Some rather hilarious predicaments can evolve when we market American products overseas. Some of the cultural norms and lifestyle practices we take for granted can be overlooked, sometimes to revenues harm.
Weber Brothers Metal Works produces about half of the charcoal grills used around the world. Some of those grills go to Tuticorin, India. Final assembly happens in Bangalore where they are sold via the Weber Experience Center.
Something else happens at the Weber Experience Center. Shiva Kandaswamy provides training to his customers on how to use a grill. Now here is where it becomes funny. Kandaswamy admits to some major market limitations when it comes to selling grills in India (Bradley, Ryan. Where Grills Are Born Fortune 8/13/12, pp. 1214):
Indians are mostly vegetarian, dont spend time outdoors, dont have backyards, and men dont cook. (p. 14)
Wow! Thats four strikes. Hmm. Sounds like a winning plan to me, eh?
On the brighter side, the market presents some positives. Kandaswamy explains:
We grill okra, eggplant, fish, pizza; we are opening another center in Delhi next year; we are not just selling a kettlewe are selling an experience. (p. 14)
All humor aside, once again a marketing success, from what could have been a marketing disaster, reminds us the customer experience is king (we are selling an experience). Anytime a business is able to get inside the head of the customer and vicariously assess that customer experience, then the stage is set for success.
Increasing numbers of companies are realizing this. Unfortunately, too many companies are choosing to ignore it.
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