How Mystery Shoppers Can Help a Business

Have you considered using a mystery shopper service as a way to learn more about your business and how you can improve your service? A mystery shopper is someone who visits your retail location while pretending to be a customer, so that they can observe what the experience is like. They will pay attention to details such as the cleanliness of the premises, the use of displays and signs, the friendliness of the staff and how the interaction was handled. They will then create a report based on these observations so that you can see how your business needs to improve. Before this though you will sit down with the company to create a tailored field marketing plan. Continue reading How Mystery Shoppers Can Help a Business

How to Set Up a Small and Profitable Retail Outlet

Regardless of the nature of your business or individual business goals, success is only possible if you are able to achieve a viable profit margin. While the current small business climate suggests that this should be more than attainable for ambitious Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s), however, establishing a successful venture on a shoestring still requires a huge amount of knowledge, understanding and proactive thinking. This is especially true in a competitive market such as the retail sector, for example, where a number of small and independent firms compete for a dwindling market share. Continue reading How to Set Up a Small and Profitable Retail Outlet

Jobs and Careers in Marketing

Marketing Management is a discipline focused on the practical application of marketing techniques and the management of a firm’s marketing resources and activities for the purpose of creating a demand for the firm’s products for selling the same.

The term “marketing” as it is known now, was coined in the early 1930s by the American Marketing Association presidential address. While manufacturing was then the focus in business, a subsequent need was recognized to sell what was getting manufactured more efficiently in existing markets. While marketing management as a discipline of research and application has seen waves of changes in key strategic inclination and focus, the core has somewhat remained unchanged.

So what draws most of the marketing professionals to this discipline?

  1. First, it is theoretically very easy. The technicalities are somewhat lesser than many other super-hyped fields like Finance or Technology
  2. A lot depends on the quick thinking of the marketer. Understanding and having a good business acumen is an added bonus.
  3. The careers and jobs are promising yet offer dynamic changes to every professional, suitable to satisfy a broad variety of needs. Not everyone is cut-out for every job. Understanding job requirements as a fit with one’s personality type is a must for the sustained growth of every professional.
  4. It offers choices for career shifts industry wise and role wise, must for every professional, if one faces a mid career crisis.
  5. Last, and most excitingly, it offers a track to reach the coveted “CEO” position in the organization. Most top executives have a background in marketing, if not all.

So what roles do traditional marketing roles get you into?

Jobs in marketing can vary a lot. However, besides traditional paths in sales and marketing, there are many other roles in marketing, a list of which is prepared below:

  1. Business Development in Information Technology and Services companies (like jobs in IBM, Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Amazon)
  2. Market Research institutions ( e.g. like jobs in AC Nielson, IMRB )
  3. Consumer goods manufacturing institutions in marketing, sales, branding, strategy (higher in the organization) like jobs in Unilever, Procter & Gamble or in jobs in the FMCG sector.
  4. Consumer durables manufacturing companies in marketing, sales, branding, strategy (higher in the organization) like jobs in Sony, Apple, Toshiba
  5. Product management and even in development in research labs (like jobs in 3M)
  6. Need recognition of markets yet to be created (like jobs in MR divisions in MNCs like Tata Group, 3M)
  7. Retail chain management (both marketing, sales and supply chain functions are sometimes merged) like jobs in Wallmart, K-Mart, Reliance Fresh.
  8. Social sector and NGOs. Even social marketing is a major concern in current fast paced societies.
  9. Internet marketing service professional: You may start marketing websites as a SEO expert.
  10. Affiliate marketing professional: Create your own chain of hierarchy and get the benefits of the sales from it. E.G. Make money from tweeting and making friends join you in the same using MyLikes

I hope the choices helped you out in your search for a career in marketing. By the way, do you know about the top career choices trending globally now?  Choosing a career which won’t stagnate too soon is extremely crucial for sustainable professional growth.

http://business-fundas.com/2010/100-fastest-growing-careers/

The 8 Ps of Services Marketing

Services are radically different from products and need to be marketed very differently. So the classical 4 P structure of the Marketing Mix needs to be modified suitably to incorporate the 8 Ps for services marketing, which was previously known as the 7 Ps only.

