Saturday, July 31, 2010

Management Lessons from Ramayana

I found this very interesting presentation on the Management aspects of Ramayana. Its very exciting to know how even several centuries ago, basic management and strategic skills were required, right from winning a warfare to managing a kingdom; from administering taxes to succeeding in a swayamwar (yes, even marrying a girl of your choice was very difficult those days..!). 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Logan loves India… But, does India loves Logan?

M&M has come up with a new communication campaign for their sedan - ‘Logan loves India’.  
Logan is the most practical car in its category. Be it in terms of comfort, refinement or space; it just outpaces its competition. This joint venture by-product of Mahindra and Renault did a wonderful business at the start, but somehow couldn’t get a hold on the segment. Slowly Renault lost confidence on this untapped machine, (which I believe still has a lot of metal in it to break into the sales figures) and thus it decided to sell off its stake to Mahindra.

Mahindra knew that it has to re-work its strategy and make up the lost time. M&M was very quiet in its Logan campaign right from the start. This was exactly anti-M&M, as Mahindra was always known to have one of the best launches in Automotive history (take launch of Scorpio or Xylo). People were quiet skeptical with the brand, because Renault was continuously tying up with several auto manufacturers (Bajaj & Ashok Leyland) and hence the doubt prevailed on constant supply of parts. The existence of cheaper alternatives in the form of Maruti Swift Dzire, Tata Indigo, Ford Ikon and Hyundai Accent further killed Renault’s sales. People were also dissatisfied with the looks of Logan and it amazed me that Mahindra-Renault didn’t even try to give a facelift in these 3 years..! Except the additional decals and paint job on the Tourer and Play variant, they didn’t try anything new. This further re-instated public skepticism on the brand.

In the mean time the owners of Logan were extremely happy with the product offering. Majority of them being taxi drivers accepted the product with open arms as it provided best in-class rear leg room and the same time had the biggest boot in its category. The maintenance costs too were quite low. And with the mileage of 21-22 kmpl they wouldn’t have to worry about visiting the fuel station time and again. Even the normal customers were contented with the product, their only concern being – too many taxis of the same brand. And thus the number of Logan owners never grew (except in the taxi segment).

With all this happening, Mahindra knew that it was time to strike back with this winner in hand. Now they were independent and wouldn’t need Renault’s approval to carry forward on their plans. Hence on the basis of extensive research, they brought up a 360 degree marketing campaign on customer testimonials. They are now focused to project their biggest advantages – i.e. Space and Mileage. They have also cut the prices upto Rs. 80,000 which makes it on-par with competition in terms of price.

Now the question that emanates here is – “Does India love Logan?”.  I say, Logan’s potential is yet to be tapped and currently Indians do not have the liking on Logan which can give it a blockbuster success. But, with the reinforced communication campaign, Mahindra has set its foot on the right track. If it could build up on this communication and bring some facial changes in the product, I’m sure Mahindra’s cash registers would start ringing again with Logan. And yes, then we would also proudly say that “India Loves Logan”..!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Indian Government’s $ 35 tablet story – All HOAX

Mr. Kapil Sibal’s unveiling of the Rs. 1,500 ($ 35) tablet has created quite a stir in the news and tech-media community. The prototype tablet computer’s price is touted to reduce as R&D efforts continue!! Mr. Sibal is promising high-quality education to students across the country with this over-hyped PROTOTYPE tablet (according to him it also comes with a solar option J).

The features are as such-
·         Web browser
·         Multimedia player
·         PDF reader
·         Wi-Fi
·         Video conferencing ability
·         2GB of RAM (but no hard disk, instead using a memory card)
·         USB ports

Mr. Sibal has called the as-yet-unnamed device as India's answer to MIT's famed OLPC laptop. All this looks very glittery and the Indian minister is happy flaunting this to the world. But, the question that evolves here – How practical/realistic is Mr. Sibal in his promise. Time and again our ministers have shown aspirational dreams which have later tasted dust. Just for the sake of cheap publicity, the antics that our ministers play is just shameless. Something similar was promised in 2009 where the news of production of a 500 Rs. laptop was on rounds. Even that story rouse tremendous interest among tech enthusiasts and social workers round the world.

