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.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Advertising for the Social Cause

Advertising is literally defined as the paid form of communication, meant to influence the viewer to purchase a particular product, service or idea. Daily, we get across several different kind of advertisements in different forms. We see advertisements on television, in newspapers, on the web and everywhere we go out. The media for these advertisements may be different, but they all have the same objective to promote some product, service or political parties.

Advertisers talk about the social and ethical aspects of advertising, but how often we come across an advertisement promoting a social message? Very rarely!! This does not mean that social advertisements are not made. If you search online, you can get many wonderful ads.

Most probabilistic reasons for this may be the reduced or rather negligible monetary benefits and difficulties involved in communicating the message to diverse sections of people, without hurting anybodies sentiments.

"Hurdles exist everywhere, one just needs to overlook and run past them."

Here I try!! :)

This is one of the few print ad's, I could made on "Save girl child" cause. Keep looking at this space for more exciting ads. Looking ahead to make many more. :)

Marketing-Making selling superfluous

A layman may define marketing as an art of selling a product, service or performance. Though the end motive is selling and earning profit, Marketing is much more than it. It includes large number of processes ranging from acquiring or manufacturing a product, positioning1 it to the target segment2, making it available to the end user through intermediaries (retailers, distributors and franchisees) and post-sale support and purchase behavior.

The main aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. Marketing is basically identifying human needs and positioning your product/service as a means to satisfy that need. A good marketing plan helps you understand the human nature so well that your product/service would sell itself to the customer. This requires analyzing the market scenario identifying marketing opportunities, selecting target markets, designing marketing strategies, developing marketing programs, and managing market effort.

For instance, when Apple launched it iPod Nano digital music player, it need not do hard selling. There was a great demand and manufacturers were flooded with orders because they had designed the right product. Ever since the launch of basic iPod model, Apple has come up with number of products upgrade with added features and each of its products has been a success.

But, how do they decide upon adding a particular feature to an existing product? Again Marketing comes to help. A good Marketing effort requires staying in touch with customers needs, identifying the new possible aspects that you as an organisation can target and develop new innovative products and services.

There is STP and Marketing mix, which forms the core of marketing. Their meaning and relevance to Indian market would be discussed soon.

1Positioning refers to the process of creating an image of your product, brand in the mind of the target customer. It gives the buyer clue about the features of your product and how would it satisfy his needs.

2Target Segment: It refers to a section of people that are seen by a marketing organisation as prospective buyers of their product. So, the marketing program focuses on positioning their product for this particular segment.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Introduction to the blog and blog's owner

Markadising Zone- or "Marketing and Advertising Zone" is a professional blog created for sharing things related to Marketing and Advertising.

About Blog's Owner: i.e. myself Vivek Bhatia. I would describe myself as an Avid Marketing and Advertising Learner. Studying here in second year of MBA @ IIT Roorkee, I have developed an inclination towards Marketing and Advertising. Through this blog, I would like to build upon this inclination and tranform it into a passion.

Motive behind the blog

Through this blog, I would like to share my views, my learning with peers, friends and experts. By doing so, I anticipate their point of view, feedback and criticism about my work so that I remain on track with my basics.

Through this blog, I would also like to reach people who have numerous queries like me about the basics of marketing and advertising. I am looking forward to get valuable help from experienced people from industry, academia across the world.

So, I invite you all to come forward and help me make this blog a stepping stone to success for me, you and others.

Vivek Bhatia