By Dr B K Mukhopadhyay
India has been ranked as the 40th most competitive economy — slipping one place from last year's ranking — on the World Economic Forum's global competitiveness index, which is topped by Switzerland. On the list of 137 economies, Switzerland is followed by the US and Singapore in second and third places, respectively. No question of complacency please!
With the rapid process of globalisation and advancement in technology the world has become a smaller but highly competitive marketplace. The global market today is no longer monopolised by the multi-tiol companies MNCs only. Organisations, large and small, are directly or indirectly involved in intertiol business through licensing, franchises, joint ventures or direct investment. Global marketing includes the harmonisation of marketing policies for different countries and the marketing mix for different countries can be adapted to the local market conditions. This will require business champions within the company to be equipped with the latest skill sets and techniques to effectively compete in the global or regiol landscape.
In fact, globalisation led to more companies pursuing the same customers while at the same time, customers have become more sophisticated, and information technology has ebled them to find and alyse competing products so as to make the ultimate intelligent choices. No doubt, customers discovered they had options and the power to exploit them and accordingly customers now aggressively seek altertives, compare offers, and hold out for the best option. Further, many products became virtual commodities and rapid changes in technology have dramatically shortened product life cycles. As the result points out - a lot of similar offerings that make it very difficult for one to differentiate oneself from one's competitors, which, in turn, further empower one's customers. That is to say: a complete change over of supplier-domited economies into ones ruled by customers.
Thus, the question of complacency has already crossed the Rubicon - retaining the market share in the intertiol are, coupled with efforts directed towards a higher niche in the ever-changing market environment pose as the area where skill added to strategy formulation plays a domint role. That is why the economic/marketing policy formulation and the implementation process run hand-in-hand. The intertiol business scerio thus requires a deeper look, as segregated from outward show, judging from the point of view of strengthening the market competitiveness, which, in turn, calls for intensive scanning of the emerging trends backed by alytical ability/anticipation.
Realistically speaking, at this juncture, complexities galore - business space, technologies, processes, business models have turned out to be more complex - while new characteristics are being added frequently (subtracted infrequently). The dimensions of business space keep increasing, adding complexity, while at the same time furnishing attractive new opportunities for those who can successfully vigate in the new environment. This complexity, in turn, also inhibits greater size and greater value creation.
Side by side, in the emerging era of over communication and hyper-competition, people are overwhelmed by choices - choice of information, ideas, products and services. Information is becoming readily available around the globe at an unprecedented pace. Customers, competitors, and innovators have instant access to each other.
It is high time we agree that in the global context we are now living in a chaotic transition period: getting transformed steadily to a new age defined by global competition, rampant change, faster flow of information and communication, increasing business complexity, and pervasive globalisation. Undoubtedly, the pace of change has become so rapid that it took different types of firms to be domint and it marked an entirely new era of business.
It is actively being noticed that not only is the world trade economy growing at more than five times the rate of the world gross domestic product but the stern reality is that the ongoing business scerio has been turning out to be more complex than ever before. Competition is now based more on capabilities than assets. New competitive dymics have led to greater instability in the profitability of companies. One technology is being speedily replaced by the other and new products, services, and competitors are emerging with blinding speed. Competitive pressure has been intensifying.
Jet speed changes in competition, technology, and workforce values are compelling organisations to search for new and more human ways of increasing productivity and competitiveness. The biggest changes have been due to the impact of information and communication technology. The ability to access vast information resources within a matter of minutes and to communicate across huge distances at ever lower costs and improving quality and convenience is transforming the way people and companies interact. Virtually, it is becoming harder to achieve market leadership and to stay on top. As a result, the road to success is topsy-turvy. There is no question of preparing an omelet without breaking the egg - target success in business and stay ahead of the competition; constantly expanding the network; seamless connections to other parts of the world via your hubs.
For that matter a good understanding of the key marketing techniques is essential in today's global marketing environment - to develop entrepreneurs' capability to identify and create values for their organisation to excel in the intertiol market, to have a deep appreciation of intertiol marketing and global brand magement and at the same time a deeper understanding of brand magement and intertiol marketing which are the life forces of any successful intertiol business.
This, in turn, forms the very base on which ultimate marketing success depends. Valuable customers are acquired and retained while at the same time major problems are encountered when offering an intangible product and thus one has to tackle the same with more confidence.
At this very juncture, the size and complexity of intertiol business is required to be comprehensively weighed. It is to be borne in mind that intertiol business, in the true sense of the term, is totally different from domestic business. The former involves more complexities that are related to intra-firm transactions and to unfamiliar host-country environment - regulatory, economic and fincial, political and legal, socio-cultural and many others. As intertiol business is normally carried on in an unfamiliar environment it is rather imperative to get acquainted with the various types of environment in which such businesses are transacted - regulatory environment dealing the type of trade, Foreign Direct Investment FDI (overseas investments by multitiol corporations) regulations at the tiol and intertiol level as well as the economic integration schemes in different parts of the globe. Political, economic, legal as well as socio-cultural environment that differ from one country to the other influence such a business to a significant extent.
It has rightly been viewed that "the information age magement systems depend on knowledge and creative abilities that can position the company in a competitive advantage rather than relying on old fashioned procedures that caused delays and inefficiencies. ICT-age companies regard the customer as the king and therefore respond to demands at the right time, with the right product, price and quality". Clearly, dressing, production systems, entertainment, language and education have been influenced by the emerging technology to the extent that the world is becoming more or less a homogeneous society rather than being heterogeneous as it used to be.
That is why, substantive understanding of global marketing, giving due regard to contemporary intertiol marketing environment, applying marketing concepts to several decision areas in the domain of intertiol marketing, adequate exposure to several sub-areas of global marketing would go a long way to bolster trade in the intertiol are.
Dr Mukhopadhyay, a noted Magement Economist and an Intertiol Commentator on Business and Economic Affairs, can be located at firstname.lastname@example.org