Published on February 1, 2014
The Advertising Mess BRIDGE’ing the gap for accountable MarCom Bipin Mundhwa & Amit Nevrekar Published by Sci-MO Includes incisive consumer insights from India’s leading expert and bestselling author on customer experience branding - CYRUS M GONDA 2
The Advertising Mess Copyright © 2012 by Amit Nevrekar & Bipin Mundhwa The ‘Bridge’ Model Copyright © 2012 by Amit Nevrekar & Bipin Mundhwa DISCLAIMER: Due care and diligence has been taken while writing, editing, printing and publishing this book; neither the authors, nor the publisher, nor the printer hold any responsibility for any mistake that may have crept in inadvertently. Neither the authors, nor the publisher, nor the printer shall be liable for damages arising here from. No part of this publication or the ‘Bridge’ model included therein may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the authors. The concept of the ‘Bridge’ Model cannot be commercialised without the prior legal permission of the authors. All names, characters and brands appearing in this book are hypothetical and fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead is purely coincidental. The opinions expressed in this book reflect the personal views of the authors and are not intended to represent the views of their current and/or past employers. The purpose of this book is not to create any controversies, but to educate the industry about the prevailing loopholes that can be plugged for developing robust and scientific media measurement systems. The fact that an organisation or website is referred to in this work as a citation and/or potential source of further information, does not mean that the authors endorse that information. Further, readers should be aware that internet websites listed in this work may have changed or been withdrawn between the period when this work was written and when it is being read. 3
Acknowledgements In our journey to accomplish this work, we had a number of individuals who have directly and indirectly supported us whom we wish to thank: Our parents for their blessings and prayers. Kshitij, Aditi and Payal for their love and patience. Prof. Cyrus M Gonda for his valuable guidance. Mats Isenberg for his thoughts and deliberations. Paritosh Joshi for sharing his wisdom and encouragement. Onkar Vaidya, Pavan Bhatia, Percy Adajania, Manushreshth Sharma, for their support. Mitesh Thakker and Dr. Anar Rupji for technological advancements. Mrs. Seema Sharma for her kind generosity. Dr. Bhaskar Das who gave us inspiration to publish this book. Ashwin Jhadav for the cover page design. And last but not the least, We thank The Lord above for enlightening us to walk this path. - Bipin Mundhwa and Amit Nevrekar 4
On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. - David Ogilvy 5
Contents Page no. Foreword 10 Testimonials 12 1. The Unknown Urban Territory 24 2. The Unexpected Mutation 34 3. The Jumbled State of MarCom 42 4. The Bitter Truth 54 5. Industry Black Boxes 66 6. The ‘Bridge’ Model 93 7. Enhancing MarCom – The ‘Bridge’ Way 121 8. In Pursuit of ROI 128 References 135 Glossary of terms 137 6
Preface The need for this book was strongly felt due to a vacuum existing in necessary practical literature, coupled with the recent controversies in audience measurement and advertising industry currencies in India, which gave an impetus to this publication. A constant refrain of industry professionals is that since investments in media research currencies are not forthcoming, adequate sample sizes for surveys are not financially feasible, and it is this lacuna in sample size which is leading to the distortion of the research results. The implication being, if adequate sample size is assured, all MarCom problems would disappear. We would like to raise the question - Are there no other problems with the fundamental philosophies underlying the entire MarCom process? Is sample size the ONLY issue to be addressed? Currently, a lot of practices in the MarCom domain are being done in a mechanical manner. This is mainly due to the fact that most of these procedures and processes are now computerised and the people working on them are generating results without really understanding the logic and rationale of the steps they are performing. Huge amounts of money and time are currently being invested (maybe ‘spent’), in advertising activities. The size of the advertising industry in India in 2011 was over INR 279 billion. 7
And guess what? There is not one single dedicated structured model available to evaluate and analyse the efficient utilisation of this huge figure. Of course, there are stand-alone currencies which claim to do their bit, but as this book reveals, they suffer from severe shortcomings and lacunae. This book is structured around such a model which is the need of the hour. In fact, the model came first, and then the book evolved around it. We have termed the model as ‘Bridge’. It is elaborated in depth in Chapter Six of this book. We recommend maintaining the flow of the book for better understanding of the model. The entire book has been developed in a logical sequence which explains the evolution of MarCom, the behavioural patterns of different segments of target audiences, the current state of MarCom (which needs drastic improvement), the bitter truths and realities which are part and parcel of this industry. After this, follows the chapter where the current industry currencies are evaluated in a neutral manner. The evaluation will lead to the understanding that many of these currencies are incomplete or outdated, and that the need for a single holistic currency, which incorporates the vital element of consumer behaviour (currently ignored as a factor in most existing currencies), along with the latest available technology for capturing behaviour and patterns and analyzing them in real-time, is greatly needed. We hope that this book is appreciated and taken in the spirit in which it has been written. We, being from the industry ourselves, have a deep passion to ensure that the industry moves with the times, and any loopholes which can be plugged, should be done, not only by us, but by all MarCom practitioners who feel that the industry needs to constantly evolve and progress. We do hope that this beginning which we have initiated in our own small way is taken 8
as a starting point and carried forward by stalwarts of the industry, for whom we have the utmost respect. We would value and appreciate any feedback from our readers which would help us in fine-tuning this model further, as we want not only our industry to grow, but also our advertising clients to benefit to the maximum. 9
Foreword by Dr. Bhaskar Das Group CEO - Zee Group (News & Digital) For some time now, the media-scape in India and the globe have been undergoing tectonic changes that are led by the accelerated pace of change in technology and consequent transformation of consumer behaviour. In fact, the evolutionary pace of consumers has gone far ahead of the changing behaviour of marketers and marketing communication. The asymmetries are clearly visible when, in the process of planning communication, one notices the dependence of marketers on inventory occupancy and exposure rather than working on matrices emanating from behavioural and consumer engagement data. The book by Bipin Mundhwa and Amit Nevrekar aims to bridge this gap. In fact, they have called their unique model itself ‘Bridge’. The authors have tried to rationalise the media audience measurement through a unified model score across media formats called ‘B-Score’. The emphasis of ‘Bridge’ is more on consumer behaviour and their various levels of emotional engagement by day parts across different media platforms as against mere exposure. The authors have delved into the communication receptivity of even one-to-one media vehicles, such as YouTube and radio on mobile. Other approach of data capturing for Bridge is primarily through online panel and real time reporting. This enables them to showcase unique advantages of online platforms as against conventional survey methods. Bipin Mundhwa - with over 7 years of diversified experience in media planning, audience analytics, quantitative forecasting, media 10
