September 14 saw the convergence of some of the best minds in the industry at Delhi to discuss Digital Marketing. There was much discussion about the best way to get into the media planner’s book and ensuring that the Internet was no longer a tertiary option for advertisers. TV and print have long been the vehicles of choice for advertisers but the Internet allows accountability like no other medium. One point of contention, though proved to be the though that the Internet is not the right medium for lead generation, rather brand building. “The Internet is not for products that are looking for lead generation. It is purely for brand building. We don’t do any advertising that is for lead generation. We are pro-brand builders,” said Rohit Sharma, COO, Zapak.
Ashok Lalla, director, Internet marketing, Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces said that the Internet is not an Aladdin’s lamp that magic can happen! But the biggest point of all was perhaps made by Sam Balsara, Chairman and MD, Madison, who said that it was time the Internet marketers learned how to project and market themselves as a successful medium and not be sorry for asking what they deserve. Raj Nayak, COO, NDTV Media added, “The Internet is the most accountable medium, and instead of charging a premium for this, we are selling ads at the most low rates.” The tone was set for the rest of the day!
Speaking about the creativity options available but the current lack of it in the Internet industry, Adrian Moss, group CEO, Deal Group Media said, “The real reason for the stifling growth of the industry is the lack of desire and nervousness among Indian advertisers. They are scared to look beyond Yahoo and Rediff.” Raj Menon, COO, Contests2Win was firm in his opinion that the Internet does offer creative options except that not many advertisers are willing to exercise them.
The Internet, many believed, was being treated as a step-child. Creatives made for print or TV were hastily being reworked to be published on the Internet and there was consensus that this would not work. Which brought the onus back on media planners and advertisers to truly understand the medium and harness the power it offered.
That creativity for the Internet needs to be handled differently was by now a well-emphasised point. “A lot of planning is based on gut feeling. Not all things work out on all platforms. One needs to design separate messages for each platform,” said Ratish Nair, CEO, Interactive Avenues. But the issue was best summed up by Manish Vij, co-founder and CEO, Smile Interactive Technologies Group. He said, “The media planning coffee is composed of 40 per cent of what the media planner’s boss wants, 40 per cent of what he thinks is right and 20 per cent of what the agency recommends.”
There was also an entire session for SMBs and the opportunities they had on the Internet. Shailesh Rao, MD, Google India said, Shailesh Rao, managing director, Google India, said, “Out of 4.5 million SMBs in India, 750,000 have some access to the computer and only 170,000 have their own websites. SMBs are actually the foundation of our business and they can make good use of the digital medium.”
It was an informative day for all present and the learnings will indeed go a long way in changing the opinion of the Internet as an advertising medium and the way that the medium is perceived by users, advertisers and planners alike.