Archives for January 2016

The Importance of Enhancing Customer Value

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(Can marketers afford to take the customers for granted or should they find ways and means of enhancing customer value to thwart the threat from competition)

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.

  • Bill Gates

 

This quote prompts the power that could help a firm to achieve unrestricted success.

Indeed, Firms do need to value their customers, consumers and deliver products and/or services that are advantageous, user-friendly to them. Firm needs to strategically develop product/services features, align its rational benefits as well as emotional benefits as per the needs, taste and customer’s preferences. Firms strive to deliver this customer value at a profit.

Owing to vast rapid dynamic competitive markets, consumers have a wide varieties of options to choose the needed desired product amongst several other similar products. If after consuming it, he is not satisfied with the features offered by the product, he will easily switch to some other similar relative product without any restrictions and sometimes without even looking at the cost advantages that the old product had offered, if any. Brand loyalty and Brand Switch are just a thin line away from each other. Intense Proper care hence is needed and must be taken by Firms to sustain and expand customer loyalty.

Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.

  • Donald Porter

Thus Firms just need to align their product mix such as it favours, suits the customers well; if not it is the best product in the market.

Firms must hence understand consumer markets. It might be possible that firms may not need to market its products/services to all consumers. Proper Effective STPD strategies will help the firms divide the market into key market segments, analyse the segments and then target the segments which it can profitably serve best and create competitive customer value. The below quote helps us to understand this considerably.

Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

  • Damon Richards

Subsequently, one of the very most important Principle and/or Element of Firm’s Marketing Mix is “Product” Strategies. This usually includes strategies involving analysis of product variety, quality, design, features, brand name, packaging, sizes and others. Firms need to research on their consumers and their markets to obtain competitive advantage using their products strategies.

Complexity of Products should be taken into consideration while working on effective and efficient marketing strategies of that product. The product should provide the best core customer value that defines the basic, indisputable need that consumers are looking for. The Actual Product Features consists of added to the core product Brand Name, Quality Performance, Packaging and key features/benefits that differentiates it from others. Associated Product Features involves providing key assistance in financing, warranty and support to the core product.

Know what your customers want most and what your company does best. Focus on where those two meet.

  • Kevin Stirtz

Firms might need to add items and increase depth of their product mix to relate and address to changing customer preferences or to gain competitive advantage that would help it to increase profits and sales. Firms may also need to delete items and decrease the depth to minimise opportunity lost and eliminate unprofitable or low margin items and realign its capital and its resources. In worst scenarios, Firms might feel it necessary to remove a complete product line and decrease Product Mix Breadth to give complete focus on other profitable product lines, internal growth strategies priorities or to address the new challenging customer market needs. Corresponding, Firms might add a new product line and increase its breadth to boost sales and profits and tap new customer markets and diversify its portfolio to minimise potential risk and gain potential rewards and synergies.

Firms should strive to make strong brands and work to manage its value effectively through careful analysis, study and planning, a long term determination and commitment and unique value creating strategies. These strategies include working on brand positioning, brand marketing, brand performance and their cumulative efforts in creating and growing brand value.

Packaging Strategies implemented by Firms also does have an impact on customers. It attracts customer’s attention while allowing the product to stand out from those offered by its rivals or competitors. It acts as additional promotional tool and has appealing advantages. It also offers repositioning of their products at a minimum additional cost. With customers becoming environment intelligent, Firms have started working on designing the packaging strategies to make the product more ecological and this gains additional customer confidence and increases customer value.

Firms should work to obtain and achieve competitive advantage by implementing value-creating strategies, not simultaneously being implemented by any current competitor. These strategies need to be rare, valuable, and non-substitutable.

Developing a sustainable, competitive advantage with strong brand value requires customer loyalty, a great location, unique merchandise, proper distribution channels, good vendor relations, a reputation for customer service, and multiple sources of advantage.

The following quote makes this easy to grasp.

Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you.

  • Mark Cuban

Thus, it is necessary that Firms should and must strive for competitive advantage and work on developing and realigning its marketing strategies to enhance customer value.

