Monday, July 31, 2006

Marketing Sherpa Special Report: Marketing to India Online

It is always interesting to get a perspective on Indian Marketing from International Marketers. Keeping their own markets as the benchmark and then opining on the Indian markets definitely entails some wonderful insights and reference points.

Marketing Sherpa has published a special report on Indian Marketing Onlinehow to market to the Indian Consumers online. (The article is open till the 4th of August!)
The note discusses the basic challenges that India faces today, in terms of building an online environment and tips to move forward.

What is the typical mindset of an Indian consumer while shopping? What are the attributes he is looking at, vis-à-vis the shopping environment? What role do the demographics play in this exercise? How can the current scenario of the Indian Business Environment and positioning of India globally, be leveraged to market to Indian consumers in India?

These are some of the questions addressed by the article.

Certain revealing facts have been uncovered in the article as well. For instance, did you know (atleast I didn’t!) that India has the second largest population of English speakers in the world, more than 150 million, whereas for the United States, it is around 250 million? And considering that this population of English-speaking Indians is just 14% of India’s total population, there is a huge potential for exploring further.

Though this seems to be luring enough, the problem that has not been noted here is the dialect and the slang. Though English would be spoken by more than 150 million Indians, the style and the slang is sometimes as bad as not speaking English at all. This is a problem especially for Indians moving abroad and supposedly initiating conversations in English! This discrepancy, according to me, merits some attention.

Though the article talks about areas which can be tapped online, there are some areas which need to explored in greater detail –

  • Online education
  • Online shopping (debit as well as credit)
  • Banking transactions
  • Gifts and Stationery, and
  • Entertainment Sources – where and what are the movies and parties being hosted; most of the organizers have a portal to themselves, ensuring their online presence

  • Thus, it has become imperative for major players in any domain to have an online presence to ensure visibility to the internet-savvy generation.

    The article also talks about the Bottlenecks for online advertisers today, like dial-up connection, logging frequency, etc. There are specifically 4 challenges explicated in the article that foreign players should be cognizant of. Though the challenges mentioned are more or less exhaustive in nature, the biggest challenge that any player would face is that of the mindset of the Indian consumer. Even today, most of the consumers prefer “experience” over “convenience” and therefore, sensory shopping becomes essential. The ‘touch, feel & try’ factor seems to be a strong variable in the Consumer mindset in India, and should, therefore, be considered while designing any marketing plan for the country.

    Finally, there are 3 interesting tips provided, which are a definite take-away from the article and can be utilized specially by those Marketers who looking to enter India for a long time, have had numerous board room discussions over the same, but just get Goosebumps at the very thought of putting their dollars into it.

    Good Article and Analysis, for sure!
    Reference: Marketing Sherpa
    Editor: Dianna Huff (Contributing Editor:B-to-B)

    Sunday, July 23, 2006

    McDonald’s Sundial Campaign – Breakfast Timings given by the Sun Gods..

    An innovative billboard designed by Leo Burnett has been put up in Wrigleyville, Chicago, as part of the Sundial Campaign.

    According to Chicago Business,
    The billboard has been designed with inputs of an engineer and "features a real sundial whose shadow falls on a different breakfast item each hour until noon, when the shadow of the McDonald’s arches are dead center".

    The campaign is part of the Fast Food Breakfast War in the United States, with the major players fighting to get a larger share of the significant breakfast market.

    Breakfast contributes a major share in the overall Fast Food Market in the United States, hence this competition. Though McDonald’s invented breakfast in the quick service restaurant industry, it could not retain its first mover advantage for long. With new players like Starbucks (selling warm breakfast sandwiches in Chicago) and Wendy’s, competition is increasing in this market.

    The Sundial concept was invented by Christian Huff, a Chicago-based electrical engineer and technical advisor to Studio One East, a Chicago graphic design business that does work for Leo Burnett. After selecting the appropriate Billboard, where the Sun hit the right angles, an aluminum set of McDonald’s arches measuring four feet by three-and-a-half feet were designed to serve as the “dial” mounted above the billboard.

    The billboard will remain in place until August, after which the “Sun effect” would go down..

    Though the campaign has seasonal limitations, it is an innovative application of Sunlight and reflection. However, such a campaign would lose its effectiveness in a place which has huge variations in weather. If such a billboard is setup in a place like Mumbai or Shanghai, due to the daily variations, the campaign would lose the consistency, and hence, the credibility.

    For now, its 6 AM and the Sun Gods have ordered for Black Coffee!! :)

    [via Adverblog and Billboardom]

    UPDATE on 6th August
    Another coverage by Adcritic in their weekly newsletter discusses the campaign from the creator’s perspective.

    According to the engineer Christian Huff, who is behind the designing of the sundial, not only is the sundial the only abbreviated sundial he has seen, but he accepted that the billboard has a limited life span. "As summer ends, the movement of the sun will shorten the shadow — unless the 'shadow mast' is realigned" as quoted in the article.

    Saturday, July 15, 2006

    Cingular: The “Fewest Dropped Calls” Campaign

    A creative concept by BBDO for Cingular symbolizes the "dropped calls" irritant and claims that the Network ensures the “fewest dropped calls” in the United States.
    Nicely executed campaign!
    [via Advergirl]

    This campaign was launched nationwide in the US in April, at a time when most of the other Mobile Operators were claiming similar service levels -
    Alltel claimed to have the "largest" network, Verizon "the most reliable," Sprint "the most powerful," and Cingular "the fewest dropped calls." Thus, mutual legal battles were a natural outcome.

    But things aren’t so appealing, when it comes to “evaluating” or “measuring” the effectiveness of this campaign.
    According to Boston Globe, the company is offering little backup for its claim and runs counter to other studies and the advertising of competitors. Thus, credibility of the campaign is at stake!
    Although a small research company, Telephia Corp of San Francisco, is behind the claim, it has not even supplied relative figures for comparison.

    In an article in Tech dirt, the author has contrasted the immature way of handling their claims and the way in which the operators are fighting with each other over the “falsity” of the claims. Most of the operators are filing lawsuits against each other, according to him.

    Another article, which was published in Brandweek almost a week back, mentions about the lawsuits filed by some New York customers as well, against Cingular claiming that it failed to provide them with adequate service.

    However, the company spokesperson asserted that the company would continue to stand by the claim and substantiated it with another decision by the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Review Board that determined that the company had the right to promote itself as having “More bars in more places.” [Source: Brandweek]

    Thus, there is still some ambiguity over the “truthfulness” of the campaign, which might prove to be destructive, if not handled effectively.

    All said and done, from an advertiser’s perspective, the creative is simply fantastic. Kudos to BBDO for another special piece!

    Friday, July 14, 2006

    Campaigns “in the air”…

    Found really innovative campaigns at the Billboardrom
    One of them uses the aircraft seat pretty creatively (till now, I have only seen the headrests being used creatively) with the laptop right in front of you. An excellent BTL campaign indeed! The brand being advertised is a Brazilian Computer Manufacturer – Itautec [Source: Coloribus via Billboardom]

    The second one converts the supports inside airport shutters to watches. You need to see the campaign to understand the execution. Good thinking!
    The brand being advertised is IWC Watches.
    [Source: Frederik Samuel via Billboardom]