The company has been able to thrive amidst slowdown blues while the competitors were struggling. What kind of marketing changes you brought in the slowdown phase?
We have been passionate in our journey based on some great foundations. We got some amazing four stroke products that were great on mileage than the other two-wheelers in India in the 1980s. We marketed those products using the perfect marketing mix i.e. all the 4Ps. But times have changed, so upgrading products remains the most preferred agenda.
Simultaneously, the company has put together the rest of marketing mix beautifully i.e. price, distribution and positioning strategy. Since we differentiated on mileage, the product campaign ‘Fill it Shut it Forget it’ became legendary. It was well understood by the customers; one reason that after 25 years, we again used the ‘Fill it Shut it Forget it’ campaign, once again talked about mileage; and consumers do believe that we have given them the best. Mileage is one aspect of this whole journey that we believe must be carried forward. We have adjusted our acceleration level according to the times. If you look at the last 4-5 years; we introduced 8-9 products every year, which were refreshes or new products. Compare that to the initial 15 years, where the company launched 8-9 products in total.
The truth – is it your aggressive approach giving competition a tough time or is it the rising competition which keeps you on your toes?
It’s mainly because of the aggressive approach that we follow but the competition also makes us work hard always. For the last 5 years, innovations are taking place along with the rising complexity of the market which is happening. In terms of segmentation, we have segmented the consumer in a way that every segment has a product to meet the aspirations of the consumer. Our marketing campaigns have been successful since the last 3-4 years. Now we have 5 bikes in the premium category which we typically term as our Diamond strategy. The bikes, Hunk & CBZ, are 150 cc but we have targeted the audience differently.
From a marketing point of view, all the five bikes are different from each other as we have different groups and very sharp group segmentation. We are growing at a rate of 15% in the premium segment which is decent enough to gain market share in this segment.
But companies like Yamaha, Bajaj are much stronger in the premium segment. Do you take it as a challenge to gain the pole position in this segment of the market?
Our share in premium segment was once very small as we had negligible presence in the segment, but over the last four years, our share has more than doubled. We have backlogs on our books as we have been unable to fulfill the demands of the customers because of the limited production capacity. The latest addition, Karizma ZMR, has been an instant hit in the Indian market that has been beating our own expectations. We are trying hard to grow our capacity as we, as a company, do not believe in bookings.
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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.
An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).
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