Know your consumer?

Issue 16 - Jul 2008

Aadisht Khanna

Books by Indian academics suffer from dreariness and an inability to communicate with a lay audience, while books by business professionals are often long on self-aggrandisement and motherhood statements and short on real insights into execution of strategy and development of business processes. Rama Bijapurkar, who is a visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) at Ahmedabad and an independent consultant, thus suffers a dual handicap. She has nevertheless written a book which is remarkable in its clarity and focus.

Ms Bijapurkar has been a professional in the field of market research for over thirty years. Her book, We are like that only, draws upon her experience and is able to comprehensively explore all facets of the Indian consumer’s behaviour and buying decisions she has seen. Despite the breadth of detail in the book, she resists the temptation to draw it all together into one grand theory. Indeed, Ms Bijapurkar repeatedly emphasises the danger of being carried away by a grand vision of the stereotypical Indian consumer. Instead, she advocates diligent and rigourous segmentation, and consumer profiling to understand the multiple consumer classes which exist in the country.