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Present State of Marketing Consulting in India

By Meeta Wasan, CEO, Doon Consulting

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Meeta Wasan, CEO, Doon Consulting

The longer I work within the Marketing  Industry – the firmer my belief that there’s lots going on  and a lot that can  be done in this area. As some of my readers may know, I am a professional marketer and consultant. I have been consulting to large and mid-­‐size IT companies for the last many years of my career. I also head a company that specializes in B2B ‘Demand Generation and other direct marketing services. I bring this up to elaborate on my next point. 

 

When I moved back to India in December 2003 and started Doon Consulting in March 2004, the area of Marketing Consulting was rather limited. There were a handful of IT companies of a size that needed any marketing let alone consulting.  In addition, most large companies also had large teams of their own to support them in this function. However, we found our niche in the consulting and execution in the area of ‘Front Line Sales’ or ‘Demand Generation’. And, that slowly became a very important service for companies that wanted to explore the SMB or commercial patch in the country. This is not to say that the traditional forms of marketing were not prevalent. A fair amount of work was done with customer events, traditional forms of branding etc.

 

The situation  is far from that today. As a nation and an economy, we have undergone tremendous amount of changes. We have more education for one. We have more money for two. We have more choices. We have more exposure, understand different cultures and travel extensively within and outside the country. Even our elderly understand and use technology. Given that, the manner in which marketers need to get our attention is also different. This brings me to my next point. 

Given the above, the marketing and marketing consulting environment has also gone through a lot of change. There are multiple disciplines of marketing that an organization needs to consider these days. For example, there is direct marketing, advertising, brand building, public relations, customer relationship marketing, drip marketing, email marketing. Above all, there is digital marketing, social media marketing and various social platforms that constitute marketing.  Like I mentioned above, the larger organizations will have teams of their own.

 

So, I personally see very little room for pure consulting gigs here. However, there can be a lot of potential in engaging in assignments where one is not just consulting in a specific area of marketing but also is an execution partner for the client. In  larger organizations, irrespective of the industry, there is definitely a much stronger need for strong execution partners.

 

That is not the situation in medium to small size companies. This, in my opinion, is a huge ocean for those who wish to be consulting in marketing strategies. I find that companies of a medium to small size may not have teams of their own or even possess the skills to set one up. In  addition, since most businesses of this size are focused on client acquisition, client servicing and product/service delivery – they often do not have the skills or the bandwidth to market. The consulting may be extended to companies from various industries ranging from retail, healthcare, education, IT/ITES etc. Regardless  of the area or industry of expertise, I believe that the marketing consulting landscape is very positive. 

 

The vast potential also lies in the kind of marketing consulting that one would like to extend. In the current era of digital marketing, most companies are struggling. They know that they want to be using the varied social media and digital marketing platforms, like Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Webinars, Online events, search engine optimization etc but generically speaking, will not know how to develop an integrated plan that yields decent results. Thus, giving the marketers a huge potential for consulting in this space. 

 

I personally know of at least 10 digital marketing agencies that have seen incredible success and growth in the last year alone. The digital marketing and consulting practice is not only the most sought after industry today, but the most fun -­‐ especially considering the percentage of the younger marketers that usually work in this space. Having said that, irrespective of ones area of interest, expertise and core strength – I firmly believe that the landscape for marketing consulting in India at the moment is ripe and ready to be explored and to be had fun with. 

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