By Ragini Bhuyan
Mint, New Delhi
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) When the Indian ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship needed a plan to reach the unemployed and school/college dropouts for its flagship program, a skills training and certification initiative, the team at Netcore Solutions decided that mobile messaging would be the best channel.
Girish Chaturvedi, group vice-president of digital marketing firm Netcore Solutions, firmly believes that mobile phones are the best medium to target audiences on a large scale.
So when the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship needed a plan to reach the unemployed and school/college dropouts for its flagship program, a skills training and certification initiative termed Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), Chaturvedi’s team at Netcore Solutions decided that mobile messaging would be the best channel.
Netcore Solutions got involved in this campaign when it was brought in as a technology partner by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), who took this initiative to help the PMKVY.
Netcore Solutions was a finalist in the government and citizen engagement category at the mBillionth 2016 awards, organized by the Digital Empowerment Foundation.
The PMKVY initiative aims to impart vocational training and certify skilled persons to enhance employability and help grassroots entrepreneurs raise funds via formal channels.
Marketing skills training at traditional formats, such as kiosks and fairs, are less effective at reaching bottom-of-the-pyramid consumers, and also cannot be scaled up to reach millions of India’s unemployed youths.
Radio and cinema are also not effective at reaching the poor who may lack access to such media. But mobile phones have a wide reach. “We decided to use an SMS campaign to generate interest in PMKVY,” Chaturvedi explains.
A month ahead of the PMKVY’s launch on 15 July 2015, Netcore Solutions’s team launched a pilot campaign in Bihar, sending out bulk SMSes in partnership with Airtel. Using keywords such as ‘sarkari’, ‘naukri’, and ‘muft’, they sent the message out that individuals looking for skills training and certification should give a missed call to a designated number. Those who did, received an automated voice call that recorded the caller’s age, gender, location, employment status, and according to the location, directed them to the nearest skills training centre for counseling and enrollment. “Though our campaign initially reached only Airtel customers, the missed call number became very popular and within a week we had Idea and Vodafone customers calling in,” Chaturvedi says.