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Off Season Marketing

In: Business and Management

Submitted By vartika
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‘TO STUDY METHODS FOR MAKING VARDHMAN HAND KNITTING YARN –A MORE ACTIVE BRAND IN THE OFF –SEASON MONTHS’

Vardhman Spinning & General Mills, Ludhiana
An Industrial Internship project

SUBMITTED TOH.B.T.I Kanpur SUBMITTED BYVartika Pandey 131/10 F B.Tech Computer Science & Engg.

Harcourt Butler Technological Institute, Kanpur , Uttar Pradesh.

CERTIF ICATE

This is to certify that the thesis/dissertation entitled, “To Study various methods for making Vardhman- Hand Knitting Yarn -a more active brand in the off –season months” submitted is a bona fide internship project work carried out by Vartika Pandey (2010-2014) under my supervision and that no part of this report has been copied or submitted anywhere. The assistance and help received during the course of study have been fully acknowledged.

Mr. Pawan Sharma Ludhiana Yarn Sales Branch Manager

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I, Vartika Pandey, wish to express my acknowledgement: To Mr. Pawan Sharma (Industry Mentor) & Ms. Tanvi Makker for being more than my advisor, for their inspiring guidance and constructive criticism, for helping me not to give in during the struggling time of the study. Also I want to express my gratitude to my family who has been the pillars of support to me throughout this internship and has helped me in every possible way .

Vartika Pandey

PREFACE

This report examines the techniques suggested for the hand knitting yarn branch of Vardhman ,for making it a much more dynamic brand in the off-season months .But this concept of seasonal revival is not limited to yarn marketing rather is branched in all sections of product and service provision . It’s inevitable as these seasonal changes can affect a spectrum of businesses. Seasons change from spring to summer, from fall to winter. Regardless of the nature of the business, whether we sell products or deliver services, the changing patterns may have a significant impact on our short- and long-term business success. Vardhman Hand Kniting Yarn too has a prime market in the winters (focussed between October to March) whereas there may be a slighter dip in sales and marketing in the summer months attributed to the climatic conditions. While seasonal businesses like ours may have the understandable tendency to reduce expenses in the off-season, marketing year round will help attract new customers and improve our revenue potential. The key here is consistent execution. Targeting our ideal customers year round is a crucial step to winning new customers and staying ahead of your competition long-term.

Understanding the Concept of the SEASONAL MARKETING

Seasonal marketing refers to the concept when high sales and considerable profits are concentrated in a particular part of the year rather than being fairly even through the year. A particular pattern in a time series that repeats in a regular way —For example:-*In case of Vardhman Hand Knitting Yarn, the winter months are considered to be the prime season for sales and profits whereas the customer traffic dips a bit down in the summer months. *For Hotel Management too, the best sales occur in the holiday season or else in case of a particular occasion .Comparing the summer holiday sales with the rest of the year highlights the fact that the hotel business too falls victim to the concept of Seasonal Business. Characteristics of a time series in which the product or service experiences which repeat or recur every calendar year is referred to as the prime season for that particular brand. These probable effects constitute Seasonal Marketing .Also noting that these effects are different from Cynical effects as seasonal cycles are contained within one calendar year, while cynical cycles can have time periods shorter or longer than an year . Businesses familiar with the feast-or- famine aspect of marketing season can find company in businesses whose livelihoods depend on special times of year, whether it’s the winter holiday Diwali gift-giving season, spring’s Holi or new year celebrations. Local businesses that bank on seasonal bursts of activity for their year-round income should find creative solutions to maintain momentum—even when the cash register isn’t ringing. But we can’t let the seasonal slumps get us down, instead of sitting around and waiting for our season to start again, we can use this valuable time for marketing and shaping up our strategies in a better manner. All kinds of businesses experience seasonal ups and downs. Realtors don’t sell many homes during the holiday season because people are focused on shopping and travelling to visit relatives. The months leading up to April 15 are busy times for CPAs as they prepare tax returns for timely filing. Similarly months leading to Dusshera – Diwali seasons are often crowded with people shopping unlimited hence overwhelming their best brands and act as peak for many clothing and food stores.

