India’s bustling festival season is here, including the Flipkart Big Billion Day Sale in October and Diwali, the biggest buying festival, in November.

That means brands and publishers are preparing to build their engagement strategies to reach new customers. According to The Trade Desk and YouGov, optimism is high as 91% of Indian consumers plan to shop during this time and six in 10 are ready to learn about new brands and sales.

To meet these consumers, brands are also facing major challenges like adapting to COVID-related changes, finding the right marketing tools, and standing out among the noise across digital platforms.

That’s why Taboola joined exchange4media, publisher of high-quality content for marketing and media professionals, in hosting a roundtable webinar, “Making The Most Of Your Brand’s Key Promotional Periods: Choosing The Right Marketing Tool,” featuring insights from:

  • Amit Tiwari, VP of Marketing, Havells, a global Fast Moving Electrical Goods (FMEG) company with a “Make in India” philosophy
  • Amit Sethiya, CMO, Syska, a leading lighting and consumer electronics manufacturer in India
  • Adil Sanwari, Head of Digital Media and Transformation, HP India, a multinational hardware and software manufacturer
  • Bharat Arora, Country Manager, Taboola India, the world’s leading discovery and native advertising platform
  • Prashant Dhar, Marketing Director, A.O. Smith India, manufacturer of residential and commercial water heaters and boilers

Here’s what they had to say about revamping their marketing strategies for the upcoming season, embracing takeaways from the pandemic, and preparing for future success and longevity.

Create connections through storytelling

“Make sure that you build a connection or a bond with your customer,” Arora said. “As consumer behaviors are changing, this is very important for all brands.”

Marketers can make these connections by developing high-quality content that tells a story and speaks to their consumers’ needs and interests.

“Going forward this festival season, I think it will be more about telling than selling — storytelling to the right audience at the right time in the right place is the key.” – Bharat Arora, Country Manager, Taboola India

Especially during this time of year, people are prioritizing celebration and togetherness. And brands can speak to those values in their advertising.

“This is the time to make them feel special in terms of giving them something exclusive,” said Sanwari. “What I need to do is to engage my audience in a way that they know this brand still cares for me and will do something special for me a year after year.”

Focus on performance metrics

At Taboola, one of the biggest lessons from the pandemic was to prioritize performance metrics.

“We made sure that we molded ourselves and adopted more of the performance side of the business, where we went back to certain important tools that we have,” said Arora.

Taboola Newsroom, for example, helps editorial writers gather actionable insights about what consumers are interacting with across the web — like health and fitness articles — and use them to craft their content. And Taboola Creative Shop pairs brands with video editors, copywriters, designers, and content strategists to build the most engaging creative materials for their campaigns.

Even once the market started to return to normal, Taboola launched High Impact Placements to help brands drive visibility along with performance across premium publisher sites.

“We evolved as a much more stronger, full-funnel marketing platform,” Arora added. “We are sitting one of our best quarters ever globally for Taboola as well as Taboola India. So that was like a blessing in disguise.”

Sanwari also stressed the importance of following the right metrics for your campaign goals.

“Make data your best friend,” he said. “At HP, we try to make sure that all the decisions that we make is based on that data […] Spend more in creating that infrastructure that can give you better result for your campaigns.”

Use your value proposition to stand out

As the competition among e-commerce retailers grows, advertisers are tasked to find new ways to make themselves heard and grab their customers’ attention.

One of the best ways to accomplish this across digital channels is to clearly convey your value proposition, be it affordability, accessibility, or ease of service.

“You need to match your content with the intent of the consumer,” Dhar said. There are things like exchange offers, no-cost EMIs, one day service, etc., which are big drives on these platforms. So that’s very important.”

That is, your creative should reflect the sentiments and pain points of the consumer. Are they looking for fast delivery or curb-side pickup? Let them know you provide these services. Do they need a more affordable version of a high-price product? Offer them a limited-time discount.

“Address each part of the journey with creative, which aids the customer in moving from an awareness stage to a conversion stage.” – Prashant Dhar, Marketing Director, A.O. Smith India

Don’t be afraid to experiment and innovate

For most marketers, ROI means “return on investment.” For Tiwari, it means something else entirely.

“It’s about return on insights and innovation. Specifically when you talk about digital marketing, it needs to have the calibration every now and then. How is it actually matching my objective of reaching the consumer — getting the acquisitions at the lowest minimum [cost] but the maximum impact?” – Amit Tiwari, VP of Marketing, Havells

In fact, Sethiya sets aside 4-5% of his overall budget for trial and error.

“You have to be very agile in terms of listening to what is happening around you,” he said. “Because until you try new channels and new mediums, I don’t think there is going to be any learning.”

Especially with new learnings from the pandemic and the promise of the upcoming shopping season, marketers have valuable opportunities to engage customers with fresh strategies and expand their reach across the open web.

“We have to learn, relearn, evolve and then keep doing it,” Arora said. “It is very important to keep experimenting and keep innovating, especially with digital because it is very dynamic. This should be the key for this festive season.”

Originally Published:

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