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Web Trends in 2014


While the world is waiting for another new year and standing at the doorstep of 2014 continuously worrying about the new strategies of businesses to counter forthcoming challenges Mr. David Lee King nicely portrayed some of the trends which are going to impact the web world 2014.

From slack waters to tsunami! – Traditional Marketing and New Age Marketing: Striking The Right Balance


Name: Seerat Jangda

Institute: IIM-Lucknow

From slack waters to tsunami!

True to the maxim by Philip Kotler- “Marketing takes a day to learn. Unfortunately, it takes a lifetime to master”; all the companies try to achieve the best of the marketing practices in this vicious world. If one looks at marketing approaches adopted by firms in particular, they are going through a phase of rapid changes. Though the Traditional Marketing channels like TV, print media, radio, outdoor etc. are still active and prominent in marketing communications, the presence of the Internet and more specifically, Social Media Networking has revolutionized the way individuals and business enterprises communicate.

While relatively newer channels do work and have the potential of increasing a company’s customer base, the replacement of  traditional marketing with the latest marketing channels can prove to be a wrong decision altogether. Traditional methods are tried and tested models which have a higher probability of being successful. If we look at newer marketing techniques for e.g., Internet: The usage of internet is limited to those who have access to an online medium. By the use of traditional marketing, anyone who possesses a Radio/TV or has a subscription of a newspaper, mail service can be aware of your product/service offerings. Comparing the various traditional media used, one could find the trends in the same over the recent years.

Television: The revenue model of the television industry is the advertising one. The industry was predicted to be INR 306.5 billion in 2010 exhibiting a growth of 15.4% over 2009. We see that the broadcasters are rebranding themselves in order to establish greater connect with younger audiences. The regional channels are increasing their share in TV advertising too. The issues in the television industry are: The complete digitization is still a distant dream for stakeholders.

There is a high cost of production of content. We do not have substantially good enough measurement tools for measuring viewership.

Print: The industry was projected to be INR 178.7 billion in 2010 manifesting a growth of 10.7% over 2009 numbers. There is a growing trend of hyper localization in the print media, thus considering a more targeted approach. This is because the consumers have shorter attention spans and are bombarded with ads across multiple channels.

We also see unbundling of products by the major players to increase profitability. The issues in print industry include high and fluctuating newsprint costs. The higher ad: edit ratio in newspapers order to make higher profits, which is not liked by the consumers. The online format of newspaper is expected to continue to increase. Magazines continue to suffer from lack of measurement tools. There is lack in measurement of “response” from print ads as well. There is no measurement tool by which we can measure the response from print ads, making it more difficult for publishers.

Radio: The industry was predicted to be INR 10.8 billion in 2010 displaying a growth of 20.0% over 2009. We see an increase in advertising spend on radio by telecom players and handset manufacturers like Samsung. An increase in FM-enabled mobile handsets is driving radio growth in India. The issues in this industry is similar to that of print and TV, lack of measurement tools. And the major one being, the royalty payment between music companies and the radio industry.

Outdoor:  The outdoor industry, which is highly unorganized, was approximated to be INR 14 billion in 2010 manifesting a growth of 12.0% over 2009. The major advertisers for outdoor media include Telecom, BFSI, E&M and FMCG. Digital outdoor screen, focusing on quality, is the upcoming innovation in the industry. We still see lack of quality in this medium, and a lack of measurement mechanism remains a challenge. Innovations such as digital screens and customization are the keys to outdoor industry growth in India.

Internet: The industry was projected to be INR 7.7 billion in 2009 exhibiting a growth of 28.3% over 2008. We see an increase in internet users in rural India. The usage of social media, which is an important form of online advertising, is increasing too.

“Pay Per Click” and similar other models coming up for advertising. There are good amount of measurement tools in online industry but a lack of trust exists regarding online transactions. There exists ‘Indian wariness’ in online shopping.

 

Let we delve into the fact that what do we exactly want from our ad, whether it is by traditional methods or by newer marketing methods. We, as business owners, want a “Response” from the ad from our existing/potential customers. Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning become important to elicit response. Going through this process of STP allows a business owner to formulate a marketing strategy that connects company, brand and product benefits to specific customer market segments. Response can be elicited by giving offers/coupons/schemes- direct response, and response can also be in terms of brand equity. By building a brand image/equity, we expect an indirect/intangible form of response from our clients/customers. If one compares different traditional media, Print and Radio are generally used for the category -direct response driven ads- to convey some offers/schemes and similar things. This “calls for an action” by the customers. Sales promotions and discounts, referrals are used as a “pull” strategy by companies. Using these strategies, the business owner tries to create a demand for that particular product and thus retailers would be inclined to seek out the product and stock it on their shelves and thus increasing the revenue for the owner.

Television and outdoor media is generally used to create brand equity i.e. for eliciting indirect response. This classification is due to the fact that the market is segmented according to the customers, who go for sales due to offers and other segment, which is driven by brand equity. Brand awareness is a “push” strategy, which places the brand/product in front of the customer, via a form of an advertisement so as to make sure the consumer is aware of the existence of the product.

The changes in government regulation, privatization, globalization, internationalization, advances in IT, and the role of manufacturers as service providers have modified the face of marketing. A question to ponder here is why do we see the skewed growth towards the e-marketing approaches/service marketing? Wish to keep a secret? I bet you can’t. In an era of IT enabled processes, you cannot keep confidentiality intact, there is always leaking out of information. We need to be quick and efficient both at the same time. This is the sole agenda of doing business, now be it in marketing, operations or finance. Traditional marketing concentrated on the 4P’s i.e. Price, Product, Place and Promotion, though this adapted into 7P’s gradually with time. People, Process, Physical Evidence were added to the list. Let us examine what lead to the need of 7P’s. This is probably due to the fact that services are somewhere different w.r.t to the products. This is one of the reasons which calls for new techniques of marketing.

