Parveen Ahluwalia gives his perspective on differentiation in the MR Industry and the knd of thinking that constraints the players today

As a veteran of the industry who has been at the supply as well as the demand end of market research, how would you define differentiation in the Indian MR industry today? And how has Market Pulse managed to differentiate itself?
The differentiation value for MR firms comes primarily from two aspects. The first is, “Are you doing certain work that the industry recognizes?” And secondly, is it truly pioneering and innovative? Size is not the criteria. We are not a large MR firm, but from all perspectives, we are a mid-level MR firm that has been in existence for over 19 years. In the first 10 years, the company was doing typically what any other market agency must have been doing. In all fairness, it was among the rest of the pack. In the last 8 or last five years, the differentiation started. We actually did month by month monitoring of pre-paid SIM card sales across circles for almost all telecom operators – TTSL, Aircel, Vodafone, Spice, et al. Most agencies are doing the standard work with studies like brand tracking – the standard model for advertising tracking – or C-SAT. Ours was a first, and gained a lot of recognition.

The agency decided to position itself in terms of retail metrics/performance specialisation. Five years ago, it began to get into retail track in the area of building electricals – switches, bulbs, fuses, CFLs, fans, et al – no agency is doing it in India. It subsequently extended into other areas – DTH, digicams and last year into kitchen/home appliances – juicers/mixers/grinders, irons, toasters, et al. We are handling clients in water purifiers too – HLL, tata Kent & Whirlpool subscribe to us.

How do you see your growth potential strategically today?

The first agenda for us is scalability across business opportunities. We have identified 3-4 separate verticals where either no one has entered or there is huge opportunity for us to be able to enter. Even in terms of organic growth with the tracks we have; even though we have some of the biggest brands, we will want to get in other local/regional players as well. We need to position ourselves as an industry benchmark.
 
When it comes to the industry, how far have Indian MR firms crossed the rubicon to become strategic advisors to their clients?
The industry for the past 20-25 years has evolved in terms of tools and techniques of the agencies have been honed and fine tuned thanks to computerized packages & softwares. But thinking and mindset of researchers at large has still not changed. If I look at top echelons of management and looking at middle and junior level, they are still talking and breathing data day and night. They have to look in terms of how it is going to help a marketing plan or a sales and distribution plan or an advertising plan. That thinking has not actually crept in though they can claim it has. I can vouch for this across the best of agencies and I have been a buyer and user of research. Don’t forget that when the agency presents, there is already a brand team and an advertising team sitting. It’s not that the responses given by the MR agency are wrong. The fact is that they are very broad-based. Broad-basing of conclusions is not what is required for strategic planning, even those guys can do it. A good incisive agency can give invaluable inputs on a market opportunity, market sizing, concept testing, product acceptability, et al. These things will always be held in good stead.

For more articles, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2011.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

For More IIPM Info, Visit below mentioned IIPM articles.

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Mark Nassif is defensive of Renault’s performance in the Indian market so far and believes that the company can sustainably improve its market share

After launching the Fluence and Koleos in quick succession, you are ready to launch Pulse for the Indian consumer. What makes India and the small car segment so important for Renault at the moment?
Have you ever heard of a brand in India that has launched five new cars in a period of 16 months? Not only that, we will be taking our dealer network to 100 by the end of 2012 and have over 2,500 engineers working in alliance with Nissan. India is one of the three key countries for Renault along with Brazil and Russia. After having established the Renault DNA with products like the Fluence and the Koleos, we will now launch the Pulse in January next year, which will enable us to reach a much wider segment of customers. The Pulse carries forward the Renault DNA of safety, quality and innovation and we are sure that customers will like this premium compact, which combines all the luxuries of a bigger sedan with the economy of a small compact. With Pulse, we are not only adding a new product to our product portfolio, but we are also growing our sales and service network to address the needs of our customers.

Considering the potential of the Indian market, the response to Renault products has been below the expectations of many experts. Do you believe that the Pulse will buck the trend in the coming times?
The best judge of this is the customer. We are very satisfied with the kind of response our products have got so far. We don’t pretend to flood the market. We are working on building the brand. Our focus is to create a pool of satisfied consumers. We want to be visible and the Pulse will help us create trust with the consumer. In fact, it will also provide the kind of volumes that are very important for our dealer family to sustain and grow. We are committed to deliver a high-quality product and are not ready to sacrifice quality for volume. For instance, we will be giving an option to buy an extended warranty with the product as we believe it has value.

Nissan and Renault have followed a similar top-down strategy in India so far. How aligned and how different are your Indian operations?
Both the companies are independent in terms of what product they want to take to the market and then there are opportunities. For instance, if we think that the V-platform is interesting, we have an option to use it in our product. We are working together to bring flexibility into our operations. But in term of brands, we don’t belong to each other and both brands are totally independent.

After your plans of expanding your product portfolio and the dealer network are in place, what kind of volumes are you expecting from the Indian market?
We are confident that after our five products are launched and 100 dealers are operational, it should not take much time to sell 1,00,000 cars in a year. Now I don’t know whether it will be in 2013 or 2014 as it will depend on consumer response, overall market situation, et al, but this is the kind of response we are looking at. In fact, we want to become one of the three largest selling foreign brands in the market by 2015. And we just don’t measure success by numbers as a lot is dependent on the kind of service that a company offers, which is very important to make the overall experience delightful. As per our research, we have been growing both in terms of visibility and recall in the Indian market and we are confident that we will meet our targets well in time.

For more articles, Click on IIPM Article

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2011.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

For More IIPM Info, Visit below mentioned IIPM articles.

IIPM ranked No 1 B-School in India
domain-b.com : IIPM ranked ahead of IIMs
IIPM: Management Education India
Prof. Rajita Chaudhuri's Website

IIPM Proves Its Mettle Once Again....
Arindam Chaudhuri on Internet.....
Arindam Chaudhuri: We need Hazare's leadership
Professor Arindam Chaudhuri - A Man For The Society....
IIPM: Indian Institute of Planning and Management
Planman Technologies
IIPM Contact Info
IIPM History
IIPM Think Tank
IIPM Infrastructure
IIPM Info

IIPM: Selection Process
IIPM: Research and Publications
IIPM MBA Institute India

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