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#DigitalDialogue: "Digital allows sharper targeting at lower outlay than mainline"

Naresh Gupta, CSO and Managing Partner, Bang in the Middle
Naresh Gupta, CSO and Managing Partner, Bang in the Middle

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown has led to a challenging economic situation and uncertainty in the market. Some of the businesses are responding by cutting down on spends, salary cuts and even laying off employees, while others are taking affirmative action to gain the most out of limited resources and fortifying themselves for the new normal once the crisis abates.

While digital has been on a growth trajectory even before the pandemic, the global crisis has accelerated digital transformation in businesses. Most industry experts believe that Digital will lead the industry’s recovery and will permeate through every sector.

As a build up to our marquee event DIGIXX 2020, Adgully has taken an initiative to come out with a new series, #DigitalDialogue, which will have a special focus on the digital sector, how Digital is paving the way forward for companies and brands and how it will be a brand-building imperative.

Naresh Gupta, CSO and Managing Partner, Bang in the Middle, talks about digital transformation in the current scenario, technological investments and re-skilling the workforce.

How can companies and agencies accelerate their digital transformation process in the current scenario?

There is no option now, but to put greater focus on tech in business. It is not just about automation, but also about looking at the bigger picture by looking at all the data that exists. There are substantial savings that can be driven by better utilising technology. Agencies have invested a lot in building backends and they may now do even more. There is a fine balance that everyone needs to drive between virtual and real, and this external stimulus will help us in thinking more about it.

How can Digital lead the recovery for brands in the new normal?

Digital allows sharper targeting and building campaigns at lower outlay than mainline. A lot of brands will look at creating a series of quick campaigns that drive engagement. More brands will invest in omni-channel and push that even more. Retail will see greater integration of tech in both billing and supply chain to drive efficiency. This is not so bad for smaller brands, who find it difficult to build large campaigns, but with digital, they will. I also think more and more brands will use digital as pure broadcast medium to drive awareness and consideration.

What kind of investments are most needed to create the technology environment that will allow companies and agencies to thrive in the new normal?

I don’t know about the new normal; the physical distancing is a transient thing and this will phase away in time. The business will move back to face-to-face interactions, may be with lesser travel, etc. Collaborative tools will gain traction for a while, and will drive efficiency, but the real results always come from meeting and talking, and that won’t change. What I think will happen is that many more companies will get flexible with processes and policies. Gig economy was already changing that, now this pandemic will hasten it. Offices will let people come at flexi times, work places will be more than mere physical office, many companies will give options to people to work from remote locations. There would be greater investment in data security and tech backbones. However, the real changes can’t be predicted. There is a new virus in town, and it refuses to go away.

How can digital innovation be turned into a business-building imperative?

The impact of the pandemic will be seen in enhanced focus on digital process across organisations. This was already happening, but this will happen with greater focus now. Most organisations will look at data platforms, managing the data available, using it to enhance profitability, etc., will become the focus. All of this will come at a cost, almost capital expenditure for brands.

What steps can companies and agencies take to reskill their workforce to work in a new digital ecosystem when the recovery begins?

I am not so sure if the companies need to run complex teaching and training systems to teach the digital way of working. This had started to happen long back. What the companies will do is make digital the centre of many activities. Like the process of customer management will get more textured, but this may not need a disruptive training, etc.

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