Instead of making the whole discussion ugly by pondering over Mr. Sibal, let’s think why these attempts are mostly unsuccessful. Right from MIT’s OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) to our own 500 Rs. laptop have been in shambles. Those were just immature dreams and far from reality. The question that emerges here – ‘Is the fruition of these kind of projects IMPOSSIBLE?’. I say NO; it’s just the effort put behind these that has lead to dissatisfactory results. If we WANT and work towards a goal, it is always possible – be it any circumstance.

Take our very own TATA NANO; no one would have thought that a 1 Lakh rupee car was ever possible. The project was unsustainable right in 2003 when Mr. Ratan Tata declared his intention to produce a Rs. 1 Lakh car. Later in 2008 when it was launched the price remained the same as promised!! Even though the raw material prices increased steeply in the mean time, so did the labor and production costs - Tata stood to their promise.

This demonstrated India’s emerging technical and manufacturing prowess. We now need to be more accurate and firm on our claims to establish India as a global leader in technology and production. This will be done only when we are more professional in our promises and thus pave the way for the growth of promising and emerging INDIA. I thus hope Mr. Sibal makes sure that the poor population does get quality education by availing the $35 dollar tablet.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

It was nobody’s fault baby

When I came through a presentation of Stephen Covey on ‘90/10 principle’, I was amazed by the depth and reality of his discussion. He rightly said that what happens to us due to uncontrollable factors is only TEN percent; the remaining NINETY percent is caused by us itself!!! In short, we are responsible for what happens to us and not destiny (or your boss, lol). Our emotions control majority of our decisions and our actions are way too illogical which we PERCIEVE to be logical.

Can you guess what the most difficult thing to MANAGE is and also the most important? We may consider finance, human resource, sales, and every other thing in this world. But, in reality a true manager is one who can tame himself/herself. It becomes very vital for a person to be a master of one’s own decisions. The outcome of a particular situation will be based on one’s own response!!

Even in personal life we face a lot of situations where we lose our temper for no reason and thus make things much worse. The funda to understand here is, when you can decide what you do, you can surely be able to decide what you are. The results are the by-product of your ACTION. And thus we see that most of the problems we face in our daily life is due to our inability to cope/manage through it and hence end up complicating it.

A must read presentation-

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Are you Game???

There has been an exponential increase in online game playing population in India. With the increased penetration of Internet, usage of Games as an entertainment medium has gained extreme popularity. All types of games are being readily accepted by Indian Internet audience, be it a free flash game or a fish breeding game in a Social networking site – people are SPENDING their TIME in this. Even the Orkut obsessed country like India made a shift to Facebook just to sow their Farm, feed their Fish and enact a Mafia..! The so called Facebook apps/games attracted immense interest in the Indian audience and thus had a manifold increase in their member list and usage.

The above example just describes a pattern on how people react to an idea which is interesting and INVOLVING. Using games as a platform to increase visibility and for branding purposes is known as ‘ADVERgaming’. A novel and innovative concept is the need of the hour, gone are the days where you can establish your Brand just on the basis of flooding media with advertisements. People these days are inundated with advertisements in their daily life and their Brand Recall has diminished due to this. So advertisers thought of doing something that will engross their target customers/existing customers and in a way indirectly enrich their brand.

And GAMING was the answer..! Initially companies used games to persuade customers spend more time on their Websites. The response for this was enthralling and it led to use of games as a proper advertising medium. Thus Advergaming came to scene.

In Indian Scenario, an excellent example for this can be the game launched by the Mahindra Automotive Group. They already had 2 very successful brands in their kitty – Scorpio & Bolero. Both the SUV’s were the most popular ones in the Indian Market. As we know that good Brands can create cult status only if they are out of the box and deliver to their promises incessantly. The Brand Managers thought why not launch a game with the youth segment in mind. And the specifications of the game were designed accordingly (like bringing in the Kanha reserves, Himalayas and Thar Desert in the background); this in a way allowed these vehicles to be projected as true OFF-ROADERS..!

