Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Neuro Marketing : Concept and Practices

Neuro marketing, the latest form of marketing study and practice, is the study of the brain’s responses to advertising and all the messages and images that they are associated with by using the functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). It assumes that the human brain has discrete functional areas and that consumer behaviour is largely driven by the subconscious. In today’s hyper competitive markets even a slightest of insights is grabbed by companies to improve the effectiveness of new product introductions and marketing communications to their target market. It is true that traditional consumer research techniques, such as surveys and market research groups, help in this regard. However, these techniques do suffer from important limitations, as consumers are not always able or willing to provide the required information. For decades, market researchers have attempted to address these shortcomings by either trying to access the consumer’s subconscious through motivational research and projective techniques, or by analyzing how consumers seek and process information by tracking eye movement or galvanic skin response. However, these efforts have been only partially successful in helping to understand consumers. One of the latest techniques, which incorporates both of the above mentioned approaches and is hailed by many as one of the most important marketing research breakthroughs, is neuro marketing. This in turn allows marketers to develop a more effective marketing mix and ultimately satisfy consumers better, the main objective of marketing function. Further, since consumers tend to react differently towards stimuli, there is also the possibility of using neuro marketing for segmentation purposes, beyond mere demographic and psychographic variables. Taken to an extreme, and subject to development of technology, neuro marketing could also eventually be used to customise products and marketing communications according to brain type of the potential customers, perhaps some day even in real time.

Contributed By:
Amitabha Ghose
(Globsyn Business School)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Smart Ads

Marketing an idea...

Marketing a service...

Marketing a thing...

Marketing an idea...

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

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Running a successful business in recession hit Britain

On April 21, 2009, Telegraph of UK has chronicled the success story of Euro Car Parts. This is one English business that has not bitten the dust in the recent times of economic crisis. Operating 61 outlets and being able to muster an annual profit of UKP 6.6 million on a sales volume of UKP 145 million the company can be considered to be a success.

Sukhpal Singh the entrepreneur bought a bankrupt car parts shop in North London. His venture started with a little loan from his father, a fugitive from Idi Amin’s Uganda.

He does not ascribe his success to knowledge on the subject. Initially his customers had to look for the items in his shop as he could not find them himself. But strategic marketing decisions brought him to his present position.

Just as a sailor cannot change the direction of the wind but can set his sail accordingly, he could not change the course of the present recession in UK but could orient his strategies accordingly. He found that people did not want to take their cars to the dealers for the repairs because of the prohibitive prices that they charged. They would rather go to the small independent garages.

Initially his customers were mainly car owners. But soon the major chunk of his business started coming from the car garages. Today he serves about 17, 000 independent car garages in the country (which is about 70 % of the total number) with his fleet of 550 trucks. Many of these require hourly replenishment of their inventory of spare parts and he sees to it that it is done.

Competition he had to take on head on. He kept his shop open on all seven days of the week and kept it open for longer hours every day, thus providing more convenience to his clients. A strong customer orientation is reflected in his company motto, “Customer is always right even when he is wrong.” This is not just a cliché in his establishment; it is the guiding philosophy.

It was not a smooth journey all along. The dealers did not like the success of Sukhpal Singh. They would not even provide information on the various parts. He decided to buy from the manufacturers instead.

The reader is invited to read the excerpts from the Telegraph which is appended below. Attention is drawn to the portions made bold for they outline the strategic thoughts of the entrepreneur.

Click here to read the excerpts from The Telegraph

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

Pix Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

Monday, March 30, 2009

Aston Martin Unseats the Veyron as the World's Most Expensive Car

While India builds the world’s cheapest car, Warwickshire in England builds the world’s most expensive one. While one has a 624 cc engine the other has a 7 liter one. While a million of one is supposed to be made in the first year itself, only seventy seven of the other will ever be built. The marketing strategies also will have to be different. In one case people are already standing in a queue to book, in the other case the company is lining up prospective buyers to whom they should be pitching the car. While one will be assembled at the dealer’s workshops the other will be entirely custom made.

