Businesses often do “what’s worked.” That’s a good practice, as long as it continues to work. Unfortunately, companies often recognize much too late that “what we’ve always done” isn’t working as it had in the past.
Look at ‘Maruti’ and you’ll see this ‘change’ in their marketing methods. What was started as ‘people’s car’ company – discovered and to an extent, created a market size for its ‘city’ cars in the Indian market and reached leadership position in the last three decades. But, the profit margins shrunk for Maruti to sustain its leadership position amidst liberalisation of auto market in India.. Along with that, cutting down their profits, is the ‘duplicate’ or compatible auto parts market – that have grown multi-fold to cater to existing Maruti car owners. These parts are available at very low prices compared to genuine parts.
So, Maruti had to be much more agile and fluid, or else they will lose its profits/ market share. Now they are:
1. Keenly observant
2. Quick to evaluate and assess the situation
All of a sudden (or more commonly, over a protracted period of time), customers need something different. Now if their needs have changed – so should your business model, your way of doing business, or your manner in which you deliver your product/ models/ optional accessories CHANGE! When your old business model was working, it was WORKING. If it isn’t now, it is time for some RAPID (spelled F-A-S-T) assessment to figure how to become relevant again. So, Maruti, started advertising aggressively in the media to retain the ‘auto parts’ market, introduced new ‘many’ car models to hold on to its market share. It decided to merge with Japanese Suzuki practices in day to day activities, to take benefit of international standards.
The same is the case, with any other business such as like ‘job oriented education’ ; this market was nascent 10-12 years ago. There was no ‘learned’ customer base at that time like it is now. There were not so many options to provide job oriented education. What ‘ marketing method’ was practised for just satisfying existing market earlier – is now calling for creating new markets or create demand to conquer user’s mind share! There was no concept of ‘mind share’ earlier. NIIT grew fast during a time span when job oriented education was not available. Now, it too has to struggle and retain what is has built over a period of time amidst options available today.
Let’s say, even, the marketer’s style of functioning has taken paradigm shift to better his efficacy! Now, it is not required to meet the customer or prospect in person (as it was earlier), with advent of cost effective mobile communication, email/ e mailer software, interactive/ transactional website, video/ audio conference, on-line focus groups etc. The requirement is to reach more prospects in the shortest time possible. Also, the behaviour or relationship skills is becoming more important in order to get desired results in very competitive markets.
There are experienced specialists required to cater to ‘niche’ markets and to address the ‘discerning’ audience. No doubt, marketing methods that are applied today – are dynamic, responsive, proactive and yes, they are ‘creative’. Should we say, we require a ‘thinking’ marketer?