Sunday, May 31, 2009

What China can learn from India - 4. Marketing

China is a producer’s economy. The marketer seems slightly out of place in the factory to the world. This post is completely from my perceptions, with no research and I could be dead wrong. But I think, China could learn marketing from India.

In my local supermarket, their pricing astounds me. An veritable mountain of stock of say white T shirts arrive. Dead cheap today. Tomorrow more expensive. One weak later triple the price. Why ? because the cost of carrying the inventory adds up each day !! I would have thought things get cheaper because they are lying unsold. The opposite. Next week, black T shirts … One week I can get Kellogg’s corn flakes. Next week Nestle. Both on one day – no chance.

Pack sizes of consumer products are mostly “big”. I haven’t seen a single sachet in Guangzhou. This is not America – this is also a poor country. Single unit packs – no way. Why ? Its easier to produce large packs.

The organization of street markets also is revealing. A whole street is a computer market. You’ll get nothing else but computers. Another street is a watch market. Yet another is a lights market. If you want a watch and a mp3 player – you are stuffed. You have either the high end malls or the street markets. Very little in between.

I haven’t seen many new product introductions in the year and a half I have been here. Even a seasonal business like ice creams – a business I have some familiarity with. Same stuff this summer as last year. No new flavour or pack. Same Walls, Nestle, Meiji. No new kid on the block.

Switch on the TV – I can’t really remember a single noteworthy ad. Sure, I don’t understand Chinese, but I should be able to get wowed by an ad even if I can’t understand the words. Can’t remember one. Even during the Olympics when viewership rose to the stratosphere. Not even the Coke ad was great.

Somehow, I get the impression that in China, marketing equals pricing.

India is a marketer’s paradise. Producers are told to sit firmly in the background. Marketing is king. New products come all the time – many die, some succeed. You are assailed with ads – some of these ads are so catchy that irritatingly you can’t get them out of your head. Innovation is constant – you sit still for a year and you are out of the market.

Methinks Philip Kotler ought to relocate to China. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they ask, who’s Philip Kotler !

I am due for a solid bashing from my Chinese friends. Come on fire way and say this is trash. But wait. Blogspot is blocked here – how will they read it ??!!