Business, Marketing, Technology

Mobile phone buyers in India – 2010 and beyond (Part 2)

(Last time, I wrote about the qualitative classification of Mobile phone buyers in India. This is a continuation of that post. )

Million households
Firstly, to give numbers to the last time’s classification – NCAER numbers of 2006 are as given in the chart above. The survey takes into account data for 209 mn households.

In the IPL, we have some interesting brandings happening already. Have you noticed the number of telecom companies + mobile phone companies advertising during the 45 day cricket extravaganza? I can count – Karbonn mobile, Micromax, Videocon, Nokia, Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Reliance, Tata Docomo, Max mobile, Samsung, LG – basically the entire industry is present here in some or the other manner. That explains the mad scramble to get to the Indian eyeballs and grabbing some amount of market share.

So, where is this industry going ahead? If I were to identify top 3 potential game-changers in 2010, these (or a combination of these) would be my answers.

1. The mobile operator – As mobile phone buyers become more versatile and know what to expect from a mobile phone, they will make more and more informed choices- particularly, those in the Climbers class and above. In this context, the role of the operator will become increasingly important. For an aware mobile phone buyer, an attractive mobile phone package can act as an effective deterrent to the lure of the prepaid connection. That phone manufacturer+ operator combination which can crack this code the quickest will have some kind of first mover advantage in this aspect of the market.

2. Promotions – As the cost-feature mismatch between manufacturers reduces, Promotions and top-of-mind recall will be a differentiator in a major way. The huge ad-spends during IPL by every major mobile manufacturer indicate just that. Expect the bollywood and cricketing fraternity coming to your newspapers, TV screens, FM channels, roadside hoardings a lot more during the remaining quarters of 2010. Here’s another Zoozoo ad from the 2010 campaign. ( We had so many posts on the Zoozoo campaign on last year – here’s one by Shubham )

3. 3G technology – when and if it happens! – This TOI article states that 3G auctions in India may happen in April 2010. I have been hearing about these dates for the past 18 months now, and would comment on these only when the auctions truly take place.

At the risk of digressing from the topic, I wish to quote Mr. Shyam Ponappa in an article about Spectrum management written during the budget week

India’s spectrum allocation is burdened with short-term revenue collection for the government, and a shortage mentality. There is apparently insufficient clarity on spectrum usage for ubiquitous broadband/telephony as in other countries, let alone more ambitious targets, such as developing an Indian standard.

Our policies could address the requirement for enhanced coverage/capacity at low cost to make services available everywhere at reasonable prices. Innovative approaches to spectrum management could help get these, through:

Technology-neutrality: the UK and Norway have not restricted the use of recently auctioned spectrum to any technology.

In the context of the mobile phone buyer, the 3G auction can lead to considerable changes in the buyer mindset. If the auctions of through, there can be significant shifts in the buying patterns of the feature conscious mobile buyers , particularly in the later part of the year. The auction can also be the trigger for the emergence of Apple and Android based phones to enter the Indian market in a big way.

To round it up, the market is a huge opportunity right now- the new entrants and the super-aggressive promotions happening all around are testimony to the above statement. 2010 may well be an year where (a) fragmentation can come into the market (b) mobile-buyers will increasingly become feature conscious (c) growth will come through the second time buyer.

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Business, Entertainment, Marketing, Planning, Strategy

Kaminey, Swine Flu & Lessons learnt

kaminey-21Kaminey was definitely the most awaited movie of 2009 so far. The hype it had created was huge! The song Dhan Te Nan was already a rage all over India and it starred last year’s Best Actress – Priyanka Chopra. The marketing team of the film hadn’t put a foot wrong until disaster struck. The article tries to dissect all visible elements of the marketing rollout for Kaminey and how they reacted to the swine flu disaster .

Promotion Plan : Being a UTV release, the promotion plan was water tight. Besides the usual hoardings etc, they had gone for non-conventional media too. Priyanka Chopra created a twitter account to which now she has >30k followers! She was very¬†successfully creating the hype for Kaminey. The stars of the film were a regular feature on all channels – Music, Entertainment, even News. Some of my friends told me that Priyanka had come to CNN IBN on the film critic Rajeev Masand’s show as well. The website of the film was well designed too. Overall, a lot of fronts were covered.

Pre Release Hype – Around 4 weeks from release, a full version of Kaminey’s most promising song – ‘Dhan Te Nan’ was released – on FM and on Music channels. The song itself is pretty catchy and it spread like wild fire. Whenever Shahid Kapoor introduced himself in any interview, he introduced himself as ‘Fahid Kapoor’. This did 2 things – (a) Build up curiosity (b) Was the origin of a viral wave – the ‘s’ pronounced as ‘f’ . It was all well executed until 1 week before release , when swine flu struck Mumbai and Pune.

Swine Flu – Around August 5, Pune was declared by our 24*7 media as the swine flu epicenter. The resulting panic affected every aspect of life – transport, schools, colleges, offices etc. People drove out of Pune in droves. The flu spread to Mumbai. Schools, colleges were declared shut for a week from Aug 13 to Aug 19. Faces covered with masks or handkerchiefs became as ubiquitous in public places as the crowd itself. The reaction time for the marketing team must have been close to nothing, the things happened so fast. Each and every theatre in the city was ordered to close down for the weekend.

The Alternatives: Well, they could have postponed the release by a week. However, it was too late. All over the world, prints must have gone already. Theaters were booked, reservations were made, plans were finalised – and as a result, the postponement was out of question, even if it was Mumbai – the capital of Bollywood that was the affected city. So, they chose to go ahead with the release anyways. It must have been a tough call, with Mumbai + Pune territories accounting for more than a fifth of the entire India collections.

How it panned out: Over the weekend, the Kaminey team was continuously seen on TV channels and FM channels too. Fervent appeals were made to go to theatres and see the movie rather than on pirated CDs. One thing worked out well for the movie – the critics gave extremely positive reviews. Also, the word of mouth effect was good too. Everyone who saw the movie in Delhi, Chennai, Dubai were saying good things about the movie. Clearly, the product itself was a good one, and hence this weekend closedown did not affect the film that badly too. Another thing that happened over the weekend was Shahrukh Khan getting frisked in US. While that got a lot of media attention, Kaminey wasn’t forgotten and on Wednesday night, Kaminey ran houseful in 2-3 Mumbai theaters I checked up, which is an awesome turnout for the marketing team.

Lessons learnt: Many films depend a lot on the first weekend for collections. Kaminey was crippled in that aspect. But, this gives an important lesson about the importance of the product being of good quality. If the film is good, word of mouth will definitely act in favour for you.

Final word: Even now, its not clear if Kaminey would become a blockbuster or not, but one thing for sure, if the film has managed to attract crowds in Mumbai even on a weekday, they have got something right!

PS: I have kept this article open ended and invite views about how they could have acted differently given the circumstances. Comments are welcome!

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