Times are changing and so is the customer. Companies are getting tech-savvy, customer has become highly educated, well informed and social media is becoming the game changer. An individual who would simplify go out to the showroom and buy a product on the look and feel, does a thorough in depth analysis on different aspects before even going at the look and feel. The electronic equipments in India which were rated on size and power are now first classified on the power usage than on shape and size. What has made a heavy contribution to the changing mindsets is how and what the customer listens/sees/reads.
India has been a growing market that has always attracted global giants. The GDP of the country might have touched the lower end of 6, but the country still shows undoubted potential of growth and development. The disposable income of the affluent section has risen by a high level and urban markets have reached the threshold of competition, where strategies have become the survivor not the brand names. With heavy competitions in the tier-1 and 2 cities companies are making a shift towards rural market where high growth and consumption are expected. The following trends will help marketers capture and counter the next generation marketing world.
The Emperor: Word of Mouth
It might be an old age concept, but word of mouth has always been the nucleus of marketing since its relevance. The discussion on products which was a rare sight in the Indian markets has become a common feature. With the advancement of Social media and growth of the internet, “Word-of-moth” has taken the centre stage. If one would closely look at the after sales questionnaires, the mandate question “How you came to know about this”, majority answers lie in the range of recommended, friends, relatives.
With depleting Indian forest reserves, increasing pollution and droughts, green marketing is surely going to get thumbs up from the Indian customers. Though still in the stage of infancy green marketing provides a great marketing venture for firms to gain a competitive advantage over firms that market non-environmental products. An example is the new LG campaign that focuses it on going green completely from all the power consumption to the manufacturing level.
There is no doubt that impact of social media is viral in its feature. Its undoubtedly the era of social media’s like facebook, LinkedIn, twitter; talk out the general public or the cream of the society anything that goes around gets a update in social media. Imagine you uploading your latest mobile phone picture on facebook, what starts pouring in is likes, comments, queries; from top to bottom the complete discussion would happen and your words might influence 50 others. That’s the catch with social media; you don’t buy keywords like Google resulting in the trust factor. An example, presence of social media is such that Tata Docomo has more than 200000 fans and Vodafone ZooZoo has 692000 fans with which they connect via videos, pictures and other media.
It’s no longer a choice we use social media or not, it is how we use it that will make the difference. The giant of internet Google tried to counter the social media regime with its Google Buzz, but it was an epic of a failure. With tweets and blogs popping up in search results, it gives a clear indication the tides are shifting and even the daddy of internet can’t oppose it.
Over 771 million users, 3G at its peak and we are into an application world, mobile phones have formed a great and popular alternative to conventional modes of marketing. With the “lack of time” attitude and “on the go” outlook, mobile has become a great feature to reach target audience. With the shift towards rural market and increasing usage of mobile phones, mobile marketing is going to hold a large pie of advertisement budget. The never ending and ever evolving field is getting newer and smarter day by day.
The ‘BLYK’ service adopted by aircel recently is an example of innovations that are in mobile space. BLYK a popular network service in the United Kingdom based completely on mobile advertisement where users get free talk time and SMS for seeing advertisements on daily and weekly basis.
Leaving aside the major players search engine optimization, blue ocean strategy and ambush marketing are other great ventures that will play a vital role in forthcoming times.
The consumer and the market:-
Changing lifestyles have brought in major changes to the marketing strategies marketers need to bring in to catch attention. Increasing social media presence has changed the way companies reach out to their customers. Growing presence of interactive techniques like radio channels, e-mails and text messages has forced marketers to lay high emphasis on them. With consumers being well informed and educated, green marketing and social marketing are taking prominent seats. Mobile marketing has forced marketers to move to the application world designing interactive advertisements.
The rural markets are booming and similarly marketers need to evolve actions and strategies to cater the needs of the rural sector. Various innovative techniques like workshops or small skit’s to educate the customer regarding the product and its feature. Rural markets offer potential needs and needs to be tapped with innovation.
Mix and Match of new and old marketing techniques will act as a catalyst in making the marketer reach the customer.