We see an upcoming trend of service marketing. If I were to draw a line between products and services, the first thing which is the most important is the timing. The real time nature of delivery of services is unique to itself. Either one takes the physical presence of the person into account or the speedy process people want to see in services, both are novel to services. For example, repairing a dysfunctional gadget, financial services from a bank, or preparing a legal document. If this takes more than the expected time, this causes ‘consumer dissonance’, which is an uncomfortable feeling and usually leads to the customer take his money elsewhere or experiencing remorse over the purchase. The post purchase services form an important part of customer relationship management.  For example, many auto dealers have service outlets to repair vehicle and offer free safety inspections of vehicles purchased through the dealerships for the entire life of the cars.

Let’s take an example of a bank. To enhance its service delivery, it wants to contact its customers via email, internet, phone, ATMs rather than the customers physically coming to the bank.  For this, the bank wants to know why people don’t use certain delivery option for certain tasks. Suppose people would withdraw money from an ATM but would not like to deposit money at an ATM. For depositing the money, one would want the “physical evidence” of the 7P’s. With this idea in mind, we can see a lot of adaptation in the service industry especially food, where customers can have a peek at the backstage activities. One example is Mad Over Donuts, where one could see his/her favorite donut being prepared. Similarly, this can be extended to car repair facilities where the service operations are fully visible through glass windows. However, many of these backstage activities could be boring for some customers. Still, to have an impact upon the customer, this seems a viable option catering to the 7th P.

The aforesaid points have been discussed with respect to customer. The other half with complements the entire services process is ‘people’ i.e. the employees providing the service. If you are into a hospitality business, tourism industry, banking, employees in your organization and their behavior towards the customers defines you. Relationship with the seller is a major driver for purchase as the products is intangible.

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If we have a look at the purchasing decision process for a customer, we see there is a difference between the traditional approach of marketing and the new age marketing. For traditional advertising methods, a basic purchase decision has four typical stages: awareness, interest, desire and action (AIDA Model) Awareness: With the space full of advertisements, your ad needs to be quick to snap up people’s attention. Using different fonts, images, cartoons that will catch the reader’s attention and make him stop and read what you have to say next. Interest: After getting the attention from your target audience, you need to engage them so that they’ll want go into more detail. Desire: As you’re building the interest of the reader, you need to help them too understand how what you’re offering can help them in a real way. Their basic need should be fulfilled. The main way of doing this is by appealing to their personal needs and wants. Action: Finally, be very clear about what action you want your readers to take. However in the light of modern Marketing Communication, it has much broader scope, i.e. short and precise communication style, heavy involvement of social communication, greater ability and keenness to gain product/services information.  Customer involvement has increased a lot due to this new trend showing up. The customers are now able to peer through corporate walls. As a result, the relationship between the firm and its customers is changing dramatically. Expectations of the end customer are increasing. He wants better products and services, more options and worthy products, more value for money.

This raises the question: Does the traditional marketing mix no longer apply in the modern digital age? It is true that the digital marketing helps small enterprises to participate in global markets as it is an economical and viable option of marketing. Lowering of inventory by JIT production, IT enabled processes, reduced paper work and reduced costs are some of the clear benefits of new age marketing. Applying porter’s five force model to online industry:

1. Threat of New entrants: Social media has almost negligible entry barriers, making it unattractive for the incumbent. Score: 2

2. Threat of Substitutes: The threat of substitutes is weak.  Substitutes in this industry are considered as the more traditional marketing channels like, print and TV.  So, attractiveness for incumbent is more. Score: 4

3. Bargaining power of buyers: There is a moderate amount of buyer power in this industry. With switching costs of buyers as really low, buyers have good bargaining power. Revenue is generated by their advertisements.  This business model gives control to the buyers who use those services and “click” on those advertisements. Score: 2

4.  Bargaining power of suppliers: Supplier power in this industry is strong. Servers are a main component of companies that work in the internet and services business and they rely heavily on suppliers to provide them with good quality, great speed, reliable, and energy efficient machines.  This makes it attractive for incumbent, giving it an attractiveness of 4.

5. Threat of Rivalry: Rivalry in this industry is moderate. With technology always changing, new products are being introduced and it is creating a more competitive landscape with rivalry increasing. Score: 3

Analyzing the Online marketing from the Porter’s five forces model we see that the attractiveness for the incumbent is Moderate (3). (1 means highly unattractive for incumbent and 5 being the highly attractive for the incumbent.)

Let’s see this from the eyes of the customer, online shopping is perceived to be relatively convenient and efficient than traditional shopping. Easier access to a good amount of information about price and product offerings of alternative suppliers makes the shopping experience of the customers enriching. Moreover, their search costs of obtaining the information decreases drastically. Switching costs for these customers is almost zero, as participation in electronic marketplaces does not require large investments of time or skill. This reduces the market power of sellers even more.

Though the digital revolution has taken place, barriers to electronic marketplaces still persist. Due to these barriers, the e market space hasn’t appealed the masses.

Many Internet users still perceive higher risk associated with making payments through credit card over the Internet. When we visit a retail outlet./showroom/mall for shopping, we look for a kind of socialization which is lacking in the e-market place. Other facilities like easy return, alterations, customizations, alteration issues cannot be dealt with during online shopping.  We cannot ignore that the fact that the Indian customer is still uncomfortable with shopping online because of the ‘Indianism’ attached with shopping, i.e. having the look and feel of the product before purchase.

