Will TNTs Alternative Customer Acquisition Route Work

Mumbai: | Updated: Dec 25 2002, 05:30am hrs
In a bid to tap emerging customer segments such as lifescience businesses and students applying for academic studies abroad, TNT India Ltd is rolling out a host of new marketing initiatives. However, deviating from convention, the company is not adopting the advertising route as a part of its overall integrated marketing gameplan.

Says TNT India Pvt Ltd managing director Jinendra Sancheti: We are not going to use advertising as a part of our marketing strategy. Instead we have conducted an intensive segmentation of the market and will target our customers through several focused initiatives in direct marketing, online customer services and other aligned marketing strategies.

Accordingly, to rope in customers from the lifescience businesses the company has recently undertaken a prospect identification programme. The initiative will incorporate meeting up with research professionals from these entities who would be the primary target audience to communicate the companys service propositions customised to meet their needs.

This is being implemented because entities that are into lifescience- related businesses have two to three wide customer needs. They incorporate shipping services, despatch of pharmaceutical products and sampling materials for various clinical trials.

The company will follow up the communication exercise that is undertaken through such personal campaigns with direct marketing initiatives. The entire objective behind all these programmes is to provide personalised solutions to the diverse needs of this segment and use it as a strategy for customer retention, adds Mr Sancheti.

As part of the initiative to target the student audience, the company has also launched an online initiative termed caller pack. The effort here will be to act as an online facilitator for students for sending data incorporating resumes, applications and other testimonials within the deadline time to appropriate educational institutions located abroad.

According to the company, the initiative is also aimed at providing the appropriate contact details of academicians or the resource persons who are located in some of these offshore universities.

However, brand consultants believe that the extensive emphasis put on DM by express service companies does not always prove to be an effective marketing tool now.

Says Direct Marketing Association of India associate researcher Ratan Ratnakar: In the past one year, too much resources have been deployed for DM initiatives.

According to consultants, the need for companies is to identify the exact customer requirements and communicate them through more on-ground customer contact initiatives rather than DM. This is because the communication exercise undertaken through DM suffers from more clutter than even the mass media exercises in brand communication, sums up Mr Ratnakar.