Thursday, August 30, 2007

Regionalized Marketing - the need to be more responsive to consumers

A country like ours offers many unique challenges to a marketer. The diversity of the country in terms of geography, culture, customs and traditions can be seen as a problem and as well as an opportunity. Anyone who has traveled around the country would be appreciate the fact that the food, dialect if not the language, dressing, change very 500 hundred kilometers that one travels, even within a states. For a marketer to able to generalize and make marketing plans at the level of even at the state is quite difficult. For example for people familiar with the state of Karnataka would agree with me that within the state the culture language and eating habits and even the festivals celebrated or given more importance would be very different in North Karnataka , Coastal Karnataka, Dharward belt , Mysore, Bangalore. Similar is the status in many states in the country.

This diversity as such is not something new and has been there for ages and we as Indians are proud of this diversity, but as marketers it puts more demands on us….. One set of marketing companies which I have seen have reacted well to these diversity are the consumer durable companies which actually run promotions according to the state. Like in Kerala, Onnam is the most important festival of the year, and companies know that most of their TV sales would happen during that period and the companies have design a special promotion during Onnam in Kerala, and not Diwali.

In one of my recent visits to Bhuvaneshwar, I was there during their local festival ‘Rraja Sankranti’ which in the state is a major one. In the market I found the local shopkeepers - the Kirana stores and Cloth stores were all decked up for the festival, but the Local Big Bazaar didn’t have the same level of preparation for the festival. All they had was a few promotions running; maybe they will improve in the years to come. But local responsiveness in the times when we are talking about micro-individualized marketing effort is missing. The least we can and should expect is a regionalized marketing effort. The thinking has evolved from talking about a global standardized product all over the world to local responsiveness.

In India most of the companies have rushed forward to embrace the Valentines day, father’s day and so on……. to cash in consumer sentiments, Though I am not against that , but before trying to introduce new events we should ask the question have we actually capitalized on what we have following for ages…..



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