Archive for Value Propositions

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

Classical Theories of Motivation

The motivation concepts were mainly developed around 1950’s. Three main theories were made during this period. These three classical theories are-

  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory

Abraham Maslow is well renowned for proposing the Hierarchy of Needs Theory in 1943. This theory is a classical depiction of human motivation. This theory is based on the assumption that there is a hierarchy of five needs within each individual. The urgency of these needs varies. These five needs are as follows-

  1. Physiological needs- These are the basic needs of air, water, food, clothing and shelter. In other words, physiological needs are the needs for basic amenities of life.
  2. Safety needs- Safety needs include physical, environmental and emotional safety and protection. For instance- Job security, financial security, protection from animals, family security, health security, etc.
  3. Social needs- Social needs include the need for love, affection, care, belongingness, and friendship.
  4. Esteem needs- Esteem needs are of two types: internal esteem needs (self- respect, confidence, competence, achievement and freedom) and external esteem needs (recognition, power, status, attention and admiration).
  5. Self-actualization need- This include the urge to become what you are capable of becoming / what you have the potential to become. It includes the need for growth and self-contentment. It also includes desire for gaining more knowledge, social- service, creativity and being aesthetic. The self- actualization needs are never fully satiable. As an individual grows psychologically, opportunities keep cropping up to continue growing.

According to Maslow, individuals are motivated by unsatisfied needs. As each of these needs is significantly satisfied, it drives and forces the next need to emerge. Maslow grouped the five needs into two categories –Higher-order needs and Lower-order needs. The physiological and the safety needs constituted the lower-order needs. These lower-order needs are mainly satisfied externally. The social, esteem, and self-actualization needs constituted the higher-order needs. These higher-order needs are generally satisfied internally, i.e., within an individual. Thus, we can conclude that during boom period, the employees lower-order needs are significantly met.

Maslows Need Hierarchy ModelFIGURE: Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Model
Implications of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory for Managers
As far as the physiological needs are concerned, the managers should give employees appropriate salaries to purchase the basic necessities of life. Breaks and eating opportunities should be given to employees.
As far as the safety needs are concerned, the managers should provide the employees job security, safe and hygienic work environment, and retirement benefits so as to retain them.
As far as social needs are concerned, the management should encourage teamwork and organize social events.
As far as esteem needs are concerned, the managers can appreciate and reward employees on accomplishing and exceeding their targets. The management can give the deserved employee higher job rank / position in the organization.
As far as self-actualization needs are concerned, the managers can give the employees challenging jobs in which the employees’ skills and competencies are fully utilized. Moreover, growth opportunities can be given to them so that they can reach the peak.

The managers must identify the need level at which the employee is existing and then those needs can be utilized as push for motivation.

Limitations of Maslow’s Theory
  • It is essential to note that not all employees are governed by same set of needs. Different individuals may be driven by different needs at same point of time. It is always the most powerful unsatisfied need that motivates an individual.
  • The theory is not empirically supported.
  • The theory is not applicable in case of starving artist as even if the artist’s basic needs are not satisfied, he will still strive for recognition and achievement.
  • Herzberg’s Two factor theory

Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Motivation

In 1959, Frederick Herzberg, a behavioural scientist proposed a two-factor theory or the motivator-hygiene theory. According to Herzberg, there are some job factors that result in satisfaction while there are other job factors that prevent dissatisfaction. According to Herzberg, the opposite of “Satisfaction” is “No satisfaction” and the opposite of “Dissatisfaction” is “No Dissatisfaction”.

Herzbergs view of satisfaction and dissatisfaction
FIGURE: Herzberg’s view of satisfaction and dissatisfaction

Herzberg classified these job factors into two categories-

  1. Hygiene factors- Hygiene factors are those job factors which are essential for existence of motivation at workplace. These do not lead to positive satisfaction for long-term. But if these factors are absent / if these factors are non-existant at workplace, then they lead to dissatisfaction. In other words, hygiene factors are those factors which when adequate / reasonable in a job, pacify the employees and do not make them dissatisfied. These factors are extrinsic to work. Hygiene factors are also called asdissatisfiers or maintenance factors as they are required to avoid dissatisfaction. These factors describe the job environment / scenario. The hygiene factors symbolized the physiological needs which the individuals wanted and expected to be fulfilled. Hygiene factors include:
    • Pay- The pay or salary structure should be appropriate and reasonable. It must be equal and competitive to those in the same industry in the same domain.
    • Company Policies and administrative policies- The company policies should not be too rigid. They should be fair and clear. It should include flexible working hours, dress code, breaks, vacation, etc.
    • Fringe benefits- The employees should be offered health care plans (mediclaim), benefits for the family members, employee help programmes, etc.
    • Physical Working conditions- The working conditions should be safe, clean and hygienic. The work equipments should be updated and well-maintained.
    • Status- The employees’ status within the organization should be familiar and retained.
    • Interpersonal relations-The relationship of the employees with his peers, superiors and subordinates should be appropriate and acceptable. There should be no conflict or humiliation element present.
    • Job Security- The organization must provide job security to the employees.

