BTL to be a Rs 12,000 crore industry soon: Venkatesh Srinivasan of RW Promotions

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ruralWhether be sampling or trial, BTL is a much more engaging way to get brand value and recall across to the consumer, says Venkatesh Srinivasan, Director, Real World Promotions, a BTL marketing solutions company.

Coming a long way since 2000, when everything was about ATL – TV or print, Srinivasan feels that BTL has an edge over ATL as it “also gives you statistics about the kind of people who buy and which products they buy.”

Srinivasan claims that till date the agency has implemented over 5,000 campaigns in around one lakh towns and villages in the country. The agency has been involved with brands such as Cadbury, Coca Cola, Nokia, GSK, Star Group, UTV, Jet Airways among others. The agency is mainly into the execution of all forms of BTL activations such as road shows, mall activations, dealer meets, door to door promotions as well as retail promotions.

Venkatesh Srinivasan, Director, Real World Promotions

Venkatesh Srinivasan, Director, Real World Promotions

In one of its recent activations, RW Promotions organised a four and a half month Van Activations for UTV in LC 1 towns of MP and UP. Taking the LCO into the loop, the agency is branding other prominent places like shops, bus stands, chai stalls with UTV’s creative banners. The van will also be making announcements to draw the attention of the residents and is set to play games like mimic your favourite artist, Wheel of fortune along with a movie screening.

“When we do a BTL activation, whether it is directed at a farmer or a multinational, we have seen an increase of 42-44 per cent sales. The TG is client specific and it depends upon the products. We have a pan India presence except the north east market,” says Srinivasan.

RW Promotions claims to be having a 12-14 per cent growth year on year. Amongst the challenges that the agency faces, Srinivasan says that topography, infrastructure and language are a concern. “Every district speaks a different language when you go into a rural area,” he says, adding, “If I give you an example of an activation that we did in the lubricant category in a state like Rajasthan or Maharashtra, we had to invest about Rs 18-20 lakh per state.”

The agency claims to be currently handling a project of UTV in UP, and an activation for Ranbaxy in Punjab. It also claims to be the sole concessionaire for all in-flight collateral advertising for Jet Airways since the past 10 years and as won a certification of SE 1A by CRISIL for Highest Performance Capability and Financial Strength’ along with a certification of SME 1 for highest level of creditworthiness adjudged in relation to other SMEs.

According to Srinivasan, it is estimated unofficially, 40 per cent of the ATL budget in India is going to shift to the BTL space and that its value would stand at much over Rs 12,000 crore very soon. India has six lakh villages comprising more than 70 per cent of the country’s population and contributing about half of the country’s GDP.
With already a plethora of products being marketed through BTL activations in rural areas, brands will have to think out of the box to engage with consumers. When ATL has infrastructural backlogs, BTL wins the battle of penetration, but will the shift from ATL to BTL clutter the consumers’ mind or bring clarity? Only time will tell.

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