And boy, this attempt of Mahindra was a great success. It won two prestigious awards at the FICCI BAF Awards 2010 viz., 'Best Online Game and 'Best Producer (Game Developer)'. And just in three months time Mahindra had one million unique visitors registered with a total number of eight million plays..!
Several companies in India, like ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, Airtel, etc. have advertised their products using games. ICICI Prudential had developed a game by featuring its mascot; Chintamani wherein Chintamani plays several roles like a doctor, a gym instructor and asks the customers about their financial and medical information. The character also suggests some insurance plans according to the customers' needs. Similar things are done in mobile platform to reach to a wider audience. Even many Bollywood movies have used this formula!! Like our very own 3 idiots -



Sunday, July 18, 2010

Is This FAIR..?

Wanna go fairer??? –Come on Facebook
The marketers of Vaseline Men did exactly what their top bosses wanted them to do… Use Social Media to reach their target audience. And what better way than using Facebook as a medium..! The Unilever subsidiary launched a Facebook application using which guys could “WHITEN” their Facebook profile pics. The application indeed was a boisterous success and garnered immediate attention. But Vaseline forgot the implications of using a huge platform like Facebook; i.e. every action is monitored critically. And while playing on the “FAIR”ness aspect Vaseline had to be extremely careful as this would have always resulted in an RACIST debate.

The Fairness debate has been existent in India from decades. Earlier Bollywood actresses were rated based on their fairness, even girls used to get better marriage prospects if the color of their skin was light and fair. Being dark was set to be a big inhibitor both personally and professionally. And in a fairness OBSESSED country like India FMCG majors leveraged on their products such as ‘Fair & Lovely’, ‘Fair One’ etc.. Their advertisements have always been under extreme criticism, but all this ain’t their fault.

These FMCG players are just responding to the market demands; it’s not only women, but also Men in India are in a rush to be the fairer sex. A sizeable portion of women fairness cream used to come from the Men users. It was said that almost more than 20 percent of the fairness cream users wayback in 2004 were men. Emami recognized the trend and launched the first Men fairness cream – “Fair and Handsome”. Suddenly we saw a shift in the mindset of the Indians who used to think of men as – ‘Tall, dark and handsome’ to a more ‘Fair and Metrosexual’ outlook. The Men fairness market exploded and Emami tasted resounding success with their product. This led to the jump of other FMCG biggies into this space. HUL launched their ‘Fair & Lovely Menz Active’, Beiersdorf AG launched Nivea for men, Elder came up with FairOne Man, Garnier with MEN… etc.

You would be astonished to see the market perceptions. Let’s look at what the marketing managers of some of these brands have to say: Nivea For Men Group Brand Manager Sudarshan Singh says, "Whitening emerges as the prime need. Since Indian men spend a lot of time outdoors, they desire to reverse the effect of the aggressive factors and hence use whitening creams. The other big need is also of oil control." Adds Garnier Marketing Manager Richa Singh, "Our products address the need for a clear and glowing skin, albeit without a tan and dark spots."
So, recently when I read the hoopla about Vaseline Men –‘ Transform your Face’ app; I thought why is the media being so furious? This isn’t happening for the first time and I believe HUL isn’t trying to induce Racism in an already Racist society..! Just read this article..! I say to all these attention seeking news guys to try and transform Indian mindset rather than blaming companies for it. It is the society that needs the amendments and the organizations will soon follow.

On Vaselines' part – they need to be extremely careful. As I’d said in one of my previous posts – “Social Media Marketing is like Teen Sex”, Social Media seems lucrative and an easy/efficient way to connect to your audiences. But you gotta be extremely careful with the communication you are propagating over the Social platform. So next time you use Social Networking sites for Marketing – Think twice and use it strategically.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cars & Fashion goes hand in hand !!!

