“Mobile needs to move from being an afterthought to the first-thought”


Nadeesh Ramachandran, Vice-President, Sales, Vserv, speaks exclusively to Thinking Aloud, on the mobile only reality

TA: In order to be compatible with the new mobile reality, companies are making dual investments in both mobile apps and websites. Where is the major chunk of investment heading?

NR: The year gone by witnessed a lot of companies across the board focusing on an app-only approach. However, there is a need for businesses to not go the ‘me too’ way and reconsider whether their brand requires an app or not, or whether an app only will hold them in good stead. Businesses have realised that from a consumer standpoint, both apps and sites continue to be important. There is a need to have a more balanced approach and investments should flow to the platform which makes most sense for the business.

TA: Digital payment leaders are looking to spark results not with flint, but lightning bolts. Will it turn the mobile marketing arena into a spending race to serve the expectations of the mobile-first population?

NR: As mobile internet continues to go mainstream in India, especially at the speed that it currently is, spending fittingly to serve the mobile-first population is a necessity, not an option. According to the Vserv-Nielsen ‘Smartphone User Persona Report 2015’ released earlier this year, smartphone users in India, on an average, spend 169 minutes per day on their device. Taking this overwhelming figure into account, mobile becoming the primary marketing medium for businesses in the near future, is inevitable.

Furthermore, it is crucial in the medium-term to build consumer awareness and trust about the various platforms for digital/mobile payments, which demand a certain unavoidable investment on marketing. This is the initial consumer adoption and education phase and hence it should be seen as a well thought out investment for the future rather than a “spending race”.

TA: Several companies are trying to reinvent their organization around customers looking for bespoke mobile experiences. What’s your take on the same?

NR: There is no doubt that personalisation is here to stay. Personalised data, infact, has become the premise on which most mobile marketers today need to hinge their marketing campaigns on. The rationale is simple, businesses and brands need to be where their consumers are, most of them are undoubtedly glued to their mobiles, making mobile the chief mode of engagement. Moreover, these consumers are smart enough to choose which communication on their mobile to take in and which to ignore. To ensure they absorb the information coming to them as relevant data, instead of intrusive, marketers have begun to revamp their mobile marketing strategies to be increasing relevant and meaningful to the consumer along with opening up mobile commerce possibilities. The idea is to create a worthy and impactful mobile experience, providing an end-to-end solution.

TA: Experts have predicted that ‘location’ is the new ‘cookie’. Should location-based methods go mainstream in the field of mobile marketing?

NR: In my view, location-based marketing made an entry a while ago and is fast on its way to being trumped by ‘hyper-local location-based marketing’. Location-based marketing is one of the many elements which the mobile device captures and now has to go one step further to combine hyper-local location data with context of time of day, intent and psychographic profiling to serve the right ad at the right time at the right place. According to me, understanding the user in context to location or time or shopping preferences or any of the many other data points available to marketers is the new “cookie”.

TA: Ad spends focused on mobile-specific ad formats are still very less. Should brands start breaking desktop shackles & focus more on mobile marketing? Will 2016 be the year of mobile marketing? 

NR: Traditional marketers are comfortable with the conventional desktop/laptop as that is what they have experienced till date in the form of digital platforms. The biggest challenge here, therefore, will be to unlearn or re-learn to truly understand how to connect with the contemporary consumer. Mobile needs to move from being an afterthought to the first-thought. 2015 was inarguably the year of mobile marketing with more than 250 million mobile internet users in the country. 2016, I hope, will take a leap to being the year of “mobile-first” marketing.


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“Thinking Aloud” reflects the emerging trends and varied outlook of the rapidly evolving internet and communication sector. An IAMAI publication, this is a part of the market education initiative of the association.

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