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Digital helps us connect with the youth: Videocon’s Shikher Gupta

In a conversation with Digital Market Asia, Shikher Gupta, Head – Digital and Brand Marketing, Videocon, talks about how large technology led media owners and Internet companies should encourage more people to join the digital platform by seeding in interesting content that will make them spend more time online. He also reveals that Videocon is using apps and digital media to improve business processes, retail demonstrations and sales processes, as well as exercising online presence to get closer to its core target audience. Excerpts:

Are marketers still apprehensive about allocating fixed budgets for digital media and is their notion of returns-only dependent on consumer time spent?
Digital is an integral part of our marketing mix, and hence we invest in digital significantly. We design our communication to educate our customers through blogs, articles, videos etc. At Videocon, we don’t just commit to digital media for returns but to connect with the consumer, which is not necessarily as per the time spent.

What is Videocon’s rationale behind using digital media and how does it contribute to your overall marketing objectives?
Digital contributes significantly to achieve our marketing goals. Unlike the traditional setup, we have more access to consumer behaviour that helps us in assisting them in a better way. Digital marketing allows us to have a two-way communication with the consumers and helps Videocon as a brand in connecting more effectively with the youth.

You talked about being effectively connected to your audience through digital. How have you used digital to amplify the impact of your marketing initiatives?
Digital has increasingly taken a centrestage for the marketers. The online platform has enabled us to answer any queries within a few minutes using social media or other online channels. This we feel brings us closer to our consumers. As consumers have always been the focal point for Videocon, we utilise the social media platform by creating innovative consumer connect videos that has gained popularity and generated conversations.

In past, we have presented our customers with heart-warming videos on special occasions such as Rakshabandhan, Dusshera and recently on Diwali. These videos strike the right chord and resonate well with every Indian just like the brand Videocon does. This is not the end; the digital platform is also used to improve business processes like the utilisation of apps for in-shop demonstration and sales process. In addition to this, we have also been actively involved in media buying across properties.

From a marketer’s point if view, what is the most exciting proposition that digital has to offer?
As a marketer it is very important for me to understand how my target audience is responding to the campaigns that we are designing for them, and digital medium gives us the power to realise consumer behaviour in real time basis. These quick reactions help us in responding to the consumers or alter our approach in the correct direction. This pace is what excites me and keeps me pumped up.

How do you think technology led media owners and large Internet companies can help you better connect with your core target audience?
Big Internet companies are making huge investments to bring more and more people online, but prior to that they must understand the consumer’s point of view. Internet companies should further encourage more people to join digital and seed interesting content for people to spend more time on the online platform.

Along with pumping up your digital spends, will you be approaching digital differently in the coming financial year?
In the last few years, Videocon has consistently increased its digital spend and plans to continue to do so. As a consumer oriented brand, we understand that users are consuming more and more content on the mobile platform. Our marketing spend and digital ad spends consider these factors and follow the consumer pattern.

Will digital ad-spends take a new direction in the near future? Do you think it will move away from search and display to mobile and social?
Over the years, marketers will embrace mobile. Mobile will be the fastest-growing advertising channel and buoy spending on each of the digital formats such as video, search, display, and social. As a marketer, I feel that search will keep growing. However, display might be reduced while the scope for native advertising will amplify.

What according to you are three big trends to watch out for in the media industry, digital or otherwise?
The penetration of smartphones will be a game changer for the masses that will create new digital users across categories. Focus will be on videos in order to engage with the target audience and there will be an upsurge in native advertising with people across categories joining the digital bandwagon.