Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Changing Indian Market Place - From Category Penetration to Competing for Market Share

We are entering the second phase of marketing in India, for the first time we are witnessing a situation of categories entering into a stage where penetration would reach near 100% or exceed it. Till now we have been working on marketing strategies to increase penetration , getting the first time users to try out offerings versus a situation where the you have to either increase the usage of the product or a service in a well established market. This is where maybe we will see the true meaning of the statement "Customer is the King".

Taking the example of what is happening in the mobile phone market, in most of the metro markets the penetration levels are reaching 80% and in some markets like Chennai the figure has exceeded 100%. So what does it mean for new operators like Aircel, and virgin mobile when it enters a market where the category penetration is so high. There would be two ways of gaining market share , first and more difficult option would be to try and attract users from established players or second way is to encourage users to go for another mobile.

To push consumers to switch their operators would involve a different set of marketing strategies versus the ones which are used to increase the penetration in a particular category. May this is what we can see from the approach that both virgin and aircel are using , by focusing on value added services and non-typical offerings like paying for incoming calls. But this is just the beginning and we will see the manifestation of this change in the coming few years...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Learning Sales From Movies

Was looking for a sales clip to use in my sales management class, found a few clips from movies which I thought would are worth sharing , need to think which of these could be used in the classroom context,

First one is from one of my best movie, In Pursuit of happiness

Second is the clip from a sales meeting , goose bumps...

The last one is a phone sales demo

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Is branded fuel worth the price???

Almost a decade back the fear of competition forced the PSU oil companies to become more market savvy, the logos were changed , the retail outlets were refurbished, some of them started their own retail ventures to make best use of the available space and along with that came the concept of branded fuel. Each of them had their own brand of extra mileage fuel and though people were initially sceptical about the actual benefit now many users have slowly started using branded fuel...

Now there are conflicting news on the actual benefit that a user might derive out of using branded fuel. The state-run oil companies have not been able to back up the claims to Monopolies and Restrictive trade practices Comission (MRTPC)that the branded fuel gives higher mileage and better engine performance. Link Though a cursory visit to their websites provides many details of the benefits of branded fuel, HP Power, IOC Speed

A couple of years back I had written about my observation on how branded fuel was being used by auto-riskha drivers, which showed that they were able to get the extra mileage by using branded fuel. And managers at the oil companies are clear on the benefits from these. Maybe there is an urgent need on the part of the companies to react quickly and provide the backing for their claims on branded fuel otherwise it could lead to a back lash from consumers.

Because consumer value is part perception and part reality, and a successful product is a good mix of both, same hold true for branded fuel, once the users starts doubting the authenticity of the claims of the company sales and bound to drop,

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Measuring fairness through meters

The fairness cream category has seen a lot of activity not only in for women but also for men's fairness creams. With the entry of many new players into this huge segment, untapped segment ( untapped because it is literally owned by the market leader F&L) one can see some small time innovations coming in...

Garnier White Cream was the first to come up with a meter to measure skin tone, so that one could measure the fairness level before and after use of the cream. Though the idea did not appeal me much when I first saw the ad but now slowly I find it has been adopted by fair and lovely and Vaseline. Copying though raises ethical issues it also indicates that the idea is good enough to be copied.............

The utility of the meter is that it is making fairness more tangible, beacuse typically even if the cream were to work it would happen gradually and the users will not be able to know the impact unless they have something to benchmark against and this is where the fairness meter comes in.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cusine the Missing Component Tourism Promotion

Discussing diversity in India is like peeling an onion...

Today I was thinking about how our food habits differ across the country. It will not be wrong to say that food taste and habits change with every 100 kms that one travels. And most of us look forward to trying out the regional specality whenever we visit another region.

Be it the ubiquitous "Gujarati Thali" when one is on Gujarat or the fact that a visit to Bhuwaneshwar is not complete without a meal at "Dalma" resturants. The list is endless,

MTR in Bangalore
Sarvanna Bhawan in Chennai
Thunda Kabbab in Lucknow
Paradise Birayani in Hyderabad

But what surprises me is that one has to dig for this sort of info through talking to local people , though this information should be an integral part of the tourism websites and tourist itinerary...

A visit to the websites of a few of these city does not show any sign of these details ???

This would actually go a long way in promoting tourism in many of these cities and more than that they would give a more holistic experience to the tourist and make his visit more memorable....

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