Category Archives: Marketing Theory

7 Ps of Services Marketing – Framework Limitations

The 7 Ps of services marketing is indeed a popular framework used by marketing professionals to design the critical dimensions of the strategic blueprint while marketing a service. The services marketing mix is dominated by the 7 Ps of marketing namely Product, Price,  Place, Promotion, People, Process and Physical evidence. In fact, the 7 P framework is one of the most popular framework for deciding a marketing strategy for services in domains like banking, information technology enabled services or hospitality and tourism, right from strategy formulation to actual implementation.

However, one needs to be aware of the limitations of this framework while applying it in a business context. So in this article, we will discuss some of the major limitations of this services marketing framework.

One of the major drawbacks of the 7 P framework is that it does not address issues related to productivity in terms of both quantity and quality of service delivery. In integral services management, improving productivity during service is a requisite in overall cost management; but quality, as defined by the customer, is essential for a service to differentiate itself from other providers. These two deliverables are essentially opposite to each other in terms of goals. A firm would want to pursue a strategy involving cost minimization but still quality maximization. Hence a strategy that manages trade-off between such conflicting goals is needed to be optimized.

Similarly, another major important issue is managing the core competencies embedded within a firm. Services are essentially intangible in nature, by its very definition. Processes like service delivery address only a small part of the larger cake. Drawing from the resource based view, the organizational competencies are not matched through this framework, which is one of the building pillars of developing strategic frameworks which are external in nature. The viewing of internal resources in silos is somewhat a barrier for this framework, if used to develop an actionable strategy.

Another limitation of this framework is that it does not provide a mapping between the pricing strategies that needs to be followed, vis-a-vis the productivized version of the service. That mapping is often one of the most important drivers that can create or break the adoption of a service. A mapping of pricing to the critical dimensions (features) of the productivized service draws its theories from the pricing of services, which are often done in silos, since dimensions cannot be identified which are in unision but not over-lapping to the main delivery. Over-lapping dimensions create a perception of fluctuating utility among the consumers, and since these are intangible, the overall valuation of the importance and value of a service, gets impacted in a major way.

Understanding the limitations of any theoretical framework before applying it to practical scenarios is crucial for the success of the strategic plan. Please let us know, what you feel about this article. By the way, did you read about the 8 Ps of marketing, the new age marketing mix?

Marketing Theory – CCDVTP

CCDVTP stands for “create, communicate, deliver the value to the target market at a profit”, a term that has been popularised by Philip Kotler. It is being considered as an emerging lingo amongst marketing professionals ever since it was coined. This has caught the attention since it connects three ideals that are often existing in silos in marketing organizations. This has been identified as the value chain in marketing, among the other important marketing theories and today, surprisingly has become a buzzword in many interviews for marketing and sales jobs.

Creating value is synchronized with product management, whether the product or service is tangible or intangible. The product is what is the core of value creation, for your customers and also for your firm. Product life cycle management is thus one of the crucial activities in product management. Today, services and products need to be managed so as to deliver quality value consistently. There are many frameworks which enable the product management team create consistencies across delivery of the same. However, creating the best product or service offering will result in no value for the producer, unless the same can be communicated. This is where branding exercises are conducted.

Communicating the value of a product or service is branding and brand management. A highly valued product or service which a producer company may perceive, must also be conceived by the user as having similar value or more. Otherwise the whole exercise of creation of the offering through proper product management strategies, falls flat. Branding enables a firm to rely on the pull strategy rather than on the push strategy, and it has been observed that firms generate higher profitability from the pull strategy than from the push strategy.

Delivering value is synchronous with customer management. Value is generated at the point of consumption of any offering, be it a product or a service. Customer value management is the process by which this value may be tapped successfully to create value for the firm. This is the process by which the results of all the effort taken in creation of value is actually realized by the firm and directly affects the top-line of the firm’s financials. It has been seen that through proper customer management, customer satisfaction increases substantially which in turn reduces churn rate and increases revenue from increasing customer satisfaction.

So what do you think of this new mantra in marketing? We would love to know your thoughts.

SEO Tips for Google Panda Update

Most of the webmasters and digital marketing professionals struggle to understand the nuances of Digital Marketing and Search Engine Optimization, especially when it comes to understanding the theory with a deeper perspective than is presented in most blogs and online forums.One of the burning issues that has hit the Web-Masters is how to tackle the Google Panda, after it was released in late 2011. SEO tactics deployed by most web-masters have seemingly failed and many reliable and white hat sites are drastically getting downgraded ever since the Google Panda was introduced.

