All posts in Marketing Strategy

Permanent Challenges of Market Demand New Answers

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Tom Cyrus:

Student: Dr. Einstein, Aren’t these the same questions as last year’s [physics] final exam?

Dr. Einstein: Yes; But this year the answers are different.

I have heard this Einstein’s story several times. Although I am not so sure about its reality, I believe that the origin of the subject is true in marketing. Every day, the process of marketing activities is encountered by strange and unprecedented sluggishness, difficulty, and low effect or ineffectiveness in relation to its past and yesterday but the marketing challenges have always been remained as before. The main permanent question is that how we should dominate the market through marketing.

The important point which is not told to you by most of the theorists in their lecture, articles and books refers to the fact that it seems unlikely that those customers who have become the fans of a company or product would even listen to you. Accordingly, their movement toward you is an increasing difficulty and apparently an impossible event.

However, a great number of marketing strategists and experts are in search of finding a method to attract the attention of the rival consumers and customers toward their own products and spend a lot of energy to carry out this activity. The advertising videos of Samsung Phones after presentation of iPhone 6 proves my claim in that Samsung clearly tried to convince the audience to use its own products by tarnishing iPhone reputation. Was Samsung successful?

The report of International Data Corporation on August 2015 for Smartphone Vendor Market Share which was carried out by resorting to share in unit shipment shows that the market share of both rivals was suddenly dropped.

Apparently, this way of demolishing the rival is like a knife which is plunged into your own stomach before hurting the rival because by such activities you only increase the level of awareness of the consumers from the market realties and without realizing, you will create new gaps in your own market and whenever you attempt to attract the rival’s customers toward yourself, these gaps will be deeper and wider. Drastic increase of the consumers‘ awareness from market and products is one of the biggest problems of the present era for the marketers and companies.

What should be done now? 

Firstly, start from changing your viewpoint about the problem. Instead of concentrating on the rivals‘ customers, look for those customers who have never been the customer of your rival or they are not your rivals’ customers anymore. You need to focus on the people who are not fans but opponents of the rival companies because of other people’s recommendations on avoiding to buy from the rival companies or unsuccessful experience of using their products. When should you find them? These customers are located in the main weaknesses of the related market that these points are connected to each other unanimously. Are we talking about Market Gap? No! Let’s be bolder. I would like to call this customers’ location “the Market Cracks”.

A gap is created in the market of a place in which the market leaders do not seem attractive for a large group of customers because they are not able to be accountable to the significant needs of the majority of the customers. The Market Gap theory observes market as linear and one-dimensional on which all market rivals and activists, as well as the gap, are placed.

To see cracks in a market, it should be analyzed in a multidimensional form. Cracks emerge where the customers’ demands from the market are not met by the rivals because of lacking full productivity of the potentials on the one hand, and on the other hand simultaneous with the first problem, technologic factors, changes in decisions and behaviour of consumers, as well as changes of the society’s inclinations will expose the main nature of market with extinction.

Cracks in the market are exactly like the various cracks on an ancient wall. Whenever the internal and external factors find more time and opportunity for destroying the wall, then, the cavities will be wider and deeper and they will gradually bring about the decay of the walls.

Market Cracks vs. Market Gaps  
IMG_3931Positioning of a market gap will be possible through two main Pull or Push strategies. In the Pull strategy, you will find the place of the gap and you will remove the market problem by proposing new product or technology while in the Push one you will remove the created gap through a different usage of a product or technology made before.

Using new product and technology or new usage of a previously-made product and technology for filling the market gap is in fact proposing an Added Value being able to be imitated and if you want to use more time of the opportunities, you need to be definitely the main leader or at least the second person of the market; otherwise, after proposing the new product, other activists of the market and market leaders will imitate you.