Having already been dethroned as the fastest car on the planet, the $1.4 million Veyron and its more expensive roadster sibling are no longer the world's most expensive rides. That title now rests with the One-77, the $2.3 million hand-made coupe Aston Martin will sell next year. No more than 77 will be built, a figure that makes Bugatti's run of 300 Veyrons look mass-market and just beats the 80 Veyron roadsters in exclusivity. A British bookie already is laying odds on who'll get the first one.

Paying $2.3 million for anything that doesn't have wings is beyond excessive, but then, those few who get a One-77 aren't buying a car. They are, according to Aston Martin, buying An Experience. Autocar says buyers will be invited to the factory in Gaydon, where they'll meet with designers and engineers to develop the car to their exact specifications.

"It's a very special car for customers who want to take the bespoke experience to a higher level," company chairman David Richard told Autocar. "Every car will be entirely individual."

Aston Martin isn't saying much about the One-77, a code name for the as-yet-unnamed coupe, but the project started about 15 months ago. The hand-hammered aluminum bodywork retains the general profile of the gorgeous DB9 but is more muscular. It covers a carbon fiber chassis and a 7.0-liter V12 engine said to produce 650 horsepower. Top speed is estimated at 220 mph and 60 mph arrives in 3.5 seconds.

Those figures are well short of the 253 mph and 2.5 seconds the Bugatti has hit, but Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Benz says the company isn't "doing a Veyron." Instead, the company's flagship will highlight its latest technology, raising the possibility future Astons will make greater use of carbon fiber and other advancements developed for the One-77.

The company reportedly has identified 500 or so potential customers and will bring a One-77 to their homes - when you're spending that kind of money, you aren't expected to actually visit a showroom. So who's on the list? The bookies at William Hill Casinos have opened betting and David Beckham is their 9-4 favorite to be first in line. Singer Jay Kay of Jamiroquai is second at 3-1, while the odds on Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich stand at 7-2.

As for Aston Martin's decision to build just 77, it's said to have stemmed from Bez's belief that seven is a lucky number. It certainly is for those fortunate enough to get one.

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

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Marketing Mistakes

A disappointed salesman of Coca Cola returns from his Middle East assignment.

A friend asked, "Why weren't you successful with the Arabs?"

The salesman explained, "When I got posted in the Middle East, I was very confident that I would make a good sales pitch as Cola is virtually unknown there. But, I had a problem I didn't know to speak Arabic. So, I planned to convey the message through three posters...

First Poster- A man lying in the hot desert sand...totally exhausted and fainting.

Second Poster - man is drinking our Cola.

Third poster- Our man is now totally refreshed.

Then these posters were pasted all over the place "That should have worked," said the friend. The salesman replied "I didn't realize that Arabs read from right to left!"

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

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Marketing Research

Marketing research is all about forecasts. Professionals will say that crystal gazing is unscientific. Unfortunately human brain has so far not been able to find a foolproof method of guessing the future. Statistical methods or whatever never yield 100% correctness and the worst is that the degree of incorrectness is understood only after the occurrence of the event or the passage of the time.

Some people have tremendous faith in professionals who have excelled in their own fields. Like you can ask Sachin Tendulkar about the future of cricket in the sub-continent and then decide upon how many cricket bats you should manufacture in a year. Sounds reasonable.

Given below is a list of famous predictions made by people or corporations or publications of world repute.
  • “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” [Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM in 1943].
  • “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” [Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles in 1962].
  • “There is no need for any individual to have a computer in their home.” [Ken Olson, President of Digital Equipment Corp, in 1977].
  • “No one will need more than 637 kb of memory for a personal computer. 640K ought to be enough for anybody.” [Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, in 1981].
  • “Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” [Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949].
  • “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” [Lord Kelvin, ca. 1895, British mathematician and physicist].
  • “Radio has no future.” [Lord Kelvin, ca. 1897].
  • “Well informed people know it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires and that were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value.” [The Boston Post in 1865].

