Engaging the Millennials
    Category: Companies & People By : Gunjan Prasad Read : 1833 Date : Monday, May 09, 2016 - 05:02:26

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    Having spent 18 working years at Unilever Indonesia, it’s fair to say Eka Sugiarto, 42, Unilever’s newly appointed head of media, understands the DNA of the Unilever brand to its core. And given that she has worked on both sides of the fence—marketing and now media planning and buying, she has the right mix to understand the connections between brands, consumers, clients and agencies as well as nurturing relationships with media owners.

    Eka is in a powerful position—as Unilever Indonesia is the largest advertiser, in terms of spending, of any company in the country. Its spending in just the first quarter of this year was Rp 4 trillion—more money than was spent by its Unilever’s next four peer companies combined.

    With such a big responsibility, Eka has moved quickly to put her mark on Unilever’s media strategies. “In the last few years, Unilever rode the wave of explosion of media choices available to marketers. We invested a fair deal in digital media as that is really the platform for the future,” explains Eka. “Now is the time to review and maximize what we have put in pace and ensure that our investment is making an impact. Sometimes we fall in the trap of doing things for fun or novelty but not impact. We have to be mindful of our true objectives.”

    Eka comes in at a time when the advertising industry—both globally and locally—is going through a volatile spell, with a fragile political and economic environment, China’s slowdown and weak global commodity prices. Clients are being prudent about their media disbursements and Eka is the one doing that for Unilever. In addition, disruption is coming in the form of the fast-growing online advertising sector—which means Eka has to step carefully in this new environment.

    “On top of my to-do list is to demystify the ever dynamic digital world and understand how to innovate while striving to gain efficiency, effectiveness and impact from there,” she says. “In the last three years, we have grown our spending very significantly across all digital channels. On the other hand, spending on print is admittedly not growing as quickly as the other medium. With the shifts happening on media consumption, we consolidated our spending towards fewer print titles, recognizing their reach and affinity to our target audience.”

    Consumer insights, believes Eka, is the backbone of all media planning decisions. Without insights and data, you cannot make good choices. While she has done her time in the field both in Indonesia and other emerging markets such as Thailand, Vietnam and India, she is intrigued by the emergence of millennials.

    “I have two teenage daughters and I need to know how to market Unilever brands to them and to create campaigns that will interest and engage them. There is an unforeseen force of change that is taking place at a lightning speed and it is a challenge for all traditional marketers to keep up with this change,” sighs Eka.