Cars have always taken a special place in our Heart. For some it’s aspiration, for others it just a mode of transportation, some regard it as a living companion and the remaining take it as a style statement/personal embodiment. A friend of mine recently said that even car has human like characteristics and that clicked me the reason behind the recent trend behind car advertisements. We know that we factorize a car based primarily on its looks and performance; but more important than that is the marketing communiqué behind it. What are the adjectives that come to your mind when you think about Ferrari..? Maybe it’s Mean, Fast, Luxurious, Sporty and Elegant machine? But, have you ever driven a Ferrari, maybe not.

India as an automobile market has become mature and people are overcoming from the utilitarian funda and have become more conscious in their choices. We couldn’t have thought more than a Splendor in motorcycle or Maruti 800 in car segment. But times have changed; Maruti has decided to stop the production of its 800 model from 2011 and also has started to give maximum focus on its car designs. This could be derived from the edgy design of A star, curvy and imposing look of Ritz and has even done a facelift of its popular Wagon-R (hope it transforms to be the blue-eyed boy of Indian car lovers!!).
This shift ain’t overnight. The auto makers have just responded to the emerging choices of the Indian consumer. I personally would want a car that can signify me and give an impression that it is MY car and its features are similar to that of mine. So the marketers thought why not pitch it on the FASHION route and expand the target market. Take Mahindra for example. While after the “Time of your life” campaign, they decided to do something new and more effective. And they roped in Fashion photographer Atul Kasbekar for their new TVC..! Was this a Bold decision? I say yes, but an intelligent one. The marketing team of Xylo always knew that just by showing the Spacious and Roomy features of Xylo in a normal way wouldn’t do any good. And they also knew that they could however communicate these features in the Atul Ad. The advertisement highlights the Xylo’s proposition of space, ride comfort and its innovative features such as flab bed seats, drop down snack trays, the individual air conditioning vents, and many more. The commercial also augment the term Happy Legs by bringing together two things people feel quite passionate about – auto and fashion. Atul who was famous as the kingfisher calendar photographer turned to a national TV star in an overnight. And so did Xylo J
Something similar could be said about Mitsubishi Outlander. Hindustan Motors signed in the ace Fashion Designer Rohit Bal to position their SUV as a veritable fashion icon which they thought was something unique. And did Outlander catch the necessary eyeballs? Yes, the 360 degree campaign associated with it did more than just catching the eye. It attracted instant attention which further led to impressive word of mouth; and the commercial generated enough interest for it. I think the association between FASHION and CARS is here to stay; so don’t be surprised to see other fashion designers/photographers jump into the trend..! 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

‘THE END’ of Kirana Stores…

- It seems to be a very brawny and immature statement. But this isn’t a rough prediction but is based on a very strong gut feel. Traditional Mom-n-Pop stores have always been dominant in the Indian Retail Sector. Time and again Kirana Stores have proved themselves to be more price-efficient, have a better service delivery and the most important factor being the shop next door..! These factors were unmatchable by the growing Organized Retailers. Hence organized retailers chartered the path of Malls, exclusive stores and premium outlets where Branded and High-Grade items were sold and hence their market remained very niche and their presence being limited to cities.

Later the biggies such as Birla Group (More) and Reliance Group (Reliance Fresh) ventured into the Food & Grocery retailing following on the footsteps of extremely successful Subiksha. But, recession washed it all. Subiksha went bankrupt on its inorganic and un-sustained growth whereas Reliance, Birla and others were finding it extremely difficult to uphold themselves. Suddenly the reality behind the lucrative organized retailing business was realized. Analysts spoke that nothing cannot compete the efficiencies of kirana stores and it is impossible to overtake them as a major Retail touch point. The bubble in organized retail stood as a boon; now the retail organizations were much were prudent in their approach. They now understood that their biggest competitor was not the Kirana store, but the consumers’ mindset..!

