At our digital roundtable on ‘Advertising Challenges and solutions for SMEs’, DIT India’s Shivangi Ambani led the discussion between businesses in the UK & India. We heard from:
Rohit Chugh of digital marketing agency Broadplace Advertising, which has offices in Surrey and Mumbai
Steven Glenister of digital signage specialists Bitvu, based in Brighton, UK
Subhayu Ray of the UK India Business Council, which offers support to UK companies entering and doing business in India.
Indian advertising industry veteran KVSridhar (Pops) of Hypercollective
The opportunity for UK SMEs in India
India’s vast population presents a huge opportunity for UK brands. Export and supply chain costs invariably mean that brands need to sell at a premium to be profitable, said Subhayu Ray, but India’s fast-growing and cosmopolitan middle class are happy to pay for good quality international brands.
The country’s size and diversity also create a challenge for brands: deciding which route to market to take and how to optimise a limited marketing budget to ensure you are reaching the right audience. This is another area where DIT and the UK India Business Council can help.
Pop believes that the UK’s strong design culture - from graphic design to fashion and architecture - is highly valued by Indian companies and is an area where there is scope for greater collaboration.
How creative companies in the UK & India are meeting the marketing needs of SMEs
Many small businesses lack the skills needed to manage digital marketing campaigns, but can’t afford agency fees, Broadplace Advertising has developed software called Campaign Hero which helps these clients to manage PPC and social ads themselves by providing data-driven recommendations. Broadgate’s Rohit Chugh says there is a huge demand for innovative solutions which provide SMEs with cost-effective support and help them successfully market their offerings online.
Another company that’s doing just that is Pops Sridhar’s Hypercollective, a collaboration platform which brings together marketing specialists across different disciplines to collaborate on client projects.
Why distribution via partners can be an effective path togrowth
Bitvu’s Screenspace system provides businesses with a simple way to display digital adverts on a screen on their premises. Dentists can upsell teeth-whitening services to customers in their waiting room, sports clubs can display ads from their sponsors in their clubhouses and bars can advertise drinks offers.
Bitvu initially tried to market the system directly to individual business owners, but found they often lacked the time and skills needed to implement the system. So instead they began partnering with suppliers such as marketing agencies or sign-makers, who could sell the system to their existing customer base. Bitvu plans to take the same approach when expanding into the India market. The challenge will be finding the right partner.
The challenges for UK SMEs in India
Identifying suitable partners was one of the top three barriers cited by UK companies in UKIBC’s 2021 Doing Business In India report, just behind legal and regulatory impediments. DIT and UKIBC can help with both these areas.
One challenge Bitvu encountered when working with a software development partner in Pune was the time difference, which makes real-time communication difficult and can slow workflow. The company has actively considered opening a local office to address this.
Understanding Indian consumers and culture is essential to success.
Pops cited the example of ‘Cash on Delivery’, which is a mainstay of e-commerce in India. Many online shoppers in India do not want to pay by card due to fraud concerns, preferring to pay in cash when the order is delivered safely. By offering cash on delivery as an option, international companies such as Amazon have been able to successfully establish a base in India.
Choose from all sessions at the CreaTech Mission.