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Marked to marketing

With a surge in the number of tools available to the marketer, the race for the consumer’s mindshare has never been so multi-faceted and demanding, reports Saurabh Turakhia. Pay & perks

business Updated: Aug 04, 2007 09:03 IST
Saurabh Turakhia

At current prices, India’s gross domestic product was about $814 billion (over Rs 32 lakh crore) in 2006. At a growth rate of 9 per cent, that would mean that Indians would be buying or selling new goods or services worth nearly Rs 3 lakh crore in the current year.

Who are the people who make these sales happen? Irrespective of whether it is a soap or software, wheat or washing machines, hotel rooms or courier services, there is somebody selling more when an economy is growing fast.

Marketing services is the broad description we can give to a range of activities that help companies sell or distribute goods. To attract, retain and impress consumers, critics or the media, firms use tools like advertising, public relations, events – and even instructive programmes. And to address a diverse world in which people with different tastes and attitudes consume various goods, they are employing new tools, techniques and mediums like never before.

When a company wants to know if there are potential buyers for its product, it hires the services of a market research agency. Once that is confirmed, it decides to focus on the best areas and hires an advertising agency to make commercials that run in different mediums.

The advertisements are often placed by media planning agencies that usually deal with the media companies. Like wholesale traders in goods, we have media buying agencies that buy up time or space and think of strategies and operations to build brands. Corporate groups also employ event management companies to create a buzz about products.

They hire corporate communications executives and public relations agencies to deal with employees, consumers, media, governments and the general public. Together, they serve a common purpose.

In a globalised environment, every aspect of marketing services is acquiring depth and sophistication. To work on that, the industry needs a variety of skills. You would agree that grabbing the attention of consumers in an economy that has almost 300 television channels, thousands of magazines, newspapers and other emerging media is indeed a challenging task.

Of all the tools of the trade — that is, segments of marketing services — advertising has evolved a lot in recent times. Most global communications groups like WPP, Omnicom, IPG are buying out companies in India and taking greater control of the buoyant market. A survey by Ficci and PricewaterhouseCoopers this year said that this evolving and consolidating sector grew 23 per cent in 2006 to Rs 16,300 crore.

With the growing importance of online media, knowledge about the domain would also be a plus. Even mobile phones and gaming consoles are now part of the media business. According to Ficci and PwC, India’s Internet advertising industry is set to post a compounded annual growth rate of 43 per cent till 2010, it would touch Rs 950 crore.

The television industry is projected to grow by 22 per cent to Rs 51,900 crore by 2011; print media by 13 per cent from Rs 12,800 crore to Rs 23,200 crore; radio by 28 per cent from Rs 500 crore to Rs. 1,700 crore and out-of-home advertising by 17 per cent from Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 2,150 crore.

An emerging area is that of sports marketing, where tournaments and celebrities are used to promote brands. Celebrity management agencies, model coordinators and direct marketing agencies are also part of the industry. Novelty and innovation are the needs of the day, whichever way you look.