Transparency to trigger investment in BTL

Inability to provide proactive ideation, transparency, national outreach and lack of strong data on RoI are factors hitting BTL industry

e4m by Deepika Bhardwaj
Updated: Jun 5, 2012 8:07 PM
Transparency to trigger investment in BTL

Though events or Below The Line (BTL) activities still form a small percentage of the marketing budget of marketers in India, it surely isn’t a sector one can miss out on. Events industry today stands at Rs 6000 crore in India spread across organised and unorganised players, with organised players forming 40 per cent of the market doing business worth Rs 2300 crore. The numbers are impressive but there is a long way to go for the events industry in India, said Ashish Pherwani, Associate Director, Advisory Services, Ernst & Young.

Inability to provide proactive ideation, transparency, national outreach, one-stop-solution and lack of strong data on Return on Investment are the major concerns of marketers when it comes to investing in this medium.

“If agencies become more transparent about processes and operations, marketers are ready to increase spends on BTL activations,” said Pherwani. He has interviewed brand managers who constantly use activation as a marketing medium, taking insights on their expectations from the industry.

A major roadblock that is hitting the events industry is also the lazy attitude towards intellectual properties. Pherwani disclosed facts that would startle any player in this domain. According to him, media companies are becoming the most active and most profitable players in the events space, taking intellectual property creation much more seriously than the players in the events business.

Sakaal is doing 400 events every year. Lokmat owns 1500 events today out of which five are sports leagues. “Media companies are getting far more aggressive in the events business than anyone else,” he cautioned. Most of these properties are doing fairly well for these companies and growing in revenues year-on-year. There were 35 intellectual property rights filed under events and activation business – all of them by media companies, revealed Pherwani.

Talking about the growth of this industry, Pherwani said while the industry is pegged to grow at 20 per cent, if players take proactive measures, some can grow even 30 per cent.

Pherwani spoke about six trends that he saw happening in the future, which could lead to a more focused and streamlined growth of this industry. These trends include rise of intellectual property, more amplification of events on regional/national media, building of communities via regular events rather than a one night gala, laying emphasis on return on investment, focusing on new grounds for growth – the rural areas and exploring the next big opportunity in sports.

Regional channels can be a great bet for event companies as most of their inventory is free apart from prime time. These channels are consciously looking for interesting content and events can be a great tie-up, giving additional platform for a brand to reach out to consumer.

B2B roundtables, coverage in media on the conferences and a follow-up through newsletters can be a great way to build a regular community around events too. A sachet model – which is low cost, not so high quality but amplified hugely by executing pan-India with quick turnaround time – is another model events industry should take a notice of, according to Pherwani.

Last but not the least, the way sports and entertainment has come together, sport events are the next big opportunity for event companies to look at. TV channels are looking for partnering with players that can execute these properties. Event companies can do a JV with these channels or own the properties and get them aired. Pherwani coined these sport properties as ‘Delhi Premier League’ kind of events.

While the events industry is overall expected to grow 20 per cent as per Ernst & Young’s analysis, its verticals would see a varied growth. For instance, there would be growth of sports and wedding segment by 25 percent; activations, exhibitions and conferences, B2C awards and contests by 20 per cent; corporate/brand events by 15 per cent; and B2B awards by 10 per cent.

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