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Thursday, 04 January 2018 00:00

Marketing in the age of assumption

There is no doubt we live in a post-factual world and that is as true of marketing as the news media. We have more data than ever on what people do but we rarely try to understand it. Instead we leave interpretation to algorithms, AI and machine learning. We assume that the results are valid and the resulting actions correct.

In the past we did not have all the data we needed to understand why people were buying our brand or not. So we identified the biggest blanks and filled them in as best we could. Maybe the solution was to conduct a few focus groups, maybe it was to conduct a usage and attitude study, or maybe we just hung out with shoppers and asked them a few questions. We made the best assumptions we could and moved on. Then researchers started to combine data sets to get an idea of which metrics really did anticipate behavior, and the degree of assumption involved in interpreting results declined.

At Kantar Millward Brown our early efforts focused on anticipating the how well a specific TV ad might generate brand-linked ad awareness on a tracking study and the Link pre-test came into being. Then we moved on to try to predict the impact on sales. At the same time we started to investigate which attitudinal equity measures were most strongly indicative of purchasing and BrandDynamics was created. In each case, the biggest task was to assemble a data set which would combine attitudinal and behavioral data to work with. Then we conducted extensive desk research and experimentation to try and identify how things actually worked before we created a measurement system to collect the most relevant and actionable data.

Today the process of producing findings from data has been reversed by the huge amount of data freely available to us on what people say and do in the digital world and the dramatic increase in computing power that can be brought to bear on these data sets. But I cannot help but think that this has once again increased the degree of assumption attached to the findings. In part this is due to the confidence that we appear to invest in conclusions drawn by computation rather than questioning. The belief is that we no longer need to create data to help answer a specific set of questions we can simply interrogate the available data ex-post to find answers to questions we never knew we needed to ask.

In some cases this is absolutely true but to assume this can be done for all information needs seems wrong to me. There is always the need to validate that what we measure actually does relate to behavioral outcomes that matter. And I believe that there will always be a need to ask some questions if only to confirm conclusions initially drawn from big data. Today too many assumptions are made about what behavioral patterns mean and whether the available data is still applicable and reliable. For an example, just think of the crass way in which you have been retarget by advertising for brands which you have already bought or decided not to buy.

Does that mean I think we should avoid using big data and computation to uncover findings? Absolutely not, just look at the way Kantar Millward Brown uses dynamic linear modeling of social and search data to identify shifts in brand salience as they happen. We should make the most of the new opportunities that big data presents but we would do well to remind ourselves that making assumptions is never a good idea. But what do you think?


Written by Nigel Hollis, Executive Vice President and Chief Global Analyst at Kantar Millward Brown.

Friday, 29 December 2017 00:00

What's Cooking with Indian Diners?

For most urban consumers, going out for a meal is one of the simple pleasures of life.

However, Nielsen estimates based on data from the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), which captures consumption patterns of more than 400 items across India, show that most Indian households don’t have the financial means to indulge in eating out.

Still, a sizeable number of Indians living in cities spend significant amounts on meals they don’t have to cook themselves. For marketers looking to reach these hungry consumers, understanding how income and age feed spending habits around dining out of home is crucial.

How much do Indians spend on Eating Out

On average, urban Indians spend INR 6500 per year on eating out, with a wide gap in average expenditure between different income groups. The affluent class spends almost twice as much as the middle class on eating out, though even the latter’s spends are significant. Not just in terms of expenditure, but even in terms of the percentage of urban households that dine out, the affluent income group almost doubles the middle class figures.

On an average, nine out of 10 urban Indian households in the richest segment of the population (the fifth quintile or Q5), who eat out, set aside a monthly minimum of INR 1000 for discretionary spending including dining out. In an example of the yawning gap between expenditure of different income groups, figures show that the average expenditure per outing for households in the top quintile (Q5), which comprise the richest 20% of the population, is three times that of the next quintile (Q4). Also, the top one percentile of households spend a noteworthy INR 6,400 each time they dine out.

Dining out Versus other spends

Trends in eating out are evolving, and there has been a consequent rise in formats like quick-service restaurants, cafes and convenient delivery services. Clearly, eating prepared, cooked food is now a convenient proposition for urban consumers and Millennials alike. Both urban Millennials and Gen X consumers spend more on groceries than eating out. But for urban Millennials, the ratio of the average expenditure on eating out compared to the average spend on groceries is two-thirds. In comparison, the figure for Gen X is only a third.

When compared to expenditure on entertainment, Millennials spend more on eating out. Young Indians, who comprise the middle-income Millennial generation newly entering the workforce, spend three times as much on restaurant visits than on any form of entertainment including cinema, theatre and other recreational activities.

Friday, 29 December 2017 00:00

SHEROES Acquires Mom’s App Babygogo

To Deepen Its Platform for Communities

SHEROES, the women’s growth platform has acquired Delhi-based mothers’ community Babygogo. Co-founded by Siddhartha Ahluwalia, Sowrabh NRS and Satyadeep Karnati, Babygogo is a community of mothers seeking information and support around baby care and well-being.

