Monday, June 30, 2008

The Importance of Marketing

Essence of the countless definitions of ‘marketing’ is that it is the process of satisfying the customers at a profit to one’s own self. And nothing can be more important to a company that is in business than to do just that. A recent article on the net justifies that once again.

Some people believe that just by being in business they will get clients or customer. They ascribe to the theory that "if they build it they will come." It rarely happens that way. If you don't let people know about your business, not only do you lose but so do they. Every business owner and solo professional needs to understand the importance of marketing.

My town had an election for town meeting representatives in April. I live in a bedroom community and the local paper had recently reported that there were not enough town meeting candidates for the required number to get elected. The town was even considering reducing that number of town meeting members because so few seemed interested.

Shortly before the election I got a flyer under my door requesting a write in vote. The woman was clear about why she wanted to be elected. She stated her qualifications and she also explained how to write in her name since her name was not on the ballot.

I admired her courage, recognized her name and did in fact vote for her. Turnout was light as you might expect and she got 15 votes but she was elected.

In discussing this with my neighbor who was the one who put the flyer under my door, he told me that at the last minute her husband decided to run. Since he didn't "campaign" he was not elected. My comment to my neighbor was "I wish I had known I would have voted for him."

What a disservice people do when they have something to offer that others would benefit from but they don't let others know about it!

Do you understand the importance of marketing? Is your marketing like the woman or the man in this story? Both were well qualified for the position they were seeking. One kept it a secret and one introduced herself and made a request for a vote. Are you letting people know about your practice or keeping it a secret?

Many shy away from marketing because they think they are being pushy or that they seem desperate. In fact they are being more like the man in my story. Think of marketing as a way to alert those people who really need your services about what you have to offer.

How did my neighbor get involved in this marketing effort? He happened to be having coffee at a local coffee shop when he saw a friend having coffee with her friend. His friend's friend was the candidate. The candidate asked my neighbor to support her and he offered to help by canvassing his neighborhood. She gave him some flyers.

Marketing can be that simple. Notice what happened here. It is all about relationships. My neighbor met the candidate through a friend. I knew the woman from other organizations. You'd be surprised at how many people you know and your marketing action can start with them.

Of course your friends may not be in your target market but they may know someone who is in your target market or someone who could be a referral source for you. It is said that everyone knows about 250 people and each of them knows 250 etc.

Marketing can be as simple as tapping into your social network and asking people to help you. The importance of marketing to any business venture cannot be underestimated.

Take Action
  1. Who are your 250? Have you told them what you are doing? Start with those you feel most comfortable with first and begin calling them.
  2. Use your elevator speech when contacting them.
  3. Practice giving examples of how you have used your strengths in job situations. Sometimes just saying something out loud can get you beyond the discomfort. Practice with someone listening to you after you've done it alone for a while.
  4. Try creating your own network at LinkedIn
Contributed By:
Prof. P. Guha
(Globsyn Business School)


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Marketing Two-Upmanship

A retailer was dismayed when a competitor selling the same type of product opened next-door to him, displaying a large sign proclaiming "Best Deals".

Not long after he was horrified to find yet another competitor move in next-door, on the other side if his store. It's large sign was even more disturbing- "Lowest Prices".

After his initial panic, and concern that he would be driven out of business, he looked for a way to turn the situation to his marketing advantage. Finally, an idea came to him. Next day, he proudly unveiled a new and huge sign over his front door. It read, "Main Entrance"!

Contributed By:
Prof. P. Guha
(Globsyn Business School)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Blue Ocean Strategy

The universe of markets is divided into two parts. The red ocean comprises of the existing companies. The industry perimeters are well defined and each company competes against all the others to create a space for itself.

The blue ocean is formed by the industries not in existence today. Here the market space is created and not competed in. Competition does not exist. A company creates its own blue ocean when it innovates. It has to deliver in its products what is considered to be of value by the customers and eliminate features that are not considered to be of good value.

The book, “Blue Ocean Strategy” is written by Profs. W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne of the Insead Business School in 2005. Similar strategies have however preceded this. Profs. Jonas Ridderstrale and Kjell Nordstrom had a similar reasoning in their book, “Funky Business” written in 1995.

