Authenticity of customer surveys?

We think customer is the king and they exactly know what they want. Hence, we believe that asking them about their preferences will make us develop products and services that would sell.

But are we aware of the fact that not necessarily customers always reveal the right kind of information in customer surveys. Likeliness of the purchase can be driven by many more factors and is often a relative activity. Often purchase is the result of random impulses. Similarly customer surveys can be at times misleading and certain variable factors should be taken into consideration.

Take for example a focus group discussion is being conducted by a company that intends to launch dog food. They have gathered 5 or more pet owners. All of them have different varieties of dogs. Every subject loves his or her dog dearly and would not tolerate any offence against their loved ones. On being asked about their dog’s agility with relation to the food they eat, each subject might start boasting about his or her dog, thus laying off the actual focus of the focus group.

Above was just a simple hypothetical situation, but likelihood of the same happening is very possible. Next time you conduct customer surveys or conduct a focus group, watch out for the control measures!

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Recession: A mental phenomenon!

Is recession a physical phenomenon or is it a mental phenomenon..or is it both? Is it this way around..physical phenomenon first leading to mental phenomenon..or is it mental phenomenon leading to physical..huh..CONFUSING it is as it sounds!!

Well let’s go back to the basics.

It all started with the sub-prime crisis and then was triggered by sinking of many banks. It all then fell crumbling like those twin towers..sad and deadly apart. The whole world was under the dark clouds of recession. People started to lose their jobs, and people’s lives started to fall apart.

How did this all happen?

Let me talk you through a little small story. It’s a simple one. Here it is. Imagine you come up with the idea to sell stuffed teddy bears to kids below 10 in age. You do well. You hit the market with a BANG!!! You sell so many of the cute dolls, it becomes a mania. You think you have done the best in making your Bubble grow. But then at the end of the day you know it’s nothing but a mere BUBBLE and a bubble has to burst on day.. As I say every bubble is ‘immortal’. Likewise, kids below 10 got fed up with the dolls, some threw them in their bins, some donated them on charity, some just grew up and shifted their interest. Eventually the bubble did burst one day.. There was no plan B to shift people’s interest to another bubble, simply because you had not created another BUBBLE!!

It was a simple error of the very basics of business that is DEMAND = SUPPLY !!! The grass root of a very successful economy is nothing but demand. Also it is the equilibrium in demand and supply system. On the other hand, at the flip side simple reason responsible for the outburst of a disastrous economy in recession is Demand again..but in this case the Demand and Supply equilibrium becomes disproportionate.

The above justifies recession to be a physical phenomenon. Now, let’s look into this situation from a different perspective. The mental phenomenon side of things.

Having said that Demand and Supply when not in equilibrium do a fatal job to the economy, the question is WHY at all there occurs turmoil of the equilibrium. The answer to this question is we ourselves.

A closer look reveals that mainstay of the world economy or call it the backbone of today’s economy is each one of us. You, me and everyone!!! We are the world’s most important and unavoidable entities. We have the key and we are the ones who can make Bill Gates the richest man on this Earth. We have something in our hearts, and that something is called ‘desire’. Desire to do things, desire to go places, desire to be someone, desire to have something and desire to go get it. And its that desire, that makes each one of us POWERFUL. Power of buying is what we have, and will always do no matter even if it is the end of the world. We will always and always buy ‘food’, ‘shelter’, ‘water’ so on and so forth!!! It is unstoppable..it is absolute. As we say ‘it’s in our nature’.

Companies who make money, exploit buying power of each one of us. We are bombarded with consumerism stimulus under our own subconscious each and everyday. Everyday we confront ourselves with someone, something or somebody who would like to sell us something. It is up to us at the end of the day as to how receptive we are towards the stimulus.

In other words, we create the equilibrium between demand and supply. We make companies rich, we make billionaires and we make successful economies. As much as the recession is in the air it is within us as well. Educated thoughts can get us out of this mental state of so called recession. To back up my argument I do quote the example of psychological rise/fall of share markets, currencies and many more.

We have the power to get ourselves out of a BIG DARK MENTAL RECESSION. It is the time to act with positivity!!!

Please feel free to shout out your opinion if you like this post..Cheers!

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Agent Marketing!!!

What is Agent Marketing???