Sales forecasts and reports adjust to account for seasonal variation, and the companies often change the amount of inventory they carry to ensure that they are able to meet demand at the lowest cost. Organizations facing seasonal variations, like the motor vehicle industry, are often interested in knowing their performance relative to the normal seasonal variation. The same applies to the ministry of HR headed presently by Mr. Kapil Sibal which expects unemployment to increase in June as recent graduates are just arriving into the job market and schools have also been given a vacation for the summer. That unemployment increased as predicted is a moot point; the relevant factor is whether the increase is more or less than expected. Understanding the seasonality of the business and strategically planning our inbound marketing according to the peaks achieved can make a significant impact on our results both in off or on seasons. The ebb and flow of seasonality can be cause for much angst among many managers . However, having a distribution strategy in place to combat shoulder seasons while capitalizing on peak periods can help maintain healthy levels of demand among various classes of customers. Because seasonality is variable, often fluctuating based on various events, group or transient bookings, hence brand managers should know that the biggest thing is not keeping up but understanding the trends, also past data and experience plays a very significant role in this context. Hence the concept of Seasonal marketing is no longer restrained to Seasonal Products rather has spread out to larger domain of services and products demanded by customers , that’s why most of the companies are adopting strategies to moderate their profits and regulate their margins throughout the year. So brands often undertake strategic programs to promote products to encourage trials and build a stronger association with consumers to achieve a more evenly distributed and consistent performance throughout the year.

Myth about Seasonal Marketing:Now it often happens that many companies try to build up strategies to equate their seasonal and non-seasonal demands, and end up setting targets or goals which are too unrealistic to achieve .They fail to understand that the key is not in equating profits but to utilize this time in the best possible manner. The off season time should be used in preparing Research and Development techniques, managing surplus revenues and critically analyzing customer reviews. In the peak seasons the firm is so occupied with the high demand of consumers that they end up overlooking these aspects, but these properties if scrutinized properly can help frame a

highly effective advertising strategy for the company. So instead of blindly following the cooked up strategies we must aim at maximize employment of the available resources.

An Introduction to Vardhman

Vardhman Group is a leading textile conglomerate in India having a turnover of $700 mn. Spanning over 24 manufacturing facilities in five states across India, the Group business portfolio includes Yarn, Greige and Processed Fabric, Sewing Thread, Acrylic Fibre and Alloy Steel. Vardhman Group manufacturing facilities include over 9,27,430 spindles, 55.5 tons per day yarn and fibre dyeing, 900 shuttleless looms, 90 mn meters per annum processed fabric, 33 tons per day sewing thread, 20000 metric tons per annum acrylic fibre and 100,000 tons per annum special and alloy steel. Vardhman has evolved through history from a small beginning in 1965 into a modern textile major under the dynamic leadership of its chairman, S.P.Oswal. His vision and insight has given Vardhman an enviable position in the textile industry. Under his leadership, Vardhman is efficiently using resources to innovate, diversify, integrate and build its diverse operations into a dynamic modern enterprise. Vardhman aims to be world class textile organization producing diverse range of products for the global textile market. Vardhman seeks to achieve customer delight through excellence in

manufacturing and customer service based on creative combination of state-of-the-art technology and human resources. Vardhman ventured in to the global market in 1986 with an export value of one core to reach exports of $282 mn in FY 2010-11. Little wonder then, that Vardhman, today, exports 35% of its yarn production to more than 25 countries and has a strong presence in markets like the EEC, USA, Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Brazil and Mauritius, Middle East. Vardhman has a share of more than 6% in total Yarn exports from India. Similarly, vardhman also exports about 35% of its total fabric production. Its trusted, tested and reliable workforce, coupled with the latest technology, quality consciousness, customer oriented services and strong logistics has given Vardhman an edge over its competitors and in the world’s most quality conscious and price sensitive markets. Thereby making Vardhman a truly international organisation in terms of both sourcing from and catering to the world market.

Yarns:Yarn Manufacturing is the major activity of the group accounting for 52.55 percent of the group turnover. Vardhman is virtually a supermarket of yarns, producing the widest range of cotton, synthetics and blended, Grey and Dyed yarns and Hand Knitting Yarns, in which Vardhman is the market leader in India. The group has twenty two production plants with a total capacity of over 9.3 lacs spindles, spread all over the country. In many of the yarn market segments, Vardhman holds the largest market share. Vardhman is also the largest exporters of yarn from India, exporting yarns worth more than USD 282 million.

Vardhman Case Study
In this Case Study, our sole intention concentrates on the Hand Knitting Yarn branch of Vardhaman and we will study the subject with respect to same.

