MarCon 2023 explores confluence of technology and marketing in age of AI

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The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) hosted the 19th edition of the Marketing Conclave (MarCon) in Mumbai on November 22. The event sparked vibrant discussions on the integration of technology and marketing, featuring insights from prominent industry figures.

The conclave also shone a spotlight on the second edition of the Digital Native Brands Awards (DNBA), which celebrates companies that effectively harness digital technology and entrepreneurial spirit.

With a theme of “Tomorrow’s Canvas: Tech and the Art of Marketing,” MarCon 2023 was co-powered by Whistle Feed and included 30 sessions spanning four distinct tracks. Vivek Malhotra, Chairman of the IAMAI Digital Advertising Council and Group CMO of the India Today Group, said in his opening address that there was a lot happening in the digital sphere and the speed of change was totally overwhelming. He pointed out this was the “opportunity to spot the opportunity”.

He said that the Conclave would focus on the spheres in the digital ecosystem that were nearing their inflection points, and offer insights, advice, and opinions from leading experts of the ecosystem.
 
In his keynote address, Vikram Sahay, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, underlined the importance of human ingenuity in crafting unique advertisements, which he said would never be possible for AI to replicate. “Remember that advertisement is all about making a product or a service unique. Even the best of the software like ChatGPT will never offer that uniqueness. So, do not feel discouraged by them as they often compromise the quality of the advertisements,” Sahay said.

Addressing the conference’s theme topic, Sahay delved into the intersection of technology and marketing, shedding light on innovative strategies to navigate the evolving landscape of digital advertising. He also dwelt on advertising regulatory practices and underlined the importance of ethical marketing. “Today, we have certain regulatory practices and guidelines that protect us from misleading ads, especially in education and healthcare. We must stay away from such unethical practices,” he said.

One of the key sessions at the Conclave was a panel discussion on “The Future of Unified Measurement for Digital Platforms”. Top marketing professionals, Gulshan Verma, CEO of Jio Ads, Shishir Kataria, Head of Marketing, TATA Cliq, Nitin Walia, Director & Business Development, Nielsen, and Tushar Vyas, President, Group M South Asia, took part in the discussion. The discussion was moderated by Vivek Malhotra, who summed up the key message of session, “There is a broad agreement that it’s not a matter of whether or not, but how soon can we have tools that serve the business decisions and not the other way round that business decisions are made basis the tools available.”

Addressing another session, Arun Srinivas, Director & Head of Ads Business (India), highlighted the transformative role of AI in shaping modern marketing strategies. “AI is positioned at the forefront of consumer interactions, marking an intriguing phase for the tech industry with its latest advancements,” he remarked. Srinivas revealed that in the recent quarter, approximately 40% of content displayed on user feeds was recommended by AI. He emphasised that this implementation significantly increased user engagement by 24%. 

The top two DNB Awards went to Manish Chowdhary from WOW Skin Science, who received the Best Digital Native Brand Entrepreneur Award, and Ghazal Alagh, Honasa Consumer Pvt Ltd (Mamaearth) winning DNB Woman Entrepreneur of The Year Award.

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