Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gems & Jewellery Market in India

Gems and jewellery form an integral part of Indian tradition. A legacy passed from one generation to another. The components of jewellery include not only traditional gold but also diamond, platinum accompanied by a variety of precious and semi-precious stones.

The Indian gems and jewellery market is set to cross US$ 26 billion by 2012, on the back of improving lifestyle and availability of skilled labour, as per a report ‘Indian Gems and Jewellery Market – Future Prospects to 2011’, by RNCOS.

India, the largest consumer and importer of gold in the world, is projected to import around 500-550 tonnes of gold in 2010, as per AnjaniSinha, head of the Indian Bullion Market Association (IBMA).

As per the credit rating agency Crisil, the diamond industry in India is predicted to remain stable during 2010-11 due to improved prices and steady demand.

The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) predicts that the gems and jewellery exports would witness a rise of around 5 per cent year-on-year during FY11.

Industry Structure

Although, the market is highly dominated by the unorganised players, with increase in consumer income and economic prosperity, the future of organised retail in India is very bright. The braded jewellery sector is estimated to reach US$ 2.2 billion by 2010 on the back of quality consciousness among target consumers, as per a McKinsey report.

The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council's (GJEPC) performance figures for the financial year 2009-10 showcased the true resilience of the Indian industry over the last year whence it continued with its consistent plans of building trading relations and penetrating newer markets.

In its bid to enhance the market strategy, a gems and jewellery special economic zone (SEZ) sprawling over 40 acres with an investment of US$ 441.1 million is being planned to be set up by Gold Souk, the jewellery mall developer. The company plans to have residential apartments named Gold Souk City, apart from having gems and jewellery manufacturers from Thailand and Dubai who will open their units in India.

Total net imports of gems and jewellery in April 2009- June 2010, touched US$ 81.08 billion (provisional figures) as compared to US$ 56.43 billion posed in the corresponding period in the previous year, according to GJEPC.


India is one of the largest bullion markets in the world. It has been until now, the undisputed single-largest Gold bullion consumer.

Gold imports stood at 739 tonnes during April 2009-March 2010. According to SanjivBatra, Chairman and Managing Director, MMTC Ltd - the country's top gold importer, stated that the company is likely to import 200 tonnes of the precious metal in the current fiscal year.

The net imports of gold bars during April-June 2010 was estimated at US$ 11.36 billion (provisional), ascompared to US$ 16.66 billion the first quarter of last fiscal.

In the world official gold holdings ratings, India stood at 11th position with 557.7 tonnes of gold reserve as of June 2010, as per the World Gold Council.

India is the largest consumer of gold jewellery in the world, accounting for about 20 per cent of global gold consumption.

According to a release by the World Gold Council, during the first quarter of 2010 (Jan-Mar) India was ranked as the strongest performing market on the back of increase in consumer demand. The country registered an increase of 698 per cent to 193.5 tonnes.


India is the world's largest diamond cutting and polishing centre in the world.

Surat is India's diamond processing hub, contributing over 80 per cent of the country's diamond processing industry with annual revenue of around US$ 13.03 billion.

India is the world's largest diamond cutting and polishing centre in the world. It accounts for 60 per cent value share, 82 per cent by carats and 95 per cent share of the world market by number of pieces.It is the third largest consumer of polished diamonds after the US and Japan.


Due to the increasing gold prices, platinum jewellery has gained momentum in the past few years not only worldwide but also in India. As per the Platinum Guild International (India), the number of outlets selling platinum jewellery increased from 12 in 2000-01 to over 300 currently. It is predicted that the number of outlets selling platinum jewellery would increase to around 1,000 outlets in the next 2-3 years. Most platinum jewellery manufacturers are targettingconsumers in the age group 20-40 years with high disposable income.

Costume Jewellery

The Indian costume jewellery market is also witnessing growth in the international market, as per the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts. The industry body further stated that the Government is also working towards formulating an international compliance code for manufacturing costume jewellery.

The currentglobal costume jewellery and accessories market is estimated at US$ 16.3 billion, of which India only exports around US$ 53 million, thereby, providing a huge opportunity area for the Indian costume manufacturers.


