by Romi Mahajan
I have an idea for a budding market research genius; you can make a mark and make a ton of money if you do this one right.
Use your predictive skills to see which large consumption trends in the US and in Western Europe will translate to the Indian market, given the specificities and vicissitudes of one of the last hyper-local, hyper-specific markets in the world. Couple this with trends that are sustainable and don’t come at huge environmental and social cost.
Sounds like a “duh” proposition doesn’t it? The fact is, however, that not all things work everywhere but some do. Finding those that do and putting your investment wood behind those arrows is the genius of great entrepreneurship. And every great entrepreneur is driven by some combination of guts and data. MR can play a great role in combining the two, and powering innovation in places like India.
I’ll never forget a discussion I had with a US entrepreneur when I was living in Bombay in 1995. He said, “Hey Romi I bet you could set up espresso bars in India…I’ll provide the capital and high-end Italian machinery, you just make it work.” I balked. I was a kid with little know-how and was daunted. I was also skeptical. Little did I know that Café Coffee Day would become a nationwide chain raking in profits and helping create a real coffee culture in parts of India. An idea that worked—and worked big!
What remains to be seen is an analysis of the ideas that don’t take off. The ones in which lazy entrepreneurs simply copy wholesale an idea they see in the US without adjusting to the nuances, price sensitivities, or other proclivities of the Indian consumer.
If anyone has research on that, I’d love to see it. Please share!
Businesses are hard to build. Predictive MR can be a brilliant foundation, however, on which to create what I call “translation businesses,” in which a global idea is morphed into local genius.