Digital marketing in India is growing faster than any other medium. Some estimates project the growth to be above 30 per cent.
Hareesh Tibrewala, Joint CEO at Mirum India, a digital agency part of J Walter Thompson South Asia, says the shift to digital will happen faster than predicted. In 2017, he saw large brands being keen purely on digital marketing, dropping TV and print. “People are accepting that digital can not just communicate but directly impact the business stream, generating leads and sales, for instance,” he adds.
Boring, long videos?
Devang Raiyani, Head – Strategy, Indigo Consulting, says 2017 saw the effectiveness of long-form content being questioned very aggressively. “The whole conversation was about attention spans getting shorter. Not even 40-50 per cent of the video is being seen.” When it comes to utility vs storytelling, “the bucks are on the former”. The product is becoming a part of the story, he observes.
A lot less influence
With consumers sifting the real from the fake, the influencer marketing bubble has burst, says Raiyani, adding that this development will play out in a big way in 2018. People have lived with the truth that celebrity endorses have been paid to sell something, but the promise of influencers was authenticity, and “bribing” them to sell a product will no longer work.
The process of customer journey mapping will need to become more integrated, says Adarsh Noronha, Country Manager, Oracle Marketing Cloud. Marketers should aim for a seamless omnichannel approach and better personalisation of the customer experience, he adds.
AI: Mixed feelings
While there was much mention of artificial intelligence and chatbots this year, for Noronha, it is not among the top two-three trends of 2017. In the US, only 7.7 per cent of customer executives say AI played a regular role in customer service, he says. Indigo’s Raiyani says that in the latter part of 2017, people have found cases of meaningful interaction with bots.
Prashant Mehta, VP & Global Service Line Lead – Systems Integration & Data, SapientRazorfish, says AI has been the biggest technology trend. It has made a huge difference to business as well as humanitarian causes, he says. Another big tech trend relates to voice. Set to drive 30 per cent of Web browsing and 50 per cent of search by 2020 (as per Gartner), “there is a huge challenge and opportunity to design for a non-touch world and more natural interfaces,” he says.
The year saw many ad agencies adding staff and setting up separate divisions for digital marketing. Mirum’s Tibrewala notes that digital marketing is affecting business models in categories such as banking and insurance. Raiyani says there is a certain impatience about the payback when marketers invest in digital. Savvy brands are using content marketing as a channel for e-commerce, he says.