2016 was an eventful year for marketers in India. With rapidly developing technology and some unexpected policy changes, 2016 kept everyone on their toes. Best Media Info spoke to marketers to find out what they expect to see in 2017
Roshni Nair | Mumbai | January 5, 2017
2016 was full of surprises and a little anxiety. While social media was abuzz with requests for the year to end already, courtesy demonetization, it was not all bad. Rapidly developing technology and some unexpected policy changes kept marketers on their toes all year round. While Pokémon Go gave a glimpse of what technology can achieve, demonetisation reminded everyone that the tide can turn any moment and one needs to swim through choppy waters nonetheless.
The year that went by saw more and more brands and marketers embracing new media and newer ways to connect to consumers. Digital, as it has been for a few years now, was once again the buzzword with brands using the platform to create meaningful communication. Mobile, as a platform, got a boost with demonetisation and its consequences. Although India was not able to bag many accolades and medals in the Rio Olympics, it really did start a conversation about sports other than cricket and even marketers sat up and took notice.
Best Media Info spoke to Ajay Kakar, Chief Marketing Officer, Financial Services, Aditya Birla Group; Sandip Tarkas, President, Customer Strategy, Future Group; Sanjay Tripathy, Senior Executive Vice-President and Head Marketing, Analytics, Digital and E-Commerce, HDFC Life; Krishna Rao, Category Head, Parle Products Private; Gunjan Soni, Chief Marketing Officer, Myntra; and Vimal Pande, CEO, Vi-John Group, to know from them the expectations from the New Year and the trends one should watch out for.
According to Ajay Kakar, demonetisation was a learning experience. “Demonetisation is one of the biggest wakeup calls for the industry. It showed that categories can be made overnight. So when an opportunity strikes, you have to be nimble and be able to act fast,” he said.
Demonetisation has definitely built some interest around mobile as an advertising platform. There is enough curiosity among marketers about the potentials of this medium. Mobile first might actually be the trend going forward.
The proposed system of indirect taxation in India, merging most of the existing taxes into single system of taxation, might bring in a sea of change for both brands and consumers. According to Krishna Rao of Parle Products, the rollout of GST will have a huge impact on the economy as a whole. “I am extremely optimistic of the effects of measures like GST,” he said.
According to both Rao and Vimal Pande of Vi-John Group, the effects of GST will be felt by the unorganised sector. GST is expected to root out the players in the unorganised sector and create a level playing field for the ones in the organised sector.
Sandip Tarkas feels there is an increased and renewed interest in sports marketing. A lot of leagues coming into existence and increased awareness about sports other than cricket have led to brands taking sports marketing a lot more seriously. The trend is likely to continue into the New Year. “Sports marketing will only grow bigger in the coming years,” he said.
Pokémon Go was a revelation. If people thought technology had its limits then they were proved wrong. Although the mania surrounding Pokémon Go fizzled out what it left in its wake is a host of possibilities. Augmented reality or virtual reality could be the next big thing to happen to the industry. Kakar believes that if used in the right way and for the right category, then the possibilities are endless. Sectors such as real estate, travel and tourism, and the hospitality industry could make big use of the technology and generate maximum impact.
Digitisation of content
Hotstar, Sony Liv, Netflix and the sheer number of content marketing agencies that came into existence in the last few years are all indicators of what lies ahead. Brands taking to digital content not only created great communication but also increased interaction with consumers. With the popularity of digital platforms on the increase, digitisation of content is a trend that is likely to stay for a long innings.
Greater interest in rural markets
According to Rao, rural markets have shown tremendous growth. “Some two or three years back, the rural market had relatively slowed down but in the last one year there has been a greater optimism towards the rural market,” he said. A good monsoon and policies by the government are all reason for this spike in the rural market. With more disposable income in the hands of the rural consumer, there will be greater contribution coming from the rural markets. This will lead to greater interest in the rural markets.
Personalisation to become more personal
Gunjan Soni, Chief Marketing Officer, Myntra, feels that personalisation as a marketing trend will only grow more personal. “Several internet companies have invested in personalisation over the last few years. 2017 is likely to be a tipping point in personalisation. Customised content, hyper targeted communication will start showing meaningful results,” she said.
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