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Redif f .com Business Dainik Bhaskar: A success story
Dainik Bhaskar: A success story
Last updated on: February 18, 2005 15:38 IST
Whenever Dainik Bhaskar, a media
group, enters a new market, it uses direct
marketing to establish a leadership
position from day one. Here is the story
on the transformation that happened
inside the organisation because of this
strategy.
In 1996, when we began transforming our
group into a customer centric organisation
it was difficult for us to accept the fact that
someone called the consumer exists and that he
would henceforth have a greater influence in the
way we publish the newspaper.
To cite an instance, during the launch of the Chandigarh edition of the Dainik Bhaskar, the pre-
launch customer preference survey showed that readers in that area preferred a newspaper in
Hinglish (the spoken language, a mixture of Hindi and English) to pure Hindi.
To gain popularity we had to adapt that language in the newspaper. So in this case the
customers actually decided the language the edition would carry. This was a new experience for
us, especially the journalists and editors, and had a huge impact on the organisation, its
processes and its structure. Certain changes have now become a norm in our organisation.
Mind the gap
Involving the customer from the word go is a radical change in strategy, but we have adopted it
across the Dainik Bhaskar group for all our projects. We realised that there is a gap between
the entrepreneur's perception of the market requirements and the actual market needs. This
gap may actually be quite minor and inconsequential from the management's view-point but it
can make a huge difference in the way customers perceive the product. Bridging this gap then
becomes essential to win customer trust.
In our case, instead of designing the newspaper and then hoping to generate sales, we involve
the customers, collect their requirements, their suggestions and then design the project
accordingly. This strategy has made the difference between success and failure in many
instances.
Let me illustrate. When we planned to start our Chandigarh edition, we looked to buy a
property in a suburb called Panchkula as it was economical and also suited our needs. But
during the course of a conversation with a reader from Chandigarh, I came to know that if we
wanted readers to perceive our paper to be as prestigious as the Tribune, we should operate
from an imposing building in the centre of the town and not the outskirts. So this set us
thinking, and in the end, we invested in a Rs 3.5 crore (Rs 35 million) property in the city
centre as against the Rs 50 lakh (Rs 5 million) we had actually planned. This extra investment
ensured that people perceived us as a Chandigarh paper right from day one and not just as any
other newspaper.
Pricing against the market
I strongly believe that the market is no one to set the prices. As entrepreneurs engaged in the
day-to-day running of the organisation, only we know the pros and cons of what price the
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4/3/2014 Dainik Bhaskar: A success story - Rediff.com Business
http://www.rediff.com/money/2005/feb/18spec.htm 2/4
customers will accept for our product, of how much we can take and how much we cannot.
Pricing is ultimately the entrepreneur's decision based on the market affordability and the
nature of his product. Take telecom rates as an example. An owner of a telecom company once
told me that two and a half years ago, his company prepared a report, which said that if they
priced below Rs X per minute the company will be doomed. Today even after selling at half that
price the company is making three times more profit than what it was earning three years ago.
There will be times when you may want to introduce a premium product at a price point which
the current market pricing will not accommodate. But if you are firm in saying that you want
this price and are confident of it, you will definitely get it. In the newspaper industry, pricing
plays a huge role, but we have realised that pricing is not a standalone element. Quality is as
important in deter-mining success. Customers will never accept average quality; they want
value addition in their product. They expect their rupee to go the extra mile and give them the
best quality.
Flexibility is key
No system or plan is sacrosanct. Systems and plans are essential but they should be flexible
enough to undergo a last minute change. Otherwise they become a bottleneck. This was an
important lesson we learnt during the Ahmedabad launch. We had initially planned two city
supplements for Ahmedabad as Ahmedabad is a city of 5mn readers. One edition would cover
eastern Ahmedabad and the other the west, thereby providing more local news. So we planned
our processes to accommodate two editions. But a reader survey revealed that though readers
residing in the eastern suburb may not frequently travel to the west, they like to be up-to-date
on happenings in the western part of the city and stay connected with their social circle residing
there. Acceding to market demands we had to combine the editions and make the necessary
changes in our systems.
Customer choice played a similar role in Chandigarh. Here we planned a feature based city
supplement to our main paper. It was to be printed earlier than the main paper, saving costs.
However, we discovered that customers preferred a news based supplement. We had to change
our process and print it along with the main sheet. This called for a major process change and
we had to reschedule our activities.