Services can range from financial services provided by the banks to technology services provided by the IT company or hospitality services provided by hotels and restaurants or even a blog where an author provides a service (information presentation, interesting reading etc) to his audience. Services marketing are dominated by the 7 Ps of marketing namely Product, Price,  Place, Promotion, People, Process and Physical evidence.

To know more in details about the classical 7 Ps of services marketing do visit our article on The 7 Ps of services marketing

While everyone knows about the 7 Ps of services marketing, the 8th P of Services Marketing has emerged in research very recently. The 8th P is Productivity and Quality.

In integral services management, improving productivity is a requisite in cost management; but quality, as defined by the customer, is essential for a service to differentiate itself from other providers.

It has been recognized that overall profitability of a firm may be greatly impacted by focusing on not only at the top-line by improving sales but also focusing on the bottom-line by lowering over-all cost of delivering services. In services management, often the variable costs are a lot more than fixed costs, and so incremental costs, if managed properly can have a huge impact on productivity. So for services, a firm may greatly benefit through proper re-engineering of processes and remodeling the same if required to improve productivity at each stage.

It has also been established in research that process improvements deliver better standardization and hence better quality in services. Quality perception is a crucial differentiating factor on services management and for long term sustainability of the same. Business Process Remodeling can lead to major process efficiency improvements which again can impact overall quality as is actually delivered by the firm and is also perceived by the customers / clientele .

8-Ps

Do let us know if you liked our article or if you have any questions.

By the way, have you read our article on the 4 P’s on Social Marketing?

Also did you read our article on the The 4 P’s of Marketing – The Marketing Mix strategies from which the 7 P Marketing Mix theory actually evolves?

The 7S for Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing is basically promotion of brands using all available forms of digital advertising media to reach the target segment. In current marketing media, the popular media includes Radio, mobile, Internet, Television, social media marketing and other less popular forms of digital media like Digital Signage, Digital bill boards, etc.

Check out our article on Digital Marketing – Theories, Strategies and Frameworks

The 7 S for Digital Marketing typically is the way a Digital marketing strategy is systematically utilized.

  • Strategy: Does the strategy fit with the vision and mission of your organization?
  • Shared values: Does the strategy go hand in hand with the shared values of not only your target customer segment but also of that of the implementers?
  • Structure: Does your organizational structure support adaptations to changes in environment in response to your campaign?
  • Skill: Do you have the suitable skilled workforce to carry out the campaign successfully?
  • Staff: Are your staff equipped to deliver your strategy (location wise, access to technical resources)
  • Style: Does the campaign thematically fit with the style of your other campaigns?
  • Systems: Do you have systems in place to carry out the campaign? Is there technical support for your advertising campaigns and marketing plans?

Hope this clears up the 7S of Digital Marketing. Hope this helps your company to chalk out a successful digital marketing program. Do let us know what you think of the article, with your valuable comments.

Have you read our article on the 4 P’s on Social Marketing?

Also did you read our article on the The 4 P’s of Marketing – The Marketing Mix strategies?

The 4 P’s of Marketing – The Marketing Mix strategies

The term “marketing mix” was coined in the early 1950s by Neil Borden in his American Marketing Association presidential address. This is one of the preliminary knowledge every marketer must have and is considered to be the basics of every marketing theory, which emerged henceforth.

The basic major marketing management decisions can be classified in one of the following four categories, namely Product, Price, Place (distribution) and Promotion.

