Marketing guru, Prof Jagdish Sheth of Emory University who is in India outlines new rules for marketing companies. They are the Four A’s of marketing which include Acceptability, Affordability, Accessibility and Awareness. And marketing today is more to do with what the customer requires rather than the product centric world which companies tend to think. “The consumers side is gaining in power. There is excess of supply and it has become the buyer’s market,” said Prof Sheth. He attributes this change to three reasons. One is the end of license raj, whereby people have the choice to choose. Second is the entry of competition from outside and third is the emergence of retailer as a powerful entity as opposed to earlier, where companies could dictate terms with them. Thus in this context, Prof Sheth says the last A - awareness becomes imperative as companies need to make the consumers aware. “For that mere reliance on advertising is not sufficient. There is a need for an integrated approach using alternative media,” said Prof Sheth.
Given today’s scenario, Prof Sheth believes that Indian companies need to create scale. Citing the example of the IT sector in India, he said that the combined strength of the top Indian IT companies is minuscule compared to giants like IBM and Microsoft. According to him, the It sector has scored well in the first step which is sending competent people at lower costs but the next step is difficult, for which Indian software companies lack the competencies as well as investments. “The next step is creating software products which although a huge opportunity will be challenging for the IT companies,” said Prof Sheth. His answer is to build up scale through mergers and acquisitions within the country. “Companies like Wipro should acquire second tier companies in the country because one has to be strong on the home turf as foreign companies sooner or later will make a beeline for the country. The companies within themselves should decide the sectors that they have to be present in. It’s already happening in banks and cellular industry and a fragmented domestic scene gives the foreign companies the advantage,” said Prof Sheth.
Similarly on the organised retailing which is sweeping the sector, Prof Sheth believes that it’s only a matter of time before American and British retailers come into the country. “The laws will change as the players will insist