Monday, August 11, 2014


 The practice of having certain job functions done outside a company instead of having an in-house department or employee handle them; functions can be outsourced to either a company or an individual.

Outsourcing is an arrangement in which one company provides services for another company that could also be or usually have been provided in-house. Outsourcing is a trend that is becoming more common in information technology and other industries for services that have usually been regarded as intrinsic to managing a business. In some cases, the entire information management of a company is outsourced, including planning and business analysis as well as the installation, management, and servicing of the network and workstations. Outsourcing can range from the large contract in which a company like IBM manages IT services for a company like Xerox to the practice of hiring contractors and temporary office workers on an individual basis. 

 Outsourcing has become a major trend in human resources over the past decade. It's the practice of sending certain job functions outside a company instead of handling them in house. More and more companies, large and small, are turning to outsourcing as a way to grow while restraining payroll and overhead costs.

Why outsourcing?

There are many reasons why a company may choose to outsource a particular function of their business. Most managers have the end-result-in-mind that they are going to save time and/or money. Other reasons include:

Resource Shortages Relieved by Outsourcing
A particularly strong reason to outsource involves a shortage of a critical resource. This can be available employees that possess knowledge in a certain area (e.g. engineers), availability of material (e.g. petroleum or minerals) and a labor force at a level and price that will offset the cost of higher prices alternatives.

Outsourcing Provides the Ability to Concentrate On the Core Business
Some necessary, but peripheral operations are outsourced most frequently. This gives the managers the ability to concentrate on the core business issues instead of getting distracted by required, yet minor matters. A good example is a major hospital in our area that outsources its security operations to a third party company specializing in security.

Outsourcing Yields Cost Savings
The prices of labor and/or materials keep increasing and competition keeps forcing prices lower. If there is an outsourcing solution that can save your company money and overcomes the disadvantages of outsourcing, these areas should be investigated.

Outsourcing Provides Flexibility
Seasonal or cyclical demands that ebb-and-flow put varying demands on the resources of the company. An outsourcing contract could provide the flexibility needed to stabilize these varying demands. Example: A business brings in extra accountants during tax season and when being audited by the holding company that owns the business.

Reduce Overhead Costs Through Outsourcing
Some functions require a large outlay of money just to get started. This expenditure could be avoided by contracting with a third party. For example, expanding your call center’s capacity to the point where it exceeds the capabilities of your telephone system.

Common Outsourced Areas

Although many areas and functions are outsourced, here are some of the frequently outsourced areas:
  • Information Technology Functions
  • Network and Telecommunications
  • Human Resources and Insurance Administration
  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Security 
Outsourcing Advantages :

1. Focus On Core Activities
In rapid growth periods, the back-office operations of a company will expand also. This expansion may start to consume resources (human and financial) at the expense of the core activities that have made your company successful. Outsourcing those activities will allow refocusing on those business activities that are important without sacrificing quality or service in the back-office.
Example: A company lands a large contract that will significantly increase the volume of purchasing in a very short period of time; Outsource purchasing.

2. Cost And Efficiency Savings
Back-office functions that are complicated in nature, but the size of your company is preventing you from performing it at a consistent and reasonable cost, is another advantage of outsourcing.

Example: A small doctor's office that wants to accept a variety of insurance plans. One part-time person could not keep up with all the different providers and rules. Outsource to a firm specializing in medical billing.

3. Reduced Overhead
Overhead costs of performing a particular back-office function are extremely high. Consider outsourcing those functions which can be moved easily.

Example: Growth has resulted in an increased need for office space. The current location is very expensive and there is no room to expand. Outsource some simple operations in order to reduce the need for office space. For example, outbound telemarketing or data entry.

4. Operational Control
Operations whose costs are running out of control must be considered for outsourcing. Departments that may have evolved over time into uncontrolled and poorly managed areas are prime motivators for outsourcing. In addition, an outsourcing company can bring better management skills to your company than what would otherwise be available.

Example: An information technology department that has too many projects, not enough people and a budget that far exceeds their contribution to the organization. A contracted outsourcing agreement will force management to prioritize their requests and bring control back to that area.

