February 5, 2010

Marketing that fear to your Psychology!



Business plan (business plans)
[N-COUNT]
A business plan is a detailed plan for setting up or developing a business, especially one that is written in order to borrow money.
-Collins Cobuild Advanced English Dictionary 5th Edition.
Business plan
A document prepared by a company's management, detailing the past, present, and future of the company, usually designed to attract capital.
-Investor’s World.com

Business plan


Set of documents prepared by a firm's management to summarize its operational and financial objectives for the near future (usually one to three years) and to show how they will be achieved. It serves as a blueprint to guide the firm's policies and strategies, and is continually modified as conditions change and new opportunities and/or threats emerge. When prepared for external audience (lenders, prospective investors) it details the past, present, and forecasted performance of the firm. And usually also contains pro-forma balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement, to illustrate how the financing being sought will affect the firm's financial position.
-Business Dictionary.
How soon can you formulate a business plan? A proper, perfect, supposed to pacify the world’s most stagnant perfectionist of a woman, kind of business plan.  If you feel that the above definitions of a business plan are not clear, let me make it clear enough in my simple terminology, using your biology and playing with your physiology.
A business plan is pretty much of a make like your body, supposing the entrepreneur is a God. The ears become the sales and research, wherein each piece of information is listed and developed to further develop the business according to the information you ‘listen’ to. The hands provide for you and hence must be the finance and capital that is pretty much like the life and blood of the business without which both body and business will cease to exist. Your mouth becomes your only tool of marketing yourself which is aided by the poor legs that carry you to spots where you are supposed to appeal, because just sitting near the shore, you won’t reach the aimed other side; you have to wade in the waters for that, so the mouth becomes an effective marketing tool and the legs a kind of marketing vehicle. The stomach carries out operations to meet the required manufacturing demand, and sometimes is underproductive while the other times it is underproductive (assuming, you are an Indian, please keep in mind that your stomach is never simply productive) and so on so forth all functions of the body coordinate together to form a body; a moving, walking, talking, fucking and God knows what-else doing entity.
The business on similar grounds requires a coordinated effort between all the departments, howsoever small or irrelevant it may seem, there is always a trace of the above in each business and as such each must be identified, selected, recorded, evaluated and presented separately in its own right in the form of its respective plan, and all such plans must be merged to form a single macro-level business plan, along with the addition of the demand forecast which comes from the trend data of sales and production and ofcourse, the market situation which ofcourse again requires proper coordination between all the above mentioned.
So coming back to my question, how much time does it take to prepare a business plan? And don’t forget the feasibility report if it’s a new business. The average business takes anywhere around six-ten months at the earliest, right from the conception of the idea to setting up the first backbone of its body. Imagine having to formulate a business plan for any XYZ entrepreneur who has nothing to do with you but must forbear you, just because you are a college student from a B-school (B-grade for B), whose existence he has never heard of in the metropolis.
Let me give you some more biography about myself before we proceed. I am a Gold-medalist trainer and a prized presenter of the most popular soft-skills institute of the city, so naturally one amongst my many choices for this proposal was the Head of this Institute which has innumerable branches across the city. Relations entitled me to call him straight away but being a professional, I mailed him the proposal before conforming it on phone. The best excuse I could come up for gaining all the top-level strategic information of his successful venture was that he would be getting his business evaluated by some of the most promising management students of the city from a ‘reputed’ business school, who would do all the work for his business for charity that otherwise most management consultants would charge him a ceiling for. Can you come up with nay better marketing effort than that?
