Monday, November 12, 2012

   Wishing you and your family a happy 'n' prosperous Diwali with lots of happiness and successes     
 May god take you out of unwanted messes and keep you happy n smiling always :) with all blesses   

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Managing Data in the Exploding Global Market Arena

Sustaining in today’s Market Arena requires a lot of pondering and efficient decision making. This may include talking risks as well. Is this easy for a management professional to do that based on his past experience or management learning?  The general answer to this would be yes but it won’t be possible without taking into account the market forces and for that case efficient market research and data management. With so many data management tools available from big IT guns, it has become possible to manage the vast data or more precisely information of the global market. Let us have a look at the aspects of Research Data Management that would enable you better understand the importance of normal day to day data and use that to solve your problems.

What are the essentials to Managing Data
What comes to our mind when we are communicating some confidential information to our peers in normal day to day life? We want that the information gets transferred accurately, remains confidential and is executed upon (“processed” in IT terminology) appropriately.

Taking a light example, if Rauny passing a love note to Hyla(his girlfriend) in the class gets caught by the teacher or note going to hand of Hyla’s mother is no ways a good data management. One would easily notice that mode of communication/collection is critical in this case. Thanks to the digital world, today students have Mobiles and PDAs to pass their love notes.

Thus a good Data Management System should assure the secure, accurate, collection, transfer, and processing of data suitable for analysis.  It is nothing different then conveying the accurate love message in the confidential manner.

Why is it essential to manage data?
There is a cut throat competition in almost all industries be it telecom or FMCG. To succeed in this, one needs to have a complete insight of market forces present and accordingly take strategic and operational decisions. 

How would one know of all the market forces and complex factors associated with his business? Market Research Information would come as a savior in this regard as strategic decisions can’t always be based on instinct and past experience. Even the experience is limited to a person unless shared.   Thus the information obtained through market research and experience sharing needs to be managed well.

What are the issues in managing data?
·         -Varying Complexity in Data Collected
    - Detecting Error in data entry – 0.5-2% of characters are keyed incorrectly even by professional keyers  (based on empirical studies)
·        - Other Data Collection Errors
·        - Coding the data into a structured format
·        - Data Security, Confidentiality and Backup

Having understood the importance of managing data and issues involved, we would close this discussion here to come back later with ways to manage data.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rin vs. Tide Naturals; HUL vs. P&G; Future of Comparative Advertising looks interesting!

It’s the first time in India that competing brands have been named rather than pixilated (as they usually are) in a TV commercial.   For the TV commercial click here, Rin Vs Tide Naturals Ad campaign 

Comparative advertising is there to stay. In real terms, it must be used often as it makes it easy for consumers to evaluate and chose the best among several available options. There is a limit to everything and  similar is the case with advertising; wherein ASCI (Advertising Standard Council of India) has defined certain rules that all advertisements must comply with.

The recent war between  HUL and P&G is over the advertisements featuring Rin and Tide Naturals. HUL (through its latest advertisement launched in last week of Feb) openly challenges the superiority of its product Rin over P&G's Tide Naturals. This campaign claims that Rin provides more brightness in comparison to Tide Naturals, which is the new product that P&G launched a couple of months ago in the mass segment positioning it against Rin as well as Wheel. Declining market share forced HUL to get aggressive in its advertising strategy to regain market share. But was HUL right in doing so?

HUL claims that the Rin commercial is in line advertising regulations laid by the industry. HUL terms its claim to be factual, accurate and substantiated based on laboratory tests done through globally accepted protocols in independent third party laboratories. ASCI has even issued a notice to HUL to substantiate its claim.

P&G has also moved to High court against the disparaging advertisement of HUL's Rin. Prior to this, HUL had challenged P&G's claim in its advertisment on Tide Natural. On being directed by ASCI, P&G seems to have modified its advertisement.

Following are the statements made by spokespersons from both companies:-

“The Court had asked us to make minor modifications to the Tide Naturals TV commercial for which the modification has been actioned,” said a P&G spokeswoman.

Referring to P&G, an HUL spokesman said: “The advertising of one of our competitors has sought to give the impression that theirs is a natural detergent when, in fact, by their own admission in court, it is a synthetic detergent. This has misled consumers at large.”

The P&G spokesperson denied this charge. “Tide Naturals has the goodness and freshness like that of lemon and sandalwood. This claim does not in anyway lead consumers to believe that any natural ingredients are present in the detergent,” she said.

Doubt that still remain in people's mind is whether HUL was right in bringing the disparaging advertisement that explicitly attacks P&G's Tide. 

As per Nadkarni, founder director of Marketgate Consulting, it is a valid strategy followed by marketers to really compare their product and if one has superiority then it is a question of letting consumers know that you have that product. (excerpt from CNBC-TV18 interview) The only thing is that the claim must be substantiated properly. 

Another thing hovering in a marketer's (or even common men) mind is about the Tide commercial's calling its new product as Tides Natural. People complained that it cannot call itself Natural as it doesnot contain any natural ingredient. But did we ever wonder whether Wheel Lemon and jasmine or wheel lemon and orange has any of these or Pond's sandal talc has sandal wood in it. 

Dust does not seem to be settling soon, with ASCI waiting for HUL's reply to the notice asking for substantiating its claim described in the commercial. While rest of the industry and common men is wondering how would P&G reply to this through its commercials.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Vivek Bhatia

Evolving Marketing basics: 4 V's for 4 C's through 4 P's

4 P's constitute the oldest of marketing basics as described by Kotler. Over the time, these 4 P's has evolved into 4 C's and now its time for 4 V's.