Product: It is the tangible object or an intangible service that is getting marketed through the program. Tangible products may be items like consumer goods (Toothpaste, Soaps, Shampoos) or consumer durables (Watches, IPods). Intangible products are service based like the tourism industry and information technology based services or codes-based products like cellphone load and credits. Product design which leads to the product attributes is the most important factor. However packaging also needs to be taken into consideration while deciding this factor. Every product is subject to a life-cycle including a growth phase followed by an eventual period of decline as the product approaches market saturation. To retain its competitiveness in the market, continuous product extensions though innovation and thus differentiation is required and is one of the strategies to differentiate a product from its competitors.

Price: The price is the simply amount a customer pays for the product. If the price outweigh the perceived benefits for an individual, the perceived value of the offering will be low and it will be unlikely to be adopted, but if the benefits are perceived as greater than their costs, chances of trial and adoption of the product is much greater.

Place: Place represents the location where a product can be purchased. It is often referred to as the distribution channel. This may include any physical store (supermarket, departmental stores) as well as virtual stores (e-markets and e-malls) on the Internet. This is crucial as this provides the place utility to the consumer, which often becomes a deciding factor for the purchase of many products across multiple product categories.

Promotion: This represents all of the communications that a marketer may use in the marketplace to increase awareness about the product and its benefits to the target segment. Promotion has four distinct elements: advertising, public relations, personal selling and sales promotion. Advertising may include using specialty packaging to showcase products, utilizing promotional products for your company, or online ads. A certain amount of crossover occurs when promotion uses the four principal elements together (e.g in film promotion). Sales staff often play a major role in promotion of a product.

So how does a marketer strategize to attain success in a marketing program, using these 4 P’s?

Offering specificity introduces the contextual customization of what needs to be done to address the questions raised in each of these 4 Ps of Marketing. What is it that the marketer is trying to provide value, through each of the “disguised value proposition” to the end consumer. In there very essence, the 4 Ps of marketing is actually a framework that allows the marketer to structure the value proposition of an existing product (or a new product at the time of launch) so as to garner the highest mindshare by distinctly structuring the same. However, that is easier said that done and many marketers fumble when it comes to playing with the real life nuances and bringing out a crisp value proposition.

Do let us know if you liked our article or if you have any questions.

Have you read our article on the 4 Cs of Marketing Mix?

Also did you read our article on the 7 P’s of Services Marketing?

These articles are highly popular posts in our educative blog.

Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid – Marketing Strategies

Economically speaking, the “Bottom of the Pyramid” is the largest and also the poorest socio-economic class of people across economies. This consumer segment consists of 2.5 billion people who live on less than 2.50 dollar per day. The phrase “bottom of the pyramid” is used in particular by people developing new models of doing business that deliberately target that demographic, often using new technology. This segment of consumers have also been referred to as the “Base of the Pyramid” or more commonly the “BoP”.  This consumer segment has drawn the attention of the biggest marketing firms due to the sheer earning potentials from volumes of sales with low margins.

The consumers at the bottom of the pyramid have a very distinct buying behavior as opposed to the other consumers. While the rest of the consumer segment derive value from products through 3 sources, namely attribute based satisfaction, consequence based satisfaction and finally, goal based satisfaction,  it is our belief that the consumers at the BoP derive value / satisfaction mostly from the innermost ring or the first level/source of satisfaction. Because of their spending ability, this class of consumers tend to be very conscious about the core benefits obtained from the purchase of any product or services.The probability is high for success of products which fulfill the attributes of the lower bases of the consumer need model provided below.

While every the most profitable consumer segment in current economic times is the youth within the age gap of 20 – 30, commonly called the twentysumthing, the sheer volume of possible purchases in this consumer segment has become a focus for marketers. While every product offers benefits to its consumers not only from its core attributes, but also from its fringe attributes (benefits from outer levels), this class predominantly derives maximum satisfaction from the core attributes of products only. Product extensions and ego-based attributes have little impact on the consumption and buying behavior of this consumer segment, who would in fact, perceive the extra benefits as being something, they are having to shell out quite a bit extra, even if the marketing firm does not charge for them. While “extras” in the product marketing mix may consist of other value adding product extensions, care needs to be taken while deciding on the basket of goods for such consumers. Thus the probability is high for success of products which fulfill the attributes of the lower bases of the consumer need model provided below, namely which fulfill the physiological need and the security needs the most.