He gave me a call that very evening. I was not his employee any more but still the voice was soft and even as a mark of respect for my contributions.
“Mr. Kazi,” he told me. “I went through your proposal, the thing is that management consultants are people with fifteen to twenty years of experience and they are the ones who design a business plan for a business who can afford them. I cannot hand my business over to students and follow their advice when I don’t even know the profile of your batch-mates, I’m really sorry….” He finished before my brain could think of anything else.
Back to ‘business’, why would an entrepreneur hand me, who is a fucking nobody or anyone else his confidential, sacrosanct business details of a business that he has strived to make it stand, when he is good the way he is. Remember he didn’t come to us; we went to him and in business-there is no father, no son and no brotherly love at all, leave alone an ex-employee-employer relationship. It is ethically right and morally justifiable even. In the miniscule chance of the minutest ones, assuming he hands over the details to us and we, buffoons who have no credentials are able to pull up something out of what he gives us and he follows it and becomes worse off than before, then who is to blame whom? We are supposed to present that proposed business plan in front of a panel, who would be evaluating us for a worth of rupees fifteen hundred only, the amount of money I generate by writing a couple of words for the corporate hoardings that are put up on the flyovers, you drive by.
Any businessman, including you and me would perceive this proposition as a competitive threat in strategical terms. Sharing of confidential details is a strict offence with regards to business ethics, this is not even a part of an organization’s CSR initiatives. This data that we have been told to blatantly gather at the cost of our own self-dignity is available in the market at a premium rate from leading market research companies, who go to any extent (read unethical practices) to coyly gather such prized data from one entity and sell it to his competitor. That’s one of the side-businesses of many research firms.
And to top it all we are asked by the loony Director of our Instititute to gather that data, financial figures included, and formulate a business plan by the end of the next week! What the fuck, I said in my mind. Brilliant, the other people in my class cried, who have no fucking idea what a business plan is, not realizing that most small time entrepreneurs that they can atmost target don’t even maintain such records, they are not even listed companies. What remained then? The friendly, neighborhood local banya, who also won’t oblige to this insane demand if he is of a sensible mind. Why would he shut shop for one day to attend a presentation that he has nothing to gain to, even if he does manage to blurt out some nonsensical figures that we can formulate a 300 page (average size of a business report) report with!
And so she came upon us today on the eve of the inauguration of a college fest, that no other management school attends (the reason being that she thinks it is a professional post-graduate and not an under-graduate course!) and there is no sponsor for (the reason being she returned the cheques of the sponsors saying that she needs no one’s charity), neither realizing that events in other b-schools are conducted by student committees without any faculty intervention and then she gives us the same shit, nor appreciating the effort that my hard-working peers put in to decorate a dingy classroom as the event venue, staying back in the ‘graveyard of a building late till night.
All of us in the classroom stand up except me.
“Good-morning, teacher,” are they supposed to cry? She signals a terse nod. Everyone touches their fat bums on the hard, plastic chairs beneath those arses.
“Thank-you, teacher,” are they supposed to say?
Unfortunately, such attention seeking dominators do not realize that true respect is something that comes from the heart and is not something that can be forced upon our throats, thrust upon our asses and coerced on our legs.
I am covered by three students who unfortunately did not find a place to sit in the class, which she postulates to be empty! I show her the middle finger from behind; unfortunately the view is obstructed by Khalid’s ass. He shows me a thumbs-up!
“This is a professional course, teachers aren’t supposed to interfere,” she cries on the top of her lungs, on learning that no team has found a single entrepreneur and warning us against bringing the local, neighborhood banya.
She is pissed off, she is doing it for the students she says and proposes to cancel the business plan proposal.
“Yes!” I’m thrilled,
“No!” the dumb-heads shout.
She asks them then should she cancel it. They unanimously say NO, my solitary YES is lost somewhere in those NOs.
