Friday, August 31, 2007

Internet Shopping and Consumer Behavior

The Internet-based shopping environment enables consumers to search for information and purchase products or services through direct interaction with the online store.To successfully attract internet consumers and benefit from doing so, online stores must know more about consumer attitudes towards purchasing via the internet, online purchase intentions, and their antecedents.

The growing use of Internet in the world provides a developing prospect for online marketers. If online marketers know the factors affecting online buyers’ behavior, and the relationships between these factors and the type of online buyers, then they can further develop their marketing strategies to convert potential customers into active ones, while retaining existent online customers. We focus on factors which online buyers keep in mind while shopping online.

Consumer attitudes, demographic characteristics, and purchase perceptions influencing purchase decisions from traditional retail outlets also combine to affect purchases decisions from online shopping sites.

Four major elements that are believed to influence potential buyers are


Demographic characteristics

Purchase perceptions and

Product perceptions

In the domain of consumer behavior research, there are general models identifying various characteristics driving or inhibiting a consumer to purchase online. These models are very important to marketers as they have the ability to explain and predict consumers’ purchase behavior.

Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) and Structural Equation Model
The TRA, is a well-established general theory of social psychology that is applied to consumer behavior research. TRA presents that behavior is preceded by intentions and intentions are determined by the individual’s attitudes towards the behavior and the individuals subjective norms (social influence).

As the internet evolves to become a major channel of distribution, the enormous potential of B2B, B2C and even C2C commerce can only be realized if consumers feel comfortable transacting over the new medium with unfamiliar vendors. Important to note is that, in contrast to the traditional business transaction, an online transaction is characterized by fairly unique aspects.

Theory of Planned Behavior
According to the theory of planned behavior, we can assume that an individual thinking of undertaking a specific action will estimate and evaluate expected results, determine his or her willingness to comply with the viewpoints of salient individuals or groups about the action, and decide how well his capabilities will allow him to control the action or behavior in question. If an Individual's determination of those three factors is positive, he or she will undertake the action and 'receive' the positive and negative consequences that flow from the action In the circumstances.

Technology Acceptance Model
Four exogenous constructs - namely, personal awareness of security, personal innovativeness, perceived ease of purchasing, and perceived usefulness - have not only direct influences on attitudes and online purchase intentions, but also have indirect influences on online purchase intentions through the mediation of attitudes.

Book Section: 'The Search' by John Batelle

Hello friends,

This review was posted by me originally at

after long time I have read any book and that too techno + information. I came across this book when I started my MBA. The book was assigned to one of my batch mates for submitting the review on it. But so were many other books. Now, why I was enticed by this book was because of the name ‘The Search’.

When I was doing my engineering three years ago, we used to hear a lot about ‘The Information Age’. I remember lot of courses was launched by computer coaching institutes on e-commerce. Even I and my friends use to quote a lot about ‘The Information Age’, and the associated jargon, but to impress others. In reality, we didn’t have the idea what is this all about. But today, I can feel it. My second job at ‘Philips Lighting’, I got through e-portal ‘’. I got admission in MBA College, when I came across its site ' ’. The latest laptop purchased by my friend was after negotiating with three vendors in three countries, via internet. Also while doing the job, I found that the people with the habit of hiding the knowledge, were left dumbfounded when I just got the required information via net in a single click. Surely, the times are changing and the new age has begun ‘The Information Age’.

Now, the most important activity we do on internet is ‘The Search’, and that is the book all about. The author is the cofounding editor of ‘Wired’ and the founder of ‘The Industry Standard’. With a very close and keen observation of the organic growth of World Wide Web, the author takes us through the journey of its evolution. He could be approached via his search blog at

