Demonetization, the invisible force driving digital marketing: Ranjeev Vij

Demonetization and the launch of 4G internet are clearly the two biggest disruptors that India witnessed in 2016. Reliance Industries’ Jio, ushered us into the realm of affordable and high-speed internet. Then came the Demonetization decree that eventually drove the country towards ‘Digital India’. Stoking these two disruptors, was the availability of cheap smartphones that encouraged millions of first-time users to go for cashless transactions.

However, post demonetization, the media has been abounded with reports on the aftermath of this contentious move, planned to rid the country of black money. News headlines on the long ATM queues, adversely impacted agricultural sector, and the piling up of FMCG inventories, have remained afloat. Interestingly, some leading economists are voicing support for the decision and are of the opinion that demonetization might boost the growth of our economy in the long run. So, what really is that the demonetized Indian economy holds for digital marketing ahead?

The Indian GDP growth forecasts have been lowered owing to “temporary disruptions” caused by demonetization. Its pertinent here to quote the aftermath of 2008 financial crises that counterintuitively saw a surge of digital spends across the US and Europe. In the year 2008, a Wharton report quoted  “In times of crisis, advertisers look more than ever to optimize their investments. Without a doubt, digital media will emerge from this crisis stronger than ever.” Substantiating this claim, a study by IAB and PwC revealed that online ad-spend grew 20%  in Europe during 2008.

With 500-700% increase of traffic on digital payment portals and 3x growth in the download of e-wallets since demonetization, there is a silent digital revolution underway in the country. Tethered by the current uncertainty, brands are reassessing their focus on traditional media like TVCs and print ads. They are now evaluating the digital potential to capture their target customers. Marketers are out there, evaluating newer media to optimize their budgets for more targeted customer outreach. Now, digital marketing could become the savior for businesses to survive under such circumstances.

A recent digital campaign concluded by Zeno Group for Ducati India helped considerably increase the customer outreach and exceed the targeted conversion rate. On the back of this success, Ducati India has decided to increase its Digital Marketing spends.

“­­­­­­­­This was the first Digital lead generation campaign that we initiated in conjunction with a special offer that we introduced as part of our 90th Anniversary celebrations. The campaign has been very successful in both generating more product awareness and tactically addressing our campaign objectives. We’re have already started planning our next campaign with Zeno and are confident that it is the right media for us in the long term as well.” Ducati India

When you view this in the light of the latest data by TRAI, mobile phone subscription in India is already at the 1 billion mark. This dovetailed with the fact that mobile internet users in rural India, more than doubled last year alone (IAMAI report), beacons newer digital marketing opportunities across geographies. The penetration of mobile internet is slated to transform the consumption pattern in rural India, giving the much-anticipated fillip to the advertising world.

Digital marketing for its ROI measures, agile and effective real-time consumer engagement and tested method of start small, fail fast and learn rapidly, seems to be the answer for marketers who wish to stride ahead on the back of ‘Digital India’.

(The article  has been authored by Ranjeev Vij, Head of Digital Innovation and Strategy, Zeno India and has been endorsed (with a concurring quote) by Ducati India – Zeno’s client.)


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