Exports rose to US$ 8.89 billion during April-June 2010 from US$ 5.3 billion in the corresponding period last year, registering 67.6 per cent growth in the total gem and jewellery exports, as per data released by the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).

The figures for export of gold jewelleryin June 2010stood at US$ 610.40 million representing a growth of 39.6per cent as compared to US$ 437.24 million in June 2009.

The export of coloured gemstones stood at US$ 60.88 million reflecting a growth of 5.22 per cent in April-June 2010 as compared to US$ 57.86 million during the same period last year. During June 2010, US$ 23.94 million worth of coloured gemstones were exported.

The rough diamond exports stood at US$ 247.94 million whereas the cut and polished diamond exports posted a growth of 85.37 per cent with US$ 5.9 billion worth of exportsduring the first quarter of 2010-11. In June 2010 itself, cut and polished diamond exports stood at US$ 2.2 billion.

Government Initiatives

In order to open a new avenue for the bullion trader community with improved trading practices and increased delivery centres, the recent strategic tie-up between Bombay Bullion Association (BBA) and Indian Commodity Exchange Ltd (ICEX) has opened an avenue to harness the huge investment potential lying with the small and the unorganised players. It further offers membership to all the BBA members. It further, jointly deepens the markets in order to encourage wider participation, by providing multiple delivery centres across the country by leveraging on MMTC's and BBA's pan-India network. BBA will be an important stake holder in exchange's efforts in strengthening the delivery infrastructure and also in launching customised contracts suited to requirements of Indian markets.

In a move to boost the industry, the government has formulated new rules for faster clearance of import and export consignments of specific goods including jewellery and gems.

Furthermore, the government has incorporated some other measures like providing interest subvention of 2 per cent to labour intensive export sectors and duty drawback facilities, in order to promote gems and jewellery export.

The Road Ahead

The country-specific trade centre of India, the India Trade and Exhibition Centre (ITEC), will start functioning in Sharjah from October 2010. ITEC will be a one-stop-shop for Indian businessmen and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which will assist them to explore potential markets and opportunities in the UAE, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, the Middle East and North African region. ITEC will organise exhibitions every month till June next year with focus on gems and jewellery being showcased in April 2011. The exhibitors who will showcase their products in these exhibitions will be organised through the export promotion council.

The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council has initiated IIJS Signature to promote India as the preferred source for jewellery and eventually build Brand India. Signature was conceptualised to showcase India's ability to produce quality jewellery that will match the lifestyle trends world over.

GJEPC hosted IIJS Mumbai 2010 considered to be the largest jewellery show in Asiain August, 2010 to highlight India's capabilities to manufacture jewellery in terms of design, craftsmanship and quality at par with international centres and also to foster relations with other markets around the world.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Case Study of Bisleri


Themes: Marketing Mix
Period : 2001-2002
Organization : Parle Bisleri Ltd, Coca Cola, Pepsi
Countries : India
Industry : Branded Water

Reinventing Bisleri: Introduction
In the early 1990s, Parle Bisleri Ltd's (Parle Bisleri's) Bisleri1 had become synonymous with branded water and had a market share of 70%. In the late 1990s, Bisleri's market share began to erode with new players entering the market. The new players also positioned their products on the purity platform and Bisleri felt the need to differentiate itself from the crowd. In the late 1990s, Bisleri launched its Pure and Safe ad campaign to convince the consumers that it was the only pure and safe branded water in the market. However, in 2000-01, Bisleri faced another challenge.

The Cola majors, Pepsi and Coca-Cola and the confectionery giant, Nestle, also entered the branded water market in India. Pepsi and Coca-Cola had an established distribution network. Bisleri realized that with the new players also clambering on to the purity plank, it had to reposition itself to arrest its declining market share. In September 2000, Parle Bisleri launched its Play Safe ad campaign. The company tried to add a fun element to Bisleri to rejuvenate the brand. The ultimate aim was to increase Bisleri's turnover from Rs 4 billion2 in 2000 to Rs 10 billion by 2003.

Bisleri Feels The Heat
In the early 1990s, the branded mineral water industry was worth Rs 3 billion, producing around 95 million litres in 1992. Parle Bisleri's Bisleri brand launched in 1971, was the leader with 70% market share. After 1993, the branded mineral water industry saw some hectic activity. On an average, every three months, a new brand was launched and another died.

