Marketing Idea No. 35 – Globalization presents opportunities

When Pizza Hut has to fight McDonalds in Bangladesh, the pizza hotshot has every right to say, “Not Fair”. After all Pizza Hut is operating in Bangladesh. McDonalds is not. But that, in a nutshell, is the new era of competition for you. 

In the era of globalization, the definition of “competitors” needs a fresh look.  Gone are the days when people knew only a handful of brands, shopped in the neighbourly shops only after being informed about the brands in BTV. The new legion of customers watch global channels most of the time, know about the brands NOT available in the market and prepared to demand the quality of that unavailable product from the local manufactures.

In line with Web 2.0, we can call these new breed Customer 2.0. And this new found power they have is the inevitable side-effect of one global media.

This new reality presents some opportunities and threats.

1. Quality of our ads must improve. As customers are exposed to advertising from all over the world, they have the benchmark to compare. And comparing they do – sometimes crucify the local ads. The perceptions like – “Indian ads are fantastic and humorous”, “Pakistani ads use music a lot”, “Why we dont use brand ambassadors more like others” etc. are a regularity. To fight back, brands and agencies need to go the extra mile. The competition is not only local advertisements. Its officially global.

2. Marketing battle is fought in the mind of the customers, not in the market place. That is why it matters little if a certain moisturising soap that cleans as well as hydrates is not available in the market. Local customers will demand such quality from available soaps. And none learned the cruelty of such virtual competition than the telco operators in Bangladesh. Reliance with its 60 paisa STD rate, with ample support from other indian telco, has created an almost omnipresent perception that Indian rates are very low and Bangladeshi rates are higher.

The case in question raises two questions. One, Indian rates are not lower than Bangladeshi call rates, in fact the vice versa is true. Two, why should the rate of an Indian Telecom operator matter to a Bangladeshi customer?

Like i mentioned, the new era of competition has kicked in.

3. Clever companies can use this opportunity and buy their media accordingly. For example, a regional brand that markets in India as well as in Bangladesh may not need to heavily promote its brand through local channels at all. Rather, he can use that money entirely for BTL purpose to create ground level presence. In this regard, they sometimes dub the ads, which are originally in English, in Bengali.  Again, may not be the smartest use of media money, if the primary target audience is not entirely rural.

4. While fixing our target audience, how many of us consider the Non Resident Bengalis? Apparently, None. And thats a crime because, they are the most enthusiastic consumers of anything bengali.

One might raise the question, how can someone not living in Bangladesh be the market for my product. The answer is, this boundary is not a geographical boundary – but a boundary of thinking. While the popularity of local TV channels and the hit rate of the websites of local newspapers, shows a upward trend – creating awarness about your product among NRB is not a sweat.

Its a flat world out there. So lets put a hold to the limited thinking and start rolling. Otherwise, whats an opportunity now may very soon turn into a threat

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