As we step into 2020, the marketing world of today is no longer constrained by the methods of the past. The present M&E ecosystem is not just about keeping an eye on what’s coming next, but also about knowing how to embrace it and learning how to use it.
But what do we mean by unlearning and relearning? To create the new rationale of value creation – we must unlearn the former one. Unlearning is the fundamental process of being open-minded and relinquishing the old habits, processes, and information so we may create room for new habits, processes, and information. Unlearning isn’t tied in with forgetting the old lessons and knowledge; rather, it is about the ability to choose and embrace a new alternative reality or paradigm.
When talking about the ever-changing landscape of marketing, it’s hard to foresee which methods will associate with shoppers most successfully. Exactly when advertisers believe they fully comprehend their target audience, another technology, new behaviours or even a new audience stirs everything up.
Here are the top marketers sharing their learnings and unlearnings for 2020, helping others make an informed choice, focus on the right areas and engage better with the consumers.
Sanjay Sindhwani, CEO – The Indian Express (Digital):
Learn: More focus on digital metrics that matter
The most important thing to learn and unlearn this year will be about metrics that matter. For long, performance marketing and digital marketers have focussed on the reach and growth metrics which are more vanity than value. As media companies start looking at subscriptions and VCs start focussing on the bottom line, the focus on creating a strong brand identity and recall will result in a new set of metrics moving centre stage. As digital players we have been in a rat race to optimise our digital assets for search, social traffic and CTRs, neglecting the direct (Brand) traffic.
Unlearn: Omit the growth hacks from the brand’ strategy that gives little or no ROI over time
This year will see the start of the process of unlearning some of the growth hacks and relearning how to focus on building your brand traffic. It will be slow, it will be expensive, but it has the potential of giving the highest ROI over time. For digital media companies, this will be imperative if they want to succeed in building a successful subscription play. Their success will lead others to follow the same footsteps.
Amit Sethiya, CMO, Syska Group said:
Learn: Importance for helping customers get familiar with technology-led products to create the right experience
In today’ e-world, it is still important to create the right experience for customers to get familiar with technology-led products. It helps in addressing the initial inhibitions customers have towards the product features and adding confidence to them in the whole process. SYSKA was the first brand in the FMEG segment to pioneer the concept of LED lounges in the country where the performance of the entire LED portfolio was demonstrated to educate the customers about the benefits of LED technology. Similarly, the brand has introduced its IoT product range in the lounges and MT outlets to provide the interaction required for these app and voice-controlled devices. Rightly said, what you see is what you believe.
Unlearn: Relying on Impressions and reach defined by minimum million metrics
Impressions and reach defined by minimum million metrics could be misleading since every platform and publisher claims to deliver it in no time. This poses a challenge when the brand wants to engage with the customers, have a conversation and set-up a dialogue. It is imperative to look beyond the numbers and scout for real-relevant possibilities by shifting the radar from just influencers to micro-influencers. Selecting the apt partners in today’s influencer market estimated at $75-150 million a year, as compared to the global market of $1.75 billion is going to be even more difficult since this number is expected to go up as more Indians go online with cheaper data and affordable smartphones.
Aashish Chopra, VP Content Marketing, ixigo:
Learn: The significance of regional language content
Videos are exploding on tiny screens everywhere, and 2020 will see the rise of regional language content and our challenge would be to learn, adapt and experiment in regional languages, to meaningfully engage the next billion users.
Unlearn: Dependence on Brand recall
One thing to unlearn would be the old concept of branding. Branding today is about relevance, not recall. We need engagement and not just eye-balls.
Vaibhav Odhekar, Co-Founder and COO of POKKT:
Learn: Innovation in the digital space
Companies need to be nimble to be able to quickly adapt to changing scenarios and trends. Innovations across ad formats, ad targeting, machine learning algorithms are happening faster than ever. Things change fast in the digital landscape, let alone ad-tech and the next cycle will begin very fast. Companies who preempt trends and stay ahead of the curve will thrive, others will barely survive or perish.