In the late 1990s, many international brands were planning to enter the branded mineral water market. According to some analysts, the main reason for the boom in branded water was the fact that people were becoming more health and hygiene conscious. Branded mineral water which sold in only 60 towns in 1993, was available in 250 towns in 1997. In 1998, Bisleri's market share came down to 60%, while Parle Agro's3 Bailley had 20%. The remaining 20% was shared by regional players.

In 1998, the branded mineral water market had grown to a 424 million litre business, valued at Rs 4 billion. There were 200 brands available in the country. In their bid to garner greater market share, many companies, including Parle Bisleri tried to make quality and the purification processes they used their unique selling proposition (USP).

In 2000, the branded water market had grown to Rs 7 billion. New players like Pepsi's Aquafina, Coca-Cola's Kinley and Nestle's Pure Life entered the market. The market was segmented into premium, popular and bulk segments (Refer Table I for the price range in different segments).

The premium segment was the least crowded with just four brands: French transnational-Danone's Evian and Ferrarelle and Nestle's Perrier and San Pellagrino. The popular segment was where most of the action was.

Bisleri, Bailley, Aquafina, and Kinley were some of the dominant brands in this segment. In the bulk segment (5, 12 & 20 litres), Bisleri was a major player with Kinley and Aquafina staying out of this segment.

As product differentiation on the basis of quality became increasingly difficult, with each company claiming that its brand was safe and pure, companies began to use packaging to differentiate their products. Bisleri introduced a tamper proof seal in the 500 ml bottle.

However, analysts felt that Bisleri's efforts to reinforce its pure and safe image with a tamper proof seal may not be all that effective as competitors also had similar tamper proof sealed bottles. They felt that it was companies with strong distribution channels that would do well in the long run. Pepsi's Aquafina was strongly placed because it had the backing of Pepsi's distribution network in the country.

In August 2000, Coca-Cola India launched its bottled water brand, Kinley. Some analysts said that it would be difficult for Kinley to make a dent in the branded water market in India because it was already overcrowded and highly competitive. Commenting on Kinley's launch, Ramesh Chauhan (Chauhan), CEO of Parle Bisleri Ltd said, "It will be tough for anyone to beat us in this game. We will remain market leaders."

By 2001, the mineral water market was worth Rs 10 billion and was growing at the rate of 40% a year. Kinley and Aquafina made inroads into the market and by March 2001, Kinley had a 10% market share, Aquafina had 4% and the share of Bisleri had come down to 51%. By June 2001, Bisleri's market share was 47% and Aquafina and Kinley together accounted for over a third of the market (Refer Table II).

In 2001, both Kinley and Aquafina were making huge investments in bottling plants and distribution. By 2002, Coca-Cola India planned to double the number of water bottling plants to 16 and Pepsi announced that it would add seven more plants to the existing five. In contrast, Bisleri had only 15 bottling plants and three franchisees. Kinley had 500,000 outlets compared to Bisleri's 350,000. Analysts felt that Kinley and Aquafina had an edge over Bisleri because of their strong distribution network.

However, one area in which Bisleri seemed to have an advantage over Kinley and Aquafina was the bulk segment. In 2000 Bisleri's 5 and 20 litres packs accounted for 20% of its sales. In 2001, the company planned to have 75% of its sales from bulk packs of 5 and 20 litres. According to analysts the bulk segment had vast potential, and was expected to grow fast. In 2000, 40% of the branded water consumption was in eateries, homes and restaurants.

Large shops and commercial complexes were fast emerging as attractive targets for mineral water marketers and Bisleri wanted to be the first to establish itself in the bulk pack segment.

Bisleri reportedly wanted to focus on the bulk segment because Pepsi and Coca-Cola seemed to be strong in the retail segment and would take some time to strengthen their presence in the bulk segment.

Said Vibha Paul Rishi, executive director (marketing), of Pepsi, "The bulk segment is not our core strength, so we would like to confine Aquafina to the retail segment for the time being."5 To strengthen its presence in the bulk segment, Bisleri was investing heavily on marketing and distribution.

