I think IT could also play a role in digital marketing but that is still a supporting medium and while it works for some brands, it doesn't for others. IT can also make TV more interactive and even contribute in the area of mobile phones. This is bound to increase in the future, but for the next two-three years, TV and print are going to be the predominant mediums till all media converges.
CIO: What's the state of digital signage in India?
R. Balakrishnan: The digital signage market is still in a nascent stage in India. But I think feature films are using it a lot more than advertising and brands. Bollywood has gone digital in a big way. Their marketing costs have also become astronomically high and they are using digital signage. They have motion posters and events that are announced via digital signage and the first poster these days breaks on digital even before it makes it to theatres.
CIO: How is Lowe Lintas bracing itself for the mobile wave?
R. Balakrishnan: Things work differently on different platforms be it a tablet or a mobile phone. The penetration of 3G has not yet happened to the extent that it should have. In a lot of cases, the real problem is the quality of the network. I think we are still a few months away in terms of full-fledged connectivity. So, the rise in mobile advertising will have more to do with technology than usage. When the most common touch points become mobile then mobile advertising will explode in a big way.
In view of this trend, it is evident that you can't just do a video and make it available on mobile. You need to ideate on what can be done by using mobile touch points. For example, in retail marketing you can have targeted messages pushed onto your customers' mobiles when they enter a store. We can use it to ease a lot of conventional paper-led communication at airports, theatres, restaurants and places where you don't usually use mobiles. There is scope for a lot of targeted communication with mobile technologies.
CIO: How do you hold on to creative talent in a competitive industry?
R. Balakrishnan: Ours is a people-driven business. We don't deal in machinery. All our ideas come from people and the most important thing is how sensitive you are to people and their needs. When people are married to a cause, they will stick together for a cause and will have faith in what they are doing. Organizations are not about retaining people, they are about offering something that will make employees retain themselves. A good organization helps its employees discover what's in it for them. And if good people find enough in it for themselves, they will stay.
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