Marketing gurus of a lesser God

They are under the constant, vigilant eyes of the civic authorities. They have no air-conditioned banquet halls, no laptops or software to present their marketing skills. Yet, they successfully rise above conventional marketing formulae by simply and effectively using their voice box. They may commonly be named as ‘street marketeers’.

Street marketeers understand the pulse and preferences of buyers and in an amplified voice, they present their products. Of course, they even sing jingles like the way Kishore Kumar did with ‘surma mera nirala’ or the way erstwhile comedian Johny Walker did with ‘sarjo zara chakraye’. Scout around the market and you can hear an apple seller yelling, “Fukat…fukat…fukat…colour ka paisa, maal fukat” (pay for the colour, fruit comes free)…. a ‘freebie’ offer interestingly manifested with an echo! One of the most innovative selling ideas came from a pen seller at Churchgate railway station, Mumbai. He came out with a novel idea of giving ‘warranty cards’ for his pens. He sold his pen at a meager cost of Rs. 3 and his warranty card attracted the multitude including white-collared executives! He played on his foresight that even if his pen malfunctioned, no buyer would come all the way to Churchgate to return it.

The ‘exchange your oldies’ concept is something which prevailed long ago among the clan of ‘Bhandi walahs’ (dealers in utensils) who exchanged utensils for old clothes. They keep frequenting our streets even now. Marketing schools continue to mushroom every day not without exorbitant fees and it’s doubtful whether a graduate from such schools could match the skills of a street marketeer.

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