To be an entrepreneur from a smaller town in India
Imagine Kajal from Aurangabad, Maharashtra. She, a young MBA with fire in her belly and ideas for business in her mind, has launched her range of silver jewelry. She is sure that a combination of her designs, pricing and service model would make her brand a real hit among the consumers across India. While her Products and Prices are superb, there is a problem with other two ‘P’s of marketing, to borrow the term from Mr. Kotler. Her reach is limited as are the resources to ‘market’ the product. She is aware that, with sufficient publicity support, she has a winner in hand at Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Bhavnagar, Baroda, Surat, Ujjain, Agra, etc., infact in over 200 towns of India. With over 150 news TV channels, over 50,000 print publications, hundreds of online sources, low literacy, etc. in India, she is aware that her dream of national dominance is some distance away. Her brand needs visibility. Her messages need to have credibility. She seems to be a victim of her own aspirations as the ‘system’ seem not helping her to grow. Kajal is just a representative of hundred of thousands of such entrepreneur in India.
Print advertising is difficult as the fragmentation of media makes it unaffordable. Television is either national or has limited penetration. Other media like outdoor, Internet, etc have their own problems. PR can work for her. But if an Aurangabad entrepreneur is keen on doing PR at, say Rajkot, then he/she will need to go through an PR expert/company at Mumbai or Ahmedabad thereby increasing the cost and diluting the message intensity. Difficult proposition.
Despite so much talk of integration and noise about one-nation-one-voice, the fact remains the same as in many decades. An entrepreneur from a smaller town has a lot of marketing challenges that come purely because of his/her city of origin. Rarely does a successful brand emerge from upcountry India! Marketing challenges emerge when a smaller town company is trying it establish itself in other smaller town or in a bigger city. The situation exactly reverse is also true at most times.
I think expanding business through launching products/services throughout India rapidly does not even come to the mind of an entrepreneur these days. Liquidity crunch, banks’ refraining from lending, undue advantage for large competitors due to GST & Demonetization, availability (or lack) of quality labor, quality of electricity supply, transport logistics, etc. are plaguing his mind currently. It almost always did.
Little wonder then that the gap of opportunities is ever increasing in favor of 5-7 large cities at the cost of smaller cities. SMEs from Bharat need to have a seamless access to entire Bharat and India if we are to achieve in next two decades what our leaders have dared to envision.