According to some analysts the competition between Pepsi and Coca-Cola in India would shift to branded mineral water. With the cola market having remained stagnant for the past few years, the branded water market, with 40% growth would be an attractive option for these companies.

Coca-Cola planned to invest Rs 700-750 million in its water business by 2005 and Pepsi around Rs 800 million to Rs 1 billion. In 2001, Kinley contributed 5% to Coca-Cola's revenues in India and Pepsi claimed that by 2002, Aquafina would contribute 7% of Pepsi's revenues in India.

From "Pure and Safe" To "Play Safe"
In the late 1990s, Parle Bisleri launched an ad campaign to create a distinct brand image-'There is just one Bisleri.' Hoardings and point-of-sale promotion material backed an aggressive print-and-TV campaign, and every interaction with the consumer was used as an opportunity to reinforce the message that Bisleri was "pure and safe."

The entire campaign was built around the tamper proof seals. The campaign focused on the safety provided by the "breakaway" seal, by illustrating the ease with which conventionally sealed bottles could be refilled and recycled. Said Ashok Kurien, CEO, Ambience D'Arcy, Bisleri's ad agency, "Our objective with the campaign was to highlight the tamper-proof seal and create doubt in the consumer's mind of the purity of the other brands.

That is, Bisleri is the only one that guarantees purity." In 2000, in the face of competition from the new entrants, Bisleri decided to penetrate every possible segment of the market by introducing more pack sizes and to establish the brand strongly with trendy packaging. In 2000, Bisleri launched the 1.2 litre pack. This added to the five pack sizes that Bisleri had (500 ml, one, two, five and 20 litres). The new pack was priced at Rs 12.

This pack was targeted at the regular mineral water consumer who is accompanied by a friend and also restaurants and hotels. In the long run, Bisleri planned to replace the standard one litre pack with the 1.2 litre pack. The company felt that although the one litre pack accounted for 35% of sales in terms of volume, it had problems in the form of leakages, loose caps and foreign particles in the water. Bisleri thought that a heavier 1.2 litre bottle would solve most of these problems.

Analysts felt that Bisleri would find it difficult to market an unconventional pack like the 1.2 litre one. This would require increased spending on marketing and advertising. However, according to company officials, the higher margins that a crate of 1.2 litres bottle (12) would generate, would be spent on marketing, advertising and on dealers.

The retailer price for a crate of 1.2 litres bottles would be Rs 120, against a total cost (including excise and sales tax) of Rs 60.87 to the company. Thus, the company would have a margin of Rs 59.13 per crate. The comparable margin for a crate of 1 litre bottles was Rs 44.57. This meant that the company would have an extra Rs 14.56 per crate. Bisleri planned to spend this amount on advertising and marketing.

In 2000, Bisleri also launched smaller packs like the 300 ml cup. This 300 ml cup was targeted at large gatherings like marriages and conventions. A study conducted by Bisleri showed that its one litre pack was not considered trendy enough.

Analysts' felt that since Bisleri had become generic to the category, the one litre pack was not really considered a brand but merely synonymous with the product. The new look was expected to correct this perceptions. In place of the round ringed bottles, Bisleri would be available in hexagonal flat-sleeved bottles. The new pack was already introduced in 500 ml and 5 litre sizes and would be used for other packs. The new design was patented to prevent it from being copied by others.

Said Chauhan, "The new pack is trendy and has been well accepted by the consumers as we have experienced in the case of 500 ml and 5 litre sizes." The new pack also allowed better brand display. Vertical labeling was easier on flat sleeved packages. It made label information visible from all sides of the bottle. Bisleri also planned to target the soft drinks market. Chauhan was confident that by 2003, the water business would grow at the cost of the soft drink market.
Most analysts agreed that this was possible. In 2000, pure bottled water sold over 500 million litres a year. Soft drinks sold over 1 billion litres a year. With an annual growth rate of 40% for water, water sales was expected to catch up with soft drinks. Bisleri planned to target the soft drinks market by adding a fun element to the product. Chauhan felt that soft drinks were all about quenching thirst and having fun.

While it was widely accepted that branded water quenched thirst, there was very little that branded water could do to provide a fun element. Chauhan said that Bisleri would soon launch an ad campaign to address this problem. By 2000, the smaller players also began to position their products on the purity platform. They also offered better trade margins. New entrants like Aquafina and Kinley concentrated purely on building their brands in a big way. Bisleri had to come out with an ad campaign to make its brand stand apart.

