Facebook’s Ajit Mohan talks about how the spread of the coronavirus brought out the need and effectiveness of digital platforms out in the open
While the pandemic has severely impacted overall businesses across the world, small businesses have flourished by moving online. From kirana stores, local service providers to pharmacies, hyperlocal businesses have fulfilled the consumers’ basic needs. “There is a rise of hyperlocal ecommerce models. We have seen a huge spike in local company’s demand and revenue generation on the back of customer’s clear shift to preference for local. This is either because of physical constraints imposed by the outbreak, or because recently people have expressed more consciousness or comfort towards the local product,” Ajit Mohan, vice president and managing director, Facebook, said. He was speaking at the 16th Marketing Conclave held by industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), virtually.
According to Mohan, the spread of the coronavirus brought out the need and effectiveness of digital marketing out in the open. For both India and abroad, digital is increasingly the first board of call for savvy marketers. The real power of digital infrastructure, he stated, gets unleashed as startups and small businesses come online and new opportunities arise across verticals that allow for massive scale.“Digital influence is relevant for categories that are bought online as well as offline. According to Nielsen study, digital marketing proved to be most effective to drive offline sales for Mondelez’s chocolates in kirana stores and this study was done even before the pandemic drove digital to even greater levels,” he elaborated.
Talking about Facebook’s recent investment in Jio, Mohan claimed that the objective behind the partnership is to help millions of kirana owners to digitise their product catalogs and use WhatsApp to connect with their customers. “We believe that if we can enable this, apart from making it easier for consumers and dramatically increasing the pie for the small business, we can also enable the agenda of moving cash transactions online to digital payments. Moreover, we believe this partnership will act as a massive primer for small businesses to grow the size of their business, which will in turn be good for the economy model for small businesses,” he added.
Mohan ended his session urging marketers to remember that the world post covid outbreak has changed and transformed into something new. Hence, marketers need to move ahead rather than go back to their previous ideals. “Over the next few years, as the economy comes back, as growth returns aggressively. It will be a mistake for us to look for a world that has been lost. Marketers should not make the mistake of trying and replicating marketing models and playbooks that are no longer relevant. The only path forward is for us to look at what is relevant for the world that is coming out of this crisis. I genuinely believe that the opportunity for marketers is to recognise this fundamental shift in behavior of consumers and businesses,” he said.