5 CITIES, 7 DAYS – A RIDE AROUND INDIA
During my week-long business tour of India, I found a stark contrast among its cities. This is a reminiscence of the myriad shades I came across.
As I recover from a hectic 4 city tour across the country, I look back upon the many stories that unfolded around me.
An ex-ad agency man running a business with an app
It’s a different world – very different from his days of selling ideas. Here was a man selling a Mobile App to large MNC/ Indian companies – pushing the boundaries of One Big Idea. The potential of the App looks immense as it helps companies Sell whatever they are trying to. But our man is struggling to find many takers and is still short of the scale that looks, rightfully his. It looked some of the best companies (rather, the people employed there) were not being able to adopt new ‘technology enablers’. Large companies already had a web of ERP/ MIS systems and despite the obvious advantages of the App, integrating it with the existing ecosystem had become the biggest bottleneck. Additionally, personnel had huge reluctance to learn/ adopt the UI of the new app to realize its full benefit. Reminded of the months we struggled to get planners and buyers to adopt new tools/ databases/ ERP systems.
Pokemon Go and Business Leads
On a business trip to a small town in Maharashtra, my Digital Team; young men in their late 20’s/early 30’s spent three hours chasing Pokémon. For a moment I forgot they weren’t teenagers from the Xth standard. While gaming belies their age, young men like these are leading the charge in helping change the way media is used by brands. Digital Media is changing the way marketers use media. Instead of chasing eyeballs (awareness/ image), online media is helping chase Sales and Leads. ROI (Return on Investment) is now a way of life for these young men and women.
New age tech brand, legacy media and old relationships
Our App man was surprised I spoke Accountability. To him, advertising was always a black hole – you knew it existed but didn’t know how to acknowledge what it did. How come a Media Agency was so particular about the outcome before even taking the brief?
I was meeting the marketing team from a tech MNC. Their agency continued to spend 90% of its time providing logistic support for legacy newspaper advertising. The same old stuff….editions, dealer panels, artworks (only it was now being mailed)….wonder when and how the vocabulary would change to reflect the new paradigms visible everywhere.
Our App man said, isn’t it still old relationships running an ageing media industry. I kept silent!
The age of ‘entrepreneur employees’
My friend runs a startup for the last 7 years. They bootstrapped, tried monetizing every single skill set they had…eventually, somethings clicked. Today, with a 25 strong team across 2 cities, they have a few ‘entrepreneur employees’. Having mastered a domain, these guys run their own show. Their efforts pay dividends to themselves the most – a large part (50%+) of the total compensation is variable, fully dependent on the revenues they bring in.
Reminded me of a doctor friend at a large private hospital. He got a salary for Year 1 and from Year 2, his earnings depended on how many patients he brought in, how much they spent at the hospital’s facilities. I was lucky never to have been there…
Broadband - the new rage
After flight/train booking, e-commerce and facebook/ Google became mass phenomena; it was only a matter of time before data became the next big NEED. Yes, Indians can’t do without data as they could not without voice a decade ago. It took time coming…but now, it’s Data Hunger that’s driving the Broadband boom. And everyone wants their data faster than the shatabdi they got bored of, even though Indian Railway hasn’t been able to deliver anything faster in a decade now. With air waves choked, only optic fiber cables (OFC) can solve this crisis for bandwidth. And all OFC providers have Big Plans for the next boom….only the latest e-com crash meant they are holding their horses and doing everything by the rule book. This pit stop of mine was the most beneficial as I got smarter with my current broadband service provider, negotiating a 300% increase in bandwidth with a 14% increase in monthly charges….to revive my dead Netflix account, my kids’ music videos and wifey dear’s headache from the constant bandwidth rationing!
May the pitch season continue!