Unfortunately, the bigger problem emerges where after filling the market gap, you will have only a limited deadline for using the opportunity you created because other activists will imitate you very soon and this time, all pressures of the market will be applied to a certain point of it. Nevertheless, sooner or late, you should expect seeing emergence of a new gap in the market. Nowadays, most of our markets are encountered by this problem and we have filled the created gaps by products and technologies irrelevant to the main market so much that the vast majority of our brands have been changed into other things and contrary to their position, they have embarked on producing new products or linear expansion in the mind of the consumers.

However, market cracks are created when the useful life of a certain market is ending. In order to IMG_3933understand which market goes toward the extinction route, it is enough to look at its past, present, made and unmade market gaps. If the numbers of the present and modified gaps are so that the main layer of the  market is destroyed, this is the best time for you to take action.

To use market cracks, you need to have so many appropriate potentials that your new product will create a new market and separate from the previous one. Under these conditions, you should not rush to help the previous market to fill the gaps but you need to replace your own product and supply it to the customers of the previous market that you will cause destruction of the main walls of that market. How should we take action?

If you pay attention to the history of the majority of the brands, you will see that time has had a significant influence on their success. They are not 4Ps which determine the rate of success of your marketing plans, but time is the determining factor. Perhaps most of the present successful brands have been entered the market without any codified and pre-written program but they have won the game because of proposing their products at an appropriate and sensitive time.

Windows, YouTube, Yahoo Mail, Honda Motorcycles in the US, Amazon and hundreds of other brands entered the market without any written marketing plan but in a quite delicate time. These brands answered the hidden needs of the customers unintentionally.

Windows was the first operating system which allowed anyone to use computer only by opening the windows.

YouTube was the first online video network which was giving you the opportunity to share your videos for free and watch other people’s videos.

Yahoo Mail was the first E-mail service in mass form for the ordinary users of the internet.

The small motorcycles of Honda were the first small Japanese motorcycles against American culture and Harley-Davidson.

Amazon was the first place selling books electronically.

Although being the first ones has played a significant role in their success, if they were entered the market at an inappropriate time, perhaps they would not find a good chance to be successful.

Look at the history of the market. Different types of transportations were used to transfer our letter from one place to another and suddenly E-mail took their position. Digital photography camera and digital video camera did the same thing with analog cameras and dozens of dependent industries to that market. Our history is full of these revolutionary ideas that by being proposed, they ended the life of a market.

Find the deepest and widest gap in the market being endangered to extinction. First, provide a way for a selected group from that market’s customers so that they can have access to your products easily with minimum risk and they tend to talk about it with other people. Then, at an appropriate time in which you become sure that a good number of that market have heard rumors and stories about you, rush into the market by resorting to public relations. This rush will cause that the market walls lack the ability for further resistance because of the present cracks and they will collapse. Now that the path of customers is opened and can get out of that market’s environment, it will be your turn to show yourself.

What key points should be observed? 

  1. Note that your product should enjoy a feature that not only will bring about extinction of a rival in the market but also it will target the main weakness which is common among all rivals of that market.
  2. It is very important that you should never carry out your public relations before final production of the product.
  3. Firstly, make the access to the product available for the people whose type and manner of their selection affects the other consumers’ decisions.
  4. Rushing into a market becoming extinct is like swimming in ocean that includes not more than two states. You will get to the shore or you will sink; therefore, do not save your energy to return, instead, start to rush in full force.
  5. Separation of a consumer from a market, though in the state of extinction, is like separation of a person from his/ her spouse after years of life. Without considering that how much of the quality of a relation is remained, most of the people think about the quantities of a relation. Until a consumer mind is not ready to leave a market, no revolutionary idea, no powerful public relation and no marketing plan can destroy a market.
  6. Reanalyze case 5 and be careful not be replaced or turned into a back up. You should take action when the customers see you as the pivot of meeting his needs and requirements.

Sometimes consumers have not much faith, inclination and interest to stay in an endangered market but they still see motivations to stay. Finding those disturbing motivations to propose your idea is your duty. Sometimes consumers go beyond that level without any motivation to stay with the present suppliers but in their view, you are more than what they want. Your idea should match the majority of consumers’ demands in that endangered market.

