snippets from the eGuide   (Introduction ⇩)

(Introduction ⇧)

In the age of analytics, this multimedia platform serves as a comprehensive guide to marketing management, covering the underlying concepts and their application. As can be seen from the snippets, the focus is not on the statistical theory, but more on the application of new analytics techniques and established research methods to enhance the marketing mix.

As advances in technology transform the very nature of marketing, there has never been greater need for marketers to learn marketing.

Essentially a practitioner’s guide to marketing management in the 21st century, the Marketing Analytics web learning platform blends the art and the science of marketing to reflect how the discipline has matured in the age of analytics.

Application oriented, it fuses marketing concepts with the analytical tools that practitioners use, to impart an understanding of how to interpret and apply research information and big data.

The focus is primarily on the practical application of well-established tools, techniques and processes, as the platform sifts through all elements of the marketing mix.

eLearning Platform

Over 100 Registered Corporations: If your organization is listed, register with your corporate email to use the online guide.

It is only apt that a book on Marketing Analytics should exemplify the use of digital technology. Unlike passive eBooks that replicate print versions in their original linear state, the online guide is a full-blown, multi-media platform that greatly enhances the reader’s experience.

As a website, it is dynamic, fluid, and connected with relevant and useful content, both within and beyond the platform. That it is continually updated and enhanced, keeps the guide evergreen, abreast of the latest developments in a the rapidly evolving fields of analytics and digital marketing. (In addition to numerous updates, over 100 new sections and four new chapter have been added, in the two years since the platform was set-up).

It is interactive with the facilities such as (shareable) notes/comments at any of the approximately 500 sections in the guide. The question papers/exercises allow subscribers to view answers and explanations. The site also supports business analytic platforms so that students can practise as they learn.

The online guide is made available on an annual subscription basis. Subscribers login with their email ID and password.


Article — Redefining how we learn marketing.
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How Advertising Works

Advertising over time - Coca-Cola advertising

This chapter is devoted mainly to understanding how advertising works; the mechanisms and the key themes. It opens by examining advertising through the ages; the key developments, and their impact on communication and advertising. This is followed by a discussion on advertising mechanisms, and an explanation of the six key themes —

  • salience

    ,
  • persuasion

    ,
  • likeability

    ,
  • symbolism

    ,
  • relationship

    ,
  • emotion

— that form the basis for many of the theories on advertising.

From a learning standpoint, this chapter imparts an understanding of the ingredients that make advertising effective and impactful, in the context of the diverse communication objectives of different categories of products.


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Advertising through the Ages

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Advertising through the Ages

“To communicate is to be human.” Word of mouth, the original mode of communication, remains the most persuasive form of advertising. Its impact, though, was curtailed until social media gave people the means to exponentially expand their social network. Numerous developments, since the time voice was the primary means of interaction to our age of the internet, have had a profound impact on communication, shaping the manner and the means we use for advertising.

The Coca-Cola print advertisements shown above reflect the transition over the past 100 years. Some changes relate to technology — sharper images and more vibrant colours. Text was much more prevalent in the past. Advertisements used to be much more informative; nowadays they more associative. Content used to be rational, now we experience a wide spectrum of emotions. Messages were largely simplistic, now they tend to be more complex.

The use of text has declined partly because in an over-communicated environment people have stopped reading commercials. People are also more cynical about advertising; they are less inclined to believe the claims that appear in text. Visuals on the other hand leave behind images and symbols that subtly associate brands with emotions, feelings, values, and an array of diverse attributes.

Consider, for instance, the 2013 “Small World” advert in the Exhibit. One’s attention is drawn to the symbols — a bindi on the forehead, the mark of Hinduism, the dupatta covering the head, which is commonly worn by women in Pakistan and India, and the Coca-Cola mnemonic joining the two faces. The message “That what unites us is stronger than that what divides us” is displayed in the “Small World Machines” video commercial on YouTube. The campaign, as a whole inclusive of the Small World vending machines, associates the Coca-Cola brand with values and feelings that people cherish — togetherness, happiness, harmony and peace.

One is reminded of lines from a 1970s Coca-Cola commercial — “I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, I'd like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company”.

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Emotion in Advertising

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Emotion in Advertising



Embrace Life ad

A few years back, a video depicting an ordinary family enacting a driving accident in their sitting room became an internet sensation. No words were uttered in this slow motion 88-second clip that left close to 20 million viewers with a moving reminder to wear their seat belts.

The campaign by The Sussex Safer Roads Partnership taps into our emotions to stimulate and arouse attention (click on Exhibit to view the ad). The intensity of the emotional charge leaves images and feelings that penetrate our long-term memory. Metaphors and symbols exalt the seat belt. The depiction of ordinary folk in an ordinary home, combined with the simplicity of the plot, make viewers relate with ease.

