Rabu, 01 Mei 2013

Marketing Management

Marketing management involves choosing target markets that not only get new customers but also retain the existing ones. It is a business subject, which is based on research and study of practical applications of marketing techniques and management of the marketing resources. The one who excels in this field is known as marketing manager. The job of the marketing manager is to influence the timing and level of customer demand so as to help the sales. It actually depends on the size of the business and environment in the corporate industry. Like if he is working in a huge production company, he will be the general manager of a particular product category assigned to him and he will be responsible for profit and loss with respect to the product. And in small business there is no marketing manager as his job is taken over by the partners of the company.

Creating and communicating best customer values can increase the number of customers. The steps taken and resources utilized to maintain existing customers and get new customers fall under marketing management. The scope is quite large because it not only consists of developing a product, but also retaining it. The term marketing management has many definitions. It actually depends on individual firms and how the marketing department functions and activities of other departments like operations finance, pricing and sales. 

Before deciding about a marketing strategy, the company must do an in-depth study about their business, and the market. This is where marketing management merges with strategic planning. Usually the marketing strategies are of three types, customer analysis, company analysis and competitor analysis. Using the customer analysis, the market is broken down into different types of customers. The marketing management realizes the characteristics and other variables of each group. They are geographical location, demographic, customer behavior pattern and need. Like a group of people can be recognized who can be less price sensitive, purchases often and are growing. Such groups can be worked on by heavy investments as they are worth the money and time. They cannot only retain such customers and make new customers in this group but they can go to the very extent of turning back customers who don't belong to this group. Understanding the needs makes customer's expectations to be met per their satisfaction, better than the competitors, which will lead to higher sales and obvious profit.

Company analysis highlights the cost structure and resources of the company and cost position when compared to competitors. The accounting executives use it to learn about the profit earned by a particular product. From time to time, audits are conducted to study about the strengths of various brands of the company.

Marketers using competitor analysis build detail customer profiles. It gives a clear picture about the strengths and weaknesses of the firm, when compared to a competitor. The competitor's cost structure, resources, competitive positioning, degree of vertical integration, product differentiation, and profits are studied in detail and are compared to what company is doing in those regards.

The marketing management to do marketing analysis carries out marketing research. The most common of such researches are qualitative marketing research, quantitative marketing research, experimental techniques and observational techniques.

After all the studies and researches are conducted, its easier for the marketing manager to make strategic decisions and they then can design a marketing strategy to increase the profits and revenues of their company. The other goals can be profit over the long run, market share, and revenue growth. 



Selling to a Woman Vs Selling to a Man

Different approaches should be taken when selling products or services to a man when compared to a woman. As they say that men are from mars and women from Venus both of them think very differently and hence, their thinking should be influenced by different methods.

For example, when a man decides to buy a car he looks out for the latest model, speed, mileage, etc. But when a woman goes out to buy a car she will choose a car depending on the color. She would like it match it either with her work dress or accessories like watch and will be concerned whether there is enough space to store her necessities. Because their psychologies differ so much, they should be convinced to buy a product using different methods.

Presentation is also very important. The salesperson talking to a male client doesn't have to concentrate much on looks and cleanliness. It is okay if he doesn't have the required documents on hand and his sleeves are folded up. But when the same salesperson is referring to a female client, he should be spotless from head to toe. He should comb his hair properly, have manicured nails and even his shoes should be well-polished. The salesperson should be prepared with all the necessary documents before hand and shouldn't go rushing in front of the customer. Women seek perfectionism.     

Words should be spoken with extra care in front of a woman customer. Women are better listeners and they will analyze each spoken word. A lot of emotion should be involved in the talking because women are drawn to emotions immediately. Like when selling clothes to a lady, tell her how you will feel bad for her if she has to sweat badly in the summer due to her nature of job. Pick a nice cotton dress for her and ask her to try it. The customer will be highly touched and will take less time to buy the product. Seventy five percent of the job is done if she is won emotionally.

Next important point is to never stop talking in front of the female customer. The moment the salesperson stops talking, she will start thinking deeply about the product and will start examining every detail of the product and will give a second thought to the product. Women have the capability of multi-tasking. They will be able to listen as well as read the manual at the same time. So keep her involved into many things at a time. A man lacks the talent of multi-tasking. If a male client gets involved with something else, stop speaking immediately because he will be unable to concentrate on both the things and it will lead him into a confusion state.

