Page 56 - IACC Newsletter August-September 2013 Issue 13

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India’s economy is slowing down as is the rest of the world. The answer to this problem is that corporate India must find
a way to sell more inside and outside of India. That means get better at selling or marketing and find more places to
which to sell.
Getting better means getting better at 'Positioning' strategy. In simple terms, that’s about getting into your customers’
minds with an important reason to buy. During the recent downturn in the US, the consumer economy was an
important factor keeping things from getting worse and it certainly has helped our recovery as people are buying cars
and houses again. Of course, what has been driving things is corporate America’s marketing, which is behind all of the
products people are once again buying. While India’s business management is making progress at getting better at
marketing and positioning, it has a long way to go. Marketing is still a relatively new business function in India.
Another factor in this regard is the Indian government. The government's responsibility is to create the right
environment for doing business. This means less rules and regulations that only get in the way. Corporate India should
organise and make it clear to the government what it needs and doesn’t need to do and restore India’s strong economy.
The lead item on this list should be better infrastructure. If you look at India and compare it to China, you quickly
appreciate what a difference better infrastructure can make. But of course, this costs money; so from where is the
money to come? I have a suggestion that answers that question as well as to where to sell more outside of India. In a
single word, it’s Pakistan.
So, how do you turn Pakistan from an enemy to a trading partner? After all, No. 1 trading partner of the US is Canada. In
my estimation, the ball is in the hands of India. They are the bigger and more powerful player and in a position to start
the ball rolling. This should be done in dramatic fashion by declaring peace. The point is that two nuclear armed enemies
can cause only big trouble for themselves as well as their neighbours. In addition, both countries desperately need
prosperity to build infrastructure and improve healthcare and education. This also would free up the military to chase
the real bad guys which are the Taliban in Pakistan and Maoists in India. Both countries have lawless areas that
desperately need more law and order.
So, if Pakistan is to become a trading partner, how much business is there to be done? This is not an easy answer but let
me speak to one area with which I am familiar. It’s the category of motorcycles. For several years I have been consulting
with Bajaj on their motorcycle business. They have become India’s global powerhouse in motorcycles in some measure
because of a large export business that far exceeds that of Hero, a bigger competitor. When I asked about exporting
motorcycles to Pakistan, I learned that they had to ship them via Dubai because of trade restrictions.
Now that’s the long and expensive way to Pakistan. So I asked, what could they sell if they could ship them directly to
their next door neighbour? The answer was close to a million motorcycles. Now that’s a lot of prosperity for a lot of
Indians making and selling them. And that’s only one business. I have no doubt that you could multiply that kind of
business many times over with products going in both directions.
But here is the problem. Solutions like this are easy. It’s selling solutions that are the tough part. In this case, more
'Prosperity' is the way to sell this kind of bold move to the public. When all else fails, people put aside whatever their
misgivings if making more money is offered. More business means more jobs which mean more money. And the people
paying those salaries are corporate India.
Finally, who should do the selling in this case? From my experience, in India, it has to be the next or younger generation
of leaders. The old generation now in power is burdened by too much of the past. They are more backward looking than
forward looking. They don’t trust Pakistan and they probably never will. Nor are they good at marketing. What they are
good at is connections with what we call in America, the old boys’ network. New thinking is something that young
people do better than older people. And this is new thinking.
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