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Marketing Wizard | February 2012

One needs to understand consumer needs & issues

The consumer needs to be made an intrinsic part of the buying process. The market strengthening strategy should also look at expanding markets from traditional to newer territories, says B.K.Singh, ED, Dalmia Bharat Group

Having served across various verticals as a marketing professional, B. K. Singh is currently serving as the Executive Director – Group Marketing and Communications for the Dalmia Bharat Group. He has earlier led the cement business of the group as Executive Director - Sales and Marketing. He has over 24 years of experience across leading companies in the FMCG Vertical like Asian Paints (I) Ltd, Hindustan Unilever Limited and TI Cycles of India in the consumer durable vertical. He has an engineering degree and is a post graduate in International Business from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade IIFT, New Delhi, 1987 Batch. A tete-a-tete with B. K. Singh...

What have been your achievements as a marketing professional?
I have an experience of 23 years across different industry verticals like paints, FMCG, consumer durables and now cement. During my stint with Hindustan Lever, I was part of the team which unveiled the Calvin Klein range of fragrances in India in the price range of Rs 1800-2,000, which was a premium pricing segment. My team was involved in the entire conceptualization process for the product including advertising and keeping the targeted consumer profile in view. During my stint with TI Cycles, we brought in high end cycle models like the Bianchi cycles at a cost of Rs 1 lakhs in premium and lifestyle outlets. We repositioned the industry from a basic to premium level. In my stint with Dalmia Bharat Group, I am involved with the chain management of the entire organisation in terms of new identity, brand strategy and companies and associated companies. Here, I am in the process of applying my past experiences in the current organizational thought process.

What have been the challenges faced by you in your professional career?
Since my career has taken me to the lengths and breadths of the country, I have had to deal with a multi lingual and a multi cultural ethos. The challenge also lies in assimilating and integrating the local nuances. One needs to understand consumer needs and issues which require a lot of hard work.

On the work front, there is always the challenge of the new guard versus the old guard. New and contemporary ideas need to be proven to the old guard. Traditional thinking methods need to be challenged through convincing not only peers but also frontline sales persons to board members.

What is the role of strategy in strengthening the market presence of a company?
While implementing a strategy, a few questions need to be answered. One has to understand the role of advertising, packaging and who will be your target customer. Accordingly, one has to allocate resources. One has to try and reposition one's brand continuously and enhance awareness levels across different markets. The consumer needs to be made an intrinsic part of the buying process. The market strengthening strategy should also look at expanding markets from traditional to newer territories.

Do you feel that India can have a commanding presence for cement as a commodity business in the export market?
Given the nature of cement, it is not an attractive export proposition. It is a voluminous and heavy item and not economical. It is suitable for selling only in natural and nearby markets. The cement factories need to be built in the vicinity of the local market. We supply limited quantity of cement to countries like Sri Lanka.
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