God knows what happens to her, she does the exact opposite of what those people said and what my heart was praying for, she does what she looks best at-disappears! She walks out of the class in a huff, asking the students to do what they want, cancelling the Rs.1500 worth of prize money that was placed as ransom on our heads.
“Ma’am…Ma’am...No, please, Ma’am….” The dumb-heads cry as if their own grandmother died, forgetting their name in her final will.
I walk over to the plump professor in the first row, who has been the subject of such atrocity in the staff room. I speak out my mind.
“She’s bent on fucking your ass. This is bull-shit. I can’t say anything more than this,” he says, patting my back. Surprisingly, I’m not surprised at his language.
Let me tell you, we are post-graduate students (I’m myself a double post-graduate already), all from reputed middle-class families, coming here with big dreams of a promising corporate career and what do we get here? Bull-shit and that too spelt backwards! In the history of my vast educational profile, I’ve never seen post-graduate students being treated with such contempt and discrimination, and they in turn taking it all with a forbearance that can make whipped donkeys feel ashamed of!
I mean, what are you? Asses or human-beings? What my poor peers don’t realize is that this fear, this very stick that they enjoy taking on their plump asses is not going anywhere, except for their hearts. This fear has been so instilled in their hearts by now, that they are in serious threat of losing focus of what they had set to achieve. This very fear would make them feel afraid of their bosses, pessimistic decision-makers and poor family persons and poorer citizens. Their life’s train could get derailed due to this extreme negative motivation.
As a teacher myself (at a global level, thanks to my ultimate TESOL certification), we learn to handle various students, in various manners. I and other TESOL trainers, even handle cross-cultural students through web and interactive classroom sessions and such behavior simply won't work with the angrez in the other continents. 'Fuck-off!' they will shout in your face and your pompous ass if you try to boss them.
The carrot-stick approach works well, upto a certain age group that we passed long time back. As the age progresses, we are advised to curtail our authority display and become more nurturing in our approach, as it is proven such methods instill learning faster in adults and our graying students.
I as a tutor, today have three students in the age group of fifty, all hotshot businessman, all lacking the soft skills their business demands. Most times, they don’t do the work I set out in a lesson for their practice. What do I do then as per our dear Director’s approach? Hold their ears and make them stand in the sun for hours or walk away after insulting them and their families? I do neither, choosing to continue with the same work that remained unfinished, making the guilt factor work, so that the next time they manage to do atleast half of the work I assigned for them.
But who is to tell her that? Not you, not they and definitely not me, because I know I will lack support of my peers, who like to lick her feet and worship her fat ass!
‘Why should I?’ each one argues, thinking of the frustration she would take out on their hastily scribbled exam papers, which unfortunately become the sole criterion for judging an individual in our education and value system. I’m sure to address this topic in the coming posts but today’s incidents irritated me, breaking the saturation barrier of my control.
What are we? People of the 1857 mutiny, who are oppressed under a gaining British rule? History has its lessons laid out loud and clear. Undue importance given to the wrong people always makes them sit on our head and rule us, so what if they have a social standing more than you, so what if they are your superior. What are we? Students or puppets, to be dictated around like this!
God never made anyone superior than the other, for him all beings were created equal. You and I created this position and you and I must bear it or destroy it. If I’m having a lot of trouble bearing it, I would rather willingly destroy it. I’m not a roadside sandal to be worn, to be walked around in shit; I’m not a psychologically challenged fetish who has a thing for people’s feet. I’m a human being and what goes against my humanity, I won’t take it lying down, staying silent, choosing to bear the injustice and atrocities and humiliation that I’m subjected to. I will appeal, I will voice my opinion. No one can stop me!
I’m not to be deterred by people like this distraught and demented Director of our Institute, who think no end of themselves. Who gives them the right to do so? Who gives them the right to play with our lives? To lay down unjustifiable foundations of our careers?

