Jagdish Sheth predicts economic invasion of India by US

Dr Jagdish N ShethMumbai: The Advertising Club, Bombay, organised a fascinating presentation, sponsored by Orange, on ''Marketing Convergence and its Implications for Advertising Agencies and Clients'' by Dr Jagdish N Sheth for a distinguished gathering of advertising and media professionals at Hotel Oberoi yesterday.

Sheth resides in Atlanta where he serves as the Charles H Kellstadt professor of marketing at Goizueta Business School at Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Sheth is a consultant to numerous companies in the US, Europe and Asia. His clients include AT&T, Ernst & Young, Ford, GE, Motorola, 3M, Whirlpool and many others. Sheth is also a prolific writer.

The main thrust of his presentation was to highlight the emerging convergence of technologies across media. He advocated the adoption by advertising agencies of an integrated marketing communications approach to their clients, so that new media options could be used optimally. He gave one example of a giant retailer in the US launching its own TV channel to establish direct-to-customer links with thousands of viewers through set-top-boxes linked through a 500-channel conditional access system (CAS).

A major retailer will launch such a dedicated channel in India within one year, he said. Another example was of a new, powerful software which identifies, on a real-time basis, the appropriate and exact moment to air a particular TV commercial during an on-air TV programme. This does away with the need to book time-slots in advance. One more example was of the use of SMS-broadcast in a shopping mall to invite passing shoppers, within the mall, to participate in special, time-bound product sales or promotions.

He stressed that the mobile phone of today will become the multimedia-communicator of tomorrow and will trigger the development of unique methods of communicating advertising messages directly to consumers.

He also predicted the "economic invasion" of India by the US, resulting in huge investments and corporate takeovers and mergers. American policy, he said, will henceforth be driven by a perception that the inevitable and swift development of China as a future ''superpower'' needs to be countered by getting as close as possible to India, as soon as possible.