Digital Media Conclave, Sep 2010, Mumbai- A Brief Review!

( Digital Media Conclave, a conference on Digital and Social Media Strategy was held in Mumbai on 24th Sep. Unfortunately, I couldn’t be part of this acclaimed conference, but my friend Mr. Vishal Singhal was quick enough to fill the gap and provided access to proceedings of the day. Thank you Cellstrat & Mr. Vishal)

Digital Media Conclave, Mumbai (24th Sept, 2010) was a phenomenal success and was a SOLD OUT event. Below are the proceedings from the event.

Audience Profile : 200 total attendees (SOLD OUT) = 20 speakers + 10 organizers/sponsors + 170 attendees

50-60 : C Level Attendees (CEOs/COOs/CMOs/VPs)

120 : Middle Management Execs from Media/Marketing/Technology Domains

Industries Represented – Media/Ad/Marketing Agencies, Digital/Technology Firms, Consumer Products, Consulting, Wireless/Telecom, Financial, Educational, FMCG, Entertainment and Television and many others.

Vishal Singhal (CMO, CellStrat) opened the conference with an introduction to the Digital Media sector. He spoke about the rising influence of digital media in today’s world and set the tone for the conference. Then came the Keynote by  Mahesh Murthy, Founder-Pinstorm and Managing Partner-

Seedfund who delivered his keynote speech on “Digital Invasion”. Mr. Murthy stressed upon the fact that digital is the new media, marketing and entertainment channel. He drew the audience’s attention towards the increasing influence of digital media in today’s world.

After Mahesh’s enthralling speech, the stage was taken over by some eminent personalities of the digital media marketing domain to start off a panel discussion on “Digital Media Takeover -Media and Content gone digital”.

The panel consisted of:

  • Muralikrishnan B, Director-Marketing & Product Management, eBay India
  • Mahesh Narayanan, Country Manager-Business Development, Google
  • Ashok Lalla, President-Digital, Euro RSCG
  • Lalit Bhagia, Vice President & Head–Digital (Internet & Mobile), Star TV                                                                               1
  • Harish Gandhi, Executive Director, Canaan Partners (Moderator)

The discussion started off with the moderator Harish Gandhi drawing attention towards the massive adoption of Digital Media which is beginning to happen. He stressed upon the importance of the digital media marketing for promotion of firms. On this front, panelist Lalit Bhagia stressed on the measurability of the social and digital media campaigns that companies launch and the need to measure them with respect to the revenues generated.  He also provided examples of the digital and social media campaigns that Star TV has launched. He acknowledged that the greatest challenge that lies in front of the companies aiming to go the digital media way is bandwidth. Ashok Lalla of Euro RSCG stressed on the more integrated approach towards these media campaigns. Google’s Mahesh Narayanan gave specific examples from his firm to stress on the importance of digital/social media campaigns for today’s marketing manager. EBay’s Muralikrishnan B interestingly challenged the act of measuring the ROI on social media marketing campaigns and termed it as a “curse”. He stressed upon the fact that social media campaigns are not mature enough to be evaluated against matrices like ROI.

The panel also entertained questions from the audience. Some of the most important ones were :

Q. In Digital Media, what works and what doesn’t ?

Ans. According to Star TV’s Lalit Bhagia, there are no rules in digital media today unlike in traditional media where certain rules and guidelines were followed, now measurability of digital marketing initiatives is the key to success. Now increasing bandwidth and constant growth is the way to go.

As per Euro RSCG’s Lalla, businesses should checkbox (select) the digital media. If not adopted now, it can inhibit fast growth of a firm’s business. As well, digital media is only one of means and not necessarily an end. It has a long way to go before it becomes mainstream media. He said that conventional methods need to change and make space for adoption of new media. Digital Marketing is itself becoming a business for many and can act as a powerful marketing tool to add brand value to the product..

Google’s Narayanan however said that companies should understand their consumers and move with them…they should plan the digital marketing moves as per the consumers movement and as of today company’s mobile web strategy is weak and need to be strengthened in order to benefit from it in the best possible way..

