A Beginner's Guide to Indian Marketing
By Bridget Finn

(Business 2.0) – Cultural barriers, poor infrastructure, and government restrictions make even one of the world's fastest-growing economies a challenge. Here are the lessons of foreign pioneers that have positioned their companies to cash in on India's remarkable progress. -- BRIDGET FINN

--SCALE DOWN Americans snap up supersize containers at Costco, but Indians save cash by buying smaller quantities. Revlon reduced the size of its nail polish bottles and saw sales volume increase.

--PRICE FOR MASS APPEAL The average income for a middle-class Indian worker is just $1,200 a year. Phone equipment maker UTStarcom found that spending constraints trickle down: It had to design cheaper network switches to sell to local phone companies.

--TAILOR PRODUCTS TO INDIAN TASTES In most countries, Subway carries only one or two local-cuisine menu items, but in India, the franchise offers separate vegetarian counters and a specialized "Indian Delights" menu. It's opened 27 new stores since December 2001.

--LOCALIZE YOUR MESSAGE In the 1990s, Pepsi ran the same commercials in India that it aired elsewhere. But the brand didn't take off until it tapped local talent like Shahrukh Khan, India's biggest box-office star, and Sachin Tendulkar, a hugely popular cricket batsman.

--FIND A GOOD PARTNER India's fragmented distribution channels present a challenge to foreign companies. Tap into booming local chains like Foodworld, Pantaloon, and Shopper's Stop, which offer access to India's middle class.