Another point to be taken care of is, it's not a good idea to have a woman salesperson when a male client is to be handled. Women talk a lot and men are bad listeners. The woman salesperson will go on and on about the product and the man will just nod his head without getting any meaning out of it. They will not able to express properly whether they are getting the point or not. But on the other hand, a woman client can easily express how much she has followed. Even if they don't speak it out, her facial expressions will tell it all. So when a salesperson is dealing with a female customer, he or she should watch out for the client's expressions. If she shows any state of confusion or dislike, try taking a different approach.

Men clients can be made to understand about the product by simply drawing the outlook of the product using a simple pen and paper. Men have a good capability of visualizing the three dimensional images of the product which is being referred to. But women are not so good that. To present a clear picture, the sample or the actual product should be shown to her.

Complimenting a male customer is a very good idea. He will be over whelmed and will take it in a good sense. But a woman is a careful listener, so any compliment should be given with extra care. Any fake compliment will be immediately detected. 

Selasa, 30 April 2013

Multi-level Marketing

Multi-level marketing is a business model where salespersons like sales consultants, distributors, and even franchise owners and independent owners work in harmony to increase the sales of the product, on commission basis. This is more like a franchise arrangement where the sales of the product depend on the combined effort of each franchise and regional manager. There are multiple levels of people receiving commission. Usually there are seven or more levels. Multilevel marketing is basically a combination of franchise and direct marketing.

This concept started in 1980s when most of the companies started handling the stocking and distribution issues and started compensating all the individuals involved. This increased the interest of each member in promoting sales due to the chance of earning bonuses and since then the Multilevel Marketing companies have taken the responsibility of taking orders, shipping goods, and paying revenue. Things became easier with the transition to Internet. Product promotion, advertising and sales were made online and hence, the whole process began to be known as online MLM.

There are various MLM compensations plans. According to the uni-level or stairway breakaway plans there are two types of distributors involved managers and non-managers. According to the matrix plans, the width of each level in a distributor's group is regulated. In binary plans, the limit of each level's width has two legs. Commission was paid when both the legs reached a specific target. In elevator scheme, the distributors pay splits after a certain number of units have been paid.   

The commissions are paid in two ways, the first says that the commission is paid only if the product is sold and the second one involves paying commission even if the customer just signed-up, it doesn't require the customer to buy anything. Because of the second method illegitimate MLM or illegal pyramid started to arise. The intermediate members used to make proxy customer sign-ups to receive commission and they used to tempt the participant to buy more products than they can be sold. But as most of these businesses present themselves as legal, precautions must be taken. It is better to approach businesses that follow the first method of commission, where it's compulsory to make a sale and not just recruiting a customer. Here money isn't paid for customer sign-up at all. MLM marketing is being practiced all over the United States and in hundreds of other countries.   

In 1979, Amway Corporation was accused of price fixing. They exaggerated sales claims, while their distributors sold the products at a minimum price. After that, FTC warned all multi-level companies whose commission was based on recruiting and not sales. In 2006, all the business sellers including MLM organizations were asked to provide customers with thorough information, according to the Business Opportunity Rule introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, so as to save them from deception. Before that many motivating programs were started which hid the truth. Such programs were known as cult programs.   

Laws have been made stronger. As a measure, pyramid scheme is banned in most of the countries. All the newly hired salespeople have to bare the cost of initial training and material. They even have to buy a big amount of inventory. To test the legality of MLM marketing, the 70% rule is being implemented. The members are stopped from over-loading so as to increase their commission. Only when seventy percent of the inventory is sold, order can be made for new material.

Marketing – Snail Mail Vs E-mail

It was not too long ago that most people had no internet leave alone e-mail address. But internet brought in a new era that is full of unlimited information. Internet gave birth to electronic mail popularly known as e-mail. E-mail opened new avenues to the world of communication. In the beginning e-mail was only used as another means of communicating with other people for personal or business related matters. Now people of every age group have an e-mail address. But, since past few years its potential for marketing has been exploited to its maximum both in good and as well as bad manner. At the same time who can disregard the services of direct mail which has been operating since nearly two centuries? It is still the preferred method of communication for many people.

E-mail is the cheapest method of communicating available as of this date. The advantage with email is that you can send email to many people at the same time just with the click of a mouse where as in the case of direct mails one has to go through putting letters in envelopes for each and every person, make different address labels, mail it and also have to bear the cost of mailing. Time is money and e-mail marketing saves a lot of time.