No one but they, themselves! Such dominating people have a primary psychological problem. I need to do my research for my final practioner certificate in psychology and present a subject, honestly speaking I could not find a more plain and extreme subject than this lunatic of a Director. Such people as per Freud’s theory either have a pedophile of a dipsomaniacal uncle who keeps abusing their lowers by making them sit in his lap or have a mentally disturbed husband who won’t put his organ in their stale pussies simply because the flaccid thing won’t stand up. A person’s psychology has a lot to do with her fantasies and sexual standings and so stands the case with this ageing lady who thinks she is the extreme power; the only difference between God and her being that God does not think he is her.
We are still to make an Industrial Visit, a compulsory part of our University curriculum and most other colleges have already finished their one week long detour to other states, perhaps the only event that most b-school students look forward to. After obtaining the visit fees from each of us and after taking away the signed declaration forms, we are informed a day before the proposed visit to a far away state in the south that the visit has been postponed due to the inefficiency of the tour operator.
“Do you want to go to this place without a proper insurance? Without any booked tickets?” she lets slip in the class.
‘Without any booked tickets?’ What the fuck! Sweetheart, we are going to a destination hundreds of kilometers by an outstation express, it is not somewhere close to Dadar station that you could calmly walk down in a queue to the ticket person and ask sixty tickets for, on the spot. Should someone tell her that tickets for such long distance trains are done atleast a month in advance and that too doesn’t guarantee booked sleeper seats?
 She did not surely propose to take her standing in the general class over a period of twenty-four hours now, did she? But knowing her, who can say! Since then, the visit has been postponed twice and of what I hear in the latest version perhaps cancelled. She owes an explanation to none because none will ask her for the same!
I booked a cricket pitch for the sake of my classmates who wanted to play professional cricket on a seasoned pitch. I paid the booking amount trusting them to pay me back during the day of the match. On the particular day, I attended a silly lecture which was supposedly going to be hers’ and which otherwise, all of the players would have bunked, and walked out to get my cricket kit for the benefit of all of us, which would mean that we don’t have to shell out extra for hiring a kit from the grounds-men. As I came back after one hour, I hardly met ten students out of the twenty-two who had registered their names for playing the inter-class match, of which only a handful were willing to come to play that too at a time which had been postponed due to the silly lecture. The reason being that she had made a spot announcement of a compulsory, stupid guest lecture that we all were supposed to, bear with. I bunked it, choosing to take back the heavy kit with drooping shoulders, choosing to forget the effort I had put in for the past two weeks to get a right pitch for the right amount at the right time but for the wrong people! I bunked it, and hello, all you people, for your kind information if you haven’t noticed me in class-I’m alive and kicking!
The fear in our hearts still beating in our blood, the unrecognized rage still seeping in their veins, how are we supposed to progress? What are we?
‘Teacher, Teacher, he pissed in his pants,’ Are we supposed to talk this nonsense at this age? What are we? Have we lost our identities? Stand in front of the mirror for two minutes today and intricately survey yourself, not the exterior physiognomy that you see but the interior soul that has escaped your notice till now.
Going ahead, she proposes to expand the Institute vertically over two floors over the next few years, a result of which the Institute environment looks more like a dug cemetery than a place of education due to the constant construction work that should have been completed when the students were away for their vacations. Imagine the state of the PG students, who would have no University backup and would have to make do with the atrocity of her autonomous power on their moldable asses.
But who’s complaining? This solitary voice, which people will try to bad mouth behind its back, choosing to keep grudges over a nature that is as natural as pure and they in turn will remain silent and pass out with their prized masters degree, losing their identities and minds in the process, either emulating or following the leadership qualities that they have been subjected to. I am not an anarchist but I am a catalyst of change, if and only if you see that change happening within yourself!
‘Where did I land up?’ I curse destiny, holding my head in my hands as I write this article.
Meanwhile, the mentally unfaithful ‘wife’ is unhappy but not complaining!