research - and Amit Nevrekar - with over 12 years of experience in brand management, consumer Insights, marketing & media research, media strategy, segmentation and positioning - are distinctively empowered by their academic and empirical experiences in developing an approach for an adaptive media mix modelling and accountability by measuring ROI (returns on investment or involvement) through a unique method of Ad tracking through call-for-action, i.e. clicks, inbound calls, SMS keywords, etc. I strongly feel ‘Bridge’ will usher in a futuristic marketing communication, and any practitioner of marketing and advertising cannot afford to miss the application that helps account for every dollar that is invested in advertising and communication. To emphasise on how difficult it was to reach potential customers through advertising John Wanamaker had quipped: "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." John would have been happy today had he been here, as he need not worry about wasting advertising budgets. Welcome to the ‘Bridge’ !! 11
Testimonials Cyrus M Gonda – Best-selling author and thought leader in customer experience and communication management. Logically inclined individuals have always been justified cynics of the rampantly haphazard and thoroughly unstructured manner with which the Ad industry as a whole has been functioning in the Indian context. Considering the humongous ticket size of this industry as whole, levels of professionalism in functioning are at an abysmal level. Even award-winning advertisements have seldom generated reasonable revenues for the client, who ultimately foots the bill for them. The creative agency literally gets a free flight all the way to Cannes. Crores are wasted in securing the easily available services of star brand endorsers who wouldn’t mind lending their name to a rotting pile of garbage if the price was right. The price, of course, is paid by the client. A sister concern of the Ad agency recommending the star endorser often has the contract of ‘managing’ the star’s various endorsement engagements, so it doesn’t require intelligence or vision to see why many Ads focus on star endorsers, even when a better Ad could have been made and aired at a fraction of the cost without them hogging the limelight at the brand’s expense. 12
When the money is not your own, it is always easy to play and gamble, and this is the supreme art that most Ad and media agencies have mastered with royal élan. On the other hand, consumer brands are not without blame themselves. They have been constantly seeking empathy and understanding from consumers by playing the ‘poverty card’ when it comes to investing in much needed business essentials such as upgrading infrastructure and investing in employee development, which would result into enhanced service and experience levels for their loyal customers. Reputed brands (in the businesses of confectionery, oral hygiene, hair care, and the like), go to great lengths to cut ‘costs’, often by surreptitiously and sneakily reducing the net volume of their packaged product offerings by a few measly grams, simultaneously thumping their branded chests with loud tomtomming of the fact that they have kept their price íntact’, or have only ‘marginally increased’ the same in the interests of their customers. (As an example, a renowned toothpaste brand recently reduced the size of its 200 gram pack to 190 grams. This was brought to my attention by my mother, who like most housewives, observes such brand tactics with an eagle eye.) Brands have every right to reduce the original size of their product offerings without highlighting the fact to unsuspecting customers. Brands are, and need to get, increasingly cost conscious. And rightly so. But cost cutting should be looked at not from the viewpoint of a jaundiced eye, but from that of a clear one. Thus, indulging in such penny pinching size-and-volume reduction chicanery could be best expressed by resorting to the colloquial Indian term – ‘chindigiri’. 13
Also, such perverse actions dilute hard-won brand credibility among valuable consumer segments such as the ubiquitous housewife. And as David Ogilvy, the true father of modern advertising often stated – ‘The consumer isn’t a moron, she is your wife.’ The point of this entire sordid example and introduction is – the very same ‘cost conscious’ brands which scrimp and save a few grams at their customer’s expense, pour millions down the proverbial drain of ever-more expensive, possibly wasteful advertising, without attempting to verify whether the evaluation (if any), of the returnon-investment on such humongous, colossal expenditure is being scientifically funnelled or evaluated. The advertising industry in general appears to have deep-shelved the invaluable lessons imparted by David Ogilvy as being impractical to practice, while continuing to hypocritically worship his name, which still carries enormous face-value brand equity. The entire media planning industry has been functioning in an increasingly sloppy and arbitrary fashion, literally playing black-jack with their client’s (the advertiser’s) hard earned money as though no reckonings were to ever follow or no answers were to be ever provided after this Bacchanalian orgiastic media-manic feast. And indeed, up to now, such has been the sorry state of affairs, where neither were any pertinent questions asked, nor were any honest answers forthcoming. On reading some of the facts highlighted in this book, I was stunned into stupefied silence. For instance, admedia being a 279+ billion INR industry in India and as of date not even a single semi-reliable methodology or model to authenticate the efficacy of the investment. Stunning. Frightening. 14
Soon, thankfully however, this nonsensical status quo will have to summarily cease and desist. And the full credit for this positive paradigm shift in MarCom methodology will be due to two intelligent, creative, courageous, forthright, and practically inclined professionals from this industry, who have developed a world class MarCom model which could leave senior industry practitioners positively red-faced. For decades, most practitioners have been indulging in the morally, if not literally, criminal activity of flaunting and squandering their client’s funds in a manner which can at best be charitably termed as ‘unprofessional’. Once the model developed by these two gentlemen is understood, adopted, applied, and taken to heart by a grateful client base, it will put a full-stop to the prevailing errant insanity. Advertisers (FMCG, telecom, insurance, et al), should be singing paens of ecstasy and hosannas of joy, congratulating these two fine, outstanding professionals for the yeoman service they have performed by ensuring that every rupee that will now be invested in advertising would have to be scrupulously accounted for. Now with this much awaited model in place, the client gets a firm leg to stand upon, and irresponsible agencies will perforce have to justify every Rupee they induce the client to invest into advertising, and some semblance of sense and sensibility will finally seep into the mad bad ad world. 15
