One needs to be customer-friendly to build brands

One needs to be customer-friendly to build brands

Parin Shah, Manager - Marketing, Proflex Systems.

PARIN Shah, Marketing Manager talks to ICR about the marketing strategies of the company and spells out his responsibility towards the customer as a marketing professional.

What is the consumer insight that drives your campaigns?
Consumer insight means understanding unidentified or unmet needs in the marketplace, or finding a new/better way to satisfy an existing need. We have been quite successful in creating need for this New Age roofing that was not available in India until it was introduced in 2002 by Proflex; innovation was the key to this success. Using consumer insight, we aim to drive better brand interaction and shape the competitive advantage in our campaign and we ensure that communications stay true to the insight, are relevant, promote the key message and engage with the right audience. Today after ten years, innovation remains at centrestage and Proflex has always been the first to grab the pulse of consumers and lead the Indian market with the same patronage from existing and new customers. At the end of the day, the whole business experience for the consumer has to be gratifying; we are like partners in our customer's growth and act as a catalyst by offering them on-time solutions. With Proflex on their side, customers can rest assured about their roofing needs and be free to spend more time on the other challenges they face in project implementation cycle.

Do you give more importance to advertising campaigns or PR campaigns?
Both of them are key elements of brand promotion. You cannot eliminate either of them. However, to start with, you always need an advertising campaign followed by PR campaign.

What is the thought process behind the preparation of your media plan?
It depends on the marketing objective. For mass media, GEC channels on television and daily newspaper in print are the best mediums to cater. For niche audience business channels, business dailies/print verticals and trade verticals are important. Hoardings can be used to cater both mass and niche audiences as well. Online is a cost-effective medium that caters to both mass and the niche audience.

Does your marketing strategy also involve direct selling or interaction with customers?
We are into project sales and therefore interactions will always happen with customers, architects or consultants. We always try to reach them through different mediums.

What according to you are the new trends in marketing in the cement industry?
This industry has become quite organised now. Besides dominant national players, internationals players have also entered the market and with that, the dynamics have also changed. This has increased stiff competition for the national and regional players but as experts say, key driving factors would be demand, brand power, control on production costs and commitment of sustainability. Brand power, marketing tactics, production capacities and capability to convert opportunities into business would be the key for companies to secure a larger market share and taste success as demand is equal opportunity for all. Aggressive marketing campaigns are launched by marketers in this category and some of them are quite innovative and engaging. The focus of cement has shifted from commodity to the branded segment and in the recent times, to increase visibility and create brand power, some companies have associated with major sports and film industry events.

What kind of responsibility do you think you have towards the consumer and society at large?
The consumer is the most knowledgeable entity in the entire gamut and you just can't take him/her for a ride. You will be inviting the end before the beginning, if you plan to fool them. Being fair, true, loyal and customer-friendly is today's mantra to build brands. A brand has to live up to its expectations and symbolise the trust customers have in it. My credo is: don't get into the business of teaching your customers.

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