25 September 2006

Indian marketers understand ethnic behaviour better than others

Ethnic, multicultural, mainstream or whatever term marketers wish to use to describe their consumers, it’s foolish not to accept the fact that we share this planet with others. These ‘others’, like us, belong to various races, religions, cultures and social groups. They speak various languages. They practise various rituals and customs. They come from various economic backgrounds. Like us, they consume products and services – directly from nature or manufactured for them. They pay for these products and services like everybody else on this planet.

Because we have diverse backgrounds and lifestyles, our needs and wants are different from those around us. Our consumption patterns may also be different from those around us. Yet, together, we make up ‘the market’ for a multitude of products and services – and create demand in the marketplace. Marketers need to assess this demand for various products and services, produce them, brand them, sell them to consumers who can afford to pay for them, and make a profit for themselves.

The genius lies in accepting this fact or phenomenon – and finding ways to offer the right product/service (usually as a brand) to the consumer. Consumers will buy this product/service, consume it and, therefore, express their demand for it. However, not all consumers will buy/consume all products and services offered to them. Nor will they accept the form or format or formulation or price in which the marketer chooses to offer the product/service. That’s because consumers belong to different races, religions, cultures, economic backgrounds… and they have different needs and wants.

Indian marketers understand this well – perhaps better than their colleagues from other parts of the world. That’s because Indian marketers operate in a marketplace with over a billion people from diverse races, religions, socio-cultural and economic backgrounds.

Indian consumers speak in 20-odd languages and over 200 dialects. Close to 1,000 newspapers and magazines are published in India, and over 200 TV and radio channels address this billion-strong media-consuming population. All of them, presenting news and entertainment, and persuading these billion consumers to buy a plethora of brands they are pushing to sell. Added to this is a 5,000-year-old history, with matching heritage and lifestyle, making up one of the world’s largest markets of multitudinously-diverse consumers. Virtually every one of India’s 35 states and union territories is a melting-pot of (unique) ethnic behaviour.

I doubt if marketers from other countries possess such expertise.

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