I’m heading to India for the first time next Tuesday — for two weeks.  I’m going with other Kellogg faculty on a faculty-only study trip, with stops in New Delhi, Bombay, and Bangalore.  

Follow us also on the Kellogg India blog at:

http://kelloggfacultystudytriptoindia.wordpress.com/

Our schedule is chock-a-block full of visits to top Indian companies, including ones like Infosys (think business process outsourcing) and The Future Group (the largest organized retail business in India).  I’ll stay on a couple of extra days at the end to visit the Indian School of Business in Bangalore.  Then, back home in time for Christmas!

My goals in going are to learn as much as I can about the Indian economy, business, and culture; and to try to establish some new avenues for developing research projects and teaching materials that will broaden my focus more to emerging markets issues and insights.

My conjecture going into this is that there are a lot of best practices in business, and in distribution, already in place in emerging markets.  The reason is that constraints in these markets — on consumer mobility, income, and information; on availability of infrastructure to grease the wheels of commerce; and from government restrictions, all force market players to be more nimble than they might need to be in a more well-developed market and consumer place.  We’ll see if I still believe my conjecture after this trip!

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This is my first blog post and the first to this particular blog.  I’m a marketing professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.  My main interests are in the structure and management of routes to market (aka distribution channels); sales force compensation, structure, and management; and pricing.  You can find out more about me at my webpage at Kellogg:

http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/Faculty/Directory/Coughlan_Anne.aspx

I’m running my “Distribution Channel Management: Bridging the Sales and Marketing Divide” course at the Allen Center at Kellogg this week.  It’s an executive education course, open to managers from around the world; participants from 9 different countries are here this week, which is great.  If you are interested in this course, see more information about it at this URL:

http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/execed/Programs/CHANNEL.aspx

So, what’s on my mind in the realms of routes to market, distribution, and sales force?  A few things:

  • How to solve distribution problems in emerging markets — by finding new “best practices” that the first world may not yet know about
  • How to marry microfinance insights and interests with building new market presence and sales
  • How to compensate key account managers and why they are different from either field salespeople or sales managers
  • What’s going to happen to paper-based publishing, and what its effects will be on authors, academics, and the academic career management process

As solutions or other ideas occur to me on these or related topics, I’ll bring them here.

Cheers for now.