Friday, September 19, 2014

On to the next orbit in Customer service

On many occasions I have used this blog to vent out my frustration on the poor quality of service which we get.  It is a very sensitive issue and if I touch this issuer in a class it would ensure that for next 10-15 minutes everyone is sharing his/her service horror stories.

I would try to justify telling them that marketing is new in India, categories are unsaturated and so on... And sort of conclude that things will improve as time goes by,

And yes in the last few years the customer service levels have improved, but this improvement has not come from the traditional older firms, but it is the ecom firms which are setting up the new benchmark.  

The best experience is from firms like Amazon which has a stated aim of becoming the world's most consumer friendly company.  And for the first time other firms in India want to follow the international standards, so our own flipkart and myntra also provide the same exceptional customer support services.

I think historically companies have competed to reach the bottom rung in delivering customer service, and this would apply to both domestic as well as multinational firms. With the MNCs I guess when they start-off they do set high standards and then over time decide to compromise or match the lowest denominator in the industry. 

But with the consumer getting a chance to experience best-in-the-class service he/she will demand the same from the traditional older firms and they will have to respond if they have to compete and survive

Sunday, September 14, 2014

More on channel shift

Continuing on the previous post on how traditional channels are being threatened by online channels this post tries to understand the impact across product categories.  The example which I often talk about is the closure of Gangarams Store in Bangalore.  I think most of walking on M G Road would visit the book store to look for new books.  And for a die-hard book fan its closure marked a major milestone on how people would buy books in the future. But one question which I still think about is that even today I first check-out books in the physical stores and then buy them online unless there is a real urgency or I am traveling with no books. So the importance of the physical stores in the experiential part even in a category like books is still strong, but how long will the physical stores manage to survive. In a period of six years I have seen a Landmark Store open and close down in Lucknow.....

Books as a category are the most favorable for online shopping, so consumers taking to online buying of books are not surprising.  But more interesting are categories like jewellery where traditional brick-n-mortar stores like Tanishq have worked for many years to move the consumers away from family jewelers to their stores. The new online options like bluestone . com are ones which will face the uphill task of convincing consumers to buy online.  Books and Jewellery perhaps form the two ends of the spectrum of online buying..
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But one thing is sure we as consumers are in for exciting times.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Channels Shift

In the early ecom days people said it is traditional channels which will be threatened  the most, it was predicted that they will be replaced by ecom channels.  The utopian world of no intermediaries in between the consumer and the manufacturer.  That was in the early 2000. But the way the market played out in the next 15 years was very different,  first came the burst and then the second life,  and in the second life with a wave of new ecom firms booming the dire predictions for the middle man  are back. But this time it is not just in thin air, the first signs of what could happen in the future can be seen with many firms using only ecom sites to sell their products with no physical  presence. With the Moto Gs and Mi3s being sold only thru flipkart. 

Will it mean the end game of traditional channels, beginning of the end....

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Gap between Promise and Execution in Marketing I

As a marketer we spend a lot of time and energy on conceptualization - how to position, advertise the brand. The message strategy, the right celebrity for the ad... and the list is long 

But do we put enough effort on execution of what gets promised..???

By execution I will give examples, Bingo has something called Mad Angles, the product is in the shape of triangles, what happens when more than half of the pack has broken triangle? You buy an Cadbury's Bourneville chocolate and once you have moved away from the shop and start eating it you realize that the product has been refrozen. These examples are not of the serious kind which can lead to health hazards, which obviously these also have serious implications.

And coming back to the theme with which I started the post, whom would you assign the responsibility to the retailer, the distributor, or the distributor sales man who loads the packets in the morning in the vehicle or the logistics guy... 

In theory we do talk about the internal marketing where other departments are also sensitised about marketing. I will continue this post with more examples from the ecommerce domain...



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Full Circle and Carbide Free Mangoes

For the last 3-4 years I have stopped enjoying the mangoes during the summer. And I stay in the heart land Dasheri mango in eastern UP. The reason is that the satisfaction I would get from eating mangoes has been going down, because most of them have not ripened naturally. They have been ripened by using chemicals. The same is true with many vegetables that we buy today. Saw the Infibeam.com ad in that context and thought of sharing it,
  
That is where the issue of opportunity for marketers to capitalize on the dissatisfaction of consumers comes in. A huge market for with the organic and chemical free fruits and vegetables.....

The full circle is the topic for another blog post


Monday, April 7, 2014

Interview with D Shivakumar, PepsiCo CEO

Recently had an opportunity to listen to him at a conference and would rate him very high on his understanding of the Indian market. In the conference he spoke more about telecom  market where he has substantial experience.

In this interview he shares his view on the foods business, lots of food for thought....

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Summer Brands

With Summer setting in many marketers are rolling up their sleeves for the hot summer sales which will follow, most excited would be the Ice cream , Soft drink and AC marketers.....

Yesterday was in a typical kirana store buying the monthly regulars, interestingly the small shop is exactly on top of a larger EasyDay shop...but more on that later..

In the shop I saw the packs of Rasna ready-to-make drink, and suddenly started feeling nostalgic on how central the brand use to 25-30 years back in terms of the summer experience. The presence of the Rasna bottle in the monthly purchase bag would trigger a long elaborate process of preparing the drink, sugar + powder + concentrate (in a separate small bottle) and transferring the same into large glass bottles would mark the start of serious summer.
               
While I was still ruminating, my three old daughter coolly picked-up a bottle of Fanata and did not even look at the Rasna boxes… In today's world full of aerated drinks and instant drinks (sugar added) the excitement around older brands like Rasna is missing....

But from a branding perspective one does feel that the brand still has a lot of potential (not sure with the right target segment though..)


The brands which I very closely associate with summers would be Kelvinator ,  Target, Chacha Chowdry . …



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Review – The wave Rider By Ajit Balakrishnan

Just finished the book so thought will write a quick review…

The author is the founder and CEO of rediff.com. I think most of us ( meaning my age group) would have had a rediff mail account at some point.




A short book, around 160 pages leaving out the notes, and quite well written, where the author makes an attempt at mapping out the IT revolution. The name of the book itself is interesting and somewhere an acknowledgement by the author that the rise of rediff.com was the fact of being at the right place at the right time…

The book is a part history of rediff.com and part author’s commentary on the rise of the internet. This is both the strength and weakness of the book, weakness because I picked-up the book or rather bought it online in the hope of knowing more about rediff, but felt let down, but then there are many nuggets of insights which the author shares on his perspective on the growth of internet and information technology.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Product Innovation for Indian Markets - LG Evercool Refrigerator


Wanted to share this ad many months back,when I first saw the ad...

Another example of Innovation for Indian consumers. For most of the tier-II city residents in the country this feature "Longest Cooling During Power Cut" makes a lot of sense...  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Emergence of New Product Categories in Grocery

Normally we assume that in grocery as a category one would not see many new categories emerge, but for the last couple of years or slightly more one can see at least 4-5 new categories emerge and become high growth categories..

The new categories are,

Oats



Olive oil

Frozen food (the likes of smiles….)

There seems to be two strong reasons for the emergence of these categories, one is the increasing health consciousness among the Indian consumers and second is the increasing presence of organized retail. The first factor heavily influences three out of the four categories, but the organized retail  impacts all the four, because for many of them some handholding is required which is easier in the organized retail domain rather the dominant mom-n-pop stores….


May be the category of energy drinks can also be added to the list….
 

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