Now it is asked that who the next person is, you or another person?

Branding mistakes with Maxdome

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VODWith the formation of the Nazi regime in Germany, this country lost its influenceon domains like engineering, art and philosophy. For years, instead of being reminded of Beethoven, Mozart Nietzsche, Goethe and thousands of other important names, people throughout the world could just recall Hitler and his genocide. After the collapse of the Nazi regime, the Allied armies turned Germany into two eastern and western parts and for almost thirty years not only did political conflicts continue, but Germany’s internal situation also got worse. However, within thirty yearsbefore and after the fall of the Berlin Wall andthe reunification of East and West Germany into the Federal Republic of Germany, this countrywas driven to the path for significant growth and development.Not only it could compensate for many of the damages it had suffered, it could also grantitself a leading position in the field of technology and industry.Perhaps it could be claimed that although Germans do not have the marketing intelligence that Americans have, it is clear to everyone that the land to create sustainable brands is nowhere except Germany, a country in where Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Volkswagen, Audi, Adidas, Fanta and dozens of other major brands have been offered to the world.

11 Wrong beliefs in Marketing

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Internet users do not click on a new page for no reason. Although opening a new page is a simple task and everybody has enough time to open new pages, finding the information you are looking for is more complicated than what amateur users imagine.

Let’s think about this issue more deeply. Do you know why you have clicked on this article? Perhaps, one of your friends has suggested reading this article to you, but this is not the reason you spend time here. You are here because the term loser in the title calls your attention. This is the strategy many journals use although sometimes the titles are not directly related to the contents.

There are two reasons that you pay attention to the term loser:

  • You are afraid of being a loser.
  • You are afraid of being a loser!

 

Now, I am going to describe the most important loser thoughts in marketing that are usually the oldest ways of thinking formed due to different reasons. These are the same thoughts that make many marketing plans to fail and be useless every year.

Social Marketing: the Killer or the Healer?

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social-marketingIt’s been about 12 years since the time I really got familiar with eMarketing. At that time, neither I knew about eMarketing in its modern meaning, nor it involved so many new and various concepts, nor there were this many eMarketing experts in the world.

I guess that eMarketing experts are two groups. First, there are those who are fond of marketing and of course love their jobs, and second there are those for whom entering NASA is a big dream so they are forced to choose this job. The important fact, however, is that the title “eMarketer” requires enough expertise and proper mentality about the market rather than being solely a title. Nevertheless, we witness many of these seeming specialists every day who have to even concern about their monthly apartment rent.

But does the presence of such experts, whose number is not of course small, reduce the significance of this issue? Not at all! On the contrary, not only the importance of eMarketing to help marketing plans of the organizations is reduced, but due to saturated competitions a harder path than what can be imagined is placed ahead of you.

Apple, the loser of Branding and Strategy

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If a company does not seek to increase its market share, it probably means that its managers are frustrated with everything and they want to leave their business forever. Increased market share can be one of the reasons for the increase in profit, reputation in the market, increased liquidity and saving in production costs as well as the logistics. This looks tempting, doesn’t it?

Temptations in the business world are more what can be imagined and unfortunately there are also numerous examples for them. The example that I want to examine today is not a newly established company. In fact, in many cases it is remembered as a successful example. However, it seems that the stories they tell about its success in branding are not valued anymore.

Unlike its previous trend and despite the fact that Steve Jobs in 2010 called its big smartphones hammers, saying that no one would buy big phones, Apple stops designing its popular and elegant smartphones and instead offers its big phones to the market, which is so big that many people cannot figure out if this is a phone or a tablet iPad which many have called it the iPhone because of being capable of having a SIM card. This shows that Apple has decided to make a hue and cry with a temporary increased market share than working more and reconsidering its branding plans. It has, nevertheless, forgotten that companies which roar loudly today will moan in stealth tomorrow!

