17 September 2019 12:30

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Dentsu India, the brand solutions agency from the house of Dentsu Aegis Network, has won the Marketing Communications mandate for the iconic stationary brand - Kokuyo Camlin. As part of the mandate, the agency will handle creative and brand strategy for Kokuyo Camlin. The account will be serviced from the agency’s Mumbai office.

Commenting on the new business win, Simi Sabhaney, CEO, Dentsu India said, “There’s nothing more special than to work on a brand that’s been an intrinsic part of one’s growing up years. We are absolutely delighted with this win and look forward to creating some memorable work on Kokuyo Camlin.”

Gaku Shinoda, COO, Dentsu India added, “We are very pleased that Kokuyo Camlin has chosen us to be their marketing communications partner. Kokuyo in Japan and Camlin in India are iconic brands and have played a huge role in setting benchmarks in the stationary category. Winning the mandate for such a notable brand is an endorsement of Dentsu India’s ability and we will do our best to further the legacy.”

Asheesh Malhotra, Branch Head- Mumbai, Dentsu India said, “It’s a brand that is probably entrenched in every living Indian’s memory. With its 80 year legacy, it is one of India’s most loved brands. We’re excited having been given the opportunity to partner Camlin and will look to continuously create exciting and talk worthy work on the brand.”

Saumitra Prasad, Chief Marketing Officer, Kokuyo Camlin said, “Kokuyo Camlin is happy to have on board Dentsu India to manage the creative strategy and execution for its brand Camlin. The brand will look to accelerate its growth story in the evolving stationery market in India by rejuvenating our iconic brand and strengthening the bond with consumers.”

As marketing automation has become more mainstream, the barriers that businesses experience are also clearer.

Expectations from marketing automation platforms have not matched reality. Prior to adoption, companies imagine marketing automation software to be out-of-box solutions that can completely overhaul their marketing with very little effort

The reality is that marketing automation tools are not simple plug and play tools.

You need to invest time and resources to generate returns just like any other operations system that your business adopts.

To see high returns from marketing automation systems you need:

- a clear strategy of how the automation platform fits into your overall marketing

- knowledge of marketing automation and data management practices

- resources who can manage and scale the automation system

Companies continue to invest in automation platforms without realizing the investment required in resources to make it successful.

A 2019 report by Smart Insights identifies Data, resources, talent and strategy as top barriers to success of marketing automation implementations.

Email marketing campaigns remain the primary objective

London Research reports that even though 86% of companies are using email campaigns as a primary activity, less than one third are using features that make automation platforms truly valuable – behavioral scoring, lead nurturing and predictive personalization.

By not using these core features, the marketing automation system is reduced to merely a campaign launcher. And there are cheaper, simpler tools out there that let you blast email campaigns.

Why spend so much on marketing automation? The purpose of automation platform is to automate processes.

Our real-world experience of working with businesses from all over the world also validates these challenges. Throughout our journey we’ve asked ourselves - what's the difference between companies that see great results from marketing automation and those for whom the impact is underwhelming?

We continue to see a massive opportunity for companies to better utilize their marketing automation capabilities. This can supplement or even replace decisions based on legacy knowledge or intuition.

From our experience, we recognized 4 things that successful companies do best to optimize their marketing automation ROI.

Define a clear data management strategy

Success with marketing automation relies on accurate, complete and valid data. Good data practices ensure customer information stays relevant.

An ad-hoc approach to data is detrimental as it creates pools of low quality, junk or irrelevant data. These pools become indistinguishable from good quality data. When you try and run campaigns on these mixed data sets, you are unable to cleanly separate bad data from the good. This leads to poor ROI as you don’t even know which users deserve your attention.

Lack of data strategy also severely limits automation capabilities as it makes it harder to identify actions taken by customers. Thus, it becomes impossible to segment users into relevant buckets for creating personalized nurturing campaigns.

