‘Big­gest chal­lenge is quan­ti­fy­ing the ROI’

Ashish Gupta Di­rec­tor - Chan­nel Mar­ket­ing Black­berry In­dia

Outdoor Asia - - Brand Take -

Mea­sur­ing the medium

All or­gan­i­sa­tions are driv­ing to­wards very strong ROI based mar­ket­ing based cam­paigns, his­tor­i­cally as well as with time. I think dig­i­tal is ob­vi­ously catch­ing up in a big way which is quan­tifi­able and tar­gets a par­tic­u­lar seg­ment, so you will see that it be­comes tougher on OOH in gen­eral be­cause of the fact that you can’t mea­sure it. Hence it will be­come dif­fi­cult to quan­tify the huge num­bers of dollars spent on OOH.

It is im­pos­si­ble for any mar­ket­ing team to sit and iden­tify 350 sites across the coun­try go­ing live. You can do it but it is not a sus­tain­able model and that is what we do to­day. If OOH needs to be­come a cred­i­ble source or a stronger source of me­dia for ad­ver­tis­ing then mea­sur­a­bil­ity needs to be de­fined. An­other point is that there is a merit to go dig­i­tal I don’t know the chal­lenge be­hind it but I would be sur­prised to see why OOH doesn’t go dig­i­tal in In­dia, the same way it does across the world, es­pe­cially at more con­trolled ar­eas or pre­mium high streets etc. The mo­ment you dig­i­talise it, it is easy ac­cess to man­age the me­dia, change the creative and also mon­i­tor whether it is work­ing or not. So it will ad­dress a lot of is­sues.

Per­cent­age of ad­ver­tis­ing spend on Out­door medium

The use of out­door me­dia re­ally de­pends on the ob­jec­tive of the cam­paign, if the ob­jec­tive is to cre­ate a lot of on-ground aware­ness of the cam­paign and to sup­ple­ment the over­all cam­paign, then the use of out­door me­dia be­comes fairly in­ter­est­ing. The spend could vary, from 10-20 per­cent­age of over­all bud­get, de­pend­ing upon the kind of ac­ti­va­tion that is re­quired for a cam­paign or prod­uct.


The big­gest chal­lenge in OOH, which will al­ways ex­ist, is quan­ti­fy­ing the ROI. There is a num­ber that a print pub­li­ca­tion or TV use or there is a num­ber which can be tracked dig­i­tally. Now, one could dis­cuss the ve­rac­ity of that num­ber. But that is a dif­fer­ent dis­cus­sion, at least I am putting x num­ber of dollars and I can check how many con­sumers I am reach­ing out to and what is the seg­ment of the pro­file of con­sumers I am reach­ing. So this is some­thing which is quan­tifi­able in ev­ery other medium. I think OOH is the only me­dia which is very dif­fi­cult to quan­tify. The clos­est we have been able to quan­tify is at air­port be­cause of foot­fall or traf­fic at air­port which is some­thing es­ti­mated by the air­port au­thor­ity.

The other thing is that in any other medium it is very easy to iden­tify when the cam­paign broke so you know say that a TVC broke at 7.30 on Thurs­day or a print cam­paign broke on Thurs­day morn­ing. But in OOH it is prac­ti­cally im­pos­si­ble to find out when the cam­paign ac­tu­ally broke be­cause it is a chal­leng­ing me­dia, not as sim­ple as putting up a reel and run­ning it. If tech­ni­cally you are run­ning 250 sites across the coun­try, I think it is very dif­fi­cult to set up 250 sites on one day. So what hap­pens if you are run­ning a 30 day cam­paign? You will never have 30 days of me­dia even in the same city. Even in Delhi get­ting all sites ready in one day is a task, so I think ex­e­cu­tion in terms of when the me­dia ac­tu­ally be­come ac­tive is a chal­lenge. It is easy to co­or­di­nate other medi­ums with each other, but it is dif­fi­cult to co­or­di­nate with OOH. You will exit the TV cam­paign in 4 weeks but you will have an over­lap of 5-10 days on OOH. There might be a phase of 10 days when you have no TVC but have the OOH run­ning then though you might not get the same im­pact. The sec­ond would be the sheer ex­e­cu­tion.

The third rea­son would be the up­keep and main­te­nance. It is dif­fi­cult to keep track of what is hap­pen­ing -- like whether the lights are work­ing or not. Even in the most con­fined medium like air­port, it is dif­fi­cult to main­tain. The big­gest fac­tor is how you ac­tu­ally mon­i­tor the ef­fi­cacy of the me­dia. In my mind if you look at th­ese three fac­tors broadly, then it will be­come eas­ier for the mar­keter to make a de­ci­sion con­struc­tively on lever­ag­ing OOH.

Pre­ferred out­door for­mat

Dif­fi­cult to say be­cause we don’t choose one for­mat over the other with­out a rea­son. So the rea­son has to be about what that par­tic­u­lar for­mat achieves for you. For in­stance, the me­dia at air­port be­comes a pre­ferred for­mat and there again, the me­dia which is in­side the air­port is pre­ferred com­pared to the me­dia avail­able out­side the air­port. But usu­ally for a brand of our stature, we def­i­nitely go for large me­dia for­mat prop­erty. The me­dia needs to break the clut­ter. It needs to ad­dress enough con­sumers to res­onate with the cam­paign. With­out a bare min­i­mum thresh­old, OOH doesn’t make sense.

Fo­cus on Dig­i­tal OOH

It fairly de­pends on the cam­paign. There are two ways of us­ing OOH -- ei­ther you are run­ning a broad level cam­paign and not tar­get­ing a wider reach of au­di­ence. In that case, you would use 2 or 3 me­dia ve­hi­cles which could be TV, print and OOH. Al­ter­na­tively, if you are do­ing very spe­cific lo­ca­tion cen­tric then OOH be­comes a very strong con­tender. I don’t think mar­keters have used the lat­ter ap­proach very well; most of the mar­keters use the for­mer ap­proach where they do a mass cam­paign and then they use OOH to sup­ple­ment it. But I think there is a lot of merit es­pe­cially in Tier II and III cities in lever­ag­ing OOH very well. My ob­ser­va­tion is that the tele­com in­dus­try uses the OOH medium very well. The tele­com is very cir­cle cen­tric and they use OOH very ef­fec­tively for lever­ag­ing that state or au­di­ence.

Creative agen­cies –Their fo­cus or the lack of it on OOH & their cre­ativ­ity

I don’t know if it is the creative agency’s chal­lenge or the brand’s guide­lines that mat­ter. All brands work with a con­sis­tent ap­proach across medi­ums. We, the whole com­mu­nity of mar­keters, tend to take the same cam­paign across TVC, print and OOH. To my mind that is prob­a­bly not the best way of do­ing it be­cause OOH me­dia doesn’t give you the same lever­age in terms of ex­po­sure. For in­stance, a print ad will be ex­posed for may be 8 sec­onds, TVC for 20 sec­onds or OOH may be for 3 sec­onds. If brands adapt the creative or gives the agency the right or flex­i­bil­ity or freedom to change the creative, then I think they can use it very well.

Credit is­sues faced by me­dia own­ers

In the case of brands which are cred­i­ble, there are stan­dard pay­ment terms which are clearly laid out on any con­tract that they sign up. If it is a one-off case, then it might be dif­fer­ent. I haven’t come across this prob­lem.

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