Commenting on the acquisition, Sairee Chahal, Founder-CEO of SHEROES, said, “SHEROES has always been a place for constructive, safe, positive support to its members. The SHEROES platform is a trustworthy point of reference for women around their own growth journeys. As our own community grows, SHEROES will continue to offer lifetime value to its members via deepening its presence in all aspects of a woman’s growth story.

We have partnered with Babygogo earlier on various projects, and the team values and mission are deeply aligned with that of SHEROES. The Internet needs to offer more high trust, high empathy spaces for women, which are core values to SHEROES and Babygogo. As we scale, this is a natural alignment of vision and ambition.”

“Babygogo has some of the best engagement numbers and a high empathy community. It has also demonstrated some of the best retention and community practices amongst its peers, and has always been high on user-centric product building. SHEROES, as a complete ecosystem for women, stands to gain from the platform and its team. At the same time, team Babygogo will take a shot at building for a large ecosystem and creating long term value for everyone. The founders will join as co-founders at SHEROES.”

Babygogo’s journey began with the intention to leverage technology to handhold parents, particularly mothers, by offering baby care advice. The platform enables mothers to read helpful articles on baby food, health and day-to-day care. They can post queries, and doctors and experienced mothers respond in minutes. Moms can also track their child’s growth, get vaccination reminders and save health records.

“Over a period oftime we have found that the queries of mothers go beyond the realm of baby care, and they also post queries and have conversations around careers, mental health and personal care. This is an indicator that our community does seek support around aspects that go beyond their identity as mothers. Through this acquisition, Babygogo community members can benefit from the strong ecosystem legacy of SHEROES, as well as through their relationships and existing women’s communities,” observes Siddhartha Ahluwalia, Co-Founder of Babygogo.

Rajul Garg an investor in Babygogo says, “I have closely followed the two platforms and have found common ground to create a large, scalable business. Both the teams have highly complementary skills and an ability to execute. I am particularly excited about this opportunity. “

SHEROES aims to emerge as the world’s most transformative women’s product, with a vision to touch the lives of 100 million women in the next five years.

Amidst one of the most hotly contested and keenly followed state elections, India logged in to aajtak.in for the fastest and most accurate results. Aajtak.in was ranked No. 1 in its desktop visits, across all Hindi News channel websites on the day of both the exit poll and the counting day of Gujarat elections.

It is noteworthy that in addition to its record-breaking ratings in recent Gujarat elections, Aajtak.in had also dominated website space during Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, ranked as the top Hindi news brand on 11th March 2017.

aajtak.in came across as the most reliable news channel website, leaving behind its competitors by a vast margin both, on the day of the exit poll as well as the day of the results.

In addition to the extraordinary performance on elections, Aajtak’s Mobile App is also No.1 Hindi News App consistently since FEB’17 (Source: comScore, Monthly Unique Visitors, Mobile matrix)

Source: Insights by Similar Web: Desktop Visits, Worldwide

Dentsu Webchutney, the digital agency from Dentsu Aegis Network, has announced the appointment of Avinash Joshi as VP and Head of Social Advocacy.

Avinash joins the agency to set up and lead Dentsu Webchutney’s Social Advocacy vertical. He will report to Anil Kumar, EVP and Head- Delhi NCR, Dentsu Webchutney.

In a career spanning 18 years, Avinash has worked with Reliance Jio, Cheil, SapientNitro and the United Nations. He worked across businesses into Telecom, Consumer Electronics, Retail, Auto, FMCG, BFSI, Sports, Healthcare, Public Policy and Governance. His last stint was at Reliance Jio where he was AVP and Head of Social.

Commenting on his assignment, Avinash said, “Social has fundamentally changed the consumer decision process and purchase path. Today, consumers have access to an exponentially growing number of opinions, tastes, and preferences via social connections. The days of strictly controlled brand messaging are long gone and without a clearly defined purchase path, word of mouth marketing (WOMM) has become more critical than ever. As marketers, we know that it’s virtually impossible to duplicate the level of credibility that comes with a personal endorsement from a friend. Personally, I’m on an adventure—uncovering what people are thinking, feeling and doing—with a mission to connect brands with consumers in more meaningful ways and there couldn’t be a better breeding ground than Dentsu Webchutney, an agency that always speaks with consumers instead of at them.”

Anil Kumar, EVP and Head- Delhi NCR, Dentsu Webchutney said, “Today, a brand enjoys the option of being more human than it could earlier. It’s no longer just about fans, but also friends. With Avinash joining us, we can now enable the brands that we partner, to harness the complete power of social media and their communities. We are very bullish on Avinash and the Social Advocacy vertical he’s setting up, we are also backing them all the way with our talented tech, creative, content and data intelligence teams.


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