5. Staffing Flexibility
Outsourcing will allow operations that have seasonal or cyclical demands to bring in additional resources when you need them and release them when you're done.

Example: An accounting department that is short-handed during tax season and auditing periods. Outsourcing these functions can provide the additional resources for a fixed period of time at a consistent cost.

6. Continuity & Risk Management
Periods of high employee turnover will add uncertainty and inconsistency to the operations. Outsourcing will provided a level of continuity to the company while reducing the risk that a substandard level of operation would bring to the company.

Example: The human resource manager is on an extended medical leave and the two administrative assistants leave for new jobs in a very short period of time. Outsourcing the human resource function would reduce the risk and allow the company to keep operating.

7. Develop Internal Staff
A large project needs to be undertaken that requires skills that your staff does not possess. On-site outsourcing of the project will bring people with the skills you need into your company. Your people can work alongside of them to acquire the new skill set.

Example: A company needs to embark on a replacement/upgrade project on a variety of custom built equipment. Your engineers do not have the skills required to design new and upgraded equipment. Outsourcing this project and requiring the outsourced engineers to work on-site will allow your engineers to acquire a new skill set.

 Disadvantages of Outsourcing
 Look at each one of the outsourcing disadvantages listed below and decide what impact that item would have on your business.
1. Loss Of Managerial Control
 Whether you sign a contract to have another company perform the function of an entire department or single task, you are turning the management and control of that function over to another company. True, you will have a contract, but the managerial control will belong to another company. Your outsourcing company will not be driven by the same standards and mission that drives your company. They will be driven to make a profit from the services that they are providing to you and other businesses like yours.
2. Hidden Costs
You will sign a contract with the outsourcing company that will cover the details of the service that they will be providing. Any thing not covered in the contract will be the basis for you to pay additional charges. Additionally, you will experience legal fees to retain a lawyer to review the contacts you will sign. Remember, this is the outsourcing company's business. They have done this before and they are the ones that write the contract. Therefore, you will be at a disadvantage when negotiations start.

3. Threat to Security and Confidentiality
The life-blood of any business is the information that keeps it running. If you have payroll, medical records or any other confidential information that will be transmitted to the outsourcing company, there is a risk that the confidentiality may be compromised. If the outsourced function involves sharing proprietary company data or knowledge (e.g. product drawings, formulas, etc.), this must be taken into account. Evaluate the outsourcing company carefully to make sure your data is protected and the contract has a penalty clause if an incident occurs.
4. Quality Problems
The outsourcing company will be motivated by profit. Since the contract will fix the price, the only way for them to increase profit will be to decrease expenses. As long as they meet the conditions of the contract, you will pay. In addition, you will lose the ability to rapidly respond to changes in the business environment. The contract will be very specific and you will pay extra for changes.
5. Tied to the Financial Well-Being of Another Company
Since you will be turning over part of the operations of your business to another company, you will now be tied to the financial well-being of that company. It wouldn't be the first time that an outsourcing company could go bankrupt and leave you holding-the-bag.
6. Bad Publicity and Ill-Will
The word "outsourcing" brings to mind different things to different people. If you live in a community that has an outsourcing company and they employ your friends and neighbors, outsourcing is good. If your friends and neighbors lost their jobs because they were shipped across the state, across the country or across the world, outsourcing will bring bad publicity. If you outsource part of your operations, morale may suffer in the remaining work force.

The Successful Vendor Selection Process

The vendor selection process can be a very complicated and emotional undertaking if you don't know how to approach it from the very start. Here are five steps to help you select the right vendor for your business. This guide will show you how to analyze your business requirements, search for prospective vendors, lead the team in selecting the winning vendor and provide you with insight on contract negotiations and avoiding negotiation mistakes.

