Real Time Marketing in India? Is it possible? Vishal Mehra www.vishal1mehra.com http://www.twitter.com/vishal1mehra
Few weeks back when I wrote about the Top Digital Marketing Trends for India on myblog, RTM (Real Time Marketing) did not figure in the list. But than February 3rd, alsoknown as Super Bowl Blackout day happened & the world of marketing promised notto be the same ever again.I started thinking about RTM scenarios for the Indian market & how our marketerscould take advantage of those opportunities. But what really drove me to write this postwas a session during ad:tech new delhi 2013.RTM is not a new phenomena which spawned one fine evening when Oreo & it’sagency partner decided to dunk in the dark, & in the process became a lifelong casestudy for this marketing genre. Instead Real Time Marketing techniques were developedin 1990s with initial deployments of CRM solutions in major sectors, but it wasn’t soglamorous & thus not thought about much during that time.Marketing has altered radically in the last few years — perhaps more than any otherbusiness role — and the progression will absolutely continue as marketers becomemore single-minded, swift and supple.With over 150 million internet users, & 100 million social network user base, India as amarket is ripe for some RTM action but this form of marketing goes far beyond simplyposting a timely tweet (see Oreo/Tide during blackout), a status update or even a vineposting (see Calvin Klein). Brands have to expand the use of real time social analytics,create great content to drive engagement & make on-the-fly decisions around trendingrelevant topics. That certainly is hard to fathom in current Indian marketing culture.Current culture being the key statement in the last paragraph.Because Indian consumers have moved on & so must the marketing techniquesemployed to entertain & engage them. A recent study in fact did say, “Engagingcustomers through content & other outreach techniques is getting increased attentionfrom marketers in India”.But most Indian marketers still find it challenging to cut through the information cluttertoday to resonate. Mostly because they are not used to customers driving interactions(after all it was one way shouting till a while back) & taking control of the relationshipthey share.Marketing strategies still rely heavily on arranging everything, to the T. That practicehas to give way. Marketers can plan, but can’t choreograph consumer behavior.With the sixth edition of Indian Premier League starting in April, Indian brands have agrand stage to get daring with their consumers & in the process get embraced.The biggest opportunity out of all brands clearly lies with Pepsi. Pepsi is not just theofficial presenting sponsor for IPL 6; it is a youth driven brand urging its TA to “Live forNow”. In India its latest brand tagline “Oh Yes, Abhi” conveys the same spirit of Now,Instant & Dynamism to the impatient Indian youth.
Although my views about Pepsi not introducing the new logo in the Indian market evenafter 4+ years is widely known on twitter, I still believe being a challenger cola brand anew approach can have a positive impact for them.That new approach is not just premiering new TVCs on YouTube, because that is passé,it is not just dumb tweets asking who your favorite cricketer is, it is making customcontent for its online consumers which needs to be fun & useful. & If some of that canbe made at twitter speed, it would be Quaker oats on the milk (let me know if you havea better suggestion for this?)I should also note that the instant Oreo Super Bowl ad followed a 100-day programcalled “Daily Twist” that began in June 2012 and ended on October 2nd, 2012. It was100 days of real-time posting of Oreo’s responses to what was happening in the news,such as the Mars Rover landing and the anniversary of the ATM. So in no way it was afluke or a creative that popped out of nowhere.Another extensively acknowledged case study has been the work done on Old Spicecampaign through YouTube, “The man your man could smell like”. Here’s a helpfullink to take you back to 2010.Real Time Marketing is clearly not cut out for every brand, nor it can be done withoutextensive resources on a continuous basis. Probably the easiest way to implement itwould be to start using it in select functions & not across the marketing department offthe bat.I firmly believe that RTM has few unique principles:1) Focus on individual interactions2) Need for adaptive campaigns3) Strong alignment with other key departments like sales4) Customer collaborationThat certainly is not a comprehensive list & just like it’s core, these principles are everchanging & dynamic in nature.1In today’s aggressive and rapidly fluid economy, brands are determined to remain atthe vanguard of their industries, which gives Real time marketing its spotlight. Byallowing marketing to be “better, faster, and cheaper,” and be more flexible in the faceof change, RTM 24/7 can help brands in their efforts to create a competitive advantage.Brands can also expect RTM to benefit their offerings by increasing WOM (Word ofMouth), Media Receptivity, Social Media Presence and increased chances ofconsideration by the consumer.Let me conclude with one of my key recent learning’s about brand marketing "Dontwait to be perfect, just start", Brands can afford to be “flawsome”. 1 www.vishal1mehra.com