BTL Baatein: Shirish Deshpande, Pan India Paryatan Pvt. Ltd… powered by VISCOMM

10 Feb,2017

With a vast industry career experience spanning over 33 years across varied sectors, Shirish Deshpande is a veteran in the entertainment and amusement industry. An association of more than 16 years with Pan India ParyatanPvt. Ltd (PIPPL) credits him with the launch of Water Kingdom, re-launch of EsselWorld and the brand’s extensions into hospitality and family entertainment centres with the launch of Downtown EsselWorld at Seasons Mall in Pune among other initiatives. Shirish Deshpande is Chief Executive Officer of PIPPL, a subsidiary of the Essel group. It owns and operates amusement park EsselWorldand Water Kingdom, a Theme Water Park.


We present to you the ‘BTL Baatein’ of the week which is powered by VISCOMM with Santosh Jangid speaking to Shirish Deshpande about Below The Line (BTL) advertising, the focus of the company in terms of the type of promotions and the balance between ATL (Above The Line) and BTL.


How important is BTL to your overall marketing plan?

BTL is very important for any marketing plan and we do a lot of activities on BTL platform.


Can you also specify the range of activities that you undertake as part of the below-the-line advertising and promotion? 

Nowadays we do BTL on a two-way platform – online and offline. We do events at corporate levels where we put a special EsselWorld entertainment week saying – come and buy EsselWorld ticket which will be valid for the next few months and most of discounts in different form in terms of maybe direct entry and some food discount vouchers. So we make overall package which looks very lucrative to them. So this is one of the parts of doing it. Second, we have around 10 small kiosks at all big malls in Pune and Mumbai. So there we continuously do some activities like promoting the product with price limitation so that is also a helping aid and third is a total specific program where we go to societies and take permission from their secretaries and put a booth there on Sundays. It may not turn into business then and there only but either they’ve seen or they have not seen it. There are only two types of people as far as EsselWorldis concerned. One generation has seen it, witnessed it, experienced it and one generation may not have heard it. So for them the awareness is created by going to the corporate societies and complexes.


Can you give a broad idea of your spends pie of ATL v/s BTL? 

The ratio comes to around 30% – 70% where BTL is 30% and ATL is 70%. Sometimes it’s 20% sometimes it’s 30% but not 30% of the total spends. We are only talking about the media ATL spends. If you take that, our spend last year was Rs 7 crore into total advertising. Other than the other cost of creative, cost of making ad, cost of agency, and cost of BTL agency. I’m not calculating that but out of that but out of the BTL goes around 30% of that. Last year we spent around 2.25 and 4.75 Cr.


Do you prefer to do this through BTL agencies directly or via your existing creative/media agency? 

I prefer to do it with the agency but not all the time but most of the time. We are making our internal teams as well whenever we do impart promotion and at the entry level when the consumer enters into the park and once they are inside the park. Once they come inside the park there is a lot of promotion with the price promotion, invitation promotion like play the games, etc. So whenever they’re in the park we do it internally but for societies and complexes we do it with BTL agencies.


In terms of generating results especially from consumers and in B2B, do you find BTL a more sure shot avenue than ATL? 

Yes, BTL spends are more specific but there are limitations to it. You can cover very few people so you can’t target a mass audience. Your demographic has to be very focused and only then you can select the activity but it gives you results. The cost is on the higher side but you get quick results with the BTL activity.  You don’t know and you can’t judge an ATL activity.


While sales and salience are good indicators of its success, what are the attributes you look at to measure the success of a BTL campaign? 

If Rs. 200 or Rs. 300 is the cost of food, so we count it. We have school promotions, we have college promotions, we do promotions with Pepsi and we nearly notice all the promotions and then we count the redemption. What was the spend, how many coupons were distributed and what was the redemption? Is we say we sold 100 tickets and whether we get some additional benefit where someone will come with their friends, some with come with their parents. So we track all of those things. In this way we can track and measure it.


There are many organisations that often do new launches almost entirely on BTL aided with an outdoor and/or digital blitz? Your views on this. Given rising media costs, do you see BTL managing on its own, without ATL?

I treat digital as BTL where the reach is very high but it’s very direct, target selection. We can measure every single result and every single sold tickets, the likes, the dislikes. Digital is more measurable although anyone it is very expensive according to me. It’s not that cheap because you can’t get as good results at print but the focus is shifting towards digital. We never spend Rs 1crore on digital but last year we did spendRs 1 crore on digital….

If I have a national product or national presence, there is nothing like ATL. There is no option when you have a broad spectrum of agency or broad demographic. In my case, yes, demographic of male-female age is 14 to 44. So age-wise it’s a very broad spectrum but currently considering the cost of satellite media I can’t afford to go national when my product is only at one place… otherwise, if you ask me, at any given time, I would love to go for a TV platform.


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