1. Analyze the Business Requirement
 Before you begin to gather data or perform interviews, assemble a team of people who have a vested interest in this particular vendor selection process. The first task that the vendor selection team needs accomplish is to define, in writing, the product, material or service that you are searching for a vendor. Next define the technical and business requirements. Also, define the vendor requirements. Finally, publish your document to the areas relevant to this vendor selection process and seek their input. Have the team analyze the comments and create a final document. In summary:
  1. Assemble an Evaluation Team
  2. Define the Product, Material or Service
  3. Define the Technical and Business Requirements
  4. Define the Vendor Requirements
  5. Publish a Requirements Document for Approval 

 2. Vendor Search
Now that you have agreement on the business and vendor requirements, the team now must start to search for possible vendors that will be able to deliver the material, product or service. The larger the scope of the vendor selection process the more vendors you should put on the table. Of course, not all vendors will meet your minimum requirements and the team will have to decide which vendors you will seek more information from. Next write a Request for Information (RFI) and send it to the selected vendors. Finally, evaluate their responses and select a small number of vendors that will make the "Short List" and move on to the next round. In summary:
  1. Compile a List of Possible Vendors
  2. Select Vendors to Request More Information From
  3. Write a Request for Information (RFI)
  4. Evaluate Responses and Create a "Short List" of Vendors

3. Request for Proposal (RFP) and Request for Proposal (RFQ)
 The business requirements are defined and you have a short list of vendors that you want to evaluate. It is now time to write a Request for Proposal or Request for Quotation. Which ever format you decide, your RFP or RFQ should contain the following sections:
  1. Submission Details
  2. Introduction and Executive Summary
  3. Business Overview & Background
  4. Detailed Specifications
  5. Assumptions & Constraints
  6. Terms and Conditions
  7. Selection Criteria 
4. Proposal Evaluation & Vendor Selection
 The main objective of this phase is to minimize human emotion and political positioning in order to arrive at a decision that is in the best interest of the company. Be thorough in your investigation, seek input from all stakeholders and use the following methodology to lead the team to a unified vendor selection decision:
  1. Preliminary Review of All Vendor Proposals
  2. Record Business Requirements and Vendor Requirements
  3. Assign Importance Value for Each Requirement
  4. Assign a Performance Value for Each Requirement
  5. Calculate a Total Performance Score
  6. Select a the Winning Vendor 
5. Contract Negotiation Strategies
The final stage in the vendor selection process is developing a contract negotiation strategy. Remember, you want to "partner" with your vendor and not "take them to the cleaners." Review your objectives for your contract negotiation and plan for the negotiations be covering the following items:
  1. List Rank Your Priorities Along With Alternatives
  2. Know the Difference Between What You Need and What You Want
  3. Know Your Bottom Line So You Know When to Walk Away
  4. Define Any Time Constraints and Benchmarks
  5. Assess Potential Liabilities and Risks
  6. Confidentiality, non-compete, dispute resolution, changes in requirements
  7. Do the Same for Your Vendor (i.e. Walk a Mile in Their Shoes) 
 6. Contract Negotiation Mistakes
The smallest mistake can kill an otherwise productive contract negotiation process. Avoid these ten contract negotiation mistakes and avoid jeopardizing an otherwise productive contract negotiation process.

 Vendor Management Success Tips

Strategies to Strengthen Vendor Relations
Vendor management allows you to build a relationship with your suppliers and service providers that will strengthen both businesses. Vendor management is not negotiating the lowest price possible. Vendor management is constantly working with your vendors to come to agreements that will mutually benefit both companies.

1. Share Information and Priorities
The most important success factor of vendor management is to share information and priorities with your vendors. That does not mean that you throw open the accounting books and give them user IDs and passwords to your systems. Appropriate vendor management practices provide only the necessary information at the right time that will allow a vendor to better service your needs. This may include limited forecast information, new product launches, changes in design and expansion or relocation changes, just to name a few.