I have a product to sell for example to the following demographics:

1. Age: 24 – 35

2. Male

3. Monthly Income: Above £25,000

4. Average monthly expenditure on premium clothes: £50 -£100

5. Living in Leeds and Manchester

Now my idea is to create a demand for my product. Not by advertising on the television, on newspapers but by building a network of agents. They are chosen people who have the capacity to influence you and then convince you to buy a particular company’s products. The basics of agent marketing is ‘word of mouth’. Its all about creating the hype. In a way many companies hire Agents who go under cover, and very carefully change our perceptions. Next time when someone is advocating a brand, ask to yourself is he a ‘secret brand agent’? Lols!

No wonder Tesco has cquired digital world-of-mouth agency BzzAgent in a deal said to be worth $60m (£37m). Wooooah!! The acquired company works with 800,000 “BzzAgents” who push products and are constantly there to change our buying thought process.

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Thoughts on outsourcing!!!

Outsourcing has been the go of the day post global computization of the society. In simple terms it could mean shifting processes to other countries located remotely to the origin of manufacturing in order to be able to cut costs and achieve cost optimization. Advantages and disadvantages of out-sourcing is debatable at all instances of consideration.

Negative implications:

1. Transferring jobs to other countries, letting the home country to unemployment.

2. Price manipulation.

3. Exploitation of developing and 3rd world countries, i.e. cheap labor, exploitation of resources, etc.

4. Fierce competition and extreme capitalization.

5. ………..(many more)

Outsourcing has always been a great concern to anti-capitalists who have their own arguments against the same. With much respect, think tanks from the other school of thought proclaim that ‘outsourcing has changed the way of life in developing countries.’ outsourcing has opened the doors to prosperity in many countries and has given opportunities to people to live and breathe new meaning. Having said that a quick glance at the advantages are as follows:

1. Social, economical and overall prosperity.

2. Diminishing the divide between rich and poor, powering up the middle class.

3. Development at all levels.

4. Last but not the least is the attitude of the young. The youth in developing countries is far more focussed, educated, hard-working and enterprising than developed countries. They are now may be at par and playing a game over a level ground!!!

Outsourcing has in turn changed the situation to a mutual win-win condition. According to my views outsourcing has far reaching effects on people’s lives. It is as good as donating money on charity to poorer nations.

Opinions on outsourcing is an endless debate. Perhaps its like flipping a coin, you could either expect heads or tails!!!!

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Where do you see yourself in next five years?

Rome was not built in a day. Success is 99% perspiration and only 1% inspiration. Long term focus is the pre-requisite for growth and development at all levels be it personal or professional. Likewise businesses should be able to visualize vividly as to where do they stand in coming 5 years times.

Though the market condition is extremely volatile and may not be very stable at the current moment, speculation has always been the dominating paradigm. All big companies build there business strategies based on their futuristic vision. But research says that not many small companies emphasise upon the long term aspects of their business.

There are many ways small business should be able to optimize their long term growth. It could be from a marketing perspective, human resource management perspective, etc. Little effort and modest changes can bring in the long term drive and excellence.

Take for example when you have a long term vision embedded within the minds of employees, this will give them assurance about their stability in general. Their feeling of stability and motivation will them drive any company’s daily activities. Long term marketing goals would direct your company towards achieving the ultimate vision.

Short steps for small businesses on their long road…For more, please wait for the launch of our official website!!!!

Thanks for reading.

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Defining ‘Customer’: sales context vs marketing context!

No matter how small your business is and irrespective of whether if you sell products or services or both, it is always an end to end delivery to an ultimate target market. And the target market are your customers. Happy customers are your loyal customers. Having said that it is moot to understand- What makes a customer happy? Is it selling something that buys customer loyalty or is it adding value which makes the difference?

Customer can be defined in two broad contexts.

Sales Context: A customer is someone who buys something reactively. Reactive in this context means response to a sales stimuli. Take for example, cold calling from a mobile phone company to everyone on their database to convince them to buy mobile insurance. It indicates that someone you are trying to sell something may not necessarily wish to buy anything from you. You are just taking your chance and the output very much depends upon probability of events. In other words you are looking for customers and the customer is not looking for you.

Marketing Context:  In contradiction according to marketing context ‘A customer is one who buys from you proactively’. Marketing is all about understanding the true nature of your target audience, and offering them something that they are really looking for. Giving them solutions to problems or simply creating prospects. This process can only be facilitated when you have done your research. Marketing then is no longer termed intrusive and annoying! Only then you can redefine the difference between your marketing and sales strategy. And it is of course the key to your business success.

Do not leave it to chance, do your research!!

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Hit a Century!!!

Thanks to everyone who have spared time to have a look at our blog. Much appreciated!! A lot more coming..Many thanks again and stay tuned:)

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