Interview: We moved 70% of our budget from traditional medium to digital says, Nevil Patel Orpat India

Nevil Patel Director,ORPAT Group

Orpat India’s Nevil Patel sheds light on the marketing strategy and shares why the combination of digital and vernacular could be a gamechanger across regions in India for business growth.

From a traditional, family-run organization to now moving towards digital, Nevil Patel, Director, Orpat India shares how the 20+year old brand is adapting with the changing times in the new normal with a focus on specific markets in India.

Edited Excerpts:

In terms of advertising & marketing, how was 2020 for the sector? Top 3 retail marketing tactics that stood out during 2020?

In 2020, a lot of things changed for us. We were primarily across offline platforms such as TV, radio, in-store retail branding, etc. This moved to digital, especially during the initial days of the pandemic. The adoption and adaption started giving us good results, and we also understood what the platform has to offer.

We moved almost 70% of our budgets to digital.

Being a traditional-family run organization, the adoption of newer platforms around digital mediums has been a massive change for us. We look at all-things programmatic in the days to come.

Retail analysts say the end of season sales were expected to see a resumption in sales closer to the pre-Covid levels. What are your thoughts on this? Are you expecting 2021 to be better in terms of revenues?

As a brand, we fall under the semi-essential category since certain categories such as home appliances, etc. cover a significant percentage of our overall revenue. 

We are looking at much better numbers than the last year. For instance, for room-heaters, we have witnessed a 40% spike, compared to the last year. Hence, we intend to end the year with much decent growth numbers especially across categories from our brand portfolio.  

Fans and Calculator suffered a bit but 2021 looks optimistic in the overall sense.

A release by the brand says that Orpat will be assigning a 2X marketing budget this year. What is the idea behind this?

Digital will occupy the major share in the media mix. The result that we have started achieving from the medium is phenomenal. We will be moving most of our objectives to digital platforms. And we mention objectives, it is across the spectrum – from reaching out to more distributors & retailers to even hiring ads on digital platforms.

For our marketing budget, 70% of it will be digital in 2021. This includes programmatic buying and even leveraging Amazon ad services.

Lastly, we are also looking at print innovation with a smaller budget along with on-ground activations, depending on the ongoing circumstances.

Where will social media stand in the scheme of things in the new budget?

We are exploring social media tactics especially campaigns that involve influencer marketing. We should see these campaigns happening somewhere around March 2021.

For our categories, a lot of the products require an explanation in terms of usage. That’s where we believe, influencers, primarily on YouTube can play an active role.

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What kind of measurement metrics do you have in place to understand RoI for your marketing initiatives?

For us, e-commerce is still a very small percentage of the overall contribution in the revenue. However, we have seen that e-commerce platforms allow for easier measurement of ROIs. We are still primarily focused on driving users/customers to offline stores, where we see a spike in the areas where we get active digitally but that isn’t the direct ROI measurement that we would be looking at. 

The various parameters that we usually look into include – engagement rate, CTRs, quality of traffic that we drive to our website, the time spent by the user, etc. We will continue to set the targets for ourselves.

What would be the distribution strategy for the brand in the new year? With the rise in e-commerce platforms, what would be Orpat’s plan and strategy on that front?

So, the marketplaces have seen a massive jump in 2020 – with Amazon, Flipkart, etc. For Orpat, some categories such as room-heaters have done very well. We have also launched our website which we are yet to aggressively promote to our consumers. 

We are still in the process of getting our distribution right, owing to the pandemic-stricken phase. By mid of 2021, we will be aggressively marketing our website, as well.

2021 is pegged as the year of revival for many sectors, including Live sports. With several big-ticket leagues in the tow, will the brand invest in the likes of IPL?

Surely. We did a small byte on Hotstar, in the last season of IPL. We need bigger budgets, not at the scale of television but bigger budgets aligning with these Live sporting events, as well.

There are a lot of innovative tools that help us to integrate our products with our live video such as Add to Cart options while watching a Live video and various ways of targeting the Live events as well. We are looking at how this year’s IPL will shape up.

As a marketer – pre-COVID-19 & post-COVID-19 how has the consumer changed? What are the major changes that marketers need to bring about to evolve with the consumer?

What I see is the vernacular penetration that is happening digitally. With the growth that we see in the various languages, the reach is far better when leveraging a specific regional language, as opposed to reaching out to consumers in the English language.

We have already started our journey into tapping on to varied regions including regions in the South. We are also leveraging Marathi language to target the interior parts of Maharashtra across our brand communication.

Taking the learnings from the campaigns, we will only scale it up, in the coming up.

Top Marketing trends you foresee for 2021

  • A lot of things will go the programmatic way. While people have been talking about it for months now, this is the time when they will try to implement it and learn from the data that would be accumulated/collected.
  • Vernacular will see massive growth in the coming months.