માર્કેટીંગને સહેલાઈથી કેવી રીતે સમજી શકાય?

માર્કેટીંગ વિશે બિઝનેસ વર્તુળોમાં ખૂબ જ ગેરસમજ પ્રવર્તે છે. પરંતુ માર્કેટીંગને સહેલાઈથી સમજવું શક્ય છે.

માર્કેટીંગ એટલે ગ્રાહકની જરુરિયાતોને સમજીને એને સંતોષવી અને એ મારફતે આપણી કંપની માટે નફો કમાવવો. આપણે જો આપણા કસ્ટમરને ઓળખી લઇએ અને એને શું જોઈએ છે એ બરાબર સમજી લઇએ, તો માર્કેટીંગ અંગેનો બિનજરૂરી હાઉ નીકળી શકે.

પણ કસ્ટમરને અને એની જરુરિયાતોને સમજવી કેવી રીતે?

બહુ આસાન છે. આપણે એક કસ્ટમરને ખૂબ આત્મીયતાથી ઓળખીએ છીએ. એનો ગમો-અણગમો, એની પસંદ-નાપસંદ, એની જરુરિયાતો એ બધું જ આપણે ખૂબ નજીકથી, ખૂબ બારીકાઈથી જાણીએ છીએ. આ કસ્ટમર એટલે આપણે પોતે.

આપણે કોઇ પણ પ્રકારની પ્રોડક્ટ કે સર્વિસનો ધંધો કરતા હોઈએ. આપણી એ પ્રોડક્ટ કે સર્વિસ સિવાયની દરેક વસ્તુ કે સેવા આપણે બહારથી ખરીદીએ છીએ. એટલે એ દરેક ખરીદીમાં આપણે એક કસ્ટમર છીએ. એ દરેક પ્રોડક્ટ કે સર્વિસ ખરીદવાનું નક્કી કરતી વખતે આપણી અંદર એક વાર્તાલાપ ચાલે છે. દરેક પ્રોડક્ટ કે સર્વિસ ખરીદતી વખતે આપણે બધા જ વિકલ્પોને આપણે આપણી પસંદગીઓ અને જરુરિયાતો તથા અમુક અન્ય ધારાધોરણોના આધારે મૂલવીએ છીએ, અને જે પ્રોડક્ટ આપણા મૂલ્યાંકનમાં પ્રથમ નંબરે આવે છે, એના પર પસંદગી ઉતારીએ છીએ.

અમુક દુકાનદારો આપણી સાથે જે રીતે વર્તન કરે છે, એ આપણને ગમે છે, તો બીજા દુકાનદારોનું વર્તન આપણને નથી ગમતું.
અમુક કંપનીઓનો સ્ટાફ, એમના સ્ટોરની ડીઝાઇન, એમની કામ કરવાની પદ્ધતિ, એમની કસ્ટમરો અંગોની પોલીસીઓ આપણને ગમે છે. આવી કંપની કસ્ટમરને સુખદ અનુભવ કરાવે છે. બીજી અમુક કંપનીઓમાં આ જ બાબતો આપણને નથી ગમતી. કસ્ટમરને આવી કંપનીઓ ખરાબ અનુભવ કરાવે છે.

અમુક પ્રોડક્ટ્સ કે સર્વિસમાં આપણને અમુક ફીચર્સ ગમે છે. આવી પ્રોડક્ટ્સ-સર્વિસ આપણે વારંવાર ખરીદીએ છીએ, અને બીજાંઓને પણ એ ખરીદવાની ભલામણ કરીએ છીએ. આવી પ્રોડક્ટ-સર્વિસની બ્રાન્ડ વેલ્યુ અને કસ્ટમરોની સંખ્યા વધતી રહે છે.

