Vishal is passionate about people, brands, and businesses. He is a marketing expert with 20+ years of experience across verticals of Brand Management, Business Strategy, Media Sales, and Development and has worked with leading brands in the telecom and media industry.
At the outset let me begin by stating some interesting facts that have emerged lately,
- Indians spent more than 650 million hours using mobile applications in 2020.
2. With more than a billion downloads, India took the spot of the fastest growing app market in the world in 2020 (Statista.com & Adjust).
3. Active internet users in India are likely to reach 900 million by 2025: IAMAI
4. According to a recent report rural India may have a higher number of internet users compared to urban centers in the coming years
5. The number of smartphone users in India that was estimated to reach over 748 million in 2020 (Statista.com), has already crossed the 500 million mark reaching a penetration rate of 54%, with an estimate to reach 96% by 2040.
While internet users grew by 4 percent in urban India to reach 323 million users, accounting for 67 percent of the urban population in 2020, digital adoption has been accelerated by rural India clocking a 13 % growth to 299 million internet users, accounting for 31 % of the rural population over the past year, alone.
So, one thing that comes forth unanimously is that the tides are turning surely towards Digital and Digital is here to stay!
The cues of these changing marketing & consumption are triggers and indicators of the way forward for marketers & advertisers, too. Further fuelling these consumption patterns are the seismic shifts that COVID 19 pandemic has brought with unprecedented consumer behaviors.
As the virus continues to sweep the globe, brands have changed their interaction with consumers due to social distancing and stay-at-home norms. Consumer buying patterns have also shifted with fluctuations in the stock market, skyrocketing unemployment, and supply chain issues. As many people lost their jobs and those still earning a paycheck worried about future layoffs, impulse purchasing has become infrequent.
Timothy Calkins, clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management observes that “ COVID-19 has continued to affect nearly every aspect of marketing because crises of this scale have challenged the core of business basics, some companies are left unable to do any sort of commerce, while others are struggling with too much demand. It’s very rare that companies will now use the business model and marketing that they used pre-pandemic,”
This swift change means that while there would be challenges, they would also be great growth opportunities. The opportunity is to shift from survival mode to reinvention mode, to focus on what will be instead of trying to preserve what we had.
The rapid digitization is also ensuring that more brands are transitioning to a mobile-first strategy to reach out to consumers. The challenge for the marketer today is not only to target and re-target the right consumer but also to do so at the right time, right place, and in the right context. This is where performance-based marketing is needed, so it can level up the conversion of new buyers in new markets with lower cost, lower risk as well as higher ROI. Therefore, being more data-driven with the ability to customize the needs of different target consumers in various channels and increase conversion and consumer acquisition is the key.
It is a common belief that consumers will never go back to the pre-covid era or habits. Hence, this is the most opportune time for marketers to adapt to changes and consider new targeted strategies to catch consumer attention and shape their behaviors.
However, there are many a slip in this digital hustle and the biggest is data security. As our digitally dependent economy relies extensively on AI, ML, and Big data, it does have its own flips like a security vulnerability. Transitioning into a digitally transformed ecosystem, advertisers need to enable a seamless experience and build trust with consumers and brands. Creating the right visibility and metrics to monitor and improve this experience., as it’s the key to the transformation journey. Although, the democratization of data necessitates an architecture-first approach to ensure the balance of scalability, performance, and security. Brands must track and map their consumer’s digital risk footprint by following basic principles of authentication and authorizations.
API (Application Programming Interface) security best practices need to be adopted and evolve organically as businesses transition into an API economy. The flow of data between these internal and external systems needs to be managed from a cybersecurity perspective to limit or eliminate the exposure of a business’s assets, data, and services.
So, as businesses transform digitally, building security into the journey is quintessential. As it helps ensure that data is available to unlock business value and elevate the consumer experience while staying resilient to cyber-attacks.