I would rate Bipin and Amit as the sane voice bringing succour to the beleaguered client, who till now has been at the mercy of the big bad mad Ad agency wolf. If media agencies will henceforth find their every media related recommendation searchingly queried by their clients, they will have only themselves to blame. David Ogilvy would have heartily approved of this client-centric model and would be smiling his blessings from above. And that, is the highest possible accolade any genuine media related model in today’s client discounted world could hope to achieve. God Bless, Bipin and Amit. You’ve done a fine job. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Sandip Tarkas, - CEO, Future Media | Chairman, MRUC TechCom ( IOS ) In an era of constant innovations in media and new media being born every day, media consumption habits have been the most affected and increasingly less and less understood subject. Unfortunately the measurement of these habits, which forms the currency for buying and selling media hasn't kept pace with the rate of change in media itself. This book by Amit and Bipin makes an attempt to take a step back and understand some of these trends from ground up and offer possible solutions to a new media mix for a new world. A vital read for all practitioners of media. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------16
Paritosh Joshi - Provocateur Advisory | Chairman, MRUC TechCom (IRS) | BARC TechCom We live in times of ever accelerating change. This impacts every aspect of life; where and how we live, what we eat, our sources of livelihood, politics and governance; and impacting all these and everything else, the central role that burgeoning, pervasive media play in our world. It is no surprise therefore that authors, experienced and newly minted, find the media, irresistible subject matter. Social scientists delight in unravelling the complex relationships between creators and consumers of content; business analysts trace investment, growth and opportunities for profit; information theorists develop ideas about signal and noise. And every once in a while, practical minded writers address themselves to the challenges faced by thousands of unglamorous professionals involved in buying and selling media advertising inventories. Amit and Bipin belong to this small and indomitable tribe. Having themselves been in media AOR for a considerable period, they understand the pleasures, and more crucially the pains associated with the process. Unlike most of their peers, however, they abhor resigned acceptance of status quo and in so doing, develop novel approaches to decoding, measuring and planning media. The thought provoking book you now hold in your hands came out of their realization that these new ideas may benefit their peers even 17
as it provokes further deliberations that could evolve them further, to the advantage of the profession. If the art and science of planning, selling and buying media has to keep pace with their accelerating metamorphosis, we need more and more thought leadership of the sort that these two youngsters have chosen to volunteer. I heartily commend this book to you, dear reader. But don’t just read it. Debate, argue, challenge and transcend its ideas. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Sanjay Tripathy - Executive Vice President, Marketing - HDFC Life Amit's and Bipin's smart, sincere and thoughtful approach models the insights they advocate in this book. They have a remarkably simple way of appraising the journey of Indian media and social network over the years and take a critical look at the cookie-cutter approach that is often adopted by Indian advertisers and media agencies. The authors dip into their experience of marketing and media research to put forth a model that attempts to ‘Bridge’ the gaps by taking into account the dynamic state of new age media, the inherent need to allow for fluidity in measurement and the overarching business need to weave in accountability. The tools and insights shared in this book have been instrumental in elevating my leadership. It is a required reading for any marketing leader looking to play to his or her strengths and inspire others to win. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------18
Rana Barua - Chief Operating Officer, Law & Kenneth Very refreshing and thought provoking content for the media-space. The authors have successfully pointed out not only the voids and professional crimes being committed in MarCom space but also provided solution in form of a unique model. This model is not only useful for quantitative side of media but also very useful for creative side. Model ‘Bridge’ can rightly be useful with certain rider questions for measuring the impact of the creative and campaign. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Mats Isenberg - CEO, Nepa India As a market research professional, it has been a great pleasure to follow Bipin and Amit journey of writing ‘Bridge’. Their greatest achievement lies in the switch from a media focused perspective to one of the consumer. Their holistic approach examines the actual receptivity of the consumer rather than the inhered nature of each media. Bridging the gaps in cross-media comparison, day-part effectiveness and of course, most importantly, engagement level brings a whole new set of tools to the media planning industry. Integration of the insights from the ‘Bridge’ will allow media planner to minimize waste which is beneficial to all stakeholders being advertisers, media agencies, media owners and the consumers. It is with great anticipation that I see the media planning industry transform into its new breed based on theories and tool set describes by Amit and Bipin. 19
Mr. Mitesh L. Thakker - President, Sci-Mo | CEO & Founder - AdoRoi Inc. "The Advertising Mess" is the true depiction of the state of MarCom, where-in not just the MarCom processes but even the fundamental currency it-self is in question. This book reinforces the challenge faced by esteemed marketer John Wanamaker in 1880's who said, "Half the money I spent on Advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half". In the times of John, it was a question of Half the money. In India it seems it is much, much more than half. I really appreciate the passion and commitment Amit and Bipin have shown to correct the state of MarCom and solve the century old dilemma facing of Wanamaker. I wish them all the very best and would like to assure them of all possible support in their pursuit to help the Advertising Industry cross the ‘Bridge’. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Martin Radford - Director - Billetts Media Consulting | Ebiquity plc UK Advertising’s job is to impart information, David Ogilvy said. Today, we witness an ever increasing list of ways in which brands can approach this task and also in which the consumer’s reaction can be predicted and quantified. But many of the classifications and measurements are rooted in a time when Don Draper roamed the earth. A new approach is very much welcomed, it will create argument and counter-argument but hopefully advertisers, agencies and consumers will all benefit. It’s a Herculean task pulling that amount of work together; I wish you both every success! 20
Seema Sharma - General Manager, The Times of India Bipin and Amit have invented what is genuinely needed for behavioural media planning today. The book has provided the breather for indefatigable media houses looking for ROI to help advertisers. The thoughtful application of the proposed model ‘Bridge’ will help the advertisers and media-owners for appropriateness of content for the relevant audiences in different day-parts. I congratulate the authors for doing a great favour to the industry. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Malini Bhupta - Associate Editor, Business Standard Media consumption has been changing at a rapid pace in India, but the mechanism to it remains as primitive as ever. The consumer has moved on to multiple screens from the erstwhile television screen, but measuring systems haven't evolved to capture this shift. Nobody quite knows what the Indian consumer really consumes and how and in what quantity. In short, the traditional ways of measuring audiences have to be shown the exit door. It is high time that we genuinely ask the relevant questions, as is being done by Bipin and Amit, to address the issues of contemporary dynamic media-space. The passionate authors have depicted the scenario that stake holders need to address. I recommend this book to all industry practitioners across hierarchy. 21