I believe that the digital revolution is not the only right option at hand, there has to be an appropriate mix of both digital and traditional marketing approach. If we have a closer look at the upcoming trend of using data analytics and technology to solve business problems, although this seems to be a good solution but isn’t always the feasible one. There is a “digital ocean” which we see in terms of huge data, which possibly is not the only solution. This “big data” has given the firms immense opportunities in terms of email, phone number, and other internet options to contact the customer. This “big data” can be helpful in a number of ways for the firms, provided the firms interpret this huge quantity of data in a meaningful sense. Navigating through this digital ocean to get a clear picture of customers is very difficult indeed because of the volume and variety being too high. This has made the job of the managers even tougher. They have to analyze more data, make sense of such a data and engage with more demanding customers, while following organization’s culture. This reminds me of an example- Harrah’s entertainment Case, in which Harrah’s has 26 casinos in 13 states, makes $4 billion in sales in 2000 and it is one of hundreds of casinos on the Vegas strip but the problem is: How to attract visitors to come and spend money at your casino, and have them come again and again? The possible solution could be:  CRM (Customer Relationship Management) using Customer Databases. Each visitor gets a smart card and swipes their card at every game, restaurant, gift shop etc. In return for logging activities, they get free hotel rooms, dinners etc. We are essentially looking for patterns in the data to find out what visitors do, when, how long, etc. Data Access & Analysis in this case could led to information & knowledge like- Who are best customers (age)? Game played most often? Do they stay in the hotels? Prefer chips or free room with steak dinner? Data analysis can have a big payoff in such a case. Data analysis involves: Collecting vast amounts of data, Organizing/Storing vast amounts of data, Access/Analysis of the data for better marketing and corporate decisions, Continuous collection of fresh data (because people, environments, culture changes)

Inculcating unconventional marketing techniques along with the traditional ones is an effective way to grow in business. There should be a promotion mix instead of sticking to one medium in order to have the maximum coverage. Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) is to be used.

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Whether it is traditional or new age marketing, one needs to be careful about: The Target Group, Have a Compelling feature about your product/offering. You should have either of the two strategies in order to succeed, either a differentiation strategy or a low cost leadership so as to capture the market. Although it is difficult to implement both the strategies at the same time, but if done it carves into the best cost strategy, which can be of great help. Ideally, there should be a mix of online and traditional media for marketing because there are always some products, where the touch, look, feel is more important than anything else. High involvement products like vehicles, property, need a lot of time in decision making about buying them or not. So, new age marketing should complement and not replace traditional marketing. Nevertheless, traditional marketing is here to stay.

References:

www.blinkered.co.uk

http://homebusiness.about.com/od/marketingadvertising/a/Types-Of-Marketing-Traditional-And-Internet.htm

http://marketingpassionmarketing.blogspot.in/2009/05/philip-kotler-said-marketing-takes-day.html

www.forbes.com/sites/davelavinsky/2013/03/08/is-traditional-marketing-still-alive

http://www.perfectmediagroup.co.uk/FRS/our-services.html

http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/global-entertainment-media-outlook/data-insights.jhtml

www.durhamcreatives.co.uk

THE EYES OF MARKETING – Do you have it?


Why marketing needs THE EYES?

Starting from the very first day of marketing, which might be initiated on the day the first wheel had been sold, the world of business has evolved in all the aspects. Today each small aspect of business changes in a whisker of time. So is the marketplace. No product has a guaranteed long term value. Neither a company nor a brand can sit idle and enjoy the success they are cherishing today and bound to be busy in making next strategy for the uncertainty they may face tomorrow. In this constantly changing marketplace and altering consumer behaviour it is very hard to set a certain process to gain success and stop strategizing. Moreover with this shifting environment competition is getting tougher every day.  The relentless up gradation and innovation of new technologies and solutions adding fuel to this war of existence in the market for the businesses. Needless to say the work for the marketers at present is no more limited to sketch a plan and supplying the same to the sales team but they have to be more active, knowledgeable, responsive and energetic to decipher the combination of problems to get the business on right track.

At present the Marketing Team should not get restricted to create only Customer focused plans but they also have to come up with the innovative strategies through which they can beat the shrewd tactics of the contenders. To accomplish that they have to ponder over the three aspects of present competitions listed below:

Picture1

If we revisit the early 90’s we notice there were major companies who used to have one strong category in their product mix and used to raise most of their profit from that and relished a hefty market share creating almost a monopoly. They used to face only two to five competitors who were feeble in either monetary strength or unclear about the market environment or had a dearth of knowledgeable management with strong strategy.

In reverse today the scenario has completely transformed in last few years. Consider the Indian market at present. We can see brands like Britannia is constantly getting challenged by Parle and ITC. Airtel and Vodafone constantly fighting with their new offers or advertisements. Micromax and Karbonn is coming forward in mobile segment to challenge Samsung or Nokia through their marketing strategies. In one word competition is getting fierce in each and every industry and all the companies are taking full advantages of the available Marketing Metrics to attract new customers and to cement their place in consumer-mind for a longer duration.

All the businesses want to be ahead by some steps from the nearest competitor or want to reach some steps closer to the competitor ahead. But that is not possible if there exists a little gap in the whole process. It’s always tough to rise while people are waiting there for one to slip and to crush him to reach a higher position. This is why the businesses need the “Eyes of Marketing” to succeed in this cut – throat competition (Figure 1).

What are the eyes?

Eyes are integral part of a human being for vision. Similarly the marketing team in a business needs a vision to aim for. For a marketing team the two elements of vision are:

  •   Revenue (in turn Profit) Generation &
  •   Sustainability

–        The core aim of a business in current market scenario.

There is no sense of running a business which is incapable of generating revenues and fetch profits from the market. Without revenues a business will never be able of fulfilling its basic needs such as paying salaries to employees, upgrading itself through Research and Development, filling the government regulations like taxes and will not be able to prove its worth to the customers resulting a downfall and gradually closure of the company.

In present market with fierce competition the main aim of any business is to sustain the fight and continuing to be in profit. If it lacks strategy to sustain, other companies will crush it and clinch off its business resulting a massive setback for the company which can result in complete shutdown. So a company should regularly exercise its marketing strategy to be up-to-the-mark in market ensuring its long run regardless of the competition.

So the question is how can we achieve the vision of the eyes of marketing?

For this we need to see the problems with a clearer vision using a component just like spectacles provide our eyes with. The most two important steps for “Marketing Spectacles” (Figure 2) are:

  •   Market Analysis
  •   Marketing Strategy Building

A proper Market Analysis provides us with multiple useful data including Consumer Behaviour, Competitor Analysis, Retail issues, Sales issues etc.

Building the correct Marketing Strategy is not only the remedy of all the problems but the instrument for bolstering the future of the business also.