In September 2000, Bisleri launched its Play Safe ad campaign. In the print ad, a lady in a bikini is shown lying face down, soaking up the sun. A part of the lady's body is shielded by a bottle of Bisleri with the message: Play Safe on the bottle. The television version of the ad ran for 45 seconds. The film opens with a couple sitting on a beach in front of a bonfire. The girl suddenly starts running and is followed by the boy.

As she collapses on the sand, she whispers something in his ear which sends him back to the bonfire. He rummages through the bags, but can't find what he is looking for. He rushes to the nearest chemist's and picks up a huge carton. Back at the beach, he opens the carton, and finds 500 ml Bisleri bottles inside. The girl quenches her thirst, almost in ecstasy, as the boy watches her with a comical expression on his face. Then comes the message: Play Safe.

The campaign targeted the youth and hoped to convey a social message: young people need to make sure they are safe even when they are having fun. The ad campaign saw a shift in positioning from "pure and safe" to "play safe."

According to Ambience D'Arcy, the shift had been necessitated by the fact that every new entrant in the mineral water market adopted the purity. Said Chauhan, "Our observation is that people consume mineral water not for the minerals, but for safety. Hence the word "safe" is critical."

Will Bisleri Ever be a Rs. 10 Billion Brand?
Parle Bisleri's aggressive marketing was aimed at making Bisleri a Rs 10 billion brand by 2003. However, new entrants into the branded water market like Pepsi and Coca-Cola were equally aggressive in marketing their brands. In August 2001, Kinley launched an ad campaign with the tag line Boond boond mein vishwas (Trust in every drop). The ad focussed on trust in relationships. The 40 second commercial opens in a rural setting, showing cracked earth and a young boy waiting for rain. A Kinley truck arrives and sprinkles water all over.

The boy's face breaks into a smile. The ad also shows a father running behind his son's school truck to hand over a Kinley bottle. Commenting on the ad, Pandrang Row, executive creative director, McCann-Erickson, Kinley's ad agency said, "We were trying to show images where people had to trust the water they were drinking, or giving their children. Kinley is the water you use when you need to be able to trust what you're drinking or giving someone to drink."

In late 2001, Coca-Cola announced that it would enter the bulk segment where Bisleri was a dominant player. The 20 litre bulk water packs would be targeted at institutional and home segment. Kinley's brand positioning of trust and purity would be maintained. With the entry into the bulk segment, Coca-Cola aimed to garner a market share of 40% by 2002. Sanjiv Gupta, Senior Vice-President, Coca Cola India said, "We are aiming to be either number one or a close number two within a year."

Analysts felt that with the cola giants shifting their focus to branded water in India, Bisleri would be the worst sufferer. Chauhan was already planning to sell a 49% stake in Bisleri. However, according to some analysts; he would wait till 2003 when Bisleri was likely to touch a turnover of Rs 10 billion, before selling out the 49% stake. Others felt that given the pace at which Kinley and Aquafina were eroding Bisleri's marketshare, 2003 could be too late. What remained to be seen was whether Bisleri's new positioning would help it to increase its turnover to Rs 10 billion by 2003.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

About Brand

Everyone is familiar with brands, if nothing else just from looking at adverts and everyday shopping.

From a marketing perspective the brand is more complex than it might at first seem. The brand works at a different levels conveying information about what is on offer, who the product is meant for and what the product says about the buyer.

" I have been very impressed by the overall management of the project from the brief, through the fieldwork, the analysis conducted to the presentation of results. The communication between yourselves and us has also been clear and prompt.

The presentation gave the audience a clear understanding of a complicated study. Our Circulation & Marketing Director, was also impressed."

Research Manager Northcliffe Newspapers 2005Brands encapsulate a whole range of communication, learning, history, feeling about a product or company within a simple name and logo. But although the name may be simple, the ideas underpinning brands and the different ways in which brands are used are both complex and multi-faceted.

The brand pyramid
The concept of a brand can be thought of as a pyramid consisting of different layers of meaning and involvement.

