Men in their 40s are encroaching on youth territory

By , agencyfaqs! | In Others | December 19, 2005
At the National Marketing Summit organised by AIMA in Mumbai recently, eminent speakers discussed the evolution of the Indian consumers and the marketer's efforts to catch up with them

"Everyone aspires

to be young. Particularly fathers in their 40s are encroaching on the territories of the youth and thinking young. They want to look good, dine well and own feature-packed cell phones. This can prove interesting to brand builders," said ND Badrinath, director, client services, AC Nielsen.

Badrinath was addressing the gathering at the National Marketing Summit organised by the All India Management Association (AIMA) in Mumbai recently. The central theme of the summit was 'Chakravyuh aur Chakradhar: Battle for the New Consumer'.

Badrinath also talked about the changing scenario in the rural market and the need to tap that market effectively. He said, "As per a study, rural consumption patterns for products such as jam and branded snacks are quite similar to those in urban areas. Even cyber cafés are catching on in remote rural areas."

Badrinath added, "Audiences today have got fragmented, due to the fragmentation of the media. The side-effects of this include shifting time-frames and lower attention spans."

He also made the point that the reach of C&S news channels in SEC E1 and E2 has gone up seven times in three years. Also, the reach of regional satellite channels, such as Alpha Marathi and STAR Ananda, has increased by 1.5 times in three years, due to slicker programmes in regional languages. He hinted that here lies the great potential for marketers.

SC Makani, professor, marketing, IMT, moderated the session, saying, "There is a clear-cut change in the Indian consumer's mindset today, particularly the youth. The reason we need to study this evolution is that one cannot satisfy tomorrow's customer with yesterday's marketing strategy."

Muder Chiba, senior vice-president, TNS India, pointed out that the real issue is not evolution, but adaptation. He said, "Evolution takes place over thousands of years. What's important is how man adapts to the changes around him. For instance, in a retail store, if the entrance is too narrow, even with lots of room inside, we feel uncomfortable entering it. The reason is psychological: It feels like entering a cave, where a lion could probably be hiding. So, certain basic needs are deeply ingrained in our DNA and we, as marketers, must undertake 'adaptive strategies' to succeed."

Harminder Sahni, principal and associate director, KSA Technopak, said, "The consumer pyramid has changed its shape over the years. Earlier, it was broadly segmented into branded and unbranded products. Now, each brand has its separate TG. For instance, a Versace user cannot be treated in the same manner as a Lee user by a marketer."

Sahni added that consumers are leaping ahead at a fast speed, and a marketer needs to stay several steps ahead if he wants to make headway with them. He explained, "The old techniques of consumer segmentation need to be done away with. Let's compare two families having the same monthly household income. The first consists of a young couple, which goes to a furnishing store and picks up an expensive bed-set. They come with the clear idea that they will replace the bed-set in a couple of years when they upgrade their lifestyle. The other family, an old couple, buys the same bed-set with the intention of keeping it for life. How can one slot these different sets of consumers in the same category? Let's not force homogeneity where it doesn't exist."

Sahni concluded by saying that the consumer is not time poor, as most marketers like to believe. "Most people can afford to take a day off on weekends. Talk to an auto rickshaw driver, a courier boy, or a waiter, and only then will you realise how comparatively time rich the typical consumer is. It is up to the marketers to spot these opportunities."

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