Indian marketers optimistic about business outlook

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According to a study conducted by market research firm Ipsos, fiscal year 2012 is all set to witness increasing optimism amongst Indian marketers, as they project a positive business outlook for the next year.

The study titled ‘Indian Marketers Continue Their Consumer Focus’, prepared by Ipsos Asia Pacfic Marketers Outlook 2012, throws light on the fact that building greater consumer loyalty for their brands with enhanced focus on ROI and Digital media would be top priority for Indian marketers in 2012.

Biswarup Banerjee, Head of Marketing Communications, Ipsos in India says, “Indian marketers are bullish given the state of the global economy, but they have a strong vote of confidence in Indian economy despite uncertainties and many of them even expect their own brand to outperform the industry.”

The study focused on three fundamental objectives – to gauge business performance for 2011; to understand the outlook for 2012 in terms of business performance and marketing investment; and to evaluate current trends in marketing actions and strategies. In the process, the firm interviewed 443 senior marketing professionals online in January – February 2012, out of which 92 belonged to the Indian subcontinent. More than half the respondents in India belonged to industries panning across Consumer Products, Finance and Healthcare industry.

Biswarup Banerjee, Head of Marketing Communications, Ipsos India

The preceding year
The report states that majority (59 per cent) of Indian marketers say 2011 has turned out to be a year better than anticipated for sales across India; over three in ten (33 per cent) say it was same as previous year and only 9 percent believe it was worse than excepted.

The year ahead
In 2012 Indian marketers want to focus on the measurement of ROI of their campaigns. They expect better quality insights and creative thinking from their agency partners. Marketers think digital media; CRM and PR will take up a higher role in marketing communication plan.

As researched by the firm about nine in ten (88 per cent) Indian marketers believe outlook for their brand in 2012 would be better or much better and 61 per cent think their industry sector would fare better.

Two reasons that can trigger a positive outlook is that most of the Indian marketers (84 per cent) perceive their department as performing well in understanding their target audience, while 73 per cent feel that they have come up with creative marketing solutions for their business.

The trend to increase focus on TG is likely to continue in the year 2012.

Improving media budget
The optimism has led marketers to increase their media spends in the coming time. The Indian marketing industry will see an increase of over ten percent planned by 46 percent of organisations in India and 38 percent in other Asia Pacific countries. About seven in ten (67 per cent) Indian marketers said they plan to spend more on market research.

Media planning
Marketers are expected to don the thinking cap for building greater loyalty towards their brand. Thus, they will focus on integrated marketing campaign, and then measure its effectiveness.

Most marketers felt the need to focus on brand building efforts through the social and digital media (viral and online).  The report predicts social media to be the most effective medium in the next three years. This is supported by the fact that about three quarters of the respondents see a distinction between social media strategy and digital media strategy and they are willing to spend 5-10 per cent of their budget in the media.

The report, interestingly, points out that half the companies interviewed have already charted out a social media strategy for their business. Moreover, almost half of the marketers already have intention to review their agency partners in 2012, especially for advertising and digital agency. Hence, specialist digital agencies are more likely to play a crucial role in their marketing strategies.

“Developing in the digital space will also be a key area for the majority of marketers. Digital agencies are likely to be in demand, to develop social media content,” adds Banerjee.

However, challenges remain in the form of improving overall marketing effectiveness, building a more integrated marketing strategy/ greater brand loyalty and developing potential of digital media platforms.

It is a fact that many marketers still do not utilise the full potential of the mobile and digital media, as they are not treated as separate tools of marketing. Banerjee opines, “Mobile as an advertising medium intrudes in the personal space of consumers unless they have volunteered to receive the communication. Marketers need to ideate a way to expressly take permission from the consumers before they are sent promotional SMS or called promoting a product.”

Upping marketing budget
Budgets are anticipated to rise in a majority of cases; very few are thinking of slashing budgets. Over half of the marketers are planning to increase marketing investment for 2012 and only 10 per cent of the marketers are planning to decrease marketing investment for 2012.

For 2012, one-third of the marketers will be working on a budget between USD 1 million to 5 million. Consumer Product and Finance Service industry likely have a larger budget.

Nearly two-thirds of marketers are planning to increase marketing investment for 2012. One-third of the marketers perceived procurement in all expenditure.

Weak points
Coming up with creative marketing solutions and quality of strategic thinking/ insight was not something that Indian marketers felt their agency partners did extremely well at last year – but addressing this issue ranked high priority for 2012. Also, there is a big need gap in terms of measuring campaign ROI.

Agency partners are perceived to be doing well in quality of client service, overall quality of execution and delivering value for money (all 51 per cent). However, marketers feel the agencies lag behind in terms of leading and executing digital strategies and also understanding of digital media and global network.


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