‘We are trying to convert non-users into users’
Days after the launch of Tata Swach, an ultra-cheap water purifier for rural masses, R. Gopalakrishnan, executive director, Tata Sons, who plays a vital role in providing direction and impetus to the group’s new forays, spoke to Hindustan Timesfrom his native town of Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu, on the group’s strategy in consumer products.business Updated: Dec 12, 2009 01:56 IST
On the mass market strategy
It is not that Tata’s have suddenly woken up. We have been present with products like Tata salt, Tata Tea etc.
What has happened over the last 15 to 20 years is that we have entered more consumer facing products such as watches, jewellery, food products and hotels. It is also because the economy has opened up in such a way that a lot of middle class people have a lot more spending power.
What we are looking for is—what we can do to satisfy the needs of the swelling middle class and their aspirations for consumption. That is what is called the bottom-of-the- pyramid approach.
It is about how you get a person to stay in a modern hotel, how you get a person riding a scooter to drive a car and how do you get a person to buy a water filter.
On making cheap products
No, we are not into the marketing approach of low pricing. We are trying to create fields where none exist. We did not set targets of 40 per cent or 50 per cent cheaper when we launched Nano or Ginger hotels but we looked at what people need and looked to satisfy them. We are not trying to convert users of a category from other brands to us (which is a typical marketing approach). We are trying to convert non-users into users.
On Tata Swach
We are targeting all homes, which do not have electricity or running water.
We have around 200 million homes of which 5 million have some filteration device. So theoretically there are 195 million homes. It is a big market and there is space for everyone.
We are the only product where people can buy the filteration bulb (Tata Swach Bulb) even from the grocery shop like their electric bulbs. Also, people should be able to buy and put it in their surahi (mud pot to store water). By doing so they can get the whole thing for just Rs 300.We will approach the surahi-wallas for this.