Bedraj Tripathy - Sr. General Manager, Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. (Div: Godrej Interio) In an era where consumers’ preferences are changing at a faster pace than they ever have, media usage of brands to connect with the consumers seems to remain in their archaic fiefdom. So much so, that the new media also follows the footsteps of traditional media – unfortunately. Secondly, the quality of marketing talent in organizations – brand side or agency side – is going southwards and this is slowing innovation in the industry. This book by Amit and Bipin is a modern day guide to every marketing professional in this industry. A new chapter on thinking and application that is much needed for every layer of the marketing tree. This is one book that aims at literally bridging the gap between brands and consumers – relevant for both B2B and B2C. A must read!!! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Dheeraj Ahluwalia - General Manager Marketing - South Asia, Standard Chartered Adapting to the 21st century’s marketing & communication is more than necessary. Authors have not only pointed the outdated MarCom planning approach but also effectively attempted to address it through their model ‘Bridge’. I anticipate that the ‘Bridge’ model which provides engagement score could be effectively used by organizations in service sectors too. 22
Shashank Sinha - General Manager Marketing, Eureka Forbes Limited Welcome to Real time Marketing. While Marketers across the globe have endeavoured to reach out to consumers and get a quick feedback on the consumers’ response to their Marketing effort, it has never been a cake walk. The process is riddled with assumptions and challenges in the absence of immediate and accurate information. Enter Response Led scientific media marketing with its Ad Track codes and real-time connects Solutions. Over the last 2 years I have experienced the power of this medium and its ability to optimize media planning and deliver enhanced value. The real-time response tracking coupled with ethnography not only help in media planning but also help provide creative inputs. Amit’s and Bipin's work provides great insight into the tools available to the marketers today that will help ‘Bridge’ the GAP and greatly improve ROI. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Manish Advani - Head, Marketing & PR, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (SSG) This book seems to be a game changer. Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see”. In Marketing, there is a great need for us to be the change what our customers want to see. This book by Amit and Bipin will teach you how to be the change based on time, place and circumstance. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------23
1. The Unknown Urban Territory A day in Asmeena’s Life… Asmeena, a 28 year-old housewife, wakes up at 6:30 am. She immediately switches on her radio in her living room and moves around the house to complete her daily dozens. After getting ready, she has a quick glance through the newspaper. She then starts preparing the lunch-box for her husband. Somehow, the radio in the background, although playing, does not get her attention as she is absorbed in the eye-catching headlines in the newspaper. She finishes preparing the lunch-box for her husband and sees him off by 9:00 am. After a while she goes to the market to purchase some vegetables and starts preparing lunch around 11:00 am. While preparing lunch, she also listens to the radio, moving between the kitchen and the living room. Around 12:45 pm, she starts having her lunch and also puts on the TV for her daily dose of general entertainment serials. She is intensely engaged with the TV series she is currently following. She in between occasionally switches to another general entertainment channels when the advertisements come on, to view the other series which she also likes to follow. During the afternoon around 2:30 pm she listens to the radio on her mobile phone, but this time she is in her bedroom, relaxing. She 24
dedicatedly enjoys the radio and then sleeps for a couple of hours. After she wakes up, she logs on to the internet for some quick email checking. She also takes this opportunity to log onto her favourite social networking sites and does some quick chatting with her friends. In the evening she flips through some magazines. She is at this time in a very relaxed mood. Around 7:00 pm, as she starts chopping vegetables for preparing dinner, her mind goes to the prime-time serials she is following regularly on TV. She switches on the TV, watches the serial till the first commercial break, and then moves to the kitchen. She keeps shuttling between the kitchen and the living room as per her work in the kitchen and the commercial breaks on TV. In addition she doesn’t forget to check with her husband on his phone when he is expected to arrive home. She also mentally prepares to give up control of the TV to her brother-in-law who stays with them and who is sitting alongside, waiting for his turn to watch his favourite programme. Both Asmeena and her brother-in-law have different choices of programmes and genres on TV. A day in Ameet’s life… Asmeena’s husband Ameet, who is 30 years old, wakes up at 6:30 am. He reads the regional and English dailies while having his morning tea around 7:00 am. He is a little worried about his meeting today at office on the issue of sales targets. He passively listens to the radio station that his wife has switched on. After 9:00 am he leaves for office and drives through a road which has a lot of outdoor hoardings on both sides and also listens to the radio and suddenly his mood swings into the orbit of entertainment 25
while listening to a song which he likes. Once he reaches office, up to noon he attends meetings and also continuously surfs the net for office related work and simultaneously surfs various social networking sites either on his office computer or on his smartphone. In the evening he drives back home and on the way takes a small halt for a cup of tea with his friends. He also sees a lot of road-side hoardings while driving home and listens to the car radio. He is now in a somewhat tired but happy mood, having had a good day at the office. Once he is back home at 9:30 pm, he quickly takes control of the remote and surfs through news channels for the latest news of the day. However he is not in a mood to see any commercials and quickly switches between news channels and sports channels when commercials come on. In between all this, he has to respect his wife’s choice as well for her favourite TV programmes when they come on and at such times he surrenders the remote to her. He is eagerly waiting for control of the remote, once his wife finishes her viewing. At the same time, while passively watching programmes which his wife has switched on, he is hooked on to his smart-phone very actively on social networking sites and also web-surfs. So there now starts some mutually agreed switching of channels as he also wants to switch to some news channel to catch the latest headlines. He is not really paying attention to what is happening on the TV while his wife has her serials on. Therefore the engagement of both Asmeena and Ameet for TV viewing is in reality not absolute, although this is considered as ‘prime-time’ by MarCom practitioners. 26
