At the Pitch CMO Summit, held on March 10, Sushant Sreeram, India Marketing Head, Xiaomi, delivered a talk on ‘The innovative route of marketing via consumer communities’ wherein he touched upon various forms of marketing techniques and how fans play a significant role in the process.
Xiaomi clocked over USD 1 billion dollars in revenue in 2016, within two years of its entry into the ever-growing smartphone market. Sreeram mentioned this with a dash of confidence and credited it to innovative marketing investments. “We have gotten here by little traditional marketing investments.”
He pointed out the three fundamental shifts in lifestyle, infinite choices, conversations, and shared interests, and how Xiaomi applies its marketing techniques over there. He shared, “When it comes to infinite choices, we stand apart by making great products. In conversation, social media is not just a marketing channel for us but (fundamentally) a philosophy the way we have adopted it. In shared values, there is our passionate fan community in India. In fact, some of the fans help us make great products.”
For the last point, he gave an example of a thread from one of their social media accounts, which had numerous long messages including questions, feedback, complaints, suggestions, and praises from consumers. Sreeram added, “We believe there is a lot of value in having these conversations.”
Social media is definitely the core of Xiaomi’s marketing strategy, which was evident from the session. Sreeram said, “Social media is where we start thinking about marketing. It’s great for us because we have a huge base of fans and we don’t have to spend a lot of time creating conversations.” He spoke of how fans have created conversations about the brand and its products on social media. At this instance, he touched upon Mi Explorers (whose third edition is running currently) where the company gives out devices to their fans before the product launch to use it and give their feedback. He cites an example, “We organized the latest event of Mi Explorers couple of months ago before we launched our device. Ten days before, we got 50 million views with all the posts being shared extensively on Facebook. So, we created buzz around the product thanks to the fan community.”
Talking about managing relations with fans, Sreeram mentioned the party which the company hosted for their fans last December wherein employees sang and danced on stage in front of them. He reasoned, “We use it as an opportunity to hear what they are up to, how they like our devices and how can we make it better. Most importantly, we use it to thank them for the constant support they have in us to be able to fulfill their promises.”
He ended with a quote ‘Always believe something wonderful is about to happen.’ He added, “Thankfully, all our fans have been able to help us do that every single time.”