At its lowest level a brand is simply an identifying mark to distinguish the product from alternatives. Normally, at this simple level, there is an implicit statement of specification. A4 paper consists of paper of a certain size. Low fat yoghurt consists of yoghurt with a maximum level of fat content.

At the next level, the brand becomes more than a mark of specification, it becomes a mark of assurance. Food marked Nestlé will achieve a minimum standard of quality. Cars made by Ford will have a certain level of reliability.

Moving in up another step, the brand starts to represent moments of choice. Drink Coke when you are thirsty. Eat Mars when you need energy. If the brand becomes associated with a choice (in the consideration set), then it is more likely to be purchased. But successful brands can position themselves to become the only choice. Achooo - pass me a Kleenex.

At the next step, the brand provides a mark of association, a badge of a club that the individual wants to be associated with. Here the purchaser is starting to make some form of emotional connection with the brand and to use the brand to establish a self-image to other people. I am in the Apple user club. I wear Nike. I read the Financial Times.

If you then increase this association with the brand to a point of emotional involvement, then the brand starts to represent who the individual wants to be. "The brand is me. This is my brand". One person may say I drink Gordon's Gin, wear Burberry. I am that type of person. Another, I shop in Bodyshop, buy organic food. I am that type of person.


Brands as relationships
We can also view the brand as a relationship. Ultimately the brand reflects a relationship between the buyer and the product bought (and so indirectly with the supplier). This relationship like all others is based on trust, the fulfilment of promises and common values. This brand will deliver these features and these emotional benefits to you.

Over time the brand relationship changes as needs change. Buyers can become promiscuous, change interests, become bored with their habits. Brands on the other hand can stagnate and wither, or become focused on new customers, or change in their essence.

The brand relationship is fragile. A single event, such as contamination (eg Perrier) or a misplaced word (eg Ratners) can irreparably damage this trust. However, brands can also suffer chronic damage over time - constant failure to deliver on promises, failure to be reliable, failure to deliver on specification diminish and destroy brand value. As an example, the under-performance of Virgin Trains threatens the entire perceptions of the Virgin brand.

There are cases where companies have focused purely on the brand's imagery and completely overlooked the implicit specification and assurance aspects of a brand which rely on basic quality and meeting the implicit service promises ( is an example). This means that companies should also see the way they deal with distribution channels as part of brand management to ensure that the brand is not compromised on its journey to the customer.

Not surprisingly, brand-focused companies spend a great deal of effort nurturing and developing their brands to maintain their status, value and relevance to the relevant target audience over the long term. In these days of constant innovation and constant newness searching for a better product, it's worth recognising that the strongest brands have been selling the same product for more than one hundred years (Coke, Kelloggs Corn Flakes, Guinness, Wrigleys, ...) through marketing, rather than product innovation.

Strategy of Marketing

Market strategies
Developing a clear and profitable strategy relies on balancing your company's competencies and abilities against the market opportunities into the future.

We offer a strategic development process that starts with strategic analysis and takes you through to implementation. Our marketing effectiveness studies look at how your marketing expenditure can be optimised to maximise your marketing ROI.


Strategic analysis
Many marketing plans happen by hunch, but there is a better way. Strategic analysis forms the groundwork for the development of market strategies and involves looking at your customers and markets, your competitors and your competencies to identify the areas of opportunity and threat based on what your customers really value and what you can cost effectively deliver.


Marketing effectiveness
Increasingly financial analysts are looking at how to get the best from marketing budgets and marketing is now no longer just the preserve of the marketing department but impacts on operations through TQM and customer satisfaction, on IT through customer databases, on sales through CRM and sales management and on finance through customer profitability analysis. With so many people now involved in marketing and so many ways to market, marketing effectiveness is a major question.


Brand development
Brands are no longer just products, a brand may be the company itself and how people think about the company brand affects them as employees as well as customers. Developing and understanding brands is a core part of company management.


Focus areas
If you have specific areas of marketing that you want help developing, we have experience in

Technology markets
Business markets
Brand development
Market segmentation

Marketing Technology

Internet applications
With the Internet playing an ever increasing role in reaching customers and sharing information about customers, particularly as companies want to understand their customers better and develop new ways of partnering with customers using the range of interaction tools.