2. Balance Commitment and Competition
One of the goals in vendor management is to gain the commitment of your vendors to assist and support the operations of your business. On-the-other-hand, the vendor is expecting a certain level of commitment from you. This does not mean that you should blindly accept the prices they provide. Always get competitive bids.
3. Allow Key Vendors to Help You Strategize
If a vendor supplies a key part or service to your operation, invite that vendor to strategic meetings that involve the product they work with. Remember, you brought in the vendor because they could make the product or service better and/or cheaper than you could. They are the experts in that area and you can tap into that expertise in order to give you a competitive advantage.
4. Build Partnerships For The Long Term
Vendor management seeks long term relationships over short term gains and marginal cost savings. Constantly changing vendors in order to save a penny here or there will cost more money in the long run and will impact quality. Other benefits of a long term relationship include trust, preferential treatment and access to insider or expert knowledge.
5. Seek to Understand Your Vendor's Business Too
Remember, your vendor is in business to make money too. If you are constantly leaning on them to cut costs, either quality will suffer or they will go out of business. Part of vendor management is to contribute knowledge or resources that may help the vendor better serve you. Asking questions of your vendors will help you understand their side of the business and build a better relationship between the two of you.
6. Negotiate to a Win-Win Agreement
Good vendor management dictates that negotiations are completed in good faith. Look for negotiation points that can help both sides accomplish their goals. A strong-arm negotiation tactic will only work for so long before one party walks away from the deal.
7. Come Together on Value
Vendor management is more than getting the lowest price. Most often the lowest price also brings the lowest quality. Vendor management will focus quality for the money that is paid. In other words: value! You should be willing to pay more in order to receive better quality. If the vendor is serious about the quality they deliver, they won't have a problem specifying the quality details in the contract.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Top five sales pitch

My top tips on delivering a pitch that wins over investors and  makes them desperate to work with you.   we hear hundreds of business pitches each week whether they're squeezed into 140 characters on social media, presented to us in a business plan or face to face over a drink at one of a start up events. which reveals five tips for delivering an awesome business pitch.


Less is always best

A good elevator pitch is vital. You need to be able to explain your business and what it does in two sentences, 60 seconds and 140 characters. It needs to be clear, succinct and straight to the point. Doing that will grab attention straight away and means people are more likely to listen to the rest of what you have to say. If an investor, fellow entrepreneur or journalist doesn’t immediately understand what your business is and the problem it solves, then it’s unlikely they’ll dig further.

To perfect your elevator pitch, it's important to practice and the best way to do that to by attending networking events. Every time you meet a new person and they ask about your business or business idea, you have the chance to see if you can explain it in a way that they understand.

Facts, facts and facts


The best way to inspire confidence in your business is through cold-hard facts. Don't wax lyrical about how big your target market is and that even if you attracted just 1% of it, you could make millions in profit. If you're pitching for investment, then a company cash flow with realistic projections for the future and solid proof that your business idea has legs is always wise.

Know your weaknesses and show them

Entrepreneurs tend to be a a jack-of-all-trades, jumping from marketing to product design to developing to accounting. But it’s virtually impossible to be a true expert at all of them. So tell whoever you're pitching to what you're great at, and where you need help. The best entrepreneurs surround themselves with smart people who they trust to help grow their business. If it's investment that you want, showing that you understand your weaknesses will demonstrate that  you're realistic and know what you need to succeed. If it’s at a networking event, then this might help you find a co-founder or first employee.


Don't break the bank


If you're pitching for investment, don't steam in asking for shedloads of cash. Ask for just enough to make your one product or service work. Show that you want to prove a small part of your business can work before taking on anything bigger. The businesses that are so good the founder can prove the start-up will grow even without investment are the ones that become the most desirable for investors.


Be authentic

The single most attractive thing about any business is the entrepreneur behind it. That is the person who people want to work with and investors can trust with their cash. Don't pitch your idea wearing a suit and tie if that's not you. People can see through lies very quickly. If you're yourself and show that your personality connects seamlessly with the product or service you're trying to launch, then it makes your pitch 100% better. Just being yourself should help you to be more confident and avoid any nerves.

The Importance of Digital Marketing

There’s no denying it, the world is rapidly shifting from analogue to digital. People are consuming more and more digital content on a daily basis – on mobile phones, laptops, desktop computers at work, and more – and companies that have not yet recognised this in their marketing strategy need to adapt fast.