A day in Mayank’s life... Mayank, the 21 year-old younger brother of Ameet, who is an engineering student, wakes up in a very energetic mood at 7:00 am and immediately grabs his high-end smart-phone. He quickly surfs the news on his mobile apps. He also quickly checks his personal mail and browses through a few of his favourite social networking sites. He also at the same time passively listens to an FM radio station that his sister-in-law (Asmeena) has put on. He is very intensely hooked on to whatsapp, facebook, etc. While getting ready for college, he puts on his favourite music channel on TV. He leaves for college while listening to FM radio through his handsfree ear-plugs. His mood suddenly swings once he enters the college campus and meets his friends. He starts working on some assignments. During lunch time he does a lot of Google searching, facebook chat, gtalk, etc. with full concentration. His attention is very much divided between his academic assignment search results and his social interactions on his smart-phone or laptop during the entire afternoon. After college hours, he along with his friends visits the food-court at a nearby shopping mall as that is where they regularly hang-out. While in the mall, he is exposed to in-mall advertising displays, some ground promotions, etc. After he finishes his regular mall hang-out around 6:00 pm, he rushes home to catch up with his favourite sport on TV. He is in a mood for some exciting viewing but is also at the same time very much hooked on to his smart-phone for his ongoing social interactions. Once he reaches home, he requests his sister-in-law Asmeena to let him watch his favourite sport on TV. Asmeena after some hesitation agrees to let him watch. Mayank is very much hooked on to his 27
sports channel. However, during commercial breaks, Asmeena requests him to switch to her GEC channel to catch up with her daily series. After a while Mayank again switches to his sports channel. Clearly both of them are not very much into viewing full commercial space but they are exposed to it in bits and pieces while not being in a very attentive or receptive mindset. The implications of all the above for effective advertising The characters that we discussed above will behave differently on weekends and also may behave differently on certain weekdays, as no two days are the same. We have just described here a typical weekday in a typical urban Indian middle-class household. We have already mentioned that the weekend scenario in the same household may be completely different e.g. on weekends, the couple Asmeena and Ameet may wake up a little later in the morning. They may spend more time than on weekdays in reading newspapers; hence their receptivity for newspapers may be at its peak. In the evening they may go out to a nearby shopping mall and may get exposed to some below-the-line (BTL) advertising activity. At night they may both be hooked onto a movie on TV but with good focus and no switching between channels, as Mayank is out with his friends and Ameet does not find any interesting programme to watch on news channels. Therefore on weekends, multimedia touch points have different emotional engagements since work pressures are reduced. Another important aspect of in-home and out-of-home scenario needs to be understood because our at-home activities and outdoor activities are different. Therefore our emotional engagement varies 28
for in-home and out-of-home activities; thereby receptivity levels for absorbing advertising messages are different. Summary … Now let us summarise the above mentioned typical scenario of a single TV household in India. Asmeena the housewife has got a certain pattern of watching TV, listening to the radio, reading the newspaper, internet surfing, etc. during different parts of the day. However, her mood and emotional engagement also differs by time bands. She is not the same person in terms of her mood during the afternoon as she is in the early morning and is also not the same in the evening. This simply means that her attention and emotional engagement, which play a critical role for her receptivity for any advertisements, differ according to the time bands of the day e.g. she watches a TV programme in bits and pieces in the evening while cooking, where she may or may not get exposed to commercial space. As per the people-meter technique of recording the audience, she may be recorded as an audience. According to the current technique of data capturing, she is considered as a viewer no matter how low or high emotionally she is engaged, as after all she is considered by this technique as a prime time viewer. On the other hand, during afternoon time as we observed she is a very active and passionate viewer without much disturbance (as compared to evening time), but that afternoon viewing is not considered as prime-time for the purpose of media planning. Why? 29
Unfortunately, the way the advertising industry currently operates is based purely on numerical in terms of exposure to the medium and not considering the emotional state of mind of the audience, which varies according to the time bands of the day. “One hundred dedicated viewers would be a far better audience for commercial exposure as compared to five hundred distracted viewers.” But this is not what current practices say. Similarly, multi-media consumption for different parts of the day with varying emotional engagement can be explained for Ameet’s and Mayank’s day patterns. In simple words, this means that even if your desired audience is exposed to your message they may not be attentive or receptive to it. It can safely be said that different parts of the day have a different media-mix in terms of the different media that holds people’s attention at these different times. These further vary for the lifestyle of a typical housewife, working men, students, etc. Therefore mediamix consumption in general varies during different parts of the day for different audience segments. Put simply, different combinations of media have a different impact on different segments of the audience who are in their different emotional engagement states. The important issues that we raise here are: Can media-mix investment decisions be made on one single combination of media-mix at the macro level only, which is what usually happens at the start of any advertising campaign? 30
Are we ensuring at what level our audience is emotionally engaged to media platforms, while our advertisement is being showcased on different platforms? Have we considered that while we count an audience member as being exposed to our advertisement simply because he is engaged with the media on which our advertisement is aired/displayed, he could also be involved or paying attention to another medium/media at the same time, thus rendering our advertisement message as useless or diluted? e.g. Asmeena, the housewife listening to the radio passively, while reading her newspaper in the morning. Have we taken efforts to calculate the different media-mix combinations by parts of the day, for weekday vs. weekend with their desired impacts? As of now, this is not being done. Do our marketing and communication plans take care of the finer points that we have raised above, as without considering these points, our media plans would be faulty and flawed. Can we calculate the immense leakages at the message level and the investment level, which have happened in the past and are continuing to happen in the present due to lack of precise answers to the above questions? Can we imagine the number of potential brands which have been destroyed or have drastically underperformed their potential due to lack of adequate information on the above raised points, in spite of the brands having excellent creative 31
but being shown at the wrong time on wrong medium to audience in wrong frame of mind? We can just imagine how many brands were misplaced and misread because of the lack of information on the above questions in spite of having some brilliant marketers and planners working round the clock. All efforts and investments on building these brands can go down the drain as basic answers to the above questions have not been sought or clarified. And finally, we can wonder how the 279+ billion INR advertising industry, which has to operate under this handicap and be satisfied with the limited and grossly inadequate information in syndicated research space on which they base their entire media investment decisions. We can just imagine how much extra money is being spent to measure the effectiveness of campaigns individually by advertisers and agencies, yet not giving the desired results because the tools itself are inadequately designed and fail to consider important aspects highlighted above without which media planning decisions can only be at the best guess-work. In fact, none of the above is really news to people experienced in the fields of brand management, marketing, media planning & buying, media research or market research in India. The industry professionals are well aware of the issues raised above, but no holistic, concrete model has yet been created to address these crucial issues. There is a great need for action to join the multiple dots raised in the above questions so that a syndicated research study can be created for media planning. This model can be used by media agencies, 32
