Tareq Aziz, Head of Marketing Communications (Cx-1), Partex Star Group

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DOORS TO THE FUTURE

Partex is reshaping the benchmark of living

Designing a Standard
There is no doubt that the demand for furniture is escalating due to an increase in disposable income. But we can’t overlook another salient reason behind the increasing demand for furniture- the improvement in the standard of Bangladeshi people’s lifestyle. The key reason behind the upgrade in lifestyle is the growing use of Satellite TV and Digital media especially, Facebook and YouTube. Therefore, furniture is no longer a mere necessity- it is now a product that defines people’s standard of living. Here, we are basically focusing on differentiating Partex Furniture from its competitors. Most of the furniture brands in Bangladesh are focusing on a single kind of lifestyle, i.e., either contemporary or traditional. But taking the customers’ preferences into consideration, we are producing and retailing, contemporary, fusion & urbanology furniture, in addition to traditional furniture. New design is another factor that we are considering for making our brand distinct, as it is one of the key purchase drivers in the furniture industry. We have a dedicated product development team led by a foreign designer. They are working constantly to generate new design ideas and present newly designed furniture to the customers. Partex Furniture has introduced more than 60 new furniture in the market in 2019 alone.

Customizing to Customer Taste
Most of the furniture we sale are ready-made furniture. There are a few customers who want to customize their furniture, especially the upholstery of sofas and chair. We have placed an album of fabric swatches at our retail outlets so that a customer can buy furniture with their preferred upholstery.

I should inform you that Partex Furniture also provides total interior decoration solution for both corporate and Individual HouseHold (IHH). We have a dedicated team for that. Basically, we offer customized furniture when we provide total interior decoration solution.

Fire Safety through Partex Fire Doors
Partex Fire Door is the only UL (Underwriters Laboratories) certified fire door that is being manufactured in Bangladesh. UL certified Fire Door means that all of its components are UL certified. Therefore, it is obvious that the quality and fire resistance properties of Partex Fire Door are far better than any non-UL certified brand, and at least on a par with any imported UL certified fire door brand. But the additional benefits that a customer gets for buying Partex Fire Door are that we ensure on-time delivery and a quality after-sales service. Thus, we have got an excellent response from the market.

The price of any fire-proof product is much higher compared to any ordinary product due to high production cost. Therefore, it would be unrealistic to regularize the use of fire-proof furniture in offices, since it will increase overhead cost and is unfeasible at times. Rather, government authorities should impose a regulation of using required fire safety measures (especially fire exits, fire extinguishers, and fire doors) at all offices, factories and high-rise buildings.

The Rise of Partex Fire Doors
Till date the demand for Fire Door is highest in the Garments Manufacturing sector, because the use of Fire Door has been made obligatory by the buyers. Due to some fire-related incidents that have occurred recently, the demand for Fire Door is also rising in the textile sector, industrial sector, housing sector and offices. Personal selling plays a primary role in marketing the Fire Door to the institutional sector. In addition to this, advertisements in business segment of daily newspapers, business magazines, direct mail, and trade fairs are effective platforms for traditional marketing. Advent of digital media has made it easier to reach specific target groups. The use of SMS, Viber and LinkedIn is playing a very effective role in case of digital media.

Prompt and prepared
Proliferation of TV Channels, Radio Station and Newspapers has fragmented viewers, listeners and readers. Therefore, reaching target groups using traditional media has become costlier. On the contrary, reaching a specific target group using social media becomes simple and cost effective. Because, in the case of social media, audiences can be filtered according to their demography, geography, psychography and occupation.

In Bangladesh, people who have smartphones/ TV/ notepads/ laptops/ desktops and internet connection like to spend most of their spare time using social networks (especially Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter) rather than watching TV, listening to the radio and reading newspapers/magazines. So, the opportunity to see (OTS) of any ad is high on social media.
Social networking sites allow us to interact and deal with our customers on a personal level, which eases the process of providing and receiving feedback. We are observing that the customers prefer relaying their complaints and queries through direct messages on Facebook pages over calling directly. This is helping us provide prompt service and connect with prospective buyers. When our brand gets involved in conversations on social networking sites, customers view it as welcoming, responsive and accessible. This type of exposure positively influences how we are perceived and makes customers more receptive to the information that we share.

Globally, as well as in Bangladesh, Marcomm expenditure on social media is increasing gradually. Likewise, we are gradually shifting our focus to social media for marketing communications. But it is also realistic that we cannot ignore traditional media totally. Because there are still plenty of people who do not use social media, and it is much harder to get someone’s attention with a Facebook post then it is to get someone’s attention with a newspaper ad. So, in case of selecting media mix for any marketing channel, we should take into consideration the nature of the product and profile of target customers and their media habits.

Digitalization is the Future
Bangladesh has made a lot of progress in digitalization, but we still have a long way to go. I personally see plenty of changes in consumer behavior due to digitalization. One of the key changes is the method of payment. Customers now prefer to pay cashless using e-wallet. Another change in customers’ behaviour is that now customers seek information from different sources, particularly website and social media prior to buying any product (specially household durable). Customers also prefer to buy online, although lack of trust is the prime hindrance in growth of e-commerce industry in Bangladesh. But I believe digitalization is the future of Bangladesh.

Be Determined, Dedicated and Devoted
The market is very competitive and it is not that easy to differentiate oneself from the others. So, I would suggest that the young marketers gather in-depth knowledge about the products, competitors and customers’ insight. This will facilitate them to differentiate their brands, which is persuasive, relevant and credible to consumers. In addition to this, for young marketing professionals’ future in career and career growth, I would like to advise them to be determined, dedicated and devoted toward their responsibilities.

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