Decoding Diversity Marketing at SureWaves Roudtable on 'The Next Big Challenge for E-Commerce in India'

Industry experts discuss challenges of diversity marketing in a roundtable session, organized by SureWaves and exchange4media in Delhi, moderated by media veteran Vikram Sakhuja

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Aug 21, 2015 8:44 AM
Decoding Diversity Marketing at SureWaves Roudtable on 'The Next Big Challenge for E-Commerce in India'

In a multi-ethnic, culturally diverse country like India, sending out one messaging for a brand may result in the messaging not reaching the intended target audience. Addressing the diverse audiences, in a rapidly changing media environment, brings in challenges and the marketer of today has to make ensure that the messaging goes out effectively to each segment of the TG. In a bid to address this issue, exchange4media in collaboration with SureWaves, a next-generation media company that is mapping, aggregating and consolidating audiences across diverse consumption markets and consumers across India, through information technology and knowledge tools, held a round table discussion on the topic “Diversity Marketing: The Next Big Challenge for E-Commerce in India”. Moderating the discussion, media veteran Vikram Sakhuja had the e-commerce players talking on the challenges, which had them on their toes, on a day to day basis

Commenting on the challenges, Naveen Kukreja, Group CMO ( & Managing Director ( said that the biggest challenge is the rapidly changing media. He says, “Television continues to be the biggest medium and this reflected in our media plans. Looking at the UK and US markets we know where India is headed but India is moving much faster pace. Whether it is adoption of mobile, videos or content being consumed on different devices, marketers are to figure out on how do you effectively measure the different mediums and devices, tweak strategies and decide which medium to be present on or not. With lot more data and analytics available, it becomes critical to know how to use it.” Kukreja adds that with increasing clutter, the challenge is to differentiate the message, make it clear so that it is clearly understood.

For online payment company PayU, the biggest challenge is consumer acquisition. Explains Prabhakar Tiwari, CMO, PayU, “My challenge is, are we being too conservative in consumer acquisition cost. Measuring it, should I look at the CAC (Consumer Acquisition Cost) and feel happy that it is very low as far as industry is concerned or should I be worried I am missing on the lifetime value of a new consumer. How do I balance both - keeping the cost low and not missing on the big opportunity if everybody in the industry is doing it.” He continues, “The next challenge is the acquisition strategy. All acquisition strategy comes with some reward, discount offer. However, smartly I do it , I end up discounting my current user base. If I differentiate and use a differential strategy then my current user base will feel cheated and say, why is this not available to us but available to a new comer. I will have to come up with smarter strategies where I can have the new user come in and reward them while keeping my current user base satisfied.” 

One of the earliest sector to adopt e-commerce has been the travel industry which saw air ticketing growth. However, with penetration levels going over 60-70%, the growth from air ticketing has slowed down. Says Animesh Kumar, Head of Marketing at Yatra, “The next big phase of growth will come from non-air verticals - hotels and holidays. Hotel is a big piece because it is an unorganised segment and online penetration is low. The challenges are also huge in terms of product standardisation and service issue.” He adds, “As a marketer the challenge we have is the growth of the non air business which is going to come from Tier I and II towns.  That is where we are looking at the last segment of people who now have penetration of internet through the smart phone and will be able to buy hotels which historically they have not done. The challenge is also in getting hold of the consumer in a space where discounting is a key to acquire a customer and retain them over a period of time. It is also important to make sure that once a customer is acquired, how do you ensure repeat purchases and retention. The switching cost is low for the customer and that is a big challenge.’

Looking at the retail space, Paroma Sen, Marketing Head, NDTV Ethnic ( says that the extreme diversity of the customer – both international and domestic, poses a big challenge. Says Sen, “The International audience look at us for occasion wear and are digitally savvy.  In India, we are seeing huge growth in Tier II and III cities where people don’t have PCs and broadband connections but they transact on the smart people. The media mix is different for each segment and everything is about cost and justification. There is too much spill over in traditional media, keeping the justification, why spend on TV, because it reaches Tier II and III. How much traffic will we get - these are difficult questions to answer. I don’t think we are quite there yet, that’s where the challenge comes. There is talk about big data, analytics and tons of data pouring in but can I track one customer’s journey through my different campaigns and understand what are the touch-points, at what point do they convert and don’t convert, what are their challenges. I am talking about attributions, end-to-end marketing solutions.”


Saurabh Srivastava, Chief Marketing Officer, MobiKwik says, “The role of a marketer is no longer what it used to be. You have to be a CTO, CFO, CMO, all rolled into one and that is the biggest challenge as a marketer. How do you understand technology, data and use that data everyday to reach out to the most relevant customer. From a consumer’s point of view, the challenges are omnipresent - how do you ensure whether you are being consumed on television which is one way consumption versus mobile or laptop which are interactive. How do you make sure at every step the brand is still hot and relevant to the consumer. Acquisition is not such a big challenge for MobiKwik.  The big challenge is what do you do after that, how do you retain, engage and how do you make sure you understand them and mass personalise stuff.”

Speaking on the challenges faced by for online shopping company, YepMe which is positioned as a private label fashion brand, Priyanka Chugh, Senior Manager, Content and marketing, YepMe says, “We are a private label brand in a marketplace that sells branded products with conventional marketing, brand value and discounts.  For YepMe maintaining a brand value, discount or a price has been challenge. We have been getting numbers especially from Tier II and III audiences.

How should I convert those Tier II and III audiences to my metropolitan audience? When I look at my metropolitan audience, I would want a very contentious size, I would want to innovate  and have technology, but my major chunk still come from Tier 2 and Tier 3 audiences. So what should I do? Get to the conventional mode or go the unconventional way.  The other challenge is content generation versus the adoption. In a fashion apparel brand you can generate tons and tons of content, be it blogs, videos, digital and of course the TVCs but how much is the absorption and from which medium.”

Talking about the challenges facing the online realty space, Manisha Rana, Marketing Head, says, “As a marketer who leads online and offline, my challenges are offline and online mix and balances. It is important to build a brand on mass scale.  Where do I privatise our media money is also a challenge. With tools aiding us to measure consumers’ past purchase or past engagements on every page and at every level of their interaction at brand site.The big challenge we see is the media mix allocation; giving the priorities and meeting objectives that we have i.e. Rental, Real Estate & Privatisation of Markets and the kind of behaviour that the consumer is showing. We want the consumer to come and make the discovery of the right product by providing information to the consumer, giving him a lot of options for the house he wants to choose and make it easy for him to figure it out what he is looking for. Our challenge is to keep abreast to the needs of consumers and how their approach to the real estate is really changing. We are gathering a lot of insights and fine tuning them to the marketing campaigns. TV and Print take priority and hard, measurable results come from digital. These are the kind of challenges we see in the real estate.”   

 (From left to right)

Priyanka Chugh, Senior Manager, Content and marketing, YepMe, Paroma Sen, Marketing Head, NDTV Ethnic (, Saurabh Srivastava, Chief Marketing Officer, MobiKwik, Mandar Patwardhan, Chief Operating Officer, SureWaves, Animesh Kumar, Head of Marketing at Yatra, Vikram Sakhuja, Naveen Kukreja, Group CMO ( & Managing Director (, Manisha Rana, Marketing Head,, Prabhakar Tiwari, CMO, PayU and Rajendra Khare, Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, SureWaves

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