બીજી પ્રોડક્ટ્સમાં અમુક બાબતો આપણને નથી ગમતી. આવી પ્રોડક્ટ્સ-સર્વિસ એક વાર આપણે ખરીદી લીધી, તો ફરીથી કોઇ ભાવે પણ ખરીદવાનું પસંદ નહી કરીએ, અને બીજાંઓને પણ એ સામે ચેતવીએ છીએ. આવી પ્રોડક્ટ્સની બ્રાન્ડ વેલ્યુ અને કસ્ટમરોની સંખ્યા ઘટતી જાય છે.

આપણને એક કસ્ટમર તરીકે કોઇ કંપનીનું જે કંઇ ગમ્યું, એવું આપણી કંપનીમાં કરીએ તો આપણા કસ્ટમરોને પણ એ ગમશે. કોઇ પ્રોડક્ટ િવશે કંઇક ગમ્યું તો એવી બાબતો આપણી પ્રોડક્ટમાં સામેલ કરીએ તો આપણી પ્રોડક્ટ પણ ખૂબ ચાલશે જ.

એક કસ્ટમર તરીકે આપણને થતા સારા-નરસા અનુભવો પરથી આપણે સહેલાઈથી સમજી શકીએ, કે આપણે માર્કેટીંગમાં શું કરવું જોઈએ અને અને શું ન કરવું જોઈએ. બસ આપણે કોઇ પણ પ્રોડક્ટ કે સર્વિસ ખરીદતી વખતે આપણા આંખ-કાન-મગજ અને આપણું મન ખુલ્લું રાખીએ, તો માર્કેટીંગની આંટીઘૂંટીને આપણા જાત અનુભવે, ખૂબ જ આસાનીથી સમજી શકીએ.

How can Patanjali be even more successful?

Blessed by Baba Ramdev, Patanjali is really a great Indian brand. I admire the brand for its quality, honesty and the spirit of Indian nationalism behind it.

Patanjali’s products are excellent, even superior to its competitors. But, having excellent products alone does not promise success in consumer markets.

Proper marketing and branding has to match. With great products which compare with or surpass their MNC competition perfectly, Patanjali needs to work on its customer experience side as well.
Even though I am its customer and want to remain loyal to the brand, there are some problems which disturb me. Here are some weak customer experience aspects the brand must improve upon.

1) Good products must be made available consistently. Out-of-stock products give a window to competition to win our customers. When we go to a Patanjali outlet, we are not sure whether we will surely get a particular product or not, because one or the other product is out-of-stock regularly. Patanjali needs to stengthen its supply and distribution chain.

2) The stores are cramped. They look like a shop-cum-godown. A customer has to struggle her way through assorted items, cartons, boxes etc. spread across the store. The stores must be designed for a pleasant shopping experience. A revamp is a must.

3) The stores are under-staffed. The customers have to wait for a long time for their turn to be attended. Whatever staff is present, it is indifferent at best. They are like MTNL employees in the midst of the efficient telecom industry. They need to be customer friendly.

4) The stores have very restrictive timings. Also, they don’t give any carry bags (plastic, paper, cloth – nothing). Again, customer-centric approach is required.

Overall, the customer feels less than happy shopping at a Patanjali outlet.

This is typical of many Indian enterprises, which make great products but fail miserably in marketing, branding and customer experience management. This gives room to MNCs to succeed in the market with aggressive marketing even though they have inferior products.

I wish that brand Patanjali succeeds by being relevant to the largest customer base. In its today’s avatar, it is just another incarnation of a Khadi Bhandar. If it wants to compete successfully with the HULs, P&Gs, Nestles or Britannias it will have to shape itself up appropriately.

My swadeshi feelings may help me tolerate or ignore bad experience. But I doubt today’s younger generation will have patience to do that.
Either Patanjali should tighten its retailing to be more relevant or it should get out of retailing and get distributors who can sell it aggressively and appropriately in the manner the customer expects.

It is time Khadi Bhandar grows up. Or risk becoming overshadowed by swanky, modern malls.

ब्रान्ड पर से कस्टमर का भरोसा कब उठ जाता है?

