Monday, 1 June 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 ??!!


A journey called Life said...

ohh blogspot is still blocked..

i had no clue this is how things worked in China.. thanks got to learn something new today..

Hang said...

I think I'd disagree on this. My perception is Chinese marketers have done pretty well. They make more efforts to get to know the wants of consumers and they segment consumers. Generally speaking, they have put across the right message to target audience effectively.

Admittedly, there are many ads that are not impressive at all and there are good ones. But there are just too many ads everywhere in China. The competition for attention is tough. I lived in UK for 14 months before, and I did not remember a single ad that successfully caught me attention and put a mark in my memory. Actually, it was a case of watch-and-forget. I know advertising is a small part of marketing, but if you ask me who's done better marketing, UK or China? I would probably hesitate and say 'China!?'.

With regard to Philip Kotler, I think he's got a lot of fans in China. His books sell well :)

Ramesh said...

@AJCL - An extrme viewpoint from me. Take it with a pinch of salt.

@Hang - A very dignified and superb comment Hang. I don't know China well enough, but was deliberately extreme in this post to provoke a debate. Your points are very valid. Where I live, Guangzhou , is still producer country I think. Lot more marketing can be done. My comment on Kotler was a cheeky one, more for fun :)

rads said...

Hmm I never heard of a good Chinese Ad. should see the Ads these US ppl come up with, India is nowhere near as good, but compared to China I guess yea.
Also, packs in US are sold in lbs and gallons, you can't find a sachet here either, I miss my Clinic Plus sachets which I used to get in India, here if you have to buy shampoo, its either a whole big bottle or nothing.
BTW, I got your message in my guestbook, I know this blogspot being blocked n all as you said earlier n its so silly..atleast you're able to read so thats fine...and about my frequency..I mostly go slow n post on a weekly basis coz I don't want to flood my blog and use up all the space at once :)

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