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As a part of this chapter , the data will be presented by the researcher from the interviews conducted and
the an analysis of the data will be done. This chapter will largely examine and evaluate the marketing
strategies used by the Airtel telecom company in India to establish grounds in various markets.

4.1 Marketing strategy adopted by Bharti

A lot of time and effort has been spent by Bharti on advertising its mobile phone service, Airtel in India.
In addition to focusing on print advertising, Airtel also focuses on keeping the customers informed by
putting up massive hoardings and kiosks all across the country. Building brand preference and promoting
awareness about the brand are the main objectives of developing an elaborate promotional strategy for
Airtel. The company has established a thematic campaign to create a stronger brand equity for Airtel.
Because the cellular phone categorization itself is too limited, also because it is a high involvement
product, price doesn't meet the criteria of being an effective differentiator. The image that the service
provider projects matters a great deal. Being in the mobile phone industry, it is very important to have a
efficient network and offer superior services. What the buyer really looks for is to get the most favorable
price-performance package. This also works as a key differentiator.

The company spreads brand awareness through marketing and promotional campaigns and brand stature
is influential in promoting the offerings. Initially the Airtel's campaign in India was initiated by a series
of 'teaser' hoardings all across the country,' consisting of only the name of the company and without
giving much information of its products and offerings. Then came can elaborate campaign associated
Airtel with Cellular, and only after that was the Bharti Cellular connection brought up. Mobile
campaigning was initiated with vans with Airtel logos roaming all across the county, distributing service
brochures about the company to all consumers. About 50,000 direct callers were sent out. When the name
was well-established in the minds of the prospects, the Airtel campaign began to center around the utility
of Cellphone. During the initial few months alone Airtel's advertisement spend crossed over Rs. 4 crores.
Presently there is 60% unaided awareness. This means that if probable or well-informed customers are
asked to name a Cellular phone service provider that is on the top of his/her mind 60% of them would
name Airtel. Numerous aided and unaided tests have been designed for measuring brand strength and
recognition. According to statistics, Airtel brand enjoys good health and is thriving.

The goals of the company, its sales target and game plan dictate how a company operates in a market.
Airtel 's promotional strategy is subjective to the comprehensive marketing strategy of the company.. Its
advertising is designed - the tone, tenor and the stance of the visual ads – to present the image of Airtel as
being the market leader and of being the "first mover every time".

The Airtel offerings have reached the maturity stage of their life cycle. It is still on the rising part of the
product life cycle curve in the maturity stage. For Airtel, the importance of customer retention remains
high, it values its profound users the maximum and continually service focuses on service innovation.
However, these users comprise only 15 - 20% of the total populace, therefore the other segment cannot
be uncared for. Also the populace has not, as et understood the importance of cellular phones needs to be
roped in. Mainly for this reason the service bringer provides a host of incentives and discounts. It actively
promotes citizens events and concerts like the "Freedom concert" for sales upsells. Economic
considerations are taken into account when choosing the media channel.

The company follows a policy of positioning its print advertisements and hoarding in strategic areas that
are most likely to catch the attention cellular phone users. The promise that the product offer is one of the
most important variables in shaping the target audience. The other promotional strategies that Airtel
offers include treating its customers to exclusive premiers of blockbuster movies. It also designs and
promotes several educational campaigns, image campaigns, pre launch advertisements, launch
advertisements, congratulatory advertisements, promotional advertisements, attacking advertisements and
tactical advertisements.

Target market segment

Airtel targeting strategy mainly focuses on the premium or the upper class. The reason behind this
strategy is to mainly target people who value time and have the capacity to pay. 60% of Airtel clientele is
senior corporate executives. 15% organizations are MNCs and some are professionals and small
businessmen. Initially, at the time of launch the Airtel marketing strategy was to get customers to switch
their brand loyalty by focusing on the business executives alone, today they are venturing into other
markets as well.

10% 15%


Students Executives Households Others

As the above graph shows that 55% of the total people interviewed are working. So, these people are the
ones who are the maximum users of mobile phones.


The Airtel positioning strategy is to position its cellular services as a tool that increases business
efficiency. And also to position it as status symbol and a lifestyle revolution. The emphasis is to make
people believe that cellular service are no longer unaffordable and drive home a point that a mobile phone
is actually a day to day necessity.

Product policy and planning

At the heart of the marketing mix is the basic product or service without which the customer needs remain
unsatisfied. Airtel offers mobility as its key product promise. Since the communications and information
field is fast paced, the company has to recognize that aspects that are new or current today will soon
become the expected component of the product. The stage at which the product is in the product life
cycle determines the Airtel product policy and planning. Today the cellular phone market is in the
maturity stage, and since the premium segment is close to being saturated, the company targeting the
upper middle and middle-middle class. To do this the company is trying to offer optimum price
performance package by providing "product bundling". This includes provision of the best hardware
(handset) and its software (its services.) at a price that is reasonable so as to provide maximum price
performance to its customers. Free 24 hours customer service and added services is also an effective

Product lifecycle

Telecom markets world over have shown the trends of slow growth in the market initially followed by
sharp acceleration, however the market in India shows maturity in the product lifecycle stage.