You can start building a data management strategy by taking 3 key steps:

Setup data hygiene standards

It’s important to prioritize quality of data at every stage. Letting data hygiene slide even on a few occasions can snowball into bigger challenges. Over time your growing marketing database becomes harder to sanitize – simply because of the sheer volume.

Hygiene process begins when you first use the automation platform. At the early stage you can take steps to stop junk and irregular data from making its way into the automation system. Any lists you upload must be cleaned prior.

As you execute marketing campaigns, and more data gets generated, hygiene management must continue. To encourage compliance, you can setup guidelines and share them with the team. Some basic ones to start with are:

- Exclude junk or test emails – if a few test emails need to be added, they must be appropriately flagged using a ‘lead status’ or ‘source field’ set to ‘Test’.

- Reject irregular characters – create forms that reject invalid phone numbers, public emails or randomly typed strings letters. You can automate this detection.

- Pre-validate contact details – upload emails that have opted-in, have not hard bounced and are valid (they can receive emails). You should implement OTP verification for phone numbers and link verification for email addresses.

- Upload external opt-out lists (if any) – if you are switching from another platform you can import the historical opt-out list to the new system. You can also choose to purge such data permanently prior to uploading it.

Once a month or quarter, review your data and see if there are any loopholes which are adding bad data in the system and include new guidelines to keep it out.

Add and customize fields to segment users

Users interact uniquely with your business. Each user takes different actions at different times. Some may take weeks to make their first purchase, while some may buy on the first day. You must be able to distinguish them based on the actions they take so you can setup different ways to convince them.

This is where one of the most underused features of marketing automation can help – custom fields. Most platforms have a few pre-defined fields for segmenting customers, but you can also add new fields to reflect your business process.

Once you add or customize the fields you need, setup workflows to change their values as your users interact with your business. These fields become identifiers of user behavior. They indicate which users are at what stage of their journey with your brand.

Here are some fields you can define to start with:

Source – which channel or program was the origin when you acquired the user

Source history – which channels were touched on their journey before sign-up

Lead status – identify whether the contact is new, in a stage of nurturing, is a returning customer, is a high value customer. is invalid, and so on.

Engagement level – define a scale or score to measure user’s overall engagement – a sum of all his/her interactions

Let’s take a quick example. Assume you create a field that tracks the first purchase of a customer and sets its status from “Signed up” to “Made first purchase”. Then you set up a nurturing flow that automatically detects when a user is set to this status. The system then sends a series of emails and notifications over a week to convince the user for the next purchase. Similarly, you can set up flows for inactivity, abandoned carts, category stickiness – the possibilities are endless.

Fine-tune the strategy as your business grows

Revisit your data strategy at regular intervals to ensure everything is working as desired and make changes if necessary. Reviews scheduled once a month or once a quarter are enough for most businesses.

During these reviews your team can set aside time to clean data that escaped the agreed standards.

As you discuss gaps in the policy and make changes you can also make enhancements such as adding new fields or value, proposing new standards and rethinking some of the automation processes.

Build a deep understanding of your customers

Collecting data on your customers is important but it’s rarely the complete picture. It's just as important to pin down their behavior. 70% of marketers struggle to create a unified view of their customers’ behavior.

As the graphic below from a research by McKinsey & Company shows, returns from deep personalization are growing rapidly regardless of the industry you operate in – retail, travel, CPG, banking or any other.

Investing in understanding your users, with a mix of data and behavior, is essential to offering deep personalization that people are becoming accustomed to.

Marketing automation platforms can take you closer to fully understanding your customers. They combine static demographic data with behavioral signals to clearly identify unique purchase patterns that require personalized content.

Lead scoring is a classic mechanism for this. It’s one of the core features of any automation platform.

To setup lead scoring, you assign scores to every foreseeable customer activity. Then you set up rules to tell the system how to change the total score of a customer based on different actions. Once the rules are set the process is automatic.

For example, you can add 5 points if they click on an email campaign. Add another 30 points if they make a purchase. This way a customer’s total score is a cumulative measure of their engagement with your brand.