So if we fit these elements of the spectacles properly over our eyes the vision will get cleared and we can achieve what we want to see in our business.

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How to use the spectacles?

Often we notice a company is trying to turn up with a new product and as soon as the product passes all the preliminary tests it is released in the market only to raise the eyebrows of the existing competitors. The sole aim is to infiltrate the target market with pace to lure the customers by the new product leaving the existing rivals in total disarray. Before discussing the “Marketing Spectacles” we will watch out for these three scenarios when new competitor enters the market:

1. Strong existing companies: How can it protect its product consumption and increase intake of the same overriding the new products to play for a longer time?

2. Weak existing companies: How can it protect the few customers and its constant revenue to save itself from getting eliminated?

3. New companies: How can it hit the market so hard that all other companies gets thrashed away? How can it sustain in the market for a long time?

These scenarios are mentioned to give an idea on the thinking process of the companies so that it will be easy to understand how the tools of “Marketing Spectacles” can solve the different needs of the companies – new or existing.

Picture2

Market Analysis: With various efficient tools in reach companies are in a better position than ever to conduct proper Market Analysis through different procedures. As the fast-growing technology offers easiest methods to measure the marketing metrics Market Research has become lot more easier and time saving. We will discuss some of the Market Analysis methods in brief to have a clear view.

  • Consumer Behaviour Analysis:  Consumers are impatient today and they easily get bored with same products. At the same point of time they are enthusiastic to discover new alternatives of a product category. They are less brand loyal nowadays and will easily change a brand if they don’t get the proper commodities. To satisfy their fluctuating mind-set and shifting choices thorough behaviour analysis is needed.
  • Competitor Analysis: As the transparency increases with posting company reports through various mediums so increases vulnerability to competitors. And one company thus can be benefitted collecting important data of competitors to evaluate its position in the market. Proper Competitor Analysis gives one company the plus of understanding the junctions where the competitors have an advantage or disadvantage. Strengthening those positions can give the company proper boost to rule over the market.
  • Promotion Analysis: Through researching on Advertisements trends through various media the pattern of successful advertisements can be found. Promotion Analysis gives a proper idea of leading advertisement trends and the ROI of various advertisements. It also tells about the viewers’ or users’ behaviour. Depending upon that the Advertising strategy can be built upon.
  • Retail/Distribution Analysis: During the distribution of products a company can face a lot of challenges like rejection, disinterest, back-of-the-store symptoms etc. So proper analysis on the same will tell on what basis retailers give one product more importance than others. As retailers and distributors are the gateway of selling the product inadequate analysis can block the product from reaching to the customers.
  • Sales Analysis: As marketing and sales are correlated heavily, marketing has to take care of the sales to guide it into the proper way. Otherwise all the efforts put by the sales team will return with little value. Sales Analysis will illustrate the acceptance of the customers to certain kind of products.
  • Gap Analysis: With the emergence of smarter technologies the competitors are always trying to find out the gaps in a company to get their roots through the hole and grow with the help of that advantage. So it’s very necessary for a company to find out the gaps in its strategies before the competitors do and fill them up fast denying the competitors the time for getting the undue benefit.

Except these there are many analysis processes which are coming handy for the marketers of the leading companies at present. As one will dig deeper into the market he will be more benefited.

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Marketing Strategy Building:  The reports and insights of the analysis are not significant until and unless they are converted into an effective and actionable strategy. A marketing strategy team should have members who are up-to-date with current market, innovative, willing to take calculated risks and adaptive to change. Though there are numerous steps of building an efficient strategy we will scan some of the important ones:

  • Deciding Target Segment: There is nothing worse than a right product at a wrong place. The whole effort of distributing the product goes into vain and in reverse a company loses the trust of customers and distributors. So before stepping into the market it’s mandatory to have a proper strategy of deciding the correct segment to target.
  • Consumer Focused Product Planning: This is one of the very important part of a successful strategy. A consumer wants certain amount of attributes in a product. If that is not delivered correctly then a business will have a hindrance capturing the market. It is compulsory for a business to build a strategy to supply a product with a balance of needed amount of attributes and of reasonable price to seize the attention of the market. From Matrix 1 we can see fifth area adds value to both the company and customer and will tie them up in a longer relationship.

CFPP

  • Promotion Strategy: From the Promotion Analysis productive insights can be obtained. Based on the same it is necessary to build an effective advertisement strategy. Strategies should be created for both Online (Social Media, Websites and Blogs etc.) and Offline (Newspapers, Magazines, fliers and Billboards etc.) Advertising. It is important to remember an advertisement is acknowledged as successful only when it is able to stay in consumers mind for a long time rather than just penetrating the market. In case of Print media the location and size of the advertisement can hold tremendous value.
  • Key Distribution Channels: Determining the key distribution channels to reach out the target segment is a vital part of a strategy. Keeping the retailer and distributor happy by providing them more benefits than the competitors can lead a business steps closer to sell their products with higher priorities than the competitors’.
  • Customer Relationship Management: Effective customer relationship management works through the product lifecycle and in turn relationship with the customers plays a pivotal role in the longevity of the product. To build a fruitful relationship with customers a business should concentrate on the basic things like customer penetration, customer retention, fast service, quick customer support etc. To enhance customer loyalty it can come up with offers, discounts and promotions. It’s always advantageous to give importance to customer issues and build strategies based on that to ensure the service or product gets better.
  • Channelizing Sales: From the insights of Sales Analysis one can get the idea where the market rests for a certain kind of product. The marketing team has to stream the sales process mainly towards that market so that the effective sales team captures the market. Moreover fixing the tasks of the sales team is a major responsibility of marketing team.
  • Budget Planning: One crucial step of Marketing Plan is to control the budget and channelize it in proper ways to get the optimum ROI. It is very difficult for the marketers to have a pre-defined budget plan on certain sectors as success of the sectors are fluctuating time to time. So considering the probability of success and to obtain utmost return an expert budget planning for each sector is required.

