MarCon 2023 Explores Confluence of Technology & Marketing

Vikram Sahay at Marcon 2023
Vikram Sahay at Marcon 2023

The 19th edition of the Marketing Conclave (MarCon), organized by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), unfolded in Mumbai on November 22, 2023, igniting discussions on the fusion of technology and marketing, amidst insights shared by industry stalwarts. The conclave also spotlighted the second edition of the prestigious Digital Native Brands Awards (DNBA), celebrating businesses leveraging digital technology and entrepreneurial spirit.

With a theme titled "Tomorrow’s Canvas: Tech and the Art of Marketing," MarCon 2023, co-powered by Whistle Feed, featured 30 sessions across four tracks. Vivek Malhotra, Chairman, IAMAI Digital Advertising Council and Group CMO, India Today Group, set the context of the Conclave in his opening remarks. There was a lot happening in the digital sphere and the speed of change was totally overwhelming, he pointed out, as was the “opportunity to spot the opportunity”. He said that the Conclave over a plethora of sessions would try and figure out the big things that were changing: the spheres in the digital ecosystem that were nearing their inflection points, and offer insights, advice, and opinions from leading experts of the ecosystem.

In his keynote address, Shri Vikram Sahay, the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, underlined the importance of human ingenuity in crafting unique advertisements, which he said would never be possible for AI to replicate. “Remember that advertisement is all about making a product or a service unique. Even the best of the software like ChatGPT will never offer that uniqueness. So, do not feel discouraged by them as they often compromise the quality of the advertisements,” Shri Sahay said.

Addressing the conference’s theme topic, Shri Sahay delved into the dynamic intersection of technology and marketing, shedding light on innovative strategies to navigate the evolving landscape of digital advertising. He also dwelt on advertising regulatory practices and underlined the importance of ethical marketing. “Today, we have certain regulatory practices and guidelines that protect us from misleading ads, especially in education and healthcare. We must stay away from such unethical practices,” he said.

One of the key sessions at the Conclave was a panel discussion on “The Future of Unified Measurement for Digital Platforms”. Top marketing professionals, Gulshan Verma, CEO of Jio Ads, Shishir Kataria, Head of Marketing, TATA Cliq, Nitin Walia, Director & Business Development, Nielsen, and Tushar Vyas, President, Group M South Asia, took part in the discussion. The discussion was moderated by Vivek Malhotra, who summed up the key message of session, “There is a broad agreement that it’s not a matter of whether or not, but how soon can we have tools that serve the business decisions and not the other way round that business decisions are made basis the tools available.”

Addressing another session, Arun Srinivas, Director & Head of Ads Business (India), highlighted the transformative role of AI in shaping modern marketing strategies. “AI is positioned at the forefront of consumer interactions, marking an intriguing phase for the tech industry with its latest advancements,” he remarked. Srinivas revealed that in the recent quarter, approximately 40% of content displayed on user feeds was recommended by AI. He emphasized that this implementation significantly increased user engagement by 24%. “We're currently exploring avenues to further enhance these capabilities,” Srinivas added. This symbiotic relationship between AI-driven content curation and heightened user engagement not only benefits platform users but also presents a promising landscape for marketers and advertisers.

Industry leaders such as Tushar Vyas, Managing Partner, Group M South Asia, Gulshan Verma, CEO, Jio Ads; Gaurav Verma, Vice President, Games 24 x 7; Ranjana Mangla, Sr VP and Head of Ad Revenue, Sony Pictures Network Ltd; Sanket Narkar, Head of Marketing, Physics Wallah, and Shoumyan Biswas, Chief Marketing Officer, Tata Digital, shared insightful perspectives during the conclave, enriching the discourse on the intersection of technology and marketing.

The top two DNB Awards went to Manish Chowdhary from WOW Skin Science, who received the Best Digital Native Brand Entrepreneur Award, and , Ghazal Alagh, Honasa Consumer Pvt Ltd (Mamaearth) winning DNB Woman Entrepreneur of The Year Award.

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