Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Marketing books: Must read for MBAs

The books are not ranked or in any particular order
1. Duct Tape Marketing: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide by John Jantsch
2. Guerrilla Marketing, 4th edition: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business by Jay Conrad Levinson
3. Permission Marketing : Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers by Seth Godin
4. How Customers Think by Gerald Zaltman
5. Marketing Metaphoria by Geral Zaltman and Lindsay Zaltman
6. Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff
7. Competing on Analytics by Thomas Davenport
8. The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Traditional Media

Traditional media has been getting a bad rap for the past few years. There has been a movement towards online and mobile media and marketers are not very enthusiastic about print and TV. Recently, some brands have shown marketing success resulting from judicious use of print and TV advertising.

For several years, Amul Butter has been running a legendary "utterly butterly" outdoor campaign. When they started losing market share in the past few years, they realized that for maintaining a market share of about 70%, concentrating largely on a single media was not wise. They rolled out a TV campaign with a new tagline, nice ads and they sponsored some relevant high-TRP TV programmes. As a result, they have been able to get back their stratospheric market share, increasing by 15% in a very short time.

Royal Hygiene is a start-up in a very difficult FMCG product category. Their brand, Shecomfort, just pipped the MNC, Kimberly-Clark, to become the 3rd largest selling sanitary napkin in India. One of the ways they achieved this was by concentrating on print media when all the others were stuck on TV. So, they were able to stand out in a media largely uncluttered by their competition.

Futurebazaar was able to build up its customers base by running a TV campaign promoting its website. It was a very good example of an Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC), as it was combined very well with a email campaign to promote their 'sale' days.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Introduction to Services Marketing

Productization and Servitization

Products and services are all part of the same continium and that becomes even more apparent when ones looks at the attempts of service and product companies to come closer to each other.
Productization efforts are visible when service companies try to standardize their offerings by neatly packaging and labeling their offerings. For example, Infosys developed acore banking solution, Finacle. Similarly, Thomas Cook, Cox and Kings and several other travel agencies are currently getting a large portion of their turnover from packaged vacations.
On the other hand, product companies too are busy value adding by integrating services. Rolls Royce sells aircraft engines by including all operations and maintenance functions as a package. Chevrolet is trying to increase their car sales in India by guaranteeing an upper limit on the maintenance spend on a car for the first three years. Asian Paints offers services relating to selection, estimation and even application of their product. Lafarge and ACC Cements are offering civil engineering advice to customers of their high-end cements.

In such a scenario, it is increasingly becoming difficult or maybe even unnecessary to classify sellers as product or service companies

Product Strategy

Product Line

Conventional wisdom says that most important decisions should be taken at the product line level rather than at the level of an individual product. This is because products in a company's product line have a lot of impact on each other. For example, any change in the positioning , promotion or pricing of Surf can mipact the sales and positioning of Unilever's other detergent brands like Surf Excel, Rin and Wheel.

Going by the same logic, even profitability should be measured at the level of a product line but more often, the profitability is measured at the level of each individual brand. There is a lot of merit in this approach but it does take away from the strategic role a brand may play in a product line. A brand like Wheel plays a tremendous role by ensuring that Surf does not dilute itself by competing directly against Nirma or Fena. Unilever itself regularly prunes its product lines and the prime considerations are present and future profitability and market share.

Another important thing to look out for is that with closely related product lines, cannibalization is also likely from other product lines within the company. In such cases decisions will have to be taken at a product mix level. For example, the ipad, iphone and ipod are part of distinct product lines but there is a distinct possibility of cannibalization amongst them.