As the score changes based on user actions, you can setup milestones that trigger branches of nurturing flows to engage them further. This is an ideal way to understand behavior as buyers with similar preferences will gravitate towards the same nurturing flows. You can target these groups with even more specialized content.

Track this process regularly to adjust the score and add/remove actions as your users keep maturing.

Progressive profiling is another great tool to create frictionless experiences.

For users with strong engagement scores you can progressively request their information in phases rather than all at once. This makes the experience less overwhelming for the user.

During acquisition, for example, you only ask for their name and email. As they take more steps that require additional info, you append those pieces to build their complete profile.

Retailers like Amazon do this well. They ask users for shipping, payment and credit information only when they reach those steps. Progressive profiling improves acquisition rate as users are not as overwhelmed. It also promotes a more seamless experience and gives them greater control over their personal information.

Think multi-channel, multi-touch campaigns

Online purchases are becoming more complex with an endless stream of information available to users. Buyers comprehensively research and compare products before finalizing a purchase, but they also transact more often with brands that maintain an ongoing interaction.

Companies who understand their users better can maintain these interactions with automated content sent over a mix of channels – email campaigns, SMS marketing, push notifications, in-app messages, etc.

As an example, for buyers who just made their first purchase, you can setup an automated flow of 3 email campaigns, at 1-day, 3-day and 5-day intervals, with recommendations for the next purchase. You can include products from the categories that the user already browsed or additional recommendations based on what other buyers purchased. This is a great way to enhance your interactions with the buyer using personalized content.

There are endless ways of designing nurturing flows over email, SMS, notifications and other available channels. Some basic ones are:

Welcome and on-boarding series – welcome users and offer ideas for their first purchase

Cart Abandonment flow – remind users that they have items in the cart and include suggestions for other products they can combine with their purchase

Event flows – designed around birthdays and anniversaries to create brand loyalty

New category flow – sent to buyers that don’t respond to existing flows. You can use experimental content to measure their response.

The benefits of automated multi-touch campaign are clear. One, it keeps your brand name in active memory of buyers. They are more likely to buy from you if they remember you.

Second, it builds trust and loyalty. Users enjoy personalized recommendations and start building an affinity towards brands that they feel truly understand their preferences and choices.

Finally, it makes your marketing more efficient. As you can automate a series of touches with a large percentage of your users your team has more time to create content and improve underperforming campaigns.

With multi-channel, multi-touch campaigns you will start seeing results that are closer to your expectations from the automation platform.

Manage and grow your marketing operations

Ultimately, you must realize that none of this is a one-time fix. There is a reason marketing automation companies charge thousands of dollars for ongoing consulting.

As a platform, marketing automation gives you all the tools, but you must put in the time and effort to customize and extract value from it.

Companies that generate maximum returns from their marketing automation platforms strive to continuously improve it. Treating it as an ongoing project is necessary.

You can assign a dedicated marketing operations team to manage and grow the automation platform. This team can work with your wider marketing teams to ensure that data, automation, tracking and reporting processes support marketing programs smoothly.

Additionally, they can identify gaps and improve those in short sprints.

If it’s not possible to assign dedicated resources to marketing operations, you can allocate 10-15% of time of your marketing team at regular intervals for improvement. This can be done for example, once a month, once a week or a few times a quarter depending on your scale.

Marketing automation maturity is a journey that takes time and resources, but the results are worth the effort!

Companies that are successfully using marketing automation platforms have grown exponentially. Remember to start small, do the right things, and keep improving.

Written by Avadhoot Revankar,Chief Growth Hacker & Product Evangelist at Netcore.Avadhoot carries extensive knowledge in the MARTECH & Mobile Marketing space.