advertising agencies, and most importantly by the client who is investing his hard earned money to build his brand. Note - The hypothetical scenario in this chapter is based on ethnography study and qualitative research conducted in August 2012. To comment on this chapter SMS <AB1> space <your comment> to 08080445599 OR give a missed call on 08080445599 to post a like 33
2. The Unexpected Mutation Firstly, let us take a quick glance at the environment which existed in India a couple of decades ago, with relation to media, media usage and media exposure. This chapter forms the nucleus of this book and our proposed model, as it actually establishes the fact that though media expansion in all dimensions has occurred by leaps and bounds, correspondingly the methodology and refinement in media research and measurement has almost remained stagnant. Understanding of this chapter will lay the foundation for our proposed, developed concept and current deficiencies in the space of media research. This will help MarCom professionals understand whether media research has really been transformed as it should be. This will provide answers as to whether any obvious looking changes and new media research products are genuinely answering the current confused and cluttered scenario. Socio-Economic Environment in India in the 1980’s and early 1990’s: The job psyche in general during this era was to be occupied in a 9am to 5pm job. Securing a steady, government job was top priority 34
for most educated people. People primarily had the mindset of focusing on family, social activities with their relatives and social gatherings of community members. During those days, the general psyche even in urban areas was to stay put in community ghettos and celebrate festivals en-masse. The frequency of visiting friends and attending all community events without a miss; whether marriage, engagement, etc. was extremely high. This was a typical single-screen theatre population. The socialising environment that we follow today was very different just two-three decades ago. Glamorous socialising with a cosmopolitan friendcircle, groups heavily involved and hooked onto digital platforms that are common today were non-existent then. Because there were no social networking sites available, neither had internet penetration nor multiple TV channels had evolved. For couples, having children was a necessity, while cars, telephones and video players were a luxury. Therefore the environment was neither complex nor cluttered for purposes of marketing and communication. People religiously read newspapers, magazines daily for at least 1 – 2 hours, that being the main source of information. Newspapers also had a maximum size of 8 – 16 pages, with fewer advertisements. Similarly, on TV, there was only one government owned national television channel. The TV content which was broadcasted during the evening time-band mainly consisted of entertainment programmes with a social message reflecting the issues then being faced by the common man. Overall, lack of multiplicity of channels and predictable TV content made the MarCom professional’s life far easier in those days than in today’s era. People usually in those days used to wind up viewing TV by 10 pm at the latest. 35
Furthermore, late-night radio used to be the common media habit among the masses. There used to be popular radio programmes which are still fresh in listener’s memory (such as Binaca Geet-Mala or Bournvita quiz contest) for those listeners who grew up in those times. Switching between media platforms during the same time-band by audiences was not a prevalent practice those days. Clearly, this was an era of single time-band, single media platform exposure, with almost the same level of audience involvement throughout. This meant that unlike in today’s era, cross-media engagement with multiple-genre exposure did not exist. Interestingly, media planning and buying during that era was amazingly manual in nature. The media planners used to refer to circulation figures provided by Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) as NRS was irregular in its reporting, usually with a gap of 5-8 years. The ABC data did not contain any individual readership figures for specific newspapers or profiles of readers. The first ever National Readership Survey was initiated by Indian Society of Advertisers and The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) in 1970. Later on in 1995 three industry bodies namely, ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation), AAAI and INS (Indian Newspaper Society) formed National Readership Studies Council (NRSC) to make NRS reporting more regular. However, Pre-NRSC era, NRS was not regular in its frequency of reporting. Therefore, planners used to apply their own judgement of readership growth to previously reported readership figures by NRS for their day-to-day planning activities. In the absence of recent readership numbers, planners used to calculate the readers per copy 36
(RPC), by considering the latest available circulation figures and derived readership figures basis the above described method. Also, these readership numbers were provided in the form of a printed report. One can just imagine the amount of labour this required to analyse. But, this makes today’s veteran planners fundamentally so strong (as they grew up working in that tough era) that even today they have the capacity for accurate number crunching without using sophisticated computers and software. TV ratings also used to come in printed reports provided by one of the golden-era research agency, Operations Research Group (also known as ORG). Unlike today’s planners, 1980’s planners used to do a lot of manual number crunching since computers as well as clickand-go systems were virtually absent. Obviously there were no people-meter machines to capture viewership data. Weekly diary method was used for capturing viewership and this was reported on a monthly basis in the form of printed reports. It is surprising to note that plan hygiene (robustness, accuracy of data) and optimisation used to be done with the help of research agencies as well. This factor is almost missing these days. Many of the media planners used to send the plan to the research agency for optimisation and hygiene checks. As compared to this, typically nowadays management trainees are trained on how to directly generate software output and are tagged as ‘Planners’ with no conceptual and statistical understanding. This means that nowadays, generating output from software is what planning has been reduced to. Operating the software which has been pre-programmed is the limit of their knowledge as planners. 37
