Straight from the Specialists
(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)
Let’s cut out all the marketing jargon and adspeak. Consumers (that means people, you and me) try to buy rationally, on price – it’s cheaper, on quality – it lasts longer, on service – they won’t let you down when things go wrong. And sometimes it is genuinely possible to make rational choices when we buy things. Mostly though it isn’t anymore, because products and services are increasingly similar in their rational characteristics. If they are poorer quality or more expensive than a direct competitor, they die.
What’s the difference between the fuel from Bharat Petroleum, Indian Oil and Hindustan Petroleum, in price, quality and service? There isn’t any. So the only rational choice for us is which is the most convenient fuel station.
With fuel, you don’t even get the illusion of rational choice, but in most sectors there is a bit of an effort. Mobile phone operators fight over price, so-called levels of service and special offers of equipment all mixed up with tariffs. And we consumers jump from one to another in a rather dissatisfied kind of way.