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Marketing for the Competitive World - Lecture given by Mr. Rajat - Invited by Indian Institute of Materials Management, Baroda (2002)
   
 

MARKETING FOR THE COMPETITIVE WORLD

Marketing Guru Al Ries has said in his book ‘Focus’ “All markets change & even strong brand images may need to focus & refocus more than once, over a period of time”. He also reiterates that “Focus, your future depends on it”. Here in our country this is quite relevant. Winds of change has struck every where leaving marketing strategists confounded, from earlier conception of a huge middle class with high purchasing power to new generation urban families. We have seen foreign brands in our liberated environment. This has changed the entire gameplan of retailers, dealers. The Indian market has changed, still consumer playing an important role in deciding the product purchases, now situation has emerged that demands an alteration & transposition in research methodology applications, analysis. We have today generation 2000 consumer, they are market savvy, tech. savvy.

Management Guru Peter Drucker has said, “ If we want economic development in freedom and responsibility we have to build it on the foundations of marketing”. The history of economic development of advance countries like USA, Japan proves this logic convincingly. We have seen the mega brands GM, DOW chemicals, IBM, Sony, Dana, Coke, Pepsi. These are all marketing companies. Economic liberalization has forced Indian companies to adopt sea change in attitude, tastes, demographic segmentation. Just ten years ago Indian industries were guarded by high import tariffs and regulatory policies. With the economic liberalization we have seen a sea change in the market place with many industries experiencing global computation at its doorsteps. Competitiveness is the new mantra for managers, policy makers, management thinkers.

Challenges :- Bill Gates has documented the impact of information technology and sums up the entire challenge in his book, “Speed of thought.” The new millenium with net and web technology today give very little time to individuals and organisations to react & respond. The time has arrived in India that we have to learn to conduct on business operations at the lightning speed of human mind. We have to offer products and services in the customer’s mind in a very faster pace. Product life cycle will be shorter, products will be standardized. The markets focus would be on specific tangible, intangible values. The marketing challenge will continue to enable consumer overcome their resistance to change.

Integration Of Customers & Retention Of Customer Loyalty :- This issue will continue to challenge us. The customer will not be loyal to any single vendor, will continue to shop for the value, his main objective would be to gain competitive edge. Preferred supplier will be one who has integrated consumer markets to its operation schedule. Consumer integration will be that of merging suppliers value change with that of customer.

Share Of Opportunity :- Market share will have less role to play in the winners marketing thought. According to Management Guru CK Prahalad the differences between winners & lossers is that winners create, search & exploit opportunities leaders like Reliance, Asian Paints, Ranbaxy, HLL, Satyam, Infosys always leave a footprint in the market for other to follow.

Shorter Product Life Cycle :- This millenium will have shorter product life cycle. Strategic marketing exercise will have to forecast product death cycle and take steps to successfully kill the existing product before competition does it. Now take the case of Intel Corporation. Pentium is a consumable & component in computers. For them Pentium is not important in as much as ensuring the Intel inside the computer but what the customer looks for Intel inside. This leads to branding of Industrial marketing.

Brand Equity :- Brand equity is attached to consumer marketing but if we view brand as an emotional anchor in which the consumer builds relationship. For the customer it is the essence of a relationship that exists between him & seller.

Marketing Response :- Tangible values – Mass Marketing – Mass Customization. Intangible services focus - Brand building, brand relationship.
Variables - Product reliability, competitive price, availability, services.

Marketing Strategies :- Marketing concept has changed in the recent past, we have new concepts, Jargons, analytical frame work, mass to direct marketing, consumer transaction to relationship marketing to customer delight. Take the example of evergreen concept of marketing mix. This was coined by Prof. Borden of HBS with Prof. James Culliton in the 40’s. Prof. E. Jerome McCarthy formulated the 4 P’s of marketing – product, price, promotion, place. In the 1980’s marketing authors felt that an important element was missing from 4 P’s of marketing with respect to services marketing People become the 5 P. After packaging was removed from product this gave a birth to 6th P. The 6th P’s are in adequate when researchers discovered that consistency in services can not be assured without the support of Process. This is the 7th P of marketing mix. New age P precision marketing, this is for broad brand marketing.

We have seen the dramatic shift in the market place triggered by sharp changes in demography, drastic differences in the life style pattern of the past and present. Also we have noticed the radical revolution in communication technology. Customers now demand not only consistent quality, improved price preferences, availability of products any time, anywhere. They now expect more information in ads instead of receiving passively. Consumers of the 90’s already have more shopping options, specialty shop, Internet. Marketers will have to monitor and under stand the underlying psychographics to map the way their respective industry are moving and what is to be done by way of adding value to motivate consumers. Companies are now making fundamental shift in their market research procedures, product development, advertising and promotion.

New Realities :-

Value :- Value created and delivered by the marketers will migrate to its competitors unless it is able to correctly reconceive its business processes, chooses its customers.

Shifting Competitive Advantage : - Several forces such as deregulations, global competition, merger and acquisition, excess capacity, structural changes will certainly alter the sources of competitive advantage of firms as well as economies of industries.

Imagination & Foresight :- Envisioning new opportunities, new products, services with imagination & foresight will be the winner.

Brand Strategic Asset :- Inspite of media fragmentation & product proliferation a trusted brand name will remain strategic asset.

Customer Data Base :- Building data base on customers their preferences, attitudes will be the key requirements for the development of customer focus strategy.

Tele Computing Power :- This trends will continue at a greater pace. Companies have to keep track of developments in this high growth area.

Supply Chain Management :- It will be an important part of the value delivery system helping companies achieve two key goals 1) Enhancement of customer satisfaction 2) strengthening of competitive positioning.

Asking The Right Question companies will have to examine what changes are likely to take place, in their product mix, customer profile competition, distribution channel, core competence.

Case Studies :- BPL, the creation of difference – super branding can help create differentiation in undifferentiated product categories. In consumer durables market consumers look for product features, look price, feelings, and perception status value. By branding all products under BPL name they have created new product promise with the metaphysical association of BPL brand. Customers buy this product not for physical reasons, BPL the super brand helps them actually differentiate with other competitive offerings. We have seen in this brand improved technology, cost effective option, risk management, internal bonding.

Reliance :- Strategic business Vimal Fabrics, market targeting focus – The Fashion conscious, well to do urban families. Premium quality fabrics, high price, what customer can bear, value for money. Aggressive promotion, advertising through TV media, only Vimal campaign, selling fashion. Exclusive showroom through out the country.

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