Shubhodip Pal, Chief Marketing officer (CMO) of Micromax, is part of the jury for the latest edition of exchange4media’s Pitch top 50 brands 2017. In an interview with exchange4media, he shares his thoughts on marketing, technology and how Micromax is the 10th largest smartphone player in the world. Edited excerpts:
How has Micromax revolutionised the smartphone industry in India?
Micromax has always counted on innovations, targeting consumer requirements and understanding their usage patterns. Our philosophy has always been to provide the best value proposition to cater the needs of our target audience. We have been innovative and very quick to understand consumer needs and convert them to products and services at competitive prices with a unique customer experience. Right from the first dual-SIM phone to getting QWERTY for our consumers, we have always aimed to democratize technology for the masses.
We introduced Bharat2, the entry-level smartphone that had sold close to half a million devices in just 50 days. We introduced Canvas2 recently and it’s the only smartphone under $250 category with a Gorilla Glass 5 protection. The list is endless, as we always focus on the need-gap in the category and plan our product roadmap accordingly.
How does Micromax serve the high-purpose for its consumers in the field of technology?
Micromax has been the front-runner in providing the best-connected experiences to the consumers. Our mission is to democratize technology for the masses. It is the core thought that drives all our partnerships and industry relations. As a brand we are always seeking the best solutions for our consumers while keeping a tab on its end pricing. Our products stand out for its differentiated experience and pricing is an end surprise for the consumer.
We work with some of the leading brands in the industry be it Google, Truecaller, Uber, Ola, Corning, Qualcomm and get the best of their solutions for our target consumers.
How is the use of technology redefining marketing practices?
Technology is changing everything. Consumers today have access to information, validated by peers or even unknown people, who they trust with their vote of confidence while making a purchase decision. Technology has given rise to more conscious consumers and as a brand we had to capitalise on that.
Besides the cutting edge advertising, Micromax has a focussed approach towards the digital medium as well. We rake emotional responses and connect with a concept that translates to a connect with the brand and not the other way around.
Micromax is the 10th largest mobile phone player in the world. Any strategy to make it in the top 5?
We have a lot to achieve as the category and numbers change every quarter now. As a brand, we have different targets and we have identified expansion strategy in terms of laterally expanding with various product ranges and introducing the brand in newer geographies across the globe.
In the past one year, we have made a conscious transition from a handset brand to a consumer electronic brand. The vision is to make the brand’s presence global.
In addition to India, we currently have operations in Middle East, Russia, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. We are currently selling close to a million units in the international markets and are amongst the Top 2 brands across geographies. The revenue from the international business has been doubling year-on-year generating profits for more than three years now. We will be entering markets like Armenia, Kazakhstan and Georgia in the CIS region. We're also exploring Saudi Arabia and Iran in the Middle East and cluster of countries in Africa, which can allow us to expand. All this is a testament of our hard work in the past year.
In this new digitally-enabled world, there are several smartphone companies. How have you been able to stand out in the crowd?
Market dynamics change every quarter and as a brand we have always strived to come up with compelling product propositions. I believe that whoever invests in bringing the best value proposition and converts the smartphone into an intelligent phone will truly win the game.
How is Micromax different from its competitors as far as features or even the quality of smartphone is concerned?
Our recent entry into the premium segment of smartphones with our Dual 5 is one such example as the smartphone brings Qualcomm Snapdragon 635 processors, 3200 MAh battery, metal body, 13 MP front Dual camera, 13 MP selfie camera and more all at an affordable price point of INR 25,000.
Additionally, our latest proposition YU YUREKA BLACK from YU mobiles received a phenomenal response from the audience. The smartphone was sold out in minutes in its three consecutive flash sales last month.
Just a month ago, you were promoted to Chief Marketing and Commercial officer. How do you see this opportunity as far as marketing, VAS and online sales are concerned?
Yes, you are right. My role doesn’t just entail spending on our marketing efforts but to ensure how we are bringing in right innovations for our consumers. We strongly believe that consumer insights help you achieve that goal.
We have clearly marked a dual brand strategy, where we have Micromax and YU charted out for different audience. In our plans, going forward, we have made sure that both brands don’t cannibalise each other. We have created very exciting product line-ups for both our brands, which will ensure that different target segments are catered to. We are confident enough that with a refreshed look at our product strategy, we are going to be bouncing back in a much stronger way.
(PITCH Top 50 Brands will be held on July 6 at Leela Ambience, Gurgaon)