While creating a strategy the marketing team has to consider all the existing gaps and should fill them up properly. They also should take care of the pitfalls that can show up during the strategy implementation and prepare themselves to solve those readily.

Will the eyes work?

If the Marketing Spectacles get fitted to the Eyes of Marketing there will be negligible chance of not being able to achieve the vision. Appropriate analysis and strategy are the gateways to achieve steady revenue (in turn profit) and sustainability. While companies are busy fighting each other they forget the basics of marketing war and leaves some important weapons untouched. The spectacles helps to find out those weapons through its tools. If a company invests quality amount of time in Market understanding and in preparation of a concrete strategy it can have guaranteed success when it steps into the market regardless of the status they are in. For a business the “Eyes of Marketing” are inseparable as it is aligned to the core business goals.

So YES the eyes will work if you furnish them with exact gears!

Is your Business “BRISK”?


Introduction

There was a time when only one used to rule the mobile handset market in the World. The Finnish company Nokia used to have a hefty share of the mobile handset market and they needed not to bother about other competitors because they were flowing almost freely reaching all the targeted customers. They were upgrading themselves at a quite good pace evolving from basic models to camera models to E models and then highly priced and efficient N models. They were happy with their upgraded Symbian OS and continued their marketing strategies banking on the same.

The following chart shows Nokia’s worldwide share from 2009 to 2012 year end

mobile-device-sales

The company which used to have around 461.3 million end users in 2010, was reduced to 333.9 million end users only at the start of 2013.  Today, it has just three percent of the global smartphone market, and its market cap is a fifth of what it was in 2007—even after rising more than thirty per cent. The reasons of Nokia’s abrupt fall is well known to everyone.

This is just a scenario of one of the million businesses which faced lot of challenges and lost their firm steps in the market where they used to relish a hefty share.

I have been going through such stories for a long time and trying to analyze the absolute reasons where these companies failed to lift themselves up to run in the market for a longer time. During my analysis on the same I stumbled upon five important aspects where these companies got stuck before they got obliterated or lost their share in the market. I re-analyzed the situations they faced before they failed in the race and noticed almost each of them got stuck in one or another aspects among these fives.

We can call these five key aspects of a Business as “BRISK”. If an organization concentrate on these aspects properly it will never have a huge setback and can always make a comeback even when it feels it is left behind in the competition.

BRISK

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The core components of BRISK are:

  • Buyers
  • Readiness
  • Intelligence
  • Strategizing &
  • Keenness

In brief I will discuss these elements and will try to provide some steps by which these elements can lead a business to growth or can save the same from lagging behind in the competition. May be there are many more steps that a company can follow under each and every component. I am mentioning just a handful of them to channelize the thought process on the effectiveness of choosing the particular element.

ó  Buyers: Buyers are the most important part of a business. Let it be a B2B or a B2C, without customers who are going to drive the sales resulting in profit? Neglecting the Customers or their preferences will be resulting in such a huge mistake that a business can lose all its importance in no time. There are various methods by which a business can help its buyers to gain the advantage of the market. There are numerous ways in marketing and sales to acquire and retain the buyers to grow the business gradually.

What can we do to keep our customers loyal to ourselves and to penetrate new customer segments:

  • Market Research: To actually know what is the demand of the market and what is the current need of consumers.
  • Customer Relationship Management: Implementing Customer Loyalty, Customer Retention and Customer Engagement Processes.
  • Marketing Plans : Various marketing plans according to the market and consumer behavior
  • Advertisements: Advertisements through Social Media, Printed Media etc. to fetch attention
  • Sales: Efficient Sales team to penetrate prospects and converting them in customers (Customer Acquisition)

A perfect CRM should handle all these steps:

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ó  Readiness: Readiness defines the capability of a business to adapt themselves according to the continuous changes the present market faces. The customer behavior is changing everyday along with the strategies of the competitors. Sticking to a basic plan may not work perfectly. Even the same strategy which is earning you a good amount of share can’t guarantee you the same after a period of time. Businesses have to understand this situations and should become elastic enough to modify themselves according to market needs.

How can a business ensure that they are ready to serve their customers according to their personal and market needs?

  • Developing new competencies and updating the existing ones: Businesses need to develop new competencies according to the changing needs and update the existing ones with time to keep pace with the competitors and offer the best at any time.
  • Employee Training and Management: Sometimes plans get failed because of the rigidness of the employees. That is the reasons employees should be under frequent training whenever there is an update inside the organization to prepare them handle all the situation without being hesitant.

Business Readiness Assessment should look like this:

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ó  Intelligence: In this era of technology every possible data is in reach of all the businesses. Whoever will take the first step to grab the opportunity to use the data will get a better understanding of the market and therefore modify or recreate their approach for a larger benefit. Here I am mainly talking about the use of Business Analytics and Business Intelligence. These two tools are no more a luxury to a business but necessities at present to keep a business ahead of market risk. Analyzing each bunch of data produces so much information which in turn helps a business to apprehend the characteristics of the target market. With all the updated technologies in reach for a minimal amount and less complexity avoiding them can be a huge mistake for the businesses to commit.

We can utilize intelligence for the benefit of a business in following ways:

  • Market Trends: Figuring out the market trends using RFM (Recency Frequency & Monetary) analysis and other similar tools.
  • Consumer Behavior Analysis:  We can use Google analytics to find out what current customers mainly want and what they are searching mostly. From the same we can get a feel of the market demand and plan accordingly.
  • Big Data Analysis: Big data is a sensitive topic and the most discussed scenario nowadays. With the arrival of various efficient tools we can analyze this big size of data to understand the aspects of business and which way can be beneficial to proceed with.
  • Data Extraction: With mighty solutions from technology giants we can now extract important information from accumulated data over time and analyze them to get fruitful results.
  • Gap Analysis: Gap analysis is a crucial step to discover the lag in the process and coming out with a strategy to bridge that gap preventing competitors to take an advantage of it.

