Tata Chemicals has decided on a shift in its marketing strategy for Tata Salt. It now plans to sell the product, which is a market leader, as a fast moving consumer good (FMCG) rather than a mere commodity. It has set up an entirely dedicated team for the purpose, and the new initiative will also include other branded salt products such as the low-end salt ‘Samundar’. B Sudhakar, head, corporate HR and administration at Tata Chemicals, said: "Tata Chemicals will now be marketing Tata Salt on its own. We will be launching new branded products in the future and therefore, to combat the competition from FMCG players, we will have to take the FMCG route of marketing our products even if we are not an FMCG company."
The marketing and distribution of Tata Salt was earlier outsourced. The company used to market the product through Vardhaman Chemicals. But this deal was severed in November last year. Now Tata Chemicals will market the salt on its own, in an effort to increase in volumes by way of sales and retain its majority market share. Their other branded product, Samundar, is being test marketed in Tamil Nadu and is witnessing "growing volumes". Having decided to go aggressive on the marketing strategy, the company also plans to induct people with the FMCG background to market products.
"Apart from this, the existing marketing team will be given an FMCG orientation," said Sudhakar. It has already hired about 20 people in the last four months from an FMCG background in order to go up against other companies selling branded salt. The company also plans to hire another 10 people by June for the same marketing initiative. "We are giving special training programmes for these salespersons," Sudhakar said. Tata Chemicals has also set up a task force in order to retain its majority share and to increase the sales of Tata Salt.
Tata Salt was relaunched in October 2001 with additional emphasis on the purity factor with its vacuum packing. The brand is believed to be growing at about 10 per cent per year. The test marketing of its low prices brand Samundar is still on and when it will be launched fully is yet to be decided.