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Guest Column: The changing landscape of 'Festive Marketing'

The changing landscape of 'Festive Marketing'

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Festive season is a time when marketing spends by brands shoot through the roof – and for good reason. This is the time when most high-ticket purchases are made, or if not, influenced. Because of these, most products have huge discounts going on their platforms or brands. While classically, this translates to a month of festivities, but eventually encapsulates the last quarter of October, November, and December.

As a result, most of the brands spend most of their marketing budgets in the last quarter of the year, typically October – December period which starts from Onam, Ganpati and gains pace with Dussehra- Diwali. Last quarter spend accounts nearly 30 per cent of the annual advertising spends. With the digital sector booming, brands use digital platforms to advertise and leverage them to the utmost in the festive season.

In 2016, we witnessed a short festive period with Dussehra. This was primarily because of Diwali falling in the same month of October. Then there was demonetization and GST. In 2017, the annual ad spends was a little better with 18-20 per cent growth over last year, however the demand was still below par. What we witnessed was not a very “Happy Diwali” in last two years.

Marketers predicted that in 2018, the festive season would bounce back with both on-demand higher share of ad spends as compared to 2017. However, the third quarter of 2018, we witnessed one of the biggest calamities when floods hit God’s own country- Kerala, devastating the entire southern region of India. Marketers lost hundreds of crores of media revenues as they could not gauge the Onam spirit as everyone was occupied in restoring the region. The entire marketing community was toned down to pay their respects and take cognizance of what had happened. 

Which brings us to the next question - what would be the sentiment of market in the last quarter (October- December period)? Will brands take a cautious approach in ad spends, worried about the lost opportunities in the previous quarter? Or the brands would go full boom in ad spends & make up with the lost opportunities in the previous quarter. Time will tell. 

My guess is that to make up for the lost time & opportunities, basis the previous quarter, it would make complete sense for the brands to go full throttle. We have already seen how three prominent e-tailers – Amazon, Flipkart & Snapdeal have started screaming discounts on everything in national newspapers, indicating the trend for next three months. 

Prominent roadblock properties like the Big Billion Day sales are planned around the festive season for the same reason. While these were initially believed to be rub-offs of international trends done by international giants like Alibaba, they have managed to gather a life of their own. And as a result, one cannot see this fading out of consumer behaviour anytime soon.  

As a prediction, it is safe to say that we are definitely in a better position than the last two previous years. This is primarily due to the fact that the festivals themselves have spread out across the calendar, thus giving the marketer more time and bandwidth to plan their campaigns and spends. Secondly, the consumer is keen to cash in on the festive season this year because the previous ones have been damp. But the informed marketer will only take a cautious approach – not going too wild with ad spends, while ensuring that the right sentiments and passion points of the targeted consumer are hit upon.

One can expect the digital spends to be primarily fuelled by e-commerce players, mobile manufacturers, automotive sector and BFSI. One can already see full spreads in print with the launch of latest gadgets, massive discounts on consumer goods and more. As the Diwali festival approaches, one can only expect the movement to gather more steam. What’s more, the consumer is always in the green. Even if they miss out on one ecommerce player, they have a lot more to fall back upon. And this number is only increasing. Even e-wallets like a Paytm have their own sale happening this year. It only goes to show that there are enough and more choices for the end consumer to park their monies in new products. 

All in all, one can only hope that we have a truly Happy Diwali this time!

The author is VP & Head- Business Development, Grapes Digital. The opinions expressed here are his own and Indiantelevision.com may not subscribe to them.

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