Its about finding a gap in the market, stupid!

On 21/10/2007, I had posted “80/20 rule of marketing success – find a gap” in which I had mentioned that MEOW the radio station has found a great gap and staked its claim to this space and that according to me it will be a great success. The reason my dear is very simple. They have found a gap and positioned themselves as a radio station for women.

Now I was surprised to read in Mint that there are more than 100 radio stations and another 300 are expected to be launched in the next 18 months. The sad part is that from what I can make out there is no one except MEOW which has really positioned itself effectively. In addition, MEOW has developed its offering through distinct programming in a “talk” format. I had actually heard them once and it was definitely good. Most of the radio stations just offer music with annoying DJs who crack PJs and come up with childish schemes. In fact, after living in US and listening to radio there, I find what radio stations are doing in India a little stupid. I am surprised that with TV stations copying American programs, why can’t radio stations do the same.

In fact, I had suggested a content based program to a couple of radio stations and they just ignored the same. I think they prefer what they are doing now.

Practically, all the experts agree that the radio stations need to differentiate themselves. What they are saying is that they should find a gap in the market and claim their stake on it. What’s the hurry? Well, being the first to stake your claim to a particular is what matters the most.

Prashant Pandey, CEO of Radio Mirchi says, “We are the leaders of the market. We don’t have to change. So many people already know who we are.” Do you think what Pandey is saying seems logical? Can anyone suggest how things can change for Radio Mirchi? For instance, MEOW takes away the women. RadioYoung takes away the young (I hope you guys know that we are going to have Youth TV from Amity which is again an excellent idea). RadioManagement takes away business listeners and so on and so forth. Don’t you think that with increasing number of radio stations filling in the gaps in the market, Radio Mirchi would not be left with much of an audience. So beware Shri Pandey.

It was surprising to read that practically all the radio stations are trying to differentiate themselves based on the campaigns that they are conducting. How does having a concert with AR Rehman position the Fever104 radio station vis-a-vis others, I just fail to understand.

If the radio stations cannot seem to find a gap to stake their claim, I think we should all help them. I think it would be an interesting exercise to suggest various positioning options for the various radio stations coming up. I have done this exercise with students in my class with fantastic results. Let me get the ball rolling for you.

Positioning options based on the type of music they play

(a) Ghazals
(a) Local regional music

Positionings based on talk show format

(a) Management
(b) Health

So lets get your marketing juices flowing and come up with as many positioning options that we can.

Avinash Narula

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When it comes to finding unique positioning, there are a million niche groups that a radio station for can cater to — how about a station for horror fans for example?The trouble is, that in India, we like playing it safe, so the radio stations too, do a Lowest Common Denominator number on their programming to appeal to the widest set in the audience. It’s more to do with greed for maximum listener-ship, rather than the desire to provide quality entertainment. Because targeting a niche group comes with the risk of limited audience… and limited advertisers and sponsors. The result? All radio stations sound the same!! And in the long run it means they lose out anyway! Ah! It’s that age old fight again: Quality vs. Quantity.


Megha Hi!

Actually, when you think of positioning, you need to think “to get something, you have to give up something.” For instance, MEOW has given up on men listners to get women listners. You can position yourself as a radio station for everybody but one can’t have such positioning for all the radio stations. There will not be enough listners.

The other day, I was thinking that one could have a radio station for cricket fans. Here everything would be related to cricket. I think this would be a great success. I hope one of the radio station owners is reading this.

It is very interesting that even advertising agencies do not pay much attention to positioning or distinquishing its clients products from the competition. If you see the recent i10 Hyndai car advertisement, it says “Catch the i.” It may be a nice sounding slogan but does it give any message to the customer? Does it distinquish itself from the competition? Does it stake its claim to any space in the customer’s mind? I don’t think so. I have heard that this car has one unique feature, that is, its paint does not fade or get spoilt because of adverse weather conditions for a long time. I thought it would have been perfect to position it as “A car that always remains new,” both in terms of the physical condition of the car as well as imply even in style. Additional benefit could be high resale value of the car because it always looks new even after a number of years.

You have a good point about everybody’s interest in going after volumes. I don’t know why we are so obsessed with volumes. If everybody thinks of volume and goes after the total market, how much volume will be left for them. But yes, we are obsessed with volumes.

I think I have written a blog on this topic of volumes.

Avinash Narula


Hi everybody!

Today I was watching TV and saw an advt for “Woman Horlicks.” My immediate reaction was that the company had found an excellent gap. I don’t think there are any energy products for women.

However, do you think they are implementing this strategy properly. Well, let me give you something to think about. Horlicks has always been associated with kids. As such, doing a brand extension on the “Horlicks” on a product meant for grown up woman will be difficult for the target audience to accept.

On the other hand, how about using a different brand name to introduce the product? What do you guys think?


In ET today, there was an interview of Ram Charan, world’s most sought after management consultant, with Aditya Birla. He has written a book titled “Every Business is Growth Business.” This is similar to saying, “there is no mature market.” Ram Charan explains this concept by saying that even though the overall growth of the market is zero but you search for segments in the market that are growth segments because style, demographics and technology is changing. This is similar to finding a gap in the market.


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