The initial part of the book focuses on ‘The Database of Intentions’. That is how we are ourselves creating the database of intentions, every time we type the word into search engine and telling it what our intentions are. Then it tells us about the initial search engine players prior to giants like Yahoo and Google. It talks about the players like Excite and Archie. Then it explains the mechanism of search i.e. what is going on behind the display. The components like web crawler.Then it talks about the recent players like,, And finally about Yahoo and Google.The author talks about how both Yahoo and Google started in Stanford. And both were started out of curiosity, without any intention of making it business, and without any idea about the revolution it would bring in the world.Yahoo was started by Jerry Yang and David Filo, both were pursuing doctorates in electronic design automation at Stanford. The real reason as per the founders to create Yahoo was that they were bored with their PhD’s and they did everything they could to avoid writing their thesis.Google was started by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, while pursuing their computer science degree at Stanford.The difference between Yahoo & Google was the timings. Yahoo was pre-dot com burst company and Google was during the burst.The unique thing about Google is its Page Rank Algorithm, which works behind the search to give most relevant results. The algorithm is basically the software version of peer review methodology being used in Research Papers for years.While most of the search engines compromised their results by the amount the sponsor company pays to them, Google was different. Its mission was to give most relevant result. Then the question rises ‘How Google does make money?’ Exactly this was the question bogging the founders. But soon they found the salvation in Adwords. While searching on Google, on the left side of the screen the best relevant results are shown, while on the right side are the sponsored links. Every time anyone clicks on the adwords, Google gets money from the sponsor. The other revenue generation techniques were to act as database for other companies.The commercialization has just begun. Now every time we insert a word in the search engine, we are giving our psyche away to it. The next time you surf net, via Google or gmail, the sponsored links on the right side are not only the sponsored ones, but they are more relevant to you then the previous time. This is how the search is capturing whole our life. If anybody has read the short stories ‘The Last Answer’ & ‘The Last Question’ by Isaac Asimov, then it will be reminiscent of MULTIVAC, giant computer governing the whole planet. The same concept was shown a bit in ‘The Minority Report’. Now the only difference between search engine and artificial intelligence is that the machine till date can’t understand but only process the data. The moment it is able to understand, we have created ‘SKYNET’ (Terminator Series) ourselves.
Now the competition is not between Google and Yahoo anymore, it’s between Google on one side and Yahoo, Microsoft and IBM on other. With the acquisition of sites like Orkut by Google, the Google is adding almost 1 feature, like Gtalk + Orkut, Gmail Mobile, per day in last week.So friends, the chess board for the ‘Information Wars’ has been already set. Let’s see who wins the game. But irrespective of who wins, the search has long way to go towards perfection and will change our lives forever.

If you want to know how GOOGLE function read this
If you want a complete REPORT on the book, please leave ur email id on the comment.

Learning and Innovative organization

Global products, services, trades and quality claims made organization to think of the innovation. Increasing competition is one of the major reasons to rolling the wheel of innovation across world. Organizations nurturing innovation helps themselves to differentiate from the competitors.
But ultimately the conundrum that always been talked in corporate world is; what is required to make an organization as innovative organization? There are several things that are underlying below the name of successful innovative organization. There are certain characteristics which are attached with innovative organization (an organization which truly comes out with new values that can be in congruence with the ultimate goal of the organization). So what are the factors that organization should take care of for coming under the category of innovative organization?
Learning organization is the foundation block, which can build innovative organization. Learning organization is an entity whose focus of collective learning is far more productive than that of competitors’ focus. Here collective force is relatively more efficient to scan and learn the environmental & other related factors, which in turn affects the overall business and thereby gets upper hand over competitors. Learning organization is one which is characterized by collective learning, entrepreneurial culture, structured and organic approach and flexibility to commit worthy mistakes.
This foundation block (learning organization) is consisting of five major foundation stones.

Personal Mastery
Mental Model
Shared Vision
Team Learning
System Thinking

Personal mastery
, is the discipline under which person belonging to organization is supposed to review his vision all the time from all the perspective, this is nothing but kind of self mentoring they do. This characteristic of the persons inside organization helps them to keep their vision alive and refreshed all the time; through their passion, ideas, knowledge and commitment. A mental model is second important support; it is nothing but the way person look at problems and situation at hand. With well focused and striking model one can take decision very fast but these decisions may not be the best. Here he may loose other possible and more efficient ways to solve the problem, since he may find these thoughts contrary to his mental model. This does not mean that mental model are not good; but at the same time one is supposed to refresh his mental model, by asking question on its feasibility part.

Next important thing that supports learning organization is shared vision. This is nothing but making people to work in congruence with the ultimate organization goal, by having shared vision. Individual or framed division may not lead to that much effective decision; which can be taken by having cross functional work across organization. Team learning also works on the same line as shared vision; the only difference is the learning takes place in team and thereby not leaving any stone unturned to arrive at solution. Ideally team player should possess complimentary skills, so that they won’t lose on any point. System thinking is a way which makes team members to think different part of system in interrelated form, rather than looking in causal form. System thinking makes them to think in holistic manner and hence make them aware of importance of each and every part. Process, enablers and culture are parts of business which plays very vital role when organizations undergo change process for innovation.

Each and every action, taken to make an organization innovative should be in congruence with the ultimate goal of an organization.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

International Marketing Research

International Marketing” today increasingly, and rightly, forms part of the curriculum across business schools the world over as we face new regional trading blocs created by the need to respond to an ever-growing developing nations with its own currency and trading rules. As academics we should not be limited to the costs of bringing products to market and the speed with which this needs to be done, but the need for us to educate our students to become effective competitors. While competition becomes increasingly dynamic, focused and professionalized, marketing practice appears still to follow one of the following orientations: market focus; competitor focus; product focus or customer focus. There is need for low cost excellence in today’s markets where quality is expected alongside low cost. If we believe this to be true, we have not been passing this on to our students. International Marketing today is a necessity. (Paliwoda, S. J., 1999)

International Marketing is marketing of products (goods and services) across the borders of the nation (Walsh, 1978). Multinational companies perform international marketing for their products to penetrate in to foreign markets.

