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Marketing Pundit Articles


Bring back the Maruti Suzuki Esteem

The 1300 cc, three-box Esteem car from Maruti Suzuki was one fantastic machine. It was very low on maintenance costs and extremely good in fuel economy. Driving comfort was just too good. The pride of ownership was indeed an ego booster .... no wonders the little girl after the joyride in daddy's new Esteem (as shown in the TVC) proudly announces that its "My Daddy's Biiiig Car". In the Indian motor-rallying circuits, Esteem still calls the shots.

Why did the company want to bring in a 'forced obsolescence' with effect from early January 2008? In the product life cycle, the car was still in its growth stage, there was nothing to worry. 

It is being heard that a three-box Swift is in the offing. However, I am sure that the new product being planned could have been squeezed in between the Esteem VXI and SX4. The media in no uncertain terms have spelt out that the introductory batches of SX4 is very poor in fuel economy.

Maruti Suzuki had earlier made the mistake of withdrawing the jelly-bean shaped Zen from the market for about a year in 2005 and replaced it with Zen Estilo. Estilo has just not been able to create an impact with customers. With competition hotting up in the small car segment, Maruti Suzuki needs to become far more market savvy in the higher segment and that's where Esteem figured.

Past and present 'Esteem owners', 'Esteem lovers' and marketing gurus, can we have a discussion on the topic please?

(Article by: Deep Banerjee dated 14th February 2008)


A Summer Project is NOT Agent Recruitment Project

I'm shocked at the way number of B-Schools in India are forcing their Marketing Management students to appear for campus interviews - for Final Placements as well as for Summer Training.
For Summer Training, private Insurance sector companies are awarding projects which involve appointment of agents for selling insurance products. The students are being promised a stipend. Once they join they are paid a commission for the number of agents they manage to recruit. They are being threatened that if they do not appoint a bare minimum number of agents, they may not get their "certificate of satisfactory completion" from the company at all. Once these students pass out the following year, companies marketing branded products may not touch them with a barge pole. What these students do in the name of Summer Project for a period of 6 to 8 weeks is not a project at all.
Final year MBA Marketing students (with a background in Engineering) have been offered final placements (during campus interviews in February) in insurance companies with the job profile remaining the same as that of Summer Training. The insurance companies issue "Letters of Offer" to practically every individual who appear for the interview. What is worse is that, thereafter, the students are not even allowed to appear for other campus interviews by the college authorities between February and June.
These final year students are not even informed about their job content, i.e. on what they were expected to do on joining the company. On completion of their MBA in June - July they have also realized that the remuneration promised to them has a very high component of variable pay (in the form of incentives). No wonders there's a large number of demotivated fresh and young MBAs in the marketplace.
Will someone counsel these youngsters properly, please? I'm keen to hear from youngsters incidents which are very similar to these.

(Article by: Deep Banerjee dated 7th August 2007)


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