Globalization has accelerated the necessity of developing new marketing strategies and designing consumer oriented products by almost all world wide companies in harnessing potential target groups. During yester years marketing new products in developing and underdeveloped countries with low per capita income was a Herculean task for most of the companies. And in due course cross-cultural entities are given prime importance in building up a feasible strategy to increase the sales proceeds.
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However, the process of modern marketing strategies in BRIC countries was started only in the late seventies, while the world economy began opening up gradually before them. When these countries adopted economic reforms through economic sanctions and deregulation, global companies who had their base in Europe and America jumped into the competitive markets of BRIC countries.
This they did by launching new strategies with a hidden agenda of building an emotional bond relating to the demography and ethnography of each region. The observations on the present Mini Case about the task of customizing 5.4 billion new customers are viewed in this context.
How to conceive strategies to market products in underdeveloped countries?
Marketing new products requires adoption of maneuvers and innovations in marketing concepts. Decades ago the marketing plans had been restricted to selling identical products to identical customers. But times have changed and customers are blessed now with more access to information at the blink of an eye. As a result,
the customers are placed at a vantage point, and the product developers are forced to adopt new strategies to cope with the changing situation. It has become imperative for them to build specific fundamentals in designing every product to make money by exploiting the needs of their target group (Power).
Cultural customization in BRIC countries:
The marketing strategies evolved through the years have proved that any product could be sold to anybody if sold in the right way at the right time with right solution framed towards a right goal. Keeping this in mind, every company, now days, is keen to seek apt and innovative measures in marketing their products considering the geographical, ethnic and living standard of the people.
The Hewlett- Packard Company, in order to sell their digital camera, printer and solar battery charger to an economically backward people in the remote villages of Andhra Pradesh in India, adopted a new strategy, not as a direct sale to the end user, but as a rental to the end users. With this innovative idea, the company achieved its aim by marketing a product to which the target group actually has no potential to buy. The company started renting out the device to the village photographers on monthly basis.
This has benefitted the company with continuous revenue inflow and at the same time ensured the effectiveness of the marketing strategy. Moreover, the close encounter with the HP technology has increased the potential of the customers, and has ignited their aspirations as well (Power).
Marketing of products in the under developed and developing countries means introduction of new marketing concepts and product designing that suit the
traditions, cultural and social set up of the people of that region. For instance, take the case of the new Ilkone Mobile Company based in Dubai. They wanted to sell their new mobile phone to 1.3 billion Muslims and in order to attain their goal, the Company introduced a new concept in their phones by loading Koran and prayer time alerts in them. Additionally, they also incorporated a compass in it which is points towards Mecca. Due to these modifications, the product readily became the passion of the Muslim people.
That is why multi national companies are focusing now on redesigning their products in a cultural centric line. When Intel Company wanted to market their product in China, where the people loathed computers to prevent the younger generation from ruining, they introduced the ‘China Home Learning Computer’ with lock and key. This helped the parents to protect their children from unwanted access to the internet and at the same time imparted learning to them (Power).
In certain circumstances the companies have to develop new user friendly products to get the people out of the problems related with sophisticated applications. TVS Electronics Ltd put forward Sprint, a new device of ‘all in one business machine’ meant for 1.2 million Indian small shopkeepers, with an affordable price as low as $180.
It acted as PC and cash register, and at the same time it was capable to withstand humidity, dust, and even frequent voltage fluctuations. Likewise, HP developed a new computer to serve the poor people of South Africa where the average earning of a person was below $1. To overcome
this hurdle the company launched the 441 PC, a computer with 4 screens and 4 keyboards with one CPU, where each keyboard and a screen served the purpose of a computer. It has an advantage that 4 persons can use the system simultaneously to overcome the economic barrier of the people (Power).
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Non adoption of new strategies will cause large firms crumble:
The above facts lead to the conviction that patience is the key word to marketing strategies in the emerging markets of BRIC countries. IBM has been stable holding their stand in Brazil for 87 years, and HP has already spent 3 years to study the cultural as well as economic potentiality of the people by clinging to their pilot programs among the people of Africa and India.
This kind of framing a strategy will definitely help a company to increase the acceptability of their products while enhancing the overall living standard of the people. Therefore, if ‘Small and Medium sized Enterprises’ (SMEs) in Canada want to grab the gain from the 5.4 billion new customers they must discard the obsolete and conventional types of marketing and expose new mental models to harness the ever increasing consumer strength of the sector (Power).
Adopting the Technology in BRIC:
Since the under developed countries are still behind 10 to 15 years of the developed countries, the strategies now set for the BRIC countries should bear the 10-15 years back dated design applied to the then developed countries. Such a
step will create conformity, identity and harmony with the present culture and social status of the BRIC’s people (Power).
Problems facing Behemoth firms:
If the Behemoth firms fail to adopt new strategies they will crumble under the set backs in marketing. Since globalization and IT revolution have brought stringent competition in developing strategies, the behemoths have to strain a lot to maintain equilibrium in the marketing side. A recent survey conducted by McKinsey Quarterly highlights this aspect.
After surveying around 300 employees belonging to 28 North American companies the survey affirm that the companies having well designed project goals used to build good rapport and deep cultural bondage in workplaces as well as the customers throughout (Gorden).
Globalization may confuse the customers if companies fail to come forward with new strategies in marketing. The success of a company depends on its knowledge of the culture of the land of operation. Capability to come up with new business models is an added advantage in such a situation.
However many companies brainwash the customers about their product by using techniques that interfere with their emotions, jeopardizing awareness of customer behavior. These practices are unethical. Firms that seek entry into a foreign market must plan its strategy well ahead understanding how to overcome the cultural differences. The data of the customers collected towards this end should be both qualitative and quantitative. It must be kept in mind that marketing in an era of globalization means facing
Alluring customers 6 challenges. The customer segment is always heterogeneous. Adoption of apt technology in marketing practices is the best way to win the marketing side at a global level (Sethumadhavan).
Gorden, Mike, et al. The Path to Successful New Products: McKinsey Quarterly. January 2010. 14 Mar, 2010. https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights
Power, Terrance P. International Business: A Canadian Perspective. Toronto: Nelson, 2008. Print.
Sethumadhavan, K. Marketing in a global environment: Strategies to meet the challenges of globalization. Aug 21, 2007. Web.