Smart Marketing for Startups

In this article in economic times Jacob Cherian talks about how the biggest need for an entrepreneur is to promote his product as cheaply as...

In this article in economic times Jacob Cherian talks about how the biggest need for an entrepreneur is to promote his product as cheaply as possible and that is where Word of mouth,viral,buzz marketing gets into play. To advertise in the country’s largest papers it can cost almost Rs 5 lakh for 10 sq cm across all editions. Radio costs Rs 1,200 and Rs 1,500 for a 10 second slot. Mainstream media is out of reach for most start-ups; even if they are VC-funded. So if such tools are out of the question, how does the entrepreneur get the word of his company, product, service, and brand out? Employing cheaper sections of mainstream media can be an option. He quotes a wonderful example of bigtv which probably means this website and how with a miniscule ad budget they managed to get lot of visits to their website
On April 20, Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan got married. It was also the day a company called was launched. The company decided to ride on the masses’ need for a peep into the celebrity wedding to get the word of their brand out.

They hired Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif look-alikes to attempt gate-crashing the closely-guarded wedding. They were stopped at the gates of Prateeksha and turned away — much to the delight of the media. This became news, gossip, advertising, product-placement and viral videos all at once. “The news crews were there for hours and getting nothing. They were hungry for something,” says’s founder and managing director Alankar Jain. And the look-alikes gave them the content needed.

Crowds scrambled to shake hands with the superstar look-alikes and ‘news’ was broadcast over six news channels in slots ranging from 30 to 90 seconds. Meanwhile, people with t-shirts and banners were circulating in the crowd for the cameras. The start-up company also had their own ‘news crew’ for their video site.

The links to these videos were posted on various sites and Jain claims the news spread like wild fire. On some channels, the news looped till the next morning. It gave them airtime that the average start-up cannot afford. They had spent around Rs 80,000 for the whole gag. On the third day from their launch their site got 3,50,000 hits and 400,000 the next day. “To generate such huge interest levels with an offline campaign something in the range of Rs 20 lakh may be required, depending upon the stimuli,” says V Ramani, vice-chairman, Connecturf, a digital marketing company.
He also discusses in this article as to how make my trip did viral marketing for itself in foreign markets
This is what Makemytrip had to do when they launched in 2000. Sachin Bhatia, the CMO was a one man marketing team with a marketing budget of Rs 5 lakh. Today, their marketing budget runs into crores through a team of six. Makemytrip’s initial target segment was Indian students in American universities. To penetrate the college crowd, Mr Bhatia got in touch with the heads of the Indian students organisations in over 50 universities and got them to propagate the airline booking service. In return, the organisational heads were given a free air ticket a year. This way, the company got people to recommend the site to others.

Read the complete article here


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