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Marketing to India: The New Frontier for American Business

by Gunjan Bagla  |  
October 28, 2008

In 2007, American exports to India increased an astonishing 73.4% over the previous year. India is already among the top 20 trading partners for the United States and will rise to the top 10 in the next decade. Indian entrepreneurs have just begun unleash their prowess in an economy that began to liberalize in 1991, 13 years after China's did.

If you had any doubt in India's potential, the groundbreaking $1.2 billion deal between Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg and Indian billionaire Anil Ambani (worth $42 billion according to Forbes magazine), should get your attention. Ambani is investing $500 million to help Spielberg and friends make DreamWorks SKG a private, independent company again.

Marketing executives and entrepreneurs alike have rushed to China in the last decade. Yet, today, India offers an excellent, although somewhat misunderstood, alternative

As home to Asia's oldest stock market and the world's largest democracy, this country of 1.1 billion holds enormous profit potential for companies and executives alike. But only if they go in with the right attitude and an open mind.

Let me shatter some myths and then share a few nuggets from my many years of helping Americans win in India.

The Myths

Myth: There are 350 million middle-class Indians waiting to buy my goods and services.

Though the Indian government may legitimately claim that a third of its population is "middle-class" by its own standards, it's ridiculous to base a marketing plan on an imaginary 350 million Indians with single-family homes complete with white picket fences, 2.1 cars, and a dog.

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Gunjan Bagla is Managing Director of Amritt Inc., an American consulting firm which helps companies to succeed in India. His book Business in 21st Century India: How to Profit Today from Tomorrow's Most Exciting Market is published by Hachette's Business Plus.

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  • by Ranjan Tue Oct 28, 2008 via web

    This is an insightful article. Is it possible to talk to you outside this forum on possibilities of working together in India? My email address is Thanks.

  • by Rima Tue Oct 28, 2008 via web

    I found that article quete interesting, but I am not sure if it is that true. The most population in the US colleges are from India than any other contry's.

  • by Dr Dakshinamoorthy Kuppusami Wed Oct 29, 2008 via web

    It is exuberataed the need of the hour i.e. "with right attitude and open mind'. I feel that Indians are generally longing for external source rather develop thro'their indigeneous and to extend support for the development of their nation.

  • by AmEeRkOm Wed Oct 29, 2008 via web

    The most population in the US colleges are from India than any other contry's.
    i dont think so

  • by Rajesh Kumar Thu Oct 30, 2008 via web

    Interesting article. It is important to highlight another aspect of India - diversity. We are a multilingual country with food, dressing, art and culture varying every few hundred countries. That is what makes marketing in India a true challenge. The economic profile is just one aspect.

  • by Lieca Thu Oct 30, 2008 via web

    I currently started a distributorship in Inida, and I have to say there is so much potential within this country its quite exciting. I appreciate the insight this article brings considering our business relationship is still new and we are both still learning. I have already sent it to her as an FYI

  • by Urja Thu Oct 30, 2008 via web

    i think it has lots of potential considering the change in culture,,, from earn now and spend later to earn now and spend now...

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