Studying the problem from Vardhman’s point of view
Vardhman holds a very strong position in the yarn market henceforth has build a very strong customer base. The company is known for its credible and strong brand image and holds a dominating position in the hand knitting market .Despite having multiple competitors , Vardhman has continued to employ a large range of creativity in both advertising and marketing techniques to constantly innovate help build a strong benchmark . Frequency by which Vardhman’s knitting yarn is purchased by it’s custome rs

SEASONAL 77

OFF-SEASONAL 20

RARELY 3

Table 1 : Frequency by which Vardhman’s knitting yarn is purchased by ladies

Graph 1 : Frequency by which Vardhman’s knitting yarn is purchased by ladies

From the above figure we can say that most of the female purchase Vardhman’s knitting yarn seasonally i.e. in winters. Some of them buy off- seasonal i.e anytime in the year when they are free and some of the ladies prefer to buy hand knitting yarn throughout the year. A very few ladies buy Vardhman’s hand knitting yarn rarely. Hence it can be easily seen that despite the fact that Vardhman Hand Knitting Yarn is a very powerful brand even then it faces the problem of fluctuation in sales due to the seasonal variations, so we can look forward to adopting such measures and suggestions which will help us establish the image of VHKY as a dynamic and year long brand in a better manner .

Suggested Strategies For Off- Season Brand Enhancement

1. Gathering Customer Reviews & Responses During entire year, particularly as our season comes to an end we can ask our customers to review our products or services. By gathering customer stories and testimonials when they’re still fresh, we'll have reviews that are more detailed and personal that'll resonate with off-season readers. We can use these stories in our off- season marketing and promotions. The more raw and interesting content we can get from your customers, the better our off- season marketing campaigns will be.  Implementation Vardhman Hand Knitting Yarn outlets circulate the designer booklets to customers to imbibe their interest in the product, this method has a very widespread reach among the masses .It is also favoured due to it’s clear and simplistic approach .So these booklets can include a page where customer can write their reviews about the brand , fill responses to questionnaire and share personal experience and stories in relation to usage of our product . We may also announce some incentives for the best stories and experiences .  For example : Nestle India has launched the ‘Me and meri Maggi’ campaign , where it is urging consumers to share interesting experiences of theirs that involved Maggi giving both reason and application .  Hamdard has launched an activation campaign titled ‘My Rooh Afza story’ for its beverage brand Rooh Afza. The entry phase invites people to send in their stories comprising special moments spent with the brand. In the second phase, the brand will announce winners and showcase their stories. The multimedia campaign will straddle print, outdoor, radio and digital.

2. Differentiate Ourselves within a Super-Niche Market In order to keep things steady during our slower months, we can consider focusing on a niche market with which our products or services could be a huge benefit. It helps us gain leverage or an extra advantage by making this niche or group our loyal customers in the regional areas attributed to their climatic conditions.  Implementation We can market the yarn and woollen products specifically targeting those areas where the temperature favours our merchandise .These areas can well be in extreme northern India, specifically the eastern states (which are also known as Seven Sisters of East). They include states like: Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya etc . We can direct larger amount of sales to our neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bhutan which remain relatively cold throughout the year and hence can act as a probably healthy market for us even in the off-seasons. For example  Svocan Handicrafts manufactures wooden & metal based items in Yamunagar, Haryana & sell its product in summer seasons to all tourists places. But in off season it exports its products to nearby countries.

 Bajaj Auto sells its two wheelers in domestic markets but due to stiff competition from Hero Motar Corp & Seasonal sales fluctuations, it is now relying on its export sales.

3. Offer Sales and Discounts to Locals during Slow Times We can lure customers back during the off-season with incentives that provide attractive discounts while still allowing us to turn a profit. When customers visit during our peak season give customers a Gift-Coupon or a Buy-One-Get-One-Free vouche r that they can redeem only during our slow period in the off-season months. By offering discounts to people, we can still bring in some business after the crowds disperse -- and maintain a good relationship with the folks that are there to support us throughout the entire year. Focusing on our loyal community during our off-season is vital; if our loyal customers embrace and support our business, our slow months are sure to be less of a struggle. Festival Based Offe rs can also help in boost up the slowing sales and demand.  Implementation This methodology can be adopted near exclusive occasions to boost up the slowing sales and demand. It may include framing genuine offers near Diwali or Lohri offering discounts on various qualities of Yarn and other products .This will not only keep the brand livelier, but the sales will automatically improve due to the festive shopping fervour.  For example:

 FMCG companies such as Cadbury, Hindustan Unilever, ITC, Procte r & Gamble and Heinz launch discounts and offers ranging anywhere between 10% and 70% on high-value items in a two weeks sale often kept near season endings , as they try to push premium products amid slowing demand.