This post was originally published on Netcore Smartech. Click HERE for the original article

Sunday, 08 September 2019 00:00

Samir Vora, Chief Marketing Officer, Dailyhunt

"With the content explosion today, we have only a window of opportunity of a few seconds to make an impact. If the audience does not relate to our messages at a personal and emotional level, they are most likely to forget your messages. Videos, ads and campaigns that we see going ‘viral’ all have the same trait- they connect with the audience emotionally. High production value, good camera work and acting are secondary. To build brand loyalists and ambassadors, we must make an impression on the user’s mind and heart. A relationship has to be built to make them care for your brand. When your message connects with the audience emotionally, they instinctively respond to your brand." Said Samir Vora, Chief Marketing Officer, Dailyhunt.

In an interaction with MediAvataar India Samir gives in-depth knowledge of the digital content game in India and also a few pointers on how to run a successful digitally-led campaign to entice Youth.

Here is the complete Q&A.....

MediAvataar: Tell us about the #DailyhuntHaiNa campaign?

Samir: It’s our exciting new campaign, quite different from our previous campaigns, #HarBhashaEqual and #KhudKiSochBanao. It’s a very special campaign for all of us as we are adopting a young and fun tone, to build brand resonance with the youth, through situational humour.

It’s a multimedia campaign featuring six 6, fresh, young and fun videos of which we have released 3 right now. Through these videos, we have highlighted the benefits of Dailyhunt for its users. We have communicated how relevant we are in terms of content, our hyper-local presence, news and entertainment, and above all, we help keep the youth of our country abreast with what’s happening around them

In the first week itself, the campaign has seen over 20 million views, over 500K likes and has been shared over 50K times. 

MediAvataar: What made you decide to target the youth?

Samir: India is a heterogeneous market with complex socio-economic-political diversity. Today’s digital consumption is being led by youth as they are technologically savvy, aspirational and thirsty for entertainment and being updated with what is happening around them.

With the inclusion of tier 2 and tier 3 towns in digital conversations, the role of the youth cannot be underestimated. The youth have always been an important target segment for Dailyhunt and with this ad campaign, we are tapping into them in a focussed manner.

MediAvataar: What are your views on the digital marketing scenario in India?

Samir: Digital marketing in India is very promising, and it is poised for even more rapid growth.
I see the following important trends in the industry
- As the next 500 million Indians get online, we are seeing greater demand for hyper local and vernacular content pan India. We can see it playing out in Dailyhunt as well.
- The growth is largely credited to deeper mobile penetration in India and internet accessibility with tier 2 and tier 3 towns. As more people access the internet, vernacular digital platforms have grown larger in the country making them the preferred choice of marketers seeking better targeting and ROI on their spends.
- Diversification of digital marketing spends is also happening at a fast pace to hyper local platforms like us. The duopoly that exists in the industry today is getting challenged seriously.

MediAvataar: Is video consumption soaring?

Samir: Yes, not just in India, but also globally. According to a report by Deloitte, the estimated online video audience in India is expected to touch 500 million users by 2020
While content is moving towards video consumption, the device of preference is becoming the smartphone, it is always handy and makes the consumption of video content independent of location. Today, we see consumers prefer video content over text, across genres, whether it’s for entertainment, news, education or sports

At Dailyhunt, we believe that the future of the internet lies in video and vernacular. As a digital platform, we need to adapt to the changing habits of the audience. So, even our app experience is centred on the video format. Today, we have 1 billion video views per month, and to further tap into the potential of video content, we are also focusing on exclusive content partnerships like with Discovery channel

MediAvataar: How do you look at the competition?

Samir: Our goal is to become be THE Indic platform empowering a billion…enabling them to discover, consume and socialise with content that informs, enriches and entertains.
In this journey, we are focusing on our own work, rather than worry about the competitors
Our growth trajectory has left platforms of similar nature, far behind
o Today, we have more than 250 million monthly active users
o Average time spent on our platform is 24 mins
o One of the most important differentiators for us is that we aggregate content that is original, high-quality and verified
o It comes from licensed sources, so we are also a brand safe environment

MediAvataar: Do you think emotions play an important role in crafting a messaging?