Good names sell better and survive more!

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How you should find a great and memorable name for your companies and products?

brand-logosYou may ask yourself what the reason is for a rule-governed naming when the goal of a business is increasing the profitability by selling products. Will a ruled-governed naming influence the sales?

Definitely, the answer is yes. Good names sell better, gain more market share, are less likely to be forgotten, and compared with repetitive, nonstandard, commonplace or complicated names in the final run have more chance in winning the market. Unconventional names are doomed to perish!

Today, most of the marketing rules are reviewed and revised and many of former mistakes are no longer repeated. However, I think that in country like New Zealand, Iran, Hungary, Qatar, Oman and India whose future economy as well as supporting its young industry will be guaranteed with marketing, those mistakes may emerge at the level of translated books and when marketing instructors have less emphasized practical techniques and methods. Nevertheless, in such an environment where most of your rivals never think of an actual and carefully considered marketing operation, you will win the battle in the market if you take wise steps.

In the past, industrial countries believed that they can gain more market share by increasing the ability of their vendors, expanding sales channels and speeding up product delivery to customers; an absolutely correct opinion at the time, which is presently prevalent among a large majority of companies working in my motherland, Iran, and to some extent among companies in other countries. Soon, business owners realized that such a cycle can not bring about sustainably competitive power for them, because the advent of new products about which consumers and the society were more willing to talk caused that channels, numerous sales representatives and even most market share quickly lose their sales share and, in some cases, be permanently removed from the competitive market or withdraw from it despite the fact that they had powerful negotiators and vendors.

Think The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Is Wise?

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About the Ice Bucket Challenge, Matthew Herper wrote an article titled “Think the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is stupid? You’re Wrong” in Forbes some days ago which inspired me for choosing the title of my new article.

Perhaps, the Ice Bucket Challenge can be considered the most successful online viral campaign in social networks which has quickly led many users of those social networks into a bucket of ice. It is a fun, exciting and easy to do activity which has of course been of the most concerns for Guys.

Now it seems that everyone is involved in this challenge. Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and many not well-known people have joined the campaign. Even if all these are not enough, people who do not believe peace are following this campaign as well. Anyhow it was on August 20 when George W. Bush also joined the campaign and it is not very unlikely that Ahmadinejad will also do the same. Gaddafi and bin Laden would have also joined this trend if they had been alive.

Let’s Learn Marketing from the Snow!

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Photo by: Tom Cyrus

Photo by: Tom Cyrus

Have you ever noticed the way it snows? Whenever it snows fast and with large flakes, we should never look forward to snow playing. However, every time it snows with small flakes and of course slowly, everyone looks forward to snow playing and taking photos the following day. It snows flake by flake. A flake is nothing by itself. But when there are millions and billions of them falling continuously, the snow covers everywhere. With the snow fall, the earth, cars, trees, curbsides all turn into pure white. Marketing should also be something like this! Slow and steady but with effective results!

You must give your marketing managers an opportunity to think and act. When, for getting better feedback, you look upon the effectiveness of marketing activities from a financial perspective and leave monitoring on them to your financial managers, your company’s marketing department will inevitably have to take certain measures for achieving quick results. Although they may bring about desired results for you and of course for your financial managers in the short run, they will face you with severe challenges in the long run, the most important of which is the decline of the sales and consequently loss of the previous market share.

Because of having the presence of hasty financial investors in their companies who confuse the investment in business with a poker table, most company directors’ attitudes are unfortunately too shortsighted to be appreciated: shortsighted attitudes which are exactly contrary to the basic principles of marketing. The most fundamental problem with declining companies or those that have been removed from the market is that, with regard to the outcome of marketing activities, they have short-term financial perspectives. Honestly speaking, the challenges some companies are facing do not originate from their shortsighted attitudes toward the marketing itself. Rather, they are completely because of their short-term financial thinking and perspectives.