4. Tapping Peak Season Revenues for the entire year We can use past years’ activities to project our cash needs during slow business periods. Set aside a pre-determined percentage of earnings during busy seasons (based on the earnings history of past years) to create that cushion instead of spending everything as soon as it comes in. Making seasonal profits that last a whole year takes careful budgeting and planning for the general seasonal brands hence keep track of the expenses from year to year and look ahead for ways to trim or reduce them down during the slower months. When cash flow is high, we can save substantially via setting spending limits for each quarter or semi-quarter.  Implementation Vardhman can give special discounts, schemes or offers in off season on its Hand Knitting Yarn. For example:Pioneers of the Hotel Business and Travel agencies offer manage their surplus revenue as the customer flow is extremely high during the holiday seasons. The trick is during demand or high season, they yield price and fine-tune promotions and maximize revenue on all channels. Hence they have abundant capital to cultivate for the rest of the year to invest and plan with a greater magnitude. The best hotel chains demonstrating this strategy are:-

6. Collaborate with othe r local businesses and organisations Aiming to work with local economic organizations to develop regional incentives may succeed in luring the customers back during “off” seasons. It may boost sales during our slow period by working in conjunction with another seasonal business that’s comparatively busy when ours isn’t. Businesses can improve their social and environmental performance and find new market opportunities through partnerships with NGOs. The knowledge, expertise and capabilities of NGOs and corporations are distinct and may be complementary; together, NGOs and companies can often accomplish more than they could alone.  Implementation We can also align ourselves with the local welfare associations and NGO’s that spread a good word about our product in the off-time. For example:-

 Guidestar India is responsible for various NGO associations, Where companies and These organizations enter into an alliance of mutual benefit including charitable gestures as distributing woolen toys and clothing among the needy.  Alliance of Mother Dairy with local schools in New Delhi to encourage the sale of Ice cream and other Ice based products in peak winters .These programs involve innovative measures like promoting lesser chilled items like mother dairy ice cream cookies and biscuits , hence helping in keeping the brand active by creating interest in the duller times .

7. Focus on Betterment of customer service To keep our customer base strong year round, customer service have to be excellent. Going above and beyond the call of duty to deliver on last minute demands can win over a shopper’s loyalty for life, because they have evidence that they can count on us. We can focus some resources on having extra phone and chat operators on standby to deal with any inquiries or complaints. Companies with outstanding customer service are more eager to talk about their continuing efforts than to accept praise for a job well done.  Implementation Vardhman Hand Knitting Yarn can too benefit by improving the customer and dealer relational base by providing greater number of employees for query submission ,and concentrating on the proble m solving in the earliest manner , so that our customers and dealer remain content and loyal to our company throughout the year .The employees should deal with the other end in the most polite and patient manner addressing in the language that suits them and leaving no stone unturned for keeping them satisfied .

For example:- With its first-class service and proper care for every single customer, this private bank has been following the up curve in customers' count. The ICICI bank is known for providing speedy service and good friendly staff. It has more than 1400 branches and 4600 ATMs.  Maruti Suzuki is a brand known for excellent pre and post delivery services for its Customers.

8. Contentrating on the Rural Areas:Rural Market is the next biggest market as 60% of our country’s population reside in rural areas. Therefore tapping this market will a big opportunity for any company. Hence it’s very important to incorporate strategies which focus on the rural base primarily that keep the brand image consistent and alive throughout the year. These strategies differ from those of urban market as the rural market is more price sensitive but has its own preference quality.  Implementation Vardhman Hand Knitting Yarn has its largest customer base in the villages, hence its very important to incorporate strategies which focus on the rural base primarily. Following strategies can be incorporated by Vardhman. a) Wall Paintings:-

We can paint the slogans and images related to our brand next to the most crowded or occupied places in the villages so that it’s in constant sight of the customers. As the major consumers of our product are ladies so these paintings can be planned next to water facilities or gathering compounds. By remaining constantly visible to our customers, they will be reminded on a regular basis about our brand, its quality hence forming a strong impact on the consumer’s mind. For Example:Coca-Cola , Alpenliebe etc .

b) Mobile Vans This technique can be implemented in urban areas also but has more effect in the rural areas as the audience is more receptive in rural area s .These mobile vans are used to announce about latest ads and schemes in relation with the brand. For example Nokia started the service of providing Mobile Vans services to the rural areas giving information about the latest services, new offers and discount schemes.  Mazaa sold its pocket size tera packing juice through its mobile vans.

b) Volunteer Programs :In order to involve the village women in a better manner we can initiate volunteer programs which will employ them so that they can help us expand our customer base using their perspective .This snow-ball effect will eventually lead to building up of a strong and loyal community that will monitor our rural market through all the seasons. For Example: When Amway was new to India, it used its various categories of volunteer programs to establish a stronghold among customers.  HUL sold its product in rural marketing by educating rural woman to raise their living standard, improve their financial & social status by selling HUL products to other women which was called as Shakti project.

