ONDC will be a very powerful arsenal for marketers: B Thiagarajan

The Union government’s Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) initiative will be a powerful platform for marketers, Blue Star Managing Director B Thiagarajan said during his keynote address at e4m Screenage Conference 2022 held on Wednesday.

Through ONDC, the government aims to promote open networks for all aspects of the exchange of goods and services over digital or electronic networks.

“Marketers are exploring the power of ONDC. I think ONDC will be a very powerful arsenal for marketers because the government of India has done a phenomenal job and it’s a revolution that is going to happen in e-commerce through the ONDC platform,” Thiagarajan stated.

Thiagarajan said the belief that digital is a cheap advertising medium is a myth. He also stated that digital advertising might be effective, but marketers are not using it to build brands.

“Unfortunately, brands are not getting built, and the people who are not realising it are thinking that they can build the brand through tactical ways,” he added. He noted that performance marketing has taken centre stage in the last few years, and now it is time to focus on building brands.

Thiagarajan asserted that companies should be marketing-oriented rather than sales-focused. “Marketing-focused companies deliver consistent results over a long period of time than the sales-oriented ones.”

Thiagarajan also questioned the fact as to why brands are using digital for tactical advertising or for lead generation. He pointed out that marketers have reduced their e-commerce strategy to price discounts.

“Why does advertising get reduced to tactical advertising or lead generation, or performance advertising? The fact of the matter is that brands are not getting built. It applies to e-commerce as well. I am not sure whether e-commerce is helping one to build a brand,” he averred.

Marketers, Thiagarajan said, should divide their marketing spends between tactical advertising and brand building. “My worry is if digital marketing is getting reduced to the development and posting of video content. Otherwise, why would all agencies focus their energies on the capability and development of content in the form of videos?” he questioned.

He also pointed out that the corporate houses are not committing enough resources towards market research. That said, he added that mobile marketing helps India Inc to solve some of the problems related to understanding the consumers. “Mobile marketing helps in at least getting measurement in a credible way. We are living in an era where we are questioning the data itself but I am not getting into that debate,” he stated.

Thiagarajan also highlighted the issue of a shortage of talent in brand building. He said that there used to be a time when people aspired to be in the marketing or advertising industry after completing their studies.

Mobile, he added, will become an important device for brand building. “Marketers say that you can’t build brands without digital. It goes one more step to say that without mobile marketing you can’t build the brands,” he said in the concluding part of his speech.


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