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Guest Lecture by Prof. (Dr.) Shrirang Altekar, Professor & Director, SIBM, Nagpur Topic:- “Know your Consumer”

Guest Lecture by Prof. (Dr.) Shrirang Altekar, Professor & Director, SIBM, Nagpur Topic:- “Know your Consumer”

Date : February 22, 2020

Guest Profile:-

Prof. (Dr.) Shrirang Altekar holds a Ph.D. in Consumer Behavior. He is also an alumnus of the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune, a top 10 B - School in India, from where he did his Master’s in Business Administration, with Marketing as his area of specialization. He has extensive knowledge of technical and non-technical areas of business and has been involved in running businesses at the strategic level. He comes with an industry background of 23 years. He has worked in a consulting, advisory, and learning and development capacity with several corporates in the FMCG, Insurance, Manufacturing, Chemical, Pharmaceutical, and Aviation Sectors. His love for academics and a desire to give back to his Alma Mater coincided with a planned shift to academics in 2006. Dr. Altekar also holds a degree in Law and was the Chairman of the Curriculum Evaluation Committee and the Academic Audit Committee of the Symbiosis International (Deemed University) for 2 years. He is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of General Management Research. Today, he heads Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, (the flagship brand of Symbiosis) in Nagpur. He holds additional charge of Symbiosis Centre for Management Studies, Nagpur as Officiating Director, and is also In-Charge of Symbiosis Centre for Corporate Education, Nagpur, and Symbiosis Centre for Skills Development, Nagpur.

Felicitation of Dr. Shrirang Altekar by Dr. K. P. Venugopala Rao, Deputy Director, SIBM Hyderabad

On March 04, 2020, the Marketing specialization students of Batch’19 were graced by Professor
(Dr.) Shrirang Altekar who conducted a workshop on “Know your consumer” in which he addressed the various aspects of a consumer’s behavior towards various goods and how organizations need to go above and beyond to know who their actual consumer is. He also made the students understand the various terminologies that students of marketing should be aware of. For instance, he gave a clear cut explanation on what's the difference between a consumer, customer, and buyer by conducting an activity with a few students taking shampoo as the product. He showed a dubbed video of “Munna Bhai'' in which Munna and circuit talk about why the customer is the king and the company is there just to fulfil their wishes. Organizations that value short term monetary gain over consumer satisfaction will take a hit in the long run. Along the lines of this discussion, Dr. Altekar mentioned how the brands need to pay close attention to what the customer wants and give their interests a priority. He elucidated the point that customers are the strength of any firm, as they are the ones who generate revenue for the company. Taking care of a customer ultimately leads to the financial growth of the firm; and hence the students were made to understand that the factor that drives a firm’s growth is to keep their customers close, unequivocally.

Dr. Altekar then discussed the History of the Retail markets; where the trends of the evolving Indian Consumers were discussed. In light of this, the students were taken back in time to understand how the retail practices began and briefed on how the consumers’ behavioral evolution is being shaped from buying at the "Mom-and-pop" stores to buying at the present day’s retail giants.

Dr. Altekar gave many anecdotes from his career as a marketer in the FMCG & airline industry on why it is imperative for organizations to ensure that their customers are never unhappy. He gave the example of how as a senior manager at Kingfisher he immediately solved an issue faced by a customer which resulted in the individual turning into a lifelong customer. Organizations should empower their front end staff to take care of problems that are faced by the customer to ensure that the customer is not left unsatisfied and develop a negative perception of the organization.  The cost of acquiring a new customer anywhere 3-25X more than retaining a customer.

Through his vast experience in the FMCG sector, Dr. Altekar shared the fact that a company needs to take care of the fact that their product is there in the shelf space and visible. Grabbing the attention of the customers is one of the most important aspects in retail as most of the products are low-value goods that a customer decides to buy once they see it, that’s why brands need to place their product at the eyesight level which is between 3.5 foot to 5 foot. Moreover, in this sector customers don’t try new things because of which brands should go one step ahead to keep the customer satisfied.

Dr. Altekar enlightened the students on how the perceptions of the customers about a brand are difficult to change. The session took its course with Dr. Altekar sharing with the students a real-life scenario; where a field study with his co-employee revealed the fact that the customers when accustomed to a Brand X, often show a certain level of hesitation to try out new brands. The study taken on the FMCG front proved that despite close similarities between the Brand X and the new brand, the customers were reluctant to try the new brand initially. This example was backed by the reasoning that brands play a huge role in shaping the perceptions of the customer and it becomes essential for them to take care of their customers.

The session ended with a fun and interactive session where Dr. Altekar engaged the students with a Quiz which was a simulation of the popular TV Show - “Kaun Banega Crorepati”; but with the questions being specific to the session conducted. During the quiz, the students were made into groups and were scored for their responses and finally, a winning team was announced. The entire 1-day session was one of its kind and the students had expressed their sincere gratitude to Dr. Shrirang Altekar for the highly impactful workshop.

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