Abhinav Anand
Brands and Sports marketing

The path of BFSI sector’s new normal and the role of sports in its aid

With the new year and a new normal, the BFSI sector now has new challenges to combat and how they have leveraged sports to their advantage.

While walking into the new normal, there is a lot that has already changed. The impact of the pandemic has undoubtedly altered the way various sectors function. One of the prime sectors which can be taken into consideration in this context is the BFSI sector. While the world steps into the new normal, it is quite phenomenal to see how they have withstood the storm. Being in this unforeseen situation, required the BFSI sector to come up with a stance that was resilient while they provide uninterrupted services to their customers. Now as the sky slowly clears from the storm of this pandemic, this can be deemed as the ideal time to analyze their current position and the way ahead in this new normal.

Television as a medium has always been promising for marketers of every segment. Even as the world saw alternate options growing, there was always a stronghold that television had over viewers. Television has rightfully gained focus ever since the nation was put under lockdown. The work-from-home situation also had a huge impact on people being glued to their televisions, BARC also reported about a viewership surge that was seen during the lockdown as compared to the pre-covid period.

While talking about television broadcasting, live sports has always enjoyed a higher attention span when compared with other genres like GECs, Movies and News. Over the years live sports viewership has also seen a steady rise, with IPL being the best of the lot. IPL has grown exponentially since its inception, both in terms of viewership as well as the marketing opportunities that it provides to marketers.

With this positive rise in viewership of live sports broadcasts, it has become a prominent component that marketers have been exploring. Leveraging the broadcast of live sporting events has always helped brands build a connection with their customers. The BFSI sector has also actively leveraged advertising with sporting event broadcasts to drive their business on numerous occasions. Having proven results of what live sports on broadcast can help marketers achieve, it stands to be one of the most effective mediums of marketing in today’s age.

The disruption caused because of the pandemic led to great changes in customer behaviours for the BFSI industry. While the use of digital transactions shot up significantly, on the other hand, the number of customers visiting ATMs and Branch offices declined enormously. This eventually meant that the situation called for them to look beyond traditional models of engaging customers. Over the years, IPL broadcast has turned out to be the most effective platform for advertisers who are looking to explore and expand their marketing capabilities.

Even during the 2020 edition of IPL, big players from the BFSI sector were seen to actively invest in the most renowned cricket league in the world. Insurance aggregators like Policybazaar saw significant increases in their ad spends on the 13th edition of the league. As quoted by Sai Narayan, CMO, Paisabazaar.com, “If there were no live sports we might not have reached 40 million monthly users on Paisabazaar and 30 million monthly users on Policybazaar. Given its presence across multiple platforms and multi-language feed, IPL is a great stage for marketers to experiment with different communication formats. Historically speaking, whenever we have considered cricket, we have observed a substantial surge in our web traffic, resulting in lowering our cost per lead at a daily/ monthly/ campaign/ market level. Being the largest online financial marketplace in India, we expect to ride high on the popularity of sports, especially cricket in our country, by leveraging it more as a platform than a medium.” Along with several other such associations, the BFSI sector clearly understands the prowess that the homegrown Indian cricket league withholds.

Even as digital and performance marketing are widely used as drivers of the business, it was important for the BFSI sector to explore other bold ways of driving visibility, the share of mind and awareness for their products and services. Leading marketer and expert Les Binet, in one of his articles, had also quoted that while performance marketing gives rise to short-termism and quicker responses; it may not necessarily help in building the brand over a longer period.

Along with the new normal has come a lot of new situations. The ideas that might be required to tackle these situations would vastly differ from the routine process that used to be followed earlier. Television still remains to be the medium that provides unparalleled mass reach and wide impact. Whereas, live sports offers higher attention, engaged consumer and higher absorption of brand messaging. Hence, the mixture of this specific medium along with live sports content provides optimum results to advertisers.