M & A Handbook: Experts share prevailing Advertising trends

Advertising Trends

Industry experts share one marketing & advertising trend that in their opinion will shape the industry dynamically.

The speed with which the industry evolves gives birth to new Media, Marketing, and Advertising trends every single day. With too many trends and too little time to process and apply them in the scheme of things at your brand and agency, we attempt to consolidate key Marketing & Advertising trends 2020 that one needs to look out for.

Call it a Handbook if you may, as these industry experts share trends that they feel will single-handedly dominate and shape the M & A world.

Ashish Bhasin, CEO – APAC, Chairman, India, Dentsu Aegis Network

Goes without saying that the three Vs of marketing – Video, Voice, Vernacular – will lead 2020. It is the first year where AdSpends will cross the INR 10 billion mark, a major contributor of which will be digital. This will also be the year where digital overtakes print; within digital 50 per cent of the budget will be reserved for mobile advertising. On an agency front, agencies will have to help clients transform. 30-second ads are a passé; agencies need to stop thinking in silos and think data. This is the time of intense transformation and many big names of the past might fade.


Priti Murthy, CEO, OMD India

There will be a lot of campaigns that dabble in mass personalisation as data allows for it. Content is bound to grow, not just in terms of amplification but actual growth. The virality of news and verification ecosystems will see growth in the next three years as a revamp is underway. OOH and television are important and their synergies can help brands. Biggest spends will be on video whatever medium it may be, as visuals are a staple.


Rahul Mathew, NCD, DDB Mudra Group 

About 5 years ago, Barack Obama had tweeted – “We’re the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.” Climate change is no longer just a moot topic for global forums and academia discussions. With the rise of Gen Z change activists like Greta Thunberg, companies will increasingly need to move Responsibility and Sustainability from their conscience and into their marketing mix.


Vikram Sakhuja, Group CEO, Madison Media & OOH

Today Digital, Data and Tech occupy more than 50% of a marketer’s mind space but less than 20% of spend. Measuring top of the funnel effects will reach a boiling point with Tech Media Giants being forced to acknowledge the issue. DMPs will start churning insights and impressions will start evolving to insight-led audience profiles. I’m expecting to see interesting work on MI/AI and Voice. I don’t expect the internet of things to impact media just yet.


Garima Khandelwal, CCO, Mullen Lintas

Integrating the various days of the year in the product story to craft digital content is a pivotal trend to follow to establish an emotional connect and move beyond a transactional relationship with the consumer. Another trend to watch out for is brands taking a hyperlocal route with strategic intent. An example of data mining to conceive a clear-cut campaign is another key trend. I hope one thinks of very specific solutions for a specific brand, an actual product or an execution idea.


Tarun Rai, Chairman and Group CEO, South Asia, Wunderman Thompson

One trend I see has ramifications on not just advertising but also the way ad agencies work is ‘integration’. Increasingly, the number of communication partners carrying a message to consumers has become a problem. The message gets diffused and the marketer is left managing the many ‘specialists’. Besides, it is becoming sub-optimal in terms of costs. It’s not easy for traditional agencies to build specialist capabilities quickly. It requires a change in attitude and thinking. A change in the kind of people that need to be hired, organisation design, and delivery of the Integrated Solution at a global scale.


Srija Chatterjee, MD, Publicis India

If you show someone to be underprivileged or run a campaign around a product that is meant for the underprivileged, suddenly it becomes fantastic and emotional. It wins awards too. However, it is not fair because you don’t have to necessarily show someone in a disadvantaged position to tell a story or create a campaign. It’s a trend I have seen playing out internationally and I really hope it dies out soon.


Shekhar Mhaskar, Chief Growth Officer Isobar India

Conversational Marketing using chatbots with the aid of NLP will very rapidly proliferate in areas such as customer service. This would be used in instances where the conversation has to be human-like in order to facilitate not just basic communication but also product recommendation, personalization and other e-commerce solutions.


Varun Duggirala, Co-Founder & Chief Content Officer, The Glitch

Brands will focus on acting more like publishers. The last two years have shown that when brands start curating and creating content that consumers want to consume rather than content that interrupts what they generally consume, it creates stronger long term brand loyalty. It’s also something that could, over the next decade, be a revenue driver (single-digit % but revenue nonetheless and that’s going to be the real game-changer).


Rana Barua, Group CEO, Havas India

Growth of OTT will give rise to deeper audience engagement. The content tsunami has engulfed the consumer and is only going to continue, as a result of this; clients will need to spend time and invest in these mediums where there is a massively captive audience. With Regional/Vernacular growing from strength to strength, agencies will need to better understand this dynamic consumer. Their consumption on mobile will continue to grow and we must customise content that fits and engages via this medium effectively.


CVL Srinivas, Country Manager, WPP India

Though the consumer is always on and flirting between different touchpoints, they don’t act in a sequential manner when it comes to buying. Going forward, it is important to map out consumer journey and focus on customer experience. The marketing service budget for traditional is coming down and by 2020, the number could slip below 20% globally.


