Online B2C marketplaces have taken to advertising on television in a big way. But a recently released ad film by IndiaMART, online B2B marketplace, will be a first - for both, the brand and its category. The ad film features Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan who promotes the catchphrase 'Kaam Yahin Banta Hain', Hindi for 'the work ultimately gets done on IndiaMART'.
Created by McCann, the 40-seconder is set in a factory/manufacturing house, of which Khan is an employee, a "well informed, smart and new-age" one at that. He talks about the ease of buying different products - like fabric, office furniture, shirt buttons, thread and air-conditioners - in bulk, from IndiaMART.
Evidently, the campaign is targeted at small and medium-sized businesses/enterprises (SMBs/SMEs). As the brand puts it, the TG comprises the "new age buyer, who demands hassle-free buying, either to fulfill his business or personal requirements."
In conversation with afaqs! about the relevance of this portal, Sumit Bedi, vice president, marketing, IndiaMART, quotes the findings of a recently conducted global research study - apparently, business owners spend 52 per cent of their time just identifying the right business partners. "IndiaMART allows buyers to shorten the time they spend doing so, and helps them find genuine sellers... just with help of a click," he asserts.
As an early mover in the dotcom space (IndiaMART was launched in 1996-97 as India's first online B2B directory), the brand already enjoys strong equity among Indian SMEs. Currently, the site's monthly user database reflects around 1.5 million (15 lakh) suppliers/sellers, 10 million (one crore) buyers, and hosts over 3.5 crore products/tools that help generate business leads.
The current mass media campaign comes in the wake of the dizzying pace at which internet adoption is growing. Team IndiaMART deems this the right time to go mass with its message.
"The size and growth potential of the market is huge. Hence, we decided to go ahead with this TV-led campaign and establish our value proposition," Bedi says, going on to tell us that though primarily a B2B player that is focused on SMEs, the "growing chunk of individual buyers" is a significant market for the brand, too. Some experts call players with this sort of dual-TG, constituents of the 'B2BC' segment.
The media mix of this campaign includes TV, print, radio, outdoor and digital, which in turn includes online display, re-targeting, and search campaigns, as well as social media campaigns across Twitter and Facebook and YouTube.
The social media campaign called #AaramKiTune (tune that relaxes you the most) urges people to share their favourite tune online. The brand is looking to create a long playlist and consequently position itself as a platform where buying and supplying is extremely easy. In fact, to illustrate this point, Irrfan Khan is seen air-playing a make-believe piano, all through the ad.
The company's marketing budget for the next year lies within the Rs 40-50 crore bracket.
Founded by Dinesh Agarwal, IndiaMART has over 2,600 employees located across 40+ offices across India. Its existing investors include Intel Capital and Bennett, Coleman & Co.; little wonder then, the brand has been a consistent print advertiser over the years. IndiaMART works towards bridging the gap between buyers and suppliers, and offers products (and information like news, trade shows, tenders, etc.) that help SMBs generate business leads.
Other prominent B2B online marketplaces in India include Alibaba India and Trade India. Few months back, online business listing directory Just Dial introduced an e-commerce marketplace. Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is planning to launch an e-commerce marketplace in India, that will enable smaller vendors to sell their wares to consumers.
Rajiv Dingra, founder and CEO, WAT Consult, a digital and social media agency, is very sure the TVC will create awareness about the brand and get people to adopt of the platform.
"The mass TV viewing audience includes the middle-aged tier I/tier II professional, who is responsible for bulk ordering for his SMB/SME," he notes.
However, Dingra frowns at the brand's choice of brand ambassador. "Irrfan Khan," he explains, "is etched in the consumer's memory as 'Vodafone's brand ambassador'. A non-star face that is not commercialised would have been a perfect fit."
IndiaMART's Bedi insists that Khan lends "realism" to his brand.
On the other hand, Saurabh Parmar, CEO, Brandlogist Communications, a brand consultancy, believes Irrfan Khan's screen presence will certainly grab audience attention.
However, Parmar argues that only a small percentage of the people who see this ad on TV will ever use IndiaMART. "Video content consumption on the internet is on the rise; this ad will do better if targeted online, through SMB pages on Facebook and customised audience targeting/retargeting. That will also be more cost effective," he suggests.
Of course, it's not like the brand is not trying to engage with its TG online; in fact, the film is as much a digital ad as it is a TVC. But according to Parmar, the brand's digital engagement efforts, like the hashtag #AaramKiTune, for instance, "completely miss the brand proposition."
"It is 'Aaram Ki Tune' only in a specific context for specific people," he says, adding that in trying to generate buzz, the brand will end up spending too much, and getting very little "business impact" in the process.