Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Aug 28, 2003
Columns - Market King
The when and where of consumption
If you want your brand to grow, I would recommend using my brand strategy of Location and Occasion of Consumption.
Volume growth is something that every marketing person is desirous of, but growth can come about in only two ways. One is by getting more customers, newer customers. The other is by ensuring that existing customers consume more.
If existing customers have to consume more, or if new customers have to come in, then very powerful tools recommended by me are the devices of location of consumption and occasion consumption in the form of a matrix to be able to get the best from various applications out of one single product, so that you can expand the market, get new customers and new segments, and have existing customers use the same product on different occasions and different locations, so that you are able to increase the applications and thereby increase sales and volume growth.
Let us understand through illustrations and examples as to what this entire device called location and occasion of consumption is made up of. My recommendation is that one should be able to analyse a product and its usage in terms of where it is consumed, when it is consumed, how it is consumed and in what form it is consumed.
In marketing, the emphasis should be on usage and consumption and not so much only on purchase or sales. Many a time people buy products or services. They purchase many but they do not consume or use them. If products or services are not consumed or are not used, there is a very low probability of repeat purchase or consumption. But if they are consumed, there is a chance that some may like the product or service and repeat it. Therefore, the stress on consumption and usage is critical in terms of marketing emphasis.
Once it has been decided that consumption is the key to growth in volume terms, one needs to further bifurcate and understand the various locations and occasions where this kind of usage and consumption takes place.
Let us take the case of a consumer durable like a television set with a remote control. This colour television set with a remote control could be used in the bedroom, the kids' room, the office or the conference room, the living room or in the parlour of a dentist.
Similarly, there could be various occasions where a television set could be used. It could be after dinner or just before leaving for the office. Once various locations and occasions have been identified, they could be used in a matrix, wherein certain key location and occasion conversion points could be used as selling points or marketing opportunities or even opportunities for creating new segments.
As an illustration, the aspect of watching television after dinner in your own bedroom could be a single-point marketing opportunity which could open up large areas of consumption. A home which has just one television set in the living room could be targeted and the couple could be told that while the whole joint family watches television in the living room, they could watch their own choice of programmes in the seclusion and privacy of their bedroom and therefore, that location of bedroom and that occasion of after-dinner viewing could be a powerful hook for the couple to pick up a second television set.
Many of the concepts being discussed by me would seem pretty obvious, but one must quickly point out that these obvious ways of consuming products and services and locations of consuming products and services, if focused on, can lead to far higher consumption and get more people to consume in those conversion points of location and occasion.
In these days of competition and tremendous amount of pressures on marketing and salespersons, it is better that one takes a strategic approach in marketing. It is better that salespeople are made to go through this exercise, and through interaction with consumers, they can come up with a number of locations and occasions of consumption which the product management and marketing team could sift and choose from and then focus on a new marketing effort so that the maximum benefit and higher sales volume derived can lead towards growth.
It is again to be reinforced that the market for any product or services is as much in the market physically as in the mind of the marketing person. If the marketing person can visualise various occasions even though they do not exist today, he would have created new opportunities of consumption and strategically driven the market further towards growth and expanded the category.
Often, marketing people believe that if something brilliant has to come up it has to be extremely intellectual and not comprehensible to the common person. I totally disagree with this line of thinking. In fact, simplicity and clarity of understanding is the essence of a good marketing strategy.
Further, being able to understand consumer behaviour in terms of consumption habits is crucial to developing a successful marketing strategy and therefore, it would be advisable to go out and start, looking for your products and services location and occasion of consumption conversion points and develop your business and grow into areas that you may never have imagined before.
(The author is Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultancy.)
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