'As an advertiser I think vernacular print works best for launch & promotions'

Minoo Phakey, Senior General Manager-Marketing, Dabur India Ltd, talks about how non-metros have grown faster than metros, the effectiveness of Print and the sequential increase in ad spends

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Oct 30, 2020 7:01 PM
Minoo Phakey

As part of the virtual series, ‘Non – Metros: Driving The Economic Resurgence’, an exchange4media and Dainik Bhaskar Group collaboration, Minoo Phakey, Senior General Manager-Marketing, Dabur India Ltd, tells us about the trends the FMCG major has witnessed during the ongoing pandemic and how non-metro markets have led the growth for the company. She adds that News as a genre has become an extremely significant part of the company’s media mix and explains why print is an effective and important part of Dabur’s strategy.

Edited Excerpts

What's been Dabur’s experience in the last three months? In the next 12 months, how are you looking at the non-metro markets?

If we look at some of the key trends that are relevant to FMCG and to Dabur specifically, we see that rural areas have grown much faster than the urban areas. In fact, the growth rate is almost twice that of urban. Within urban, metros have grown the slowest.

A channel that has seen a decline within our business is modern trade. It is predominantly present in towns with populations over 5 lakh, 10 lakh to 25 lakh, 25 lakh +, metros, i.e. it is urban and metro dependent. Modern trade hit a pause because stores were closed.

Secondly, e-commerce has grown at a very fast rate. What’s interesting is that e-commerce, which was dependent on the larger town classes, has made inroads into the smaller towns. 

A large part of our salience of e-commerce used to come from 10 lakh + towns and that salience has gone down, while the salience of Tier I, Tier II, Tier III towns has gone up significantly. For Dabur, e-commerce has grown by 5x and has become a significant part of our business. 

Thirdly, with around 500 million smartphone users, digital consumption has increased and a lot of media is being consumed across town classes. And we have about 500 million smartphone users as we speak. Our digital spends have gone up significantly, by 3x – 4x.

As we are able to communicate with the rural and the small town consumer, some Dabur products have got a huge amount of salience because of these mediums and the awareness levels. We have seen traction from the smaller town classes towards healthcare and the new products that we launched.


If you were looking long-term, say over the next 24 to 36 months, do you see FMCG companies indexing more towards the non-metro markets?

If you were to look at growth potential across categories, it is likely to come from the smaller non-metro, Tier II &Tier III towns. For example, where will the future growth for e-commerce come from? E-commerce companies will now increase their penetration into smaller towns and they will get their growth from the Tier II & Tier III towns.

Our growth in e-commerce is dependent on how they expand, so if they make inroads into smaller town classes, we will pretty much ride on that trend.

Dabur has been a big proponent of Print and has used the medium effectively. Was it the agency or the team at Dabur that suggested using print?

News as a genre has become extremely important. I see news as a complete genre irrespective of the medium – be it television, digital or newspaper. This year, even television viewership shows a movement towards news. Our spends on the news genre have gone up significantly almost 3x of what it was last year. 

Now, within the news genre, there is a huge competition. So should I spend on television, on newspapers or on digital? All three are doing exceedingly well, especially the television and digital part of it. We used Print very effectively last year and print was about 10% to 12% of our overall spends. 

This year, there was a bit of a pause in Q1 because of the conditions that were prevalent at that time and we are now back on print. Apart from trust and credibility, from a news and announcement value, for example, announcing promotions and new launches, print is the most important medium. 

I firmly believe as an advertiser that if you have to make an announcement of a new launch or a promotion, print works most effectively. Between English and Hindi print, vernacular print works effectively.

In fact, apart from the IRS, we rely a lot on our distributors to feed us information. We did a survey amongst distributors to understand where the viewership is and how the readership was performing. Interestingly, most of the small town distributors said that circulation for print is pretty much back to pre-COVID levels. That's given us the confidence to advertise.

However, from a salience and continuity point of view, we have started advertising a lot on television, and within television, on news genre. We also are advertising on digital news and trying to take the home pages so that we get visibility.

Will Dabur increase its investments on Print?

Our overall advertising spends has grown. This year, Diwali is in mid-November and a major part the festive season is in Q3, (October-December). Therefore our spends are going to go up overall in Q3 and the spends on Print will sequentially go up. 

Q2, (July-September) was better than Q1, (April-June) and Q3 will be better than Q2. From last year’s perspective, we may not hit last year numbers, but sequentially, the spends are going up. A lot of our NPDs (new product development) is going to be rolling out, so we're going to be using print to announce the innovations.



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