Yes, you read that right. Let me illustrate with an example. Do you feel the need to say “mobile” phone? Or does phone automatically mean “mobile” in most cases? Not even heard of till 90’s, mobile phones have become a way of life. Landline phones do exist, but they are more of secondary devices than primary ones. Mobile phones are ubiquitously present now.
Same is going to be true of marketing. The way the world is moving, all “marketing” would mean “digital” by default. The worlds of offline and online are merging so fast, that the entire ecosystem would become unified in no time. Not that one replaces the other – nothing can replace the three dimensional physical world we live in (hopefully) – just that our virtual existence will go stronger and stronger.
Let us look at a few recent developments in the industry that indicate the onset of this change :
1. The marketing format may be offline, the amplification happens online.
When the whole controversy of the Zomato outdoor campaign happened, how many of us actually SAW the physical hoardings? A lot of us came to know through tweets and posts on the internet.
While events and conferences happen offline, live streaming, live posts and tweets and videos and pictures posted later on the internet enable the non attendees too to be a part of it. Needless to say, the longevity of the content and the recall value is way higher online. You can pause, replay or save all the content you need.
The latest example is how advertising for IPL was sold jointly for TV and OTT by Star. The reason is that TV viewing is not restricted to the stationary television sets anymore. It is on an always on mode, thanks to the OTT’s and episodes available on the likes of YouTube. Content consumption has changed like never before, and the lines between viewing on television and viewing online are slowly blurring now. In fact, for every IPL match, there are lot of online activities that are hosted, voting for best catch via Twitter, for example, and the announcement happens over television.
3. From the era of Chitrahaar to the world of online music streaming.
Long gone are the days when people would wait for that one episode of Chitrahaar to listen to their favorite music. The likes of Gaana.com and Saavn.com have their own online radio stations that you can easily tune into, even at work. They also have other options and bring a level of personalization, based on your interests. This also gives marketers the opportunity to customize advertising on these portals. Even in you cab ride, Ola Prime Play gives you the option to listen to your favorite music or watch your favorite content, without the hassle of changing radio stations while on the go when there are advertisements or they play a song on FM that you do not like.
4. Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc) India working with Nielsen to launch Ekam – suite of digital measurement products.
One of the major challenges that marketers face today is that there is no single measurement available for digital viewership and TV viewership. BARC has been working since 2017 with Nielsen to launch its digital measurement services. This will help OTT’s offer a more credible way of measuring success rather than just views or impressions, and will change the overall ecosystem of TV measurement forever. Again, all because there will be no distinction between online and offline eventually.
5. In store experiences are increasingly being amplified using Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.
Today, stores are moving towards becoming more of experience zones. The retailer TopShop designed an augmented dressing room using AR in their stores. Lowe’s came up with an app that helps customers build shopping lists in the app, which recommends the quickest route possible to get the products within the huge store and save time looking for things.
6. Internet of Things is taking over – fast!
While Amazon Alexa and Google Home are making way into a lot of households, though they have their own privacy concerns, a single device – the mobile phone is capable of almost controlling our lives today. With facilities like remotely operating the air conditioner via phone, it is only a matter of time before your dinner will be automatically cooked and kept heated by the time you get home. When everything will be so intertwined digitally, it will be hard to separate the physical from the virtual.
Hence, while nothing is irreplaceable – at the end of the day, we will still be humans with the same set of emotions (hoping it will be several years before robots start coexisting with us). However, for marketers, it will be imperative to be abreast with the latest technology – from mad men they have become math men, it is time they become tech men.
Anvesha handles digital marketing at Asian Paints