India is right now on the cusp of a digital revolution. For a very long time, India has been pregnant with the possibility of having a large internet user base. On one hand we had America with 300mn users and on the other hand we had China with 400mn users…but India remained stuck with something like 30-40 mn users, for almost a decade.
Over the past two years we have seen a sudden spurt in these numbers, aided partly on account of proliferation of smart phones. Today we talk about 80 mn to 100 mn users and this population is likely to double in the next 3 years. While in percentage terms 200mn is just 20% penetration,in absolute terms this is a market bigger than some of the
large European nations put together. And this market in any case has 80% of the purchasing power.
Hence from a marketers perspective this is presents a huge opportunity. Some the interesting facets of this market are
• Segmented market : All of a sudden you have a very well segmented market that is presenting itself beyond the traditional sec A, sec B classification.A market that by definition is literate, has access to computing resources and who has a global outlook (isn’t that really the power of the Internet? Makes the user a citizen of the world!).
• Very granular communication : Another interesting perspective is that digital media allows very targeted marketing (based on keywords or profiles) there by actually reducing wastage as far as communication is concerned.
• Small is beautiful : It provides a level playing field. In the good old days of print and TV, only the big boys could communicate. There was no way a small business could afford any print or TV ad. For digital, communication can happen with smaller budgets.
• ROI : And finally there are lot of track back mechanisms. So it is possible to create and link it to ROI metrics. Gone are the days when a marketer could get away by saying “Of the two rupees spent, I don’t know which one has worked for you”. Now it is
possible to know what really had worked and what has not worked.
Indian brands are leveraging social media in the following few ways:
• Building communities: Social media is not about in-my-face marketing. It is about building and nurturing communities. Community building enables brand advocacy and brand loyalty which would then translate into brand building or lead generation for a brand. Financial services companies, FMCG brands , entertainment companies and lot of B2B businesses are leveraging community building very well. Some interesting communities to look at are the ones built by brands like Channel V or Franklin Templeton on Facebook.
• Monitoring conversations : Social media allows consumers to vent their frustrations with a brand at the click of button. Thus it becomes very important for brands to constantly monitor social conversations on Facebook / Twitter/ Blogs etc to indentify if there are
any CRM challenges and if need be, to engage with the consumer to address the issue. Monitoring also allows identification of a PR crises in early days (now a days typically a PR crises starts on a platform like Twitter and then ends up into mainstream communication).
Monitoring can also help brands to generate sales opportunities. Telcos and hospitality brands are very active in the social media monitoring space.
• Social Media Analytics : Perhaps one of the most important emerging areas of opportunity is social media analytics. For the first time in the history of brand kind there is real opportunity for a brand manager to listen to customer conversations in real time about the brand , the competition and about the aspirations/pain points for your TG (after all, all brands are either about an aspiration or a solution!) and use this learning to really understand the market very closely and derive all communication points from this understanding.
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Guest Post by Hareesh Tibrewala