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‘The market is no longer about competition’

25-August-2007
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‘The market is no longer about competition’

Consumers’ speed to acquire market-related knowledge, change in perception and taste tend to guide, marketing, advertising and sales decision. At a one-day seminar on ‘Speed to market’, speakers discussed some of the challenges that a changing market scenario faces today. The seminar was presented by Agencyfaqs.com, in association with Dainik Jagran and Hughes.

Speakers were of the general consensus that one of the challenges that marketers face today is anticipating consumer trends. The market is no longer about competition, but is recognised as a dynamic world and the consumer today is faster than the market.

Citing the example of mobile handsets, Lloyd Mathias, Director-Marketing, Motorola, said, “Five years ago, only conventional handsets were used. But now, 85 per cent of the first time buyers go for colour phones, while 40 per cent go for colour FM handsets and 25 per cent opt for colour FM handsets with camera feature. It is important to understand needs and be the first in the market.”

Sanjay Kapoor, MD, Genesis Colours, which owns the brand Satya Paul, stressed that for the fashion industry, direction is more important than speed. “There is the need for speed because Indian consumers are more fashionable and more aware of the global fashion trends. While women consumers are getting fashion conscious, consumers in general are getting spoilt for choice; new trends are visible every three months. Demand for new products swells quickly and vanish quickly,” he said.

Anisha Motwani, Director-Marketing, General Motors, spoke on the growth of the vehicle market in India. “Variants are coming in at a rapid pace to satisfy consumer needs and innovative ways are being implemented to make a buzz.” Citing examples, Motwani said that there is a 200 per cent growth in vehicle manufacturing. While earlier there were only two manufacturers in the vehicle market, now there are 22. Earlier, there were just two car models, now there are 72 models. At present, there are 50 lakh vehicles in Delhi alone.

“Companies are paying too much attention to short-term performance vehicles, with heavy investments in price promotions and under-investment in the long-term health of brands. Brands are declining fast and the traditional curve of brand life has changed. The whole phenomenon is moving towards feature-based advertising. All marketers need to have experimentation budgets, try and do differently, need to hear the consumer voice, take their opinion and even depend on consumer-generated advertising, while using word-of-mouth. Retaining the brand royalty is getting difficult, which has to be compensated by rewarding customers,” Motwani elaborated.

Rajjat Barjatya, MD, Rajshri.com, said that films are distributed more widely and much faster than before as a result of pressure of current market dynamics. There is also the pressure of unabated piracy, which makes a loss of 50 per cent per film. Increased investments in the business and talent war leading to increase production costs are other challenges. There is also a shrinking attention span as there are more avenues to spend time and money.

He added that the industry reacted to this by dramatically increasing the speed for films to reach audiences, while the duration of films are getting shorter. Digital theatrical distribution and online distribution have become the norm, and similar trends are being observed in the TV and music industry, with in-script placement of advertisements and proactive plan for the content.

Santosh Desai, MD and CEO, Future Brands, stressed on the need to move to intangible brands like servicing brands. Anup Jain, Director-Marketing, Pizza Hut, said, “In the business of casual dining, we need to be dynamic. Initially we launched two-three new products each year, but now we upgrade our menu every three months, or we tend to lose customers. Launching new products also mean changing the look of the restaurant, menu cards, uniforms of staff, etc.”

Other speakers at the seminar were Ashish Despande, Founder Director, Elephant Strategy And Design; Amit Kumar, VP-Strategic Planning, Mudra Communications; Sonia Pall, Executive Director, ACNielson; Vinay Pant, AGM-Market Research, Maruti Udyog; Vivek Khanna, Director-Marketing, Aviva Life Insurance; and Hemant Sachdev, Group Director-Brand, Airtel.

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