to increase a media company's circulation, readership and audience was the focus of the session titled 'Driving Growth in Circulation, Readership and Audience' at the second day of the first ever South Asian International Newspaper Marketing Association Summit. The session was appropriately addressed by Girish Agarwal, director, 'DNA' and the Bhaskar Group, and Sanjeev Bikhchandani, co-founder and CEO, Info Edge, who have made sure that the respective circulation and reach of their businesses defy all laws of gravity through innovation and market research.
Agarwal started off the session by putting forward the example of 'Divya Bhaskar', which, according to him, had become a leader in the market within a few years of its launch. "We had planned a print run of 4.25 lakh for Gujarat, but the circulation overshot our expectations by around 25,000 in the very first month of the launch, thanks to the research and groundwork we had done before the launch," he revealed.
The newspaper hired a team of researchers who would meet the target group, apprise them about the launch of the Gujarati newspaper and take note of their expectations from the daily. So, in a way, people were aware of the product even before it was launched in the market. But Agarwal undermined the contribution of marketing in the success of the newspaper in West India by saying, "Marketing is just a tool and the newspaper's success has a lot to do with the game of content."
He added, "We included Marathi content in 'Divya Bhaskar's Baroda edition as a large chunk of the Maharastrian population lives in the region." He went on to glorify the group's achievement with the launch of 'DNA Money' and 'DNA Sports', which were circulated separately from the main newspaper - another first for an Indian newspaper.
Agarwal concluded by suggesting the industry learn from each other's experiences, as 'Divya Bhaskar' has done with the launch of 'City Bhaskar', along the lines of 'Delhi Times' and 'Mumbai Times', and its district editions, which were inspired by the successful model of 'Eenadu'.
Sanjeev Bikhchandani enthralled the audience by sharing the out of the box strategy that made Naukri.com so successful. He shared the successful numbers Naukri.com has collected in the past decade. "Today, we have a 10 million resume database, 10,000 new resumes per day, and an 80,000 user base and almost 50 per cent of online job search, but life wasn't the same a few years back," he said.
He narrated how Naukri started out at a time when there were hardly 14,000 Internet users in the country. "I always knew that something which is scarce (as job listings were) and has a good demand would click. With low Internet penetration, especially when we started off, it was important for us to continuously update our site so that our limited users come to our site every day," he said.
Bit by bit, Bikhchandani revealed the strategy that he followed to ensure that the company was not limited to just job listings, but also spread its wings to matrimonial and real estate listings.
"If I have to explain the winning formula, it has to be building a sticky audience (building business with deep customer insight), meeting customers (market research), innovating (being the first mover or at least the early mover), focusing (going deep and narrow), solving the problem (and ending up making money), unique content (what you have that others don't) and continuous improvement (strengthening the virtuous circle)," he concluded.