Pinstorm and Lintas Media Group, along with the IAMAI hosted the IAMAI Roundtable on Advertising in a Recession on January 13, 2009. The event was attended by stalwarts of the industry such as Pradeep Srivastava of Idea Cellular, Rajiv Prabhakar of Sharekhan, Debadutta Upadhyaya of Yahoo, Aekta Shyam of Taj Hotels and Lynn de Souza of Lintas. The roundtable was moderated by Mahesh Murthy of Pinstorm.
The discussion focused on the benefits of the pay-for-performance model and how companies can use it to derive value from their advertising campaigns. The panel was equally represented by the buyers and sellers of the advertising service and saw various topics being covered.
Pradeep Shrivastava, CMO, Idea Cellular, during his talk, said, â€œThese are tough and nervous times. The Digital Advertising medium is measurable and allows to even reach out to a very focused audience, especially when the times are tough and the competition is forcing you to be more aggressive.â€ He went on to mention that, â€œfor the last one year, Idea has been spending on digital, it has seen encouraging results.â€
According to Rajiv Prabhakar, VP-Retail Business, Sharekhan, â€œWe have been working with small budgets. We have very clearly earmarked budgets for our Pay for Performance and it is delivering results.â€ He told the audience that it was indeed the Internet that had built brand Sharekhan.
Debadutta Upadhyaya, National Sales Head, Yahoo! India, said, â€œThe definition of pay for performance needs to broaden up and go beyond just leads and clicks. Pay only if the objectives were achieved, and make the objective set broad, rather than look at lead generation and number of clicks.â€ Upadhyaya also said that some companies, despite having leads generated, were ill-equipped to respond or deliver. Some wanted leads on their websites without having any interesting content on them.
Aekta Shyam, General Manager – Online Marketing and Technology, Taj Group, said, â€œDuring these tough times every penny spent is under scrutiny. We primarily focused on print and television till 2000; however, over a period of time, the Internet has become a significant revenue generator for us. We are also planning to go mobile soon. We follow our customers wherever they go and if they are on social networking sites, we would like to be there with them.â€
Lynn de Souza, Chairperson and CEO, Lintas Media Group, pointed out, â€œThe big spenders in digital have always been financial services and travel. Both these are the ones that have been hit the most. Fortunately for them, the digital advertising medium is doing very well. They will not be able to afford to be on TV, with no positive return and therefore, they will not pull back on digital, since the medium is growing, they will continue their ad spends.â€
Mahesh Murthy, Founder, Pinstorm, concluding the session, said, â€œDigital is a measurable medium and is becoming a mass medium. I think the advertisers, more than being educated about the medium; know what they want as results. They have a huge need for accountability. I think the medium can go to them and say this is how we are accountable. If the media doesnâ€™t offer accountability, the advertisers will not stand it.â€
A healthy Q & A session followed the discussion and many valid points about the pay-for-performance model were answered and discussed by audience comprising of marketing and advertising professionals. The overall sentiment showed that advertisers are looking at the pay-for-performance model and accountability in advertising seriously.
You may want to read more about the event at Afaqs!, Exchange4Media, Campaign India, AlooTechie or WatBlog.