Diksha Seth

In-Conversation With Rajendra Khare, SureWaves

A second-generation entrepreneur, Khare has filed more than 30 US patents for innovative technology and was awarded with Udyog Rattan and Bharat Gaurav Awards.

Edited Excerpts

India is one of the most Diverse Countries of the world. Don't you think marketers are a bit late in realizing the potential of alternative ways of communication to the diverse groups in the country or is the time ripe?

Every marketer’s brand has differing priorities throughout its lifecycle. At the same time Indian market has been growing and is at cusp of even stronger growth with the economy poised to grow faster with removal of supply side constraints. So, while I wouldn’t say that marketers are a bit late communicating to the diverse groups across India, but now is the time for every brand to penetrate deeper into India to target growth. This can be achieved only through identification of the growth consumer segments and customizing the communication to them.

When MNCs discuss entry plans into India, it is advised to them to consider India as a continent and not as a country! Such is the level of diversity in India. As one has to expand footprint deeper into India, the brand needs to be sensitive to the language, culture and the preferences of the region the brand is getting into. For instance the mobile marketers have ensured that the models they sell in tier 2 and 3 towns as well as rural areas have Hindi or the regional language fonts. Clearly, one size fits all is not going to work as it would be at the cost of alienating or at best getting ignored by the diverse consumer groups in India. So, if it is growth a brand seeks then it has to invest its resources in communicating with diverse groups in the country.

What according to you does the definition of 'Diversity Marketing' entail?

To me Diversity Marketing is the ability to customize a product or a service as per preference of the consumer group and communicating it through a medium as well as the messaging which is able to make the consumer group adopt the product or service at a faster rate. In this era of ever decreasing consumer attention span, merely having a strong product or a service which takes care of consumer’s needs is not enough. Either the marketer should be able to send forth the product or service’s core message in such a manner that the consumer is able to understand it with minimum effort or is surrounded by the message multiple times through multiple media that she (the consumer) is not able to miss it. To explain it further, the brand should be able to reach out to audiences without worrying about constraints related to languages or geographies.

Could you please elaborate how marketers can benefit from marketing to diverse groups?

Marketing to diverse groups increases the brand’s addressable market. India is not just about metros or Top 10 cities. There are consumers beyond these markets who have as much aspirations as their counterparts in metros. There is intense competition in metros to capture the consumer’s attention and share of wallet. So a brand is not just competing with its own direct competition but with other brands in trying to create salience in the consumer’s life. Moving beyond the metros or beyond the upper and upper-middle class presents a large opportunity to increase the consumer base. With more consumers adopting the brand there are more advocates for it who would recommend it to others. The brand’s equity increases leading to higher sales. HUL’s Winning In Many Indias (WIMI) is clearly an attempt to address the diversity of their consumers. They have reorganized themselves into 14 consumer clusters across channels and geographies.

How a platform like Surewaves, helps marketers in reaching out to diverse groups, which are part of their TG?

We are a technology and media company. We create exciting products to plug in critical gaps in the way a marketer would reach out to his or her audiences. Our products are in television as well as OOH domain. We have aggregated a 530 strong channel network which reaches out to over 90 million households across India. These channels are across 29 states and have content in 16 languages. Our patented technology ensures that there is proof of play, ad break archival as well as centralized scheduling in these channels. A marketer can use our Network to customize the brand’s message across as many languages as per the need of the brand, regions as well as content genres be it movies, music, news or variety entertainment. A brand can test market a new variant or a new message effectively for a city, a cluster of cities / states or a region. A marketer can also use our Network to push across offers specific to a city or a region or a language. Our Network can also effectively complement the digital strategy of a brand.

Traditionally, a cable TV channel network is not considered in media planning. However, if all the cable channels are considered together, their combined viewership makes them actually among top five most viewed channels in India. The reason for this is that the content planners of our Network channels understand the local pulse much better and are able to customize the content accordingly. Adding our Network in the media plan increases cost efficiency by as much as 5 to 8% as our Network adds incremental audiences over traditional television media plan.

Our clients have understood the value we add in helping their brands reach out to diverse audiences. They utilize our Network to push out messages to diverse audiences customized by languages and by occasions. These are from FMCG, Consumer Durables, BFSI, Automobiles, Telecom and the e-Commerce sector. Over 100 brands have advertised with us. Many have increased spends on us after seeing better offtake and favourable distributor feedback post the initial trial campaigns for a couple of months.

We also have a couple of exciting products under development, which will create a path to link television viewing to engagement on mobile. Once these products are developed, they will effectively complement our existing suite of products to help the brand engage with its consumers even deeper.

What do you think are the major challenges being faced by a marketer while rolling out Diverse Marketing campaign?

Any brand’s ambitions are to grow faster and penetrate deeper into its market. Both of these can be achieved by marketing to diverse consumer groups. While ‘diverse’ itself means spread out, all of the diverse groups are tied together by a single thread of consumer behavior which leads to consumption of the brand. Knowing and understanding this thread is critical to higher adoption of the brand. The marketer also needs to maintain this thread in communication to the consumer while adapting the messaging to the consumer’s background.

Another challenge faced by the marketers is the difference in the value demanded by consumers across diverse markets. While a metro based consumer may be more willing to pay a premium for the brand, the ones in towns beyond metros are much more demanding in terms of price-value equation as they are willing to sacrifice convenience at their end to get more value out of the brand.

Once the value communication and the message are finalized, it is a challenge to communicate the same to the diverse consumer groups as each consumes media as per its own preference of language and content. In this era of faster Go To Market speed, one has to be able to quickly roll out the message across the consumer groups. We can easily help the brand address this challenge as, apart from metros, our Network is available across 4,350 cities/towns which have less than 1 million population.

Could you share a quick 'Word of Wisdom' for the industry on Diversity Marketing?

The consumer is out there willing to try out the brands provided the brands recognize the consumer and customize their messages to her (the consumer) as per her preferences. The brand needs to move out of its comfort zone to explore newer audiences and geographies. SureWaves is there to partner with the brand in its efforts to tap this opportunity.

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