Prof. P. Guha
(Globsyn Business School)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sales Techniques

It was Henry Ford who first stated 'nothing happens until a sale is made'. How true, and how often it is that the sale is left in the hands of an untrained person. Mr. Ford may well have had the manufacturing capability to produce cars at a phenomenal rate, but if they did not get sold, production capability was of no value at all. Contrary to popular belief, sales methods and techniques can be learnt just like any other subject.

Large companies spend fortunes on advertising their products, fortunes on lavish shops to attract the customer and fortunes on window and in-store displays, only to lose valuable sales through a lack of ongoing product sales training.

Broadly speaking, a salesperson must have the following skills and attributes:
  1. Job satisfaction.
  2. Product knowledge.
  3. Enthusiasm.
  4. Formal and up-to-date sales technique training.
  5. The ability to ascertain the customer's needs.
  6. The ability to fit the product to the customer.
  7. The ability to recognize the customer's problems, e.g. shortage of money, shortage of time, or just plain boredom.
  8. The ability to recognize the time to close the sale.
  9. A likeable and friendly manner.
  10. Last, but by no means least, a clean and smart appearance.
Before we go any further let me hit you with a few 'don'ts':

  1. Don't be aggressive, avoid the hard sell.
  2. Don't talk about yourself; it holds no interest for the customer.
  3. Don't approach the customer smelling of alcohol, cigarettes or anything that the customer may find the slightest bit offensive.
  4. Don't ever argue with the customer, simply ask questions.
  5. If you get a positive buying signal from the customer, cease your sales presentation - to continue can lose you the sale.
  6. Don't criticize others.
  7. Don't criticize other manufacturers' products.
ADA – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

AIDA is a logical sequence through which the salesperson and the customer must travel to reach a successful sale.

A is for Attention: Give the customer your attention. Allow enough time for the customer to show interest in a particular product group, but remember that allowing too much time can lead to the customer leaving the shop through lack of salesperson attention. Verbally highlight a sales feature.

I is for Interest: Show interest in the customer's needs. Verbally list the sales features and at the same time begin to establish the customer's needs by questioning. For example:

 What type of vacuum cleaner do you use, is it an upright type or a cylinder type?
 Do you have a large or small house?
 Do you have any pets in your house?

This type of questioning helps the salesperson to ensure the customer will go home with the right product to suit their requirements, thus cutting down the risk of losing the sale or having the product returned at a later date.

D is for Desire: The desire for the customer to own the product builds as the salesperson marries the product sales features to the needs of the customer. For example:

 You mentioned you had two dogs - the selection of tools provided with the machine will make light work of the hair they leave on your carpet.
 As your home is on three levels the comparatively low weight of this product makes it a good choice for you.
 The rechargeable option is certainly a big plus when you travel on holiday in your caravan.

A is for Action: It's crunch time, the point at which you have to ask the customer to purchase the product, the point of no return and the pinnacle of all the work, time, effort and money that is now at risk. A simple mistake can ruin the sale, so what do you do? How do you bring the sale to a successful conclusion? There are three main methods used to close a sale:

1. Dual positive suggestion: Children are blessed with the ability to close a sale without their even knowing it, simply by asking a dual positive question, that is to say asking two questions that both have a positive answer. For example, little Robert says, 'Mum shall we go to the movies today or will tomorrow suit you better?' Either answer gets Robert to the movies.

Here are a few examples of dual positive suggestions that can help you close the sale:

 Would you like us to deliver, or did you want to take it with you?
 Will you be paying cash, or can I show you our credit terms?
 Do you prefer the pink or the white one?
 Would you like to purchase it with tools or without at a reduced price?

2. The concession method: Suggesting a larger quantity, knowing the customer will settle for a little less, will often close the sale.

3. The silent method: Having reached the end of the sales presentation, the skilful salesperson will go silent and remain that way, and the customer will feel obliged to speak and will order. (Only the experienced salesperson should attempt to use this method, as it can backfire.)