Pricing strategies also play a major role for the success of marketing strategies in such a consumer segment. While place and promotion offer very meager sources of value or utility, a low pricing of products is often a mantra for easy acceptance on a new product introduction. Price premiums are not easily tolerable in this highly sensitive value-sensitive consumer segment. Thus it has been seen that companies rage low-price war to capture the market of this segment, and many success stories which have been glorified are that of Nirma cake soap, Tata Namak, and other brands which churned billions of dollar by targeting this segment.

Bringing home the Digits with Digital Signage

Digital signage is on a meteoric rise, both in Europe and the US. Originally utilized as branding and advertising on high streets, landmark sites and sports events, digital signage is now being utilized as a successful in-store marketing tool; revolutionizing retail and providing a whole new dimension to customers’ shopping experience.

Research in 2007 indicated that around 75 % of retail purchasing decisions were made in store, highlighting how underused digital signage was in relation to a marketing opportunity. Yet the Return on Investment (ROI) figures have been increasing every year, highlighting that there is still room for improvement for retailers keen to employ digital signage to its full potential. In 2009, a Digicom survey found that 78 percent of customers felt that in-store digital signage displays made a particular product more attractive than if it was advertised via standard print signage.

Current figures demonstrate that on average, digital signage solutions deliver an 18 percent increase in sales. This figure is substantial when, on average, only two in every 100 consumers make a purchase in an ordinary retail environment. It is not surprise then that in Europe, digital signage installations are set to rise by a whopping 144 percent over the next three years. According to a new survey by POPAI, this figure doesn’t look like slowing after 2013 either.
With this swift growth in mind many of the industry’s top protagonists will meet at the Next Generation Retail Europe event (hosted by GDS International) in March 2011 to discuss the importance and growing various types of digital signage. Among the high-profile retailers in attendance will be Giorgio Armani, Marks & Spencer,  McDonald’s, Tesco, Carrefour, Diesel, Edeka Zentrale, Sainsbury’s and Pearle Europe, who will each send key executives to the meeting to discuss digital screens, interactive kiosk technology and in-store broadcast networks among other discussion points.

“[Retailers have] learned a lot of lessons, says Mike Gatti, Executive Director of the Retail Advertising Marketing Association. “We’re seeing retailers are bringing their screens down to shelf level, they’re embedding them with a lot of products, and they’ve really tailored the messages a lot more so they are able to deliver the message quickly and a lot more effectively to the customer.”

Other issues within the digital signage realm include linking the necessary hardware, software and media players together to promote a continual, uninterrupted campaign, and sustainability, where companies can utilize solid-state players, which help its carbon footprint. All of this and more, will be discussed at the  Next Generation Retail Europe event next March.

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This Article is authored by Jake Mazan, who is a guest author at Business Fundas. He is a Senior Research Analyst cum Manager at NG-Online News.

The Most Profitable Consumer Segment

Today, the youth within the age gap of 20 – 30, commonly called the twentysumthing has become the most profitable segment for marketers. After all, this slice of the larger young adult market is nearly 38 million strong (and growing), spends more than $150 billion annually, is predisposed towards early adoption, and the bulk of its brand loyalties are still in a state of flux.   Outperform your competition and you’ll generate immediate gains to the bottom line while building lasting brand loyalties.  Miss the boat and you risk giving away a priceless competitive advantage.

TODAY’S TWENTYSOMETHINGS

To be successful, packaging must address the unique mindset and leading behavioral drivers of today’s young adults.  The market’s psyche is driven by several key factors:

Rapidly Evolving

Young adults are evolving at warp speed in language, lifestyle, usage, consideration set, and attitudes.  What’s cool today, may be passé tomorrow: brands can become obsolete faster than a speeding train.

