Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Art of Selling in India- -Mr. Narayanan

We had a lively, interactive session on the 8th of November, with Mr. Narayanan, a strategic marketing consultant and a veteran marketing specialist who provided us with an interesting as well as factual insight in the area of sales and distribution, mainly within our Indian subcontinent.

The guest lecture got off to an interesting start with the students interacting freely with the speaker. Mr. Narayanan touched upon various key concepts that were crucial to the field of sales and distribution. He made the lecture very easy to understand by quoting several situations he had been part of, and used these real-life examples to relate to the underlying principles of sales and distribution. Even dry topics like excise duty, tax issues etc. became very interesting with the way in which it was delivered. For people who normally see the glamour of advertising and branding, the ‘real world’ issues of duties and tax and the way it affects the pricing and the brand buttressed the importance of a 360degree understanding of market issues.

Mr. Narayanan also discussed the basic roles performed by the clearing and forwarding agents (CNFA), who played a key factor in the distribution system.

Next, the evolution of modern trade, and it’s impact on sales & distribution was discussed and this led to a brainstorming session where students pitched in with their thoughts on the changes that are unfolding in the present market situation.

A very interesting case in point during the discussion on retail supply-chain was Mr.Narayanan’s experiences with potato procurement for his business and the fluctuating supply levels of potatoes in the market. This was a very interesting anecdote and helped the students analyze the situation from the perspectives of the farmer, the buyer, the transporter, the distributor and the cold storage infrastructure provider.

He also dealt in detail about the advent of private labels and also discussed the specific channel issues and power shifts in sectors like Education, Book publishing, Restaurant & Retail and Franchising.

Finally, we established a clear understanding of push and pull strategies and learnt that a manufacturer cannot survive entirely depending on pushing his products. An example quoted was about a famous toothpaste brand and its push strategy on other items such as toothbrushes, after-shave, etc.

Mr.Narayanan provided the students with a deep insight in the field of sales and distribution, far beyond the reach of textbooks, by using real-life situations and examples to help strengthen the key concepts. To sum it up …decades of experience was transferred in a capsule and that too in a very interesting fashion.
Mr. Narayanan is a veteran marketing specialist with decades of experience in handling brands of Cocacola, Nestle and also popular for his Bigfun brand of chewing gum and the Dosa King concept.

By Swaminathan , Marcom Varsity ,CBS

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