Google Panda was introduced to weed out “content farms” and low quality sites which strive to make a living by producing low quality content. New dimensions that has been added in Google Panda are that it analyzes websites based on an self-learning AI algorithm, which looks for similarities between websites people found to be high quality and low quality, based on surfing behavior. There is also a high probability that there is an increased usage of Image Analysis  with Text Analysis to identify original content. There is also a higher importance to content recency based on content type. Also, which sites and which articles connect to you from which sites, matter a lot.

Google Panda has been criticized by renowned web-masters since many a time renowned websites had “scraped” content and yet the original lesser known site was penalized. Also, it appeared to impact an entire site’s ranking or specific section, rather than just the individual pages on a site. Also it adversely impacted sites where most of the traffic came from “ever popular” content but were of smaller scale (e.g. Websites with niche content, Personal blogs).

So what does that leave you? If you are a web-master, you are probably worrying how to ensure that all the effort you have put in to develop your website does not go down the drain.While age old SEO tactics like getting good quality back-links still do the trick, it is important to realize that there are some basic differences which needs to be addressed, if you want to ensure that your web-site is recognized by Google Panda as a high quality site.

So we have brought out few pointers on what not to do, if you are attempting to optimize your website based on the guide-lines from Google Panda.

  1. Never keep a high percentage of duplicate content. This might apply both to a page or a complete site. So content that you may have on headers or footers, if they are repeated across pages, should never increase more than 25% of the content across all the pages.High percentage of boilerplate content (similar static content) is a strict negative pointer from Google Panda.
  2. A low amount of original content on a page or site is always bad. It is a good practice to ensure when you make a post, you should have more that at least 300 words in every post. Semantic analysis is done by Search Engines nowdays, which can actually trace the quality of content that you may have posted in your article, which is new from your older articles or novel from other content in other web-sites.
  3. A high percentage of pages with a low amount of original content will drastically downgrade your SERP rank. So it is important to ensure, that you create a post only when you have substantial content to make a new post. The age old thought that you should post frequently irrespective of the post content is way dead. It has been attacked by Search Engines besides Google, to weed out content farms.
  4. A high amount of inappropriate adverts, especially in the beginning of the page, showcases the focus of the web-page is only revenue. Hence Panda will recognize that page and a site as being a Content Farm.
  5. If the page content and page title tags do not match for the search queries a page does well for, it will be taken as an attempt to play around with key-words. Text snippets will be analyzed through Symantec Analyzers to ensure there is high consistency between the meta tags and content.
  6. Unnatural language on a page including over-optimization of SEO will be harshly penalized. Google is increasingly becoming efficient to recognize Black Hat SEO tactics.
  7. High bounce rate from a particular web-page or web-site or even low visit time on pages or site, less than 30 seconds, will be recognized as a low content web-page or website. Also low percentage of users returning to a site, without search, will be an indicator that the site has low quality content where visitors do not return. These are strong indicators of the content quality and quantity in a website.
  8. Low click-through percentage from Google’s results pages (for page or site) as and when it appears in Google Search will ensure that the page ranks even lower for consecutive searches, for the search criteria.
  9. Low or no quality inbound links to a page or site (by count or percentage) is always bad. However, low quality backlinks is judged by the relevance of the web-page where it is linked to, by analyzing the text snippets of the mentioned paragraph. If a page is mentioned where it won’t have substantial semantic linkage to the content, it may get penalized.
  10. Low or no mentions or links to a page or site in social media and from other sites is also bad. It is of critical importance that new people share your content. Typically, most SEO professionals link up with a group to promote their content by exchanging votes/shares. Over time, the same group of professionals share the links and posts of a site get shared by the same group, and within the same group. The search engines today can track the sharing pattern through web-mining and this is a serious negative pointer for a web-sites. Sharing or mentions across pages or new profiles is the new mantra for success. Even if you hit Digg’s first page by exchanging votes, you are likely to be recognized by Google Panda as a Link Farm.

I hope you enjoyed going through these guidelines on how to protect your web-site from Google Panda downgrades. Do let me know if you have any queries. You could also check out few of the good service providers for web marketing. Also, check out the free ebook “Advanced Guide to Digital Marketing” for more details on digital marketing, the theories and advanced concepts.

Digital Marketing Presentation

Digital Marketing is the promotion of an offering using all forms of digital advertising media to reach the target segment. Today, theoretically, these channels of promotion include Radio, mobile, Internet, Television, social media marketing and other less popular forms of digital media. However, when speaking in a generalized manner, digital marketing is synchronously connected with marketing using the web or internet.