While e-mail marketing might look easy but if you compare the net result the story is totally different. When you are marketing through e-mail you go to make sure that you are e-mailing the right person otherwise the e-mail would end up going to junk folder. Also you got to be careful that you don't miss the subject or the body of the e-mail otherwise the net result would be same. In this age of spamming, spammers use variety of subjects, so you have to put the subject keeping in mind that it wouldn't send your e-mail to the spam folder again. In contract the direct mail gets a better treatment. Studies show that direct mail is more efficient and has better success than e-mail. First, it is not as easy to block direct mail as junk e-mail and secondly the process of blocking mails itself is not automated like e-mail. The other reason why people hate e-mail marketing is due to constant bombarding of e-mails from spammers and illegal marketers from Nigerian money scams to porn to online prescription drugs to stock quotes to what not. In addition to that, you also get promotional offers from big companies and who can ignore phishing these days. Due to all these people have developed a negative perception about e-mail marketing and they simply delete or spam the e-mail if they do not identify it as their regular e-mail. In contrast direct mail is seen with respect and people pick their mail as a daily routine and open them with a priority.

Direct mail has a personal feel attached to it, one of the reasons why people prefer mail greetings over an electronic greeting. It takes time to personalize a direct mail where as an e-mail is instant and the fate of e-mail is also instant i.e. immediate deletion. Researchers are constantly puzzled by the mystery surrounding why people are so enthusiastic about direct mail. But no worries this only good news for the marketers that they have something in their tool kit that works. So marketers have the mailing list of potential customers handy and send some nicely composed letters to them about your company and its products.

Snail mail has a potential of going through the hands of gatekeepers and administrative assistants before actually going to their boss which can end up being thrown in trash. The survival chances are rare unless its subject is business oriented and has some important information. But e-mail wins in this regard, as it reaches directly the person to which it is intended to go, after that its fate is left to the person whether to read or send it to spam folder.

A more scientific explanation of why direct mail is dearer to people than e-mail is the sensory perception of people. A direct mail uses three of the four senses of a person i.e. visual, verbal, listening and touching where as e-mail does not use sense of listening and touching. But this can be achieved by adding appealing graphics, text reading ability and streaming audio to the e-mail.

The statistics show that direct mail has not died and in fact the volume has grown by leaps and bounds in past few decades. A typical example is the fact that we receive more magazines, journals, mails from universities, DVDs etc. than we used to receive few years ago. This leaves the marketers with a dilemma about which method to use. The answer is simple, use email to contact only those people who you know and use direct mail for the people who don't know you.

Sabtu, 27 April 2013

The Role of a Business Analyst

The role of a business analyst can be very difficult. He or she must wade through the mass of information presented to determine the underlying problems. This information may or may not be correct. The business analyst much research to comprehend the true situation of the business. The information supplied to the business analyst is given from many perspectives. Opinions can influence how one perceives the related issues. At times, the opinions can add unrelated information which only complicates the role of a business analyst.

Problems can occur for the analyst when persons with the business know how try to explain what must be done. The role of the business analyst is to understand what is the desired outcome. He or she will listen and put into perspective what is being relayed. The business analyst will be able to determine what is feasible and what just can not be done. The role of a business analyst is that of a problem solver. Understanding both aspects as a user and as one affected by the application will allow the business analyst to perform his or her role.

The role of a business analyst is to merge the Information Technology (IT) department with the business departments. He or she will be able to separate the separate the individual teams while still maintaining a uniform team management system. Teaching these two teams how to work to overcome obstacles and strive for completion of a goal is a main directive for the business analyst. He or she will act as a liaison between the two. Performed correctly will result in project completion. Success will be achieved.

Management may be impatient when the business analyst begins resolving the project program issues. The role of the business analyst will allow him or her to understand the project scope. He or she will determine what the project objectives are and who is trying to implement them. The business analyst will assess the needs and determine the project goals. He or she will not jump ahead to the solution without utilizing the proper steps. A good business analyst will be skilled in explaining the structure of each step and co-ordinate them with each department. This will reassure management the job is being done in a timely manner.

The perfect business analyst is one who was a user. In other words, he or she understands the complications of being with the IT team. The business analyst will be able to explain the project scope from the lay person’s perspective. He or she will not get lost or caught up in trying to explain technicalities or formulas. Rather the business analyst will explain each process as a stepping stone to reach the ultimate goal. The lack of communication has resulted in almost 50% of project failures. Informing each department involved, in a way they will understand, can mean greater success.

The role of the business analyst is not to jump to the end and start with the solution. This will only result in failure. Assessing the needs to determine what is actually required will allow the business analyst to implement the steps to success. There are times when management will think otherwise. The business analyst should try to make all parties understand what is important and what is not relevant. This ensures all information needed to identify the solution has been presented. In the end, the business analyst will be able to determine if the solution will meet the requirements designed in the project proposal. This will ensure success for the business analyst and the company.

