Collaboration, customization & localization will dominate India’s digital landscape in 2023
With all eyes on India’s booming digital market, The Drum asked Megha Agarwal, chief experience officer of growth at Meesho, one of India’s leading e-commerce companies, to share her predictions for 2023.
Connecting the dots of the future of marketing
While the world emerged from a long winter (the Covid-19 pandemic), Indian startups went into a potentially bitter and cold winter (with funding under challenge). A slew of global macro-economic factors impacted the landscape, including the Russia-Ukraine conflict, supply chain disruptions and consequent inflationary pressures, among others. And yet digitization continues to be the single largest pillar of how businesses have evolved across categories.
Digitization is poised to radically transform nearly every sector of the economy. With more than 692 million active internet users* in India, according to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), India is one of the largest and fastest-growing markets for digital consumers. As connectivity becomes omnipresent, it is likely to create significant economic growth and transform the lives of Indians in the remotest corners of the country. Here are some key drivers of this sweeping evolution as we look at marketing in 2023 and beyond.
Customization is key: know your audience
Every platform holds the key to a specific audience and unique messaging that is specifically tailored to it. For instance, it would not be prudent to share text-heavy content on Instagram or engage in direct selling on Twitter. Some platforms seek light-hearted content, some seek aesthetic visuals, and other audiences seek conversational updates. Different platforms also require varying frequencies of sharing content. Content which is specifically tailored to the format and platform will be more likely to bowl over the audience.
To create meaningful and unforgettable messaging, brands must ensure that they are consistent with their brand strategy across various mediums. Each piece of content needs to be carefully customized and bespoke to specific audiences and preferences.
Connecting the televisions: streaming for success
Accelerated by the influx of smart TVs, availability of digital native content, and increasing interest in OTT, connected television (CTV) is witnessing explosive growth in India. These audiences are more internet-savvy and deeply engaged. With brands’ affinity towards storytelling, CTVs are poised to occupy a more critical role in the marketing mix. This medium also allows marketers to target their audiences effectively and garner advanced insights, achieving a full-funnel impact. The war for consumer attention is already being won through this channel, and brands will have to be quick to capitalize on this.
Regional flavors: vocal for local is here to stay
Short-form video content will continue to dominate the next decade. As attention spans continue to decrease, internet users are seeking snackable videos. This era belongs to millennials and Gen-Z, who are mobile-first generations, preferring short and snappy video content in their local language of choice. The use of vernacular and video content is proven to possess greater impact and retention value. When customers view content in their native language, they are more likely to recall it and the brand as well. From portraying cultural nuances to colloquialisms, brands must consistently reach out to audiences in their language of choice.
Community building: turn customers into brand ambassadors
In recent years, user-generated video content (UGC) has opened a conversation between brands and consumers, allowing them to connect with the brand more personally. This brand interaction has further helped foster a community. Brands can connect with consumers who are organically brand advocates, and these consumers, in return can get featured by prominent brands. Sharing audience content also works to develop and deepen trust, driving more brand loyalty. Typically, user-generated smartphone videos feel more authentic than professionally produced videos, and authenticity resonates with consumers. UGC has redefined the relationship between brands and consumers, making it a two-way street.
Finally, marketers will have to break down data silos. Instead of branding and performance marketing ‘fighting to the death’, individual teams can work cohesively to share data and processes for an effective full-funnel marketing strategy.
Megha Agarwal is the chief experience officer of growth at Meesho, a leading Indian e-commerce business.