Great new idea from guerrilla marketing champion


Prabin Agarwala, Siliguri

Prabin Agarwala, Fortune Securities Siliguri, won the 2017 Marketing Wiz award for guerrilla marketing, inspiring many IFAs with his innovative guerrilla marketing ideas to gain visibility at a fraction of the normal cost (Click here to know more). He continues to innovate and shares his new marketing campaign that has helped him expand his SIP book with a sharp focus on planning for children. Read on to discover what Prabin is doing differently to sustain his growth momentum. Here’s a quick fact: his SIP book is currently over 4100 live SIPs – which puts him in the top 25 among all IFAs, and the only one from a city as small as Siliguri.

In 2017, we had Rs. 100 crore AUM and a SIP book in excess of Rs. 1 crore from 2400 live SIPs. Now, in the last one year, we have scaled up to 4100 SIPs and 1 crore monthly SIP book.

Marketing has helped me a lot. Last year, half page advertisements and the hoardings that were part of my guerrilla marketing helped me but for every entrepreneur, there are challenges. It was a wow factor when we published the half page advertisements and the hoardings but the initial euphoria phased out soon. For a couple of months, there is big visibility but after that, it becomes a routine thing. So the challenge is to look for new things and gather momentum again. How do we do that?

What are some of the reasons that many investors don't reap the benefits? Lack of knowledge about the power of compounding and giving into panic and fear means many investors lose out from the journey. Many also don't understand the impact of inflation on their savings and so are not aware of why investments are important.

Unlike corporates, we cannot bombard the city with billboards. We also have to do it in a cost efficient manner. Earlier, we chose the location for maximum visibility and good price but after certain time, you have to focus on content. Otherwise, people will not look at the hoardings.

Inspiration can hit you anytime!

When I was going for ice cream late at night with the family, we would pass by our hoarding and click selfies. It is lot of fun for my children. At the time, I was thinking of what next for my business and the idea of MDH masala advertisement came to my mind. While soaps and detergents use beautiful girl in their advertisements, MDH used himself as brand ambassador and became his own brand. So why can't I become my own brand ambassador?

I called one of my photographer friends and he looked for a model among children and took a few photographs. We took accessories from shops that cater for fancy dress competitions. Using the theme of “what do you want to be in the future”, we chose different clothes for the kids and we took the photographs. The hoarding had a picture me with the child. We also created a hoarding with a picture of a piggy bank to promote saving among kids.

pic2-20072018 pic2-20072018

My “Think SIP, call Prabin” campaign has become very popular in my city, and to some extent I can say that Prabin has become synonymous with SIP. Yesterday I got a wedding card invitation with the address: Prabin Agarwal c/o SIP Investments. I decided that my next challenge is to communicate a simple message – when you think of your child, think SIP – and then naturally, when you think of SIP, call Prabin.

How do we address this marketing challenge? There are so many maternity homes and every day, so many kids are being born. So there are new potential clients out there every day. Nowadays, everybody has only 1 or 2 babies and so everybody is willing and capable enough to spend from 2,000 to 20,000 or more for investments for their children. If they start at year 1 of the child, then their investment will go on for 20 years or more. So I don't have to show value for my SIP as the emotional part is already there and it is long term investment. These clients are not very active. So I focused on this segment.

Last year’s Marketing Wiz award for goal planning was given to Abhenav Khettry who focused on children's planning and it convinced me that this is a sector which I should focus on. Our initial hoarding had a piggy bank from Kotak MF but gradually, I thought about how to give a savings value to the kids. I realized that while the hoarding is good, I have to focus on the target audience in a better manner.

Location is key

When I was in a multiplex, I realized that lots of young parents are coming to the movie theatre. It made me realize this is a perfect place and it has its own aura. Unlike hoardings where people are often rushing by on the street, here, they have time to look around and see the posters of movie stars. It is a quality time and they are spending with the family. Again, guerrila marketing helped me.

The local Inox owner is my client. Some of the multiplexes are franchisee owned while some are company owned. My client was a franchisee owner and so I was able to gain access to his unused space in the mall. Think about it – every mall and multiplex has so many pillars and side walls – and not all of them are taken up with promotional ads. Every unutilized pillar and wall in a busy mall is an opportunity – if you can convince the mall owner to give it to you at a fraction of the normal cost because it is anyway unutilised space.

I used the photographs of the kids in different professions like doctor, engineer. It gave great word of mouth publicity. On one side, you have Shah Rukh Khan posters and then we have my posters. So soon you become a celebrity. My wife is also happy. It gives existing clients more confidence and pride that they are associated with me. So they are clicking photos and sending it back to me. Every day, I get one or two selfies from clients like this.

pic2-20072018 pic2-20072018

The kids segment is helping us a lot and we want to build this up further. Rainy season is coming and why not take photograph of umbrella on the theme of saving for a rainy day? So the theme will continue and we will try to cover different festivals and associations. It will give us value for money, wide publicity and proud feeling among existing clients who then refer you to others and confidence among new clients that you are capable and well known.

Don't sell, inform!

Apart from this activity, we are trying other activities for the segment. We did an IAP with 9000 people. It is a very big ground. They approached me for a sponsorship for their annual day and the talks started from there. We took time for IAP and they allowed it.

I spoke about what habits to give to your kids and focused on one of the most important habits which is savings. It is important especially when today rely so much on credit card. So if we want to retain the habit of savings, we have to inculcate it at a younger age. So I encouraged parents to give children a piggy bank. Instead of buying a cricket bat when they ask, tell the children to save in a piggy bank for fifteen days first. Then every day, the parent gives them something. So, parents can inculcate the saving habit by giving a goal.

Now the small goal can be cricket ball and the bigger goal a cricket bat. For smaller amounts, they can just open the piggy bank and take out the money. If they want the bigger amount, they can break the piggy bank. So parents can easily teach children about short term goal, long term goal, contingency funds. Also, the savings habit will be inculcated. The IAP was much appreciated especially as they thought I would be selling them something and instead they got an informative session on how to teach their children to save.

pic2-20072018 pic2-20072018

Draw their dreams

We also had drawing competition with the theme of “what you want to be when you grow up” and this helps parents to get an idea of what their childrens' interest are. Nowadays people are pursuing their dreams and so parents will have some idea of what their kids would be interested in. This way, we also collect data and we remind them 15 days before the birthday is coming where we encourage parents through messages to give them love and also financial security. Through these messages, we remind them of SIPs. Otherwise people procrastinate; they want to do it but when they want to do it, they are not sure. But when there is trigger date like birthday, they do it.

pic2-20072018 pic2-20072018

We are now also sponsoring summer camps where lots of people and parents are coming with the kids. So it is also great help to the camp owner and we don't have to worry about gathering crowds. Those who are organizing are experts and so we take unutilized time of the parents like half hour to talk to them and they are happy that we give piggy bank to all the kids.

We also have tied up with career experts who give some 10-15 minutes talks on local and foreign universities. So, we are able to tell them that if they want to send their kids abroad, then they need to start saving now. Unaccounted money will not help them. After demonetization and GST, they do believe these things now.

So these various kinds of activities are helping us in the kids segments. Once the mindset is there, they are happy to share with other parents what they are doing and so the referral rate is more. Unlike businessmen, parents want to share what they are doing with those they know. While the initial days are more challenging, gradually once the ecosystem is built up, the referrals build up and you don't have to initiate. When you have fun in what you are doing, it is easy to innovate and come up with new ideas on how to expand the segment.

Share this article