Thursday, October 12, 2006

Market research in India

Many years back, there was this market research person who had landed up at our apartment in Bombay on a hot summer day. I was jolted from my afternoon siesta and the fact that it led me to being sent for the "first job of my life" is a story for some other time, but this was about a product sample.

The person had brought a soap to sample. We had to smell each soap and tell whether "we liked it". We smelt a few soaps, all of which were equally yucky. It was, I presume, for some new soap variant that was being test marketed. But the "researchers" were not interested in me. They asked my mom on how those soaps smelt. The one that was good (marginally, I thought) got a "very good" on her feedback, but the rest of them got a vacillating answer - the neither agree nor disagree kind. She did not tell them that the product that they were trying to sell was crap. And the usual question which is "will you buy this product if it is available in the market" got a "maybe".

This was not an isolated experience - confirmed by my own later marketing survey experience. That whole "market research" process is hilarious, but like I said, thats for later.

Giving negative feedback does not come easily for a lot of people in India and especially when it is being asked of you or you have to write something. Todays generation perhaps yes, but in the previous generation, they never said that something was bad, even if it was crap. Perhaps it was a generation (the generation just after independence) which was used to a lot of crap, so they survived on hope. But I guess that many a market research would have flopped thanks to the gentle Indian who never said that any product was bad and instead just never bought it off the shelf.

1 comment:

rOhiT said...
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