Archive for Customer Relationships

Relationship Networks – Customer and Supplier Networks

Posted in CRM, eMarketing, Management, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , , , , on December 19, 2011 by Consultant
Selling and Marketing is no longer the same what it used to be few decades ago. Traditional methods of sales and promotions have long been relegated to history. Technology, Internet as well as globalization have redefined every aspect of Marketing and Sales. Organizations have realised the importance of being in tune with the markets and customers. They are also embarking on investing on relationship with the customers for the Relationship Management aspect is becoming very important for the success of the business. Companies are tuning in to identify and get to know the customer better and anticipate his needs for tomorrow. Customer feedback as well as needs are being seen as vital information to product innovation as well as for customer retention. Especially in the recent times where social networking is gaining ground, customer contact and relationship management is becoming more visible and instantaneous.

Organizations have realised that Relationship Marketing is not related to the marketing function alone. This concept is to be embraced at the Corporate level and implemented through all departments covering both internal as well as external customers, suppliers and other agencies that the Organization engages with.

As far as the Marketing and Sales is concerned, an Organization can be involved in multiple formats including B to B and B to C. Sales and Marketing is always a network of multi layered and multi level partners, intermediaries, vendors and agents etc. Relationship marketing aspect assumes high importance for the success of every transaction through the myriad networks. The Organization’s relationships can make or break its ultimate positioning in the market as well as affect the quality of the transaction with the end customer.

If an Organization is engaged in selling products or services to on B–C model, the dynamics of Relationship Management will be different from a B–B mode. Let us take the case of a Multi National Company engaged in manufacturing of Computers. The company would be sourcing or manufacturing at various geographical locations across the globe for supplies to different markets. It can be manufacturing at Company owned factories in different countries or using contract manufacturing partners to manufacture on their behalf. The products are transported through service providers using multi modal transportation networks and a host of agents handling the cargo movement from end to end. The products finally are sold to a whole seller or stockist or sold by the Company to the institutional buyers. There can also be cases where the company maintains its own third party warehouses and sells to the retailers. In such complex networked supply chain the Organization has got to ensure that the products are supplied timely, as per customer requirement.

The Organizations success in being able to reach its products to the customer organization timely and successfully over a long period depends upon the seamless working of the entire network. This is possible when the Organization is able to build a relationship with every stake holder in the network and make that difference. In such complex networks, the process alone will not be able to sustain the transactions and the relationship or the emotional connect with the people involved is what makes things happen. Organizations will necessarily have to invest in building strong partnerships with principle service providers and partners so that they are able to get the partners to deliver a happy experience to the end customer too.

When the customer is an institutional customer or a business, the complexities of transactions pose a challenge to the Organizations. In all such businesses the Organizations set up dedicated Key Account Relationship Managers and teams at various levels to ensure that they reach out to the customer and build relationship at multiple levels where it matters. Therefore there can be multiple levels of relationship building that one needs to engage with including at the actual user level to the procurement, technical as well as management level at the customer end. The Organizations would have to accordingly formulate a relationship management strategy and process as well as create a team to build and grow the relationship in such cases. In the end the dedicated focus and investment made into such relationships pays well in terms of future business opportunities.

Organizations and Types of Relationships

Posted in Consumer Behavior, CRM, eMarketing, Management with tags , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2011 by Consultant
Organizations today live in highly dynamic environments. Essentially the existence and growth of the business is dependent upon several external and internal factors such as highly segmented geographical markets, aggressive competition and shorter life cycle. These and many more factors exert a lot of pressure on the Organizations to innovate both in terms of its product offering as well as in its organizational development and ways of conducting business. Revenue and profits do form the primary basis of its business transactions. However in the long term growth perspective Organizations have got to be able to manage both external and internal relationships on the basis of the values and culture on which it is founded.

Share Holders

Gone are the days when share holders were a community content with the returns they received from the Company and went along with whatever the Managements thought good. Managements today are seen becoming increasingly answerable to the share holders.

Recently we have seen several cases where CEOs of the Companies having been voted out by the share holders for not falling in line with the thought process of the Organization and the share holders. We saw major changes in Hewlett Packard wherein the shareholders took the call to change the management and the strategic approach of the Company to business.