Q. Should Digital Media be thrust down the consumer’s throat or let it grow with time ?

Ans. The best way is to develop an understanding with the consumer and create awareness and get closer to the market and consumer…

Q. Should groups be formed in digital space? What is the viability?

Ans. According to Lalit, companies should not market targeting at the consumer but for the consumer for best results..

The panelists also agreed with the fact that mobile is already being used quite effectively for creating awareness but can play a more effective role in building of a brand.

Post the Digital Media Panel, in his Keynote address, Sridhar Ranganathan (VP-Product Management at InMobi) spoke about the importance of mobile in today’s media and how can it be effective in connecting with the consumers. The key points from his presentation were :

•     Mobile media is innovative at scale..

•     Helps in popularity of apps at a large scale..

•     It reaches the right consumer at the right place and thus scale becomes a critical factor.

•     It’s often seen that there is over investment in latest trends but under investment in what (mobile media) works.

•     Each user has a short span of just about 11 seconds and thus if media can click with him in this short duration, it works.

•     As mobile media is heterogeneous in nature, it has multiple users.

•     The value of the advertisement does not end at the ad itself but goes on to create a link between the company and the user..

•     Tracking the investment in mobile web media is easy and so is knowing the ROI with InMobi’s AdROIt platform..

•     InMobi is also working towards further optimizing the ROI for it’s consumers..

In the post-lunch session, Vishal Singhal presented findings from CellStrat’s Digital Media Research initiativeconducted recently. Vishal said that CellStrat research indicates that Email Marketing seems to be a most effective form of Digital Marketing system (in India) from among the plethora of other Digital Channels prevalent in the market. This is as of today, may change, as time passes. Eg Social Media and Mobile Marketing will attract more advertising revenue as Indian market matures.

Then came some interesting case studies by MTV’s Ali Hussein, Conde Nast’s Haya Hari and Prof T. Prasad of NITIE. These speakers presented some real life experiences from their Digital Media projects.

MTV India case study discussed the importance of listening to one’s audience, to determine their likes and dislikes etc. From there, a brand should participate in the conversation and engage the audience, measure the responses, then improve the firm’s products/offerings accordingly and repeat this cycle. Another practice discussed by them was to create the content relevant to particular context (eg a youth demographics in case of MTV) which helps in connecting users to each other and generates conversations within the audience themselves, thereby helping in building a community around the brand.

Conde Nast’s Maya Hari discussed their case study regarding their social media efforts. Being the owners of luxury brands like Vogue India, they believe in organic growth of their Facebook and Twitter profiles (without using any advertisements) and try to help their users in a personalized way so as to develop some brand ambassadors. They collaborate with some niche & relevant bloggers who write on fashion and those who are influential in their industry to write for Vogue magazine.

After the case studies came the Social Media Panel. Social Media panel consisted of :

  • Sandeep Suverna, Head of Marketing, LinkedIn India
  • Prerana Nayak, Assoc Director,
  • Rajeev Dhal, Country Head, J9 Ventures (Dainik Jagran)
  • Mohit Gundecha, Head – India Operations and Director, Business Devl, Mig33
  • Vishal Singhal, CMO, CellStrat
  • Mahesh Murthy, Founder – Pinstorm and Managing Partner – SeedFund (Moderator)

Here discussion revolved mostly around the ROI on social media usage by companies from B2B and B2C perspective. Some audience gave their company names and industry names to the panelists as a case study to discuss upon. Questions that were raised by the moderator/ audience ranged from: what part of company’s budgets should be/ currently is being used by companies for social media advertising; what can be possible steps for deploying social media and generating success for company examples provided by delegates; etc etc..

After the Social Media Panel came a Star presentation by Famous Bollywood actor Gul Panag. Gul is an active Social Media activist and has 100,000+ twitter followers. Mahesh interviewed Gul on the use of Social Media like twitter and blogging by Indian celebrities. Gul also spoke about using Social Media to drive buzz about her Charitable efforts in Indian villages.

Overall, Digital Media Conclave, organized by CellStrat, was a great success. More to come in the future all across India..

Photographs and Video for this event : Please visit

Tags : Digital MediaDigital Media ConclaveDigital Media MarketingMedia marketing