The marketing power of a missed call


I must admit something; although I work in an IT- world, surrounded by people working on network applications, platforms and data, I’m a…. marketing professional. With over twenty years of marketing experience you could say that I like to understand an influence consumer behaviour. My personal belief about marketing and obtaining strong marketing insights and consumer trends? You can digest a lot of very fine marketing books or examine a lot of scientific reports. But there is a better way: just open your eyes and observe everything that happens around you! During my free hours in Pune I therefor like to explore the city to witness how products and services are sold here. How do Indian companies lure customers to their services? One of the most thrilling things I noticed in India is the concept of the ‘missed call’. Mobile phones are with us for over 20-25 years now. I assume that they reached India with a small delay, but the market for mobile phones exploded since then. 3G is rolled out and in some areas, there is also a good 4G coverage. And smartphones are everywhere. From streetvendors to captains of industry; a smartphone is the hand-jewellery for the communication-addicted consumer and the smartphone penetration in India is rising year on year. When you have someone’s phone number, you could whatsapp, send text messages or call him/her to introduce your product of service. Thus, more and more the phone becomes the centre of the marketing universe. And it’s a very good response mechanism. But how do you let customers respond in an easy way, without letting them pay expensive data or talktime? They found a brilliant solution for that in India and it’s everywhere: the missed call. I’s my assumption that this marketing concept was invented by people with limited resources. Placing a missed call to someone could mean a lot and it’s free. It could mean ‘Honey, I’m now in the bus and on my way home’ or ‘Please give me a call, my prepaid plan has expired. Please call me back’. However, the missed call concept is now transformed to an extreme powerful marketing concept and I’m a big fan. Everywhere in the city, in papers & online: the response mechanism is not limited to calling a tollfree number or going to a website. No, in many cases they also offer the possibility to place a missed call. It’s friendly & convenient and very rarely seen in Europe!

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