This post will be very long(if i complete it) and hopefully informative.
One of the reason for me to be at the place i am is The MAXI Fair. So, after 5 months on campus, i become part of yet another editon of MAXI Fair. And guess what, i get to be in the Maxi Admin Group. Now, whats that? For that, i should explain first, what is not Admin. MAXI is a Marketing research fair where problems of various companies are researched , for example : to study the consumers before setting up a new retail chain in the city , or what is the brand recall for a brand. Now , i know its boring to hear it this way. I thought so as well.
So, what happens is this. Every problem is disguised in the form of a funny theme based game. It could be in the form of an angel that curses people for guessing her age wrong as 19 when she is actually 1999 years old(i know, thats foolish, sometimes marketing is making asses out of customers ), so she curses him and he has to go and find the most beautiful box for her out of 4 designs,(one of which might turn up on your neighborhood retail stall if its chosen by most number of people). So the customer chooses a box. So he advances to the new level where a Scary Devil Like Creature (couldnt believe it was harsha sodhani/soda-pani) would be shouting "Khoon , Khoon " so the customer is rushed by another betal to make his choice quickly and go out.And he goes on to the next level.
But there were some real good learnings out of the few minutes when i carried a camera - 1)A housewife making her choices on which shop to go as she had to solve aladdins problem problem of shopping for Jasmine along with Genie, she thought very carefully on factors like Quality, distance from house, Price,Organisation of the store. All those guys who are getting into marketing , go get your first lessons from your mother, housewives are the last persons that marketeers could fool.
A teenage girl explained which age group would pick which kind of snack. I should confess that i was equally fooled when my own batchmates started acting as wife and husband , the best part was when the subject of research told which snack is used by which group, these guys started to fight more saying "see, i have told her the same , but she doesnt accept, why dont you explain her why you are saying this and the subject went on to explain the reasons of how people choose snacks as well.
So, this is what all the Non-Admin part is. Here comes the Admin. I dont think Admin is an apt name to this , but yeah, it makes one feel good. What we do is, we go around jamshedpur and ask for sponsorships. We luckily gathered enuff to run the show. This is a respectful part i should say. Then comes the ticket selling part. Here comes the second part of the title- Middle class. We should be selling round about 2000 tickets in jamshedpur, now the catch is, we have to sell it to the right people, i.e. Most of them SEC A, Then comes SEC B and a very few SEC C. So, we went door by door to each flat (i guess i covered atleast 150 flats) and managed selling around 100 tickets. Anyway, by the day of fair, we almost reached our targets.
Btw, find a sketchy explanation of how Socio economic classes are classified here.
On the day of the fair, we do something called profiling, we put basic questions like Age, Income, Education, Job Type and two funny questions for which i had to learn hindi.
1) Kartheek says " Yeh Jho, snacks ho they hain na, haldirams, bhujiya, bingo, kurkure , waise, yeh aap ki faily hafte mein kitne baar karidthe/kaathe hain" - uff!!!
2) Kartheek says " Aap ghar mein machar bagaane keliye kya isthimaal karte hain , coils, mats ya, liquid repellent".
So, as i input the answers to these questions in an unreliable but well developed software, it tells me, which SEC the subject belongs to and which stalls they should visit(basically , which companies research they should participate in). Now i sat at that desk for almost 4 hrs and would have profiled atleast 300 people. So, it had a good effect on me to write such a long article.
1) Tier II cities has people who are filthily rich, i walked into some houses which had plasma TV and many just blindly speak about growing metros. I bet that Tier II city consumers are all geared up to to spend lots and lots . Infact , i knew this when crowd turned up in great numbers to Cafe Coffee day in guntur. Its not a joke, but they would happy to say that a burglar looted 50000 worth gold from their house, if thats the only opportunity to show off their wealth.
2) Bottom of the Pyramid seems to be under the pyramid, no one is actually caring about it i guess. I had a tough time not selling tickets to lower income people as they were not required for the research. It was a tough call, never had i discriminated people in my life in any aspect. Reminded me of the Corporate movie that Madhukar Shukla screened. At one point, i felt as if i was growing cruel(thats an exaggeration i guess) , but it seemed unavoidable, we needed the well educated and high earning people, then who is taking care of the Bottom of Pyramid.
3) This is the Big One. Middle Class is disappearing in India. I know this is too generic a statement to make, but i am sure that i am right. I was there at the profiling desk asking for income, education, job of the subjects . Leave behind all the classifications , i saw only two classes- Rich and Poor. I dont know if i can say this without concrete data, but i could sense something today sitting there, the middle class had been splitting and dispersing into these two classes. India, had been turning into a land of opportunities and those of middle class who did everything to grab them , moved upwards, others just drowned into the sea of poor. And opportunities seem to come to those who are opportune and affluent . So, the rich become richer and poor becomes poorer continues.
Since i was asking education and job type, i could find out that, one thing that carried the poor to rich was EDUCATION. I could visulise it as a bridge between two cliffs. Hope India gets Educated more.
I was surprised to see that people easily giving figures like 30000 and 40000 as monthly incomes. The manner in which they said the number gave me an idea of the percentage of their income they are ready to spend . I was guessing how many choclates they would be buying in a month :P .
Uff.. I wrote too much, I will end this, all in all , it is a great learning experience.
Thats me at the Profiling Desk. " Aap ke umar kitni hogi madam" Kartheek asks :)