This is how AMFI campaign brought 50 lakh investors on board in one year
Association of Mutual Funds in India launched the Mutual Funds Sahi Hai campaign in March 2017
Mutual Fund commercials have come a long way from the days of speed-reading of the disclaimer that only created suspicion about the product and made those with limited resources avoid the risk associated with mutual funds.
In March 2017, the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) led an ad campaign that sought to demystify mutual funds, helping the industry grow significantly over the last one year. At the recently concluded annual AMFI Summit, A Balasubramanian, Chairman, AMFI, noted that the Mutual Funds Sahi Hai campaign led to 50 lakh new people investing in mutual funds over just 12 months. This fact makes this campaign join the likes of the iconic National Egg Coordination Committee 'Roz Khao Ande' campaign, which led to the growth of egg consumption in India.
To create awareness, AMFI first identified that the penetration of mutual funds category compared to other financial products was lower than the the potential it held. “More people have bank accounts, credit cards and invest in insurance policies than they do in mutual funds,” said Juzer Tambawala, Head of Marketing at Franklin Templeton Investments, and member of Digital Committee, AMFI.
AMFI is estimated to have spent at least Rs 100 cr on the campaign so far. Speaking about the budget allocated for the campaign, Tambawala said that they had the budget to make an impactful presence. He says that while the team did not set out to onboard any specific number of investors, “We wanted to crack a number though. Because therein lies the proof of the pudding.” While he is happy about 50 lakh new investors coming on board he says that the scope of the category is far larger. Tambawala also attributes the success of this campaign to the whole ecosystem, from banking penetration, digital distribution, Aadhaar becoming a norm etc.
The challenge was that even though those convinced about mutual funds were increasing their investments year on year, the number of new people investing in mutual funds was not growing as much. The problem with mutual funds has always been that it is intuitively not an easy concept to understand. This is why in 2012 the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) mandated that Asset Management Companies need to annually set aside 2 basis points of daily net assets, within the total expense ratio for spending on investor education. That was when mutual fund education went beyond the mould of tedious FAQs and individual AMCs began investing in better awareness programmes for investors.
“Even with those initiatives growth was not as high as it could have been,” pointed out Sanjay Mehta, Jt CEO, Mirum India. So, asset management companies came together under the aegis of AMFI to pool their resources and put together a comprehensive campaign to fuel category growth. That the campaign is not initiated by a for-profit body makes a great difference, said Saurabh Uboweja, brand expert and CEO Brands of Desire. “A non-profit body taking an initiative to expand the category is commendable,” he said.
JWT and Mirum India used a 360 degree approach to address this business problem. Mainline media was used to spark the conversation about mutual funds and digital communication was devised to convince the customer. “First, we had to first bring mutual funds into conversations,” said Mehta. And once people began talking about mutual funds, the plan was to debunk myths associated with mutual funds.
That’s why the TVCs for this campaign are set in everyday situations - a local train, at a parlour - and inform users that one does not have to be rich to invest in mutual funds, even Rs 500 per month will do.
Mirum India built the mutualfundssahihai.com website that became a resource on all things mutual funds. “Our challenge was to create something other asset management companies had not already tried,” said Mehta.
The slogan Mutual Funds Sahi Hai countered the long held perception that mutual funds are risky. “The trust of the investors in this category was very low. And this colloquial lingo of ‘Sahi Hai’ works well. The campaign was executed intelligently. It showed the industry taking responsibility for changing the perception among users,” added Uboweja.
The website hosted six videos addressing the various reasons people don’t invest in mutual funds. And each video then redirected the user to further reading material or snackable content for additional information. “Digital was a crucial part of this campaign,” pointed out Tambawala. This is the platform that could encourage interested parties and eventually convert them into investors. “We used all our learnings about digital to build the digital arm of the campaign. The content was short, snackable, and not filled with jargon,” said Mehta.
At every stage of the digital journey, users are shown an “I am ready to invest link”, until they feel ready and click on it, they are also shown relevant content on mutual funds. “We found that on an average, people consumed seven different content pieces before clicking on the ‘I am ready to invest’ button,” said Mehta.
Going Above and Beyond
AMFI pulled all the stops for this campaign. While every medium was leveraged to spark curiosity about mutual funds, AMFI made sure it was present at every big ticket event and engaged with the new age consumers in their language. That’s why the campaign was advertised during the IPL and KPL. AMFI also took the branded content route by partnering with the second season of TVF’s The Timeliners and recently launched Yeh Meri Family. “We had to broaden the investor base and that is why we created this large media mix,” said Mehta.
Tambawala said that AMFI will now look at building more content that will aid consumers in learning more about how to invest as opposed to the first level where it was about - what is a mutual funds or why invest in mutual funds. “The website will also be available in seven regional languages soon,” revealed Mehta.
Noting that the process of education is never-ending, Tambawala said that the campaign will continue to go on until SEBI allows AMFI to run the campaign. “Saving rates in India are significantly higher than other parts of the world. Over the last couple of years we have seen a shift taking place towards financial assets. That nearly 90% of India has a bank account is a massive opportunity for this industry,” said Tambawala. He added that digital distribution also gives this industry a great scope for growth. “Digital distribution platforms have managed to break the barriers in terms of execution, reach and engagement,” he said.
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