-With hugs and kisses to the Consumer and ofcourse the 'silent forbearers',
The Young Marketeer.

February 4, 2010

Marketing in Politics

 

I came home early today, bunking a couple of lectures to retire to the comfort of my fingers hitting the keys. I always have lived life by making my decisions through a tradeoff, be it a professional problem or a personal dilemma. That’s what I did today too, the inclination towards sitting for the drooling lecture was strong as my attendance is falling again thanks to the work that keeps me occupied but the propensity to make an opinion that was gathering like an opinion in my mind was stronger.

I switched on the television in the early morning and was greeted by the ShivSena v/s SRK confrontation; it’s all over the papers, on twitter, Facebook and perhaps in every Indian’s mind which has an opinion. The latest I have heard is the ShivSena leader, Uddhav Thackeray showing his indifference to his party’s act by saying that if SRK doesn’t retrace his statements, he cannot guarantee anything. But the problem is that he is just a leader of a fanatical party who is struggling to keep its foothold in the market of Indian politics and by saying such remarks what is he to gain? Perhaps, he won’t gain anything but he expects his party to gain cheap political mileage out of such acts as his party caters to a niche market of the ‘Marathi manoos’. In marketing terminology, we can call it Publicity and it comes under the fourth P-Promotion.

But if someone gives him a cup of Tata tea when he wakes up from the wrong side of his bed, he would perhaps realize that the ‘Marathi manoos’, he is supposedly fighting for has long back realized the concept of humanity and understanding. Just by becoming religious and cultural symbols, it is very difficult to influence the now socially aware and morally educated public about such inane acts but still such figures will continue to do, what they do because they are apt at it. The Marathi man would listen and forget it but he won’t act by showing such fanatics the truth that they are happy and progressing, for fear of being sidelined by his community, which unfortunately he thinks is under the control of such fanatics. But the truth is today Shiv-Sena has become a single warrior with no Marathi man in their armory, much because of the social changes that have taken place over the last decade. The divide and rule philosophy doesn’t display leadership and doesn’t garner blind followers, something that worked for them in the past, many of the faces in the tentative crowds, who are burning SRK’s posters and effigies today are largely paid, incentivized or threatened to do so by the supremos.
The facts and figures thrown by them naturally contain information about Maharashtrians but what it is to be realized here is, the bigger the pie, the larger the share and Maharashtrians till today occupy majority of the State, including Mumbai. Tell them to put the figures in a proportionate manner and they’ll falter because there are many more issues that a country has to face, all much more important than fighting over stats of a state race. I too live in Maharashtra, have been born and brought up here and so do thousands of others who live, sleep and breathe the city air, does it make them any less of a Maharashtrian? Is your knowledge of Marathi, the only criteria for defining a Maharashtrian? Or is it his lineage and birth that makes him a man of the state?
Most of our politicians come with raw knowledge of the lineage they emerge from, whereas in developed economies there are even courses for politicians in administration; our administrative achievers end up serving the government and succumbing to corruption. Our Gain? Zero!

The Shiv-Sena is stagnating and the leaders refuse to realize it, old ideologies will not work in modern times. Every time a major issue emerges and a ‘controversial’ comment is made, just by attributing their dragooned stand against it to an inconsequential fight for the Marathi people, isn’t going to get them votes, at the most they will lose even the couple of seats that they manage to put beneath their bums. This is a classic case of refusal to change in Marketing or in other terms, forced maintenance of conventional ideologies. The very basic focus of Marketing is to evolve as per the consumer’s requirements, as mentioned before in an earlier article; to be dynamic and proactive. The Shiv-Sena has been the exact opposite, stationary and reactive, taking care to maintain their age old philosophy of ruling the minds of the dominant caste and hoping the other castes would follow, a segmentation strategy that was effective in the past but falls flat in the present and making sound statements and disrupting public peace in response to statements they ‘perceive’ as detrimental to the health of the city. The cheap publicity campaigning worked for a certain period but too much of it causes an ethical overdose in the public’s mind. That’s what happens with negative publicity, over a period of time. Let’s check out the case in question now.
Shiv-Sena indubitably, is not going to gain anything out of this political hype they are generating with so much glee but the paradox of the situation is that they are actually endorsing the very film; they have set out to destroy.

One of the prime qualities of the Indian consumer is that when the worm of curiosity starts itching within his bums, then he cannot contain it inside, it slowly and gradually seeps out from the crevices and pops its head out to check on what’s disturbing it, what’s the source of noise! ‘My Name is Khan’, perhaps won’t need Shiv-Sena endorsing it, even though one of the producers of the film had asked for a NOC by the Sainiks before releasing the film in Mumbai! The audience for the film is anyways going to watch the film by hook or by crook thanks to their undying love for the super-star, who is being mercilessly maligned for making a humanly correct statement but now, even those who had decided to skip the film or were indifferent to its’ appeal, would find the film in their area of focus. The film promoter’s job is done, easily and better than the other media channels which would have taken more time and would have been less cost-effective than this one! Who’s complaining? Certainly, not the producers and The loyal ‘Wife’ is happy and satisfied!

Do check out what our students have to say at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LiuB2kgRnk


With hugs and kisses to the Consumer,
The Young Marketeer.

February 3, 2010

The 'Wife' lashes out.....but whose 'wife' is it anyway?