Stage Introduction Growth Maturity

Marketing Objective Create product Maximize market share Maximize profits and
awareness and trial defend market share
Product Offer basic Offer value added Increase number of
product/Service service value added services
Price Charge cost Price to penetrate Price to match
market competitors
Distribution Build selective Build intensive Build more intensive
distribution distribution distribution
Advertising Build product awareness Build product awareness Stress brand differences
and interest in the mass and benefits
Sales Promotion Use heavy sales Increase to build and Increase to encourage
promotion to entice maintain relationships brand switching
people to subscribe with customers

Airtel’s marketing orientation

Since it is a product that is expensive and high-involvement, the company must take care of its
consumer’s needs:
a) The company takes complete responsibility to find solutions to all customer problems.
b) Pro-active steps are taken to recognize areas that might cause problems for the customer and handle
them well.
c) Consumer queries and requirements are fulfilled, promptly & professionally.

Airtel realizes that attracting people 'Is easy but converting them into loyal customers is hard, hence
emphasis is on maintaining a 'Smiling and a Friendly Atmosphere' to please and retain the customer.

10% 20%



Fully Dissatisfied Partially Satisfied

Fully satisfied Partially Dissatisfied

As the above graph clearly shows that customer services at Airtel are excellent. 60% of the people are
fully satisfied with the customer services provided by Airtel. They are the ones who have the maximum
share in the market. 10% of the people were partially dissatisfied with the customer services of Airtel.

Price and pricing policy

Since the Indian market is sensitive to price, the company plans and develops various innovative tariff
schemes to handle needs and requirements of different category of customers- Generally, the cellular
services are more expensive than the land line based telephone services. This is because telecom
operators must pay a certain amount of charge to the government for use of air time.




Monthly average spend on cell phone usage is about Rs 500. This accounts for 64% of the respondents.
24% respondents spend Rs. 300, and as many as 12% spend over Rs. 1000. Most of those spending over
1000 are the ones who have business calls on their cellular phones.

Core competency

Airtel’s sales and promotions activities are what make the company stand apart from the competition.It
has hired some of the biggest television and sports personalities - Sachin Tendulkar , Shahrukh Khan,
Kareena Kapoor and music maestro A. R. Rahman along with R. Madhavan and Vidhya Ballan to be its
brand ambassadors. The brand ambassadors Shahrukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor symbolize a ‘can do’ or
“Mumkin Hai” attitude. Sharukh Khan is today India’s top most film star and the nations heart throb. He
rose to fame from being a small time television actor through this perseverance. Kareena’s success in the
film industry can be attributed to her ‘attitude’, talent, and hard work. Both these stars have said
‘Mumkin hai’ and made it happen for themselves.

Other brand building initiatives

The major focus of Airtel branding strategies is to be ahead of the competition for atleast a period of 6
months. Taking into account the aspects explained above Bharti is always developing newer product
offerings for the consumers. The chief aim is to provide better quality of service.

• To add to the convenience of those customers who are using Airtel roaming facilities, common
numbers have been allotted to across the country for basic services like customer care, movie
helpline and food and beverage services.

• To make its services convenient and available for those customers who are relocating from one
area to another, Airtel has launched a unified billing system.

• Over 40,000 FAQs have been auto fed into the Airtel systems to help customer care executives to
efficiently and immediately answer the questions asked by customers

• Airtel offers attractive value added services to its prepaid customers. The company is of the view
that 60-70% of its new customers would be from the pre-paid card segment.

• Airtel offers roaming facilities to even its prepaid customers in regions where they have
purchased the card.

• To make sure that Airtel subscribers don’t move to other competing services, the company has
developed loyalty programs. This offers subscribers concrete cash payback depending upon their
mobile phone usage and promotes Airtel community.

• Another key area which Bharti is concentrating its attention upon is a new roaming service
launched in Delhi under which calls of a roaming subscriber who is visiting the city will be
routed directly to his mobile instead of traveling via his home network.

• Multi-media messaging systems through Airtel is another marketing initiate by the company
wherein customers with specific phone with a in- built camera can capture and share pictures with
friends or store it in the phone.
• Airtel wants to make mobile services available to more and more people by establishing easily
accessible contact centers. Previously there were 250 exclusive CONNECT OUTLETS and about
250 kiosks called AIRTEL POINTS. Activation can be done in all connect outlets not 15-20
minutes away from each other. In comparison, the competition takes two to four hours.

• The convenience of owning and using prepaid card has made it a popular choice among
consumers and has helped in increasing the market. As befits a fast-moving consumer service, the
game is now moving beyond price to expanding distribution reach and servicing a well-spread-
out clientele with technology and strategic alliances. By maintaining a low entry cost for
consumers and making recharging more convenient Airtel has made it attractive for consumers to
own pre-paid cards.