Samir: Absolutely, with the content explosion today, we have only a window of opportunity of a few seconds to make an impact. If the audience does not relate to our messages at a personal and emotional level, they are most likely to forget your messages.
Videos, ads and campaigns that we see going ‘viral’ all have the same trait- they connect with the audience emotionally. High production value, good camera work and acting are secondary

To build brand loyalists and ambassadors, we must make an impression on the user’s mind and heart. A relationship has to be built to make them care for your brand.

When your message connects with the audience emotionally, they instinctively respond to your brand.

MediAvataar: What is your content/messaging strategy?

Samir: Dailyhunt, as a brand, has always been a “leader”. Our approach has been to position Dailyhunt as a thought leader who understands Bharat and its customers the best. The attempt is always to build campaigns that go beyond what we do and resonate with the audience at an emotional and personal level.
#HarbhashaEqual was one such campaign. It is the corner stone of our thinking and through this campaign, we celebrated the linguistic diversity in India. We encouraged the ambitious Indian youth not to be hesitant just because they can’t speak English fluently. The campaign was based on the very foundation of Dailyhunt: that the power of the vernacular is to be celebrated. It was a social experiment that sought to overcome a deep-rooted language bias that exists in India, towards people who speak vernacular languages
Similarly, for our next campaign, for the elections in 2019, we again took a leadership stance, by addressing the challenges of fake news and content explosion. The #KhudKiSochBanao campaign was also close to our hearts as it highlighted how it is imperative for us to have a ‘Trusted’, ‘Unbiased’, ‘Credible’ source of information online to make an informed choice. We reiterated the significance of forming one’s opinion at a time when the presence of multiple channels of information often leads to the misrepresentation of facts, biased coverage and has an impact on neutrality

MediAvataar: How is Dailyhunt faring amongst the Indian viewers?

Samir: We are in India, for Indians, by Indians- serving in local languages. Today, we serve over 265 million monthly active users, satiating their desire for entertainment, news, sports and local information. It is even more encouraging that our offerings in 14 vernacular languages have been welcomed by tier 2 and tier 3 cities, from where we get 70% of our traffic.

Adding an average of 20 million new users every month, and maintaining an average time spent of 24 mins just further validates how integral we are to their lives. We also see engagement from Gen Z. Today, 65% of the users coming to our platform are less than 25 years of age.

MediAvataar: How do you deal with unwanted content?

Samir: For content platforms like ours, building trust with consumers is key, especially in this age of fake news and content explosion. At Dailyhunt, we have put a strong process in place to ensure that our users receive only verified content. Since we don’t have any user generated content on our platform, a large issue is circumvented.
We work with only high-quality, known, large publishers. It reduces the chances of unwanted content, and fake news at the very source. We also license our work to professionally generated content providers. To make this a robust system, we also have a publisher rating system, basis views and feedback (on metrics such as whether the content is disturbing, imagery wasn’t accurate etc) from users. This helps give a score to each content provider, calibrated in real time, which we share transparently with all the publishers
Further, we have a 400-member editorial team which reviews the content we receive

MediAvataar: What’s there in the pipeline for Dailyhunt?

Samir: For now, we are focusing on maintaining our growth trajectory through sustained momentum on vernacular, and on strategic content partnerships, like Discovery Channel, to bring exclusive content to our users.

Watch the campaign here

https://youtu.be/jTvYtNywySE
https://youtu.be/IfNbe1Kh7GI

Wednesday, 28 August 2019 00:00

&pictures to premiere Simmba

Roaring action blockbuster Simmba to premiere on &pictures’ Saturday Premiere Nights on 31st August at 8 pm

If euphoria had a face, it would look like Ranveer Singh. The vivacious actor brims with energy 24x7! When that sort of energy combines with Rohit Shetty’s quirky directorial sense, it ought to result in a high-octane action blockbuster! This Saturday, 31st August at 8 pm, get ready to dance to the tunes of the newest cop in the B-town – ‘Simmba’ with &pictures – Naye India Ka Blockbuster Movie Channel’s newest property ‘Saturday Premiere Nights’. The box office hit movie Simmba traces the journey of a fun yet corrupt police officer, whose motto in life is to do beyimaani with full imaandaari and how his outlook takes a 360-degree turn after an unfortunate incident. Director Rohit Shetty helmed action flick features Ranveer Singh as Simmba, Sara Ali Khan as Shagun, Sonu Sood as the main antagonist Durva and Ajay Devgn in a special cameo. Be it action, comedy, romance or striking performances by the actors, Simmba has it all making it a complete entertainment package for the viewers.

