry from vanity metrics that plague the industry. This focus on results resonates with SMEs, who are often budget-conscious and need to see a return on their marketing investment. 

With brands and agencies coming up with different marketing solutions, the industry is booming in the expanding digital realm. But consumers, on the other hand, are also getting to know their needs better as they are making use of the abundance of choices. Market research debate on the possibility of consumer fatigue rising with growing innovation by solution providers.  

Reflecting on this, Gupta opined, “The reason there is so much consumer fatigue is because what is happening is mostly in the digital format. Now, if I reach out to a consumer with a relevant message and I can get my targeting right, would the consumer be fatigued of me? You might be fatigued of the 100 others who are trying to reach out to you with irrelevant messages.” 

Raising questions on strategies adopted by other industry participants, he iterated on the importance of understanding data-driven processes and consumer behaviour. He acknowledged the growing need for regulation in the digital advertising space.  

"There's a lot of chaos with regards to how the entire scenario of data collection is working," he admitted. The digital communication ecosystem is impacted by how "consumers are asking for their privacy to be maintained. And regulation is inevitable." 

However, according to him, “Asymmetrique prioritises long-term brand building and communication intent, staying clear of such practices.”  

"The biggest problem over here is the lack of data nativity and the advertising-driven spray-and-pray approach towards digital communications," he said.  

"As long as regulation limits itself to the abuse of 3rd party cookie data controlled by the walled gardens of big tech search and social platforms, then I think the responsibility of maintaining 1st party customer privacy lies on the agencies and their clients to self-regulate and ensure that they stay within the guidelines." 

“Consumers today crave experiences over traditional advertising. And this realisation is central to our approach at Asymmetrique as marketing 3.0.”  

He further explained, “Marketing 3.0 for us is helping businesses create brand loyalty that goes beyond product promotion. It's a shift from interruption advertising to creating experiences that resonate with and draw in consumers, ultimately leading to brand advocacy and product acceptance.” 

"It's a reversal of the funnel," the MD explained. "The urge is always to promote, to create content that will get product visibility. But I think that the reversal of the consumer funnel is a fundamental change impacting our business." 

The company's key differentiators driving its industry relevance are integrated solutions, measurable results, and creating meaningful consumer experiences. He added, "We are not creating our own metrics. We look at the client’s stage of business, ask them what their internal business metrics are, and then ensure that our success is tied to the success of our clients.” 

Explaining the metrics, Gupta said, “For example, is real estate lead generation a big thing? The industry is thriving on it, and there's a lot of money that's spent on it. Here, everyone looks at the cost per lead. But we look at the cost per site visit. Right now, most of the industry will never commit to that. On our e-commerce projects, what we do is take part of our remuneration as an incentive to grow sales. How many people are going to be willing to do that?”  

“There are a growing number of participants in our industry, and just like any other industry, where there are hardly any barriers to entry, it's inevitable to have a growing number of bad actors as well. So promises are being made under the disguise of vanity metrics: “Then that real partnership, that long-term intent of brand building, that long-term intent of market share, business building is sometimes compromised.”

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