“Consumers trust a brand if it advertises.” These are the golden words of a small but highly ambitious bridal saree retailer Prashant Mundhanda in Amravati district of Maharashtra, whose business has been doing well for the past two years since he relayed ad jingles for his brand Mangal Vastralaya at a bus stop in the district. Similarly, Parag Nalawade’s samosas have found a branded stamp; he is the owner of a small eatery and plans to make it big in the foods industry with a delectable menu of Jumbo Wada, Punjabi Samosa, Misal Pav and Mix Puri Bhaji. Wholesale cloth merchant Tukaram Patil of Latur, too, has a similar story to share. Thanks to the fast emerging tool of audio marketing that has cleverly leveraged the public announcement (PA) systems installed strategically at high transit areas and helped these small marketers fulfill their ambitions.
Food for thought
In a market where just a handful of established brands in the burgers and pizzas category have to fight their way to be on top of consumer’s mind, imagine the plight of the humble samosa or pao bhaji sold by small retailers in almost every nook and cranny of India? With limited budgets would such small time retailers ever get a chance to build a brand name for their products, the way big corporate players do? Well that could be possible as there is a glimmer of hope for those SMEs (small and medium enterprises) who want to build brands especially in the semi urban and rural markets. The push is being given by the new age marketing tool of audio advertising that targets transit audience waiting at bus terminals.
Tuning into trends
Thus, the PA system is fast emerging as a sound tool of marketing for smaller retailers and Vritti i-Media, the Audio Network agency brings to these retailers an affordable and effective audio advertising model to engage the right TG particularly in the non-metro areas. For the record, the agency has sole authority given by the Maharashtra State Road Transport Service (MSRTC) across 80 plus locations to relay ads.
“Small businesses are building a vision of becoming brands. We shall not be surprised if we find ‘Nalawade Samosa’ becoming a big franchiser and raising a barrier for the international food chains to enter these markets. These businesses are no more just looking at the advertisement to increase sales but have understood what can happen by advertising. Small enterprises (like the retailers, traders, service sector) no doubt focus on enquiries in short run but in today’s world of branding they are excited in building brands and Vritti i-Media audio network is the best medium to hammer your brand amongst the masses and can give SMEs very good results in the long run. This medium, if the SME strategises well can help them achieve short term and long term business objectives,” explains Veerendra Jamdade, CEO & Director Technical, Vritti i-Media.
Thus, for the bridal saree retailer Mundhanda, it is the best medium to communicate with the right TG. “I sell bridal sarees and make sure that my ad jingles play during the wedding season when a lot of people both from within the district and out stationed, especially coming from villages get to hear the brand’s name. This has helped our consumers learn about a new name in the sarees business. Most come and tell me that they heard our jingles at the bus stops,” says an elated Mundhanda. Thus, mouth of word publicity is a great pull factor for him.
On the other hand with a modest budget for advertising Nalawade Samosewale, Vritti i-Media ensured maximum reach and retention of the former’s ad jingle. On an average, the agency is said to touch approximately 40,000 people a day at a single location, with per person cost being about 10 per cent of other media. The impact was such that Nalawade extended his contract with the agency for another campaign. Similarly for Tukaram Patil sales have increased 10 per cent for his wholesale saree business.
100 per cent listenership
Jamdade spells out the reason for the success of the new age marketing tool, which has also been used by big players like Mercedes Benz, Make My Trip, Maruti and Chevrolet, particularly those that are trying to target small towns and rural markets. He says that in this media there is no remote control and therefore it guarantees listening and if you deliver a message which is of interest to the audience they will 100 per cent listen. This place has captive audience and a floating population which changes every 20-30 minutes and one can communicate to one’s TG in the local dialect or language in a dynamic fashion. “Rest of the small players and even the corporate in Mumbai and Delhi have to understand and appreciate these salient points of this medium,” he adds.
Thus, the agency has created campaigns for bigger players as mentioned above, where the format is in the form of audio visuals, strategically relayed at the food malls, where Volvo and MSRTC buses stop midway for refreshments. Jamdade further adds, “This has helped reduce the anxiety of the bus passengers stopping at the food malls. Again our revenue model is through advertisements between the announcements. We are looking at all transit places where the vehicle stops for some time so that there is an opportunity to connect and engage.”
For the marketers it provides a cost effective system as the investments can be anywhere between Rs 5000 to Rs 15,000 per month. However, Mundhanda, the saree merchant, feels that it is more cost effective for long term contracts rather than monthly as there are discounts offered on bulk orders. Thus, these small marketers are keener on long term investments and build longer relationship with the consumers and the agency.
However, there is a challenge for the agency while it deals with these small retailers. “When it comes to work with them professionally, the main problem is they don’t trust you when you tell them about the new platform for advertising and marketing,” Jamdade expresses. But on a positive note says that they believe the strength of this platform only when it comes to them through word of mouth publicity.
Hence, most of these players have either listened to the ads jingle themselves or through friends who discuss how intriguing the concept could be. Moreover, for Jamdade, the key learning is that the agency has understood that retailers are very brand conscious and want their brands to be known. However due to lack of consultancy they don’t get to know about the availability of any medium for communication which they can use for brand building. “In simple words, conventionally, they don’t have suitable opportunity for advertising/marketing except TV and newspaper. Apart from this, we have learned that their aspirations are very high. They expect return on the investment they make,” Jamdade shares.
Some of the other local businesses that the agency handles in the state of Maharashtra are Dwarkadas Shyamkumar, Baheti Machinery Stores, Supreme Gold Pipe, Balaji Mobiles and Priydarshni Cloth Centre.