Why is digital marketing so important? Because it is not only a rapidly growing force in the current marketing playing field, it is set to be the future of marketing, and it seems likely that digital media will soon replace more traditional forms altogether.

While older generations will no doubt lament the demise of paper-based newspapers, books, communication methods and traditional TV and radio broadcasts, those who have grown up with the internet and mobile phones as a God-given right are already embracing the brave new world of digital consumption.

The facts are that digital methods of communication and marketing are faster, more versatile, practical and streamlined, so it is perhaps unsurprising that once the technology became available we began quickly moving into the digital age. The good news is that digital offers just as much potential to marketers as it does to consumers.
Before we look at the benefits of digital marketing, let’s take a quick snapshot of some of the key forms of it at present:

  • Websites and SEO content
  • Blogs
  • Internet banner ads
  • Online video content
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Mobile marketing (SMS, MMS, etc.)

This is far from an exhaustive list, and new forms of digital marketing, such as augmented reality, are arriving all the time.

So, why digital marketing?

First of all, digital marketing is infinitely more affordable than traditional offline marketing methods. An email or social media campaign, for example, can transmit a marketing message to consumers for the merest fraction of the cost of a TV ad or print campaign, and potentially reach a wider audience.

But one of the main benefits of conducting your marketing digitally is the ease with which results can be tracked and monitored. Rather than conducting expensive customer research, you can quickly view customer response rates and measure the success of your marketing campaign in real-time, enabling you to plan more effectively for the next one.
Perhaps the strongest case for incorporating a digital element into your marketing is that digital media forms are quickly overtaking traditional forms of information consumption. According to the Office for National Statistics, over 82% of UK adults went online in the first three months of this year: that's over 40 million individuals.

The bottom line is, the digital age is here, and those businesses that fail to adapt to the new marketing climate are at great risk of going extinct sooner rather than later.  - References by Business Zone U.K.


Monday, January 27, 2014

How to Start a Business in 10 days

Day 1

Draw up a business plan

When launching College Hunks Hauling Junk in 2004, the first move for friends Nick Friedman and Omar Soliman was to dust off the business plan they'd written in college a couple of years prior. "Ultimately, it was a really valuable guide for us," Friedman says. In fact, it helped turn their $80,000 initial investment ($30,000 of which was their own money) into a powerhouse with some 500 employees and 47 U.S. franchises.
Whether written on the back of a napkin or a highly detailed 25-page document, a business plan is critical for startups seeking the fast route to profitability, asserts Ken Yancey, CEO of SCORE, a small-business mentoring organization that offers free, generic business-plan templates on its website. Reference by

Day 2

Study the market

Market research is vital to a startup looking to hit the ground running, according to Yancey. You want to create a snapshot of the competitive landscape you're entering: how your products or services compare to what's available, who your target customers are and what government regulations and licensing requirements to expect. The SBA's SizeUp tool provides access to meaningful demographic data, mapping potential customers, competitors and suppliers, as well as identifying possible advertising avenues.
When he was preparing to launch National Storm Shelters in 2010, company president Jeff Turner conducted market research at trade shows and held discussions with potential customers and competitors. This confirmed what his instincts told him: that he had a winning product. The Smyrna, Tenn.-based company, which designs, manufactures and installs above- and below-ground safe rooms and storm shelters, was profitable virtually since day one and now generates about $1.5 million in annual sales.
As valuable as prelaunch research and planning can be, beware of paralysis by over-analysis, especially when you lack the luxury of time, cautions Fish from Integra Staffing. "Defining your sandbox is important. But don't over-think or over-plan, and don't put a lot of stock in sales forecasts."
You're bound to have questions about strategy and practicalities leading up to launch. To get answers without ringing up an expensive consulting tab, enlist someone with the acumen and willingness to provide advice, coaching and skills to augment those you lack. A former boss provided free advice to Ostermiller initially, then became a paid advisor once Altitude Digital could afford the expense.