India as a country has always been influenced with some thing or the other. After Independence Indian public were much attracted to Western culture and traditions. This saw an immediate effect in Indian lifestyle and behavior. Slowly women transformed from wearing Sarees to Western Formals, men from dhoti’s to pants. Even in the remotest part of the country one may find men wearing pants rather then dhotis’ or lungis’. We were now inclined to Western Rock and Jazz, rather then Rafi and Kishore da. You may think, why I am blabbering about culture and demographics rather than discussing about transformation in Retail. The reason behind this is the social behavior and thought process behind the concept of organized retailing. The Indian psyche will evolve to shop in a much sophisticated and elegant shop instead of an unorganized and thronged Kirana outlet. Even the shopping is factorized based on the children’s’ decision, which obviously would be an up-market store.

The transformation is bound to happen..! And I do not say that the kiranas will cease to exist and it will be the death of our so called ‘desi baniya’. Even the Kirana’s will upgrade to match the facilities provided by organized retail and slowly the kiranas’ will end up being an ORGANIZED STORE. Licensing and Franchising will further ignite this process. The other challenge will be penetrating the densely populated rural markets. And according to me organized retail doesn’t mean exploiting the resources as mentioned in the article below; but organized retail will improve efficiencies in the long term and the entry of giants such as Walmart and Carrefour will only increase competition resulting in better choices for the end consumer. 

kirana stores will rule

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Complication in Communication

 The above presentation seems funny, but the gloomy part is - Its reality these days in the corporate world rather than an amusing gimmick.

The importance of communication can’t be told in words; just envisage what can happen when a doctor doing a surgery can’t retrieve necessary data of the patient..! Things are much more complicated in the corporate world. Many companies are losing important contracts because of improper communication; many employees are dissatisfied due to the inability to openly communicate with their peers/sub-ordinates which further leads to distress and inefficient work culture, co-ordination between teams goes haywire, completion of a task is now more time consuming and tedious, and cross-functional communication is nil. So what does all this mean??? As organizations grow, so does the complexity. And be it big, or a small organization proper communication structures should be on place.

The golden rule for efficient management is ‘ORGANIZE’. Systematic configuration of communication policies will be the first step for this. In Indian scenario this is extremely necessary, because we work on the theories of Rules & Regulations. We wouldn’t do anything unless we are said to do so. We parameterize work as something which will benefit our assessment, and we don’t bother about anything else. This attitude makes it much difficult to breed efficacy at workplace. Hence the management should organize formal interactions between its employees. This is the idea between the “ICE-BREAKING” sessions. This works extremely well for employees (and also the newbies’) to know each other. As the name suggests, it’ll literally break the ice...! Meetings/Sessions needed to be arranged between cross-functional teams. Presentations could be conducted between various departments.

Once this is done, the catch is to ignite the feeling of togetherness within the employees’. This ain’t an easy task; companies have to be extremely pro-active to realize this. Advertising Agencies can be termed as pioneers in this. A variety of team games and group activities can be done; many companies arrange family get-togethers; many conduct outdoor games and activities; many do movie screenings etc. And these do work, if done strategically – at the right time and with the right spirit.  

And the most important thing is to inculcate the culture of open-ness and familiarity within employees. Only then an organisation can transform itself from being ‘Good’ to ‘GREAT’. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

All in the Air...

INDIA - All set to FLY
Has Airline space in India revived? What’s the future of Aviation Industry in India? How will the Airline companies survive in a cut-throat competitive market and with negligible infrastructure resources?

These questions are ever-prevalent among analysts from the past few years. The waves of positive and negative predictions have even increased confusion on the outlook of this sector. There were prophecies saying that majority of the companies in this sector will go bankrupt; and there would be serious consolidations taking place. Even the acquisition of Sahara Air by Jet Airways and Air Deccan by Kingfisher added fuel to the fire. Analysts went bullish on their calculations and they still doubt revamp in this segment.

But the Airline companies have a different story to tell. They are taking no chances to prove that Indian Companies can work even in the most adverse circumstances and are re-defining success paths based on delivering their promises incessantly and by outshining themselves. The players in the Airline sector have understood that they have to be uprightly competent and Innovative to survive and prosper. They proved how a price-sensitive market like India could be taught “How to fly…!” Apart from pricing innovations, they had to innovate in Service delivery and differentiation. The low-cost Airlines did what they were meant to do.

