Some Work, Some Play: Marketing, The XL Way

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 thereare several ways to elicit the needs and wants of the customer, it is alwaysbest to get it straight from the horse’s mouth. MAXI Fair, the brainchild of DrSharad Sarin of XLRI Jamshedpur, does exactly that. This mela-like event hasbeen organized annually by the students of the Marketing Association of XLRI(MAXI) for the past 38 years to conduct consumer research. By collectingaccurate and reliable customer data for the biggest names in the industry viadigital games and contests, the students provide insights to corporates thatare applied by the firms to improve live market products. With a 10,000-strongcrowd descending upon the Fair-grounds from across the city of Jamshedpuracross the two days of the Fair, companies would be hard-pressed to find a morewilling target group of consumers to analyze. 

At the heartof it all, MAXI Fair is a matchless opportunity for corporates to carry outdisguised marketing research. The results eventually dictate several aspects ofthe final product – right from the packaging to the means of distributionemployed. Previous editions have provided some brilliant insights to theresearch partners – for instance, a popular beverage company decided toimplement packaging design changes based on MAXI Fair research whereas anotherFMCG firm also changed their business strategy to launch Nestea based on MAXIFair’s results. 

Theeffectiveness of this method of marketing research can also be seen from thefact that almost all of the premier b-schools across the country and someforeign universities as well have replicated this event to great success.Philip Kotler, the ultimate marketing guru, also showered praise on thisinnovative method of understanding consumer behaviour. 

With research partners such as FMCGs,auto companies and consumer healthcare giants lining up to be part of the Fairand reposing their faith in the effectiveness of this method of analyzingconsumer behaviour, MAXI Fair 2018 is keeping up with the times by goingdigital. Be it the queueing system being used to send people to the gaming tentor even the games being used to collect data for the research problems, MAXIFair continues to evolve and stand the test of time. The latest edition isattempting to solve six research problems on January 13th and14th, 2018 by involving close to 100 students of XLRI in theanalyses. It would be interesting to see what results this year’s round ofresearch throws up.

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