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Watch out for content, programmatic and IoT: GSK’s Prashant Pandey

Digital presents an array of opportunities that marketers can use to reach and impact their core target audience. Different brands can categorise and approach their audience depending on their digital preference, giving companies a chance to have a focussed marketing approach like no other media platform.

Prashant Pandey, EVP, Marketing, GSK Consumer Healthcare India, feels that the Indian audience is open to consuming content from different platforms and the industry will experience high quality content, boost in wearable technology, an increase in dynamic creative and programmatic buying as well as blurring lines between online and offline marketing.

The Indian market is abuzz with the growth of digital, but marketers are still apprehensive when it comes to spending on digital media. What is GSK’s view on the subject?
GSK Consumer Healthcare aims to be consumer first and hence we have been and will continue to spend money in media where consumers spend more time and communicate in a way that is convenient for them to consume. Digital is definitely one of the mediums where consumers are increasing the number of hours spent.

How does digital media fit into your overall marketing objective?
Both marketing and digital objectives are a function of the overall campaign/ brand objectives. We design our digital strategy to ensure we are able to listen to what the consumer is saying and thus anticipate their needs. It also allows us new ways to reach out to them and create opportunities for our brands to have a two-way conversation with consumers.

How does GSK differentiate its digital media approach for its brands like Sensodyne to Horlicks, or Crocin?
All our brands have distinct target groups and it is imperative to connect with them differently. Our approach varies depending on the TG and their digital preference and digital media choice. For a brand like Boost which talks directly to children, we designed a game-based engagement program-Boost Power Cricket earlier this year. For Horlicks, we speak primarily to mothers, so the choice of media changes to platforms where they are likely to look for information related to nutrition and child growth. For Sensodyne, we talk to adults who are 30 plus, so we created the Sensitometer, a self-evaluation tool which they can take online to check if they suffer from tooth sensitivity.

What are the opportunities that excite you as a marketer when it comes to digital media? Do you feel that as an industry, we are being able to leverage the opportunities presented by digital?
We are leveraging many opportunities that digital offers and we still believe there is a long journey ahead of us. As a company, our focus is to remain consumer friendly and improve the way consumers currently interact with our brands.

What do you expect from technology-led media owners such as Google, Facebook in terms of helping you connect with your consumers?
We expect them to understand the typical challenges that a brand owner faces while moving spends to new media in terms of measurement and impact on business outcomes, and share best practices to help build an ecosystem that will allow us to get there. Also, they help in getting a deep dive into consumer insights- from the kind of information they consume online to how their online behavior changes with lifecycle.

Will GSK be looking at increasing its digital ad spends in the coming year?
We will continue investing where the consumers are and will follow their path to purchase.

Considering that India is seeing a robust growth in mobile and social, will digital ad spends shift from search and display? Or will all aspects of digital, including e-commerce, grow?
The entire ecosystem of digital media has been on a tremendous growth trajectory – be it search, display, mobile or social. As each one of them grows individually, their proportion of spends will keep changing depending on the brand priorities.

Over the last two to three years, grocery e-commerce has become very popular and we have also been increasing our presence on various platforms. We launched the Sensodyne Expert toothbrush online in association with Snapdeal- a first of its kind launch. This gave consumers an opportunity to try the toothbrush without waiting for physical distribution and we received a great response to it.

Do you agree that digital hits a roadblock when it comes to measurement of ad-spends, since there is a lack of currency of sorts?
Search has its own ways of measurements, YouTube banner ads have their own ways of measurements, television ratings systems are different, print has its own way of measuring its reach and impact. As the industry moves to common system of measuring across various mediums, the spends will flow much easily.

According to you, what are the three big trends to watch out for in the media industry per se?
In digital, three big trends we watch out for are content, programmatic and IoT. The role of various media is changing and television does not occupy the center stage as it used to 10 years ago, and it is changing every five years. This has opened up new ways of engaging with the consumer, as they are now open to consuming content in many more different ways than what they initially did. We will also see a positive shift towards high-quality content.

Abundance of data and benefits of technology is also allowing brands to buy audiences than just impressions – dynamic creative and programmatic buying will see an upswing. In the next 24 months, we will witness wearable technology and the Internet of Things will pave new grounds and will blur the lines between online and offline marketing.