Earlier no-frills airlines had pathetic service delivery, poor pricing, improper communication and hence GREAT losses. Soon they recognized that they needed to get better, right from upgrading to the food served on the board to being accurate to the time-table, from getting the right staff (yes yes  the air-hostesses too….!) to building an up feel brand. And now, these airlines are steadily making profit and are hoping to rise back from the abyss. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the best is yet to come.

The concepts such as higher turn around time of the aircraft and absolute no-frills (but superior service delivery) of cult airlines such as Northwest Airlines and Ryan Air were already well-known. The Indian Air operators learned well and our own Spicejet demonstrated novel concept of “sweating its assets more than usual” by increasing aircraft utilization. This metric refers to the number of block hours that an aircraft flies in a day and is a key way for airlines to maximise revenue. By focusing attention on ground-handling and refueling times, and re-jigging airline schedules, SpiceJet was able to raise aircraft utilisation to 12.5 hours a day from 10.5 hours in 2008-09 — significantly higher than Kingfisher’s 9.5 hours, Jet’s 10.5 hours and Air India’s 8.5 hours.*

Even in terms of infrastructure India is developing, although not at the required pace. We will encounter Asia’s biggest terminal in form of T3, New Delhi. Bangalore and Hyderabad already have International Airport facilities now. Mumbai is sooner gonna have another airport. Tier-2 cities such as Madurai, Calicut, Mangalore, Raipur, Surat, Shimla, Ludhiana, etc are getting well connected now. Even the dynamic and competitive pricing will attract more customers. And as difficult it gets to obtain a train ticket; more people would shift to consider flying, as it’ll save time and money both.

In a way the current Airline companies are changing the style India COMMUTES. It is positive and still has a huge potential to grow. Keeping in mind that the players such as Spicejet, Indigo, Go Air, Jet Lite, Kingfisher, Indian Air, Jet Airways, Paramount are gonna stay on their toes and excel their performance I believe Indian Aviation has a tremendous opportunity to leverage and are going to set benchmark standards and success overall in the coming future. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Check your knowledge on Brands..!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Home Shop 18: Taking Multi-channel Retailing to a whole different level…

Who would have ever thought that a 24-hour infomercial Television channel will be a run-away hit in the Indian sub-continent..! But, Network 18 carried out this assignment with a clinical performance. Not only they’ve entered the remotest households, but are also in the verge of breaking-even in the current year. In these 3 years they have proved that even a simple concept, if handled well can reap excellent profits in long term.

Infomercials had a bad reputation throughout. The first thing that hits the mind while thinking about infomercials is the slim-sauna belts that claimed to melt offending layers of abdominal fat within hours! The supernatural potions that assured to shoot hair from barren scalps, or the slicer-cum-dicer that made you wonder how you ever lived without it! We can recall A lady in blue, a supermart for a backdrop, product in hand, a list of its key ingredients/qualities and its benefits.  Initially, only imported goods were being offered and the market was very restricted, companies were not finding it commercially viable to prepare detailed infomercials for them. Hence, they used to offer dubbed versions (English, Hindi and other regional languages) of the original infomercials (made in different foreign languages).

As programs such as Asian Sky Shop (Zee) and Telebrands aggressively ventured the Indian market, many problems emanated – such as FAKE products, not Value for money, etc… But, even then as TV viewership increased, so did the market for these products. However, these programs were broadcasted generally after midnight or early morning on television channels.  Seeing this Network 18 slowly started with 15-second commercials which it used to air on its sister channels – CNN IBN, CNBC Awaaz etc. It wasn’t an instant hit though. It had to take initial loses in terms of majority of their items being returned, low response and lack of trust. Gradually they realized that selling right products through this medium can be a profitable proposition and using prime-time dedicated time slots will leverage home-shopping to a whole different level.