Environment in the late 1990’s: Now let us gradually move on to the late 1990’s. This was an era of introduction and adoption. The environment of the liberalised economy with fruits of LPG (Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation) was actually being seen by the common man. Consumer segments started seeing multiple brands in products and services and this was also the case with print and TV. There was a rapid launch of new newspapers and magazines creating their own space, genre and specialty. New TV channels with multiple programme genres mushroomed. The privately owned television channel industry, which started with Zee TV and Star TV in 1992 and 1993 respectively, saw a spurt of national and regional channels. This led to multiple genres and hence multiple options for MarCom professionals to choose from. This was a thrilling start to the complex multiple options available on Indian TV space. All of a sudden, the media space was looking action-packed and juicy. This was an era when advertisers, media agencies and media houses came together to form a Not-for-Profit organisation called ‘Media Research Users Council’ (MRUC) in 1994, which started Indian Readership Survey (IRS), for providing uninterrupted and continuous readership reports. Similarly, in 1998, TAM Media Research was formed in partnership with joint industry body comprising ISA, IBF (Indian Broadcasting Foundation) and AAAI for TV audience measurement through latest people-meter technology. This was just one side of this complex era. 38
On the other side, there was one formidable and potential platform secretly shaping up. And that was the introduction of cellular phones and the internet. The common man started using cellular phones in India in 1995 and since then this industry has not looked back. It has only grown rapidly in its features and offerings. Adding fuel to the fire, another electronic machine that was making waves in the middle class households and in offices was the desktop computers and portable computers, popularly called as laptops. In fact the second half of the 1990’s laid the foundation for contemporary electronic media platforms. Internet accessibility and connectivity for communication was exciting and all over the place. It derived its huge appeal for younger audiences due to easy connectivity, access and the sharing of knowledge from across the globe. The traditional media was not quiet either. In the year 1997, the government gave permission for the first ever FM radio channel to be launched. This added Times FM/ Air Rainbow to the almost drylooking radio space in India. This actually brought back the attention of many professional media houses to enter the radio space and create huge value for audio media properties. Environment in the early 2000’s: After the much hyped year of 2000, there was a rise in infrastructural projects and hence there entered a culture of shopping malls, multiplexes, food courts, flyover networks, residential colonies with multiple sky scrapers, etc. This changed people’s behaviour for spending their leisure time, outings, eating habits and cinema viewing. This also led to growth of multiple and valuable space for 39
outdoor billboards/hoardings. In fact, OOH, from being just a hoarding on the roadside, moved to bus-shelters, shopping malls, kiosks, airports, petrol pumps, flyovers, food courts, etc. There started privately owned FM radio stations mushrooming in Indian radio space. This added a new dimension to compete with the existing highly competitive Print and TV industry. There were 108 and 338 FM radio licenses issued in phase I (2000) and II (2005) respectively. Private FM licenses attracted professional media houses; as many as 9 broadcasters in phase I and 40 broadcasters in phase II to offer contemporary audio properties and hence created more options for MarCom professionals. Environment in the late 2000’s: Welcome to the recent past which moved from hesitant shopping mall masses to frequent visitors of shopping malls, hyper markets, and multiplexes. This led to innovations in traditional and contemporary media platforms, which we all directly or indirectly witnessed. This was an era of the touch-screen smart-phone, internet access at the finger tips, multiple apps on phones, viewing any favourite audio-video content on YouTube and so on. But the real game changer was different breed. This was the initiation of the revolutionary social networking sites. This created more options for MarCom professionals on a different domain called social media. But, what was happening to TV and print media in all this while? 40
TV was witnessing newly defined genres called reality shows and cricket which entered in the shorter form of entertainment for the entire family called T-20, and many others. Print media witnessed foreign specialty magazines entering the Indian market. Moreover, TV as a medium got a new definition for reception called Direct-toHome (DTH), Digital Video Recorder (DVR). This set the climax for MarCom space which is really thrilling and complex development for MarCom professionals and advertisers. This was the time when gradual but firm voices from the advertisers for visible Return-On-Investment were raised to justify their MarCom expenses. This is rightly a matter of major concern for clients who are spending unheard sums for increasing small amount of visibility. This is definitely going to be the question which will shape the direction of MarCom in the future. To comment on this chapter SMS <AB2> space <your comment> to 08080445599 OR give a missed call on 08080445599 to post a like 41
3. The Jumbled State of MarCom The marketing and communication process, or MarCom in its popular abbreviated form, has been associated with many stakeholders. These stakeholders include and range from marketing executives at the advertiser’s end, to media agencies, to creative agencies, to media owners and their offerings, to market research agencies. Unfortunately, despite so many professional stakeholders involved in the MarCom process, it has been observed that the interest of the client (advertiser) which should be the primary concern and focus for each of these stakeholders, gets diluted somewhere. Thus, the role of ‘Brand Custodian’, which these stakeholders should primarily be playing, is not being done effectively. Also, since so many ‘middle-men’ are involved, the budget for the client to receive the benefits of genuine research rises far beyond what would have been otherwise necessary, with dips in quality of research output frequently occurring to add insult to this budget injury. Interestingly, all these stakeholders bring with them their own unique perspective and insights for brand communication and media execution. Each of these mentioned parties feel that they are contributing the best to the final output within the budget allocated to them. Usually they may have to settle for a limited budget and have to limit their 42
offerings. Advertisers may show some flexibility in terms of enhancing the budget and offerings after considering the pitch made by these parties such as media agencies, creative agencies and market research agencies. Most importantly the advertisers currently depend a lot on competitor activities and industry advertising pattern to decide their advertising budgets. This is a typical scenario prevailing across the industry and also across continents. On the other hand, media agencies too depend a lot on observing industry trends and competition to see how best they could match the leaders of the respective industry and competition within the industry, to take their decisions. The various stakeholders are supposed to primarily act as consultants, and provide professional, ethical advice, which should be in the best interests of the advertiser. It is not necessary that industry patterns and competitor actions are the best guide to deciding ad spends. If this were the case, the advertiser could well have taken the decisions by himself without the need of professional agencies, just by observing what his competitors were doing. Yet it is often observed that these agencies encourage the advertiser to increase Ad-spend simply because they feel that his competitor is doing so and he should not be left behind. Market research agencies and media agencies focus their datacapturing efforts and advisory efforts for MarCom on the advertiser’s competitor’s efforts. They give little attention to innovative and productive methods which could provide the advertiser with far more value for money. Overall the entire thrust is mainly competition-centric and thus leads to conveniently copying what is going around in the industry. At the first glance, this method appears to be the logical thing to do. But are we missing something here? 43