New 4 V's of Marketing are described below: 

1. VALIDITY for Consumers in terms of Products

Initial product approach aimed at developing the product and marketing it well to achieve maximum sales.

Consumer approach brought in the importance of consumer insight and feedback about his needs and expectations about the product. This became essential with so many players coming into market and leaving large number of choices with consumer. Thus Consumer Satisfaction became the buzzword.

With evolving technologies and advances in industry, average product life cycle has decreased. Thus it becomes essential to ensure that the products designed to ensure consumer satisfaction remain valid at the launch of the product.

2. VALUE against  Cost incurred for the Price of product.

Value marketing insists on focussing at delivering the right value to customer. Value is what customer pays for. For instance, Brand value is something for which customers are ready to pay premium. Indians (or India rightly described as a country of youth for coming years) would definitely give more importance to higher standard of living. Hence marketers need to give due importance to value for consumers.

3. Venue that gives consumer the Convenience in easy availabilty of products at right Place

A distribution channel of providing just a place to buy is no longer competitive. Over the time, convenience for consumers has become important and marketers have been establishing more distribution points to reach the consumer. 

The term Venue holds a broader meaning here. Venue is not only providing the product at right place. Venue also considers all the points of contact between customers and retailers, where marketers can get the required information and feedback from consumers. 

Venue also justifies the supply of products through electronic platform and direct selling, as they don't have any brick & mortar as a place to provide their products. Pizza delivery by Domino's and Pizza Hut have revolutionized the  food market.

4. Vogue through efficient two way Communication for proper Promotion

Vogue (meaning Popular acceptance) is the need of hour for all marketers in this competitive world. It requires more than just getting a message across and 2 ways communications. It ensures that messages and advertisements are not only communicated well, but they must be well accepted by the people. For such things, interactive phone and websites may be launched to get people associated with your brand. Like Reckitt Benckiser recently organized a competition inviting people to use their skills and design ideas and advertisements that could be of use to Reckitt. This way one gets the brand more closer to end user.

No doubt these marketing tools have evolved from 4 P's to 4 C's, but the basic still lies in providing the best product and service to customer in such a way that customer gets satisfied and firm earns business.


Vivek Bhatia

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Another One for the Social cause

In continuation with my last post on Advertising for the Social Cause, I hereby present another piece of thought.
Hope to get back with more stuff, more often than before.
Criticism/Feedbacks are welcome.
For my other posts, click here, MARKADISING ZONE.
Thanks for visiting. :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Ingenious Case of Salesman Shrimaan

Having gone through the perfect example of Apple iPod, as how can proper marketing help a product sell itself? Now coming to the basic concepts of marketing (as given by marketing guru Kotler), viz. STP (Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning) and 4 P’s (Product, Price, Place and Promotion); let us see how these concepts hold true in case of a small scale retailer.

It was a rainy day and I was standing at a shop waiting for rain to stop. I got to see several customers of all sort come and go. Doing nothing, I observed them (thanks to the beautiful girl who shifted my attention from rain outside to inside the shop).

"One young guy (college student) came and what I could make out from their friendly conversation was that he was someone close to the salesmen. He asked for certain products including a deodorant, face wash and few more things. As everyone else does, the boy asked for the price of different brands of deodorants.

Salesmen asked him not to worry about the price, and on being asked he pushed forward a new brand of deodorant that had just arrived in the market. The boy looked a bit conf
used but agreed to buy that deodorant on being insisted by the retailer. When it came to pay money, he found the product cost to be around 10% higher than the normal deodorant cost. The boy took the product and went but felt cheated. This happens with many people, not only youth but also the mature men and women."

Above example brings into light the common Indian culture of socializing and befriending all. Retailers exploit it by getting customers into confidence, and selling them product of their own choice. Sometimes, retailers would push the product which otherwise does not sell and at other times the product which gives them maximum return. This reduces the impact of targeting and positioning being done by the company.

Company may segment and target different segments, but a common retailer like our salesmen shrimaan serves all sorts of customers. He also stocks goods of different brands. So does not this lessen the effect of segmenting and targeting?

The answer to this question is positioning. Positioning is done along the guidelines of Marketing Mix of 4 P’s. It helps your product differentiate itself from the rest of the products. 4P’s: Product, Price, Place, Promotion specifies the various aspects of the value proposition being provided by the manufacturer to consumers. i) It signifies the characteristics of the product, ii) it decides upon the pricing of the product/service, iii) it specifies the distribution mode and channel and places where the product has to be made available, iv) By Promotion, it means spreading awareness and attracting customers by advertising, public relations, contests, discounts etc.

Thus a company tries its best to reach people and position themselves well against their competitors, but the way retailer/salesmen interacts with the customers has major influence on customer’s behavior that can even nullify marketing efforts of product manufacturer.

Another instance, once I found a retailer promoting a brand more strongly than others. That brand did not give him more margins but he was pushing it more just because it was a product manufactured by his close friend.

Does this mean, salesmen have more importance than the marketing basics of STP and 4P’s? What do you think?

The solution to above problem would be to keep retailers in confidence, associate with them and motivate them with rewards. Even mystery shopping can help determine retailers view about your products and keep a check on the selling behavior.