Defining Simmba as a masala movie, Sara Ali Khan said, "The way I define a masala Bollywood film is a Rohit sir film. I think it has every emotion, every flavor is depicted, and in a rather grand way, which makes watching a movie a fulfilling experience. There's drama, romance, good music, large sets, cars are flying. When you come with your friends and family for two hours you get fully transported into his grand larger-than-life world which makes the cinema-going experience totally memorable and fully Paisa vasool."

Essaying the titular role Simmba, Ranveer Singh said, “Rohit Shetty is the king of the action-entertainment, masala genre. I always wanted to be a Rohit Shetty hero and when I got this opportunity, I gave it my all. Both of us are entertainers at our core – we like entertaining the audiences to the hilt. My character in Simmba, Sangram Bhalerao will always stay extraordinarily close to my heart because I got to act in a film, in a genre which was my home territory. I’m thankful to Rohit Shetty for believing in me and making me part of his power packed cop universe.”

Speaking about his experience on making Simmba, Director Rohit Shetty said, "Making such movies makes me feel proud especially when the entire police force watches the film. After watching Singham Returns, Rakesh Maria told me, ‘I am proud to be the commissioner of the city after watching your film. The law is more important than we think. If there is no red signal on the road, we all become like animals! The day a police station shuts down, it will be chaos!"

Simmba is an orphan who hails from the town of Shivgadh where the famous and respected cop Singham was born and bred. While looking upto Singham has an inspiration, Simmba grew up to become a police office but with principles poles apart from the latter. Being an uncouth cop, he blatantly engages in pursuits of taking bribes from a dangerous gang lord Durva Ranade (Sonu Sood), during which he develops a bhai-hood with him. After being transferred to the Miramar police station, he comes across Shagun (Sara Ali Khan) and love blossoms between them leading to a behaviour change in Simmba. Whilst in the new city, he also develops a special bond with Aakruti (Vaidehi Parashurami), a medical student as she teaches underprivileged children and reminds him of his teacher. But, a certain twist in the story transforms him completely and forces him to choose the righteous path.

For comedy, action and drama in heavy doses, catch Simmba on Saturday, 31st August 2019 at 8pm only on &pictures!

Sunday, 25 August 2019 00:00

The Global Reach of Indian Startups

India has a robust and vibrant startup base of over 40,000 companies that is growing at a steady pace. A digital revolution powered by smartphones, a sizable middle class with growing disposable incomes and a consequent rise in consumerism are some factors that have propelled this growth. This is not exactly a recent occurrence, but rather the latest development in an evolutionary curve that can be traced back four decades.

The late eighties saw the birth of IT companies, some of whom became giants on the global economic map after the IT revolution. It laid down the success road for dot-com startups like the ticketing website BookMyShow as well as a number of industry portals. India is home to 26 unicorns, and a rise in their number helps bring in more investment.

Now, the bad news! Despite the developments and influx of investment, close to 90 percent of startups fail within the first year, and one of the primary reasons behind that is their insistence on catering to a local audience. An innovative ecosystem that enables startups think beyond local shores and devise strategies that can cater to wider markets is the need of the hour.

