The Place P differentiator, movie tickets via Net & Mobiles

The legendary Marketing scholar, Theodore Levitt in his classic article, 'Marketing success through Differentiation-of Anything', states, 'When the generic product is undifferentiated, the offered product makes the difference in getting customers and the delivered product in keeping them.

The usual presumption about so-called undifferentiated commodities is that they are exceedingly price sensitive. A fractionally lower price gets the business. This is seldom true except in the imagined world of economics textbooks. In the actual world of markets, nothing is exempt from other considerations, even when price competition rages.'

The premise that anything can be differentiated holds true in the world of Marketing. Among the marketing mix components, the one ignored most, as a driver of differentiation, is the 'place P'. With the advent of the Internet as a possible consumer interface, many firms have taken on a web presence to engage with the consumer and thus differentiate.

Consider movie tickets in India. According to CII-AT Kearney report in 2006, on an average, players in the multiplex industry are selling 10-12% of the tickets through non-conventional channels like the Net and mobile phones. The report states that Bollywood sold about 3.7 billion tickets. Industry players believe that the increase has largely been in 2007, and is likely to touch the 20%- mark by 2008-end. It seems movie buffs in urban cities in India are increasingly logging on to the Net or using their mobiles to book movie tickets.

The reason why the Internet as an interface may not be able to sustain the differentiated appeal is due to its susceptibility to imitation. With very few barriers stopping competitors from duplicating a presence on the Web, marketers must constantly innovate on this interface to build relationships through meaningful engagements with Netsumer.


SG said…

I agree that Internet holds a lot of potential in terms of reaching customers and making life simple for them.

About the movie ticket analogy, I think there is another factor that needs to be considered.

Are people really brand loyal? If Chak De India is releasing on this Friday, and PVR is housefull, would people wait for next week? I dont think so. They would rather watch the movie at a Cineplex.

And yes, as medium gains acceptance, people would start toking it for granted. For example if a good restaurant does not accept Credit Cards, you are surprised. Similarly, the companies that have not adopted Internet will surprise their consumers.


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