Day 3

Build out your brand

A brand identity, including a name and a professional-looking logo, can bring instant legitimacy, even before launch. For DIYers, online tools like LogoMaker offer libraries of icons, color combinations and other elements to help develop a logo fast--no design expertise required. Services such as Logoworks are available if you want the work done for you quickly and inexpensively. Once you have your logo nailed down, take your file to a quick-turnaround print service for letterhead, business cards and marketing collateral such as posters, mailers and sales sheets.
In most cases, startups need some kind of web presence to solidify their brand identity (see "The quick-start startup" on page 20). Don't forget to stake out a position on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn. You may not use social media right now, but you want to plant your flag ASAP.

Day 4

Incorporate the business

The nature of the startup dictates the extent to which it should rely on an attorney to incorporate, trademark ideas/products, formalize partnership agreements, etc. While it's best to let an attorney tackle any complex legal matters, Friedman of College Hunks Hauling Junk suggests considering some of the numerous online tools available to help you handle simple undertakings yourself. "Our first bill from an attorney to set up an LLC was $1,500. Little did we know we could have done that ourselves for $300 online," he says.

Day 5

Set up a lean machine

With the clock ticking toward launch, Ostermiller needed help. He found it on Craigslist, taking on two unpaid interns (both recent college grads) whom he immediately put to work--one on sales and one on operations--with the promise to hire them full time after 90 days if things went well.
With no office yet, Ostermiller's interns worked from coffee shops while he did so from his kitchen table. Likewise, Friedman's parents' basement served as the first office for College Hunks Hauling Junk. For Fish and Integra Staffing, a modest office, spartanly furnished with used furniture, sufficed. From the outset, she says, the goal was to "minimize the monthly burn."
Another tip: Beware the glowing promises of efficiency and speed from shiny new technology and software. "Unless technology is part of your core competency, you need to be careful how much you invest in technology early on, because it can become very expensive very quickly," Friedman says. "You really need to fine-tune your model before investing a lot in technology solutions."

Day 6

Start selling

Bringing in profits means making sales. Ostermiller and his interns chased leads even before his company launched officially. Fish's sales efforts began with tireless networking. "I didn't have any money then, so I got my ass out of the chair and into the community," she says. "Any event in town with more than 25 people, I was there. Breakfast, lunch or dinner--it didn't matter."
To lay the marketing and sales groundwork for his startup, Friedman let people in his personal network know about his new venture. "We had a support network, a group of cheerleaders who were really inspired to help us with our idea before we launched."

Day 7

Work the media

To generate buzz and sales, make media relations a priority. As Turner and Friedman discovered, media outreach by a business owner can pay quick and substantial dividends. "I called different TV stations the first day we went to market to tell them about [National Storm Shelters] and ended up on the 5 o'clock news," Turner says. "That was huge!"
Similarly, right around the time of its launch, College Hunks got a major boost from an article that landed in The Washington Post thanks to Friedman placing a call to a reporter there. "We shot high, and it got us on the front page of the Metro section," he says. "Our phone rang off the hook from that article."

Day 8

Fake it to make it

Success is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. However modest your beginnings, however short your track record, think big and act like you belong. "We were scraping by, but we walked, talked and acted like a bigger company," Friedman says.
College Hunks launched with an 800 number, a memorable logo and a website that provided e-mail addresses for a range of company departments (pr@…, marketing@…, HR@…), all of which funneled back to Friedman and his partner. "It made us look like we were an established business," Friedman says. "Having that image not only gave us confidence, it established a level of credibility and confidence in the consumer's mind. I think that's what got us those large corporate accounts early on."
Fish took a different tack. She says she invested in a receptionist prior to launch, primarily to impart a sense of professionalism to callers.

Day 9

Work in and on your business

For startup entrepreneurs, the fast route to profitability often means working in and on the business concurrently--at least in the first days and weeks. It's a constant battle for time between hustling up new business and taking care of new customers with outstanding service. "We were at the dump at 5 a.m., doing all the physical stuff, while also doing all the customer-facing stuff whenever we could," Friedman says.
When the day-to-day workload from the business becomes too heavy--a good sign, because it means you have customers--it's time to move tasks such as strategic planning, hiring and marketing programs to the back burner. Focus on generating cash flow first, Friedman suggests.