Why startups need to scout for new markets

Finding customers is an expensive process for startups if they do not have brand recognition. It is important that they develop business strategies with an eye on the future instead of focusing solely on short-term results. If you want to stay relevant in the global markets cape, then you need to develop your business plan with an eye for other global markets, targeting countries with high mobile and broadband penetration, stable political climate, favorable socioeconomics, easy tax and regulatory requirements

Startups that have successfully expanded internationally

Some startups with a firm foothold in India have started expanding their international footprint successfully. Oyo hotels and homes, one of the most famous homegrown hospitality chains, started its global expansion by foraying into Nepal and Malaysia. It then spread to China, which has a booming tourism industry with a strong influx of international tourists, and has successfully established thousands of hotels spread across 28 provinces. It is now eyeing Indonesia, Europe and UK. Zomato is another desi startup that initiated its presence in the international market starting with Dubai in 2012. It now has operations in 10000 cities across 24 countries. The cab aggregator Ola, the ticketing platform Cleartrip, and the craft beer brand Bira 91 are a few other companies that have successfully expanded their operational base.

The Right Packaging

If you are a company that offers a specialized product, then you need to think about how to sell your product across markets. Products have a standard lifecycle – they start slow, accelerate, reach a peak, slow back down, and diminish/disappear. Unless you come up with a retargeted and refurbished second gen product, and start exploring secondary markets, you will lose out on the edge. Finding a secondary market is not as difficult as you think. For instance, Kellogg’s has perfected the art of catering identical products to noticeably different markets. Although a lot of their cereal products taste similar, the packaging is smart enough to set them apart.

Opportunities for Indian Players in the Global Market

Travel Providers – Travel providers need to focus on key emerging markets with a high volume of first time travelers. Airline companies should use their own channels to attract customers, and build a brand image. Big data can be mined to create detailed purchase records of travelers. This will help companies design targeted product offerings and marketing campaigns. Technology should be leveraged to provide in-flight amenities like WiFi, movies et al. Finally, travel agents should be incentivized to drive international sales.

Consumer brands – Asia-Pacific is one of the fastest growing markets for apparels and retail sales divisions should focus on this region. As for established markets, online channels play a key role in boosting sales figures. Maintaining a strong online brand image is key to driving positive recommendations. Increase the focus on top-traded textile and apparel product categories, as well as niche categories like ethnic wear and designer wear.

Real estate developers – The players from this sector should focus on providing end-to-end solutions and increase the wallet share from expats. They can offer value-added services like furniture, interior design and relocation assistance. Organize and advertise property launch events in regions with a high volume of NRI diaspora. Tie up with foreign marketing agencies to reach out to potential international customers. Build an online brand image that projects you as a trustworthy source of information.

SaaS – According to a KPMG survey, over 43 percent of small business owners use mobile devices as their primary platform. SaaS players should focus on delivering customized products for small business owners. The product should have the ability to function both online and offline if you want to target emerging markets, as data is still expensive in those areas. A strong online marketing strategy coupled with direct client contact via an in-house sales team is more effective than field sales.

What does the startup ecosystem need?

India needs to invest more in R and D, and establish a working collaboration with different countries. This will help solidify the links between multinationals, local companies, and academic institutions. Innovations need to focus on societal problems such as healthcare, education, transportation, sanitation, clean energy and other such pressing issues that most of the countries across the world face.

Mindset change

We need to create an environment where entrepreneurship is supported by the entire policy eco system. Often, due to paucity of adequate funding and mature mentorship, startups struggle to expand or even break even. They survive by adopting short-cut techniques, colloquially referred to as the ‘desi jugaad’. However, if Indian start-ups are to really compete with their counterparts in developed economies they need more seamless access to markets abroad, easier access to customer base and easier access to capital and mentorship.

Startup Cells in Embassies

The government can help boost startups’ capacities to expand by establishing dedicated start-up cells within embassies of different countries, or in collaboration with the embassies of different countries in India. This could be a designated Trade Cell which is funded by the Government and has the sole mandate of helping start-ups and SME's to gain a foothold in markets abroad. Via such a channel, several goals such as availability of a ready client base in different countries, easier understanding of the consumer mindset of that country and other forms of market related data can be shared with startups.

 

Written by Parimal Shah, President International Operations, MK Jokai Group

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