Gravitating Towards Greatness
The benefit of a bruising economic phase is that businesses can always make the subsequent year look better. But 2015 is different. Our intimate and frequent look at businesses and consumers across key sectors tells us that the biggest benefit of a telling 2014 will be the lessons which will resonate across the economic stratosphere. Rather than summarise their outlook with a benign ‘cautiously optimistic’ verdict which risks being ambiguous, successful business leaders, marketing mavens and insights experts, will focus on the fundamentals - Segmentation, Innovation, Marketing Effectiveness and Sales effectiveness, while adding greater flourish to their marketing efforts with a hard-nosed view of profitability and productivity.
If 2014 was characterised by continued uncertainty and sluggishness, 2015 will be the year when Indian business paces its investments with a view of generating the right outcomes, so that self-sustenance rather than hope becomes the norm. What will then truly differentiate 2015, will be the willingness of businesses to pay heed to the lessons and trends of 2014 and translate them into winning strategies in 2015.
At Nielsen, our view across key sectors from the consumer lens and proximity to the way strategic and tactical decisions are made, allows us to identify the key trends of 2014 that will echo this year and the dynamics that will define the way each of these key sectors reshape their fortunes.
A cross-sectional view indicates that some trends will play a predominant role in altering the consumer marketing landscape:
• Micro-segmentation: The move towards discovering, creating and addressing segments within segments and then innovating for, and communicating to them.
• Availability everywhere: Making products and services available everywhere through digital and e-commerce platforms and delinking distribution solely from physical channels will become the norm with the smart phone as the protagonist of this trend.Simultaneously, companies will get smarter and more precise with their offline distribution strategies, by linking distribution to geospatially prioritised consumer segments.
• Embedded tech: Infusing products with technology as an essential rather than exceptional ingredient. Everything from cars to phones to small and large consumer durables to homes will have to include technology to stay within the consideration set.
• Feature forward: The new avatar of customisation with features to appeal to sub-segments will be the new normal. While innovation will help create variants for sub-segments of consumers, the ability to mix and match new features will attain a fresh lease through a focus on ‘accessorization’.
• Unexpected entrepreneurship: Sectors and categories everywhere will see the unprecedented emergence of start-ups and challenger business models. From regional players to venture capitalist - backed competition, new and enthusiastic entrepreneurship will ensure dynamism, consumer choice and competition all at once.
Suddenly, the high-inflation, low demand, high-interest rate, low production cycle, is turning into a positive cycle of moderating inflation, a release in pent up demand, greater credit off take and uptick in production.
But this time it’s different from the previous phase of positive demand and market optimism. It isn’t ambiguously ‘cautious’ but it is devoid of arrogance and hubris. A more humble, enlightened and balanced approach to generating real growth, a more austere view of profitability and restraint, dynamic competition and a focus on relevant innovation will characterise the year ahead. There couldn’t be a better inflection point to re-boot marketing and make it more effective in its entirety.
Our team of experts across key sectors enumerate the important developments of 2014 and the ones to look out for in 2015. We trace the terrain and earmark what we think are the trends that will determine the way 2015 is likely to play out. No doubt, their interpretation and application by brands will ultimately reshape how the marketing landscape turns out.
The businesses and brands that successfully meld the prioritisation of consumers and a healthier P&L will be the ones that will go on to glory in 2015 and beyond.
For industry wise details download the full report (top right).