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Are marketers levereraging new media effectively?

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Facebook, Youtube, E-commerce – unknown entities at the turn of the century, have today become an integral part of many lives. As for marketers, the social media has emerged as a means to communicate with their end consumers. But, are marketers using this medium effectively to disseminate information about their product to their target audience? The question came up for discussion at the Twelfth CII Marketing Summit 2012, held in Mumbai.

Graham Kelly, Vivek Nayar, Annurag Batra, Vidur Vyas and Manish Vij

Leading automaker Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) claims to have benefited immensely from using the social media as a marketing tool. According to Vivek Nayar, Senior Vice President – Marketing (Auto Division), M&M, “New media helps a brand create a bonding with its customers. However, digital media has to be integrated with the traditional forms of advertising.”

He claimed that M&M had over six million fans on Facebook, of which, close to 1.2 million engage with M&M on a monthly basis. The company also actively looks to engage its viewers by promoting user generated content (UGC) across platforms. M&M invited 200 fans to drive its XUV 500 Torque on the F1 Buddha International Circuit (in Noida, Uttar Pradesh), earlier this year. Live updates and content marketing across social media platforms ensured 2,20,000 views on Youtube, he said. Half a million users, according to Nayar, also logged on to see pictures related to the event. In simple terms, the company endeavour to reach out to like-minded people through innovation and entertainment helped it to reach out to over a million people.

With social media becoming a habit and catering to the social needs of various people, it becomes important for companies to tap into this space and create a relationship with their consumers. Vidur Vyas, Marketing Director – India Foods, Pepsico India, said, “A consumer is no longer just an observer but is now a developer and a creator. The CONsumer has now become a PROsumer.” He added that marketers today cannot follow the old tenets of advertising by telling the customer what to do. Instead, they need to ensure that customers are able to experience and bond with the product.

While corporates are gung-ho about using social media as a marketing tool, Graham Kelly, Executive Creative Director, OgilvyOne Worldwide India said, the need of the hour was to exercise caution. “Social media is not a panacea. It is good at some things and not good at some things,” he said. Kelly emphasised that social media was not set up as an ad platform, so it becomes imperative for the marketer to get the basics right. Kelly added that it is not either traditional media or new media but both; and processes for both have to be integrated. With the consumer having access to various mediums, from his mobile, to the TV and the digital space, it becomes important “to use the right channel when appropriate” and any initiative to attract consumes has to be innovative and not boring. This is important as many creatives still prefer using traditional media as opposed to digital due to their unfamiliarity with the medium and technology involved.

Manish Vij, Founder, Smile Vun Group seconded the opinion that many marketers still prefer to spend money on traditional media and not on digital. He said that if the company is fully dependent on the consumer to drive its strategy forward, it is unlikely to see success. “For success in digital space, the company has to have its goal clearly defined, only then will the digital campaign work,” he added.

Annurag Batra, Editor-in-Chief & Chairman, exchange4media Group, was the Session Chairman.

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