#EnoughAlready 2019

Why traditional marketing will continue to hold fort


Digital advertising still accounts for only about 18% of India’s advertising spend, says Abhishek D Shah, Managing Director, be positive 24

Is traditional marketing dead? Not yet. In fact, not ever.

As someone who has been in marketing and advertising for two decades, I’ve heard the comment, “Traditional media is dead, digital marketing is the only way forward” in almost every marketing forum I’ve been part of this year. As the founder of both, a digital marketing company and a traditional media agency, my team and I work closely with over 45 regional, national and international brands across sectors and markets, and I’m happy to share a few thoughts about the supposed death of the old school.

Yes, the world is going gaga over digital. And rightly so. Digital spends are growing to shadow their analogue cousins. As India sees nearly 500 million internet users (the second largest consumer base in the world), marketing spends on digital channels have increased dramatically in recent years. Everyone and their uncle is pursuing the digital dream.

Why traditional marketing will continue to hold fort

But, remember, we live in a country where almost two-thirds of the population is yet to even get online. So, my humble request to the messiahs of digital; hold on to that epitaph. Actually, don’t. You may never need it. As responsible marketers, we must not be blindly fooled by western data. Digital advertising still accounts for only about 18% of the country’s advertising spend — and despite growing rapidly at 32% year-on-year – it will only occupy about 35% of the marketing mix by 2023.

We all know how much of a marketing blitzkrieg we were subject to during the Lok Sabha elections. Of the total advertising spend of approximately ₹3,000 crore, only ₹500 crore was spent on digital and social platforms. The rest was invested on traditional forms of outreach, including direct last-mile manpower. The digital pie was less than 20% of the total marketing spends.

Still not convinced? OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar recently invested about ₹300 crore on advertising to get your eyeballs. Guess what? Traditional media got ₹250 of the ₹300 crore. Even our online platforms that target digitally-savvy millennials and the digitally-native Gen Z seem to love our offline media.

Here is the sector wise share of digital marketing spends in India. The BFSI (Banking, Financial Services & Insurance) sector is the biggest spender on digital media with a contribution of 38% of all their marketing budgets. This is followed by consumer durables (36%), e-commerce (34%) and telecom (31%). Meanwhile, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) continues to spend heavily on the television (63%) while retail sector spends largely on print (54%). Even digital e-commerce brands seem to rely heavily on traditional media. Read those numbers again, carefully. Now, ask yourself, is traditional media really dead?

Anyone who pegs offline marketing against digital marketing doesn’t understand marketing. Both platforms will evolve and are not meant to compete but complement each other. Marketing mediums or otherwise, what we have had enough of in 2019 is the mood of division and of pitching one against the other.

So, let’s begin 2020 by celebrating each other and winning together.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 11:57:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/abhishek-d-shah-on-the-supposed-death-of-traditional-media/article30411706.ece

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