Graphic Image – http://www.nccarm.com/about-NCC/value.php

Sources

  1. Marketing Management (14th Edition) By Philip Kotler
  2. Marketing (4th Ed) by Grewal Levy
  3. Quotes – http://www.forbes.com/sites/ekaterinawalter/2014/03/04/40-eye-opening-customer-service-quotes/

 

Student Details:

  • Name: Sonraj Gaonkar
  • Date of Submission: 27th November 2015
  • Name & Address of College: MET Institute of Management, Bandra Reclamation, Bandra (West), Mumbai, Maharashtra 400050
  • Stream: MMS Finance
  • Year of Study: SY [MMS Finance Second Year]
  • Residential Address: 6,Mohini Mansion, Behind Anand Talkies, Kopri, Thane (East), Thane, Maharashtra 400603
  • Age: 26
  • Email ID: gaonkar@gmail.com
  • Mobile No: +91 977 342 5024
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STARTUPS – the new hotspot for employees today?

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“Great vision without great people is irrelevant”.

Being a startup hiring good people might prove to be a struggle since the startups have neither the cash nor the fancy office to get the attention of the top professionals & efficient employees. But it goes without saying that for the success of any business specifically startup; only having the innovative idea is not going to suffice the task but also bringing the right people on board can make all the difference in the business.

Today, young workers are looking for an additional form of compensation: an organi­zation that allows them to do meaningful work, offering opportunities for personal growth and autonomy. They also seek organizations and leaders that share their val­ues and demonstrate their commitment to ethical behavior in the workplace and in the community. When such is the situation then the need is in being “EMPLOYEER OF CHOICE” from the point of view of startups, because they need to attract and bring together the best and brightest people to work on the challenges and opportunities of a new business.

Let’s see why and how startups are attracting talents right from fresher’s to senior management professionals.

  • House of innovation, challenges & opportunities

People always have desire to achieve something new, that to which is challenging. In a big well set up organizations employees generally have to follow the pre-defined code of conduct; which don’t provide much opportunity on the part of the employees to show their creativity. On the contrary Startups provides the platform, that most of the talented employees want, by creating and innovating something new and different and presenting the same innovation as an challenge to complete which tempts those talented employees to participate and contribute something and be the part of upside of the business. This is how the innovativeness of the business model itself proves to be an attractive factor for a talented pool of employees.

 

  • Building the company’s image as an emerging brand

As a startup creates the pull of attractiveness through its future prospects for which the employees want to work can further be intensified by building the company’s image. One of the possible techniques used is word of mouth by making the existing employees company’s brand ambassadors. It would work on how they share positive feedback about the company which would attract more like minded people. Also the employees can be offered monetary incentive for successful referral to quickly find talented people for the organization.

 

  • Make way for creativity

In startups creativity is given much importance. Employees are given much freedom in this front, resulting in removal of roadblock as far as their creativity is concerned and also eradication of red-tapism, as there is streamline approval process to allow for greater ease between ideas & their fruition. This sort of offering by a startups helps to fetch them the best of the best creative people for their success. Also startups try to make the workplace an ideal place to be in by attaching meaning & purpose to whatever employees do to the success & failures of any business.

 

  • Giving something attractive in lieu of salary

More and more startups are realizing the power of ESOPs to hire the best talent, particularly for positions, where the salaries are not easily affordable. It’s difficult to resist an offer where there are chances of turning into a millionaire overnight, when the company get funded or acquired or go for an IPO. ESOP’S come in a lock-in-period. So employees can exercise the options only after the vesting period is over & hence they are likely to stick around longer in the company to reap the gains. Thus talented employees and managerial professionals do not miss a chance of turning into a millionaire overnight; over and above this the employees get a sense of ownership in the organization if they have a significant number of shares which will in turn motivate them to create value for company.

 

This is exactly what FLIPKART did, nearly 1/4th of this E-commerce startup’s 7000 full time employees own a stake in the company. Over 400 of its employees turned “MILLIONAIRES” after the firm received $1 billion in funding.

