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Sanjay Mehta, Joint CEO, Mirum
Sanjay Mehta, Joint CEO, Mirum on why digital advertising will deliver better results this festive season.
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Digital advertising will deliver mega results for brands this festive season

Sanjay Mehta, Joint CEO, Mirum on why digital advertising will deliver better results this festive season.
  • With COVID, brands have shifted their marketing monnies to digital advertising.
  • Sanjay Mehta, Joint CEO, Mirum writes why digital advertising will deliver you even better results this year.
While digital advertising has been attractive and has been growing in terms of total marketing spends year after year, in particular this year in the COVID-hit world, digital advertising will deliver you even better results.

Why so? Read on….

At the outset, let’s look at it from the consumer’s point of view. The kinds of words and sentences we have seen people use are some of the following –
“For me just a couple of jeans and few T-shirts have been enough for all of these last 5 – 6 months.”

Someone else has said, “ yes I have had a small salary cut but even my expenses have dramatically gone down, so in fact I have more savings in my account:”

And more, “I used to spend a lot of money going out to eat or for my entertainment and such stuff, most of which have stopped in the last few months and so I find myself having good money in my bank even though I’ve been sitting at home”.

These are the kind of messaging that you often hear from the people who have been largely working from home for the last 5 – 6 months.

Yes there is boredom, yes there is a lot of frustration and yes, there is also an eagerness to get back to somewhat of the kind of life that everybody lived in the pre-COVID world. One way to “seem” like you are back in the pre-Covid times, is to shop as if you were! But with nowhere to go really, no big parties or weddings or such occasions, there is a sense of guilt in justifying unnecessary shopping.

So we are at the point where the consumer WANTS to return to some pre-Covid normalcy, retail therapy will get her there, to an extent, but justifying that kind of shopping at a time, when there are no occasions for the same, becomes a challenge!

This is where the alibi of the festive occasion comes in!

Right from Raksha Bandhan and Ganesh Chaturthi onwards, India gets into 3 – 4 months of festivals, one after the other, every few weeks, including the biggest of them all which is Diwali. Traditionally these festivals have been a reason or an excuse to shop because you are going to meet a lot of people your friends, family, relatives and you are also vacationing etc. A lot of that lifestyle might not happen this year, you might not be able to visit many people’s home just yet, you might not be vacationing but the consumer with a pent-up demand and a sense of frustration at having been stuck at home, will find enough reason in the festive season to justify a high amount of shopping, definitely much higher than the averages of last few months. The festival is just the right excuse.

This is as far as the consumer is concerned.

Now let us have a look from the brand’s point of view and the organisation’s point of view. Most of the brands have been subdued in their business over the last 5 -6 months. Thanks to COVID, initially there was a complete lockdown and factories were closed, the retail stores were closed and there was no sale. Slowly but surely, small amount of sales started happening, initially it was just eCommerce and then the stores started opening up, maybe for a limited number of hours and few days of the week, and of course, the factories also started resuming operations, in different parts of the country. Transportation and logistics also resumed. But the consumer demand did not really go up that much, so while the stores have been open, while the factories produced products, the sales had not had picked up that much and was still a trickle of the typical volumes that they usually see. All brands have therefore been eager to get back to selling more, eager to compensate for the last few months in terms of getting back to desired volumes of sale. Festive season and Diwali provide just the right antidote for them as well.

Combined with the earlier mentioned pent-up demand of the consumers and their eagerness to shop now with the festive season as just the right alibi to do so, the opportunity of a sudden sharp increase of demand in most categories, is bound to happen. In such a scenario it is the brands who are able to make the most of this increased demand, who will be the winners!

So here is a classic case wherein, on one side we will have an eager customer wanting to shop and finding the festive times as just the right alibi to do so, and on the other hand, the aggressive brands who are willing to go and grab the biggest market share of this pent-up demand. All brands will not have the same fortunes, as it will be the braver brands, the more aggressive brands who will make the most of the opportunity, and get the largest market share.

So if you want to be amongst the winning brands who will grab the best of the market share in this festive season, what should you be doing? Well marketing is always the way to acquire the largest market share but in particular what kind of marketing should you be doing? Especially in a year where your fortunes could have been hit due to 4 -5 months of extremely low sales? Whether you are a marketeer or a CFO or a CEO, you key objective would be to spend money which can deliver the best ROI. It may not be the best year to experiment and splurge into large brand building budgets on television and print simply because of the fact that the lack of measurability around that does not give you the liberty to splurge and just hope that it will convert.

On the other hand Digital Advertising is just perfect for this festive season. On the one hand we have seen significantly increased online time spends by the consumer, thanks to being at home watching a lot of OTT, following a lot of websites, ordering online, all of this behaviour have sharply seen an upward move. So on one side the consumer is spending a lot more time on Internet screens and on the other hand, digital advertising also provides extremely good measurability so that you can plan the spends in keeping with the returns that you get in terms of conversions. Due to these reasons digital advertising should make for the most potent weapon for a marketeer, especially in this festive season of the COVID year.

The recommendation then, would be to be aggressively prepared with a good digital advertising budget but aimed in a very focused manner to achieving ROI, to having measurable impact from your spends on actual sales, and keep spending more to the extent you see the ROI maintain. If you are able to do so, you should be able to achieve excellent impact for your money spent and be one of the highest beneficiaries is terms of getting the best market share coming out of the pent-up demand of the consumer.

While physical stores have opened to a fair extent, not everybody is comfortable to go and spend time in the malls and the crowded stores just yet. The COVID cases in India have particularly not slowed down, and in fact they continue to rise. So the pent-up demand of the consumer is far more likely to be met through online shopping rather than walking into physical stores. So ensure that you have a strong online sales set up in place.

So this festive season get ready with a healthy ammunition of budgets for your digital advertising efforts, and if done well, you should see fantastic results and great ROI as well.