The State of Digital Marketing in B2B in India


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For the past two years Omobono has conducted WWW in the UK with input from our clients in Europe and the US.

But the world is changing and the requirements of many global corporates to spread their marketing efforts into BRIC countries means that we need to know whether the things we hold true as marketers in the West are held true elsewhere. Is there one universal way or not? If there are differences, what are they?

Omobono set out to find answers to these questions by extending its What Works Where study to India in 2012.

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The State of Digital Marketing in B2B in India

  1. 1. WWW IndiaThe state of digital marketingin B2B in IndiaNovember 2012
  2. 2. The State of Digital Marketing in B2B in India Page 2 IntroThe state of digital marketingin B2B in IndiaFor the past two years, Omobono has conducted WWW in the UK with input from our clients inEurope and the US.But the world is changing, and the requirements of many global corporates to spread theirmarketing efforts into BRIC countries means that we need to know whether the things we holdtrue as marketers in the West are held true elsewhere. Is there one universal way or not? Ifthere are differences, what are they?Omobono set out to find answers to these questions by extending its What Works Where studyto India in 2012.
  3. 3. The State of Digital Marketing in B2B in India Page 3What Works Where in India The state of digital marketing in IndiaAs anyone who has been to India will know, it’s another The simple fact is it’s pretty; they do things differently there. In fact it is, in our The internet is transforming lives in India but the way that it is beingopinion, not one India but 3. used by businesses to communicate with other businesses is, as yet,There is the simple fact of the numbers. 1.2bn people, of whom 120 unknown. As our literature review conducted as part of this projectmillion (around 10%) are internet users (Source: Economic Times of tells us, our survey is the first time anyone has looked at the topic. SoIndia, April 2012). there’s much to learn.But 500 million people are below the poverty line, they are barely Findingsliterate, with no access to the internet at all. That’s one India. We’re all familiar with the Google stat that says that 95% ofAnother is the establishment India, where traditional bureaucracy business purchases start on the web. Whilst not as high, thatand systems associated (and partly left by) the Raj still operate. This is point of view is certainly supported by our own WWWan India where everyone has their place and in order to get ahead you research which cites search as being the start point for overhave to know the right people (e.g. be a member of the Delhi Golf Club).As we will see later, one of digital’s great challenges in India as in other half of the, is how to augment these personal relationships, not to try to So perhaps it’s no surprise that in the India survey too, 86% ofsupplant them. respondents felt that digital was critical or important.Then there’s new India. With a new professional class and 600,000 As we’ll see later, the most important digital elements were web,people graduating in technology subjects from India’s excellent search and social - the three broadcast techniques which helpUniversities each year, India is provoking deep interest from global businesses span this massive continent.corporates, who have headquartered in the new towns that have grownup around Delhi, like Noida and Gulgaon, which simply didn’t exist 25 Over the next 12 months digital spend is set to continue, with theyears ago. And of course similarly in Mumbai and Bangalore. majority of the businesses surveyed committing 10 – 30% of their budget to digital, with a small group (10%) some committing as muchBut with over 50% of the population under 35, this is the India most as 70%.people are now growing up aware of. In the UK and other markets the mean is more like 40%, so digital’sIn the digital landscape it’s this third version of India which is most share of the marketing wallet in India lags slightly behind.relevant. But any plan has to take into account India’s 1 and 2 as well,depending on the business sector you are targeting.
  4. 4. The State of Digital Marketing in B2B in India Page 4 Marketing priorities The top three marketing priorities from the mean scores were:  developing a brand position  deepening customer relationships  lead generation. Ensuring the organisation is living the brand and building brand awareness are close behind however. This is unlike in the UK where bringing the organisation along with you on the marketing journey is just not on marketers radars. Interestingly, this priority list does not change according to company size, again unlike in the UK, where building thought leadership (which is the third most important priority) overtakes building brand awareness to become the second most important priority for larger companies. What do we read into that? That Indian B2B marketers have a better understanding of the importance of lining up everyone within the organisation behind the brand or that they just don’t have a separate resource to handle this, so it stays with the marketing community. And, probably, that in a market of the size of India, awareness is still the key game to be played, as opposed to saturated mature markets where the names of bigger companies are known and telling the difference between companies is harder. Digital channel priorities As we found in our UK study – and as might be expected, websites are the backbone of companies’ digital presence.
  5. 5. The State of Digital Marketing in B2B in India Page 5Unlike here though, where search is underinvested in (despite buyersbeing highly reliant on it), SEO comes up as the second most importantdigital channel in India, whilst social media overtakes email as the nextmost important marketing tool. Again this seems to point to the factthat in a market the size of India it’s more realistic to try to ensure thatyour customers find you than to market to them directly – particularlyas data in India is still a nascent business.This seems to be backed up by the fact that the only people who wereusing email were the larger companies – who perhaps have a moreemail orientated customer base.Small companies seem to be underusing this channel. Perhaps data isat the heart of this problem. We’re not sure it’s as extreme as onedigital pundit’s comment that ‘all databases in India are stolen’, butclearly for email marketing to be widely used you need the data.
  6. 6. The State of Digital Marketing in B2B in India Page 6 From What Works Where in B2B? 2012Perceptions of effectiveness - what works inIndia?As might be expected, perceptions of effectiveness followusage, with the most frequently relied on channels being theones that people think work best.Here there were some differences in terms of the size of company, withlarger companies favouring intranets (presumably because they havethem) and the biggest being strongest promoters of mobile.Given that 98% of our respondents’ marketing teams were under 40and the stats on mobile usage, mobile’s appearance at the bottom ofthe range is interesting. The number of mobile phone subscribers inIndia rose to 929.37 million in May according to the TelecomRegulatory Authority of India.
