“You don’t need my investigative skills, dear Dr. Watson,” said Sherlock Holmes, “to realise that a marketing campaign is working when a simple spinning top or a two bit rubber band goes out of stock even at a fancy price of Rs.200-400 or Rs.90.” Alright, so we made it up. The ace detective never said it. Indubitably, however, no one can refute the truthfulness of the concocted statement. Beyblade is nothing but a branded spinning top, repackaged and coated with some shiny stuff, worth Rs.5. Promoted directly and indirectly through websites and TV shows as Storm Pegasus, Tornado Wing, or Seggitario, it makes children act like extortion dons coercing and reigning over their parents, who surrender and buy in addition an ugly plastic contraption called ‘Arena’, the battleground for these branded warriors.
Wipro had launched an offering called Pace, when the recession was on in the US; it addressed issues like capital saving and efficiency for user clients. But since the last six months, the customers are asking for revenue enhancers – they are no longer looking at an offshore version. So Wipro proposes to launch a new campaign in February 2011 that will talk about improvement in product cycle time and not just about costs. Customers now are looking at the speed at which solutions can be delivered, so that ROI can be realised soon, not 18 months later. This sure warrants a change in product offering and marketing communication.
MARKETING IS CUSTOMER
ORIENTED: THAT’S AN OLD HAT
Okay, but are you aware as to who is your customer? Actually the marketer-customer relationship has evolved through three stages and is now in the fourth one. And in a heterogeneous market like India, all the four versions may coexist. In the initial phase, there existed pre-determined groups of buyers who were certain to buy. Individual differences and preferences counted for nothing. Products were created without much feedback from the users who were targeted through one way communication. In stage 2, a customer became an individual statistic but without much of a unique identity. He was spoken with, feedback obtained, and changes were incorporated for redesigning the product. In the next stage, a customer is identified as a unique entity. The products are reconfigured based on deep understanding of his needs. The communication is on a one-to-one basis. Finally, in stage 4, the customer is being treated as part of an enhanced network; he co-creates and extracts business value.
EXCELLENT MARKETING CAMPAIGNS REST ON SIX Ms.
A marketer needs to follow the six Ms approach in order to make his marketing campaign future proof.
1.Precocious child or sweet sixteen? The marketer needs to define the target market in terms of demographic, psychographic, geographic, behavioural, and mediagraphic profiles. But, also realise that demographic variables fail to differentiate consumer behaviour. For example, 30-40% of consumers of premium brands are not necessarily SEC A. They could very well belong to SEC B or C. Partly, this is because over the last two decades, value drivers have changed from mere value for money and good quality to greater choices, service, and experience at retail level. When Hero Honda introduced the Passion, it had youth in the age bracket 18-30 years in mind who stayed in urban/semi-urban area and belonged to SEC A or B. More importantly, the customer was described as enthusiastic, who was considering a bike as an extension of his personality, was a style and looks conscious guy, someone who wanted something decent but price competitive.
2. Merchandise, the second M: The marketer must make it clear what is on offer, in terms of attributes, benefits, and values. Titan learnt two important lessons. One, watches are no more a time-keeping device but an everyday accessory and a style statement for the customer. So it positioned the brand accordingly. Two, one needs to lead the market with emotional innovation and keep repositioning the brand accordingly. So the latest catchline is ‘Be More’. Airtel, the number one brand in mobile communication, decided to make life simple for consumers by offering them simple and transparent services, communication and tariff plans and bills, since this is what the customer wanted.
3.Motive, the third M: An excellent campaign is based on deciphering the real reason behind the target prospect considering the product. So why did Kellogg fail in India? Because it attacked traditional belief that Indian breakfast was healthy; because in India pan-India breakfast item is a utopian concept, rather regional food preferences prevail This is because while cereals are light on tummy, Indians prefer heavy breakfast. Indians prefer spicy and savoury breakfast, not sweet. In brief, customers were not driven enough to buy. A Reebok failed initially because, in a nascent market, it talked about ‘marvel of engineering’. Focus on the sizzle, not the steak.
4.Message, the fourth M: It is the excellence of marketing campaign that made Dabur Chyawanprash rule over more than half the market. In one such effort, the positioning became ‘Banaaye andar se strong’ (makes you strong internally). Initially, when Dabur’s communication agency had focused on the rational appeal, the company had rejected it. Finally, the message with an emotional appeal was chosen. We also have to decide on the right choice of source (Toyota Etios) and package the message appropriately so that it stands out in a clutter (Jaago Rey campaign by Tata Tea). So an effective message is all about right positioning, brand image, and communication.
5.Media, the fifth M: Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, SRK, Aamir, Amitabh and a whole lot of other film stars are on social media (Twitter, Facebook, et al), to keep in touch with their fans, take their feedback, and update them. This helps them strengthen their bond with their followers. A marketer has to decide whether to use a personal communication channel (Salman Khan selling tickets at Delite Cinema in Delhi) or non-personal (mass media, ambience/atmosphere, events, et al) one. The singular objective is to get, and stay, connected with target customer.
6.Measurment, the sixth M: It was only after ‘Bheetari Shakti Ka Vikas’ line failed to work, that Dabur decided to change it to ‘Banaaye Andar Se Strong’. Since curative positioning made the customers treat Dabur Chyawanprash as a medicinal product, the positioning was changed to preventive, thus placing it in a broader ‘desi’ tonic category. In determining the effectiveness of a campaign one should be clear about what is to be measured (Sales or communication effects?) and appropriate tools of measurement (Focus groups, sales waves et al). The feedback obtained thereby will give an idea whether to continue with the campaign (Cadbury retaining its positioning of celebrations with Cadbury) or modify it (Pizza Hut) or drop it (Ericsson, when people mistook the mobile brand being designed only for ladies).
It is on the strength of excellent and effective marketing campaigns that Maggi adorns the kitchen shelves of virtually all urban households, Cadbury is accepted as suitable ‘Meetha’ option for all occasions, and Lux makes all ladies aspire to look like their favourite film stars.