More particularly, the Internet is providing a key route for information, comment and feedback from customers to the supplier and between customers about the supplier.


Focus areas
Our focus on Internet Applications is on helping share information over the web, whether it is through websites aimed at customers, or using the Internet to build knowledge and information within your business. We develop:

Web applications
Market knowledge databases
On-line communities such as social networking groups
IT Tools for marketing
In addition we can provide IT tools to support your marketing, for instance GIS, project management, competitive intelligence gathering or data analysis tools. See some examples of what we can do.


A website is practically a prerequisite for even the smallest businesses. Customers will look to your site so they can find out more about your company and check you out before they buy. The quality of your website must reflect the quality of your business and it must offer more than just the text in your brochure, and it must be kept up-to-date and relevant. We can provide professional websites that show your business in the best light online, but with a range of tools that make it easy for you to keep information up-to-date. Alternatively we have DIY one-click website solutions that provide fast, easy, low-cost feature-rich sites (see Notanant)


With the drive towards second generation Internet web-sites (Web 2.0), it is becoming more important that sites are functional, interactive and not just informational. We develop a range of practical, easy-to-use, distributed web-applications for managing on-line services, from information publishing, to private shared address books, to distributed information systems to subscription based services.

Our web-applications are designed with the Internet in mind and are not merely copies of internal systems. They are standards based and are often available both as PC-based and WAP-based systems without the need for modifying the data.

Our flagship web-application is Notanant which can be used to manage any form of website with members.


Customer and market knowledge databases
To support the use of information and analysis as a marketing tool, there is a need to build databases to hold information, so that they can be analysed easily and allow for information to be shared and sorted, for instance to support customer knowledge activities.

We develop bespoke market knowledge databases for the collection and dissemination of customer and competitor knowledge. Typically these are web-based systems based around a browser interface and industry standard applications. This allows us to collect and disseminate information through a wide variety of devices allowing for access and use outside the office environment. A demonstration will be available shortly from this site.

One specialist design is self-maintaining databases. For these type of databases, customers have access to and can manage and update their own information. This has the benefit of reducing the chances of data entry error, whilst allowing customers to tell you information from their perspective.


On-line communities and web-sites
Web-site development and e-commerce need to be in place as another arm of your channels of distribution. The most effective web-sites are those that provide customers with a space to communicate and share information among themselves and with your employees.

These on-line communities can be an extension of your loyalty programmes or customer feedback programmes, or they can just be autonomous in their own right. Some companies worry that by providing a forum for customers to talk to each, problems will be highlighted. But the evidence suggests that open and honest communication is the single most effective way of generating loyalty, particularly if you are taking steps to fix problems.

We have in-house skills in all the major web-technologies and can help you generate your own on-line community. FieldShare was entirely developed in-house including the database and discussion forum elements.


IT tools for marketing
In addition to bespoke software development (for example our Questionnaire Wizard), we are also able to configure and supply specialist tools for marketing project management and automated competitive intelligence gathering. In addition we can advise on the selection of data analysis tools for the statistical analysis of market research and database data and can provide training if necessary.

One example are Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is simply a mechanism for plotting database information on maps. Much existing business-to-business information contains geographic components and it can be incredibly useful to look at customers and orders by geography both to help with sales management and to provide key analysis to support marketing through seminars for instance.

For instance, if you knew that nearly half of corporate businesses have their headquarters in London and the South East, this would help you focus your marketing to look at solutions local to this area.

Marketing Communication Strategy Development

Raising awareness of your product in your target market is where sales begin, and this is where marketing communications activities begin the selling process.

With today's multiple channels for content to reach potential customers, the art and science of marketing communications has become increasingly important.

The marketing communications function (commonly called "marcom") has many communications tools available. Some companies in an industry might rely on paid advertising in print and online media. While other companies in the same industry might rely on a very different media mix, such as public relations and events.

However, no company can be sure they are using the most efficient media mix without creating a marcom strategy that is aligned with their overall strategic marketing direction.

Turning the strategic direction into marketing messages
The marketing communications strategy process usually begins with creating a "messaging strategy" -- determining the consistent theme or fundamental selling message that will he used in all marketing materials.