जब कोई ब्रान्ड अपने Logo या Tagline के विरुद्ध काम करती है, तो कस्टमर का भरोसा उस पर से उठ जाता है |

ब्रान्ड जो प्रोमिस करती है, वहीं करनी चाहिए, और वही सच्चाई Logo या Tagline या किसी भी प्रकार के मेसेज में अभिव्यक्त होनी चाहिए |

अपने पेकेजिंग पर “बेस्ट क्वालिटी” लिख देने से अंदर की प्रोडक्ट बेस्ट नहीं बन जाती | और अगर वह प्रोडक्ट निम्नस्तर की होगी, तो कोइ कस्टमर उस “बेस्ट क्वालिटी” वाली बात पर भरोसा नहीं करेगा |

कुछ ऐसा ही मुंबइ म्युनिसिपल कोर्पोरेशन के सफाई विभाग का है | मुंबइ में आपने देखा होगा की सफाई की ट्रक, सडकों पर रखे गार्बेज-बीन या सफाई कर्मचारियों के युनिफोर्म पर लिखा है  “Clean-up चकाचक मुंबइ” | लेकिन मुंबइ शहर की सफाइ का निम्न स्तर देखकर तुरंत पता चल जाता है कि इस “चकाचक मुंबइ” स्लोगन का कोइ मतलब नहीं है | शहर तो छोडो वह ट्रक, वह गार्बेज बीन या वह युनिफोर्म में से भी कुछ साफ सुथरा या चकाचक नहीं है | “चकाचक मुंबइ” सिर्फ लिखनेवाले की कल्पना से आगे कहीं भी नहीं है |

ब्रान्ड का स्लोगन या टेग-लाइन बिना सोचे समझे लिख डालेंगे, ब्रान्ड उस के अनुसार काम नहीं करेगी, तो ब्रान्ड की कथनी और करनी में अंतर रह जाएगा | ब्रान्ड की प्रोमिस और पर्फोर्मन्स सुसंगत नहीं होंगे, तो ब्रान्ड पर कोइ भरोसा नहीं करेगा | गलत स्लोगन से ब्रान्ड को फायदा कम और नुकसान ज्यादा होता है |

Real estate project naming – a case of meaningless brand extensions

The trend of naming new real estate projects throws up some examples of avoidable brand extension mistakes. We can find numerous instances of many smaller towns naming their residential and commercial complexes, streets, roads and areas by copying the names of famous names and localities of bigger cities.

In such an example of piggybacking on the image of some upmarket location, a prominent developer has named its upcoming project in a Mumbai suburb as “New Cuffe Parade”, drawing its name from down town Mumbai’s premium locality Cuffe Parade. The developer may have targeted the aspiring neo-rich who may wish to believe that they are getting a chance to be a part of a new posh locality of the future.

Such mindless brand extensions can be aimed at exploiting an existing, old locality’s posh brand image and recall. But, in my opinion, this exercise is wasteful and nothing less than “wannabe” naming. If at all, it only results into an added confusion for everybody.

For example, in a town, there is a very famous sweet shop called Khavda Sweets. After some years, inspired by the huge popularity of the original shop, an ex-employee or a separated partner or some unrelated stranger starts another similar type of sweet shop called “New Khavda Sweets”, with the word “New” written in very small letters in all signages and brand visuals. It tries to copy everything from the original shop – the products, packaging, pricing etc. But, in spite of all its efforts to be better or at least at par with the original, it never reaches the same level as the original, because it fails to copy the main USP of the original like quality, service, customer experience, employees etc.

At the best. it confuses people and in most cases, fails to get more than some limited, marginal success by luring some uninformed, gullible new customers who don’t know about the existence of the original shop. It only proves the New shop owner’s desire to be just like the original. In other words, he proves to be a “wannabe”.

Another such futile brand extension example is the Bollywood film Ramgarh Ke Sholay which imitated an iconically successful Bollywood blockbuster Sholay. The new film flopped miserably. All its producers’ assumptions fell flat, failing to create even a whimper.

