The line between brand & performance campaigns is diminishing: Vinod Thadani
Vinod Thadani, Chief of Digital, Mindshare South Asia, has been at the helm of driving the digital capabilities of the agency. As part of the special Knowledge Series, powered by mFilterIt, Thadani shares several insights on the emerging trends in the digital marketing space, the growing significance of performance marketing, how to bring in transparency and accountability for brands in the new normal and much more.
What are your key observations on the current emerging trends in the digital marketing space?
E-commerce is something that is definitely picking up in a big way. Everyone has been talking about performance marketing and I think there’s a very thin line between brand and performance. Especially during COVID-19, we’ve learnt that performance marketing is going to be big going forward. Voice is also something that is picking up, especially in Tier 2 and 3 markets and brands have been taking active participation. Another thing that happened during the lockdown was that people were consuming more content on their personal devices, which enabled OTT platforms to further penetrate these markets. We have also seen that when the content is great, people don’t mind subscribing to this content.
How do you see the relevance and role of media agencies in the digital era?
Within media, marketing, advertising and the entire ecosystem, the place of an agency continues to be that sweet spot where logic and magic always comes together. Here, the art and science of the craft always collide.
Medium agnostic planning and buying is not the only key focus of an agency. Clients are seeing media agencies as partners in their E-commerce journey right from platform building to the end of the funnel, which is performance.
Another thing that we have seen is simplification of data and tech trends to actual marketing application. As an agency, we see a plethora new tech, data, Adtech and Martech partners. However, what the client actually needs for their business is something that we should refine as an agency and go back to the client. That’s a skill in itself.
The third thing is definitely assuring transparency and accountability. As an agency, we really need to make this a safe space for clients to advertise. We work with client budgets and ad dollars and we need to make sure that there isn’t any ad or data fraud that happens. This means, we need to work with all 3rd party data companies and provide solutions to the client which is absolutely brand safe.
As I said earlier, we have seen a massive change in entertainment during the lockdown as OTT platforms have grown further. As an agency, I think we play a strong role when it comes to content creation and amplification for the brands.
What are the key challenges before digital agencies in this new normal? How are you maintaining transparency and accountability during this time?
At GroupM, we have a strong policy for brand safety and no tolerance for ad fraud. We have a black list and white list, which we work with. We work with all our partners making sure that there is enough transparency and accountability being done for each and every client when we take the campaigns live. We have a very clear policy that we will work with all 3rd party measurement companies on brand safety, ad fraud and viewability, and publishers who don’t follow current industry norms, we generally don’t work with them. We have a very clear policy when it comes to activating campaigns, go back to the clients with deliverables and reports based on what was sanctioned and planned before the campaign and what has been delivered to them.
At any given point of time, we work back with the partners, telling them that we would require a certain type of optimisation, if required. During any campaign, there’s a lot of involvement from us when we work with digital partners across the length and breadth of digital and mobile to achieve client objectives.
How has the role of Performance Marketing assumed even more significance in the pandemic times?
With the advancement in attribution techniques and the way consumer buying behaviour has changed in the past six months, everything that we do in marketing will be performance driven. The line between brand and performance campaigns is diminishing. The pandemic for sure has brought the scale of people buying goods and services online. Brands and marketers have opened up huge options for consumers, which they may or may not have had before. Consumers are now experiencing and buying online. With increased buying options, I think somewhere brand loyalty and advantage is diminishing and hence, the role becomes much more clearer. Everyone comes together as one integrated team to make sure that we work with the product, creative agency, data and tech teams and the digital team to provide a complete solution to the client, which allows the client to acquire and retain consumers during the change that is happening in their life. You have to work across the funnel as the consumer buying behaviour changes.
Watch the insightful interview