Business Opportunities in India with the Right Marketing Expert

gigcmo
05/01/2021

In 2020, it became more apparent than ever that companies need to pivot, find new revenue streams and new areas of demand. They need to be prepared to create new business models, both domestically and internationally. Planning to do this is essential, but being successful in that plan’s execution requires an outsider or marketing consultant's input, with the combination of local commercial knowledge and international business understanding. That’s something only few can offer.  

Be ready to explore new markets

The world has experienced several tectonic shifts in recent years, many of which have become especially pronounced in the wake of the global pandemic. Domestic markets are saturated, some companies have shrunk, and some are looking for new markets elsewhere. 

Digitisation has taken over like never before, and new products and industries are in demand. Looking for areas of unique opportunity is both exciting and daunting. One of the areas that is often underestimated and misunderstood is India. In terms of marketing to consumers and businesses there and bringing their services to other parts of the world, it’s a place of excitement and opportunity – if you have the right strategy.

Thriving services and solutions for the global market 

India is typically associated with being an outsourcing hub for the West. However, it has several thriving industries that offer innovative solutions to a global market. They also have a rapidly growing SME sector that could benefit hugely from the experienced and respected professional services in the UK and other parts of the world. 

In particular, India is developing tremendous opportunities in ed-tech, microfinancing, fintech and agri-tech. For example, Fractional CMO, Ulka Athalye, says: “India is known for grey matter. We have many ed-tech start-ups that have seen tremendous growth this year and now want to grow overseas. They are already developing in neighbouring countries such as Asia and Africa, and are looking to expand to English speaking countries such as the US, Australia and New Zealand. They know India's market very well, but don’t know what it takes to succeed in other markets. That’s where the right marketing consultant can help Indian companies grow overseas, providing a proven playbook of how to succeed in a new market.”

Opportunities for professional services 

Ulka continues: “In terms of companies looking to enter the market in India, I see a lot of potential for the professional services sector. We’re really talking about SMEs and businesses in the growth phase as the corporate market is already quite sophisticated. It’s businesses that are very mindful of their budgets and need to get things right to be successful. The IT services sector is very developed in India. Still, other services that help the CEO deliver such as legal, corporate communications and of course, firms like gigCMO will provide real value to the market. Boutique firms from world-leading financial centres such as the City of London with their network of professional services can succeed in India provided they get their go-to-market strategy right and that they understand that it’s very different to other Asian markets.” 

Marketing consultancy is the key to success

As with entering any new market, what works for the one you’re used to may not work in others. Equally, what works for companies in other markets may not work for you. Businesses in India have fantastic capabilities for growth in other markets. Still, they require the right expertise to make what they do and how they do it relevant to consumers in other areas. Understanding that sweet spot – the intersection between what a company does well, what the market wants and what the competition fails to deliver. That is the key to a successful expansion strategy.

Ulka says: “It’s no use replicating the same strategy in another country. There are cultural differences, customers have different needs, regulations are different, and ecosystems are different. What makes a successful business is focusing on the target audience, having a value system that works and having a go-to-market strategy that allows you to extract maximum profit. Each market has its own peculiarities that brands need to be cognisant of. This is where the real value lies in hiring a marketing consultant who knows the other market so that you don’t make mistakes.”

The importance of market-specific strategies

The goal of international expansion is invariably to maximise revenue and profit. This needs to be truly understood and kept in mind when looking at all elements of your product or services, its pricing and its route to market. You need to dig in and tweak to maximise profitability. 

For example, is your pricing strategy homogenous? Many people think a pricing strategy that works in one market will work in another, but it may be that you need to reconsider. India, for example, is a price-sensitive market where low costs are seen as a positive. However, depending on what you’re selling, other markets may not be the same. For example, some luxury brands have found that being ostensibly mid-priced in the UK market made them appear undesirable or not luxurious enough after they entered the Chinese market. Pricing is an important statement about your brand, and it can make or break businesses. 

Another critical area is not making assumptions about the market you’re entering. For example, for companies going into India, we often think of it as this huge market because its population is large (1.3 billion). If you’re talking about food and drink or an everyday essential, like toothpaste for example, then yes, the market is huge. However, if you’re selling a premium product (like handbags), then it’s a much smaller market that you will be targeting. Therefore, you really have to look at segmentation and micro-segmentation and a very personalised marketing approach to succeed.

Successful marketing is not academic

A point on which many companies fall down when entering a new market, and one where a marketing consultant, in particular, can help, is bridging the gap between strategy and execution. This often gets overlooked, especially in start-ups or companies in a growth phase. The reason is that they focus mainly on targets, and CEOs become very busy with the day-to-day running of the business. As a result, they have very little bandwidth to devote to strategy and planning and ensuring the gap is bridged.

Strategy and marketing efforts in the past have been academic, but marketing has changed because the customer has changed. It’s about digital, customer journeys, experiences and staying in touch with customers – being agile, responsive and being cross-functional in orientation. A strategy has to bring together product, finance, sales and marketing. It cannot afford to be academic. It has to be broken down into steps and details with every point in the strategy linked to tactics and measures. How does each action point and tactic link back to your strategy?  It’s also important for companies to remember that their strategy must be flexible enough to adapt and be revisited every quarter, not just created and left to run.

Many of these elements are universally true. However, knowing the principle and having the specialist knowledge of a marketing professional or marketing consultation service to set them against an actionable strategy to achieve your business goals are two very different things. After a year where so many businesses suffered so badly, it’s an exciting prospect to explore new opportunities. Perhaps India could be next on the horizon for you and your business.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT EXPANDING YOUR BUSINESS IN INDIA