Unmetro: Bengaluru opportunity

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Marketing | July 29, 2014
Interest in India's smaller cities and towns is building up, and Dainik Bhaskar decided to champion the cause with Unmetro's second outing in Bengaluru.

Following the successful series of the first-ever conceptualized Unmetro events in three cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru in 2013, Dainik Bhaskar's Unmetro conference made its first stop in Bengaluru this year.

The conference, held on July 25, evoked even stronger interests and participation from Bengaluru's marketing and corporate community, demonstrating an increasing attentiveness to the potential of markets beyond the Indian metros.

Delivering the keynote address, P Krishna Kumar, executive director and general manager, consumer and small business, Dell India shared interesting insights on the way the Unmetros of India are rapidly catching up with metros in terms of consumer tastes, preferences, spending capacity and demand of goods and services. "For Dell, these markets are increasingly offering a stronger ROI even more than their metro counterparts, which are 'over-marketed'," stressed Kumar.

'The going is not always smooth' was elaborated by Ashwin Naik, CEO and co-founder, Vaatsalya, a chain of low-cost hospitals in the Unmetro cities of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. "Thus, while Vaatsalaya has grown and been serving these cities well, the pricing concerns reflected in the cost of soaring real estate in these cities as well as issues like relatively lesser medical insurance cover, remains a challenge for the chain to expand faster," added Naik.

A panel comprising Sudhakar Rao, director - branding, ICFAI; Bhaskar Choudhari, director - marketing, Lenovo; Srinivasan KA, co-founder, strategy, business development and marketing, Amagi Media Labs; Meenal Lall, DGM Business Development, AMC Cookware and Peter Suresh, head- BIU, DB Corp, delved deeply into issues including differences between these markets vis-a-vis metros, the challenges of connecting effectively with consumers here and more.

A unique perspective from the design side was added in a special Q&A session where Arvind Hegde, managing director and director - consulting, Ray+Keshavan, participated in. Lacing his relies with examples, Hegde laid bare the design challenge in these markets, an altar at which a number of Indian brands had regrettably fallen short, according to him.

Among other things, he stressed that rather than differences, tastes were actually converging overall, which would mean a lowering of marketing costs when it comes to selling in these markets.

Eminent city-based marketers, Sonia Serrao, chief manager, media planning and buying, Tata Global Beverages and GK Suresh, GM - brands, foods business, ITC, Sanchayeeta Verma, managing partner, Maxus South India and South Asia, and Rajendra Khare, co-founder and CMD, Surewaves mediatech took up the impact of media reach in the Unmetro markets and the categories which are growing.

Touching upon each and every media option, from print to mobile, the panel engaged in a lively discussion with the audience on the merits and weaknesses of each. Two opposite ends of media, namely print and mobile came in for special attention, with panelists seeing a lot more potential in print to use its distribution strengths and local market intelligence more effectively to appeal to marketers.

Rounding off the sessions was Anustup Datta, COO, Vertebrand, Bengaluru, who shared insightful quantitative data and research driven facts about these critical new markets for corporate India. Kaacon Sethi, chief corporate marketing officer, DB Corp, stressed the consistent need for planners and marketers to ask more questions about these critical markets, where she believed there was a clear need for quality inputs, a key reason for the Unmetro initiative to be conceived by DB Corp.

The conference was attended by over 170 delegates comprising leading noteworthy professionals from media, marketing and advertising communities in Bengaluru. Reflecting the entrepreneurial spirit of the city the event also attracted a fair share of start-up founders seeking insights.

The event was managed and organised by afaqs! Events.

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