Face off: Marketers will waste money by not adapting to digital, says Mark Henning

By: | Updated: March 29, 2016 2:10 AM

Millward Brown released its annual Digital and Media Predictions report last month. With steps towards ROI defining measurements getting serious and marketing on the digital platform...

Millward Brown released its annual Digital and Media Predictions report last month. With steps towards ROI defining measurements getting serious and marketing on the digital platform going beyond flaunting your brand’s likes and shares, BrandWagon’s Shinmin Bali speaks with Mark Henning of Millward Brown about the challenges lying before marketers and the importance of tailored content.Excerpts:

There’s a growing shift towards brands reaching the consumer via mobile. How does it translate for markets like India where mobile internet penetration is still work in progress?

We are seeing digital and mobile advertising increasing, which will continue — globally as well as in India. Many other markets have gone PC based Internet-first. India, like a lot of other markets throughout Africa and Asia,
will likely skip straight to mobile. This is a great opportunity and we are likely to see innovation coming from India and these other markets, which will get adopted globally.

The report mentions that Connected TV won’t be a threat for TV advertising, at least in 2016. In light of this, how do you see agency structures changing, if at all?

In a lot of countries around the world, agency structures fragmented into specialisations to focus on various elements of digital. This was an important phase during the growth of digital, a period of rapid change. We are now seeing the trend back towards integration as digital now spans across all media and brands need their agencies to be equipped across all their communication platforms. There are various models out there, but the macro trend at this stage is back towards integration.

There surely is an increased focus on targeting consumers on mobile. Is there a corresponding increase on part of the brand to develop content to match?

Part of the 2016 Digital Trends report talks about the best marketers being the ones that recognise that different platforms require different content to maximise effectiveness and engagement. We know from our content testing experience that succeeding in mobile and across various digital platforms for that matter requires different considerations of how the platform is consumed, who is consuming and what format the content will be displayed in.

However, we still see a lot of replicated content being applied across devices, which limits the potential of that content and is not necessarily the best user experience. One of the global trends that can apply to India will be that marketers will waste money by not adapting their video content for the digital environment. That applies to India just as much as it does to anywhere else in the world. The challenge only gets compounded taking into consideration the infrastructural issues and differences.

In 2016, which markets do you feel will fare well in terms of tackling the challenges posed by the mobile platform?

The rapid growth in penetration of mobile throughout all markets in the world means that everyone will be tackling the challenges posed by mobile. So it is those that take the time to innovate and experiment with clear objectives and measurement in mind that will succeed. This can come from any market.

A good part of the mobile platform discussion in India remains limited to tier 1 and tier 2 cities. What trends are you seeing in other markets with reference to reaching internet dark areas?

We get a lot of focus on the smartphones uptake and the benefits that Internet connectivity brings to mobile marketing. However, there are already some great examples of feature phone uses in marketing such as the call back marketing programmes that have occurred in India. We are seeing spends on digital and mobile advertising increasing which will continue.

The report talks about qualitatively analysing the impact of an impression. With the debate on ROI and developing a robust system to measure ROI still on, how can different markets define their reach on digital?

Our perspective on ROI and measurement really comes back to understanding your objective first, then working out the right metrics to use to capture success. Our Digital Measurement Framework provides a simple approach for marketers to think about how to measure the ROI of their digital campaigns. Millward Brown’s partnership with ComScore helps us deliver relevant digital measurement across various elements of digital campaigns — helping our clients choose the right metric or metrics that match their brand objectives.

What should marketers focus on in 2016?

One big piece of advice: don’t jump at everything that is shiny and new. Think about what you are trying to achieve for your brand and use the right vehicles to communicate to the audience. This is crucial in addition to the context and content within which you wish to achieve your goals. The digital environment is one where the consumer has much more control, and receptivity to advertising messages is not as high in some digital devices and digital markets. Tailoring the content for that purpose is important and then measuring the impact based on what you’re trying to achieve is important.

As far as content strategy goes, we’re not saying that what you do on digital should be different from what you do on TV. We’re saying it needs to be tailored — it can be the same messages or the same theme but the way you execute it in different elements of digital media needs to be considered.

Mark Henning is Head of Media & Digital, AMAP, Millward Brown

Shinmin.Bali@expressindia.com
@shinminbali

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