Nothing comes cheap
Haryana is just about six hours drive from Chandigarh. So when we conceived the Haryana
project we planned to print the edition from Chandigarh. But much to our surprise, we
discovered that readers in Haryana resented a paper printed from Chandigarh. There was a
feeling that, "I am Haryana, I am Panipat, I am Karnal and why should Chandigarh play boss to
me". So we had to change our plans: we infused fresh capital and set up two presses at Panipet
and Hissar. The extra investment made in Chandigarh to feed Haryana was a setback. But we
had to do it because the market demanded that. But in the end the success of the Haryana
edition made it worthwhile.
Sometimes we have no option but to invest in extra infrastructure to get an edge over
competition. In printing, editorial matter is laid out, color separated and printed on acetate
sheets (called positives), which are then photosynthesised onto metal rollers, which are
mounted on the printing presses.
We are now contemplating investing in the latest printing process where editorial material
transfers straight from the computer to the plate, without going for positives. This saves about
fifteen minutes time. To save those fifteen minutes for the customer we are contemplating a
move, which involves changing the entire process.
But we have to do it; we just have no other choice, especially in our business where time is of
the essence and we compete with a dynamic media like television. A normal household
generally goes to sleep by 11 o'clock in the evening and any news between 11pm and the time
we wake up will catch the customer's interest. So we have to continuously extend the time we
can work, see until how late into the night we can cover events.
Ultimately it is your call
You can conduct a survey, get customer feedback, get advertisers' feedback, the works. But
ultimately it is your decision. Your customer can say he wants X, Y and Z. But to what extent
you want customer needs incorporated in your plan is up to you.
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4/3/2014 Dainik Bhaskar: A success story - Rediff.com Business
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This is the biggest decision and it depends on the entrepreneur's or the marketer's skill. At
times you may try to short change your customer based on your convenience. Sometimes you
may be able to get away with it, but personally we do not think it is possible. You can put your
foot down and say I will give in only this much to customer demands. Or you can take a call on
your costing, growth and other needs and try and find a compromise.
And this decision differs from company to company. Some companies may say I will not let my
profitability be affected. Some will take more risk and see how it works. Some will strive to
achieve a balance. I will try to satisfy a part of the customer's demand. If the customer is
asking 100 per cent, I shall give 50 per cent. That's a call that companies have to take.
There is no fixed formula and there cannot be also because it is so subjective, so dependent on
human vagaries. In some markets a price cut works wonders and in others, it doesn't.
Recently in two of our markets the competition started a price war by slashing prices. In one
market we also reduced the cover price and we doubled numbers but in the other one we grew
the numbers without the price slash. It is not just luck. Broadly speaking luck is the
environment around you. Earlier you may not have studied it properly. It all depends on the
marketer's perception.
Girish Agarwal is director of marketing
Design: Rahil Shaikh
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4/3/2014 Dainik Bhaskar: A success story - Rediff.com Business
http://www.rediff.com/money/2005/feb/18spec.htm 4/4
Discussion Board
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Total 16 messages Pages | 1 | 2 Older >
SMS
by sandeep chaturvedi (View MyPage) on Apr 02, 2010 06:54 PM
HJDFFDSDFSDGAD
Reply Forward | Report abuse
bad and impure water supply at village shahpur near israna
by dinesh pandit (View MyPage) on Nov 06, 2008 02:01 PM
the villager are helpless to drink dirty water at village shahpur near israna due to likage in the pipes of govt. water
supply. and private people taking the advantage of this thing by selling the water to the villagers at monopoly
cost.so, i wants to complaint aginst water supply departmant throug your news paper
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ABOUT DIREEA IN AHMEDABAD
by surabhi sacchidanand singh (View MyPage) on Aug 04, 2008 10:48 AM
IN AHMEDABAD BECAUSEOF CONTAMINATED WATER ,PEOPLE FACING DIREA PROBLEM AND STOMACH
PAIN ,VOMITING AND DISANTRY ECT PROBLEM.CAN YOU PLEASE SEND ME MAILOF THIS NEW.MY MAIL
ADD:-surabhibittu@rediffmail.com
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success story
by sumitsharma sharma (View MyPage) on Jul 11, 2008 11:08 AM
It was really interesting the success story of best newspaper of India Dainik Basker. But you have not mentioned
much more about Punjab in which i think Ludhiana launch is not up to the mark. Kindly elloborate all the things.
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