Yesterday, June 30, was Ashadhi Ekadashi, and an article in the Marathi newspaper suggested that a new class of ‘bhakts’ of Lord Vitthal had made the pilgrimage difficult to manage.
A new segment of urban youngsters fascinated by an ancient pilgrimage had added substantially to the barefoot walkers.
This sparked a free-flowing conversation between two fairly close friends.
One of the advantages of being a Geminian like me is you are never short of a partner for conversation ;-)
This is how we (Kiran Khalap One and Kiran Khalap Two) recorded it.
KK One: “You think some people are born bhakts?”
KK Two: “Yes, that classification was recorded by William Sheldon according to somatotypes...Endomorph [viscerotonic], Mesomorph [somatotonic] and Ectomorph [cerebrotonic]
KK One: “What does that mean?”
KK Two: “Actually, this segmentation more or less corresponds to the ayurvedic segmentation, of vata, pitta and kapha...or the three paths jnana marga, bhakti marga and karma marga.”
KK One: “Just showing off irrelevant knowledge of various classifications doesn’t impress me...that way sunsigns, moonsigns, MBTI, Enneagrams can also be included...question is can marketers use these?”
KK Two: “I think so, especially in today’s connected world, where the Google’s and Facebooks are gathering data.”
KK One: “But even if a segment exists, how does a marketer reach that segment? They don’t necessarily congregate in one place?”
KK Two: “Self-selection, I guess. You know, one of the gurus in my village has positioned himself as the guru of a particular sub-caste. What do you think happens? By sheer social pressure, all people of that sub-caste follow him.”
KK One: “You believe tomorrow’s marketers will be able to focus on a segment of one?”
KK Two: “Yes. Like my sabjiwalla does...he knows I like a particular type of sabji available only in monsoon. Like my neighbourhood retailer does...keeping aside one particular fruit juice for me.
That’s what the e-commerce sites are doing: throwing up options based on my particular choice of books on humour or rock-climbing...it’s only a matter of never following cliches.”
KK One: “Like?”
KK Two: “ Like engaging customers means communicating with them.”
KK One: “It’s not?”
KK Two: “You engage with the unsolicited SMSs you get?”
KK One: “So it’s not the ability to segment or the ability to reach...”
KK Two: “No. It’s the ability to treat the customer as you wanted to be...as an individual”
KK One: “You think you know who will be the customer for this blog?”
KK Two: “Not as well as my sabjiwallah...but I guess she will be mainly a cerebrotonic ;-)