Organizations today exist in a situation which demands that they extend products and services as well as keep investing into building products and technology for tomorrow. If the business needs to exist and grow there is no option but to invest into the future. Therefore the shareholders take the centre stage when it comes to approval of and financing the Organisational business and growth plans. Shareholders today are aggressive demanding that the Organization walk the talk when it comes to the bottom line as well as in terms of its culture. Brands like IBM, HP and GE etc are more vulnerable to the stake holders as well as to the public as an Organization. These and other Corporate are using internet, Multimedia and websites to speak to the investors and extend the relationship with the share holders and investors. Internet platform allows the corporate open up relationship with the share holder community on an interactive basis thus giving the Company the control on how to manage the relationship as well as build investor confidence.

For Companies that are looking for investments to fuel their growth engines, there exists a need to demonstrate and cultivate the right corporate image and capability besides the past performance figures which alone will not help attract investors. Companies are therefore engage in Public relations as well as corporate communications to reach out to the prospective investor public as well as institutions to build the right kind of corporate image. Image building and relationship building become the long term strategy of the corporate communications of the Organization.

Social Responsibility

In the recent times the social responsibility and attitude of the Companies towards their responsibilities is becoming more and more visible and public. NGOs and specific interest groups are taking the lead in keeping track of and benchmarking social responsibility performance of the Corporate thus making them accountable. The brand image of the Organization is definitely affected by the way it is managing its social responsibility with the community, investors as well as policy makers being active participants as watchdogs.

Organizations have had to engage with the communities by way of participative activities as well as using communication strategies and by maintaining and managing relationship to be able to get across the right perspective as well as the right information. The recent example of GAP having had to withdraw from sourcing clothing from Indian Companies and suppliers who engaged child labour in the production lines is an ideal example which showcased the power of the community and the stake holders forcing the Company to take immediate action and use its relationship to project the right image for itself. The recent oil spill of BP in the west coast is another ideal case for study of how BP manages the relationship with the Govt, with its share holders, with the affected communities as well as manage its social responsibility.

Limitations of Marketing Research

Posted in Brand Managment, CRM, eMarketing, Management, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , , , , on December 10, 2011 by Consultant

limitations of Marketing Research:

  • Marketing Research (MR) is not an exact science though it uses the techniques of science. Thus, the results and conclusions drawn upon by using MR are not very accurate.
  • The results of MR are very vague as MR is carried out on consumers, suppliers, intermediaries, etc. who are humans. Humans have a tendency to behave artificially when they know that they are being observed. Thus, the consumers and respondents upon whom the research is carried behave artificially when they are aware that their attitudes, beliefs, views, etc are being observed.
  • MR is not a complete solution to any marketing issue as there are many dominant variables between research conclusions and market response.
  • MR is not free from bias. The research conclusions cannot be verified. The reproduction of the same project on the same class of respondents give different research results.
  • Inappropriate training to researchers can lead to misapprehension of questions to be asked for data collection.
  • Many business executives and researchers have ambiguity about the research problem and it’s objectives. They have limited experience of the notion of the decision-making process. This leads to carelessness in research and researchers are not able to do anything real.
  • There is less interaction between the MR department and the main research executives. The research department is in segregation. This all makes research ineffective.
  • MR faces time constraint. The firms are required to maintain a balance between the requirement for having a broader perspective of customer needs and the need for quick decision making so as to have competitive advantage.
  • Huge cost is involved in MR as collection and processing of data can be costly. Many firms do not have the proficiency to carry wide surveys for collecting primary data, and might not also able to hire specialized market experts and research agencies to collect primary data. Thus, in that case, they go for obtaining secondary data that is cheaper to obtain.
  • MR is conducted in open marketplace where numerous variables act on research settings.

Posted in B2B, Brand Managment, Consumer Behavior with tags , , , , , , on December 1, 2011 by Consultant

Team Motivation – Tips for Motivating Team

A group heading towards a common objective will perform best when it is motivated as a team. Team motivation is determined by how well the team members’ needs and requirements are met by the team.

