CII Marketing Summit 2002 stresses non-consumer, distribution, services and migration aspects

 New Delhi: The future of marketing business in India would be guided by four mega aspects, non-consumer, distribution, services and migration, according to R Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director Tata Sons Ltd.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the two day Marketing Summit 2002, organised by Confederation of Indian Industry, Gopalakrishnan said that marketing was the business of business and every business was about getting and retaining customers. He said that attracting non-consumers would be the main driving force of marketing and increasing penetration and creating consumers especially in the rural areas should be the future focus of marketing business. According to Gopalakrishnan, the second mega aspect which is distribution and selling would continue to play a major role within the marketing mix as it had in the past. While super markets or self service stores would grow in numbers by 2011, the consumer, by and large, would continue to shop in neighbourhood stores. This, he explained, was because of inadequate infrastructure facilities available in the country. Thus the trend in Indian retailing was different as compared to the rest of the world where outlets per million was decreasing and trade was getting more concentrated. However, Indian companies needed to focus on distribution in order to survive in the business of marketing, he added.

Another development would be the rapid rise of employment in services and services alone would be contributing 45 per cent of GDP by 2011, Gopalakrishnan said. While organised sector employment would double in 60 years, unorganised sector would increase over three times, a trend which would be in contrary to global trends, he said. Thus there was great scope for the manufacturing industry in India as the growth in services would not only be related to IT services but would include services of daily necessities too, he explained. Goplakrishnan said that the fourth aspect was migration from home to far way places in the country. According to him, the 'cowbelt' states which already have a high rate of unemployment, would witness a further 50 per cent increase in unemployment by 2011.

Drawing references from Indian history, Gopalakrishnan said that starting from the time of Indus Valley Civilisation, India had been a premier marketeer. From 1835 to 1915, India had a consistent trade surplus with exports always ahead of imports. However, the turmoil of the two World Wars reflected in the pattern of India's foreign trade which was erratic and after 1945 India has consistently run a trade deficit . Thus a trade surplus situation of a long time suddenly got reversed, he said. However, Indian businesses were responding fast enough to global changes and corporates should follow four guiding principles for marketing their businesses.

According to Gopalakrishnan, Indian business must become customer savvy and CEOs should spend 20 days in a year on 3s i e Sweaty, Sticky, Stuff for an intensive, meaningful and greater interaction with the customer. Corporates should also promote multi-functional customer contact on a systematic basis and differentiate its products from competitors by branding them as far as possible. Citing the example of steel, he said that even a commodity product like steel could be branded by Tatas and pipes and bearings were being promoted as brands. Last, but not the least, corporates should get involved with customer's customer as it would enable them to reach new consumers and provide them with a direct access, Gopalakrishnan said.

Earlier, Shunu Sen, chairman, CII Marketing Committee, said that the art of marketing was the creation of a customer at a profit as no business could exist after a period of time till it did not create its own customer at a profit. Tarun Das, Director General, CII, while delivering the vote of thanks underlined the five Cs on the basis of which the future business of marketing would go on. The Five Cs were faster Change, more Competition both on the domestic and international front, Consumer and their changing demand and preferences, increasing Complexity and the Challenges created by all the above features.

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