Unlearn: Relook at how companies see Consumer Data Protection
2020 will see organisations become more mindful of how they treat consumer data. In recent years, laws like GDPR have become the norm and helped balance how companies look at consumers. In the coming time too, companies need to take cognizance of the fact that they cannot treat consumer data lightly and neither can they just be seen as a “product” for ad and marketing. Consumers today are more educated and aware than ever and the entire marketing space is going to be more cautious of how they’re using consumer data. Take, for instance, the recent data breach incidents hitting mega-companies like Facebook and Twitter. If consumer data protection was higher up on their priority list, such mishaps could’ve been possibly avoided.
We will see increased compliance and a stricter regulatory framework when it comes to how companies manage consumer data.
Abhishek Tiwari, Brand and Marketing Director, Voylla:
Learn: Innovative ways to instil customer’s loyalty
Things to learn are the versatility and changes in consumer’s buying behaviour where e-commerce & offline market is buzzing on offers and discounts to grab customer’s attention; brands need to focus on more innovative marketing ways to establish the customer’s loyalty.
Unlearn: Old market sentiments
Things to Unlearn are the market sentiments and its fear as “There is always a pull factor to fascinate the customers by evolving trends and provide them something exclusive, USP needs to be highlighted through various marketing communication medians”.
Gautam Raheja, Head of Marketing, ASICS India:
Learn: Personalized marketing messages and campaigns are the need of the hour
In today’s day and age, Marketing has moved beyond branding and advertising; it is now about content story-telling and providing an insightful consumer experience to create an everlasting impression. One important lesson we imbibed from last year was that technology is going to play a key role in 2020 especially on digital and retail platforms to give the consumer 360-degree brand experience. You have to offer them something more than information. Today’s consumer is flooded with marketing messages from different channels and hence the traditional approach is losing its effectiveness. Personalized marketing messages and campaigns are the need of the hour that connects emotionally with the consumer, thus forging a real connection between the brand and the target market.
Anirudh Pandita, Founder, Pocket Aces:
Learn: Paying close attention to current consumer preferences
In 2020, we need to continue our process of learning about how to go where attention is moving. This could be a web series on YouTube or Netflix that is taking up attention at nights, or a game or a gaming platform that is now capturing every teenager’s attention, or just a short Instagram or Tik Tok video which captures attention during the workday.
Unlearn: Steer clear of mental biases and stereotypes while listening to customers
Unlearning will involve continuing to trust younger people to provide insights and having the humility to listen to consumers, without resorting to our general mental biases or historical models of how things should be done.
Amarjeet Thakur, Sr AVP Marketing and Communication of Mirum India:
Learn: Importance of regional communication in digital marketing
The biggest learning from 2019 for us has been the impact of regional communication in digital marketing. As an agency, we stepped out of our urban-centric communication mold, and started speaking to the masses at large in their regional languages. With positive results, we will continue to take this forward in 2020.
Unlearn: The death of Email Marketing
The one phrase we want to unlearn this year is ‘Email Marketing is dead’. Email is the most trusted channel of communication by the consumer, but the challenge for marketers is to keep communication relevant. It’s time to step away from ‘one size fits all’ approach and time to get ‘Up, close and personal’ with the consumer. The medium is evolving but far from dead.
Sandeep Chaudhary, Co-Founder, ADOHM:
Learn: Continuous approaches to connect to the consumers by focusing on current as well as upcoming trends
When looked at as a new way of marketing, the idea for brands is to touch customers life through online to offline customer experience and vice-versa where it is noted that 23% of customers are willing to go the extra mile and pay extra to connect with the brands at the comfort of their homes through providing them personalised experiences through facial recognition technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning and customised after-sales services. A continuous learning approach to connect the consumers and the ability to drive change by focusing on both the “now” and the “next” are the most important thing in today’s time.
Unlearn: The old marketing models and old tech and tools
Unlearning is about moving away from something—letting go—rather than acquiring. It’s like stripping old paint. It lays the foundation for the new layer of fresh learning to be acquired and to stick. The idea that marketing in today’s time is an easy task is obsolete. More than 70% of the technology used by big brands is getting upgraded drastically and hence a need to unlearn the old tech and the old attribution models arise. As the global economy evolves and market forces drive competition to new levels, it’s the people who have proactively worked to expand and diversify their skill sets who will survive.