As humans we experience a wide range of emotions that affect our mood, disposition and motivation. According to David Meyers, emotions fundamentally involve “physiological arousal, expressive behaviours, and conscious experience”. They could be basic, such as happiness, security and love; or social, such as success, pride, guilt or envy.

Advertising taps these diverse emotions to penetrate our memory associating brands with positive or negative emotional states. The embrace life ad for instance, taps into feelings of love, tenderness, caring, fear, anxiety, shock and relief. The Liril girl advertisement evokes the sense of freedom, hedonism and pleasure. Some advertisements reflect ecstasy and euphoria. Others dwell on fear or sorrow. Historical advertisements of Bajaj (“Hamara Bajaj”), the Indian scooter brand, and the Australian icon, Vegemite (“He’s doing his bit for his Dad …” [wartime ad]), tap into viewers’ sense of national pride.

By infusing deep feelings, these advertisements build emotional bonds that greatly increase consumers’ affinity towards the brand. It is a form of classical conditioning; the brand starts to represent those moods, feeling or emotions that it is associated with through advertising.

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Tradition of Great Advertising

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Tradition of Great Advertising


Liril ad

Several years ago, in the course of being interviewed, I was intrigued by my interviewer, a short, rotund man; his big head perpetually perched a little to one side. Shunu Sen had the knack for engaging and enthralling people. We invariably succumbed to a potent concoction of wisdom, intellect, warmth and, not least of all, his wickedly, mischievous wit. Talent from within and outside Hindustan Lever revolved around him like planets orbiting a sun, an impression reinforced by the perpetual sight of groups of people flocked outside his room. Shunu’s weakness was time management — invariably, he got absorbed with his audience.

Then as the head of marketing at Hindustan Lever (now Hindustan Unilever), and widely regarded as India’s marketing guru, Shunu had an eye for great content, and an admiration for talent. Gifted associates from the best advertising agencies rewarded him with unforgettable work, including legendary campaigns for brands such as Surf (Lalitaji), Liril (“girl in the waterfall”), Rin (“zara sa Rin” [just a little Rin]) and Surf Ultra (“daag dhoonte reh jaaoge” [you’ll keep searching for the stain]).

Alyque Padamsee, who is as highly regarded in advertising as Shunu is in marketing, had this to say while speaking of the Liril TV commercial (print version shown in Exhibit 15.0): “It not only offers you freshness but offers you a sense of freedom. It is not just an ordinary bath. The ‘girl in the waterfall’ symbolizes that the bathing experience can be bindaas (‘carefree’ in Hindi). For the average Indian woman who is surrounded by chaos, in-laws, husband, children, the ten minutes in the shower are her own, where she can daydream. Now that was so compelling that the Liril ad remained unchanged for 25 years.” Liril’s sales skyrocketed when the ad was first aired, and the model, Karen Lunel, became an overnight celebrity.

The waterfall ad continues to prevail years after Shunu passed away. More than 40 years since the original, the Liril Girl continues to frolick under the waterfall (Exhibit 15.1).


Exhibit 15.1  The 2015 version of the Liril ad. (Courtesy Hindustan Unilever).

Over an era spanning three decades, Shunu played a defining role in the transformation of consumer marketing in India. He was also the single greatest influencer fuelling the dynamic and highly talented Indian advertising community of the 1980s and 1990s. Indian commercials are often clever, sometimes thought provoking, and almost always entertaining. There is undoubtedly some truth in the claim that at a time when a government channel monopolized the small screen, Indian children were drawn to television by entertaining advertisements.

Shunu’s legacy has prevailed, and for those who knew him, I must add that we admired him as much for his capacity to celebrate life in the face of adversity. He serves as an example of others like him and Padamsee, scattered around the world of marketing and advertising, who have contributed immensely to the tradition of great advertising.

While observing advertisements, both from the past and the present, remember that their purpose, at least for consumer products, has less to do with advocacy, and more to do with sustaining interest in the product and generating sales.

Try also not to judge them from a personal perspective, but rather to understand them from the viewpoint of the target audience. Their tastes, preferences, culture and social norms are of greater relevance.

For instance, it was a bit of a risk to portray a scantily clad Liril girl on national TV, at the time when close to 80% of the population was rural, and most Indians’ dress sense was relatively conservative.

The gamble paid off, partly because the ad became a talking point; it cut through the clutter and generated positive vibes from the segment of the population that the brand was targeting.

To re-iterate my point about judging ads, do note that advertising has less to do with winning awards or acclaim from peers.

Great advertising is advertising that produces great results. Like the Surf, Rin and Liril ads mentioned above, these ads often exhibit a penetrating understanding of the target audience.

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