Another key part of the messaging process is creating the positioning statement. This two sentence statement tells what you sell, to whom, and why customers should buy it.

As you move through the process of creating a positioning statement, you'll want to capture your brainstorming results, such as in your marketing strategy mind map. Then, refine and test those creative approaches until you settle on your company's positioning statement.

Your positioning statement is critical to making all of the other parts of the marketing communications strategy work well. This is because every awareness-building and product information program needs to paint a clear, concise picture of what you sell and how customers will benefit from using your products.

Selecting effective marketing programs
Once you have settled on a strong positioning statement, you can develop sound strategies for your marcom programs. For most companies this means considering programs such as:

Public relations
Web site
Conferences and trade shows
Downloadable materials
Direct marketing (offline & online)
Event sponsorships
Merchandising promotions
A mind map is a good way to capture ideas about which programs look like they will be most effective. Add these programs to the Marketing Communications section of your strategic marketing mind map. Later, evaluate each program to see if it should be in your final strategic marketing plan.
In large companies where each marketing program has its own manager, you can link your main strategic marketing mind map to each program's own planning mind map.

In companies where the whole marcom strategy is implemented by one team, you can add details about marcom programs in the team's main marketing mind map.

Benefits of a sound marcom strategy

The process of creating a marcom strategy has gotten more complex as more marketing activities move to the Internet. This has made it even more important to understand customer segments and how to communicate with those potential customers.

When you develop a marcom strategy based on a sound strategic marketing view of your market your marcom program will be more effective -- and customers will have a better, more consistent brand experience.

Monday, December 6, 2010

New Marketing Trends in 2010

There are several new marketing trends for 2010 that will have an impact on practically every marketing organization because of new trends in customer behavior, such as:

Shift in consumer mentality from recession to recovery
Changes in how customers make purchase decisions
New technologies for communicating with customers
Let's take a look at the major marketing trends for 2010 that will affect both business-to-business (B2B) and consumer (B2C) companies so we can update our marketing strategies for 2010.

Spotting marketing trends

When something becomes a "hot trend" it does so for two reasons. First, it's a product or activity that has been proven and refined. And, second, it's growing in adoption. The hot marketing trends for 2010 are all visible as we enter the year, and these trends are growing to the point where we need to adjust our marketing communications and sales strategies to take advantage of them.

Big marketing trends for 2010
Some of the hot marketing trends are rather obvious, such as the growing use of social media. But it's important to identify the "big marketing trends" for 2010 that can help define effective marketing strategies for 2010.

Big Marketing Trend #1: Personal — Communicate with individuals to carry on conversations about meeting their needs and solving their problems.

Big Marketing Trend #2: Local — Participate in personal, face-to-face meetings, events, and activities near where your product will be used because fewer customers will be flying to national events and conferences.

Big Marketing Trend #3: Mobile — Reach customers anywhere at any time with the 24/7 connectivity of mobile devices.

These three big marketing trends for 2010 overlap and reinforce each other to provide marketing opportunities to connect with your customers and increase revenue.

Marketing trend opportunities for 2010
Here are four ways you can combine these big marketing trends to create actionable marketing strategies that your competitors may not have thought of yet:

Marketing Trend Opportunity #1: Personal + Mobile — Provide personalized product, service, and solution information when and where customers are thinking about their problems and needs

Marketing Trend Opportunity #2: Personal + Local — Tailor marketing messages based on each person's purchase process, starting with their information gathering and continuing through their searching, purchasing, and reordering.

Marketing Trend Opportunity #3: Mobile + Local — Deliver product and solution information to customers at the location where the purchase decisions are being made using mobile devices and local Internet searches.

Marketing Trend Opportunity #4: Personal + Local + Mobile — Use one-to-one marketing to treat different customers differently — anywhere, anytime, and using any medium they want, whether it's text, telephone, Web, mobile app, or video.

Adapting to new trends in customer behavior
The current economic climate has caused both B2B customers and retail consumers to change how they make purchases in 2010. A longer sales cycle requires greater frequency of contact. Increased price sensitivity requires providing greater value. And, increased customer mobility requires that marketers use new technologies to stay in contact.

The year 2010 will provide marketers with significant opportunities for growth by adopting marketing strategies based on the "new normal" for customer behavior.