IAMAI Digital Summit creates vision for digital economy growth

MUMBAI: Day two of the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) analysed prospects in the online media in the traditional media mix, growth opportunities of mobile marketing.

The first session titled Integrating Online into the Traditional Media Mix was moderated by Starcom Mediavest Group South Asia CEO Ravi Kiran. The panelists comprised NDTV Media Ltd CEO Raj Nayak, mOne-Group M national director Tushar Vyas, Tata AIG marketing director Rohit Mull, Insight president Raj Gupta and Yahoo! India director sales Pearl Uppal.

Online marketing has evolved in the US, which earns 50 per cent of its revenue from online advertisements and sales. India, in comparison is yet to tap the opportunities available on online advertising and marketing. Indian marketers will have to tap the youth to promote online advertising. There is a need for adequate broadband to help the online advertising industry grow, panelists of this session unanimously felt.

IAMAI president Preeti Desai said, "The revenue earned from online advertisements in India is less than one per cent. There is a classified market of Rs 18 billion here, we will just have to search it."

Digital ads are interactive, enable meeting of minds, enable immediate feedback through reply e-mails, SMSes and offer an opportunity for interaction. Mull said, "We have to extend the benefits of online medium to the traditional media. But at the same time, is there enough integration between mobile and net plans?"

Penetration of digital products is the highest amongst youth. Close to 61.2 per cent Indians are below 30 years and 50 per cent are below 25 years. Also, 22 per cent of the ad products cater to the youth and 59 per cent of the ads are youth oriented. Gupta said, "We need to have media for youth and develop a youth culture as the youth spends maximum time surfing the net. Although, reaching the youth is 26 per cent more expensive." Focusing on the need to integrate online with the traditional, he said that 70 per cent TV viewing population avoid ads. The avoidance is less online and much lowers on the SMS.

Uppal added, "The web is penetrating the social and business fabric of our lives. It has made brand management and brand engagement possible. Also, sales conversions and people to people interactions are easy to measure."

Nayak, on the other hand, highlighted the glaring difference between online and traditional media. He pointed out people find online media more complicated. "There is a lot of mystery behind the internet. The herd mentality of on-line advertisers need to be changed," he said.

Drawing comparison between ad revenues earned by the traditional media and the online medium, he said, "Though 38 million people surf the net, online media has been able to attract only 100 advertisers and generate ad revenue estimated at Rs 1.2 billion. TV, on the other hand has 5,000 advertisers."

Enpocket Asia Pacific managing director Sandy Agarwal spoke on the Myths of Mobile Marketing and threw light on whether mobile marketing was really effective? "Marketing the online or via mobile phones is the basic component to develop a personal relation between the target group (TG) and the brand. Online marketing has the fastest growth than any other medium," he said.

On the other hand, Reliance Infocom LTD head business and marketing VAS (value added services) Krishna Durbha focused on the growing opportunity of mobile marketing in India and how leading companies across all sectors were adopting this medium that has the lowest ad spends with a greater reach and better effectiveness. "Users should be engaged by constant innovations in the services. Product launches, advertorials, opinion polls have gained tremendous response via these media," he said.

The session on Delivering Digitally had Mediaturf CEO V Ramani as the moderator. The speakers on the panel were Motorola marketing director Lloyd Mathias, Grey Interactive associate vice president Sudhir Nair, ICICI head of marketing international banking Naren Chandra, Samsung CDMA marketing head Dinesh Sharma and Cross-tab director Kedar Sohoni.

Ramani started by posing a few questions to the panelists like - How feasible is the digital media for the marketers and how responsive is the audience to the ads displayed on the net, or flashed through the SMS?

One of the major challenges in this category according to Nair was that marketers and advertisers have set very high standards for themselves. "For different categories, there are different benchmarks," he explained.

Mathias opined that the digital medium should not be used as a built up to the traditional medium. "As the reach of the digital media spreads, marketers will have to wake upto the reality and invest more on talent that will think online. Marketers should not use online for just building up their traditional media campaigns. Specific communication should be created for the Internet," he said.

According to him, the benefits on online media are: it's quicker, has high response rates, total flexibility and is interactive.

Chandra suggested that one of the methods to keep a consumer hooked to the product online was to constantly change the display and content of the product advertised as people get bored seeing online ads.

Samsung's Sharma said felt that dealers and distributors should be involved in the process. "A positive of using the digital media is that a company can give its potential customer a virtual experience of using the product, before he/she actually buys it," he said.

Sharma also emphasised on the fact that there was a lack of human and qualitative element in online research.

Sohoni, on the other hand, focused on the need to encourage online research in India. He pointed out that 50 per cent of quantitative research in the US is done online.

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