Jamshedpur: What do the iPhone and Dettol have in common? You may scratch your head, but the answer is rather straightforward. Both these products know and understand their target audience inside out which has resulted in both becoming wildly popular items. In a world with shrinking attention spans and an ever-widening array of competitors and substitutes for every good and service, it is crucial for corporates to understand the nuances of consumer behaviour and capitalize on them to ensure the success of their offerings.
While there are several ways to elicit the needs and wants of the customer, it is always best to get it straight from the horse’s mouth. MAXI Fair, the brainchild of Dr Sharad Sarin of XLRI Jamshedpur, does exactly that. This mela-like event has been organized annually by the students of the Marketing Association of XLRI (MAXI) for the past 38 years to conduct consumer research. By collecting accurate and reliable customer data for the biggest names in the industry via digital games and contests, the students provide insights to corporates that are applied by the firms to improve live market products. With a 10,000-strong crowd descending upon the Fair-grounds from across the city of Jamshedpur across the two days of the Fair, companies would be hard-pressed to find a more willing target group of consumers to analyze.
At the heart of it all, MAXI Fair is a matchless opportunity for corporates to carry out disguised marketing research. The results eventually dictate several aspects of the final product – right from the packaging to the means of distribution employed. Previous editions have provided some brilliant insights to the research partners – for instance, a popular beverage company decided to implement packaging design changes based on MAXI Fair research whereas another FMCG firm also changed their business strategy to launch Nestea based on MAXI Fair’s results.
The effectiveness of this method of marketing research can also be seen from the fact that almost all of the premier b-schools across the country and some foreign universities as well have replicated this event to great success. Philip Kotler, the ultimate marketing guru, also showered praise on this innovative method of understanding consumer behaviour.
With research partners such as FMCGs, auto companies and consumer healthcare giants lining up to be part of the Fair and reposing their faith in the effectiveness of this method of analyzing consumer behaviour, MAXI Fair 2018 is keeping up with the times by going digital. Be it the queueing system being used to send people to the gaming tent or even the games being used to collect data for the research problems, MAXI Fair continues to evolve and stand the test of time. The latest edition is attempting to solve six research problems on January 13th and 14th, 2018 by involving close to 100 students of XLRI in the analyses. It would be interesting to see what results this year’s round of research throws up.