Lessons from India: Marketing Strategies + New Products
It’s exactly 5 weeks before we launch our After School Program for our existing Wings Learning Centres and a few weeks into Summer Camp, a trial product we launched a few weeks back to see how communities would receive us. So far we’ve learned so much from the time we launched summer camp and we intend to use these lessons to be more prepared for the After School program.
Launching any new product or service requires a lot of planning and preparation. Wings is launching Learning Centres focused on delivering education through use of blended learning. All these are new concepts to the Indian market that we are targeting. Here are some of the marketing strategies that are key in any launch of a new technology or product offering.
1. Have a dedicated Marketing Team: This sounds quite obvious but if you are running a start up and don’t have as many members on your team, you tend to ignore the need to have a dedicated team for marketing your product. If your product is particularly the kind that can’t sell itself off the shelf, it is mandatory to train a team that will go out and educate the community about it’s importance.
In India, majority of people are familiar with “Tuition Centres” or “Coaching Centres”, as a matter of fact, every child has to go to atleast one tuition or coaching centre to get extra help on their studies to pass their exams. Parents only have one expectation out of sending their children to tuition centres, they MUST pass their exams whether or not they understand the concept.
Wings Learning Centre is challenging this way of learning, our strategy is to allow children to understand concepts through different teaching pedagogues and using technology at our core. Because this is different, a great marketing team has to be in place to effectively educate the parents and decision makers about this unique differentiation factor.
2. Planning and Timing is key: At what point to do start planning for the launch of your product? It is easy to be caught up in a lot of things and forget to dedicate time and resources to your marketing team until it’s late for them to make an impact. Give yourself enough time to adequately think through what strategies will work for your customers. Choose at least 3 plans to execute and have well laid out strategies for their execution. This is important because if one plan fails along the way, you have 2 more plans to fall back on. Plan to go out early so that you can track the effectiveness of your strategy. If one strategy is not effective, you can quickly change it and consider another strategy, but this can only happen if you gave yourself enough window to experiment.
3. Consistent Communication: Your sales and marketing team have to be on the same page when it comes to communicating your brand. The biggest mistake you can make is being confused about who you are as a brand even before you launch your product. What is unique about your product that will entice customers to leave your competitors and go for you? Is your team aware of your differentiation factor?
There may be more than one differentiation factors and they may all speak to a different demographic of your target audience. Your approach to each target market is key. The best example I can give is our learning centres. We mainly target people in the low income communities because we believe their children deserve a fair education, that said, we do not discriminate against children from middle class and high income earning families. Our marketing strategy for both demographics changes depending on who we are talking to. For a low income family, they do not care about how cool a technological component we use in our teaching is, they care about value for their hard earned cash. For such families we focus more on the outcome of our teaching method and give parents an assurance that our centres will give their children an education equivalent to that of a child who goes to a high end tuition centre or private school but at a low cost.
4. Justify your Price Point: You need to do your research and know how your competitors are pricing their products. As a new entrant in the market, you don’t want to overprice your product or overly under-price yourself either. Find the right balance and be able to justify why your price point is the best option for your potential customers. Have your marketing team break down the price point for the customers and make them see you as their only option. Again, your differentiation factor will be key in helping you justify the prices.
5. Get buy in from the local community: Very key to success is that you have buy in from the community you intend to serve. How easy is it to involve the local community expertise as part of your market drive? If you can find a way of involving the community, your work is half done. People gain trust faster if they are dealing with faces they know. Find out who the community influencers are and get their buy in.
For us at Wings Learning Centres, we know that Education is key. All people, whether high income or low income earners have one thing in common, they value two things, good health and a good education for their children. Most of our centres are located in the heart of the community they serve so getting buy in from the local community influencers is key to success.
So whether you’re launching a product that serves the community or starting up a new business remember to plan your marketing strategy ahead of time and get out there ready to take over the market.