Mayur Sethi, Co-Founder & COO, Roaring Wolf Media:
Learn: More focus on creating meaningful conversations by leveraging media-platforms to penetrate the market
2020 is expected to be a very bright year for all brands that are leveraging Digital Media Channels as the core entity of the equation i.e. Audience is much more evolved and are using Digital Channels in-and-out. This is the best phase for all the entities in the equation i.e. Publishers, Agencies, Brands and Customers. I would recommend the Agency and Brand to focus on creating meaningful conversations and sustainable interactions by leveraging Social channels and new-age-media-platforms as what would help them penetrate the market and get more involvement from customers.
Unlearn: Intrusive ad formats
The thing to unlearn is, to stop using intrusive ad-formats and use native and passive integrations.
Harikrishnan Pillai, CEO and co-founder, TheSmallBigIdea, says:
Learn: To be bolder and experiment with marketing
While it’s happening in bits & pieces, I would love to see more brands learning to blur lines between mainline and digital agencies. Additionally, I am looking at data playing a larger role in storytelling. I would love for the fraternity to look at hiring people beyond metros, allowing them to think beyond the glass walls & design relevant campaigns for ‘Bharat’ and the next 100 million. I think we all should learn to be bolder and experiment with marketing at large, allowing us to open new dimensions.
Unlearn: Reliance on moment marketing and memes
Marketers need not rely on moment marketing and memes to pivot brand preference.
Chetan Asher, Co-Founder & CEO, Tonic Worldwide:
Learn: More focus on product innovations to deliver value for the consumer
In 2020 we need to lean on prioritizing content and innovation over just communication. Agencies and marketers can play a much bigger role in driving growth by focusing on product innovations and a new approach to content that creates value for the consumer.
Unlearn: Approach to data
As marketers, we need to unlearn our approach to data. With so many data points and numerous data analysis tools available it’s easy to get sucked into an endless data loop, making creativity and innovation a casualty in the process.
Nisha Vasudevan, Executive Creative Director, Supari Studios:
Learn: Embrace technology to connect programming and film better
We need to embrace technology further and see how we can form an intersection between programming and film (for example, interactive videos might be fashionable again).
Unlearn: Underestimating audiences and dumbing down messaging
Time to unlearn some of the aesthetics that we’ve held as canon all these years. We need to put traditional framing for horizontal video on the back burner and find creative ways to frame for vertical formats. Similarly, we need to move away from a specifically slick aesthetic whenever it’s not required – audiences today want authenticity to shine over overproduced stuff. We need to stop underestimating audiences and dumbing down messaging. In the internet age, everyone is engaged in sophisticated discourse – and we are more likely to cut through the clutter if we acknowledge that audiences know and expect better from brand communications these days. We need to unlearn the way we look at content creations and crews – everyone has potential to be a creator and the fact that one person with a mobile phone can entirely disrupt an industry has to be leveraged better.
Sidharth Singh, Co-Founder, CupShup:
Learn: It’s crucial to create a niche in your business
The advent of the new decade will force us to learn many things or become obsolete in the long term. The most crucial one will remain the necessity to create a niche in your business. In my domain, i.e., Marketing, it is imperative that we learn to dig deeper vertically and create a niche which keeping value addition intact for our clients in mind. Either you are delivering results on a well-defined metric and returning handsome ROI to your clients or you are going out of business. The industry is ruthless and there are hardly grey areas left anymore. Thus, one must learn to create niche and not just sustain but stay relevant in changing times.
Unlearn: To stop seeing the customers only as numbers
However, this doesn’t mean getting married to purely data-driven advertising. We must unlearn to decouple ourselves from the madness and cease seeing the customers only as numbers. Although, the views, impressions and related metric count, we shouldn’t get entangled in the number game and ignore the emotions that form the basic premise of advertising. Advertising as we know it is losing its mojo. The communication is being template-ised, content made ephemeral and message tweaked as per moment’s need. We must unlearn not to take the easy way out, understand the emotive quotient and serve our clients in a way that the communication, content and message linger on for a long time to come.
· Marketing campaigns, which are tailor-made for the consumer, provide a better connection with the consumer emotionally.
· Marketing continues to evolve at warp speed. It’s imperative to adapt and evolve with new marketing trends to stay competitive and retain high-quality customers.
· Setting an intention to learn and integrate new technological innovations will help set brands apart from the rest of the herd.
· It’s important to understand which marketing models and tools are killing your conversions instead of driving them. It’s time to unlearn complete reliance on old traditional marketing models and trends and marketing analytics tools to give more space to creativity and innovations.