We can find thousands of examples of such “wannabe” naming all across the country. Parents naming their children after famous celebrities is another common example of such “wannabe” naming.

Naming of a real estate locality should be done with a lot of practical considerations, because in future, that name becomes part of a large population’s daily lives. Avoiding confusion in people’s minds is one such consideration.

Branding requires very careful thinking and detailed planning. Mindless copying generally backfires. Only by declaring, NEW Cuffe Parade does not make that project a reincarnation of old Cuffe Parade. In fact, the contrasting reality of slum pockets amidst the upmarket highrisers of old Cuffe Parade, which make it unique can never be recreated by the manicured and professionally designed New Cuffe Parade. New Khavda Sweets can perhaps never be Khavda Sweets. It may perennially remain a wannabe.

And to be perceived as being a wannabe can be fatal for a premium brand. Originality is crucial to being premium.

3 Marketing lessons from Samsung’s vulnerability

Recently, news are coming in that Samsung has lost its market leader position in Smartphone markets in India and China, two of its biggest markets. What makes Samsung’s position in mobile handset market so vulnerable?

In India, MicroMax and in China, Xiaomi are said to have displaced the market leader. MicroMax and Xiaomi are claimed to be beating Samsung at its own game in which it decimated Nokia few years back.

In the utterly crowded and commoditized mobile handset market, such drastic changes are not surprising, unless you are an Apple. Samsung may dispute the claim or defend its territory for a while, but not for long. Sooner than later it will have to give in to some competition, which may emerge and ascend rapidly because it has built its brand on the foundation of vulnerability.

What are the marketing lessons one can learn from Samsung’s shaky brand position? Here are three :

1) No single target customer segment
You can own  Samsung phone for as low as Rs 1200 or as high as about Rs.50,000. That is a full spectrum of mobile phone users. So, who is a Samsung target customer? Almost everybody.

Because of this large base, Samsung can be attacked by any Tom, Dick, Harry and their cousins. And it will have to spend time, money and energy in defending each of these territories.

Marketing lesson-1 :
Have a clear target customer segment and protect it firmly. Sharper the target, the safer. Don’t spread yourself too thin so that you can be attacked by anyone.

2) No clear positioning in customer’s mind
If you own an iPhone, that says something about you. You understand or appreciate quality, innovation and uniqueness. Also, you can afford a high-end phone.
If you own a Samsung? It does not say anything about your taste. You could as well own any other similar ‘looking’ phone.

Marketing lesson-2 :
Have a distinct positioning for your brand. Stand for something. Own a distinct position in customer’s mind. Don’t focus on marketshare alone. Focus on mind share instead. And drive that home in the customer’s mind.

3) No uniqueness
Apple has its unique hardware and its unique software. This makes switching difficult for an iPhone user because he gets used to some unique features, services and Apps which other mobile Operating Systems can’t offer. An Android based Samsung can be seamlessly switched to another Android phone without any significant loss of data or user experience.

Marketing lesson-3:
Be unique. Give something that others can’t copy easily. Don’t become easily replaceable.

Only name does not make a brand

Kutch Mandvi Dabeliwala.
New Mewad Icecream.
Shankar Vilas Hindu Hotel.
Kanifnath Rasvanti Gruh.
Udupi Hotel.
All these are popular brands in Mumbai. Each one of them has multiple outlets, across the city.
But, you can’t be sure about what will be the product range, quality, price, taste or service at different outlets of the same name.

In fact, other than the name, there is nothing common among them.

That is because these brands are not owned by any one person or company. There is no thought behind these brands. There is no soul. No cosistent brand proposition or personality.

These names are a classic example of brands which have no identity of their own. Because of the absence of the self-concept.these brands don’t have any definite image. Nobody knows what these brands stand for.

It is like naming a girl Aishwarya does not make a girl as beautiful as the Miss World or similarly, a boy named Sachin does not become a Cricket legend.

