Advertisers need to move to cost per unit model of brand outcome

MUMBAI: In 10 years the Indian media scene has grown, altered and evolved. The number of media choices before consumers have exploded. Consumers often consume more than one media at a time. Unfortunately, the way in which media buying is being done by agencies has not changed. Fragmentation of digital is a big challenge for agencies and marketers.

It would be helpful if the agencies and advertisers shifted from Cost Per Rating Programme (CPRP), Cost Per Thousand (CPT) models to Cost Per Unit (CPU) model of brand outcome. Also, the measurement has to improve and it is an intermediary step to business outcomes that are responsible for getting the investments being made.

If advertisers can be transparent, media agencies facilitate transparency and media owners take on accountability then the industry will be in better shape. It will also not take too long for digital to overtake print and be the second largest ad earner.

These points were made during a session on the third day of FICCI Frames. The session titled ‘Advertising, Media, Marketing: #10yearChallenge’ was moderated by Madison World chairman Sam Balsara.

While giving his opening remarks, Balsara said that in a changing scenario the only way for brands to succeed and navigate their way successfully through a changing landscape would be to focus on brand outcomes. The currency that marketers should look at is the cost per unit of brand outcome rather than CPRP or CPT.

He noted that both digital and TV are growing. TV last year grew by 18% though its share of the total market has come down to 38%. The share of sports genre has moved to 10% of the TV AdEx. The government spends on ads has doubled since Modi came to power. Over the past decade, 3000 new advertisers have come onto TV.

His hope is that pretty soon a single currency will be developed for measuring video across TV and digital. Then it will establish itself as the dominant numero uno medium. He feels that in the next three to four years digital will be the second largest medium displacing print. Usage of digital advertising continues to gallop.

But a practical solution on concerns like data pricing, brand safety, viewing standards has not been found nor is a concerted effort being at an industry level to address or contain or manage at least some of these issues. He feels that India’s ad market will remain the fastest growing ad market in the world. It will be 12-15% over the next few years given that GDP is expected to grow by 6-7%.

He noted that there is a quest among marketers to understand consumer buying behavior but the more time, money that is spent in that direction the less is understood. He likened the Indian consumer to an onion with layers of skin which keeps changing in shape, colour, and size. This makes the task of the marketer daunting. The supply of media has brought about multiple challenges for a marketer when it comes to building a brand and sustaining it. Brand building, he said, has become a hugely complex matter and to succeed one needs a balance of art and science.

The session had representation from agencies, broadcasters, the TV rating measurement body, and advertisers. The panellists included BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta, Viacom18 Head Hindi Mass Entertainment, Kids TV network Nina Elavia Jaipuria, IPG Mediabrands CEO Shashi Sinha, Ultratech Joint Executive President, Head– Marketing Ajay Dang, and Marico head media, digital marketing Ankit Desai.

BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta said that with new tariff order (NTO) there is a ratings dark period and it will take two weeks before things stabilise and one can say that a new normal has happened. With NTO, the consumers are being told to exercise their choice and many times it is a forced choice versus actual choice.

He also said direct to home (DTH) operators have different problems while multi-system operators (MSOs) have different problems. The big shift that is happening is on free platforms with channels coming in and others going out. Some big broadcasters have pulled out channels from DD Free Dish which means that millions of viewers are not being addressed that way.

With respect to BARC India, Dasgupta’s main concern is that the talent is not there in the area of media analytics. Sectors like BFSI and telecom have data analytics talent but in media finding people who understand the data tools of analytics is a big problem.

Viacom18 Head Hindi Mass Entertainment, Kids TV network Nina Elavia Jaipuria said that authentic storytelling is one of the keys to staying on top and doing well. The cutthroat competition has meant that the viewer is spoilt for choice. Therefore, storytellers need to tell the most authentic stories to keep the viewer hooked.

She further stated that the viewer has become very discerning and has a point of their own and will not be afraid to call out a broadcaster for not being authentic. At the same time, one must tell a story that is very relatable and also very endearing. It is important to curate endearing characters that have the ability to capture the hearts and minds of viewers, she stated.

Jaipuria also said that there is a need to look at whitespaces that GECs have not seen ever before. Her company does a lot of outside in listening as opposed to the other way around which used to the case when kitchen politics shows were being dished out for the longest time.

She also noted that there is a wrong perception that Hindi GECs have lost share. The entertainment channels have a 53% share of the total TV viewership pie. “If one looks at the 2015-2018 period, there has been a 40% growth in weekly impressions for Hindi GECs. Consumers watch more of TV as seen by the performance Hindi GECs and kids and have taken away time from their day.”

Jaipuria also said that the media owner, advertiser and the media agency have the same goal of growing market share. Therefore, there is a need for all three to come together to achieve this. She said that media owners are looking at ways to see that clients achieve their business objectives. In this regard, she gave the example of branded content wherein a seamless, non-intrusive way her company takes the brand to the consumer.

The other way is for the media owner to build tribes and communities that the client can engage with on a daily basis. Her company is doing different things so that the client reaches the business objective. Having said that conflict is not a bad thing as it is then where the best decision for a business emerges. Friction sometimes is good.

IPG Mediabrands CEO Shashi Sinha said that the biggest that is happening is personalisation where you can track consumers at an individual level. The big challenge that his media agency faces with clients is deciding how to look at digital as a medium within the context of delivering audiences.

Ultratech Joint Executive President, Head– Marketing Ajay Dang said that his job is about listening and storytelling. The story needs to be carried across multiple media. “We need to understand the rules of the medium as to how the story needs to be told. Second, we need to evolve enough that we measure whether that story is reaching the final audience.”

His worry is that marketers and people on the creative, media agency side have not grappled and understood enough as to how that storytelling needs to change. He also believes that marketers have not done themselves a service by bucketing some of these things in a fairly isolated fashion. The audience does not care if the brand’s story was seen on mobile or on the TV as long as the proposition was framed well enough so that the content registered.

While the audience has evolved enough the industry including marketers, media content generators have not kept pace with that. There is a constant catch up phase. “My sense is that we are actually falling behind. This worries me. The ROI that is to be delivered to our organisations is suffering because of our lack of putting it all together.”

Marico head media, digital marketing Ankit Desai said that 10 years ago the priorities included efficiency and effectiveness. Today, the company is in a scenario where there is democratisation of data and data is threatening to become a deluge to drown companies if they do not do something about it. Data is a priority to take up so that it is not squandered as an opportunity.

There is also a fusion of media insights and sales on digital and this is creating a disruption in the way in which business models are being challenged today. Today a priority is to understand that space and engage with it in a way that the company does not also the edge that it had.

In terms of the bias of FMCGs towards TV advertising, he was noted that the communication journey of some companies has been built around television over a number of years. But a shift is happening where other mediums and other platforms like digital have an alternative role to play. But TV continues to play the role of an audience aggregator.

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