GoDaddy India dances its way to SMBs

By Satrajit Sen , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital
Last updated : March 28, 2014
Through its latest campaign featuring actor Mithun Chakraborty, the world's largest domain registrar aims to educate small businesses in India about the real-world benefits of getting a website.

A disco dancer promoting a technology service is a rare scene, and when it happens, it either works wonders or falls flat on its face. GoDaddy, one of the largest technology providers dedicated to small businesses, has launched an integrated marketing campaign featuring three-time National Film Award winner, actor Mithun Chakraborty.


Rajiv Sodhi

The campaign aims to educate small businesses in India about the real-world benefits of getting a website. Two TVCs, along with search, display, email and social media marketing activities have been launched by the brand.

Crafted by Happy Creative Services, the TVCs showcase two different types of small business owners - a young bakery owner and a leather shop owner, both facing different challenges. While the bakery needs customers, the leather shop owner wants to run his business 24/7. The films feature Mithun as the expert, who explains (in his quintessential style, of course) to the business owners how a website can help heaps. The films end with the actor performing a little dance move, one the brand hopes will become a signature of sorts ass the ads gain traction. MEC has worked on the media duties for the brand.

According to Rajiv Sodhi, managing director and VP, GoDaddy India, in India, IT adoption among small businesses is lagging behind and most SMBs (Small and Medium Businesses) hesitate to build their web presence. Clearly, the company has spotted a need gap and is aggressively looking to fill it.

Sodhi shares, "We believe small businesses and entrepreneurs are the driving force behind India's economy and are here to empower them with the right tools. Our creative approach for this campaign drives home the point, in a fun way, that having an online presence is essential to business success."

The SMB Chase

Since its inception in India in August 2012, the company has grown to become one of the top players in the domain name registration and web hosting space. With more than 12 million customers worldwide and over 55 million domains hosted, is the largest domain registrar in the world.

The company has offered .in domains in India since 2009. GoDaddy is an accredited ICANN registrar, which means they can re-sell the domain name and up-charge for it because they also assist with services like server management and website development, among others.

As per industry sources, globally, the average cost of a domain on GoDaddy is under $10, but the price goes up when a consumer opts for services like server setup, website, hosting, email, certificates, etc. In the Indian market, GoDaddy has acquired customers with rates as low as Rs 59 per month.

Competitors like Bigrock have followed a similar path, but traditional players like Sify, Net4India and Netcore have lost many a client to GoDaddy. The major revenue model for the company is its subscription-based services that consumers renew and pay for, annually.

The challenge, however, says Sodhi, lies not in beating competition, but in educating small businesses about the importance of a web presence. Why SMBs? For one, there are about 200 million internet users and less than 6 million domain names in the country. "Additionally, despite over 30 million small and medium businesses in India, there are only half a million websites. We believe that internet is the key driver for business growth and with GoDaddy it becomes very easy to get online. We can help our customers solve problems, harness the internet and make their businesses successful," says Sodhi.

The SMB sector in India has been attracting a lot of other internet giants to invest more in building their online presence. Google has also planned to help half a million SMBs in India go online by the end of next year. The Internet giant already has three lakh SMBs in its kitty and aims to add two lakh more by the end of 2015. At present, barely five percent of the 50 million SMBs in India have an online presence, a figure Google is looking to change soon.

Sodhi feels that with more global players focusing on this sector, the room for growth for GoDaddy is manifold. "It is more about educating the SMBs and would-be entrepreneurs that they don't really need to possess tech skills to build their business online. India is a huge market and reaching out relevantly to the TG is important. That is where mass media like TV, print and internet play an important role for us," he says.

Star Power?

Explaining why Mithun was the right choice for his brand, Sodhi tells us, "He compliments our creative strategy by adding to the celebratory mood of the business owners in the ad when they taste success. His appeal cuts across generations and his name is synonymous with dance. He is someone who has made it solely on his own and is a role model for many, irrespective of the industry they are in."

There's another reason: The acoustic similarity between the brand name, GoDaddy, the campaign tagline, 'Go Dada', and Mithun's industry nickname 'dada', informs Sodhi.

Manish Porwal

However, experts don't agree with Sodhi's choice of ambassador. "It comes across as a fancy of the owner or someone who is short on creativity, critiques Manish Porwal, MD, Alchemist Marketing & Talent Solutions, a company that gives advertisers professional suggestions on celebrity-brand associations. "It is a perfect case of signing up a celebrity and not knowing where to fit him in. It is cheeky but has crossed over to the stupid side of things."

Nevertheless, Porwal believes Mithun does have the star appeal necessary to reach the masses. Was it utilised adequately by the agency? No, says Porwal. "It appears as though the ad was forcefully matched with what the brand wanted to convey. It could have been designed better, even with Mithun on board. Being stupid on purpose is one thing, but this is a different story altogether," he says.

First Published : March 28, 2014
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