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

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pontiac Shrivels Up

Products like people, no matter how great, do not last for ever. General Motors that had positioned itself consistently in the top five for ages is now craving for a bailout. One of its prominent models the Pontiac has contributed well towards the downfall of the company. The extract from the New York Times of February 20 2009 gives a painful account of the roller-coaster ride that the car is having on the P-L-C graph.

DETROIT — With its history of building muscle cars like the GTO and the low-slung Firebird, Pontiac had good reason to take pride in its best-known marketing slogan from the 1980s, “We Build Excitement.”

Lately it has been using “Pontiac is CAR,” a phrase more likely to catch the attention of grammarians than car buffs.

And on Tuesday, when General Motors asked the federal government for more bailout money, it also announced a reorganization plan that included demoting Pontiac to a “focused niche brand,” signaling that its lineup of vehicles would shrink and that it would no longer be a separate division.

To industry analysts and Pontiac’s longtime fans, the downgrade provides a case study of the product missteps that helped put G.M. in its precarious state, and a reminder of the dangers in straying from a successful formula.

“When you deviate too far from it, that’s when you run into trouble as a brand and a company,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director at Kelley Blue Book, whose 1968 Firebird made him feel “as cool as I could be.”

More than any other G.M. brand, Pontiac stood for performance, speed and sex appeal. Its crosstown rivals followed with similar muscle cars, giving Detroit bragging rights over the cars that Japanese automakers were selling based on quality and reliability.

Though still G.M.’s third-best-selling division, behind Chevrolet and GMC, Pontiac’s sales peaked in 1984, when it sold almost 850,000 vehicles, roughly four times as many as it sold last year.

G.M.’s chief executive, Rick Wagoner, said the company’s decision to concentrate primarily on Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and GMC left the company with a “comprehensive portfolio.”

By many accounts, Pontiac started to falter when G.M. pursued a cost-saving strategy of providing the same cars to different divisions.

It gave Pontiac vehicles like the TransSport minivan, and the Sunbird, Sunfire and Phoenix cars that were barely distinguishable from models sold by Chevrolet and Oldsmobile.

Pontiac also garnered unwanted publicity in 2001 with the Aztek, whose tag line declared, “Quite possibly the most versatile vehicle on the planet.” Its bulky looks landed it on lists of the world’s ugliest cars. Indeed, Aztek won top honors in that category from The Daily Telegraph of London last year.

Pontiac’s current plight is reflected in its Vibe, a well-regarded crossover vehicle that shares underpinnings with the Toyota Matrix, as part of a joint venture between Toyota and G.M.

While the Matrix holds 67 percent of its resale value after three years, according to Kelley Blue Book, the Vibe retains just 54 percent.

The Vibe, whose future is not clear but which was redesigned for 2009, is meant to appeal to the same age group that Pontiac’s muscle cars once did.

But many younger Americans, who were not around for Pontiac’s prime period, will not miss the brand as it shrinks, said Ron Pinelli, who is president of Motorintelligence.com, a company that tracks industry statistics.

To them, he said, “it doesn’t have any cachet unless they’re watching a late-night movie with Burt Reynolds,” whose film “Smokey and the Bandit” featured the Pontiac Trans Am.

But in its best years, Pontiacs were “highly styled and valued and really something,” Mr. Pinelli said.

Known before World War II primarily for its sedate sedans, Pontiac got a lift in the 1950s when G.M. used its cars on the racing circuit. Because of its “wide track” stance, Pontiacs quickly caught on with street racers, as well.

Tim Sampson, whose family owned a yellow Pontiac Grand Prix in the 1960s, remembered the Pontiacs that were used for drag races on President’s Island, in an industrial part of Memphis. “People used to get arrested,” said Mr. Sampson, a founder of the Stax Museum of American Soul.

Italian sports cars inspired another classic Pontiac in the 1960s, when the division’s new general manager, John Z. DeLorean, decided it needed a small, fast car modeled after a Ferrari. He hit on the name GTO — after a Ferrari coupe called the Gran Turismo Omologato.

The GTO returned this decade, as part of an effort to revive Pontiac. But G.M.’s Holden division in Australia built that car.

Its appearance barely echoed the original GTO, disappointing its core audience. It lasted only from 2004 to 2006, before G.M. stopped selling them.