My Comments:

A number of my students are doing their summer internships in companies where they are expected to sell things. Some of them are finding it difficult to translate their knowledge in marketing to a success in selling. I have recently found a text on the net that addresses their issues and provides good practical suggestions.


Prof. P. Guha
(Globsyn Business School)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Best Global Brands

It is interesting to note that more than half of the top hundred brands in the world are of US origin. Six European countries and two Asian countries make up the rest leaving only four that are from the rest of the world.

According to Interbrand out of the top 100 brands in the world in 2006

51% were from USA
9% were from Germany
8% were from France
8% were from Japan
5% were from UK
5% were from Switzerland
4% were from Italy
3% were from South Korea
3% were from Netherlands
4% were from Others

Prof. P. Guha
(Globsyn Business School)


Monday, June 16, 2008


A product is not ready to be sold unless it is packed and labeled. A well packed product is well contained, can be stored and transported easily and can be identified anywhere. The label on the packaging serves to inform and educate the customers. It tells the customers what the product is, the quantity contained in the pack, what it is made of and in what proportions are the ingredients present, the ways to use it, the time within which it has to be used, the price to be paid, the expected and the unexpected side-effects of using it and also how to store it. But more importantly, it is the label on the pack that attracts the customers. Companies are now spending enormous amounts of money in designing the labels so that the products not only stand out on the shelves but also attract the right clientele. They are getting the services of reknowned artists to design the labels.

The extract from the New York Times of June 11 2008 given below proves the point.

Clockwise from top left: Wine labels designed by artists Liam Gillick, Raymond Pettibon, Jim Lambie and Anna Gaskell on recent vintages by Betts & Scholl.

Anyone who stumbled their way across MoMA’s lobby in the last couple of months has trampled over an explosive arrangement of multicolored stripes on the floor by the Scottish artist Jim Lambie. The experience is a full frontal assault on a viewer’s sense of balance — akin to guzzling a bottle of fine Shiraz. Aficionados interested in all of the above can buy a $79 bottle of Betts & Scholl’s 2006 vintage of Black Betty Shiraz, which features a red-and-black inkblot label designed by Jim Lambie.

With Black Betty, the sommelier Richard Betts (of The Little Nell in Aspen), and Miami Beach art collector Dennis Scholl (whose collection is on view at World Class Boxing in Miami) follow Château Mouton Rothschild’s tradition of art-wine collaborations. Betts hunts down the quality vines and Scholl procures artists to design the labels. The company has released a total of seven vintages since 2003, featuring the work of established contemporary artists such as Anna Gaskell and Liam Gillick, as well as Raymond Pettibon, a painter who once inked album covers for the punk band Black Flag. “The wine world is so staid and serious,” says Scholl, of the outré labels. “We’re like, ‘It’s wine — c’mon, it’s fun!’” Not that Betts & Scholl aren’t serious about their business: all seven wines have landed scores of 90 or higher from Wine Spectator.

On Thursday, Betts & Scholl will announce the release of its first ever distilled liquor: a mezcal called Sombra, that will be accompanied by one of the industry’s most unorthodox pieces of label art yet. The image, produced by an Aspen-based art collective, is an abstraction of a Mexican soft-core comic — a figure that Scholl merrily explains, “looks like turtles humping.” Safe to say that it’s not the sort of illustration that will ever grace a bottle of Mouton.


Contributed By:
Prof. P. Guha
(Globsyn Business School)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Crazy Marketing Ideas

Marketers who want to create an impact have invented some crazy guarantees. One of them was seen in late eighties when an Australian company offered a guarantee that was out of this world. It was framed along the following lines:

Book in for our two-day seminar and send us your cheque now. But we won’t cash your cheque. We’ll hold it. And during the seminar we shall have your cheque on a table at the back of the room. If at any time during the seminar you are not totally satisfied and feel that you are not receiving great value, you can go to the back of the room and take your cheque and leave. No questions asked.”

Now that was a crazy guarantee – but it worked wonders. The company consistently packed people in to their seminars and charged way above the going rate.

