Marketing trends in India 2016 – 2017 : Part 2

marketin trends 2016-17


The coming 2 – 3 years are going to be challenging and exciting for the marketing team across start-ups and companies in India. The general marketing trends in B2C companies have trickle down strategy for marketing in B2B focused start-ups. So the brand and marketing trends described here apply to B2C companies and there are a few trends applicable to B2B companies too.


You can find the brand trend details for 2016 – 17 here.


Marketing trends 2016 – 2017:

  1. Omni – channel marketing will crack open

As marketing channels are getting more expensive, producing original content and distribution of it are big cash burns. Hence, start-ups businesses need to find multiple channels to distribute the same content, so omni- channel route is not just relevant for retail but also marketing. Few start-ups are doing that, using marketing ideas on offline channels, events, online media and combining them strategically for specific target audience. Online brands need to explore the offline route of marketing ideas to build an “on-ground” connect with the customers beyond the online marketing mandate of data. Marketing strategies need to be omni-channel when creating and/or targeting content that goes beyond data driven strategies of online targeting, customers in India are still out there who need to connect with offline experiences.


  1. Customers will build content, content will be conversational

Gone are the days of companies planting their own stories, trying to make it customer centric (and sometimes they miserably fail) and creating fractured story telling of a brand. With growing viral platforms such as ScoopWhoop, BuzzFeed India and WittyFeed, we see more customers building their own content (primarily sponsored by a brand), it might be a personal video or content which goes viral but also brand centric content are produced by customers who are fans/ loyal to the brand. The content ideas have also moved from “messaging” to conversational content. Customer driven content is intended to be interactive, relatable, and more “real”. Hence, conversational content gives the “informal”, authentic feel to the brand. Brand and its marketing is a rational and emotional connect, the emotional connect will be driven by customers. At the end of the day, a brand needs to also build a community, a tribe for its customer’s which is a lot of hard work and unpredictable in a dynamic consumer market like India.

  1. Target marketing & distribution will be signal driven

Unlike brand strategy, marketing strategies need to be signal driven rather data driven. Now here, it is important to differentiate the two, data gives us specific points of follow up on target outcome. Signal is indicative, it allows us to focus on a target but also is more open to include other audiences overlapped or inter-linked with the main audience. Data is focused and linear, signal is non-linear and broader. Data is exclusive, signal is inclusive. Marketing can’t be too focused as customers in India are diverse, the touch points and interactions of customers with the brand is at multiple levels. If marketing is too specific (such as sending emails or marketing campaigns repeatedly to regular customers will be repelling) then you over-load your regular audience, the frequency need to be optimal. Signals can be picked at different levels and at different locations of how customers react to your product and brand. Accordingly marketing strategies can be planned to amplify those signals with specific take-away for the target audience.

  1. Video & Virality : Dual impact, Campaign driven

Generic marketing of your product or brand is out. Campaigns that address customer needs/ pain-points, specific product promotion go a longer way in marketing of the business/ product. These campaigns need to be multiple formats and can’t be approached with only content, visuals or a one – time videos. Videos are now replacing visuals as the best medium of marketing. That’s why Instagram, Facebook and other online platforms are promoting videos heavily. Short videos or 2 to 5 second clips are popular and they will not just be a rage but a necessity for any brand to become customer centric. This allows marketing campaign to be more interactive and the future will also see short video clips being conversational and interactive. But if marketing has to strike real gold, it needs a dual impact of Video content that can go viral. Here is where the trick is, you can plat it but not force it beyond a point to make it viral. Hence, signal driven video content with focused campaigns will help you hit bull’s eye!


  1. Category is the king

An underestimated area but future marketing will peg on a specific category of product or a particular category from a range of products for larger businesses and brands. Marketing will be more targeted, campaign oriented, signal driven, so category marketing will be more focused on RoI, product/ market validation and other key metrics. We can look at beverage category within an umbrella brand or 4G service within a host of services under telecom brand or work wear jewellery within wide range of jewellery products and similarly in apparel brands. So target marketing for category will bring the revenue, growth and in turn profits for business who can build consistently quality products across the verticals.


These trends are indicative for Indian market keeping in mind the global marketing trends which have a trickle-down effect on the Indian ecosystem. They are strongly applicable for B2C based companies and the trends have been arrived based on research, observation and intuition towards market factors. The data and research reference can’t be openly quoted as we have kept it for Collaborative Community’s internal resource and for consulting projects. For brand trends, please click here.

Entrepreneurs & their teams should keep in mind is that it is not as important to understand these trends as interpreting and executing these trends which best suited to your business, target customers and market. It is a combination of creativity and strategy.

But as I have mentioned in previous articles, with robust market growth and hyper-competitive players, product alone can’t make the business profitable. Effective marketing and strong brand building will spur and sustain the growth that require Indian brands not just differentiate itself but be distinct !