The digital landscape in India is evolving rapidly. Several factors are driving this change, including the government’s focus on digital development, an increasingly young and digitally-aware population, and most critically, better connectivity due to the expansive reach of mobile phones.
Increasing digitalization will have numerous benefits for businesses in India, including reducing costs, improving efficiency, and, very critically, allowing for more effective customer engagement. MNCs that have a strong digital customer engagement strategy in place today will be better suited to outperform competition and succeed in the complex Indian market.
For this research, we spent quite some time on the ground in India and spoke with numerous executives. Based on our conversations, here are two tactics that will help companies improve customer engagement through digital channels:
- Focus on a mobile-first strategy:
India is a heterogenous, fragmented, and extremely complex market, which increases companies’ cost of doing business. Executives struggle with enhancing their companies’ bottom line growth and increasing their ROI in India. To overcome these challenges, many MNCs have started using a digital strategy. More importantly, because of the central role of mobile phones in increasing digital connectivity (80% of India’s web traffic occurs through mobile phones), most successful strategies involve a mobile-first approach.
Indians spend disproportionately more time consuming information through their mobile phones than through traditional media such as television or print. This makes mobile-based digital marketing extremely effective in attracting new customers; it’s relatively low-cost with wider reach. Companies that prioritize developing ads for online platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Hotstar over more traditional marketing channels will see better returns on their marketing investment in India. This is not say the two are mutually exclusive; instead, multinationals should consider first developing content for mobile marketing campaigns that they can later adjust to better fit traditional channels.
2. Segment online customers:
Gathering insights on customer behavior and buying habits—while incredibly useful—is an expensive exercise in India due to the historic lack of data. However, as connectivity increases and customers become more tech savvy, companies will be able to capture customer insight at lower cost through their digital marketing efforts.
Even as collecting information becomes easier, the companies that effectively integrate this customer insight into their strategy will be better suited for success in the Indian market. MNCs should segment their online customers based on buying habits using the customer insight available. This insight and segmentation allows companies to understand their customers, evaluate the effectiveness of their campaigns, and tailor their demand generation and customer service efforts accordingly.
Executives should use the above two tactics (and others included in FSG’s research on Digital Customer Engagement in India) as they develop their customer engagement strategy for India. A strong digital strategy is imperative as executives look to capitalize on the benefits of increasing connectivity and a fast-evolving digital landscape in India.
For an in-depth analysis of this topic, FSG clients can access the full report on the client portal.