Million Marketer’s Army at Ground – Case of Direct Selling Business
It was rare sight to see long line of hundreds of youngster walking along the road in a particular direction. One could have easily mistaken them to be students coming from any competitive exam, as auto driver & passenger in auto have done yesterday. But, in Reality, they were part of ‘a Million Marketing Army’ of a Direct Selling Company. These youngsters were coming from monthly review meeting with their City Head. Beaming with energy, enthusiasm and motivation, they were proceeding towards their shelter.
Everyone was curious about this scene, why there is such rush of youngster going in particular direction. Most of them thought they are coming from some exam. However, on some discrete inquiry, it emerged that these are not students (some of them were actually students) but Young Marketers’ of Direct Selling Company called ‘Glaze Trading’. They were coming after attending Monthly review Meeting of Company with their Boss, someone named Mr. Pawan.
In age of E-commerce Buzz, it was a surprise to see the army of more than 200 young enthusiastic people on ground in small town ‘Bikaner’ doing infield (offline) marketing for a little known company which selling daily use items(Soap, Washing Dish, Shampoo, Toiletries etc.). Interestingly some of them were Girls, but most of them were young boys in their late teens or early twenties.
One of Respondent revealed that most of them are from outside (even outside state, mostly from being Haryana). They are on a mission to earn a living by selling the product of company. They are new aspiring breed of youth who want to earn money, whether out of desperation or choice, to live a new lifestyle. They are ready to take risk in life. They are new entrepreneurs in making. They are learning the art of selling which is crucial for any entrepreneur.
Upon detailed discussion, one of Respondent provided his brief bio, their role, their earning and how they operate.
Mr. Anikesh was from Bhilwada. He was in his early twenties and seemed motivated to perform his task. He has taken plunge in this business for past 6 month. As per his claim, in last month he has earned Rs 11000/ by selling the products of Company. Company has charge him Rs. 13,000/ as initial joining fees and in lieu it provided him lifetime accommodation (don’t expect luxury here, rather a room where 5-6 people live in outskirt of city), two months food bill and initial products to sell. In coming months, members are provided with Rs1000/- as food allowance along with shelter.
As per information provide by him, they do most of their sale through networking. I presume it mean they use their network to sell the products of company. The accommodation provided is in outskirt of city area. He seemed happy with his earning. He also revealed that he is doing Private B.Com 1st year along with this Job/Business.
The official Website of company claims to have a ‘more than a million Glaze Independent Distributors’ in its network. It also promises efficient and widespread network ensuring reach to the most remote and farthest corners of the country. According to him, Company operated as Direct Selling Model. I am not sure whether it’s another Multi-level Marketing Company or doing genuine business with some ingenious methods.
It was kind of new experience and exposure. Even the most of people in that particular locality of city were not aware of such an enterprise.
India’s diverse market provides opportunity for both the millions foot soldiers working on ground in such direct selling company and million delivery boys working for E-Commerce Companies to co-exist.
Rural Market is considered a hard nut to crack and solving the last mile connection is one of most difficult challenge for marketing and supply chain professionals’. While Management Professional like C.K.Prahlad have made ‘Bottom of Pyramid’ a known buzz word but in reality many MNC giants are still experimenting (& Struggling) to evolve a perfect model models to capture the huge untapped rural and town market in emerging economies. While potential is huge, the market dynamics are also divergent and complex. It’s very difficult to match the local taste and demand. Cost consciousness/value for money often takes precedence over the brand recall. These unique and peculiar situations make it interesting & fertile ground for emergence of new innovative methods, strategies and approaches like ‘Glaze Trading’.
While traditional supply chain models (Coca-Cola, Pepsi), local innovation (E-Chaupal of ITC), Franchise (HUL for some products in specific regions) are adopted with mixed success, there is still scope for better delivery model to solve the last mile connectivity especially with emergence of better transportation and information infrastructure. The local variant like one seen, which relies on deployment of huge manpower at relatively low cost, may ultimately prove to be more superior to technologically reliant but lean in structure.