Virgin Mobiles, a cellular service provider and one of the brands from the Richard Branson owned Virgin Group’s stable, was all set to be introduced in India. However, the fact that the Indian telecom market was already crowded with many established players, Virgin Mobiles needed to do something strikingly different to penetrate and stand a chance to be called ‘successful’.
Choosing the Indian youth as their target audience, Virgin Mobiles entered the Indian market with a strategy that summarizes what they needed to do – “Think hatke” (‘Hatke’ is an Indian word meaning ‘different’). Market research threw up encouraging stats – there are 215 million urban youth mobile subscribers in India and an additional 50 million are likely to join in over the next three years. This would make the urban youth a juicy 10% of the total telecom market in India!
The marketing ploy was simple yet brilliant: A Virgin Mobile user would earn 10 paise per minute for every incoming call from any network! What makes this a pathbreaking marketing idea was the fact that where most rival cellular companies were boasting about how all incoming calls were free, Virgin Mobiles went a step ahead and offered to pay its users for every incoming call! Now this is undeniably ‘Hatke’ thinking!