The Silk Market – Pure Marketing Genius

I just returned from a business trip to China.  By the way, no access to Google apps including Blogger, thus my absence from new posts over the last 2 weeks.  Anyways, my last stop before leaving was at the infamous Silk Market.  In days gone by, the merchants did purchase their silk here, but today you can buy just about anything your heart desires; shirts, shoes, souvenirs watches, leather, and most, shall we say, faux brand products imitating the likes of Prada, Rolex, Gucci, Polo, et al.

Why do I mention this place here on the Modern Marketing blog?  The Silk Market is a superior model for pure marketing genius.  All Modern Marketers could take a lesson or two from this business.

For a brief analysis, let’s take a look at their fundamentals:

  • Positioning Statement – a destination for tourists and locals where everyone can find the lowest prices on all types of fun products and have a fun time buying.
  • Value proposition – find the product you want at the lowest possible price and have a fun and unique, once-in-a-lifetime shopping experience
  • Product – product is the experience, not the actual products being sold although there is the allure of the faux branded products
  • Price – lowest price in the city depending on how good you can negotiate
  • Place – direct retail shopping at the market
  • Promotion – global word of mouth is enough for this outfit.  If  you go to Beijing, you’ll hear about it and want to visit.  If you visit, you will buy something.  Oh, and it’s all cash transactions, but don’t worry if you run out of cash, there are ATMs on every one of the 5 floors.

The position is defensible and difficult to imitate.  Barrier to entry is high.  They know the customer cold and will pull out all the stops in the price negotiation.   The shopkeepers are masters at influencing your purchase decision.

What a great case study for the next MBA marketing class!

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