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It is always interesting to get a perspective on Indian Marketing from International Marketers. Keeping their own markets as the benchmark and then opining on the Indian markets definitely entails some wonderful insights and reference points.

Marketing Sherpa has published a special report on Indian Marketing Onlinehow to market to the Indian Consumers online. (The article is open till the 4th of August!)
The note discusses the basic challenges that India faces today, in terms of building an online environment and tips to move forward.

What is the typical mindset of an Indian consumer while shopping? What are the attributes he is looking at, vis-à-vis the shopping environment? What role do the demographics play in this exercise? How can the current scenario of the Indian Business Environment and positioning of India globally, be leveraged to market to Indian consumers in India?
These are some of the questions addressed by the article.
Certain revealing facts have been uncovered in the article as well. For instance, did you know (atleast I didn’t!) that India has the second largest population of English speakers in the world, more than 150 million, whereas for the United States, it is around 250 million? And considering that this population of English-speaking Indians is just 14% of India’s total population, there is a huge potential for exploring further.

Though this seems to be luring enough, the problem that has not been noted here is the dialect and the slang. Though English would be spoken by more than 150 million Indians, the style and the slang is sometimes as bad as not speaking English at all. This is a problem especially for Indians moving abroad and supposedly initiating conversations in English! This discrepancy, according to me, merits some attention.

Though the article talks about areas which can be tapped online, there are some areas which need to explored in greater detail –

  • Online education
  • Online shopping (debit as well as credit)
  • Banking transactions
  • Gifts and Stationery, and
  • Entertainment Sources – where and what are the movies and parties being hosted; most of the organizers have a portal to themselves, ensuring their online presence
  • Thus, it has become imperative for major players in any domain to have an online presence to ensure visibility to the internet-savvy generation.

    The article also talks about the Bottlenecks for online advertisers today, like dial-up connection, logging frequency, etc. There are specifically 4 challenges explicated in the article that foreign players should be cognizant of. Though the challenges mentioned are more or less exhaustive in nature, the biggest challenge that any player would face is that of the mindset of the Indian consumer. Even today, most of the consumers prefer “experience” over “convenience” and therefore, sensory shopping becomes essential. The ‘touch, feel & try’ factor seems to be a strong variable in the Consumer mindset in India, and should, therefore, be considered while designing any marketing plan for the country.

    Finally, there are 3 interesting tips provided, which are a definite take-away from the article and can be utilized specially by those Marketers who looking to enter India for a long time, have had numerous board room discussions over the same, but just get Goosebumps at the very thought of putting their dollars into it.

    Good Article and Analysis, for sure!
    Reference: Marketing Sherpa
    Editor: Dianna Huff (Contributing Editor:B-to-B)

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