4.8 millionThe number of Facebook likes Fastrack has, making it one of the most popular Indian brands on Facebook.
"We now don't believe in traditional research at all. Everything we want to know comes from observing what's happening on our social media pages."
How has social media changed media planning?
The lesson we have learnt is that there are a huge number of youth spending their time on social media, the highest compared to any other media. And with very minimal spend you are able to reach out to consumers in a way that you aren't through standard print plans or through conventional TV plans. You can no longer look at effective media planning like that. Effective media planning can be done at no cost if you have a strong social media community--that's been our biggest learning.
That sounds like a lot of customer input. What's the organizational learning curve like?
For us the learning curve has literally been vertical. And it has been that way for the past several years.
The learning curve is much faster because we have a large fanbase on Facebook that is constantly reacting in real time to whatever we are doing. I think brands that don't use social media to understand and gain insights into their consumers will have a much slower learning curve. Theirs is the learning curve of the traditional world, where you got in touch with your consumers only as many times as you did research with them. And you reached out to much fewer people. Now you are reaching out to 4.5 million people and you have access to them at any point of time.
What else has social media changed for organizations?
Social media has certainly made us a lot more answerable to consumers than we were ever before. It's consumers who are forcing this change. We can no longer hide in our glass towers saying we don't know what the consumer is saying; now the consumer is going to force you to know what he is saying.
What's the next step for marketing people as far as social media is concerned? Will it remain a Facebook page play?
What is important for marketers to do is to listen and learn. You can't assume that what happened on Facebook three years ago is what is happening on Facebook today. Let's talk about our consumer profile, for example. The consumer profile that used to be on Facebook in its early years, about two to three years ago, used to be that of an 'aspirational' consumer, a very discerning, English-sp eaking consumer. What we have noticed over the last couple of years is that the consumer base has grown on Facebook and that there has been a huge change in consumer profile.
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