Some tips for effective team motivation are as follows:

The team’s objective should well align and synchronize with the team members needs and requirements.
Give in written the team’s mission and ensure that all understand it (as mission is a foundation based on which the team performs).
For maintaining motivation, the team should be given challenges (which must be difficult but achievable) consistently.
Giving a team responsibility accompanied by authority can also be a good motivator for the team to perform.
The team should be provided with growth opportunities. The team’s motivation level is high when the team members feel that they are being promoted, their skills and competencies are being enhanced, and they are learning new things consistently.
Effective and true leaders can develop environment for the team to motivate itself. They provide spur for self- actualization behaviours of team members.
Devote quality/productive time to your team. Have an optimistic and good relation with your team members. This will make you more acquainted with them and you can get knowledge of how well they are performing their job. Welcome their views and ideas as they may be fruitful and it will also boost their morale.
Motivation is all about empowerment. The skills and competencies of the team members should be fully utilized. Empowering the team members makes them accountable for their own actions.
Provide feedback to the team consistently. Become their mentor. Give the team recognition for good and outstanding performance. Give the team a constructive and not negative feedback.
Discover and offset the factors which discourage team spirit such as too many conflicts, lethargy, team members’ escape from responsibilities, lack of job satisfaction, etc.

 

Posted in Brand Managment, CRM, eMarketing, Management, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2011 by Consultant

Workplace Motivation – Carrot or Stick approach doesn’t work anymore

“I am in this job because I have no other option.” If this is what an employee of your company feels, read on to know how this statement can be changed to something more positive – “I love what I do.”

First things first – whose responsibility is it to ensure that an employee loves his job? While an employee would say – the employer, the human resource experts have a different point of view which sounds fair. It’s both the employer and the employee who should work together to make work fun for each other.

It is interesting to know here, that employees do not rank ’salary’ as the top factor in determining whether they like their jobs or not. What is important to them then – the opportunity to do what is ’important’. Almost all the employees would like to feel part of the big picture and would want to contribute to the organizational goals in some way or the other. Doing the mundane, routine work will never excite them – what excites them is – work that challenges them to use their talent. Right Management Consultants conducted a survey sometime back and found

that 83% of about 500 workers surveyed were motivated by “challenges at work”.

Also, as per an executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, while salary and promotions could do a great job of demotivating people if handled ineffectively, they aren’t so much effective in motivating people.

So then what needs to be done for effective motivation at workplace?

Link Rewards directly to Performance- An organization should adopt a fair reward structure which provides incentive to the most deserving employee. Have an incentive structure in place doesn’t solve the problem… what makes it workable is the employees trust in the system and believe that they will be rewarded if they perform well.
Compliment employees- Even though an employee’s name has not appeared in the list of people getting incentives, go ahead and compliment that employee for a job well done – no matter how small. There is nothing more satisfying to an employee than a pat on his back.
Be transparent- While there may be some strategic decisions which you might want to share with the employees at a later stage, make sure employees do not give in to the rumours. Stay in touch with the employees.
Work on your PDP- Every employee is responsible for his / her own career. He / she should work towards his ’Personal Development Plan’ [PDP] as discussed and agreed by his manager. Find out what are the training company offers and which is best suited to his development needs. How this will motivate you – remember training always increase your marketability and enhance your career.
Participate and Network- Employees – Remember you work for a company where a one-on-one attention might not be possible. Do not wait for an invitation to participate in a discussion. If you are a part of a forum, then you have full right to express your opinion and be a part of the process. Expressing yourself is a good way of motivating yourself.

Posted in B2B, Brand Managment, Consumer Behavior, CRM, eMarketing, Management, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2011 by Consultant

Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Model

Human behavior is goal-directed. Motivation cause goal-directed behaviour. It is through motivation that needs can be handled and tackled purposely. This can be understood by understanding the hierarchy of needs by manager. The needs of individual serves as a driving force in human behaviour. Therefore, a manager must understand the “hierarchy of needs”. Maslow has proposed “The Need Hierarchy Model”.