  7. 7. The State of Digital Marketing in B2B in India Page 7However, perhaps it only suffers in comparison to other channels,because overall, the levels are comparatively high. A third of therespondents use mobile channels, and 42% feel mobile is effective.This suggests a higher engagement level with mobile compared to theUK, where only 7% of budget is allocated to mobile, and perceptions ofeffectiveness peak at 24/25% (for optimisation and apps respectively).In India, looking at where effort is likely to be invested over the next 12months mobile looks to continue its role as a support channel, whilstover here mobile is felt to be the critical business tool.As one recent stat that Google shared at the BMA UK conference inOctober 2012, ‘57% of business users who have a bad experience of acorporate website on mobile would reconsider buying from thatcompany.’ Twitter statistic from the BMA UK conference in October 2012Challenges and resource – the vicious circleIndian companies do more of their digital marketing inhouse.In comparison with the UK, where only a third of work is handled inhouse on average, in India 50% of companies handle the majority oftheir digital work in house.
  8. 8. The State of Digital Marketing in B2B in India Page 8A mere 20% mostly outsourced digital work and this tends to coalescearound paid search, SEO and audio, video and interactive marketingactivities. There are some dissimilarities between the size of companyand what they outsource, as can be seen on the chart to the left.At the other end of this telescope however, as highlighted in the mainchallenges facing B2B marketers, this tendency to retain things inhouse creates pressures which need to be managed. From What Works Where in B2B? 2012As can be seen from the previous chart, the most significant challengesis measuring ROI. But the next two relate directly to the quality andavailability of resource, followed by two others which also relatedirectly to resource. So 80% of the audience cite challenges which areresource dependent.Interestingly, lack of technology did not seem to be an issue in theIndian market, with only one in in 8 putting it as their top 3 issue andonly 1% saying it was their top priority. In other words, the plumbingexists; it’s what goes through the pipes that is creating the problems.Indian marketers believe that they are in a fast moving environment,with most companies citing speed and innovation as a significantchallenge. In the UK the issues are the same.
  9. 9. The State of Digital Marketing in B2B in India Page 9 And beyond digital? India is in many ways, a very traditional market, where who you know is as important (or even more) than what you know. As the chart to the left shows, this means that although digital can contribute much to marketing practice, face-to-face still cannot be ignored. This is similar to the findings in B2B in other markets. The preferred way to do business is about meeting people face to face and making a judgment about whether you can work with them. In our UK survey 36% of B2B buyers said they were more likely to buy as a result of face-to-face contact. This does not mean however, that digital cannot play a really significant role in the buying process, as this UK chart on the top right shows. The challenge, or opportunity, is to make digital work hand in hand with face-to-face contact, augmenting the interaction by inviting, sharing and reaching out to people at other times. Buyers react most positively to digital content tailored to their requirements. Measuring effectiveness Indian marketers cut to the quick. They look for lead generation statistics to drive their digital judgments, using web analytics, brand awareness and sales to add to their ROI arguments.
  10. 10. The State of Digital Marketing in B2B in India Page 10 What’s interesting however is that the two most effective techniques are non-digital channels, face to face and customer referrals, and these cannot be measured on digital ROI metrics. Perhaps ROI’s inability to capture the things that really influence business success is the reason that over half the respondents are dissatisfied with the accuracy of their ROI measurement. Implications There is much that global marketers can learn from this study. At the core is the same message we discovered elsewhere, that the basics – web, search or social are all critical channels in the Indian market. Email seems to be an underused vehicle and therein lies an opportunity for those companies who can dedicate the resource to finding the data. From What Works Where in B2B? 2012 As one CMO stated at the London BMA conference in October 2012, “In India there is no data. I have people walking down the streets with notepads making a note of the company name.” Finally, remember one of the other startling facts about India is how young it is demographically. People under 35 account for over half the population and this will grow. This is the digital generation. India is the 2nd biggest Facebook nation on the planet. Before too long, they will come into business, increasing the normalisation of digital channels in relationship building as well as more traditional broadcast techniques. And this brings us to the final challenge for India – which is to work out how best to use digital to augment the other ways in which people do business, in particular personal relationships and customer referrals. In our view, building an approach which uses digital mechanisms to engage customers on an on-going basis is at the heart of how to do this.
  11. 11. The State of Digital Marketing in B2B in India Page 11 Given the importance of who you know in India harnessing the power of recommendation via digital could be a game changing strategy. Companies that can do this effectively are set to win. How we conducted it The study of the Indian B2B digital market place was undertaken in partnership with Durham University Business School, whose MBA students undertake embedded business projects as part of their end of study dissertations. Our research was conducted by Kiran Ramakrishna, now Business Development Manager to ISEA plc. in Paris, to whom we extend our thanks. Kiran worked with us to develop a questionnaire pertinent to the Indian market place, build the online survey and ensure a high quality response sample. His subsequent analysis of the data, using research techniques including Kruskall-Wallis and T-tests mean the findings are extremely robust. As anyone who has worked with a top class business school will know, it’s a great experience to have a first class brain working with you on a business project. We highly recommend it.
  12. 12. The State of Digital Marketing in B2B in India Page 12Thank youFor further information on the research or on how Omobono can help you tackle thechallenges outlined please contact:Francesca Brosan on 01223 307000 or email further information about Durham University Business School,© 2012 Omobono Ltd.All ideas, concepts, brand-related names, strap lines, phrases, copy/text and creative concepts developed andcontained within this document remain the intellectual property of Omobono Ltd until such time as they areprocured by a third party.Anyone viewing this document may not use, adapt of modify the contents without our prior consent.