9. Cause Based Activities and Competitions:In the slowest seasons where its very difficult to boost sales, then instead of the oldschool marketing techniques we can start associating with some seasonal activities, by sponsoring them or by contributing for them, so that we are advertised in an indirect and far reaching manner.  Implementation Organising theme based Nukkad Natak or Rallies, sponsoring the causes will keep us in the customer’s eyes without even mentioning about yarn in summers. These rallies can use our banners, danglers or hoardings hence promoting our product along with serving for the noble cause. For example: This strategy was also adopted by Indian Railways as an unconventional way to improve on its existing image.

 India Trade Fair organises nukkad natak to aware the consumers.

10. Exhibitions in on and off season months If you want face to face interaction about any aspect of your business with your key audience, whether they may be customers, agents, reseller, retailers or even trade peers, an exhibition is probably the best way to go. Usually, an exhibition is the best place to launch or revive a product or service and get feedback on the activity from the key stakeholders. An exhibition's immediacy also makes it the perfect platform to draw industry and audience attention toward your product or service in a short time. Compare that with, say, a market research activity which takes months to plan and execute and gives you results after a long time span. Attendees at exhibitions tend to have a definite agenda in mind. They attend exhibitions with the intention of buying, booking or at the least seeking information in order to make a purchase in the near future. In fact, research shows that 54% of visitors to exhibitions specifically come to see new products and services; 48% come for information; 40% to keep up to date with technology; and 15% to make business contacts.

 Implementation We can organise exhibitions and public display for the yarn products .These displayed patterns can be a part of sample knitting contest for our customers, they can be provided with all the details in our Designer Booklets .We can ask the customers to come forward with their handmade masterpieces which will be constituting the exhibition .There can be luring incentives offered like prize for the best sample etc .Hence this entire activity will promote the usage of our brand immensely.

For example: Bridal Fashion exhibitions organised by renowned jewellery & dress designers.  India Art Fair exhibition sponsored by Yes Bank.

11. Remain Socially Active All throughout the year The ever-expanding world of social media has become an entrenched one for many segments of the population, and any business – seasonal or otherwise – would do well to tap into it. Social media marketing will give us the ability to interface with past and potential customers in a dynamic, multifaceted medium. A regularly updated newsletter or blog sustains customer interest and can draw in new business by following search engine optimization, or SEO, strategies. Again, we can incorporate material from our peak season including testimonials from satisfied customers as enticement but also pursue calendar-specific connections .We could write about our off-season activities to promote a familiar engagement with the clientele. All the leading brands and retails have their active websites which provide information about the products, machinery used in manufacturing, e mployees and important contacts. A website adds to the authenticity of the overall brand.

 Implementation We could easily share the launch of a new product online giving all its main features or special events, representative activities, and the like.

For example: Apple is active on social media marketing networks such as Website, You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs etc.

12. Designing an Innovative Ad Campaign
Today we can experience advertising in all sorts of ways; radio, television, web, etc. However, with all this new media around people still are getting creative with general advertising.

 Implementation We should design new set of ad campaigns on a yearly basis so that we can renovate on our shortcomings and improve in an overall manner .We must try to reach a younger audience in order to expand our customer base, hence keeping all this in mind for a product like yarn, products apart from the boring sweaters must be focussed upon. So inclusion of these in our ad-campaigns can prove to be extremely beneficial as it will break the convention of yarn just being used for making sweaters.

For example: Luftal Gas Relief Drops used aired balloons with object inside in restaurants, when balloons were popped, the medicine appeared, thus suggesting that it give relief from gas problem.

 Craft & Handlooms such as Fancy key-rings, beautiful wall hangings, table covers, mats, crockery covers etc. These products are not entirely season specific hence can be used to hike sales even in the warmer months.

CONCLUSION

Seasonal businesses like Vardhman Hand Knitting Yarn need to squirrel away funds during high times, and have flexible marketing strategies that allow them to generate revenue in the off-season. They also need to perfect customer service so shoppers don’t forget about them over the year hence guaranteeing a persistent growth and better profits all throughout the year. So, the seasonal business of Hand Knitting Yarn may devoid us of the luxury in downtime during the off-season, and also the lull could have consequences such as reduced profits, wasted resources or employee turnover. Hence to overcome these difficulties we can aim to stabilize our bottom line with a proper and well organized business plan that keeps sales steady throughout the year. New marketing strategies, partnerships and product offerings can help us reduce downtime, boost overall margins and probably expand the profit season.

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