Let us understand this process in the context of the two main stakeholders involved. MarCom at the advertiser’s end As we know, advertisers initiate their media campaigns for existing or new product and services. The budget that they allocate for the campaign largely depends on industry standards prevailing at that time of the year. This is mainly influenced by how much their nearest competitor is spending on his campaign. Almost every advertiser applies a mix of their own wisdom and logic for deciding the budget. Within a specified budget, they use their own qualitative judgment to split this budget between various media platforms. They may sometimes call for a media reach split from their media agencies to decide on what budget allocation would go into each of the platforms, viz. TV, print, radio, digital, below-the-line activities, and so on. But the critical questions that need to be addressed are: Is the ‘Ad-expenditure report’ of the industry (competitor’s ad-spend), a sufficient logic to answer the question of your own media split? Whether just relying on ‘reach’ as a tool is sufficient enough to decide the split of media budgets across platforms? Have we understood the media-mix modelling that can help us on scientific media-split and investment or is this model rarely applied in practice? According to Schultz and Swallen (2000), both advertisers as well as media agencies lack the scientific logic and the data insights that can be utilised for deciding the media-mix investment split. Schultz and 44
Swallen further expressed that simply depending on reach and frequency may cost the advertisers dearly at the time of postevaluation of the campaign as the campaign may under-deliver of over-deliver. In fact, media-mix modelling, which should ideally be used as one of the main scientific tools to decide on media-mix investment split, is a tool which is conveniently ignored by most agencies. Since, if the tool were used, the end results could vastly differ from the one that is suggested by the agency, and the advertiser could question the agencies for incorrect advice. Interestingly, these days many media agencies conduct research, develop media-mix models and try to implement them in their planning process, but more for the purpose of showing that they are doing it and not with genuine intent. This activity is still not popular due to the complexities involved, non-continuous data feed (lack of relevant research and model building) administered as and when required explain the casual approach adopted by the agencies. It is not imbibed in their process. Finally, a few pertinent questions need to be clearly answered before initiating investment in advertising budgets: Are we taking care of the media-mix based on different dayparts? Are we addressing the ‘mood swing’ of audiences by dayparts and hence their differing receptivity at different times of the day? How do we know that a particular media-mix is the best for a particular day part? 45
How do we know the effectiveness of a particular media-mix for a brand in a day-part, as compared to competing brands which are also advertising in same day part? Is it better to select a non-cluttered day-part where your competitors are not present or should you join the herd? No current currency gives these answers. Have you optimised your media plan to cater to the local audience, at the same time maintaining a national scale? Are your plans and your execution taking care of the dynamic receptivity of your brand’s most desired audience segment, e.g. young and affluent, or may be the middle-class youth brigade? More importantly, do you still believe that your target audience is exposed to the same media-mix in the same proportion across different day-parts at the same level of receptivity? We doubt the answer to the last question will be an affirmative from even the most learned and informed of advertisers. And further, are your current media plans and corresponding execution taking care of weekday v/s weekend, in home v/s out-ofhome with different media-mix and emotional hang-ups of individuals? MarCom process at the Media agency end Almost all our friends in the media field would agree that the manner in which media planning and execution at the agency end is currently done is extremely predictable and pre-decided at any given point of time. Whether it is the media budget split for popular and 46
traditional platforms such as TV, print and radio, or conducting some below-the-line activities. Media-planners have pre-conceived notions about each platform and budgets (these are mostly decided by advertisers and mostly agreed by planners without change). It just follows the established general trend of TV as receiving the maximum investment, followed by print, radio and internet, with a pre-defined excel format to be sent to their respective clients. Often, the highest break-up is recommended for TV with special preferences to specific channels, not because that would suit the advertiser’s needs the best, but because most media agencies have rebates understanding with TV channels, provided they give them a certain volume of advertisements. This process at the media agency end is so prevalent, that the other day we were discussing media planning and execution with one of our friends from European market research agency, and to our surprise he said he is well aware of how media planning and execution is haphazardly done in most Indian agencies. He described to us that in his experience with Indian media planners, most of them appear to be middle-men negotiating with media owners on rates and asking for value additions. They seem to be focusing more on CPRP and value-addition but less on the strategic needs for the brands they represent with respect to the changing dynamics of media space, divided audience attention and its impact. We had to agree in the affirmative. So what exactly happens at the media agency end? Agencies typically analyse category and competition spend to arrive at the media-mix spend. To provide some consumer analysis, the 47
agency may use Target Group Index (TGI) and IRS data. This analysis on the consumer ranges from consumer psychographics, to media consumption pattern, to product consumption. But finally, spends for the brand is decided mainly on the basis of category and competition media-mix to have a higher share of voice. This by itself is not sufficient as highest share of voice does not guarantee results as it is only exposure-based and not engagementbased. What if the category and competition spends throw up a different picture than what consumer psychographics and consumer media consumption tells? Will a typical media planner have the courage and the ethics to propose and advocate to their advertiser, the correct media spend break-up attributed to consumer analysis (which is the right way of doing things), and not base his decisions on the category and competition spend mix alone? The answer to this question is very well known. Today, media buying has become like a housewife going to the market to purchase vegetables. “How much is this cauliflower? Any discount? Okay, give me so much worth”. No intelligence is applied. Therefore we say that currently, the media-mix spend proportions for any brand are extremely predictable. (Typically 60 percent for TV, 35 percent for print media and 5 percent of the leftovers or crumbs for radio, internet and others, irrespective of what the actual research would show). Additionally, while making a media plan, duplication of audiences for the same content across different media platforms is usually missed out (deliberately?) A simple example for this can be - readership of e-papers, news’ portals; YouTube channels. There seems to be no 48
answer for capturing this behaviour of audiences. Furthermore, browsing YouTube
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