Self-actualization Needs
Esteem Needs
Social Needs
Security Needs
Physiological Needs

FIGURE – Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Model

The needs have been classified into the following in order:

  1. Physiological needs- These are the basic needs of an individual which includes food, clothing, shelter, air, water, etc. These needs relate to the survival and maintenance of human life.
  2. Safety needs- These needs are also important for human beings. Everybody wants job security, protection against danger, safety of property, etc.
  3. Social needs- These needs emerge from society. Man is a social animal. These needs become important. For example- love, affection, belongingness, friendship, conversation, etc.
  4. Esteem needs- These needs relate to desire for self-respect, recognition and respect from others.
  5. Self-actualization needs- These are the needs of the highest order and these needs are found in those person whose previous four needs are satisfied. This will include need for social service, meditation.

Posted in B2B, Brand Managment, Consumer Behavior, eMarketing, Management, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , , , , on December 1, 2011 by Consultant

Advantages of Planning

  1. Planning facilitates management by objectives.
    1. Planning begins with determination of objectives.
    2. It highlights the purposes for which various activities are to be undertaken.
    3. In fact, it makes objectives more clear and specific.
    4. Planning helps in focusing the attention of employees on the objectives or goals of enterprise.
    5. Without planning an organization has no guide.
    6. Planning compels manager to prepare a Blue-print of the courses of action to be followed for accomplishment of objectives.
    7. Therefore, planning brings order and rationality into the organization.

     

     

  2. Planning minimizes uncertainties.
    1. Business is full of uncertainties.
    2. There are risks of various types due to uncertainties.
    3. Planning helps in reducing uncertainties of future as it involves anticipation of future events.
    4. Although future cannot be predicted with cent percent accuracy but planning helps management to anticipate future and prepare for risks by necessary provisions to meet unexpected turn of events.
    5. Therefore with the help of planning, uncertainties can be forecasted which helps in preparing standbys as a result, uncertainties are minimized to a great extent.

     

     

  3. Planning facilitates co-ordination.
    1. Planning revolves around organizational goals.
    2. All activities are directed towards common goals.
    3. There is an integrated effort throughout the enterprise in various departments and groups.
    4. It avoids duplication of efforts. In other words, it leads to better co-ordination.
    5. It helps in finding out problems of work performance and aims at rectifying the same.

     

     

  4. Planning improves employee’s moral.
    1. Planning creates an atmosphere of order and discipline in organization.
    2. Employees know in advance what is expected of them and therefore conformity can be achieved easily.
    3. This encourages employees to show their best and also earn reward for the same.
    4. Planning creates a healthy attitude towards work environment which helps in boosting employees moral and efficiency.

     

     

  5. Planning helps in achieving economies.
    1. Effective planning secures economy since it leads to orderly allocation ofresources to various operations.
    2. It also facilitates optimum utilization of resources which brings economy in operations.
    3. It also avoids wastage of resources by selecting most appropriate use that will contribute to the objective of enterprise. For example, raw materials can be purchased in bulk and transportation cost can be minimized. At the same time it ensures regular supply for the production department, that is, overall efficiency.

     

     

  6. Planning facilitates controlling.
    1. Planning facilitates existence of certain planned goals and standard of performance.
    2. It provides basis of controlling.
    3. We cannot think of an effective system of controlling without existence of well thought out plans.
    4. Planning provides pre-determined goals against which actual performance is compared.
    5. In fact, planning and controlling are the two sides of a same coin. If planning is root, controlling is the fruit.

     

     

  7. Planning provides competitive edge.
    1. Planning provides competitive edge to the enterprise over the others which do not have effective planning. This is because of the fact that planning may involve changing in work methods, quality, quantity designs, extension of work, redefining of goals, etc.
    2. With the help of forecasting not only the enterprise secures its future but at the same time it is able to estimate the future motives of it’s competitor which helps in facing future challenges.
    3. Therefore, planning leads to best utilization of possible resources, improves quality of production and thus the competitive strength of the enterprise is improved.

     

     

  8. Planning encourages innovations.
    1. In the process of planning, managers have the opportunities of suggesting ways and means of improving performance.
    2. Planning is basically a decision making function which involves creative thinking and imagination that ultimately leads to innovation of methods and operations for growth and prosperity of the enterprise.