India – market for ‘Aspirations’

India – market for ‘Aspirations’

Wednesday October 19, 2016,

6 min Read

India is known for its diversity, culture, politics and population. However, from a marketing point of view, the country offers immense growth opportunities. Many global brands have accepted the fact that marketing in India is very complex and challenging. What makes it hard for the brands to lure Indian audience (customers)? Is it the product, pricing, brand name, value or something else?

Diving deep into marketing jargons, I pulled out a term called ‘TG’ (target group or target audience), which might be an important factor behind the failure of various marketing strategies of renowned brands. The term TG has always been a center point of all marketing activities. Of course, the term has an utmost importance in ‘Marketing’, especially when we are living amid of furiously competitive markets like India. Many of the marketers have struggled hard to tackle ‘TG” in India. For example, a super affordable car in Rs 1 lakh range was targeted to bike riders or LIG (lower income group) who wants to have a four wheeler but can’t afford one. Did it work? No, it in fact backfired!

Why? Because of the ‘Aspirations’, they don’t want to be a car owner whose cost is just Rs 1 lakh.

 What is TG?

The product/service a company produces is always targeted to a ‘specific group of customers’. The group or the segment is known as TG. The company presumes that the specific group will be consuming/buying the product or service as it has been created keeping their expectations/needs and demands in mind.

The market and TG

The Indian market is considered as one of the most robust and growing economy where brands compete furiously with each other in order to build and sustain their ‘customer base’. In a diverse country like India, it is a challenging task to confine a target group especially when the economic structure, buying potential, needs and aspirations play a crucial role in their decision-making process. One or two decades back, it was easier for brands to create and tap specific segments with their offerings. With emergence of various media platforms, it has now become a bit onerous to reach out to that specific group that contains potential buyers. Brand, offering, communication, message, USP’s are becoming more important than product/service pricing. Earlier it was a price sensitive market but with development of banks, their financial offerings, customers are geared up with higher purchasing power than ever before. This way marketers may find it hard to aim any specific group on ‘Affordability’ front, which use to be a major filter in past while segregating audience.

Defining TG (brands perspective)

In the past, companies use to define TG based on their needs, economic conditions, demographics, etc. The economic factor was the strongest filters that use to segregate the potential buyers from the aspirational one. With rapid banking reforms providing cushion to buyers in terms of credit facilities along with economic development as a whole, people nowadays have broad pockets. With a majority having ‘money’ or ‘affordability’ factors in their hand or mind, the companies now struggle to target a specific target group.

Emergence of ‘Aspirational Buyers’

The economic and financial reforms ensured the emergence of ‘Aspirational Buyers’. Who they are? What they do? Where are they found? These are few equations every brand try to solve. An aspirational buyer is one who can’t ‘afford’ a specific product or service, but aspires to have it. The financing cushion provides him the much-needed extension to fulfill his aspirations. There are multiples examples in this regard. One such example is the surge in sales and demands of Apple iPhones. Was it made for the masses? The answer is ‘NO’! It was a premium category smartphone that wasn’t developed for everyone. The brand entered India, foresighted the ‘potential’ to multiply sales and they adopted universal marketing strategy of ‘product price reduction’ ensuring that the cell phone sells in large numbers. The question rises, did Apple decode the old age ‘TG’ factor by understanding the emergence of ‘Aspirational Buyers’ and their potential? Yes, they did! Not just Apple, many of the other premium brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes did the same in India by reducing their prices or launching affordable variants.

Aspirational or mass audience

Though both the terms have different meanings, let’s assume that we are talking about the ‘Aspirations’ of a human being. Each and every one of us aspire to move up from the usual choices and options we have. That leads us to step into a territory where multiple options are available, which aren’t really ‘affordable’, but we’d love to have them any way possible. These aspirations often act as ‘motivations’ and lead us to strive hard to achieve them.

Aspirational or mass audience thus becomes a greater pool than the usual TG. You simply can’t predict who could be your customer.

Targeting mass audience

Would that be a good choice to target mass audience? The answer is ‘what is the harm’. Building a product that everyone ‘aspires’ to have is not really a bad idea. It simply means a bigger pool of probable customers, higher sales numbers and high revenue figures. Only few elite/premium brands might refrain to do so, but would they not sell their product to a person who doesn’t dress up well, or looks good, etc. I doubt!

Building ‘Aspirational’ products for the market is the next big thing. Taking a product or service into a market, showing it to masses and communicating what it could do for them, will benefit the brand. Don’t underestimate public, they are well informed and aware to pick the best, and certainly won’t hesitate to buy if it provides good value (usage or status).

Reaching out to a specific TG has always been an uphill task. But in case you can build an ‘Aspirational Brand’ successfully, nothing better than that. Your hard marketing task will not have to revolve around picking TG and engaging them. Rather reach out to masses and let them pick your brand.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)