Sector summary

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Credit card companies are increasingly targeting India's one million cardholders through directly-mailed offers of goods and services.

Advertising, direct marketing and trade promotion

English-language advertising in India is among the most creative in the world. TV advertising (especially in the Hindi language) has made major headway in the past 10 years, especially with the advent of satellite TV. Hindi TV channels - such as ZEE and Sony TV - have fashioned themselves on lines of Western channels, and most advertising on such channels is glitzy, smart and tailored for the middle classes. Such channels have forced the state-owned channel, Doordarshan, to add spice to their programmes which, earlier, were quite drab. The importance of the Hindi-speaking market (which is also fluent in English) is borne out from the fact that STAR TV, once an all-English channel, is now rich in Hindi programmes. Even the British Broadcasting Corporation is reportedly toying with the idea of airing Hindi programmes.

Most major international advertising firms have chosen local Indian partners for their work in this market. Mumbai (formerly Bombay) remains the centre of the advertising business in India.

India has a diverse and growing number of daily newspapers. Since 1991, the increase of business and financial news reports in English-language and vernacular dailies has paralleled the economic reform programme and the movements of the stock markets. Most leading publications have their circulation audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulation which has an India-dedicated office in Mumbai (formerly Bombay).

Leading business newspapers include Business Standard and  Economic Times. Magazines include India Today, Business India , Business Today, and Business World.

In addition to advertising, other kinds of trade promotion activities are also well-developed in India. A large of exhibitions are held all over India, the most prominent ones at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. Conferences and seminars are also widespread. 

Direct marketing

The mail service in India is slow though generally reliable. Telephone service is poor, but rapidly improving.

While private courier services are growing strongly and the telecommunications sector is opening up for a range of modern services, until goods can be ordered conveniently and delivered with certainty, direct marketing will be limited to door-to-door sales. An inefficient state-owned banking system also prevents prompt transfers of funds from consumers to retailers. Credit card companies are increasingly targeting India's one million cardholders through directly-mailed offers of goods and services.

The most successful direct marketers in India today are the millions of door-to-door sales representatives who visit neighborhoods and villages across India. From ice cream vendors to carpet sellers, India 's residential neighbourhoods are frequently visited by merchants offering a variety of products. Some soft-drink companies have used beauty queens to make surprise knocks on the doors!