'Activation and Experiential Marketing is a Potent Medium' Sharad Gupta- Escorts Group

Marketing | April 19, 2019 | Interview

Escorts Group Sharad Gupta

Escorts Group has been one of the most distinct manufactures with a wide range of tractors, automotive components, railway equipment, and construction & material handling equipment. It aims at transforming lives through engineering brilliance. In a journey of seven pioneering decades, Escorts Group has reshaped, redefined and reinvented, the way India lives, works and travels. In an exclusive interview with EVENTFAQS, Sharad Gupta, Chief Communications Officer-Corporate Marketing & Brand Strategy and Vice President & Head -Technology Innovations outlines what new strategies, plans, and campaigns are being used for promoting brand awareness, and initiatives for engagement.

What are the main challenges when trying to engage/activate a rural audience for Escorts and its products?

There are challenges when it comes to connecting with the rural layer. It can vary from reach, the mechanism to have a dialogue, digital limitation, captive mindset and attention to messaging, the adaptation of experiential marketing and perceptive understanding of the TG. Though the digital and online usage across the rural layer is increasing at a rapid pace, it is still limited when it is looked at connecting 6,00,000+ villages across India. Smartphones are being used but mostly across a limited youth TG and it needs to cover an expanded rural population horizon. Rural go to market strategy often is peer influence and localized trend based and thus it’s a challenge to penetrate the shortlist of a rural user. Social media penetration is on an up-move but data-driven messaging and marketing requires customization and push. Each brand marketer has to knock on the user in the same captive usage pattern. Hence, bringing in uniqueness and affordability becomes the key ingredients in the marketing engagement strategy. Logistics and time-bound activity is always a challenge when it comes to plan sales push campaigns and schemes.

Can you share insights on the 360-degree campaign adopted for optimum outreach that ensures ‘Connecting Escorts with Farmers as an Innovation Leader in Farming’?

Escort has emerged today as a mechanized farming solution provider than just being an agriculture product manufacturer. Our smart range of tractors and their feature-based technology, smart implements range, and innovative tech-based efficiencies make us a unique innovative agriculture player. Our corporate campaign “Engineering the fundamentals of growth” was primarily a very overwhelming 360-degree campaign which used all active marketing, advertising, and peripheral media platforms.

We used mainline ATL including TV, FM (across layers of SEC A,B,C segments to cater to urban stakeholders and rural users ) – channel mediums were selected as per the geography to cater to all TG segments. We used BTL activation through road shows, single screen cinemas and POS across buzzing junctions with billboards, outdoor hoardings, placement at airports across India and mobile branding as well. We used in-film placements for peripheral media platforms and larger TG reach. We used distribution led branding extension through camps and demonstrations. We used experiential marketing activation with unique differential over competition like racing, power lift, terrain torque demos, soil differential usage demonstration. 

We used social media and online platforms for maximizing reach and interface. Contest and suggestions based campaign were bombarded across channels. Merchandise and collaterals across product range were introduced. Strategic placements across trade forums and platforms were used. Cooperative banking and financing sites were engaged with the campaign visibility. Direct messaging and mobile platform marketing were one of the most captivating platforms.

Comment on how consumer activation / experiential marketing is an effective tool while promoting to a rural TG. What are your measures of ROI?

Activation and Experiential Marketing is a potent medium when it comes to rural TG as that’s a major fascination across the rural population. Be it demo, roadshow, nukkar forums, addas, film-based promotions, documentaries, mobile branding and marketing with AVs, local dangals, hat or mandi promotions, kabaddi based marketing platforms, sports, family engaging activities, gratification campaigns, camps and others, they attract a major population and a marketer can catch them right at their captive attention.  The measure of ROI is a suspect pool, prospect qualification, and conversion quantum. Generally, we divide the ROI into four phases: Awareness & Reach maximization, Desire and interest for evaluation and trial quantum and purchase intent base.

What are future initiatives planned on-ground / through activation/engagement for Escorts, in the near future?

We are planning on lighthouse distribution centers with branding platforms (technology led VR & AI platforms), IOT based kiosks and digital interface platforms, simulation technologies, machine learning data analytics based platforms, integration of predictive analysis tools for prospect pool and qualification, virtual demo studios, and virtual dealership experience.

In an exclusive interview with EVENTFAQS, Sharad Gupta from Escorts Group outlines what new strategies, plans, and campaigns are being used for promoting brand awareness and initiatives for engagement

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