Prof. P. Guha
(Globsyn Business School )


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Visiting Cards

Open your visiting card album and try to find the one that you had not had the occasion to see for quite some time. You will suddenly realize that it is so difficult to find the one that you are looking for. All the cards look so frighteningly similar. Not one stands out. There are times when you will find that it so hard to decipher the phone numbers and the email ids on the cards. They are written in such small types! Sometimes the entire text is practically illegible as the font colors are faint or the card dazzles and reflects light.

It is not difficult to design a visiting card badly. Any printer can do it. And the printers who offer economical rates mess up even more. But at times the fault lies somewhere else. The professionals who order for the cards fail to appreciate that designing visiting cards also is a professional job and one who is not trained appropriately should not try it.

A visiting card is a very economical and effective way of advertising. A badly made visiting card succeeds only in wasting money. It achieves no other purpose. Some of the tips to make good and effective visiting cards are given below.

Most of the time many students of computer arts misunderstand the concept of designing visiting card. The space is limited and the matter too. People think it is easy but from the designing point of view, card designing is the most difficult part of DTP. In the good old days, PageMaker was the first preference. It is still going strong. Maximum potential of software is utilized while designing visiting card if it is really designed with proper care. Here are some tips useful to design proper visiting card.

Dimensions: Generally visiting cards comes in two standard sizes. American size and Business size. American size is 92 X 54. Both the cards can be designed either horizontally or vertically according to the choice of the user. 2-3 mm space is left for the margin from the border of the card.

Impressions: Using colors depends upon the type of the card and the cost. More the colors more the cost is the rule of thumb. Formal cards need less color. It can be single color card or maximum two colors. The type of processing is also important. If the photograph is used for the card then it goes for offset printing. If it is more of a text with no continuous toned graphic it goes for screen-printing. The cost of the card is decided on the basis of color impressions. It is generally impression per thousand cards.

Fonts: The choice of font depends upon the type of the card. If it is very formal card like the card of lawyer, doctor etc. Times New Roman is the best choice. Arial also can be used. If you want to use some script font, the distance between the characters has to be properly adjusted by loosing the tracks. Bold and thick font can be used for company title. Address font is generally the smallest of size and at the bottom of the card.

Spacing: As a rule, you should keep good amount of white space in the card. It can become too crowded if lots and lots of things are added. The matter has to be chosen very carefully. It has to be short and precise. Since the sight travels from left to right, the most important things have to be aligned left if the card is not center aligned. Sometimes short cuts can be used to save the space i.e. Rd for Road etc. Horizontal line can be drawn above the address if you desire. It creates prominent impression. If you are using more than one address it can be separated with the vertical line.

Graphics: Designers use the combination of page layout and vector and/or raster packages to design visiting cards. Use of graphics is little tricky area and requires experience. The balance of the card should be properly taken care of while using graphics. Generally people want to print company logo on the card. It is fixed and nothing can be changed. Not even color. At this stage you can try out something by changing the size of the logo uniformly.

Backgrounds: You can get the ready-made colored or textured cards. There are no. of types available in the market from simple card to plastic coated and pearl finished stuff. Everything depends upon customer's choice. Designer can suggest the proper combination of the color, which can stand out with particular background. He can actually create the card with specific colors and show it to customer. For screen printing you need to have B/W output.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Open Challenge...!!!

This is an open challenge to all. Readers of this blog who had walked through the portals of GBS earlier can take this test to find out how much of the marketing theories they still remember. It is just for fun. And readers who are presently the students at GBS can take this test to find out how much they really know the subject of marketing. The results could be quite revealing.

Just log on to

And answer the questions. Good luck

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Operator : "Thank you for calling Pizza Galaxy Kholi . May I have your..."

Customer: "Hello, can I order.."

Operator : "Can I have your multi purpose card number first, Sir?"

Customer: "It's eh..., hold........ ..on..... .889861356102049 998-45-54610"

Operator : "OK... you're... Mr Singh and you're calling from 43rd Floor, Akask View Apt, Cantt Road, ........ Your home number is 4094! 2366, your office 76452302 and your mobile is 0142662566. Which number are you calling from now Sir?"

Customer: "Home! How did you get all my phone numbers?