 

  • Generating the need for recognition amongst the fresher’s

Fresher’s always have a need of getting recognized at the place where they work, which can be satisfied in the startup where there are only limited number of employees, where a good performer can be easily get noticed in comparison to a larger company where there are 1000’s of employees. So the adventurous millennial often chunk those handsome job offers in pursuit of a risky but more satisfying startup job. Also one of the prospects of any individual associating themselves with the startups is to grow along with the company.  The motive here is to build the work identity around a cause rather than a company.

 

 

“Startup life represents a distinctively different culture than is found within traditional corporations which, for many employees is actually a perk.”

  • RICH SLOAN

Co-founder (STARTUP NATION)

 

 

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Content is no more King?

content-is-not-king

“Content is king” was the words spoken by the great Microsoft founder, Bill Gates in 1996. Digital strategy has come a long way since that day. In 1996, there was no Facebook and twitter and Askjeeves was the most trending search engine. People blindly following this quote have been the reason for their failed digital strategies. In today’s volatile market, it is pure ignorance to think that content is the only king. Though content is certainly important, relying on it alone won’t help you connect with your target audience. You need to add certain elements into this mantra to experience success with it once again. Let us look at some of the reasons that prove that content is no longer king.

 

1) An overdose of quality articlesWith the advent of Facebook and twitter and other social media sites, there are around 2 million blog posts uploaded every day and they are shared through social media like crazy. Most of this content is of top quality and they never get read. A lot of companies are facing similar problems as their content is buried amongst millions of other content. This is proof that how quality content can get lost in today’s world. 

2) Content Reach

Great content is amazing. It certainly gives you an upper hand with connecting with your audience. Great content motivates people, sparks their creativity and pushes them towards action. Sounds great, right? Yes, but all of this counts to nothing without reach. In today’s world, content engagement is decided on the number of visits to your link. But this concept can be tricky. There is a big difference between visiting a link and actually seeing or reading your content.

 

The real challenge starts when your audience actually engages with your content. If your target audience is accessing content through a mobile phone and your website does not support mobile devices then your “king” becomes a mere common man. Moving forward article positioning, call to action, headlines all play a very important role. Many experiments have been conducted wherein decent quality content with excellent reach, conversion and relevance have experienced better results than only using quality content.

 

3) Audience is king

Today’s audience have a wide variety of options to choose content from. They will only digest content that most relevant and useful to them. You need to focus on the factors that gain their attention rather than just focusing on quality of the content alone. The truth about today’s content marketing is that packaging and analytics plays a crucial role.  They can increase the effectiveness of your digital strategy by 100% and highly improve its effectiveness.

 

4) Sad truth – Average content can be successful

Yes, we need to accept the fact that catchy content is experiencing immense success in today’s world. Facebook’s algorithm actually prefers this type of content and marketers are leveraging its power. They take top content from Reddit and infuse it with catchy headlines and introductions and post it on facebook. Now they are not 3000-word articles filled with great content but catch your attention and make you laugh for 10 seconds. They make a lot of money through Adsense and give proof to the fact that sometimes good content is not required to be successful.

 

5) Context

Quality content without context is like giving an excellent speech to a crowd full of deaf people. Context is the inherent intent which exists in the heart of the content. Content is the way through which you subconsciously plant that intent in the minds of the readers. Valuable context gives you the power to grab readers’ attention and make him invest in the value that you are providing. It helps you build trust and confidence towards your brand. Context is empowering, without it no matter how good your content is, it will always turn out to be boring and dull. So combine your goals with the expectations of your audience and you give birth to a new king.

 

6) Content is prince

The new king and queen are research and promotion.  The times have changed in today’s digital word. Apart from concentrating on quality content, one needs to collaborate with the research and promotion teams. With the right strategy and coordination, your content will stand out great value and context from the rest of the world.

 

The greatest lesson one can keep in mind in today’s world is that audience is the key to success. They are the ultimate consumers and all strategies formulated should be with their satisfaction in mind. So finally content is just a means towards achieving your final goal. It is rather an important part of a puzzle along with various other elements that are useful in achieving digital marketing success.

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