If 2017 was more about influencer marketing, native advertising, mobile-first strategy, live streaming and content marketing, 2018 will be the year for consolidation and integration of all these new-age strategies.
The year could see artificial intelligence maturing, which will complete the integration of online with offline retail. Chatbox will provide better consumer services along with specific insight of what customers want. And as mobile becomes the dominant screen, offering content through augmented reality will become more widespread. But the challenge for marketers would be to deal with the privacy concerns of consumers.
The year will also see online buying and digital payments becoming more prevalent in rural.
BestMediaInfo.com spoke to BK Rao, Deputy Marketing Manager, Parle Products; Rajiv Dubey, Media Head, Dabur India; Deepika Tiwari, General Manager, Marketing, Tanishq; Nomit Joshi, Director Marketing, Gionee India; and Sunil Shankar, Head of Business, Onida, to understand what marketing trends we can look forward to in 2018.
Anyone who has not been living under a rock for the past few years will know that millennials is the new buzzword in the industry. Every brand is trying to appeal to this section of the society and is gearing their marketing energies towards the same. With the advent of the New Year, the ads are likely to get younger.
“The target market is undergoing a sea change. In the year 2018, Generation Z, as we call them, has become 18. So, they have become big influencers as far as buying decisions are concerned. Most of the ads going forward are going to become younger,” said Shankar.
Digital and AI:
Digital has been growing at an exponential rate. Most businesses are now looking at digital not just as a peripheral marketing exercise but as an integral aspect of their marketing strategies. Both Joshi and Tiwari agree that digital is the future.
“Digital as a medium will only grow. Marketers will be using a lot of artificial intelligence to do a certain amount of customer interface, which will bring delight to the customers,” said Joshi.
“Digital will no longer stand alone as a separate discipline. We will see it become more integrated into real-life experiences and the two will become seamless. We have started to see this in professional sports and arena events where the online experience begins prior to the event and continues during the event. We’ll see marketers experiment with this more now,” said Tiwari.
Although social media is considered a part of digital, it is about time marketers realised the potential of social media and leverage the platform to enhance their communication. Tiwari believes that social media will be the biggest completion to television.
“This movement will be largely led by ‘Mobile TV’, which is meant to be consumed on the go and on a small screen. Content is generally shorter and punchier, with fast cuts, flashy graphics, and more close-ups. Social networks that master the art of delivering these premium but bite-sized video chunks stand to benefit from voracious video appetites among users,” said Tiwari
A sports vacuum:
According to Nomit, there will be a gap in sports spending this year despite events like IPL and the FIFA World Cup on the cards.
“The thing with football is that the sport doesn’t allow brands to invest as heavily as say cricket. While the FIFA World Cup will still be a big ticket event and we have events like IPL on the cards, there is nothing like a Cricket World Cup or Olympics where India will be participating and that definitely makes a lot of difference when brands plan their budgets for the year. We will definitely see a gap there,” said Joshi.
According to the Deloitte India TMT Predictions 2018 Report, OTT platforms are witnessing an explosion in original content due to increase in consumption and viewership. The report states that OTT platforms will gradually become a preferred medium over television, with the consumers of vernacular content likely to become over 2.5 times that of English language content by 2021.
Hinting on this Rao said, “There is definitely a shift towards digital. More and more advertisers are looking towards to digital for advertising and reaching prospective customers. Now within digital, a lot of OTT platforms are emerging. Earlier, digital was all about social media but today one cannot undermine the importance of OTT platforms. Today, more and more consumers are consuming content on an alternative screen.”
Seconding the opinion, Rajiv Dubey, Media Head, Dabur India, said, “IRS data indicates that 91 per cent of the households own mobile phones in the country now, and the number of smartphones has gone up to 350 million clubbed with 450 million internet users. In times to come, more people are likely to move to smartphones and with cheaper data availability, more and more people will consume content on smartphones.”
“The “on-the-go” viewership on hand held devices and high quality content on OTT platforms will see an upsurge of content consumption. As a marketer, one has to chase and target these viewers across different platforms,” added Dubey.
Changing retail strategy:
Rao also hinted at some changing retail strategies post GST. With tax reforms in place, Rao observed that there will be a change in the offers that brands extend to their consumers.
“With the introduction of GST, instead of ‘buy one, get one’ offers, brands are looking at giving more discounts. So, instead, of a ‘buy one, get one’ offer, they might give 50 per cent off on products,” said Rao.
Continued focus on rural and smaller towns:
Brands have been focusing on non-metros to increase their presence in the country. Considering the fact that a majority of the population of the country lives in non-metros, it makes sense. When BestMediaInfo.com spoke to marketers last year about trends one is likely to see in 2017, focus on rural and smaller towns was a point and it looks like the trend will continue.
“With e-commerce becoming user friendly, search is likely to move to ecom. The payment gateways are becoming easier to manage, paying money through safe means is becoming a reality which would be a boon to e-commerce. Rural and smaller towns, with increased internet penetration and increasing number of smart phones, present a big opportunity for brands on ecom,” said Dubey.