The dot-com bubble burst when the last millennium ended.

New millennium gave rise to new hope. In early 2000s, everybody knew that Information Technology was definitely here to stay. But not everyone could learn new programming languages and create a software out of thin air. It needed training. Yet, India was amongst the most rapidly progressing countries in the world which had distinct advantages at the time:

  • India already had a large English speaking population.
  • India produced thousands of Engineers every year.
  • Culturally, Indians were very adaptable.
  • Indians were smart.
  • India was set to have the largest youth population in the world.

It was this time when the West looked at India with high hopes. While China became the Factory of the World, India was all set to become the back office of the World. And India delivered.

That is the story of the rise of the Indian IT industry in a nutshell.

Today, as 2020 approaches, the next decade presents another such opportunity for India. This time, it in the marketing and advertising domain.

It is a well established fact that, marketing is moving towards digital platforms. Companies are already allocating 50% of their marketing budgets to digital platforms in 2019. This number would go to 55% in the year 2020.

The best part about digital advertising from India’s perspective is, it can be implemented remotely, with little or no presence needed in the market where ads are to be published.

Now this is why I believe India can grab this opportunity:

  • India is a well established technology market – both in terms of building technology and using technology.
  • Large English speaking population – The largest in the world. Indians are now outperforming even the Americans and the Enligsh in their own language (think Spelling Bees!).
  • Advertising creativity – Indian TV and print ads have been as creative as any in the world. They win regular awards at international stages.
  • Availability of talent – Because of the vastness of the population, there is a phenomenal talent available. There is virtually zero training needed for this talend to be deployed.

And it is not just me who is thinking about it.

In fact, the seed of this idea was sown into my mind by a client, who is an investor in the US. He came to India to hunt for marketing talent, but was not mightily impressed.

We have faced this challenge too. When we, as an agency are looking to hire marketers, we are running into two kinds of people:

(1) Those who are from mainstream advertising : These look at advertising as an art. These guys think they have done a good job, when they publish a creative ad. They are not overly concerned about the outcomes.

(2) Those who are from digital marketing background : These guys are too caught up in the tools. They understand how to exploit Google Ads Platform (for example), but they are not sure what to do, if Google Ads Platform is not the right tool for marketing a product.

India needs to develop people who understand:

  • Technology and Innovation
  • Creativity, suitable for that market
  • Customer and market psyche
  • Business and RoI

It doesn’t have to be the same person knowing everything, but a group of people who coherently work to achieve the objectives. All that is needed, is a change in midset. Easier said than done 🙂

If we manage to develop these skills, India is on the cusp of an exciting new opportunity. A new industry, which will parallel the Indian Technology industry, will rise and bring employment for thousands of talented Indians.

From here on, we can either become the next marketing hub of the world, or we can look at it as a potential opportunity that never realised. Are we ready to embrace this challenge? The first few years of the next decade will tell.

I know that we are working towards grabbing the opportunity with both hands. How about you?