Prasad Shejale, Founder & CEO, Logicserve Digital

Three performance marketing trends will stand out this year include an integrated approach, zero party data and automation. An integrated approach will involve all teams early in the plan to build an impactful strategy that considers all aspects of digital. Zero Party Data will be an audience-first approach that helps provide explicit audience interest and preferences to analyse the consumer purchase journey. This data can help in devising the marketing strategy and evaluating its efficiency. For automation, you will see a shift of human skill requirements from routine role to strategy building role for emphasizing on creating better customer experience by using human analytical skills.


Carlton D’Silva, CEO & CCO at Hungama Digital Services

Carlton DSilva

Brands should definitely adopt AI and stop worrying too much about what goes out on social media. The life of these posts is a day or two and they shouldn’t be too bothered about the content that goes up. Another key aspect to remember is that minimalistic design is something all should adapt to. Just because there is space doesn’t mean it has to be filled.


Anubhav Sonthalia, CEO, Merkle Sokrati

Evolution of Display is a major trend. Thanks to Programmatic Media Buying, AI tools bid for ad spaces on web pages in real-time using data-rich audience personas, delivering speed and accuracy. This in-turn increases conversions rates (CVRs) with drops in costs per acquisition (CPAs) at a scale that surpasses search impressions in thousands. Next is AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages), they focus on making the user experience more accessible and friendly. A standard web page could take anywhere between 8–9 seconds to load on a mobile handset whereas the AMP-enabled pages bring down this speed to 2-3 seconds. I see it as a chain reaction process where a decrease in loading speed causes bounce rate to fall and thus, increases click-through rates (CTRs). 


Amit Wadhwa, President, Dentsu Impact

In 2020, there will be no space for agencies that only want to cater to one medium. They will have to create expertise through new talent or training existing employees. It will become important for agencies to start orchestrating a larger brand experience across the consumer journey. Right from hyperlocal advertising, to effectively managing the CRM and loyalty portfolios to even shoppable posts on social media, agencies will start extending their playing field by influencing business too in a big way.


Soumitra Karnik, Chief Creative Officer, Dentsu Impact and Happy mcgarrybowen 

User-generated content will continue to grow in value as a key asset for the social media and brands should leverage themselves clearly and cautiously around it. Another trend would be to employ micro-influencers holding a smaller number of followers but wielding more credible push. Social media regulation would prove to be a game-changer as governments are getting more and more wary of the dark side of the web where people are publishing all sorts of content without differentiating between what’s right and what’s wrong.


Anupama Ramaswamy, National Creative Director, Dentsu Impact 

Shoppable stories would take the lead in 2020. Social media will see less of static and more of videos. Live streaming platforms will be used more for launches, walk-throughs, DIY tutorials or behind the scenes content. AI being adopted for pictures, stories and videos is something marketers should pick up more enthusiastically, not just in the beauty and wellness industry, but others too. I see in-feed games becoming a trend as well. Gaming is cool and a break from socialising. So a game within a feed is sure to become popular. 


Sohail Khan, Business Head, SVG Columbus India 

Three performance marketing trends will revolve around data-driven marketing, creative optimisation and analytics. Data-driven insights will help in all the three stages of the campaign (pre, during, post) as well as forecasting, optimisation and KPI deliveries. Dynamic communication and creative optimisation will help address creative fatigue, ensuring optimal campaign performance. Analytical data from diverse sources will help manage revenue KPIs through attribution management, lead funnel management and process optimisation. 


Nitin Sabharwal, COO, SVG Columbus 

Deliver where the user is will be the mantra for the next couple of years. Users no longer want to traverse multiple islands to get services or products. Leveraging consumer data or audience cohorts will be the call this year louder than ever. More use of data to deliver the last mile will help consumers engage more with advertisers on chatbots, AI-driven consumer journeys with little offline assistance. Digital agencies will have to formulate more efficient remuneration models to stay relevant in this cut-throat digital performance agency space.


Aalap Desai, Executive Creative Director, Dentsu Webchutney

Personalisation would be one of the biggest game-changers for digital marketing. We now have the means to suggest something to the consumer before they know that they need them. It increases engagement, creates richer dialogues and most importantly, alters behaviour. Visual search has become a very big thing and it is going to get even bigger in 2020. With Google lens being integrated into the Android camera and Pinterest finding a new lifeline in Pinterest Lens, it is the latest bandwagon that brands should jump on.


Harsh Shah, Senior Vice President – Accounts Management, Dentsu Webchutney

TikTok has proven itself as a great engagement platform and will continue to do so with the potential to clock billions of views for a campaign. Brands can make the most of chatbots to create engagement for a campaign or facilitate a small utility. It’s time for brands to leverage the AR capabilities of mobile handsets and users’ need to live their campaign story. It is important for brands to understand the potential of Instagram Stories to deliver a seamless, continuous and immersive brand message. 


Nishi Kant, Executive Vice President & Branch Head, Dentsu Webchutney

Businesses are now trying a more people-based approach. This means that ads will now be geared towards targeting real people through emails and other registered user data. Targeted marketing isn’t confined to just a single form of advertising. It can be applied to practically any — video, social media, TV, display, and even print advertising. This gives marketers a plethora of options to make sure that only relevant audiences receive their ads. Marketing is going to become a game of personalisation.


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