This idea led to the birth of a 24-hour Teleshopping Channel called as Home Shop 18. It developed a sound infrastructure around it, namely responsive customer call centers, multiple warehouses and logistics network to decrease the delivery time and also launched Branded products to instill trust among its consumers. The intention was to serve as a “VIRTUAL MALL”. Home Shop 18 did businesses which even well establish retailers would shy off. It closed 2009-10 with sales of Rs 330 crore, It accounts for 4.5 per cent of all digital cameras sold in the country, and is the largest seller of stainless steel dinner sets. No retailer sells more Reebok merchandise than it. Whirlpool has come out with a new range of refrigerators especially for it (source – Business Standard).

The statistics is eye-popping, Home Shop 18 has just demonstrated how a Retail System can get diversified and what variety of channels can be used to sell products..! TV penetration being huge supported the idea. They also extended their shopping network online.

The primary reason of their success was their extensive sale in small towns and villages where its difficult to find Branded and Fashionable products. Even Malls and Branded Stores were limited to tier-1 & tier-2 cities. As the economy grew, so did the spending capability at the rural areas. This made them more brand conscious and much aggressive on buying Branded products. The Indian Rural youth wanted to wear Reebok Shoes, use Samsung Digital Cameras and Branded Sunglasses. Limited/No availability of these items on nearby stores motivated them to buy through TV and Home Shop 18 just did that - Answered to the requirements of the rural consumers. Even non-branded but trendy products reaped immediate success through infomercials. Just imagine Vespro, a camera brand based out of Mumbai; It used to sell only through internet and catalogues and used to do sales of Rs 4.5 crore per annum, and now it does Rs 40 crore through Home Shop 18..!

This exactly shows how innovative and different a Retail Channel can be. It can just throw traditional Retailers out of Business..! Amazon is an upright example. Many brick-n-mortar book stores went out of business due to Amazon’s revolutionary online retail model. It would be very early to say similar thing about Home Shop 18; but it has shown impressive performance and will have to stand the test of time.

I just have one thing to say to the traditional retailers who are predicting the emergence of Organized Retail – “Do proper research on defining the boundaries of Organized Retail; It can just grow out of our imagination…!”

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Dynamics of “NEED MARKETING”

You may be thinking what ‘Need Marketing’ is. It is a simple concept, where the Marketer focuses on the immediate NEED of the prospect and establishes the relationship based on that. It is a very instant association and the rapport behind it is completely based on the needs of both the parties. It is a very important step and is used widely by Marketers all around and by companies of all sizes.

The benefits of Need Marketing are numerous:
  • Gives you an instant connect
  • Creates Awareness among your prospects
  • Starting point of the relationship
  • Shows how well you understand each others’ NEEDS
  • And most important of all, it provides a platform to satisfy the Need (thus building business in return)

There is a very important catch here – Need Marketing may be useful and profitable in short-term; but it would be a setback if the relationship is maintained just on the basis of Need. It means that the relationship may end just after the need is satisfied; or if someone else can service the need better. This is evident in telecom companies; here the competition is based on price. Thus the customer shits the telecom operator based on who provides the cheapest tariff. Tata Docomo leveraged on this and was successful in gaining tremendous subscriber base last year due to its revolutionary pay-per-second call tariff. Similarly many companies see immediate profit and end up just concentrate marketing the Need of its end consumers and gain benefits on those.

But, these relationships are short-lived and unsustainable. You wouldn’t get any loyalists and all your consumers would be in the opportunity to be serviced well; thus letting any other competitor a fair chance to outperform you. Even in Tata Docomo’s case; it just lost its competitive advantage when other players followed the pay-per-second plan. It even lost many of its customers when competitors such as MTS, Aircel, etc.. launched cheaper call rates.

Here the relationships are self-centered and profit-oriented. This is also an attractive decision at the beginning; but companies should realize that they ought to be ‘HOLISTIC’ and customer-centric; rather then being just plain attractive and profit-centric. Long-term focus and Commitment is the key to sustainable growth. Relationships should be nurtured with Trust, Values and Integrity; only then you could find respect for your Brand and only then you can assure profit in a long-term.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Food for Thought

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