Names fail to create an image if they are not supported by an appropriate identity.

With the right combination of talent and identity, a Priyanka can come and eclipse any existing beauty queens, by creating her own image.

Or. a Sachin can do a better job at batting without calling himself Sunil.

Rather than copying names, the brand should focus on creating and nurturing a unique identity.

Business management lessons from AAP’s failure

The sudden rise and equally sudden fall of Aam Aadmi Party has some important learning lessons for businesses which are currently in the growth mode.

Many businesses which start with a rapid growth in the beginning, start faltering after growing to a specific size. Maintaining growth momentum after attaining some size becomes a real challenge which few companies can overcome. Others either stagnate at that level or go back downhill.

AAP faced some management challenges which it could not overcome. Growing companies also face similar challenges. The debacle of AAP in 2014 elections has some management lessons for growing businesses.

Arvind Kejriwal’s
AAP rose to popularity really too fast. It promised a hope of a corruption free India. It is a success story of a brand getting hugely popular too fast. But, the brand AAP did not live up to the hype it generated. Why? Here are some reasons.

Management Bandwidth
One reason for AAP’s failure is the lack of Management Bandwidth. Just like many suddenly grown companies, AAP, too , faced lack of quality, talented and experienced manpower who could manage the party’s affairs and could provide leadership at various levels of the organization.

Only Branding Focus,
No marketing
AAP and Arvind Kejriwal are good at grabbing media attention and thereby keeping their brand afresh in popular mind. Somehow or the other AAP and its leader kept themselves in the news. Huge advertising budget and a lot of noise in the media may ensure brand awareness and visibility, it may not necessarily ensure marketplace success of the product. The product has to deliver on the brand promise. Here is where AAP failed. Media hype was good, but the party failed to deliver what it was expected to. Particularly, after the Delhi government fiasco, it became clear that AAP was good at agitations and not in execution. Along with focusing on popular attention, AAP should also have developed its own governance and administration arms.

Lack Of Structure
In any family managed business, there is no structure and the family members monopolize control over all decisions and resources. AAP functioned just like such a  business where all decision making rested with a select group of people. This lack of democracy disillusioned many big names in the party who deserted it recently.

Even though it is not the end of the road for AAP and it can definitely recover from the recent setback, it will have to make greater efforts to bounce back due to its own mistakes.

The business which wishes to cash in on its initial success must learn from these mistakes and avoid them.

सिर्फ चीज़ें या वस्तुएं ही नहीं बिकती, उनको बेचने का तरीका भी उतना ही अहमियत रखता है|

किसी विख्यात ब्रान्ड की फ्रेन्चाइझी लेनेवाले के मन में यह आश रहती है की पैसा डाल दिया, फ्रेन्चाइझी ले ली अब तो बस चांदी ही चांदी है| अब तो ब्रान्ड के चाहक ग्राहक ढूंढते-भागते हमारे पास आयेंगे…|

लेकिन ऐसा हमेशा होता नहीं है|
मुंबइ के जुहु में एक ख्यातनाम आईस्क्रीम पार्लर है| उस की सफलता से प्रेरित कंपनीने बहोत सारे फ्रेन्चाइझी पार्लरों के द्वारा अपना विकास करना चाहा| जुहु की आईस्क्रीम का टेस्ट जीस को अच्छा लगा होगा वह कस्टमर को वही क्वोलिटी, वही फ्लेवर्स, वही कोन-कप उन्हीं दामों पर अपने घर के करिब मिलेंगे तो वह खुशी-खुशी वहां जाएगा ऐसा कंपनी के मार्केटींग डीपार्टमेन्ट ने सोचा और मालिकों को भी यह सही लगा होगा | लेकिन उन में से काफी सारे पार्लर ठीक नहीं चल रहे हैं|
कारण?
१) कुछ पार्लर गलत लोकेशन्स पर हैं, जहां कस्टमरों के लिए आना मुश्किल है|
२) पार्लर के कुछ फ्रेन्चाइझी अपनी लालच के वश में पैसा बचाने के चक्कर में कस्टमर को अच्छी सेवा-सुविधा देने से कतराते हैं| इन के मलाड-वेस्ट सब-वे के पास स्थित पार्लर में आप जायेंगे तो आप को ऐसा नकारात्मक अनुभव होगा|