What Makes a Good Business Analyst

There are several key points one needs to understand before deciding whether or not to become a business analyst. You may be qualified to do the job you were hired to do. Yet is it the job you wanted to do? Some analysts find themselves locked in a cubical writing reports all day, only to find the report was not used or even read. They realize they are in a dead end job going no-where fast. This is not the usual dream one has when becoming a business analyst.

A good business analyst is creative, a people person. Someone wanting a more hands on approach to business and problem solving. The good business analyst will look for opportunities to grow and learn. He or she will listen attentively to what others are saying. The good business analyst is like a walking encyclopedia about the company he or she works within. They will know people from every department.

The good business analyst may be a part of the IT team or department. He or she may even be able to produce usable code for practical remedies to small tasks. He or she will understand technology and the jargon that leaves the common layperson confused.

What makes a good business analyst is the ability to listen to what is being said and hear what is not. The good business analyst can read into the meaning of stakeholders words. He or she can understand the needs being expressed when the stakeholders do not always know what they are. The good business analyst will be able to determine if the requests from stakeholders or end users are viable. In some cases they are not and it is up to the business analyst to inform what can be done versus what is wanted.

The good business analyst will have information available about the latest technology. He or she will know the formulas or programs used by corporate peers. The good business analyst will be able to recognize trends and differentiate between them and fads. They will understand the end user market.

The good business analyst will understand people. He or she will be a motivational person who can gear people into wanting to complete a project. The good business analyst will be able to point out someone’s strengths and help to build on those. He or she will recognize when a person is having a conflict and try to help resolve the issue. He or she may even be able to create teamwork within separate departments to meet a goal or deadline.

The good business analyst commands respect because he or she gives respect. You will not find the good business analyst spreading rumors or gossiping. He or she will squelch the first signs of trouble and stand up for what he or she believes in. There is no room for garbage in the office.

The good business analyst is a visionary, a creative thinker, and innovative. He or she is fun to work with and carries a positive attitude. Very few people do not like the good business analyst.

Techniques Available to the Business Analyst

The business analyst will utilize many tools when scoping out a project proposal. He or she may use basic, intermediate, or advanced techniques. Each company project proposal will be different. Similarities may occur allowing the business analyst to use past experience to implement a business plan.

Different businesses will demand varied techniques to implement a project proposal. If there is a company newsletter detailing IT production, this will help a business analyst with his or her research. Data collection can come from many sources. The news letter may give an insight into what the company is struggling with or trying to accomplish. A blog or website can also provide this information.

Financial statements will allow the business analyst to examine past successes and failures of the company. Statistics can be gathered which will inform the analyst of strategies used in the past. This will help in calculating risk assessment. The financial software available on today’s market will allow the business analyst to establish where financial results can be improved.

The business analyst has the ability to utilize a feedback survey to determine specific needs of the company. Simple questionnaires can pinpoint management strategies and performance as well as give an employee and outside sourcing analysis. Added to information already gathered, the business analyst can compile a project program for acquiring higher profit margins and reaching set goals.

The certified analyst will take into consideration the cost of a project. At times the company can be spending money where it is not necessary. This is also true with project programs. A good business analyst will determine necessary needs and strive to keep project program costs within a set guideline.

The best technique a business analyst can use is creativity. Let them think outside the box. Allow the freedom of expression to flow freely. The business analyst is a creative do-er. Let them do what comes naturally. A true business analyst will create a project program as though it were a work of art. This is the parental instinct coming out. The technique is to develop the “baby” and nurture it into something workable. As with any great thing, an artist will look at all aspects to determine what will make a good model and a good subject.

Using both as a focal point, a masterpiece is created. Success will usually follow. There will be nay sayers. These are the ones who need to see the big picture and not each individual step. There will inevitably be fault with one or two points. The savvy business analyst will see the faults do not become cliff hangers. The issues will be dealt with in a timely manner.

Only good things can happen from that point. Allowing the creative techniques to be used has put many a business at the forefront of their industry. A good business analyst is always looking for something which will work to make a difference. When he or she recognizes a problem, the creative side sees what has or has not worked in the past and figures out a way to overcome the issue. As a motivational person, the business analyst will encourage creative thinking in the departments. Embracing new ideas and trends have produced record setting years for companies which use to struggle. The intelligent business analyst will know different can be dynamic.