Poojaa Kumar, General Manager - Brand & Marketing, Qwikcilver Solutions
The Indian market today has a clear divide between the Big Bsor brands, whose brand identity is already a common house hold name and the mid-sized organisations or startups who are arching to get their voices heard and noticed in voices that today surround a consumer. How many of the them will many will final make an impact is another story. While the Big Boys of the consumer market continue to spend with the intend of increasing their distribution network and in some cases to get a one-up against competition,the MSO or Mid-Segment organisations and start-ups are under triple the pressure, to be heard, to be accepted and to be profitable.
For a marketer it’s always a juggle between meeting the brands expectation and getting the best ROI of the spends in order to impact the top and bottom line for the business. From driving strategic business engagements to assuring an upward graph interms of the sales being driven through marketing, to creating a brand as a whole, the marketing as to look at it as a whole.
To own a full-fledged marketing department vs working with external consultants, with expertise across various touch points in marketing, is a question a lot of MSO and start-ups are faced with. Usually they don’t have large budgets to own this at the very beginning and it is this stage which can is even more crucial for a brand. This is a stage to either get accepted to get lost in the noise. A lot of business try doing their own bit of promotional and advertising spends without data or insights and invariably theirs spends don’t pay off. While having an inhouse team allows a corporate to have greater individuality interms of the messaging and brand identity and a consulting team could be a more lucrative option when budgets and manpower is a bit restricted.
Marketing consulting firms or individual consultants need to understand the DNA of the business they embark to support. Even from the outside they need to become an insider to be able to offer the right suggestion and help managements make the right moves. Due to this sensitivity the relationship between a Marketing consulting organisation and the brand has to be a long term and trustworthy one.
Today more a more brands, are moving towards the consulting mode as it gives them greater flexibility and allows them to get some of the best minds to work for them without it actually hitting their P&Ls. This trendcommonly seen in start-ups, mid-segment business is also becoming a familiar choice in global brands stepping into the Indian markets.
Consulting in the marketing space had always existed but had been under the carb of creative, PR, Social-media or media buying agencies. A marketer deals with each of these agencies in isolation but this is now becoming more structured. Almost every organisation uses one, two or in some cases all these services through external consultants. In the organised consulting industry we have consultants who can cover end-to-end requirements. Making life even easier for a lean organisation, as now they don’t have to handle multiple agencies and can focus on other aspects of their businesses
Within the Indian markets we already have some large playerlike TCS, CapGemini and KPMG to name a few who have taken a lead in the consulting space but there are also a lot of mid-segment to individual players involved in offering their expertise. The consulting industry too has evolved over the years. Today we have specialized consultants who not only support organizations in implementing marketing and promotional initiatives but go ahead another step allowing them to optimize each spend, by giving them in-depth analysis around relevance and profitability of discounts or personalized offers at real time. Some of these disruptive technology provider are home grown organisations like Capillary, who are changing the way in which the retail industry now engages with its customers.
The sheer impact360 marketing makes on companies, cause them to look comprehensively at the entire project, be it the set of promotional, tactical or go to market approach. This has to be looked at with a microscopic view that would include a multichannel approach driven by customer preferences. And this needs expert hands.
The wide scope of services offered by marketing consultants today range from market entering strategies, to impactful strategic alliances,to primary market research, or even build tactical go-to-market plans for both offline or digital media spends. Consulting firms not only assist an organisation by proposing plans on what or how things could work to their benefit but due to their huge and varied industry exposer can even warn organisation of what might not work. They hugely support business take informed decisions in today dynamic world.