 Example of Oracle Data Integrator: How to use data from various Data Source

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ó  Strategizing: Even if all the data have been analyzed to squeeze out the important information nothing will work properly if companies fail to come up with a strong strategy of using the data. Information gives the indication of the trends of ever shifting markets and consumer minds but there arises a need to plan correctly depending on that data or the whole effort of analyzing will fail. To strategize properly a business and to incorporate modifications to previous strategy according to the existing market scenario it needs people with vision, clear knowledge and flexibility in the top management rather than people who are content with the current strategy. A perfect strategy takes care of all the internal and external entities related to the business to drive the growth properly. Following Diagram is a simple example of a strategy:

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While strategizing we should keep some points in mind:

  • Having a vastly experienced, non-egoistic and flexible strategy team is the most effective one. The team should consists of a mixture of people of various ages to bring in experience of decades together and understand the shifting behavior of buyers.
  • While preparing a strategy the team has to welcome the changes rather doing criticism because they have to understand this is what the market wants. So trying to condemn the present scenario will certainly backfire. They should align the processes according to the changes and then proceed with preparing the upcoming strategy.
  • A successful strategy embraces all the aspects of business. It should take care of all the internal and external relationships. To maintain this relationship the first and foremost element should be Communication. Proper communication helps in building informative relationship bridging the gap of information loss. A strong internal relationship is as important as customer relationship. If the first one fails the later will fail inevitably.
  • Don’t just create a strategy out of the air thinking employees will take themselves up to that level to make it successful. First run through all the departments in the business and assess the capabilities and competencies. Then solve the puzzle according to the strength of the business.
  • The last but not the least always have a secondary plan. As all strategies don’t guarantee you of success until and unless it spends sometime in the market it’s always better to have some alternative strategy to cover up.

ó  Keenness: Keenness is the act of actualize the strategy in the real market scenario. For many companies it has been noticed some outstanding strategies just got stored into the locker room and never got executed nullifying all the hard works made to come out with the strategy. Only lack of self confidence does this harm to the companies. Sometimes they assess the market properly and comes up with good services or products but not being so confident they fail to bring investors or can’t just cross the barrier of hesitancy to enter the market with the same. Until and unless the businesses act they can never have the opportunity to growth.

While discussing the keenness of a company we can hover over the following points:

  • To get into the act first the business has to have full confidence on its strategy. If there is a little bit of ifs and buts existing in the strategy send it to the previous level to revise the same. It’s always better to settle the gaps at the primary stage than covering up the same while it has already gone live. This can save the reputation of the company.
  • While having an efficient strategy at desk the business has to act in full throttle. Always remember competitors are not sitting idly and waiting till you fail. They can utilize a little gap in your action and will create a major setback through that tiny gap.
  • While acting upon the strategy it’s always better to bring on all the departments to work simultaneously so that communication gaps can be eliminated ensuring a better service to the market. Synchronized services are always preferable than creating a waiting line for the next department to respond after the previous one finishes it works.

Conclusion

The word “RISK” itself is a part of the word “BRISK” but they just give you reverse feelings with just the addition of a letter “B”. To be brisk in a business the risk will be there incorporated within it making it the real challenge for the businesses to handle it strategically to deliver value to the ‘B’uyers. If this becomes possible there won’t be any stoppage for the business to emerge as a leader in that domain. I think I will be able to draw your attention towards this concept of BRISK. If one business takes care of these particular points it just can have a smooth ride in the market and can achieve greater success. This ‘BRISK’ theory can really make your business brisk to enjoy success in present market.

If only Nokia would have taken the advantage of getting into Android rather than sticking to Symbian………

Social media tools for PR


Carla López Rodríguez

How many times have there been instances when you simply couldn’t decide what to choose from the vast range of tools that social media offers for PR? Have you ever been confused whether to go only for Twitter and Facebook or to use a mix of some more not so known yet useful tools? This post will help you decide which tools you should be going for and how they can help you spread the word in right way to your right audience.

According to me, following are some vital tools which you can use to build your online presence, manage online reputation and at the same time reach out to your target audience in order to engage them with your brand:

1.      Facebook:

Facebook is regarded as one the most powerful and influential social media tool for PR. If you want to create awareness, increase your reach, make announcements…

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Vendor Management System – Why companies need it?


In this age of technology advancement the Vendor Management System (VMS) has become one mighty weapon for most of the companies in the Staffing Domain. But unlike other renowned technologies which are all around us Vendor Management System is quite bound inside the company and among the people working on it.

I am trying to reveal a brief introduction about the term Vendor Management System so that readers won’t get surprised when this term will be coined in front of them and rather than having an initial ‘I am not sure about this’ hiccup they can carry on involving themselves in discussions on VMS.

If one consults Wikipedia it will define VMS as follows –

“A vendor management system (VMS) is an Internet-enabled, often Web-based application that acts as a mechanism for business to manage and procure staffing services – temporary, and, in some cases, permanent placement services – as well as outside contract or contingent labor.”

Ok you understand this one is a staffing software which helps an organization to grow with a correct and in-need sets of employees. But that is not the only reason companies want VMS. Let’s dive a little bit inside to find out why companies are searching for a correct VMS solution to fulfill their needs.

First lets see the Process areas for VMS and what is the desired effects it has on each of the processes and from a company perspective how they are getting benefitted by using the solutions.

Mainly there are three processes VMS works on:

  • Communication
  • Constraints &
  • Governance

Now lets have an eye on the following chart to understand how VMS solutions are helping the Staffing Companies:

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VMS is a solution which every staffing companies should try to use to gain the advantage in this all-about-technology era. But the very problem they face is to find the correct vendor for the VMS solutions as the market has numbers of vendors providing their VMS products at present.

While rationalizing the vendor for farther partnerships one should remember one important point

  • Apply 80/20 rule – which means Keep top 20% vendors and Phase out the bottom 80%

This will help you in two aspects of the business i.e.

  • Less Vendors: Strategic Partnership
  • Reduced Administration: Better Oversight

Hope this blog will enlighten you in course of introducing yourself to the Vendor Management System and now you can contribute atleast something in discussions involving VMS rather than standing surprised!

