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Engagement Marketing

engaging consumers, interactive advertising, engagement marketing

‘Sorry for the interruption’ – Engagement Marketing

‘Why do companies make ads? So you can use the break to fill your bowl of popcorn’. Says a recent TV ad for Act II. You may argue that some ads are entertaining and some very informative but the truth is that advertising has traditionally always relied on interruption and that is fast beginning to lose it effectiveness.

Ad overdose: An average Indian consumer is exposed to an ad every 2 minutes on a channel, 25 ads and 100 classifieds in a newspaper, 2 ad spots for every song on radio and about 35 hoardings in a 1 km stretch. Add to that the innumerable posters, kiosks and bus shelters. While on the internet the pop-ups & banners flash faster than you can close them. It’s a cat-fight for a brand stand out in this clutter.

Power to pause: I’m sure you remember the Tata Sky ad where Aamir Khan, chats on the phone during a match because he can pause and resume viewing it. And we know he will definitely fast-forward the ads on resumption. So would we. Also soon, for a slight premium you will be able to get programs/movies on-demand without ad breaks. The potential customer now has the power to zap the ad

Sliced-up media pie: From the earlier staple DD diet, you now have about 360 channels. The Hindi GEC genre itself has expanded exponentially to 14. Then there are 5 English news and 10 Hindi news channels, 4 English business new channels, 8 sports channels, 10 music channels and the Add to this the regional channels and niche channels as well. Oh don’t forget the new newspapers & multiple supplements, magazines, a plethora of me-too radio channels, piled-up outdoor signages and the infinite internet sites. The viewer has become a highly confused & flirtatious media surfer, making the scenario a media planners nightmare.

Astronomical costs: It takes deep pockets to generate the required ad brand awareness and get customer response, as the lead mass media options are extremely expensive. A single 30 sec ad on the recent T20 World Cup costs Rs.6 lacs, while a single ad on the top serials on Star Plus would set you back 3 lacs and a full page ad in the Mumbai edition of TOI costs 20lacs. And a prime spot hoarding would cost Rs.10lacs a month. It would take a brand at least an 8Cr budget to get heard, never mind being remembered.

The big challenge that brands face today is how to create a memorable connect with the consumer in a cost-effective manner. And a few brands have already successfully revised their marketing & media strategy.

A few years ago, ICICI, to promote their Children’s Growth Fund, held a painting competition in schools for kids with the topic ‘What you want to be when you grow up?’. Father’s were then sent their own kids painting with a note saying ‘Soon your kid will grow up & want to convert her dream to reality. Are you prepared?’ And a no-obligations opportunity to meet up with the ICICI advisor. To increase it’s aspiration quotient against L’Oreal, Lakme ventured into fashion and created the premium Lakme Fashion Week property, while Sunsilk has engaged teenage girls by creating a virtual community ‘GangOfGirls.com. And more recently TOI with its Lead India campaign connected with people through a cause, so did Tata Tea the ‘jaago ‘initiative for the elections.

So while mass media cannot be ignored, brands should get out of the traditional ad approach and get into the fabric of the consumer’s life by giving him multi-media content he can enjoy and value, thus welcoming and imbibing it. The mantra is simple rules:
- Get out of the usual ad break and into the world of value-added content & properties
- Engage the consumer through an activation programs that enhance his life
- Embrace new-age media & technology to build interaction with the consumer

And many erstwhile Event Management agencies have evolved to capitalize on this opportunity, by hiring brand consultants & strategic planners.
In order to be relevant and effective in the future, brands will have to change their communication strategy from ‘Interruption’ to Engagement’

Published: 2009-07-15
Author: Rohan Mascarenhas

About the author or the publisher
Over a decade in the Advertising business, planning brand strategy, unearthing consumer insights and handling client idoecyncracies. I also spend my Saturdays imparting knowledge on Brand Planning to students at a Management Institute.

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