We saw Brand uplift of 200% during previous IPL: Sai Narayan

This year at Fintegrate Zone 2019, major BFSI players converged at the largest fin-tech conclave in India at the World Trade Center in Cuffe Parade. More than 150 speakers from 50 different countries came together to discuss the state of the BFSI ecosystem and the road ahead. The delegates at the event were a mix of startups, incumbent BFSI industry, investors and FinTech enthusiasts.

Sports marketing, which is valued at Rs 8000 crores in spends and accounts for 11-12% of the total Adex, forms a significant chunk of advertising monies for brands. More recently, the BFSI sector has been ramping up their investment in the sports marketing. There are three key drivers that make sports properties very attractive to brands – they are a media unifying, they bring the core target audience all on one platform and sports events see a higher level of emotional engagement from consumers. Sports are also a more trusted genre compared to other forms of entertainment.

Adgully caught up with Sai Narayan, Associate Director and Head of Marketing, PolicyBazaar.com and PaisaBazaar.com at the event to discuss their objective, expectation and evaluation criterion when they invest in sports marketing.

What are your spends percentage-wise on sports marketing?

At the Group level for Policybazaar.com and Paisabazaar.com up to 30-35% of the spends are blocked towards sports. I am speaking about the last financial year, this year we are in talks with the media agency and Star India on what our strategy is going to be. Typically, most spends go to Cricket, some spends go into Pro Kabaddi. We explore other sports but it is miniscule, largely it is Cricket.

What are the parameters when you choose to associate with a certain sport?

Sports are a high reach medium for us. Within sports we obviously look for all India playing matches be it IPL or non-IPL. We also consider non-India matches, bilateral series or others which come at a very efficient cost and you still have a core audience still watching it.

How do you measure the RoI?

Whenever our TV spot goes on air our traffic increases. We saw that the traffic largely increases from the mobile. So, the second screen largely comes into play and we are clearly able to get the data on what time the TV spot when on air and what timestamp the download happened, and build a correlation between the two. Thus, we have clear answers as to what is working and not working.

Sports is a huge investment, with OTT coming in are you looking at those platforms significantly?

We have invested in Hotstar before going on TV with IPL. If you look at the combined reach of last year’s IPL on Hotstar and on TV, it was close to 650 million. Hotstar contributed to around 220 million and TV contributed around 500 million. You can still clearly see that the reach of sports on TV is higher, it is clearly 2X but if you’re brand is looking at the combined reach of 700+ million then its important that your presence is on both mediums. As a marketer, your monies are limited; whether you chase the smaller audience at a lower cost or the combined audience that’s a decision a brand has to take.

You spoke about looking at Sports as a medium rather than a genre. What make it so valuable?

In India, Cricket is the only sport where the entire male audience aggregate which is the bulls eye audience for BFSI. That makes it a no brainer as you can talk to the core audience. But having said that, IPL has broken that thought of ours because its snackable and you are able to break into new female audiences as well. That accounts for a newer audience for us to target. If any brand is looking for growth this property becomes the lowest hanging fruit. If you have the right investment you can make quite an impact.

You spoke about Sports being a trusted genre? Why is that relevant?

Trust is more an aspect of brand building. Trust is more of a communication objective or a media objective. Wrong communication with a good media strategy will be a disaster. It has to be a mix of both. For us the objective is, when somebody comes on to our platform, we give the consumer a seamless experience without much of a hassle. That helps us get repeat customers. The thought that sports help us achieve this is slightly farfetched. It is a different objective.

Sports is more of a medium where we put out a communication which brings the consumer to us.

 Do you believe the element of human touch is important to build trust with the consumer?

Once the consumer comes on to my platform, the entire ecosystem is developed in such a way as to ensure he finds the right product. Then his experience of buying from us is seamless and the best follow ups are done for him. A lot of people buy car insurance from us and when their insurance expires it becomes a huge distress for a consumer. Then what you have to do is a physical inspection. Being online what we’ve done is, launch something called self-inspection. You can take your mobile and do a self-inspection video, upload it on our site and you’ll get a link to renew your insurance. It is an incredible product.

Today, the entire ecosystem has changed from ordering food, to viewing movies, to buying insurance, we are all doing it online. We build trust through great products. It is not through discounts, we don’t offer discounts, it is through telling the consumer what is important for him and once he understands that he does it on his own.

This is highly underpenetrated category with a lot of competition. What is your strategy to build your customer base?

In the B2C space, both Policybazaar.com and Paisabazaar.com are the single largest players. The way we go about this is by building the right products and whatever money that we’ve spent is not just burning the VC money, it is also about RoI.

We have to constantly ask whether our spends are giving us the RoI? When you are conscious about these two things you need not worry about what others are doing. We are very focused on the products that we are building for the consumer and whether we are spending our money on media judiciously. If we have these parameters ticked, we don’t need to be worried about our surroundings. Obviously, you have to be aware of what’s happening with the competition but our focus is more towards what we are doing.

When people think about sports are, they thinking fintech?

Obviously, no one is thinking of an insurance product when they wake up in the morning. Sports is more of a platform not a medium. My audience is sitting there, am I able to solve a problem in the consumers life through my piece of communication? That’s the content, sports are the medium and they have to be married together. Somewhere we have been able to do that, which is why we are the largest sellers of online insurance in India. We have to look at what the consumer problem is and we solve it.

% wise what is the brand uplift you have seen during IPL season?

During the last IPL it was more than 200%.


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