COMIO to spend 50 per cent of budget on marketing

The company aims to gain 12 per cent market share in the mid-segment by 2020 and an overall market share of 5-6 per cent in the smartphone segment

e4m by Venkata Susmita Biswas
Updated: Oct 11, 2017 8:42 AM

The latest entrant in the mobile phone market, COMIO, is spending 50 per cent of its budget for the next two years on marketing alone. “Our overall budget for the next two years is Rs. 500 crore and of that we will be spending Rs. 250 crore on marketing,” said Sanjay Kumar Kalirona, CEO & Director, COMIO. The company is aiming at gaining 12 per cent market share in the mid-segment by 2020 and an overall market share of 5-6 per cent in the smartphone segment.

The company has positioned its product in a segment where competition is low. “We have positioned ourselves in the Rs. 5,000-Rs. 10,000 band. There are few players in the offline mid-segment that have been successful,” he said. COMIO has differentiated itself from players like Oppo and Vivo by positioning itself in the less than Rs. 10,000 segment.

“We want to target the youth in the 15-25 age group from non-metro cities and we are doing everything necessary to be present at every touch point where the youth is present,” said Kalirona. He said that unlike brands like Oppo and Vivo, COMIO will not overspend to gain visibility and instead use precision targeting to reach its potential customers. COMIO is already sponsoring multiple college festivals and has invested in OOH around colleges and universities in North India. “Going forward, with our entry in western India, we will be doing the same here as well,” he said at the sidelines of the launch of COMIO phones in Mumbai.

Currently, COMIO has collaborated with internet influencers to promote the products online. When the brand ventures into television commercials, COMIO will be seen sponsoring shows on music channels, mentioned Kalirona. COMIO’s main focus for now is outdoor and experiential marketing.

COMIO is clear on being an offline brand for the time being. “Being an offline brand alone in the current online ecosystem needs patience and a long-term plan,” Kalirona said. “Being an offline brand needs huge investment, a large team, and the strength of distribution. We have 400 distributors across North and West India. The online market has a 30 per cent market share and there are a lot of players in that market. It’s easy to be an online brand and play the specs and price game. As an offline brand, you need to offer good experience to customers and have strong after sales service,” he said.

Micromax which was once a popular brand in the affordable smartphone segment saw a rapid decline with the entry of Chinese smartphone brands. Kalirona said that the decline of Micromax has some very important lessons to offer. “We need to have in-house manufacturing, in- house R&D and have control over all our functions. And as a brand, COMIO follows this strategy of doing our own R&D and manufacturing our products,” he said.

As far as the retailing of COMIO phones is concerned, COMIO plans to have presence across 30,000 retailers by the end of 2017. In North India, COMIO has sold close to 65,000 handsets, of which more than 30,000 have been activated. While COMIO phones are available on e-commerce websites, the sales on these platforms has been negligible in comparison to offline sales.

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