Market Savvy

Today’s young adults are acutely aware that they are a highly desirable target market.  In a time when advertising has infiltrated pop culture, twentysomethings are well versed with the dynamics of marketing and sales: they’ve “been there, done that”.  Don’t be fooled… the market may look naïve, but it’s composed of highly experienced and enlightened consumers.

Cynical

Having been touched by crime, AIDS, drugs, corporate downsizing, and an endless parade of political scandals, twentysomethings expect to be mugged by marketers.  (Sad, but true.)   Product claims are instantly interpreted as hype and greeted with intense skepticism.

Time Crunched

Packaging can, and should, help facilitate faster decision-making.  Young adults live in an accelerated culture where time is a precious commodity.  No matter what their age or socioeconomic status, they are struggling to balance work and leisure.   Products and services that deliver increased productivity or improved quality of life will be duly rewarded.

“Adventure Seeking”

With the advent of the Global Village, young adults are taking full advantage of what the world has to offer in music, food, culture, fashion, travel, ad infinitum.  They love to “adventure seek” and have the financial resources to do so.  Except for a few lucky brands, young adults typically brand surf from one product to the next.  As such, this audience is usually the first to adopt a new product, brand, or line extension.

Culturally Diverse

Today’s young adults are the most ethnically diverse group in American history.  Remember, folks, this is the “MTV Generation”.  A gangster rap video here, an alternative rock video there, Tommy Hilfiger in the inner city, FUBU in the suburbs have blurred the lines that once formally separated one ethnic group from another.  The implications on packaging strategy have yet to be fully understood.

Sophisticated (Sometimes)

The market is incredibly sophisticated across a variety of product categories, but by no means all.  The average young adult may be quite knowledgeable about high involvement categories such as fashion, electronics, music, computers, and entertainment.  In fact, in such categories, their role as Early Adopters and Influencers is nothing short of profound.  Conversely, peripheral categories (read: MOST product categories) are low involvement and, hence, call for split decision making.   “Um, I’ll take that… ah, THAT piece of gum please.”  Packaging can play an instrumental role in young adult purchasing because the market is NOT as sophisticated about most product categories as it would like you to believe.

Also, this segment is strongly categorized for having a very strong network value. Social networks play an important role in this segment.

If you do have a product for this segment, do ensure that you consider these factors while developing your marketing mix and designing your 4Ps or 7Ps as the case may be.

Beer Advertisements

Beer advertisements have always pictured an oomph factor. Is it because beer is positioned as a macho drink that will sell well with an overdose of the sex-factor?

A research did demonstrate a correlation between alcohol beverage advertising and alcohol consumption. However, it has not been proved that alcohol advertisements cause higher consumption. However the alcohol industry, from its actions, evidently believes that effective alcohol campaigns not only increase a producer’s market share and also brand loyalty. That branding is what the beer manufacturers target with splashing the sensual advertisements of beer “babes” and “macho” men, both of which are supposedly attainable only by befriending “Beer”.

The beer brewing industry itself spent more than $770 million on television ads and $15 million on radio ads in 2000, and this is supposedly increasing at the rate of 12% YoY. Check out these campaign by a major beer manufacturer, which have been positioned slightly differently.

While the target market of most alchoholic drinks have changed over the years, (focusing a lot on the ladies now days, even on youth), beer has traditionally been positioned as a Man’s drink, and continues to be positioned as that only by most manufacturers.

A major target segment of beer manufacturers have been the sporting events, which although recently has come under flak and scanner. In very recent times, many beer advertisements have been banned in major sports events, in view of the fact that these events are the heart and soul of many a youthful eye, not mature enough to comprehend the consequences of drinking.

However, how much we slander these beer advertisements, one thing is for sure, they are a eye-candy for most of us, and capture our attention. What could be the reason for this? Is it only that sexuality of “babes” sells more than anything else? Or is it the “macho-ism” that does the trick?