परिणाम?
लोगों को प्रोडक्ट या ब्रान्ड तो वही मिल रही है, लेकिन अनुभव वही नहीं हो रहा है|

सिर्फ चीज़ें या वस्तुएं ही नहीं बिकती, उनको बेचने का तरीका और कस्टमर का अनुभव भी उतना ही अहमियत रखता है|

अगर कोई ब्रान्ड सिर्फ पैसे देखकर किसी को भी अपना फ्रेन्चाइझी बना देगी और उस के नैतिक मूल्य ब्रान्ड की ईमेज से विपरीत होंगे, कस्टमर को अच्छा अनुभव नहीं होगा, तो अंत में वह फ्रेन्चाइझी भी निष्फलता प्राप्त करेगा और उस ब्रान्ड को भी उस फ्रेन्चाइझी की लालच की वजह से नुकसान ही होगा़…

It is not only the product or brand that sells

Only a strong brand is not enough to succeed. Along with “what” we are selling, “how” and “where” we are selling that also matters.

It is not only the product or brand that pulls the customers. Customer Experience counts.

If along with the product and its brand name the selling process is not transferred with the brand’s true spirit, all the franchisees of a product don’t get the same response because the customer experience is not duplicated everywhere. Here is an example.

Even though Juhu’s famous Ice Cream brand has its franchisee parlors at many places in Mumbai and elsewhere, only the flagship one at Juhu is always very crowded. Others are not so successful. Some are complete failures. Reasons?
1. Location plays a very important role. Some parlors are in very inconvenient locations, which people don’t like to frequent.
2. Service and Customer Experience are most important than the brand or the product itself. At their franchisee store in Malad-West, for example, customers don’t feel welcome. The franchisee owners are very greedy and the staff completely unprofessional, making a customer’s experience unsavory in contrast to the brand’s tasteful reputation.

It is not only the product or brand that sells. The process of selling and customer experience also affects sales equally.

Along with financial strength of a franchisee, their value system also must be examined. Otherwise their association will damage the brand’s image.

Marketing is telling believable stories

Some films succeed. Many others fail. Films are well-crafted stories. The films with stories which connect with a large number of people, succeed. The ones which tell a bad story or tell a story badly, fail.

Stories help us live a different life, even though temporarily. Seth Godin says marketing is creating and selling stories. Successful marketing means building successful stories.

Stories that connect with people.
Stories that let them live a different life, even though temporarily.
Stories that help people to lie to themselves.

In the absence of some other productive occupation, we love telling lies to ourselves. It is a distraction.  But a motivating one.

When a cream brand tells a girl that 4 out of 5 girls get softer skin after applying our cream, the girl dreams of being one of those 4. She goes and buys that cream.

Finally, after weeks of religious application of the cream with no significant improvements, the truth emerges and she lands among those 5th girls who did NOT get softer skin. This happens with 80% of the girls who buy that story of softer skin and get disappointed. By the time the futility of the promises and claims made by the company dawns upon a now-wiser girl, she gets hooked to another “New Improved” cream of yet another brand and buys another dream, believing and telling to herself the lie the brand’s advertisement said.

Thankfully for the older brand,  younger sister or cousin of this now-wiser girl grows up with dreams in her eyes and goes and buys that same cream with the dreams of softer skin.

This continues. Just like we sometimes watch the same movie or read the same book again and again even though we know everything about it, we keep buying the things we don’t need because of the lure of the story.

This is the success of marketing. Creating “New & Improved” stories and selling them.
Repeatedly.
Profitably.