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The 86 Percent Solution: How to Succeed in the Biggest Market Opportunity of the 21st Century Hardcover – September 24, 2005
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From the Back Cover
Most global businesses focus nearly all their efforts on selling to the wealthiest 14% of the world's population. It's getting harder and harder to make a profit that way: these markets are oversaturated, overcompetitive, and declining. The Invisible Market shows how to unleash new growth and profitability by serving the other 86%. Vihajan Mahajan offers detailed strategies and implementation techniques for product design, pricing, packaging, distribution, advertising, and more. Discover radically different 'rules of engagement' that make emerging markets tick, and how European and Asian companies are already driving billions of dollars in sales there. Mahajan shows how to understand and manage lack of infrastructure and media, low literacy levels, and 'unconventional' consumer behavior. Learn how to redefine the 'real' competition; tap into the informal economy and unconventional channels; leverage expatriate word-of-mouth; pool demand to reach critical mass; piggyback innovations on local tradition; and price and package to reflect local realities. As traditional markets become increasingly unprofitable, emerging markets become the #1 opportunity for growth.
About the Author
The 86 Percent SolutionHow to Succeed in the Biggest Market Opportunity of the Next 50 YearsAbout the Authors
Vijay Mahajan, former dean of the Indian School of Business, holds the John P. Harbin Centennial Chair in Business at McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin. He has received numerous lifetime achievement awards including the American Marketing Association (AMA) Charles Coolidge Parlin Award for visionary leadership in scientific marketing. The AMA also instituted the Vijay Mahajan Award in 2000 for career contributions to marketing strategy.
Mahajan is author or editor of nine books. He is one of the world's most widely cited researchers in business and economics. He edited the Journal of Marketing Research, and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and delivered executive development programs worldwide.
Kamini Banga is an independent marketing consultant and managing director of Dimensions Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. Her clients have included Cadbury, Philips, Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, and many others. She has traveled extensively in Asia and Southeast Asia, conducting training programs on market research and consumer behavior. During a three-year stint in London, she worked with the Harris Research Center as a consultant on ethnic issues for companies including British Airways and the BBC.
Banga writes and edits business articles for Economic Times, The Smart Manager, Business Today, and other leading Indian business publications, and is a non-executive director on several company boards. She is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Management, the premier institute for MBA education in India. A former resident of Mumbai, India, she now lives in London.
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Top Customer Reviews
Mahajan and Banga have carefully organized their material within eleven chapters which range from a rigorous analysis of "the lands of opportunity" to a "Conclusion" in which they explain why the markets in underdeveloping countries "not to be missed." More specifically, they discuss what they describe as a "complex tapestry" of convergent civilizations in which there really do seem to be almost unlimited opportunities to increase both the standard of living and quality of life for hundreds of millions of consumers. The challenge for those companies which attempt to market various goods and services in those markets is to understand their unique characteristics. To me, it seems at east as important to understand what they are not as it is to understand what they are...or can (and will) become.
Here are two brief excerpts and then a checklist which, I hope, indicate the scope and depth of Mahajan and Banga's analysis.
"There is no Chinese market. There is a market in Shanghai, or in a neighborhood in Shanghai. There is no Indian market. There is a market in Mumbai or Chennai, or in their local neighborhoods. Developing countries are a collection of fragmented local markets in a country that is gathered loosely under a single flag." (Page 77)
"Think English is the language to know for business? Maybe not for long. Consider that Mandarin Chinese has the largest number of speakers in the world -- a billion, including second-language speakers. This is followed by English, with about half as many speakers, and then Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, Bengali, and Russian. If you want to work with 86 percent of the world, you need to speak the languages of the 86 percent." (page 83)
Which strategies will be most effective when "taking the market to the people"? Mahajan and Banga suggest seven:
1. Position for the paanwalla (i.e. small shop)
2. Create multiple levels of distribution (e.g. Hindustan Lever's "Project Shakti" based a direct-to-home model involving self-help groups, each comprised of 10-15 underprivileged women)
3. Use distribution bubbles (i.e. carnivals, market days, and vans which come and go) to find customers where they are
4. Take the bank out of the branch (e.g. Citibank's use of vans and a network of 9,000 direct-selling agents, called "Citi Friends," who visit homes)
5. Develop on-the-ground insights (i.e. understand and adapt to local aND even neighborhood regulations and conditions)
6. Create distribution systems from scratch (e.g. a new distribution system, based on grassroots networks, which built a supply chain for a camel's milk dairy in Mauritania)
7. Use existing networks creatively (e.g. the "dabbawala system" in Mumbai, India, probably the world's most efficient lunch delivery system which collects 175,000 home-cooked meals from workers' homes and delivers them to their offices)
Thoughtfully, Mahajan and Banga provide a section at the end of each of the first ten chapters, "The 86 Percent Solution," which summarizes key points and facilitates subsequent review of them. Before concluding their brilliant book, Mahajan and Banga share these thoughts when explaining why numbers are on the side of the developing world: Population Equals Profits. "The transformation is just beginning. There will be hiccups along the way and further surprises over the next two decades as the next `Chinas' and `Indias' emerge. The only certainty is the the 86 percent markets are here to stay. These markets are young and growing. Even though they won't become developed tomorrow,,, they are the future. And the companies that can develop the right solutions to meet their needs will find a rich source of growth."
Who will derive the greatest benefit from Mahajan and Banga's book? In my opinion, they are decision makers in two different categories of companies: Those which now market or are about to market in underdeveloping countries, and, other companies which now do business with -- or plan to do business with -- those in the first category. I also think this book will be of substantial interest and value to public officials who are now actively involved with helping to support global commerce.
Congratulations to Mahajan and Banga on a brilliant achievement!
The book is likely to appeal to managers trying to expand market reach as well as managers in developing countries who want to think differently about strategies that may succeed in their own environment. This book may also benefit leaders of governments, non-governmental organizations, and other organizations who want to better understand the complexities of the developing world's business environment.
Both authors are well-versed in the challenges of marketing to the poor. Vijay Mahajan holds a chair in business at the University of Texas at Austin and is a former dean of the Indian School of Business. Kamini Banga is an independent marketing consultant and managing director of Dimensions Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. She travels widely conducting training programs on market research and consumer behavior, and writes and edits articles for top Indian business publications.
Beginning even in the first few pages, their practical ideas make sense: Scale down the product size for bulk items to a sachet. Provide built-in cooling for products that are best kept refrigerated. Create mechanisms to allow products purchased by someone in a developed economy to be used or consumed by someone in a different country. These basic concepts mean learning to think small-in terms of package size, installment pay options, and products that fulfill just bare-bones minimal needs; building your own infrastructure to develop and deliver products; and creating a "ricochet economy" that serves the needs of immigrants abroad who maintain strong connections to their country of origin.
It is very important that as companies refocus their strategies they also consider customer needs most appropriately. For example, how could people in villages and cities without reliable sources of electricity be expected to purchase and use products that don't come with a back-up source of energy?
Mahajan and Banga challenge all managers to reevaluate what they believe about customer needs in developing countries and to make them more basic and realistic. If you don't know what an inverter is, then you're not there yet.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
by Vijay Mahajan, Kamini Banga