How to learn Marketing Management from simple real-world experiences
There is a close link between what we see and the concepts. This is particularly true of concepts in Marketing Management. This article is an attempt to focus on some key concepts in Marketing Management, and how one can learn from real-life experiences in this vital field of Management, not only for BBA or MBA students but also for any reader.
Introduction This article is an attempt at highlighting how our common sense and everyday experiences can indeed lead us to an important understanding of the basics of many Marketing Management concepts. It is particularly relevant to discuss a) Market segmentation b) Branding c) Organized and Unorganized sectors d) Positioning and e) Memory recall.
Market segmentation Market segmentation is a relatively simple concept. However, it is very important for anyone to understand how it works. It simply means that the market is divided into many segments, based on the purchasing power of the customers. For example, let us take the readymade textile segment for males. At the top end, we have two big brands - the Raymonds brand and the Loui Philip brand. These are the premium brands. They have deep penetration in the big cities, but the market is only for the relatively very rich people, who can afford to buy a readymade shirt for a minimum of Rs.3000/-. Next to this comes brands like Peter England, Otto, and the like, where the shirts may be priced between Rs.1000 to Rs.2000/- apiece.
Hence, the market is for those who can afford the prices quoted above. There are many local brands that sell shirts in the price range of Rs.600 to Rs.900 as well. Similarly, in the food market, we find vegetarian hotels that are quite costly. These are big brands. For example, in Chennai, there is the famous Saranavana Bhavan and the Sangeetha Brands. There are also other brands like the Murugan Idli shop, and Akshayam, that have created unique niches through their numerous special offerings. However, these are premium brands, where breakfast can cost Rs.300 or even Rs.400/-. And then there are the other brands where the food is relatively cheap and these are the B class and then the C class hotels. The mobile hotels do not have any brand, but some regular customers flock to these outlets for their taste.
Branding This is a slightly more complicated concept. This concept relates to the space a particular product seeks to occupy in the minds of the customers. Once this position becomes very clear, the product starts to increase its sales. Accompanied by a lovely visual of a villager pulling out bottles of Coca-Cola in a bucket from a well, much to the amazement of a group of pretty city girls, an emphatic Amir Khan would simply say "Tanda Matlab Coca-Cola". This simply means that Coca-Cola is cool and has a connotation that it is cool for the younger generation to have it as a fun drink or a "time pass" drink, particularly in summer. The implied meaning is that the brand also keeps one's body cool in summer. However, the product was purchased and enjoyed by millions, irrespective of age, because of the core concept of cool, and the pull of the actor.
This advertisement, with the core message of "cool", made a massive impact and the sales reportedly increased by 400 percent over a very short period of time. Pepsi, the rival ran a lovely campaign, for its brand, with Pepsi -- the Choice of a New Generation" and it was clearly aimed at the aspirational young classes of customers. This was a smash hit at that point in time.
Organized and Unorganized sectors An organized sector product is always branded and advertised. It is always simple and straight to understand, as the brand has high-decibel advertising. For example, Bingo is a famous brand of potato chips from ITC. This is a high-quality product, as the chips are manufactured through a manufacturing process that is totally mechanized. On the other hand, a much lesser quality, but more in quality, is sold through the local shops, pan-India, but more so in States like Kerala. The people consume the unorganized and unbranded stuff, that is packed in plastic packets and delivered to the customer, a couple of hours after preparation, often in public view.
The people get used to the product and the health angle is not so much given any importance, as the product sold through the local shops is more in quantity, for the same price.
Positioning While the brand keeps on increasing its presence through advertising, which appeals to the rather unconscious mind of the customer, who watches a television serial on television and is lost in the serial itself, the particular features that speak more about the brand is called Positioning in particular. For example, Hamam is associated with the popular imagination of a health soap. Lifbouy is more associated with the health of sports people. Dettol is associated with protection from illnesses. Similarly, Lux is positioned as a beauty soap.
There is also a concept of pricing that goes along with the positioning. For example, the textiles from the Raymonds brand are always positioned as the premium brand where the branded product comes at a costlier price and is always very costly.
Memory recall This is also a very simple concept. This relates to the ease with which we are able to recall any advertisement before we make a purchase. It also relates to the recall of any negative experience, after the purchase is made. This is related to both the value of the product and the core values associated with the positioning of the product. Hence, when we purchase a product like Hamam, we have a big impression of a health soap flashing in our minds. Once we start using the product, we get hooked on the core values. Pleasant memories come when our experience is good.
This can also work on the negative side. A famous brand of water purifiers, complete with UV and RO qualities, has now lost out its brand importance. Outside the metros, the service is pathetic. Hence, when one sees advertisements, particularly in non-metro areas, the customers are very angry. Little has been done by the company to address this problem. A new complete service organization like the Urban Company, for example, is able to exploit this service market, but only in the metro and B-class cities like Coimbatore and Vizag.
Conclusion There is no limit to education and knowledge. Marketing Management is the best field of Management, as it is very simple to understand from real-world experiences of our shopping. Some examples and concepts have been discussed in the aforesaid paragraphs.