Operator : "We are connected to the system Sir"

Customer: "May I order your Seafood Pizza..."

Operator : "That's not a good idea Sir"

Customer: "How come?"

Operator : "According to your medical records, you have high blood pressure and even higher cholesterol level Sir"

Customer: "What?... What do you recommend then?"

Operator : "Try our Low Fat Hokkien Mee Pizza. You'll like it"

Customer: "How do you know for sure?"

Operator : "You borrowed a book entitled "Popular Hokkien Dishes" from the National Library last week Sir"

Customer: "OK I give up... Give me three family size ones then, how much will that cost?"

Operator : "That should be enough for your family of 10, Sir. The total is Rs 2249.99"

Customer: "Can I pay by! credit card?"

Operator : "I'm afraid you have to pay us cash, Sir. Your credit card is over the limit and you owe your bank Rs10,720.55 since October last year. That's not including the late payment charges on your housing loan, Sir."

Customer: "I guess I have to run to the neighbourhood ATM and withdraw some cash before your guy arrives."

Operator : "You can't Sir. Based on the records, you've reached your daily limit on machine withdrawal today."

Customer: "Never mind just send the pizzas, I'll have the cash ready. How long is it gonna take anyway?"

Operator : "About 45 minutes Sir, but if you can't wait you can always come and collect it on your scooter.. ."

Customer: " What!"

Operator : "According to the details in system, you own a Lambretta 1969 Vintage Scooter,...registra tion number USE 8999..."

Customer: " ????"

Operator : "Is there anything else Sir?"

Customer: "Nothing... by the way... aren't you giving me that 3 free bottles of cola as advertised?"

Operator : "We normally would Sir, but based on your records you're also diabetic.... ... "

Customer: #$$^%&$@$%^

Operator : "Better watch your language Sir. Remember on 11th Nov 1986 you were convicted for using abusive language on a policeman who stopped you for driving through a one way, in fact you were driving a 1973 Ambassador bearing registeration number UTD 4267.......

Customer: [Faints]

Contributed By:

Prof. P. Guha

(Globsyn Business School)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Why Salespeople Fail

The most important part of marketing is the sales. This is the operation that brings in the revenue. All other aspects of marketing, be it marketing research or advertisements or after-sales service, involve spending of money for the organization. If all the other activities that form parts of marketing do not lead to sales then those activities have no tangible effect and might as well not have been performed.

But then possibly the most difficult part of marketing is selling. Many salespeople even with the best of intentions fail. A person can never be successful in marketing unless he/she can do selling. A list of twenty reasons are given below to show why people fail in selling.

Any body who has failed in selling can go through the list and chances are fair that some of the reasons would be applicable in his/her case. The best thing to do would then be to make a willful effort on that front.
  1. Blame others for their mistakes or inability to perform.
  2. Lack the necessary level of persistence.
  3. Do not believe in the product they are selling.
  4. Do not commit to lifelong learning.
  5. Fail to listen and learn from those around them.
  6. Lack understanding of the industry or product knowledge.
  7. Fail to develop the essential attributes or skills required to become a masterful salesperson.
  8. Allow their ego to get in the way of change, as they try to do it their way and play by their rules.
  9. Are out of their comfort zone and fail to adjust.
  10. Cannot cope with change.
  11. Are not committed to creating a better possibility for themselves.
  12. Forget that the objective of selling is to deliver value to each client.
  13. Only care about what’s in it for them and how much money they can make.
  14. Do not demonstrate the level of patience required for meeting the demands of some clients.
  15. Choose to fail and simply give up.
  16. Do not ask for the prospect’s business because they feel they shouldn't have to.
  17. Do not ask for help (Never invested the time to see what the top producers are doing, how long it took them and the path they took to get there).
  18. Do not invest the adequate amount of time in their own training, coaching, and development.
  19. Are driven by fear rather than their personal vision and measurable goals, which honor their priorities and force them to have integrity.
  20. Are more driven for results than driven by a proven process -- they are more results driven and not process driven.

Prof. P. Guha
(Globsyn Business School )


Monday, June 2, 2008

Marketing Quiz...

Take the quiz...