Industry and academia brainstorm ‘marketing of services to millennial India: challenges and opportunities’ at Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida

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Continuing with its series of vibrant debates and discussions to churn out future management trends, Jaipuria Institute of Management organised a Marketing Conclave on 3rd of November 2012 to look into the nuances of ‘Marketing of Services to Millennial India: Challenges and Opportunities’. This one-day conclave hosted 10 leading practitioners from different service industries, who were there to discuss the unique challenges inherent in the marketing of services in India and how they would pan out in the next decade; especially due to the extremely low brand fidelity in the millennial Indian consumer.

Dr. Anup Singh, Director of Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida, extended a gracious welcome to the participants and guests. He went on to deftly set the tone for the keynote speaker, Mr. Anurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, Exchange4Media.com and Pitch. Mr. Batra started on a thought-provoking note, dwelling upon the qualities of the millennial Indian.

“He is technology-savvy and aware of all the technical devices available in the market today. To stay connected with the millennial Indian, one must use the toys and tools that the millennial Indian uses. It is the age of ‘screenagers’, and the size of the screens is becoming smaller and more mobile by the day. As marketers, we would do well to remember that a digital identity is as important as a physical one. Today, no company can ignore M-commerce in marketing. Real marketers think beyond product and market share and find ways of impacting the lives of everyday citizens.”

The other guest speaker in the inaugural session, Mr. Sachin Garg, Author/Publisher, Grapevine India, spoke insightfully about the controversies and ‘whacky things’ being used as tools to generate attention and raise the curiosity of people in order to publicise magazines. As he summed it up, “An author writes two stories; one is the story in the book, and the other is about the book.”

Thus, the tone was set for the three panel discussions that followed, with each highlighting the complexities of marketing services today for the benefit of the audience at Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida. Panel 1 discussed the insights from industry practitioners into the way consumers perceive and consume services in today’s India.Ms. Aditi Malik (Co-Founder, 100 Camps), Mr. Kishore Chakraborty(Sr. VP, Consumer Insights and HFD, McCann Eriksson), Mr. Anurag Kapoor(Creative Head and Filmmaker, Redmart Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.) and Mr. Manish Puri(GM-Corporate Sales, Indigo Airlines) were the panelists for this session. They iterated the need for marketers to get the customer comfortable with the brand, the product, the organisation, and the sales and customer care executives of the organisation. From the Jaipuria Noida students’ perspective, the liberal use of relevant examples was very enriching.

In the post-lunch session, students of Jaipuria Noida had the opportunity to hear the second panel discussion, which dwelt upon ‘Customer Engagement and Loyalty: The Stickiness Challenge’. With a plethora of brands in almost all services available to the millennial Indian, creating and maintaining a long-term relationship with consumers is a tough task. The panelists included Mr. O.P. Agarwal (CGM, Reserve Bank of India) and Mr. Anurag Sharma (GM, Rockport – Adidas-Reebok Group). The message that came out of the discussion pointed to one major quality for the ‘stickiness quotient’ – Empathy. The panelists believed that the ability to empathise with the customer would be the bedrock of customer retention for the millennial Indian.

In the final post-tea session, the third panel comprising Mr. Tarun Ahuja(Founder Director, Nutcrackers.com), Mr. Debashis Sur(President, EPU, Tata Teleservices) and Mr. Somnath Mitra (Senior Consultant, IBM)brainstormed on ‘Service Innovation: Being Relevant for the Future’. With the rate of change getting faster and new products being launched even before the older versions have completed their life-cycles, the race for innovation has reached blistering proportions. The panel deduced that only by creating a magical experience for the customer could a company be ‘future relevant’. The speakers exhorted service marketers to follow the ‘Apple’ model if they were to remain relevant in the future for the millennial Indian – and that would only happen through innovation.

The third and concluding session was filled with enthusiasm and information for the students of Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida. All in all, the discussions helped participants visualise how service marketers could acquire customers, generate loyalty, innovate, decipher consumer insights and be relevant for the future.