Thanks a lot for passing by.

If you are in search of VMS consultation kindly contact –
http://newtglobal.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=38&Itemid=149
or comment your queries here to get answered!

E-Commerce vs M-commerce


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Name: Pritam Roy Chowdhury

Institution: SIBM PUNE

Abstract

Gone are the days when customers queued in front of retail stores or cash counters to purchase a book or a movie ticket. With the emergence of the 21st century consumers have adopted easier and more convenient ways of shopping. They have responded to the technological advancement by demanding for more convenience and ease. The transition from in-store shopping to online shopping has taken centuries, but the shift (partial) from electronic commerce (e-commerce) to mobile commerce (m-commerce) has merely happened within a decade or two. But at this point all the three modes of commerce co-exist but they are in a never ending tussle (especially the e-commerce and the m-commerce) to overthrow each other as the largest communication channel. Although the two platforms have a common purpose they still possess different features, advantages and obstacles. These are highlighted in details in this paper.

Introduction

With the increase of competition in the business environment companies are striving to keep up with the pace, else they might face the dire consequences of getting devoured by a stronger player. In order to sustain this competition companies are developing better and newer products and services for the clients and customers. With advancement of cutting-edge technologies and state-of-the-art tools, traditional commerce is facing titanic shifts with respect to customer behaviours. One such behavioural change which has taken shape in the business environment has been the demand for portability and mobility. This would help the customers enjoy services and access information wherever and whenever they want. With the recent emergence of the wireless and mobile networks, a new platform for companies to trade their products and services, known as m-commerce is beginning to gather attentions from businesses. The access of internet is necessary for e-commerce but m-commerce connectivity can be established wirelessly in a mobile environment using mobile devices.image

Fig 1: Similarity and differences between e-commerce and the m-commerce

From E to M Commerce:

There has been an exodus from e-commerce to m-commerce due to a number of inherent factors:

· Time cost: In case of m-commerce services are provided at the point of need but in case of a traditional e-commerce, customers had to move from a work environment to a computing environment.

· Convenience cost: Due to the fact that the different m-commerce platforms are integrated to the work environment there is no transition required. One can access it from anywhere. Since mobile devices are easy to carry it offers more ubiquity and convenience. Moreover text messages through mobiles are considered to be powerful marketing medium compared to web marketing as it never requires any internet connectivity.

· Customizable: Given that mobile devices are usually owned by individuals and not shared between different users, m-commerce allows the services to be catered towards the users’ needs (e.g. ring tones).

· Increase in number of devices: With the sales of iPhones and Galaxy tabs the potential mass market for m-commerce is sky rocketing. With a shift in the medium of communication from PC’c to tablets and smart phones there is a parallel transition from e-commerce to m-commerce.

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Fig 2: Online mode of commerce to overtake in-store mode of commerce

The up gradation of different web technologies have brought about a significant change in the way business is done, and commerce in particular. Customers are more informed about the latest trends in the market and can browse through all the different samples available before finalizing on something. Moreover one does not need to visit the retail outlets for buying stuffs which do not incorporate the factor of decision making, like buying a magazine or buying a recharge coupon. Online shopping is just a part of the e-commerce picture. Other types of businesses like auctions, ticket bookings, online banking and transactions, trading of goods and mere information transaction also constitute a major slice of the e-commerce platform. But consumers are not completely satisfied with this; they want to negate the anywhere anytime paradigm. For example if a person wants to purchase a birthday gift for his friend while on a bus the situation should not be a deterrent. Instead of postponing the time of buy he can purchase it using his mobile phone. The search for the perfect gift can be narrowed by the age, price, type and other factors. This ease of transaction gives the m-commerce an upper hand when compared with e-commerce.

Facts and figures about the purchase using the m-commerce platforms

Here are a few facts and figures:

  • 59% men prefer to make purchases on their phones (and 54% women) while 77% women prefer tablets for shopping (and 74% men).
  • Men are expected to spend more than women; the projected 2012 m-commerce spend for males is $677 and for females, it is $489.
  • 51% of people aged between 18 and 34 shop on their phones; only 18% of those between 55 and 64 have shopped on their mobile phones.
  • Smartphone users spend more time on mobile apps than on mobile sites. Users spend 74% of their time on games or social networking apps.
  • $1 out of every $10 in discretionary spending is spent online.
  • 1 out of 5 people research products on mobile devices while watching TV.

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Fig 3: Commodities which users/customers prefer to buy online

Limitations of M-Commerce over E-Commerce

Although the M modes of commerce are gaining popularity there are still a few areas of adjustments which would give it further acceptance among the customer fraternity when compared to the E modes of commerce:

· Attraction: Since the customers are not fixed to a single location while browsing for a particular commodity they look for the nearest store and also for any special offer which prevail in the nearest store. So it very important for the retail stores to clearly mention about the locations and the prevalent offers while promoting their stores on the m-commerce platforms.

· Visibility: Since the screen/visibility and scope of a mobile device is limited as compared to that of a PC, the app (applications) should also be different. Most of the times it is difficult for a customer to browse through the entire catalogues using a mobile app, hence it should be compact, the focus should be more on the important aspects of the catalogue and the impact should be more.

· Light pages: Compared to the e-commerce communication channels, the m-commerce channels suffer from latency and low band width. Hence the page should be lighter so that it can be opened and accessed even when the connections/signals are weak.

· Payment: The payment transactions and the exchange of sensitive data should be made more secure. Online payments are a great deterrent in the successful path of online purchase platforms. If it can be ingrained in the minds of customers that the transactions are safe and secure there might be a significant increase in the number of customers using the online route rather than the in-store purchase route.

Chart 1: M-commerce vs. e-commerce: Number of transactions

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The number of transactions made on mobile devices increased by around 600% between July 2010 and July 2011. The increase in e-commerce transactions over the same period was around 70%.

Chart 2: M-commerce vs. e-commerce: revenue

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The percentage rise in mobile fee and provision revenue generated through the Zanox1 network has also been much higher – a 480 percent increase for m-commerce compared with 35 percent in e-commerce.