     

  2. Motivational factors- According to Herzberg, the hygiene factors cannot be regarded as motivators. The motivational factors yield positive satisfaction. These factors are inherent to work. These factors motivate the employees for a superior performance. These factors are called satisfiers. These are factors involved in performing the job. Employees find these factors intrinsically rewarding. The motivators symbolized the psychological needs that were perceived as an additional benefit. Motivational factors include:
    • Recognition- The employees should be praised and recognized for their accomplishments by the managers.
    • Sense of achievement- The employees must have a sense of achievement. This depends on the job. There must be a fruit of some sort in the job.
    • Growth and promotional opportunities- There must be growth and advancement opportunities in an organization to motivate the employees to perform well.
    • Responsibility- The employees must hold themselves responsible for the work. The managers should give them ownership of the work. They should minimize control but retain accountability.
    • Meaningfulness of the work- The work itself should be meaningful, interesting and challenging for the employee to perform and to get motivated.
Limitations of Two-Factor Theory

The two factor theory is not free from limitations:

  1. The two-factor theory overlooks situational variables.
  2. Herzberg assumed a correlation between satisfaction and productivity. But the research conducted by Herzberg stressed upon satisfaction and ignored productivity.
  3. The theory’s reliability is uncertain. Analysis has to be made by the raters. The raters may spoil the findings by analyzing same response in different manner.
  4. No comprehensive measure of satisfaction was used. An employee may find his job acceptable despite the fact that he may hate/object part of his job.
  5. The two factor theory is not free from bias as it is based on the natural reaction of employees when they are enquired the sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction at work. They will blame dissatisfaction on the external factors such as salary structure, company policies and peer relationship. Also, the employees will give credit to themselves for the satisfaction factor at work.
  6. The theory ignores blue-collar workers. Despite these limitations, Herzberg’s Two-Factor theory is acceptable broadly.
Implications of Two-Factor Theory
The Two-Factor theory implies that the managers must stress upon guaranteeing the adequacy of the hygiene factors to avoid employee dissatisfaction. Also, the managers must make sure that the work is stimulating and rewarding so that the employees are motivated to work and perform harder and better. This theory emphasize upon job-enrichment so as to motivate the employees. The job must utilize the employee’s skills and competencies to the maximum. Focusing on the motivational factors can improve work-quality.
  • Theory X and Theory Y

In 1960, Douglas McGregor formulated Theory X and Theory Y suggesting two aspects of human behaviour at work, or in other words, two different views of individuals (employees): one of which is negative, called as Theory X and the other is positive, so called as Theory Y. According to McGregor, the perception of managers on the nature of individuals is based on various assumptions.

Assumptions of Theory X
  • An average employee intrinsically does not like work and tries to escape it whenever possible.
  • Since the employee does not want to work, he must be persuaded, compelled, or warned with punishment so as to achieve organizational goals. A close supervision is required on part of managers. The managers adopt a more dictatorial style.
  • Many employees rank job security on top, and they have little or no aspiration/ ambition.
  • Employees generally dislike responsibilities.
  • Employees resist change.
  • An average employee needs formal direction.
Assumptions of Theory Y
  • Employees can perceive their job as relaxing and normal. They exercise their physical and mental efforts in an inherent manner in their jobs.
  • Employees may not require only threat, external control and coercion to work, but they can use self-direction and self-control if they are dedicated and sincere to achieve the organizational objectives.
  • If the job is rewarding and satisfying, then it will result in employees’ loyalty and commitment to organization.
  • An average employee can learn to admit and recognize the responsibility. In fact, he can even learn to obtain responsibility.
  • The employees have skills and capabilities. Their logical capabilities should be fully utilized. In other words, the creativity, resourcefulness and innovative potentiality of the employees can be utilized to solve organizational problems.