The most recent efforts to breathe new life into Pontiac were put into motion by G.M.’s vice chairman, Robert A. Lutz, who will retire at the end of 2009. Known in the industry for his love of high-performance vehicles, Mr. Lutz had pushed the division to return to its car heritage.
On its Web site, Pontiac explains its new slogan more fully: “Pontiac is style. Pontiac is performance. Pontiac is culture. Pontiac is music. Pontiac is CAR.”

Now, G.M. will have to determine which Pontiacs will remain Pontiacs. So far, Mr. Wagoner and other executives have not given any indication of the company’s specific plans for Pontiac.

But unlike Saturn, which will be discontinued by 2012, G.M. does not have to dismantle a dealership lineup for Pontiac. Its franchises, for the most part, already have been grouped with Buick and GMC. Any future models, G.M. said this week, will be sold through this Buick-Pontiac-GMC organization.

“We’re the third generation, and we’re the last,” said Rick Zimmerman, whose family has sold Pontiacs in Pittsfield, Ill., since the brand came to life as part of its Oakland division in the 1920s. (Pontiac became a stand-alone division in 1932.)

Mr. Zimmerman, whose first car was a GTO, said hundreds of customers used to flood his showroom each fall when new Pontiacs — like the popular Bonneville, now a retired nameplate — were unveiled.

Now, despite positive reviews about the performance of some new models like the G8, he has trouble getting his customers interested in them.

“It’s been a good name, and had a lot of good cars,” Mr. Zimmerman said. “It’s tough to see it go.”

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

Source: http://www.nytimes.com

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Valentine’s Day

Marketing professionals do not debate, they accept realities. They do not debate whether professing love openly on Valentine’s Day conforms to Indian culture or whether it is necessary at all. They accept the fact that celebrations on Valentine’s Day are a reality.

Marketing professionals also do not blame people or companies or countries for anything. They do not waste time in finding out which economic policy of which King, President or Prime Minister brought about this global economic crisis.

Successful marketers today know that the recession is a reality and also know that the human race cannot be kept away from love or kept away from expressions of love. They put the two together and come up with brilliant marketing ideas appropriate for the times.

A few examples are here.

Mumbai: This Valentine’s Day advertisers are betting on more than just love and fresh air. As consumers experience the pressures of a slowing economy, advertisers are putting out messages that are pragmatic, utilitarian, value-added or investment-based and appeal to a broad swathe of consumers beyond lovelorn couples.

“Recession romance” is playing out across markets this February, as advertisers across industries, including real estate, auto and media infuse their products with romance. Cleverly tuning in to the zeitgeist, youth entertainment channel UTV Bindass recently took off on the famous MasterCard ads: “Preparing for Valentine’s day? Flowers & gift: Rs1,000; hiring a limousine: Rs10,000; dinner at 5 star: Rs15,000; diamond ring: Rs80,000. Total cost: very expensive. Staying at home and watching TV instead: Free. Recession Romance”.

“We thought, for once let’s enjoy this recession and remind young people there’s a smarter way of doing this without blowing up money,” says Ashok Abraham Cherian, business head at UTV Bindass, the channel under the UTV Group, adding that the promotion was also a tongue-in-cheek way of telling them that home was the safest, non-intrusive environment they could be in today. “You’re not going to have some moral police guy come in and burst that heart-shaped balloon,” he adds.

Out Of Home Media (India) Pvt. Ltd, commonly know as OOH Media, which is India’s largest out-of-home television company, has similarly launched “LOohve Spots” on their in-store network, which listed the top five Valentine hangouts in each city. Needless to say, all were free public spaces.

Some products are being smartly positioned as good value/investments and hence V-Day gifts, in an endeavour to connect with money-conscious consumers. A 2008 World Gold Council (WGC) study claims that women consider gold a superior gift due to its implicit value. “The higher gold price has added to gold jewellery’s desirability despite these challenging economic times,” says Philip Olden, managing director of WGC.