 
We now proceed to actually bifurcate the'wife' to further understand her behaviour towards the 'grooms'. It has been increasingly talked while segmenting the market that women and men both behave differently when it comes to particular products and brands and ence the positioning for both changes with the change in targeting ideologies. It is believed that women consumers are more loyal than male consumers, but this is to risk a sexist view of marketing and the complacence that comes with assuming that more steadfast consumers will not walk away from you. I will take the aid of an article published in a prominent business magazine to support my case with statistics as we flow on.
We know from countless case studies that no 'groom is entirely immune from disloyalty. Spurred by competitive forces and greater insights, brands are constantly encouraging infidelity so that they can ensnare their competitors’ loyalists, or marry their 'wives' as we may put it.
What this does do, however, is to force us to push the marketing envelope harder to find ways of cultivating enduring loyalty. Over the last decade or so, advances in motivational research and ‘neuromarketing’ research have uncovered startling insights about the nature of building brand loyalty and the differences between marketing to men and women. The interaction between brand loyalty and gender based marketing has created an interesting intellectual battleground for marketers.
Making the 'wife' loyal so that she sees you and only you depends heavily on creating relevant brand memories — memories that can form the foundation for a relationship between brands and their consumers. This comes by building relationships around brand attributes.This is easier said than done when a supermarket-full of brands is vying for attention and splintering consumer memory into finer, less dependable fragments, as shown in the earlier post.
How many ads can you actually remember having seen before going to bed and getting up the next morning? Clearly however, the brands that are winning the battle for mind space are those that are able to do so with a repeated focus on engaging their consumers’ brains more holistically.
This observation necessitates delving into a space where few chauvinistic philosophers have dared to venture — the female mind. Recent advances in the study of brainwave patterns places a scientific certainty on evidence that was only anecdotal thus far. For instance, MRI scans intended to identify the differences between women’s and men’s brains indicate that women have 11 percent more neurons than men’s especially in the cerebral cortex regions that influence language and hearing. Also, the female brain is much better connected across hemispheres which mean it has a superior cross-function processing ability. Put simply, women are better at integrating all their senses and thoughts to form more holistic memories. This also implies that women’s brains are better wired for feeling and recalling emotions than men.
Marketing to women therefore needs to be of a much higher order if it hopes to capture their attention and, as a result, their allegiance, inescapably. This places an exacting, yet achievable task before the savvy marketer to create a more powerful brand experience compared to the nearest competitor and in doing so evoke an emotional response that can embed with brand’s message in a manner that is linked to the female consumer’s life goals. The effect that this can have on purchase behavior is ultimately what this is all about.
We now know that if a brand is to hope to create an enduring bond with women, it must acknowledge women’s higher emotional intelligence and ability to empathize with others (such as their family and friends) places very specific demands on marketers.
Brands that hope therefore to create greater loyalty amongst women must go beyond the regular lip-service of ‘feminizing’ their communication with design and create solutions that adhere to a woman’s world view and her deepest desires by building more gratifying experiences.
While this is important, it is also critical that product formulation and the research that precedes it should attempt to take into account the social, hormonal, emotional, mental, sensorial and physical attributes that make women who they are. Marketers need to move beyond a functional/rational view of ‘value’ and create product experiences that cater to how women think and live their lives in relation to those around them. This can mean very simple product attributes that mirror the traits women themselves prioritise and seek.
When you look through the keyhole of the Indian woman’s abode in the same way she would, these possibilities become amply clear. Let’s start at the door. A security system that is strong, silent, unobtrusive but alert, gives her a sense of security and mental freedom. An air-conditioner that doesn’t just cool but sanitises the air her family breathes is the purveyor of health. The refrigerator that keeps food fresh but also conserves costs by being energy efficient. The poultry products are pre-cut so she can spend more time with her family than cooking for it.
The mosquito repellant can preserve the propriety of her sanctum sanctorum and the air freshener that can create an environment of warmth and vitality.
The furniture should be both stylish and ergonomically advanced. Personal care products should augment her appearance naturally and without punishing chemicals.
These are all examples that bear out the fact that better experiences and a more empathic view of India’s female consumer will catapult common stereotypes into practical innovation in service of what is arguably, the Indian consumer market’s most influential constituency.
'Wife' or 'No wife', the poor marketeer trods on!



With kisses to the Consumer,
The Young Marketeer.

Branding and Blogging today.....


So, I finally succumbed to the blogging bug. My skin is itching and my hands refuse to scratch the area where it has bitten me. But I'm happy, I feel this itch will pass on to all those, who come in contact with it.

What's this blogging I used to wonder? And now eventually, I'm a part of it. Sometimes we run away form things only to bump into them en route. This is not going to be a blog or an e-diary as some call it, this is going to be something much more, a blatant expression of my point of view and an indefatigable attempt at corroborating marketing and branding efforts in today's world, albeit in a different language altogether.
I may not have the credentials of doing so but then marketing like the element Carbon
(Scientific symbol-C) is pretty much ubiquitous today and encompasses people from all walks of life in its shadow. As such, I have gained a lot of insight into this field and the knowledge that followed rendered me capable of starting this venture, and I am still learning.