Day 10

Throw a party

With the foundation for your business set, invite your network of contacts, vendors, friends, family, customers and prospects to a grand-opening celebration to generate buzz and goodwill within your community. Doing so solidifies your image, telling people you're open for business and you mean it.
At the party, take a breath, sip some champagne, make a speech thanking everyone who's helped and seek feedback from your guests. In short order, you've created your first focus group, one that will likely provide you with a laundry list of tweaks, ideas and improvements that you can start on tomorrow.


Friday, November 29, 2013


Every brand makes proposition. But proposition making process is not simple as it may appear. For many strategists a proposition is equal to sloganeering and some take it as an opportunity to release their creative juices. Some marketing minds assume more is better/effective and hence end up linking their brands with many (too many) and conflicting propositions. Strategists also fail to appreciate the difference between their jobs as creator/designer which is essentially is high cognitive state and consumers’ state is usually passive or inactive. Brand propositions can touch chords which may range from lower to higher end.

Crucial to designing a proposition is that that it must end up motivating prospects/customers into desired behaviors. Proposition must clearly signify what a brand offers in terms of attribute, benefits and values. Most successful brands singularly stand for something which has high resonance value and it also stands the brand apart from others in the fray. People often equate brand proposition with unique selling proposition. Propositions differ in their extent of connection development. Consider the following:
  • AAP’s proposition is anticorruption or honest government (Swaraj)
  • Congress: Development, basically infrastructure or material development
  • BJP: Unclear message- vegetable prices, electricity prices, ‘sewak’, development.

Let us test the effectiveness of these propositions.
Clarity- clearly AAP and Congress score over BJP for it is not clear what their core proposition is to their voters. This has resulted from inconsistency of messages and their lack of convergence on to broad theme.

Level: How do these propositions stack up in their hierarchical ordering-lower level/tactical to higher order value? The value embedded in AAP’s proposition appeals to soul or high order existence. It allows you to be a part of a great national transformation. It taps into the need to achieve high order consciousness. Congress’s proposition appeals to material wellbeing. BJP’s discourse on price of vegetable and electricity does not go beyond daily mundane existence. Consider the brilliance of AAP’s proposition, it promises clean governance and once that happens the infrastructure and price rise will automatically get in line.

Connection: Brands become powerful when they develop emotional connections with their audience. Explore how powerful is the promise of honest governance and what impact do white caps have when they announce, ‘mujhe swaraj chaheye’.  Symbolically they invite everyone who has been victim of corruption (probably everyone) to join the second battle for the country. You are reminded of Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Azad, Shastri, and others who sacrificed not aggrandized. AAP seems to be giving ordinary people an extraordinary opportunity to contribute to nation building. It has positioned itself as a movement against the establishment. It is Pepsi in Delhi’s political scene, antiestablishment, rebel, and challenger.

Congress’s development platform invites negative emotions for flyovers, cluster buses and roads are not the perfect substitute for high inflation in commodities of everyday consumption. The happy faces in ads do not resonate with sad faces of real people who are bitten by inflation. They invite strong counter arguments. In Delhi BJP’s campaign lacks focus and appeal and hence a diffused and suffers from ambiguity. Consequently it fails to hook up an emotional connection with people who are either fall into the category of ‘indifferent’ or ‘swingers’. It is these people who are likely to be the kingmakers this time.

Political strategists often fail to target their campaigns at people who matter- swingers and indifferent- instead create campaigns for those who are already their loyalists. It must be understood that campaigns are designed by loyalists but not for loyalists.

Here I personally accept that AAP is most strong party to come in power and its agenda is transparent. If we want India corruption free must vote for AAP in Delhi election.

Reference : Marketing Crow

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Concentrating all marketing efforts on a small but specific and well defined segment of the population. Niches do not 'exist' but are 'created' by identifying needs, wants, and requirements that are being addressed poorly or not at all by other firms, and developing and delivering goods or services to satisfy them. As a strategy, niche marketing is aimed at being a big fish in a small pond instead of being a small fish in a big pond.

