Market Development

The Mashup of Consumerism in Developing Markets

India sketchbook1 copy
Sketching the scenery of south India from a moving vehicle, I was forced to take it all in and put it down on paper as fast as I could.  Indians are absorbing consumer culture just as quickly, and adding the best of the "new world" while retaining the uniqueness of a 4000+ year old culture.

I passed by a Pizza Hut next to actual "huts", villages with intermittent electricity, bullock carts and bustling Internet cafes where farmers were trading commodities while students were doing their homework.  Fresh sugarcane juice was being squeezed with a sturdy device that looked like an improvised clothes wringer with a flywheel.  Next to the sugarcane stall were signs for Java programming, SAT and MCAST preperation classes.

A book that I picked up at Bengaluru airport, We Are Like That Only,(Winning in the Indian Market  is the U.S. edition) by Rama Bijapurkar  sheds light on the consumer mashup in modern India.  Generalizing a market of a billion people and their demand for consumer goods based on per capita income, past behavior and population growth would be short-sighted.  Indians don't want to emulate the west, they want to adopt western goods and services in their own way.


Where Lead Gen and Marketing Programs Miss the Mark

I'm still surprised to see Lead Gen and Marketing Programs completely disconnected from sales -- but I shouldn't be.    Marketers are increasingly focused on metrics, but most often the spreadsheets stop with the marketing department, and never translate into sales.   

The relatively recent discipline of Supply Chain Management tracks a product's journey from raw material to manufacturing to distribution to consumer.   Why not apply the same principle to lead generation?   Leads are only as good as the sales they generate.   And with today's CRM systems, there's no reason not to track them all the way through.    But to do so, Miss_markmarketers need to master both the process of tracking leads and creating an active dialogue with the sales team.    In a March 2007 article for Marketing Profs, Lies, Damn Lies and Dashboards, Part 2: How Marketing Can Plug Into Changing Sales Models, I outlined the following steps to thwart Marketing-Sales disconnect.

How do you make sure your metrics are matched to the sales model?

  • Be part of the sales planning process—even if your schedule is tight.
  • Get advance notice—watch every step of the sales cycle.
  • Stay in sync with the sales reps—sit in on customer calls.
  • Know sales skills and motivations—decode the comp plan.
  • Watch the revenue stream—start tracking average sale value and lifetime value of the customer.

Despite marketing's best efforts, there will always be CEOs who keep tabs on multi-year sales cycles by hitting "refresh" on their CRM dashboard every 30 seconds.   In this situation, I've employed the "stock ticker" analogy: as long as leads are considered "leading indicators" and not the end game, long sales cycles can be managed like a long term investment.  After all, lead-generation IS a diversified investment portfolio, with short, mid-term and long-term returns, not a recurring expense for staying in the game.


Is Your Business Hard-Wired? Thoughts on Risk-Taking

Adversity can seed innovation.   The boldest ideas come from those who have nothing to lose.  How can we avoid being spoiled by success and infuse a "fresh start" mentality into our everyday thinking?   

I recently re-read two favorite books (new thinking doesn't require a 2007 press date) that provide a blueprint for taking bold, yet calculated risks:   Working Identity and Seeing What's Next.

Reinventing ourselves could be the most difficult re-positioning exercise of all.   Especially if we're successful.   What a great paradigm for reinventing the successful business.  Established careers rest on strong foundations.  Skills, CVs, career networks, personal networks, industry knowledge all serve to keep us on the same track.    Any effort we exert helps us go faster and farther in the same direction.   7788_c_2

But what if we want to switch tracks?    We often lack the infrastructure to make the change.   

In Working Identity -- Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career, Herminia Ibarra addresses the obstacles that success can create -- barriers that discourage us from thinking more broadly about our lives.  This is sage advice for business leaders, not just career changers, given the fact that success discourages change. 

Seeing_whats_next In Seeing What's Next, Clayton Christensen addresses how successful (read: profitable) business models encourage businesses to pass up new opportunities and emerging markets, and how to create an environment that embraces change without testing the patience of the risk-averse.

We don't have to start from zero, but we can visualize the process of doing so.   

Thinking "fresh start" could inspire a crop of fresh ideas.