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Sunder Singh

Essay by   •  November 11, 2012  •  Essay  •  7,018 Words (29 Pages)  •  808 Views

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CASE I

Sunder Singh

Sunder Singh had studied only up to high school. He was 32-years of age, lived alone in a rented room, and worked eight-hour shift at one petrol pump, then went to the other one for another eight-hour shift. He had a girl friend and was planning to marry.

One day when he returned from work, he got a note from his girl friend that she was getting married to someone else and he need not bother her. This was a terrible shock to Sunder Singh and he fell apart. He stopped going to work, spent sleepless nights, and was very depressed. After a month, he was running Iowan his savings and approached his earlier employers to get back his job, but they would not give him a second chance. He had to quit his rented room, and sold few things that he had. He would do some odd jobs at the railway station or the bus terminal.

One day, nearly two years ago, he was very hungry and did not have any money and saw a young man selling newspapers. He asked him what he was selling and he told him about Guzara (an independent, non-profit, independent newspaper sold by the homeless, and economically disadvantaged men and women of this metro city). Sunder Singh approached the office and started selling the newspaper. He did not make a lot of money, but was good at saving it. He started saving money for a warm jacket for next winter.

He was reasonably happy; he had money to buy food, and no longer homeless and shared a room with two others. One day, with his savings he bought a pair of second-hand Nike shoes from flea market.

Sunder Singh is not unique among low-income consumers, especially in large cities, in wanting and buying Nike shoes. Some experts believe that low-income consumers too want the same products and service that other consumers want.

The working poor are forced to spend a disproportionate percent of their income on food, housing, utilities, and healthcare. They solely rely on public transportation, spend very little on entertainment of any kind, and have no security of any kind. Their fight is mainly day-to-day survival.

QUESTIONS

1. What does the purchase of a product like Nike mean to Sunder Singh?

2. What does the story say about our society and the impact of marketing on consumer behavior?

CASE II

Key to Buyers' Minds

Consumer buying research has turned a new leaf in India. The era of demographics seems to be on the backbench. Now, Marketing Research people are less likely to first ask you about your age, income, and education etc. Instead, there is a distinct shift towards inquiries about attitudes, interests, lifestyles, and behaviour - in short towards a study of consumers' minds called psychographics.

Pathfinders, the marketing research wing of Lintas, occasionally came out with its highly respected "Study on Nation's Attitudes and Psychographics (P:SNAP). The first in this series was released in 1987 with an objective to develop a database of lifestyles and psychographics information on the modem Indian women. The second was in 1993, and the third in 1998. Pathfinders choose woman for the study because of the belief that more often than not, in urban areas, it is the woman who makes buying decision.

The Pathfinders' study involves interviewing over 10,000 women over the entire country and segmenting them in clusters according to their beliefs, attitudes, lifestyles, and lastly their demographics profile. The idea is to identify groups of consumers with similar lifestyles who are likely to behave towards products or services.

For advertisers and advertising agencies, this profile helps enormously. For example, an advertiser may want to give a westernised touch to a commercial. The profile of the target customer, as revealed by this study, tells the advertising people the perimeter within which she/he must stay, otherwise the ad may become an exaggerated version of westernised India.

For the purpose of this study, Pathfinders divided the Indian women in 8 distinct cluster of varying values and lifestyles. Figures from two studies are available publicly and are given below:

Cluster 1987 (%) 1993 (%)

Troubled homebody 15.9 18.3

Tight-fisted traditionalist 14.8 10.0

Contended conservative 7.0 9.3

Archetypal provider 13.0 8.8

Anxious rebel 14.1 15.8

Contemporary housewife 19.2 22.1

Gregarious hedonist 8.7 6.6

Affluent sophisticate 7.3 9.1

The studies seek to track the macro level changes and movements within these 8 clusters in a period of time.

We note from the table that in 1987, 8.7% of the women could be classified as "gregarious hedonist" - those who consider their own pleasure to be supreme in life. 'In 1993, this figure fell to 6.6%. The "troubled homebody" segment - those with large families and low-income, increased from 15.9% in 1987 to 18.3% in 1993.

Information, such as this, is obviously useful to assess the collective mood. That's why Pathfinders have an impressive list of clients fort heir P:SNAP, which includes Hindustan Lever, Cadbury, Johnson and Johnson, and Gillette.

SOME PSYCHOGRAPHICS PROFILES OF INDIAN WOMEN

Rama Devi, the Contended Conservative

The lady lives a 'good' life - she is a devoted wife, a dotting mother of two school-going sons, and a God fearing housewife. She has been living her life by the traditional values she cherishes - getting up at the crack of dawn, getting the house cleaned up, having the breakfast of 'Aloo Parathas' ready in time before the children's school-bus honks its horn, laying down the dress her 'government servant' husband will put on after his bath, and doing her daily one-hour Puja. She fasts every Monday for the welfare of her family, looks at the 'freely mixing' and 'sexually liberal' youngsters with deep disdain and cannot understand the modem young woman' s 19reed' for money, jewellery, and jobs.

Her one abiding interest outside the household is the Ganesh Mandir that she has visited every Wednesday, ever since she

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