Meanwhile, real estate company DishaDirect urges consumers to invest in a “Heartland” home for their Valentine. And touting long-term protection for one’s loved ones, Max New York Life Insurance Co. Ltd offers “Karo Zyaada Pyaar Ka Vada”.

There’s nothing like a good bargain to impress your loved one or save some chips. Witness a flurry of heartfelt sales, discounts and brand promotions.

Ads for online portal Indiatimes Shopping announced “50% Back. 100% Love”, while those for eBay India read: “Valentine’s on a budget”.

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

Source: http://www.livemint.com/2009/02/13213451/8216Recession-romance8217.html

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lighter Side of Marketing?

“Everybody’s granny cooks the best”. And when one buys butter, cheese, sauce, pickles cakes and cookies, one is invariably reminded of the ones made at home by the senior ladies of the household like mothers and grandmothers. But mothers and grandmothers working in their domestic kitchens cannot take care of the entire markets for these products. Corporate entities like Amul, Britannia and Lijjat therefore have to step in. And the marketing gurus of these companies know very well that their products will strike a nostalgic chord somewhere in the hearts of the customers if they can make some reference to the mothers and the grandmothers.

But the question is of ethics. Should such messages be put up in advertisements?

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Marketing a Christmas Tree

Mr. Dagwood went to buy a Christmas tree and this is what happened.

This is ‘marketing’ as it should be done. Joe the master sales person recently appointed by Northstar Christmas Trees did a wonderful job.

Mr. Dagwood went to him with a need. He needed a Christmas tree. Joe created another need; the need of Joe to impress upon his family with a prized possession. Joe narrated the story in a very arresting manner and got the customer interested. He elevated the customer from a buyer of a tree to a buyer of an heirloom, and a connoisseur of relics.. In the process he sold the tree at possibly an exalted price and ensuring complete satisfaction. By the time Mr. Dagwood bought the tree, he was more interested in impressing his family with the fact that he had bought a thing that was so intimately connected to national history.

Joe deserves appreciation for his marvelous effort in providing the appropriate information to the buyer. He did not for once talk about the tree. He talked about its links with George Washington. In short he found out the need of the customer, worked upon the basic need to introduce the customer to a greater need that he was not aware of, presented the product in a way acceptable to the customer, sold the tree and satisfied the customer.

But after all this eulogy, a line must be added to alert the reader. If Joe had cooked up the story and lied to the customer, then he should be taken to task because marketing under no conditions should be mistaken for fooling the customer. Fooling the customer is unethical. It might lead to instant profits but it is not ‘marketing’.

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

Cartoon Strip Source: The Telegraph

Monday, January 12, 2009

Marketing Pranks

Pranks can lead to marketing revenues. The following text retrieved from the net proves that.

The Stunt: In the morning, an ad appeared in The New York Times with a headline that read: "Taco Bell Buys the Liberty Bell." The ad copy explained that Taco Bell was "pleased to announce that we have agreed to purchase the Liberty Bell, one of our country's most historic treasures. It will now be called the 'Taco Liberty Bell' and will still be accessible to the American public for viewing. While some may find this controversial, we hope our move will prompt other corporations to take similar action to do their part to reduce the country's debt." It sounded logical, if distasteful. In another press release, Taco Bell helpfully explained that people had been "adopting" highways for years and that purchasing a national treasure was just a way of furthering that idea.

What Happened Next: Thousands of people called in their complaints to the home of the Liberty Bell, the National Historic Park in Philadelphia, but by noon, Taco Bell admitted what many people suspected, since the day was, after all, April 1. The Taco Bell ad was an April Fool's joke, and the media and public ate it up (no pun intended). More than 650 print media outlets and 400 broadcast outlets covered the prank, reaching more than 70 million Americans, according to Taco Bell's marketing department. The company's revenue increased by $500,000 that day, and by $600,000 more the following day, compared to the previous week's sales. Even then-White House spokesperson Mike McCurry, when asked about the Taco Liberty Bell, got inspired to reveal that the Lincoln Memorial had been sold and would from now on be known as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

Lesson Learned: It can pay to have a sense of humor about your business.

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

Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/marketing/marketingideas/article159484.html