Thus, we can say that Theory X presents a pessimistic view of employees’ nature and behaviour at work, while Theory Y presents an optimistic view of the employees’ nature and behaviour at work. If correlate it with Maslow’s theory, we can say that Theory X is based on the assumption that the employees emphasize on the physiological needs and the safety needs; while Theory X is based on the assumption that the social needs, esteem needs and the self-actualization needs dominate the employees.

McGregor views Theory Y to be more valid and reasonable than Theory X. Thus, he encouraged cordial team relations, responsible and stimulating jobs, and participation of all in decision-making process.

Implications of Theory X and Theory Y
Quite a few organizations use Theory X today. Theory X encourages use of tight control and supervision. It implies that employees are reluctant to organizational changes. Thus, it does not encourage innovation.
Many organizations are using Theory Y techniques. Theory Y implies that the managers should create and encourage a work environment which provides opportunities to employees to take initiative and self-direction. Employees should be given opportunities to contribute to organizational well-being. Theory Y encourages decentralization of authority, teamwork and participative decision making in an organization. Theory Y searches and discovers the ways in which an employee can make significant contributions in an organization. It harmonizes and matches employees’ needs and aspirations with organizational needs and aspirations.

These theories are building blocks of the contemporary theories developed later. The working mangers and learned professionals till date use these classical theories to explain the concept of employee motivation.

 

Posted in B2B, Brand Managment, Consumer Behavior, CRM, eMarketing, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , , , , on November 30, 2011 by Consultant

Top US Brands Getting Strategic About Social Media

Over the past year, America’s top brands have made improvements in how they use online branded communities to reach their customers, but some opportunities for engagement remain untapped, according to a new report by ComBlu.

More brands are taking a strategic approach to social media engagement in 2011. Among the 251 online branded communities studied, managed by 92 brands: 

  • 41% of brands now have a cohesive strategy for social engagement in which multiple activities roll into a single online experience, compared with 33% in 2010, and 20% in 2009. 
  • The social experimentation stage is most prevalent: 50% of brands are experimenting with social communities, lacking a long-term engagement approach, using instead a series of one-off experimental marketing campaigns. That level is up from 45% in 2010.
  • Community ghost towns (unpopulated communities) now make up 5% of communities, down from 15% in 2010.
  • Community overload (multiple communities fighting for attention from the same audience) afflicts 4% of online communities, down from 5% in 2009.


Below, additional findings from the third annual “State of Online Branded Communities” issued by ComBlu.

Community Engagement Strategies

Some brands are using multiple strategies of engagement within the same community.

ComBlu defines three such strategies, or “pillars” of engagement as the following: 

  • Advocacy is essentially word-of-mouth marketing around a product, service, issue or idea to develop deeper relationships with stakeholders or activate them to support a specific mission.
  • Support refers to using customer experts to provide or extend the customer service (includes post-purchase and support forums).
  • Feedback refers to crowd sourcing new ideas for products or services, or gathering input on product quality, customer experience, marketing campaigns, and messaging.

Among the communities studied, most (75%) are focused on advocacy, whereas 33% focus on customer support and 20% focus their efforts on customer feedback.

Adoption of Best Practices

Over the past year, many brands adjusted their social media engagement tactics; among key changes:

  • The presence of a community manager fell to 48% in 2011, down from 51% in 2010.
  • The adoption of user reviews and content fell to 27%, from 54% in 2010. 
  • The use of advocates in online branded communities remained unchanged at 20%.

Among the most significant gains in the adoption of best practices: 

  • More brands implemented personal dashboards, from 38% in 2010 to 60% in 2011. 
  • Content aggregation (share features, content rating, and social bookmarking) registered sharp gains, to 95% in 2011, from 32% in 2010.

Among other best practices, 43% of communities offer rewards and recognition programs, up from 39% in 2010, while 16% offer a mobile app. 


Looking for real, hard data that can help you match social media tools and tactics to your marketing goals? The State of Social Media Marketing, a 240-page original research report from MarketingProfs, gives you the inside scoop on how 5,140 marketing pros are using social media to create winning campaigns, measure ROI, and reach audiences in new and exciting ways.


Top-Performing Brands

One-third (33%) of brands were ranked as high performers, based on their adoption of best practices. On a scale of 0 to 60, such high performers received a minimum of 42 points.

