Monday, May 18, 2009

Marketing Unplugged

Meeting consumer needs at a profit. That's said and done. How? Your understanding of consumer needs is your competitive advantage. Your market need to be sliced into segments and you position your products or services to fit your target or niche markets. In doing this you need to project in the minds of the customers your core products benefits, both tangible and non-tangible.
Then you develop a marketing plan. Here you structure your strategy having put the customer at the center, you want to make repeat business by planning an integrated marketing communication mix ( 4 P's - Product, Price, Promotion, Place) . To be sure, your planning have to be in tandem with the industry's distribution structure, corporate objectives and your human, financial and physical resources. Finally all your marketing efforts must be justified and designed or re-designed to be competitive with the external non-controllable forces e.g governmental , legal, international laws, competitive economic conditions, natural resources, ethical, social and cultural operating milieu.
A well-thought out marketing plan creates excitement and value, always keeping in mind that there are no 'right' answers. Much of the positioning for instance is re-positioning to get a bigger share of the market. Before you get too high on the marketing plan think of the economics of the plan. What are the costs? How long can I get my investment back? Should I target at another segment?
Thus marketing is very important for business because it integrates all the functions of a business and speaks directly to the customer through advertising, sales people and other marketing activities. We need marketing sales to keep us employed in our organisations.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Newer Ways

In providing fire to your passion..i.e. the business you're in, think of newer ways. We are in the age of information and we daily collaborate with knowledge workers. Think differently:

a) Integrate your supply chain ( products/services and delivery processes) using ICT ( information & communication technology) to realise vast improvements in cost, quality and action time.

b) Position your products and services to capitalise on diverse customer segments. What about online shoppers? This has global opportunities.

c) Be innovative - anticipate future needs ( look into changing details in lifestyle, fashion, design etc.,) and create new products and services, use new technologies for efficient delivery and service.

d) Unleash creativity of your knowledge workers - have a collaborative, sharing and team- based culture and empower all workers ( employees, 'knowledge partners') by contributing value through what they know and the information they can provide.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Buying price

With the invisible hands of competition and the forces of supply and demand at work determining consumer's behaviour, as an entrepreneur we need to get behind the scene of what makes consumers willing to buy. What are their unmet demands and insatiable appetites ? The makers of products and services are willing to sell and consumers ever so willing to buy at a price. Supply equals demand for a price. That much we know for sure.
Yet consumers act according to their elasticity of demand. They respond to price first and foremost because money is scarce . They are price elastic. On the supply side, high prices encourage the production of more products or services while simultaneously discourage more consumption. At the point where the quantity supplied and quantity demanded meet, the market reaches equilibrium. Thus, we produce the quantity at which the marginal revenue of the last unit produced equals the marginal cost . Price equals the marginal cost.
Individuals purchase on their elasticity of demand. This illustrates that we must meet the needs not fulfill their wants. Marginal utility means the usefulness or utility of having an additional unit of a product or services. At the point where a buyer is fully satisfied, an additional unit is of no value. If you already have 3 plates of 'roti tisu' ( Malaysian pancake) and 3 cups of 'teh tarik' ( tea with milk) , an additional amount of both is of no value.
However, consumers with unlimited cash in hand tends to be more price inelastic and buy regardless of the price.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

One Minute MBA

Got a minute? OK, you want to do business or manage one. A lawful one? Well, that's Legal Framework. Law or perhaps a mini-course on Ethics.
You look at today's papers and you want to imitate successful people. That's LEADERSHIP. Managerial effectiveness. What's your project? Its called OPERATIONS. You want not only to make things but also to market your products or services. You shout it sooner. It's MARKETING. You need warm bodies, followers. Practise ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOUR or Human Resources Management. To help you weather the competitive storm make sure your figures are as good as your judgement. They used to refer it as STATISTICS but can come in more fashionable clothes like, Information for Business Decisions. Now money falls on your lap. Make sure to re-invest it. Think FINANCE. It will make you financially literate. It comes along with another language of business called ACCOUNTING, without which you cannot function in business. Soon you'll want to impress your peers and friends on supply and demand curves which get wired to edgy markets. That's ECONOMICS. In today's recession, government intervention is the saviour or else Hell Break Loose!. There are of course many other 'invisible' hands in the economy that drive or stifle competition. Don't be left behind on ICT. Take up Business Information Systems. You'll be surprised how current and sophisticated your communication/presentation skills can be. May I ask on which side of the fence are you? An 'intrapreneur'? Look deep into your heart. If you can stomach Schumpeter's ' gale of creative destructon' go and be an entrepreneur. And finally don't leave the house without it. STRATEGY. The idea is to be victor of the market place instead of victim. Take it from Sun Tzu's 'Art of War' - to subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill. That's my friend is the MBA mindset in one minute.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Green Matters

It started with the hippies flower power. Then the Beatles adopted the flower power as a symbol of 'Give Peace a Chance' movement. Soon the flower power was synonymous with environmental movement and anti-establishment ideas.
The greening of business idea was churned into successful marketing tactics and strategy by green marketeers promising products that are natural and environmental-friendly.
However green matters much less to customers than do price, quality, convenience, past experience, brand recognition and others' recommendation ( word of mouth). Increasingly businesses will find it a tricky balancing act to navigate between the demands of stock holders, market share and ethical business philosophy.
How can organisations remain ever so competitive with environmental marketing? First they need to capture the imagination of the younger generation who shop online towards a worthwhile sustainable cause e.g. Earth Hour. Secondly they need to pursue eco-labelling their products or services. Management need to re-focus on green matters. One potential growth trend is eco-leadership.
The green idea like what its colour literally signifies will grow. But like a garden, the beauty of its appeal may disappear a while when the flower wilts and drop on the garden floor to nourish the whole garden ecology. But soon a multitude of flowers may spring out to bring forth yet renewed growth and vigour to the garden.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Plan the Work, Work the Plan

An entrepreneur has to plan his work, then work his plan.
In spite of all the vision, analysis and strategy, no success will be achieved without working out the plan i.e. implementing it correctly and efficiently.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Eagles,Ducks, Sheep and Cats

One Minute Sketch - Eagles, Ducks, Sheep and Cats

Act 1; Scene 1

Alice: Would you tell me, please which way ought I go from here?
Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don't care much where-
Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn't matter which way you go.

Remember cats have nine lives and they are mentally agile,too.

Act 1; Scene 2

Few people come into your life without a reason. For best example- You and your spouse are a team. Act like one. Entrepreneurs need warm bodies, without which there is no company. Like the marriage make sure you commit to spending time together outside of meals and sleeping. Shout it: " Have Fun! It's all part of the job description!"

Act 1; Scene 3

At work, don't create a company of ducks. Let your people soar like eagles to deliver superior customer service. As an entrepreneur you want to lead them with love by tearing down fear.

Come to the edge.
It's too high.
Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
And they came.
And he pushed them .
And they flew away.

Step out of the box. 'You must always do the thing you cannot do' (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Act 1; Scene 4

Don't lead sheep. Herd cats. Richard Branson tells : It is easy to herd sheep, but impossible to lead them from the front. Cats, on the other hand are independant and intelligent and those are the kind of people we want to employ at Virgin.

(Before the curtain falls)
" What a man can be , he must be. This need we call self-actualization" ( Abraham Maslow)

And they lived happily ever after.


David McNally - Even Eagles Need a Push
Ken Blanchard - The One Minute Entrepreneur
Richard Branson - Screw it, Let's do it!
Steven Silbiger - The 10 - Day MBA