Compiled by Ruwandi Perera


Khalid Yoonus discusses the benefits of digital transformation on marcom

Q: How has the ad industry been transformed by digital advancements?

A: Today’s unparalleled pace at which digital advancements are taking place is enabling people to evolve more rapidly than ever before.

Since consumers are much more informed as well as empowered when making their choices now, brands need to be far more considerate and vigilant. It is a very real challenge for marketers to ensure that they’re listening to constant consumer feedback, and making prompt and relevant adjustments accordingly.

The profiling, segmenting and targeting of customers has become a science of sorts thanks to technological enhancements, as well as a plethora of customer data that’s available to marketers. Following people across the multiple screens of their lives has made it easier to understand sentiments expressed in those spheres and identify opportunities through which the opinions they air there can be modified.

This process continues due to the ongoing development of technology as well as the advent of IoT. And so it is vital that advertisers remain vigilant and keep looking forward.

However, it’s equally important they don’t forget that creativity remains at the very heart of every campaign. An advertising campaign may use the best technology available; but if the right insight is missing, and the key message isn’t rendered in a creative, relevant and impactful manner to the target audience, it will not be effective.

Q: Given the constantly increasing capacities of smartphones, the telecom industry has become one of the most influential platforms for communications. How has it transformed advertising and public relations?

A: The smartphone has definitely changed the marketing landscape. Audiences are consciously and unconsciously consuming more information while believing they can choose what data they’re exposed to.

This is both a challenge and an opportunity for marketing and communications professionals. And we need to work harder to make sure that our content is chosen by audiences for consumption.

We also have large amounts of data regarding our consumers’ choices available to us for analysis. This creates opportunities to understand buyers better and connect with our audiences at a much deeper level. Therefore, we become an accessory, a friend, a mentor and a guide by virtue of being on call 24/7 on their personal mobile devices.

Q: Are traditional media channels facing extinction?

A: Definitely not. Traditional media will go through tough times where it will adapt and evolve but not die.

Sri Lanka is a case in point: one can already see these changes taking place. For example, traditional TV, radio and print news outlets have adapted to reach larger segments of their respective audiences by creating a strong digital presence, retaining credibility and increasing access.

We observe many more examples, and learn from evolved markets such as those in the UK and Singapore where tradi­tional media has reformed itself to stay relevant.

Q: How should businesses measure ROI on advertising – especially against the backdrop of a digital transformation in the ad industry?

A: One major positive that’s emerged from the digital transformation of the marketing profession and communications sector is the ability to track the impact of advertising, and measure returns on investment more accurately.

This can be done at every stage of an ad campaign – from understanding pre-campaign customer sentiments, identifying insights and implementing various elements of a communications strategy to evaluating opinions during and after the campaign.

Once a campaign is launched for instance, you can obtain immediate consumer feedback through social media messages and comments, as well as website inquiries – to name a few options.

You can then use a variety of metrics such as the number of views, click-throughs and engagement rates to track your campaign’s performance across different digital media platforms.

This also means that you can ensure better synergies when executing advertising campaigns on various digital media platforms.

This enables you to make ongoing adjustments in real time so that your campaigns make an impact – unlike previously, when you’d have to wait until a campaign ended to learn whether it was effective or not.

The availability of digital data means that it is much more cost-effective for marketers to track ROI. Previously, a brand would need to bear additional costs and commission official research to understand how their marketing campaigns affected consumer behaviour. Now, with the availability of options such as Google Analytics, this can be achieved at a far lower cost.

Q: What is your advice to those looking to enter the fields of branding, marketing and communications?

A: Always keep your eyes and ears open! Branding, marketing and communications are areas where constant learning is the name of the game.

The context of your learning, and how fast you can adapt and utilise that know­ledge to engage with your stakeholders, will measure your success.

The interviewee is the Manager – PR and Media of Seylan Bank