Most of us strive to understand the nuances of Digital Marketing, especially when it comes to understanding the theory with a deeper perspective than is presented in most blogs and online forums. This presentation / ppt is for all those who are searching for a crisp yet highly informative presentation/ebook on digital marketing.

Check out this ebook/presentation on the theory behind digital marketing and search engine optimization. Advanced Guide to Digital Marketing

DOWNLOAD THIS PRESENTATION NOW TO UNDERSTAND THE MANAGEMENT THEORIES BEHIND DIGITAL MARKETING.

In this presentation, the main focus is on 6 different sub-topics in digital marketing

  1. Theoretical frameworks which affect digital marketing strategy development
  2. Digital branding theories and frameworks
  3. Digital Marketing Research, the roadmap for success
  4. Optimizing through Web Analytics
  5. Promotions and Advertising Channels
  6. Finally the eye of the Apple: SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION. Here we discuss in details about how it is done, the best practices, what’s done and what’s not done, and so much more..

Here’s a sneak peek to the slide of contents for all those who are still deliberating whether to download this ebook  or presentation.

Do let me know how this presentation may be improved upon. Your feedback is very valuable to me. Do refer this ebook to your friends and link back to this page, if you benefited from this ebook. Also, subscribe via email to this blog, to get more business management lectures and updates.

Advanced Guide to Digital Marketing

This week we have a special gift for all our email subscribers. You have special access to the “Advanced Guide to Digital Marketing” for free. To download your free copy, subscribe via email. The footer section of the newsletter contains the download link for the guide, which will boost your understanding of digital marketing. It is short and crisp, and will help you to deliver. It is a 32 page document which will provide enormous insight on how to brand your offering, how to do market research and how to optimize your web-site using SEO tactics to ensure greater visibility on web. In fact the SEO section has been designed to ensure you have a deeper understanding on how to deliver greater value to your business.

Do contact me if you face any problems while downloading the free E-Book. I will mail it to you personally. Also, feel free to get back to me if you have any query after reading the same.

Pricing models for Outsourcing and BPOs

Outsourcing in current times is more value adding exercise done to enhance competitive advantage by focusing on the areas of core competency rather than just a cost saving practice, as it used to be. Its role as a business-value-creator is established across the world in terms of long-term gains like increased customer satisfaction and decreased customer churn along with short term cost cutting. Along with changes in outsourcing objectives and practices, the pricing models also keep changing in the outsourcing industry.

A transaction based pricing model is based totally on the number of transactions. It draws theory from the concept of economics of scale from resource sharing and usage based pricing. In this pricing model the client typically pays the service provider for individual transactions or per unit of work performed by the resources deployed. In such a model, SMEs benefit drastically from resource sharing with overall lower cost of outsourcing. An average base level of transaction is defined in the SOW, the fluctuation from which impacts the per-transaction base level pricing, in this model.

Similarly, an FTE based pricing model is one where the client pays for the time & material invested directly by the service provider. Often in outsourcing contracts, this is further broken down into multiple categories dependent on the expertise of the resources deployed, complexity of tasks performed (which impacts turn-around time of task completion), degree of domain experience and onshore/offshore presence. Typically these are fully loaded costs with often standardized SOWs including factors like number and level of resources deployed; infrastructure and external dependencies bundled into the price points.

While another variation of pricing models that can under serious contemplation is the Risk/Reward sharing pricing models, where the benefits and the losses of the services outsourced are shared amongst the partners. This is a move towards greater collaboration between separate partners in a value chain. However, for such a pricing model to be really successful there has to be significant maturity in the process level which can then be mapped to quantifiable benefits. As of now, since the services rendered by BPOs/KPOs are yet to reach the required level of maturity, these pricing models are yet to be adopted as industry standards.

Next comes the big question: When to choose which pricing model? Typically transaction-based pricing models would be more suitable for Small or Medium sized organizations where transaction count would not be significantly high. In such organization, keeping a dedicated division (with active resources) would be more cost-intensive than sourcing it to third party service providers. Thus in such scenarios, a transaction based costing would be more beneficial. Similarly, if the transaction volume is on the higher side, a FTE based pricing model (and outsourcing SOW) would be more cost effective and thus more suitable for the organization. Also, if the transaction levels are subject to high degree of fluctuation, a transaction based model (and thus the SOW) is more suitable and beneficial for both the parties involved in the deal.
Do let us know if you have any feedback in this context.