• The company has collaborated with 'Waiter on wheels,' to extend its Magic pre-paid cards to
subscribers' homes. The company is forming alliance with local grocery shops to enable
customers to recharge just by making a simple phone call. The company is continually innovating
to improve the value proposition for its pre-paid service.

• To provide its high value corporate customers one point access for any sort of help, Bharti
Cellular has also launched a special service, CareTouch. Customers just need to dial 777 and
enjoy a range of services, including easy payment of bills, service on priority basis, and value-
added services without hassles of additional paper work.

• AirTel presented MTV Inbox; the first ‘on-air’ SMS based interactive music dedication show
exclusively for AirTel and AirTel Magic customers to target the youth specifically.



Extremely focused on telecom. Price Competition from BSNL and MTNL

Headship in rapidly expanding cellular market. Untapped rural market
Presence across India.
The only Indian operator, other than VSNL, that
has an international submarine cable

Fast expanding IPLC market. Competition from other cellular and

Modern technology and low cost advantage. mobile operators.
Expanding Market Saturation point in Basic telephony service



• EXTREMELY FOCUSED ON TELECOM: The main focus of Airtel is on telecom, with 93%
of the total revenue comes from telecom services.

• HEADSHIP IN FAST GROWING CELLULAR MARKET Airtel is a leader in India’s mobile

phone market. It is India's foremost private sector provider telecom service provider.

• FOOTPRINTS ACROSS INDIA Airtel offers the most wide-spread roaming coverage. It is
present all across India allowing customers to roam anywhere without interrupting services. Its
international roaming facilities span 240 networks. It offers broadband and telephony services in
92 cities.


HAVE INTERNATIONAL SUBMARINE CABLES. Airtel, the monopoly breaker shattered the
Telecom monopoly in the International Long Distance space with the launch of International
Submarine cable Network i2i jointly with Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. in the year 2002.

• PRICE COMPETITION FROM BSNL & MTNL: By offering cellular services at a much lower
rate, BSNL and MTNL provide aggressive competition to Airtel.

• UNEXPLOITED RURAL MARKET: Even though the company has a pervasive presence all
across the country, rural markets are still governed by BSNL. There is a need for Airtel to
penetrate into the rural markets.


• THE FAST EXTENDING IPLC MARKET An IPLC (international private leased circuit) is a
point-to-point private line used by an associations and companies to communicate within
geographically spread An IPLC can be used for accessing Internet, exchanging business data,
video conferencing, and any other form of telecommunication. Airtel Enterprise Services along
with SingTel together offer IPLCs through Network i2i. SingTel takes care of the landing station
in Singapore, and the manding station in India( Chennai) is managed by Airtel. Each Landing
Station is equipped with Power Feeding Equipment, Submarine Line Terminating Equipment and
SDH system to power the cable, add wavelengths and convert the STM-64 output to STM-1 data
streams respectively.

presence in major cities, it is at advantage of setting up base stations at low costs. Besides the
other cost advantage that it has is its access to latest technology. As a late entrant into the cellular
market, it has dual advantage of latest technology with modern features, unlike other private
cellular operators who started their service more than 4-5 years back and low capital cost due to
advantages of large scale buying of cellular switch/equipment.

• HUGE MARKET : with the rapid expansion of the telecom market, the scope of expansion are
huge. India has huge rural markets where the telecom sector is pretty much new thus there is a
huge scope of expansion in these markets. With its presence in the most remote areas of the
country, airtel can gain huge market shares by expanding into the rural markets.

• COMPETITION FROM OTHER CELLULAR: The telecom market is today facing cut throat
competition today with different providers coming up with new schemes and tariffs to attract
different customer bases. Attractive packages are being introduced to grab market share. Unless
the company is agile and proactive with attractive packaging, pricing and marketing policies its
presence in the market will be threatened.


already reached its saturation and is in the maturity


Market Penetration Product Development

Entered in broadband and fixed line market IPLC Products
Market Development Diversification
Looking for overseas market Market penetration

To portray alternative corporate growth strategies, Igor Ansoff conceptualized a matrix that focused on
the firm’s present and potential products and markets / customers. According to him- market penetration,
market development, product development and diversification of product are the 4 major product- market
strategic alternatives.

Based on the demand for the product a company should implement all strategy, with diversification of the
product/market being the key focus for success.

• MARKET PENETRATION: By entering the broadband and the fixed line markets, Airtel
embarked into untapped markets.
• PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT: Introduction of IPLC product category

• MARKET DEVELOPMENT: Starting with markets in Nigeria and Seychelles , Airtel is

expanding its operations to markets world wide.
• DIVERSIFICATION : By outsourcing some of its services, Airtel has diversified its operations.
4.4 Conclusion

This chapter presented the data and offered the analytical description of the study by chiefly focusing the
reader’s focus to the character of the data that was gathered. The next chapter will as a result deliberates
on drawing out necessary conclusion originating from the findings by way of evaluation of data,
suggesting practicable suggestion as well as the its possible suggestion to the management.