Indian marketers remain optimistic amidst the tough economic conditions. A sentiment reflected by Anupama Ahluwalia, Vice President, Marketing, The Coca Cola Company, India and South West India, who says, “The market right now is hugely fascinating and exciting. It is during turbulence that markets set up a lot of opportunities, which marketers should leverage as a time to do new things.”
Looking at the marketing dynamics it can be noted that it is the consumers that are the driving force of growth and a brand’s success. According to Hemant Bakshi, Executive Director, Home and Personal Care Business, Hindustan Unilever, “There is hyper competition and the fact is we are living in interesting times, where consumers are changing faster than the markets outside. This makes it interesting to utilise this as an area of opportunity. The change in technology will dramatically scale up the growth in the future.”
It is typical that a marketer would want to dissect each element of their marketing exercise for better strategic approach, but Sukanya Kripalu, Strategic Marketing Consultant and Chief Executive Officer, Sukanya Consulting, is of the option that “Many marketers often end up in a dilemma when they start putting consumers in boxes, whereas consumers don’t want to get classified.”
Many marketers look at this period for new launches and to roll out new business ideas. Adesh Gupta, Chief Executive Officer, Liberty Shoes, believes, “Turbulent times is just a short term lack of confidence for many brands, but it can also be a time to put in placed an out of the box idea, clear research and a rock solid business plan. If there is a difference in approach, half the battle is won.”
The only fear that Abheek Singhi, Partner and Director, The Boston Consulting Group, feels that could be a worry for marketers is “inflation”. “Supply is not in place in comparison to the demand. Often marketers use the same business model across all market channels. This needs to be taken care off. With increase in technology, it will act as an enabler of reach and growth across various market segments.”
Another factor that comes into the picture during turbulent times is that there is massive cut down in advertising budgets by brands. Prahlad Kakar, Advertising Film Director, Genesis Film Production, thinks of it as an action of killing the messenger of the brands. Kakar is of the opinion that the Indian market is already fragmented and if there is a cut down in communication, brands might tend to lose their core proposition. “Brands at these times should act like a quick stepper, should be spontaneous and should indulgence in simple strategy that is effective,” he advises.
Communication has to evolve during the turbulent times. With the evolution of digital marketing in India, brands will be more focused in nature and will find new gateways to spread its core proposition.
The panelists were part of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Marketing Summit 2012, held in Mumbai.