Our approach is to not cut but optimise marketing spends: Smita Murarka, Duroflex

Murarka, VP - Marketing, Duroflex, feels that OTT, Social and Influencer Marketing will become more important ways of reaching out to the consumer, as we go forward

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Updated: Jun 1, 2020 9:29 AM
Smitha Muraka

The domestic mattresses industry might have faced its worst decline in sales during the lockdown. However, at a time when most brands are holding back on marketing, mattress brand-Duroflex has conceptualised a slew of campaigns and has stayed connected with consumers through all the phases of the lockdown. In conversation with exchange4media, Smita Murarka, Vice President - Marketing, Duroflex speaks of where the domestic mattresses industry in India stands as restrictions around lockdown ease up in certain regions, recovery, the brand’s advertising plans, strategy in the post-pandemic reality and more. 

Edited excerpts below:

How much of a slump has the domestic mattresses industry witnessed during the lockdown in terms of retail sales?  

Retail sales were reduced to nil during the initial lockdown phase as there was a complete lockdown in total. Our factories were also closed. We were opening it in minimal capacity for servicing hospital orders to make beds for the COVID wards as that was a critical requirement. 

This month has been encouraging to see the pent up demand for the category. In states like Karnataka, the demand is back to almost 80% of pre- COVID period. For this industry, the stores are mostly in the high street and these brands could open up. 

With businesses slowly opening up, have you started with operations in any regions?

In Most of the south states and non-containment zones, we have resumed operations. We are also opening the stores and training our retail network on stringent hygiene measures that need to be taken and supporting consumers through virtual sales and private appointments so they can shop at their choice. Apart from Retail, sales on e-commerce has been very encouraging and we are looking to gain significantly there.

Tell us about your recent campaign and initiatives undertaken from the pandemic perspective?

Staying connected with the consumer and providing support and solace during these trying times has been our priority. With our various campaigns, we have stayed in touch with the changing emotional needs of the consumer. When the virus became part of people’s larger consciousness and there was widespread fear in the initial stage, we sprang into action with valuable health advice on ‘Sleeping for Immunity’.

When rational conversations gave way to need for emotional reassurance, we stepped in with ‘Stay In’ urging people to stay home because their bed is the safest and most comforting space. We hosted a series of live sessions from our social channels with experts like Yasmin Karachiwala, Ayesha Bilimoria, Vandana Gupta and many more to help people stay fit and engaged while staying in. When an extended lockdown was announced, anxiety seeped in we use our expertise in Sleep Therapy to host a series of inherently calming activities like Yoga Nidra, live acoustic Bedtime Concerts, sleep music etc. on social media to help people cope with anxiety under our “Sleep Therapy” sessions.

Our latest campaign reflects on the hope of a better tomorrow. We are reminding people are while we may be restricted in our physical movement our mind are free to wander and explore new possibilities and solutions for a better tomorrow. We are asking people to share new skills and hobbies they have picked up during this lockdown and the response if overwhelming. 

 What are your advertising plans in this landscape? Will the brand be upping its investment there or opting to tighten its purse strings right now?

Being more diligent and really looking at the ROI is going to be the way forward. Our approach is not going to be cutting marketing spends but optimising it to make the brand more credible and the business more resilient. The current scenario has changed the way media is consumed, consumer sentiments and how our products are used. So recalibrating our messages, our products and medium in tune with the changing consumer behaviour will be the key in this landscape.

Which marketing mediums is the brand investing significantly at? 

With the increased consumption of at-home media like OTT, TV, Social and other digital platforms we are definitely focused on using these changing media consumption habits. OTT, Social and Influencer Marketing will become more important ways of reaching out to the consumer.

As online becomes the channel of choices, what is Duroflex doing here to stay ahead of the curve?

With the activities we have done in the last two months we are already seeing strong organic traction for our brand on digital. We intended to build on this and make our platforms a source for all sleep solutions.

What will be your strategy as we move forward in the post-pandemic reality?

Our communication will move from just staying connected with consumers, to highlight specific product benefits and USP of our range. As they do come with innovations, which are unparalleled, like our Duropedic range which is India’s only certified orthopaedic range. We are also looking to launch/grow products which we feel help people lead a better life in a post-pandemic reality

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