Among the highest performers, Verizon Communications led with 55 points; followed by EA and SAP with 54 points; Bravo, Intel, and Sony with 52 points, American Express with 51 points; and Discovery Channel, Microsoft, Sears, Whole Foods, and Sony with 50 points. 

Top-Performing Industries

Among the 16 industries in the study, the gaming and telecom industries were the two highest scoring (with 45 points each), followed closely by technology and consumer electronics (43 points). 

The retail and travel/hospitality industries tied for the most improved, each jumping nine points in average score.

About the data: The audit of 251 online branded communities among 92 US companies was conducted by ComBlu during the summer of 2011.

Posted in Brand Managment, Consumer Behavior, CRM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2011 by Consultant

Challenge the Status Quo! Take on a Dominant Market Player [Slide Show]

111118-01. Intro111118-02. 1. Establish your brand111118-03. 2. Build trust
111118-04. 3. Do something different111118-05. 4. Dive in111118-06. 5. Be patient
111118-01. Intro

We all learned on the playground in elementary school that it’s never a good idea to take on the big kid. That first physics lesson we learned—that larger objects push harder than smaller ones—reinforced that notion in our rapidly developing, dodgeball-obsessed minds.

But was that really an accurate lesson? After all, ordinary-sized David defeated giant-sized Goliath with nothing more than a pebble and a slingshot. So why can’t you? The answer is, You can! But to effectively beat the giant in your industry, you’ll need to focus on these five things.

111118-02. 1. Establish your brand

1. Establish your brand

As a startup, establishing your brand is the first and most important step in building a business. Coming in as a new player, you will encounter uncertainty about your brand from potential consumers who are unfamiliar with your name, products, quality, differentiation, etc. But you can use that to your advantage.

Humans have an innate curiosity and desire to explore. If you disagree, watch a young child be entertained for hours upon hours by ordinary objects, such as kitchen utensils or cell phones. Even though your target market has most likely grown out of playing with common objects for hours, that curiosity remains.

How can human curiosity benefit your brand? Draw on that human trait by positioning your business as something new and unique. Don’t give up all of your information up front; catch your targets’ interest and make them wonder. Their curiosity will take over and subconsciously motivate them to seek, search, and investigate, which will ultimately drive traffic to your website. Then, it’s your job to get them to stay.

So, how do you keep the market share you’ve gained?

111118-03. 2. Build trust

2. Build trust

Customers will not give you their money if they do not trust you. As a new company, you’ll have a hard time building trust via past buying experiences, because your target market has likely never before bought from you. So the next best way to build immediate trust is to identify with your customers on a personal level. Be transparent. As a small business, you actually have the advantage; you aren’t viewed as a faceless corporate monster. Use that advantage to develop closeness with your customers, and you can bet that they will multiply.

111118-04. 3. Do something different

3. Do something different

Whatever you do, don’t try to enter a market dominated by a major player by using the exact same business model as the Goliath. Customers’ brand loyalty to the “big kid” will quickly destroy your business. But finding a way to improve or diversify the market will create an avenue for you to compete.

For example, my company created a new pay-per-click (PPC) billing model that was completely unique in the automotive industry. Having a unique offering allowed us to quickly develop strong relationships with suppliers and create the critical mass necessary to start driving traffic (pun intended) to Netcars.com, our website.

But what if being different doesn’t work? Another benefit you have as a small, upcoming competitor is flexibility. Exxon Mobil might not be able to change its business model overnight, but Mom and Pop’s Convenience Store can. So listen to customer feedback, integrate it, and adapt.

111118-05. 4. Dive in

4. Dive in

We’ve all been in a situation where it was necessary to “test the water.” When I go to the pool, I dip my toe in first to see how cold the water is. But that’s not going to work in a market dominated by a major player.

When you dip your toe into a big pool, you hardly create ripples. On the other hand, doing a cannonball into the pool would create major waves all around you.

When taking on a major player, then, your goal is to disrupt the market—to do a cannonball into the market. So, make your entrance a massive push. Market like hell. Prepare for growth. Staff early. Get the right people on board, and then figure out where they fit into your business as the ripples grow.

After all, you get only one shot to launch.

111118-06. 5. Be patient

5. Be patient

Penetrating a concentrated market isn’t a game of Jenga. (In that game, pulling out one block could cause an entire tower to topple.) Instead, making an impact on the market is more of a marathon, not a sprint. Cheesy analogies aside, don’t expect to bring down the competition overnight.

