True integration and data satisfaction for planning branded content and solution for scaling on digital are some areas highlighted by panelists at Digies 2023.
The amount of money that brands spend on digital advertising has exploded. Try this: In FY 22, Google India earned Rs 24,926.5 crore in ad revenue, Meta earned Rs 16,189 crore, Amazon India’s ad revenue stood at Rs 4,171 crore and brands spent Rs 2,084 crore on Flipkart.
Four platforms alone attracted about Rs 47,000 crore in advertising. GroupM’s forecast for calendar year 2022 was around Rs 48,000 crore in advertising spend on digital and Rs 42,000 crore on TV.
It remains to be seen whether digital ad revenue exceeded TV’s, but the numbers for FY 22 speak for themselves. The growth of digital ad spend is unstoppable and the avenues for brands to advertise are exploding.
Long or short, performance or brand building, e-commerce and a range of digital experiences and the technologies that support marketing campaigns are all areas where a marketer can allocate spend.
And as roads grow, so do the challenges. At the Digies 2023 panel discussion moderated by afaqs! Managing Editor Venkata Susmita Biswas, leading digital advertising professional, discussed the major challenges the marketing fraternity needs to address in 2023. Edited Excerpts:
Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, CEO and Co-Founder — Global, GOZOOP Group
The challenge today is that most people see a digital marketer as just that – a platform ninja on digital media. The thinking is that a digital agency can offer a defined set of solutions – media, content, memes or achieving a certain level of return on ad spend (RoAS). Because the client expects only few solutions from the digital agency, it ends up siloing the agency into this narrow zone.
What’s more unfortunate is that digital marketers are getting comfortable with it. I’m all for hyper-specialization, but with a degree of generalization, a digital marketer will turn out to be someone who is short-sighted and can never continue to build brands. Brands and us agencies must create an environment for digital marketers to think beyond digital and give talent an opportunity to break out of the box.
Ankit Desai, Head – Media & Digital Marketing, Marico
There was a time when brands focused on either brand building or performance marketing. The mantra today is different – it is sustainable and profitable growth. Therefore, every marketer tries to find the answer to the question – how do I balance brand building with performance marketing. Both have their place in the marketer’s toolkit. But in the middle, for a few years, we lost ourselves in the glimmer of thinking that digital can drive business without having the backbone of brand recall. There was a huge sense of attribution and as an industry we ended up abusing it.
One thing that keeps me up at night is – how to achieve a fine balance between wide range and sharp targeted range. There is a wealth of data, and marketers need to find ways to use that data to drive either equity or business goals.
Many of the brands that have scale are volume-led businesses, and many of these volume-led brands cannot be sustained with digital marketing. Unfortunately, digital still operates in its own silo, where platforms and devices have yet to synergize their data, insights, with other media. We need digital to play with other media. And the question that will be asked is – how do you make digital work in a volume segment.
Dheeraj Kummar, Chief Creative Officer, Motivator
Branded content is an area where there is a lot of interest from brands – so much so that brands want to create their own content. But the problem is the sporadic and unplanned approach that brands take to branded content. Brands that aspire to be media companies themselves and have an impressive social media presence must first strategize their digital content. The challenge is to have a documented content marketing strategy and a clear distinction between the role played by the in-house creative team and the role of the advertising agency. All this must be done with a Thoda Data Thoda Dil approach.
Mihir Karkare, Co-Founder and EVP, Mirum
We recently conducted a survey asking senior executives to rate their organizations on a data maturity scale. We found that as you move up the ladder, leaders get tougher in assessing their organization’s data maturity—CEOs are by far the toughest. In 2023, there are organizations where CEOs say their teams are ‘data ignorant’. We suspect that this is because CEOs have a broader view of the organization and are therefore tougher. The problem is that the information – data in this case – is not evenly distributed within organizations. CMOs and CIOs are rarely on the same page, and that creates a whole lot of downstream problems.
Pratik Gupta, Founding Partner, Zoo Media
One of the main things we’re noticing is that brand teams are getting smaller, and the number of functions that brand teams want their digital agencies to solve is getting broader every year. Brand teams, which used to be 10-12 members, are now down to three to four members. We now expect the brand team to know everything about each of these features – it’s hard. Information translation is becoming a challenge. Brands weren’t built to think about top-funnel, bottom-funnel, or mid-funnel solutions. They were built to reach the consumer and give them a solution to a problem. Over-expertise is expected from the agencies, but the same does not apply to the brand teams. We struggle to integrate because integration has to happen at both ends.
Shrenik Gandhi, Co-Founder and CEO, White Rivers Media
Working with the best brands in the country, we realize that the performance marketing team and the branding team are not talking to each other. Achieving data freedom is one of the biggest challenges and opportunities for 2023. The scope of the digital will only increase – if we do not achieve data sanctity, the entire compounding effect of a marketing campaign will be lost.
Within the digital ecosystem, the consumer has evolved and the act of consumption has changed. As marketers, if we are able to find a way to be present across the consumer journey, we would be in a better place. It would also be valuable if all stakeholders could sit together and start solving for each of the touch points with the consumer.