Marketing today, has evolved like many other fields, it has become more dynamic and consumer-focused in its approach. Yes, that's the buzz word today, Consumer! The Big C we may call it, if we wish to! The Consumer today, has become more evolved, more modern in his approach and more aware of the environment around him at a global level thanks to our growing media penetration and increasing education levels (perhaps).
The Consumer of today is more like your wife, whom you have to take care of even though you don't want to, because she keeps running your house. The only difference is that she is unfaithful and beds every other product that appeals to it more than you do. So that involves taking safety precautions much like 'slipping on that condom' before you venture in the field, as you cannot trust your 'wife' any longer.
The so called 'wife' has become more price sensitive as well as quality conscious, so the challenge for marketeers lies in 'not just marrying but also maintaining her,' a 'divorce' filed from her side can prove to be a real costly 'alimony' for you. Hence, the focus on CRM practices by most behemoths. It has helped them to maintain their position by keeping the consumer engaged in their relation measures.
As the mindset of the consumer changes, marketeers are striving to put in a constant effort of gathering precious data and aligning it with secondary findings, to produce something more valuable than their competitors, that will eventually make their 'prospective wives' select them as their 'groom'. The only problem is that the wife is 'too demanding' because 'other grooms' are constantly trying to woo her and their presentations and affectations make her lose focus on your diligent efforts to imprint your mark on her mind.
As in the animal kingdom, the huge alpha wins but in the actual case scenario, the 'burly groom' might have to face tough competition from a 'tiny tot in the making' because of the latter's advantage over the former. Such 'small tots' are usually in a better position to understand the prospect because of their grassroot level positions. This creates a challenge for the burly ones to have a more diverse yet organised sales force to 'convince' the wife head-on, this is where the 'small tots' lag behind and then there emerges a vicious game of pull and push that causes the rope to break and the 'wife' falls down into the lap of someone in the middle, who had his priorities planned out in the same manner.
The first challenge for any of these grooms would have been to gain the wife's attention and they each vie for a piece of the pie making her become a modern Draupadi ka syavamvar, in which actually she ends up selecting the wrong groom, all the grooms or worst still none at all! A lose-lose situation for both!
Marketeers practice the theory that they have been thought in the B-schools that they attended and follow the A of AIDA without realising the Faida. It was a good approach, the only thing is it does not yield results anymore. People encounter more than 55,000 advertisement in some form or the other every year. By the end of his life, the average consumer spends one and a half-years of his life watching television advertisements alone. Time-wasted, he might say on reading this, and worst still decide to shut the idiot during the breaks! Then too, marketeers go on creating advertisements to gain attention of the consumer. They fill the radio with their jingles and bombard the television with their thirty second commercials and use their ink in print and even stick the glue in loos but what ultimately comes out of it-is not consumer attention, they are vying for but clutter.
Today's marketeers realise and accept this fact and wish to solve it, the problem is to solve the clutter, they create more clutter, lying and cheating their way into the prospect's mind who also is a human and forgets them the very next instant the other fish start swimming in front of her eyes. As Godin who says that 'all marketeers are liars' writes in Brand Equity dated June 4, 2003,
"Marketeers are doing exactly the wrong thing. They're running more ads, they are putting ads on parking meters, in hotel elevators, in washrooms. Because they think that the answer to clutter is more clutter. That's why there is so much spam in your inbox, marketeers are desperate." Desperate to win over their 'wife' before she turns her head towards some other 'groom'.
To gain that position in the wife's mind, the groom has to pass on such a strategy that will make his product stand out form the rest of the clutter, in easy language something either more obnoxious or something more charming, to ignore, and the latter is a lot more difficult than the former. To achieve the former, most companies only have to strive a little harder than what they are doing currently.
The competitive advantage for the marketeer's product will come from his own inventiveness with regards to meeting the 'wife's demands, which have to be satiated almost immediately and immaculately, lest she takes offence. For this, the marketing system has to be in sync, not just with the actual market but also with the other departments that coordinate its efforts. Mostly, major organisations falter in their marketing efforts due to lack of coordination between the supposedly coordinating departments, which has been said so in their statements but rarely practiced.
Meanwhile, the 'wife' is continuously in search of newfangled approaches that would satiate her unfulfilled desires. It then lies upon the 'groom' how he does so, whether he uses 'what he has' or 'outsources' the duty to someone else. In the end, the 'wife' is to gain, as always, literally!

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