'Ex'es in Selling

Amiya Kumar Bartia | September 09,2014 11:06 am IST

What is the difference between a product and a commodity? The answer may be very simple, that a commodity has not got any brand on it and you need not toil a lot to sell a commodity as it has got a stronger pull in the market. But a product needs some sweat to sell itself.

We have to brand it, position it in proper segment, and incur a good amount of money to promote its brand in the market, so that it may percolate to the customers. But it is very hard on the part of any brand to survive in the ocean of other brands, with such a huge number of brands playing in each of their specific segments. In short, the products are getting commoditized. The corporate have to think beyond the old mantra or principles of marketing. Now-a-days, harnessing only the existing brand value and retain the No. 1 position in the market is just next to impossible for any of the business houses.

If we closely look at the current trend of marketing set by all corporate, we may find that they are all set to break or already have broken the usual mantra of marketing which they have been chanting for the last few decades. Now, hardly any bank thinks of capitalizing its customer-base only by advertising the interest rates, number of branches or ATMs. A toothpaste company is no more selling a white or red coloured toothpaste, but they have become more aggressive, and they have re-defined the segment to a greater depth, and have positioned unique solutions for each segment, starting from the customers who still cherish using salt while massaging the teeth, to the customers who find their toothpaste the best if any board of dentists approve that particular one.

In brief, we may say that all the companies have started re-defining their selling strategies and they have added greater dimensions to it, and these dimensions may not be ones or twos but a lot more (excess) in number. But, an easier solution to explain all the 'excess' in selling strategies might be found with the available 'ex'es in our dictionaries. Funny! Isn't it?

Not to confuse you, here the word 'ex'es just symbolizes nothing but the symbolic plural of 'ex'. We use a lot of words in daily life that start with the prefix 'ex', for example, 'experience', 'exact', 'exclusive', 'excel', 'explicit', 'excellence', 'exalt', 'exuberance'. If we have a close look, then we may discover that these 'ex'es get reflected in the selling strategies of most of the corporate. Almost all corporate participate in either of these 'ex'es and try to sell one of them along with their products. Here are some of the 'Ex'es: -

Experience / Expertise
It's rightly told that if the next world war is to happen, then it may happen due to potable water. Everybody in today's world is conscious about potable water, and is eager to spend a good amount of money for that, mostly by installing water purifying devices.

If you ask anybody in India about any water purification system, then he/she might zero on 'Eureka Forbes'. They have now proved to be the stalwarts in this segment and have carved their name in the minds of each and everyone of their customers. Is it only due to the ads flickering on TV screens and published in magazines? Eureka Forbes has been known in each and every house-hold for the last quarter of a century for its experience and expertise in this field. They have got one of India's largest after-sales service network, 3000 trained technicians spread all over the country, largest annual maintenance contract for its water purification systems, and a lot more. They have caught the pulse of the customers and they have established customer relationship centre, 650 in number, across the country to cater to the instant demand of their customers. They are most easily accessible to their customers by round-the-clock service and most reliable too with services catered at the customers' door-step.

Can we conclude here that they are not only selling water purification systems, but also the experience and expertise that they have gained in this business domain for last three decades? The answer is left to you.

Similarly, there is another business house which is gaining popularity among the Indian house-holds due to its time-long experience in its domain. The PCI or Pest Control India has been there in the field of pest control and they have been taking care of all house-hold pests, e.g., termites, wood-borers, mosquitoes, flies, etc. Pest Control India Pvt. Ltd. (PCI) was established in the year 1954 and is the first and largest pest management company in India. PCI offers a comprehensive range of Professional Pest Management Services and Quality Products & Equipments through a country-wide network of over 125 offices and a dedicated workforce of over 3000 personnel. They are equipped with state-of-the-art quality control, analysis and research & development (R&D) facilities. Over the years, PCI has constantly endeavoured to introduce better and more cost-effective pest management technology for both services and products. With over 50 years of experience, they still adhere to their commitment - that of providing comprehensive, one-stop solutions in their field of expertise.

How many advertisements of the cold-drink brands shown in TV you can recollect where they talk all about the tangy taste, the fizz, the clarity and the other attributes related to these bottled beverages? Now-a-days, the functional USPs are obsolete especially in these luxury items. The consumers have grown cynical about these Functional USPs as these USPs have got commoditised. Now the consumers are all set to move up in the Maslow hierarchy and get into self-actualization stage. Therefore, in comes the Emotional USP. The companies are trying to make the consumers feel that if they consume their products, they not only satiate their thirst and hunger, but also they contribute indirectly to the betterment of the society. We, as a responsible citizen, uphold the spirit of serving the society but due to the time-bound daily routine, we hardly accomplish the task of serving the society, especially the under-privileged. The corporate have caught hold of that nerve and are trying to exploit that humane part of each individual by these emotional USPs which have got a different nomenclature - 'individual social responsibility'.


Amiya Kumar Bartia holds an M.Sc. (Agriculture) degree followed by PGDM from XIM, Bhubaneswar. He is currently working as Six Sigma & Competitive Intelligence Leader at Dow Agro-Sciences India Pvt. Ltd., a subsidiary of Dow Chemicals....