What it means to market for a multicultural nation like India
India is a melting pot of various races, ethnicities and cultures. Its burgeoning population, along with geographical and cultural diversity, have opened newer avenues for marketing. Moreover, its conducive political and business climate, as well as the astounding pace of digitisation presents an exciting time for the marketing communication landscape.
Nevertheless, marketing strategies for brands in a multicultural nation like India require a greater degree of customisation for each segment of the target audience. The focus on a performance-driven marketing approach has made the 'one-size-fits-all' approach irrelevant.
For a diverse country with diverse geographies, languages and cultures, marketers need to go the extra mile to reap the benefits of their marketing campaigns.
Here are five factors that need to be considered for devising marketing strategies in India:
Connect with your audience
Understanding the pulse of the target audience is the key to successful marketing. In cases where your target audience belongs to various cultures, races and ethnic groups, it is of utmost importance to get an insight into their behaviour, consumption patterns and demographics, etc.
Marketers need to understand what problems they face and how their brand can solve those problems. At the outset, identify what channels does your audience use to connect with them.
Each segment interacts with media differently. It demands thorough research into various channels for incorporating these insights into your marketing plan.
Biases and stereotypes exist in all societies. Ethnic differences and other cultural identifiers that we don't relate to personally, provoke unconscious influences and beliefs. It often leads to stereotyping of a particular culture, ethnicity, etc.
These pre-conceived notions have a catastrophic impact on your brands' reputation. It is thus imperative to steer clear and unlearn these biases on your creative process to reach out to various segments of the target audience respectfully.
Culturally sensitive strategy
Adopting a culturally sensitive marketing strategy within an overall marketing strategy will make your brand resonate with the audience and allow you to gain a competitive edge. While marketing its 48-hour deodorant in Israel, Proctor and Gamble’s Gillette connected with the Jewish community who traditionally don’t shave.
During the Sabbath, Jews are prohibited from doing any work, even applying a deodorant. To target this community with its 48-hour deodorant, the Proctor and Gamble-owned brand devised a dynamic and interactive ad campaign that partnered with synagogue members to test its products, ran print ads in community media, etc. This led to Gillette increasing its share in Israel from 3 percent to 15 percent in just two months.
Apart from relying on data from various channels, including CRM and social media platforms that map the existing consumer base, third-party research, and A/B testing with focus groups give you a larger picture of your marketing efforts.
These external research sources analyse messaging, product traits, and visual elements that resonate with each segment. Such practices will augment your research efforts to fetch a better ROI on your marketing campaigns.
Use of vernacular media
India is home to broadly 121 languages, as per the 2011 Census. The deeper internet penetration will invariably lead to the growth of content in vernacular languages. A Google-KPMG report implies that 70 percent of Indians find local language content on digital platforms more reliable.
Furthermore, 88 percent of Indian language internet users are more likely to respond to a digital ad in their local language than English, and 90 percent of all videos are viewed in vernacular languages.
Don’t ignore traditional media
Digitisation does not imply the death-knell of conventional media. In this era of digitisation, it is equally important to include traditional media such as community radio, billboard advertising, and transit ads to reach out to all sections of your target audience. Omnichannel marketing is the best way forward to reach out to each demography.
Considering all these factors, take time to gain a foothold over understanding your target audience. Formulate your brand message, factoring in unique cultural identifiers, and utilise a mix of various marketing channels to reach out to your audience. Robust analytics and thorough research will serve as great multipliers to optimise the performance of your marketing campaigns in a multicultural nation.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)