Keep your brand consistent and unique, continue to innovate, and challenge the status quo. Time will bring results.

* * *

You’ll still have to find your own pebble, but I hope this information will be the slingshot you need to take on the Goliath that your company faces. Happy hunting!

Posted in Consumer Behavior, eMarketing, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2011 by Consultant

Is Your ‘About Us’ Page Effective?

For a small B2B business, the second most important page on its website after its homepage is probably its “About Us” page. That is because smaller companies are typically lesser-known, and would-be customers often see them as a gamble. And unless their prices are considerably low, small businesses can be overlooked in favor of their larger, more-established competitors.

The “About Us” page is a business’s chance to stake its claim as a viable player in the space. To accomplish that successfully, the business needs a powerful and succinct elevator pitch (positioning statement) and supporting key messages. An enormous marketing opportunity is lost when those key elements are missing from the “About Us” page—which is a logical destination for many who have become intrigued by a provider’s product or service offerings.

Winning Formula

A proven, highly effective formula can help you craft the content for your own “About Us” page. It includes the following:

  1. A 35-word elevator pitch that tells visitors what type of business you are, what you offer, who you are targeting, what makes you special, and what value you provide
  2. Your most differentiating key message about your unique experience, skills, product or service, customer base, etc.
  3. Your second most differentiating key message about your unique experience, skills, product or service, customer base, approach or technique, etc.
  4. A brief company description explaining who you are, where you’re based, how long you’ve been in business, what your philosophy or business promise is, what the highlights of your experience have been, etc.

Many small businesses—even large ones, for that matter—fall into the trap of including only number four, the brief company description, on their “About Us” pages. That is a big mistake and a prime branding opportunity lost.

Make the most of that precious real estate, and use it to back up the claims and pitch you make on your homepage and to set yourself apart from the competition. When developing that important text, imagine that your homepage and “About Us” page are the only two pages a site visitor will see. That will help you include all of the important differentiation needed for a well-constructed “About Us” page.

How to Determine the Effectiveness of Your “About Us” Page

Once you have drafted your “About Us” page, print it and lay it next to printouts of your competitors’ “About Us” pages. Carefully compare each one as though you were a potential customer. Then, prepare a spreadsheet and display the different vendors’ copy, column by column, starting with your own. If you have substantial text, you may want to take only the first several paragraphs because that is all a potential customer will read anyway.

Then, carefully analyze and dissect each one, vendor by vendor and according to a set of key variables. Please note, however, that most will not be following the winning formula you just learned—positioning statement, key message, key message, company description. Therefore, you may need to hunt around to identify those components.

To conduct your analysis, you need to ask yourself the following four questions. At the end of each item, you will find an italicized word or phrase; those are the variables to place in the rows on your spreadsheet.

  1. What main claim of differentiation is the company making? In other words, is the business saying it has the world’s only two-part widget, for example, or is it saying it is the industry’s least-expensive provider? Whatever the company is hanging its hat on is its main differentiator. Call that row “Primary Differentiator” on your spreadsheet.
  2. What secondary claims is the company making? So, if the widget company states it has a two-part widget, look for follow-on messages that support that claim. Do that for as many secondary claims or messages you can identify. There may be many, or there may be none. On subsequent rows, label those “Secondary Message 1,” “Secondary Message 2,” and so on.
  3. Who is the provider targeting? Said another way, Who is the target buyer? Are they small business owners, large organizations, teenagers? Call that row “Target Buyer” on your spreadsheet. For multiple targets, capture all of them in the same cell of the spreadsheet.
  4. What value/benefit is the competitor promising? It could be something as clearly defined as “helping businesses increase operational efficiency.” However, it might be poorly written as an inherent benefit that you must infer. Here is an example: “We are the world’s largest cardboard-box supplier for pizza shops.” The benefit (albeit, not effective at all) would be the ability to supply pizza shops with all the boxes they need. Label those benefits as “Value” on your spreadsheet.

Now that you have a nicely laid-out spreadsheet that compares the content of your “About Us” page with that of your competitors’, conduct an apples-to-apples comparison, variable by variable. By the end, you can determine just how well your page stacks up.

As a final check, put yourself in the shoes of your potential buyer and ask yourself which provider you would choose. If you like your answer, you have an effective page. If you do not like your answer, go back to the drawing board and draft something that makes your business stand out.