For example, sports channels like STAR Sports, ESPN, STAR Cricket, and Fox target a niche of sports lovers. Every product can be defined by its market niche.


A good or service with features that appeal to a particular market subgroup. A typical niche product will be easily distinguished from other products, and it will also be produced and sold for specialized uses within its corresponding Niche Market.


A marketing approach for a good or service with features that appeal to a particular minority market  subgroup. A typical product marketed using a niche strategy will be easily distinguished from other products, and it will also be produced and sold for specialized uses within its corresponding Niche Market.

Five Stages to Fully Address the Niche Opportunity
There are five stages to consider when attempting to address niche marketing opportunities. These stages are strategic planning, defining the mission and objectives, strategies and action, monitoring key projects and objectives, and organizational realignment.
1. Strategic Planning
Strategic planning encompasses many of the issues discussed above, including the assessment of market opportunities, as well as an inventory of internal resources, values, potential strengths/capabilities (addressed in more depth below), and any weaknesses/shortfalls of the current operation. In short, the overall strategy provides a "road map" to attaining the objectives of the operation and its owners, while staying true to their vision and mission.
2. Define Mission and Objectives
The mission is the operation’s statement about why it exists, and sets the tone of what the company and its products’ image should be at the very highest level of the operation. There should be a broad-based buy-in to this mission from owners, employees, other important stakeholders, and maybe even targeted customers. In essence, the mission explains the culture of the business to both internal players and external consumers.

3. Strategies and Action
To begin taking specific actions, with timelines and measurable outcomes that will support the broader mission, strategies, and goals of the business, it may be most effective to develop a work plan. That plan should include a key personnel list, timeline for the activity, a list of resources or budget needed to execute the plans, and any other relevant information (partners, pertinent legal or regulatory issues, and connections to other pieces of the work plan). Although a sufficient level of detail on all the actions to be taken may seem overwhelming, it will provide a realistic inventory of what needs to be accomplished and divide the actions into small enough units to facilitate timely
 action (rather than inaction due to being overwhelmed by the scale of larger goals of the company). Remember that actions are both effective and realistic steps to achieving the operation’s strategy. In short, this step requires the operation to build a plan of execution.  
4. Monitoring Key Projects/Objectives
Monitoring a firm’s progress towards its goals is one of the most crucial actions during the first years of a new (or significantly changed) enterprise. Determine key projects and areas of potential success within the work plan established above, and then decide on specific measurable elements that will allow the operation to monitor success. These elements should not all be financial indicators, as too many businesses focus on financial goals before they can realistically be met. In addition to monitoring sales growth, visitor numbers, and profits, the operation might also monitor full deployment of resources (land, buildings, employees, etc.), customer satisfaction and return visits, or employee feedback on their participation in the enterprise.

5. Organizational Realignment
In order to clearly link the objectives and strategies of any new niche venture, it is likely that the management will have to consider an organizational realignment of resources, human capital and marketing efforts. To be successful in niche marketing, it is important to align the structure and culture of the business and the personal lives of the owners in ways that are compatible with the niche the business hopes to operate within. This may include a change in the levels of family involvement, the privacy or solitude available on the farm or ranch, the choice to "brand" the owners’ family heritage and approach to farming, or even relinquishing control of some business activities to marketing or community partners.

The Decision to Market in a Niche
Even after developing a plan to enter a niche market, it is important to pick one point in the planning process to finally decide whether the new niche venture is feasible, and if so, fully commit to the plan. There are a number of elements that should enter into that final decision:
Acknowledge the present
Be aware of intent/vision
Control dreams
Determine the risks

Note that the first two are deliberate visioning and the second two are bringing realism.

In the end, the management and stakeholders of a farm or ranch must consider how to answer the question of whether their operation needs growth, change, or exit from the market. Niche marketing is only one of the potential enterprise diversification strategies that may affect this "big picture" thinking.