Chart 3: M-commerce vs. e-commerce: affiliate programme with and without revenues from m-commerce

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In July 2011, 58 percent of all affiliate programmes in the Zanox1 ­network generated revenue from the mobile channel – compared with only 37% in July 2010.

Chart 4: Comparison of performance by device

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Owing to the amount of revenue from each transaction, the iPad is the top revenue generator in m-commerce.

1 Note: Zanox is an unlisted public company, the internationally designed e-commerce – and online marketing services offers.

Obstacles in the path of E-Commerce and M-Commerce

Despite the growing number of e-commerce sites, conducting e-commerce operations is still challenging. A number of obstacles exist. The reoccurrence of any of these obstacles can spoil the experience of a novice user.

· Relevant web sites for the required transactions needs to be identified

· The web sites and applications should be attractive and easy to access

· Security concerns should be taken care of

Even mobile applications have their own set of obstacles. Firstly with the emergence of new mobile technologies and types of mobiles it is very difficult for the companies to develop apps which are compatible and met their business and service expectations. The screen size is a very important factor while designing an app and since each model has a different shape and size the “one size fits all” formula does not work in this case. Hence this translates into an additional burden on the app developers.

The Road Ahead

Although these e-commerce and m-commerce platforms offer a lot of ease and convenience they can never replace some of the factors which can only be experienced through physical purchase. Users are mainly kept separated and everyone is shopping as if they were alone in an empty store. One can never touch the textile to measure its quality or get a feel of its texture. One can never experience the light fragrance of a newly printed book while purchasing it. One also misses the consultation one has with the person who displays the sari; for example, which colour would complement her jewellery or which type of sari would be perfect for the given occasion. These aspects of personalized handling, trust, and face-to-face interactions can only be experienced during physical shopping. The expectation from the newer generation of commerce systems would be to be able to merge both the social and the technological aspects of commerce in the same framework.

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References:

http://www.marketing-more-effective.com/en/2012/02/10/mobile-commerce-auf-der-uberholspur/

www.emeraldinsight.com/1741-0398.htm

http://www.saleschase.com/blog/2012/08/07/spectacular-rise-m-commerce/

http://mariacommerce.blogspot.in/2010/11/mobile-commerce-vs-ecommerce.html

www.emeraldinsight.com/0263-5577.htm

http://www.obtainer-online.com/news/en/m-commerce-vs-e-commerce-512a34ca972f2.html

http://ignitesols.com/ServiceEM.aspx

Gartner Digital marketing transit map


Gartner_DigitalMktgMap_1500

Suddenly I came across this nice diagram by Gartner which depicts the ways of Digital Marketing. It can be very helpful for the Digital Marketers to know the actual path currently Digital Marketing is following. Even for the students who are pursuing their studies on Digital Marketing this diagram can get proved handy.

It expertly shows how the idea (marketing strategy) of CMO getting actualized and reaching the target user group through the Digital Marketing Hub. It has minutely pointed out the elements of the Digital Marketing Hub like Mobile, Ad Tech, Analytics, Social, Commerce, UX, Creative, Search etc. and correctly mentioned them collectively as emerging technology.

While following the lines one can find easily that in the DM (Digital Marketing) Hub most of the parts are actually initiated in the Non-digital mode and after entering the DM Hub they used the proper tools  to get the desired success.

How to Choose the Framework for OS Independent Enterprise Mobility Application?


A while back we were preparing a proposal for a Fortune 500 client, which is a telecommunication giant and they requested to develop a strategy for their enterprise mobility such that it should run on various mobile Operating Systems including Android, iOS, BalckberryOS, Symbian etc. Now the catch was to select the right framework for developing the application. In my previous post you can easily notice that all the frameworks are having some strong advantages and some weaknesses also. It’s tough to provide a complete satisfactory application with one framework so that all the needs can be absolutely fulfilled. We were wandering all over the places in search of a perfect solution to please the client. But it was very tough to discard one framework and choosing a particular framework ahead of the one.

So at last the need of prioritization came up. The client was given with some decision points to rank them accordingly their respective importance. Even they faced challenges while they were trying to prioritize the needs as all were very important to them. So after a lot of discussions and persuasions both from our side and the client side we somehow reached to an agreeable list. After the list came up we shared the best framework for each decision points and according to the ranking we chose the most appropriate one.

image.pngIf we blindly follow the ranking of usage of frameworks by developers, it can be misleading. For example, though you can see that PhoneGap leads the chart but may be it won’t be the choice for you when your client’s important needs fall in the weakness zone of PhoneGap.One has to keep it in mind always while suggesting or choosing a framework that choose top 4/5 frameworks according to the market and then concentrate on importance of the decision points before finalizing the appropriate framework. It will reduce developing time as well as unwanted complexities which will increase the developing cost exponentially.

I am sharing some decision points and the appropriate Frameworks for them according to our research (Jun’13). It may help you in deciding your approach or the decision points when you will face this challenge in future.

Decision Points

Framework Choice

Availability of Developers, Ease of Development JQM inside a Phonegap Wrapper
Performance Appcelerator generates native application so it has overall best performance

Sencha Touch has best experience for HTML5

Is this a Large Development Project/Enterprise App Sencha Touch (Complete MVC Framework) or Sencha Touch on Phonegap Wrapper (Phonegap provides an extensive set of plugins)
Quality of IDE Sencha Architect
Resembles Native Apps Appcelerator Titanium (it creates native apps with full native API access)
Most consistency across platforms Phonegap
Ease of Development & Debugging Phonegap
User Interface Quality Sencha Touch
Best Documentation Support Sencha Touch

I just wanted to start this blog with this diagram as it expertly depicts how the companies are selling their technologies to their customers. Actually one can just have a brief idea on what are the commonly used marketing strategy tools and who are the popular vendors for them. I hope this blog page will enrich the knowledge of everyone who has deep interest in technologies and their marketing strategies as they will come across this page and share their blogs along with me.