Last weekend, I invited Mr Sanjay Kao ( Card Business Director of Citibank Indonesia) to speak at my executive education workshop on “Rethinking Channel Management” held at Le Meridien Hotel, Jakarta.
Before he joined Citibank in 1995, Sanjay had previously worked for Unilever in India (Hindulever). As we know, Unilever is not only good in brand Management, famous for its brand portfolio, but also in its channel management.
From what I heard from him, there was no difference on how they managed the channels in Indonesia. Unilever-not many other consumer goods principals-can manage the distributors tightly and control the price and promotion at the retail level.
As an ex unilever guy, Sanjay Kao now wants to offer Citibank Card as an alternative, creative channel for any selective principals. He also convinced the workshop participants that EazyPay is a good channel, especially for something expensive, but can be installed. And that is fast. Without any special approval. Sure, because the card holders are approved before. It is really a win-win solution for customer principal-citibank.
Channel management itself is not a ‘flamboyant’ issues, like brand management or even product development. From my experience in running 10 executive 2 day workshop in year with various marketing topics, I know that the channel/distribution topic participants are typical “field people” no typical “MBA guys”
They tyipically don’t like too complicated concepts and figures. But they are typically experience “field warriors”
In fact, if a company is only focusing its energy on branding and products and forgetting to an efficient and effective channel management. It with surely fail.
Channel is our blood vessel. If it’s blocked, the blood will not flow. Thus, the company will get stroke or be dead.
Creative channel, like the one offered by Sanjay Kao is just like alternative blood vessel.