International Marketing Research

Businesses preparing to compete in the twenty-first century are increasingly confronted with the task of crafting strategies that anticipate and respond to the rapid pace of change in global markets. As a result, their information needs are changing and becoming ever more complex and diverse. Timely, relevant information is essential to provide an adequate basis for day-to-day decision making as well as to chart the firm’s path in an increasingly fast paced, turbulent and competitive environment

Information needs are changing in both developed and developing countries. The established markets in industrialized countries are becoming more geographically integrated, as direct vertical links and information flows are established between customers, retailers and suppliers. As a result, there is a growing need to conduct research spanning country boundaries, in order to identify regional or global market segments, or to examine opportunities for integrating and better co-ordinating strategies across national boundaries. At the same time, speed in collection and interpretation of results from multiple and geographically diverse sources becomes imperative in order to anticipate market changes and devise an effective response strategy.
Advances in technology both facilitate and at the same time render more complex the collection of data on a global basis. The growth and increasing technological sophistication of the communication infrastructure enable data collection on a much broader and diverse geographic scale and with rapidity previously unthinkable. Yet, at the same time, management has to master these tools and understand their inherent limitations and implicit biases (Craig C. S. and Douglas S.P., 19).

Evolution of international marketing research

To understand the research needs of the twenty-first century it is important to consider how they have changed over the past four decades. In the 1960s and 1970s, many US firms, faced by slackening rates of growth in their domestic markets, began to venture into international markets. Japanese and European firms with smaller domestic markets also expanded internationally in order to broaden the geographic scope of their operations and take advantage of potential economies of scale or to respond to foreign competition entering their domestic markets (Douglas and Craig, 1989). In this initial phase of international market entry, firms were mostly concerned with collecting information to identify and assess market opportunities in other countries to determine which markets to enter, how to position products in these markets and how far to adapt different elements of the marketing mix to local market conditions.
At this phase of the firm’s expansion, the country was typically used as the unit of analysis for the research design, for developing the sampling frame, as well as for data collection. Owing to economic, political, linguistic and cultural barriers, the country was the focal point of entry decisions. Equally, the firm’s international operations were often organized on a country-by-country basis. Marketing research agencies were also typically national organizations, with relatively few having the capability to conduct research on a multi-country basis. Most secondary data as well as sampling lists were available on a national basis.
As, however, firms have expanded internationally and product markets are becoming increasingly integrated worldwide, the key decision issues facing the firm in the 1990s have changed dramatically. As a result, research and information needs have changed and broadened. In industrialized nations such as North America, Europe and Japan, regional market integration and the removal of barriers between countries, the growth of a regional and global market infrastructure as well as increased mobility of consumers have created pressures to consolidate and integrate marketing strategy across countries. Consequently, increased attention is focused on conducting studies which cover multiple countries, examining differences and similarities in behavior and response patterns across countries.

At the same time, as growth in these markets slows, future market potential lies in emerging market economies, with countries such as China and India accounting for over one-third of the world’s population. The explosive population growth in these countries, together with the opening, up of markets in the former Soviet Union, makes entry into these markets mandatory for firms aspiring to be global leaders in the future. In entering these markets, as in initially entering international markets, firms need to collect information to assess potential opportunities, to determine how to position, price, promote and distribute their products and brands, whether to develop local variants, etc.

Key progress areas

As businesses expand further and further in international markets, the role of timely and accurate marketing research to guide decision-making becomes increasingly critical. Research to support international marketing decisions has evolved over the past four decades and must change even more to support firms in the 21st century. There are four key areas where progress must be made.

Ø First, international marketing research efforts need to be more closely aligned with market growth opportunities outside the industrialized nations.
Ø Second, researchers must develop the capability to conduct and coordinate research that spans diverse research environments.
Ø Third, international marketing researchers need to develop new creative approaches to probe the cultural underpinnings of behavior.
Ø Finally, technological advances need to be incorporated into the research process in order to facilitate and expedite research conducted across the globe.

Implications for international marketing research in the twenty-first century

The dramatic changes in the global environment, coupled with technological advances in data collection, analysis and dissemination, imply that researchers will need to broaden their capabilities in order to design, implement and interpret research in the twenty-first century. As research efforts are aligned to match markets with the highest market potential, researchers will need to develop the capabilities and skills to conduct and design research in these environments (Barnard, 1997). New tools incorporating the latest technology will need to be mastered and creative approaches to understanding behavior in differing cultural contexts developed. Ability to interpret and integrate complex data from diverse sources and environments will also be critical in order to provide meaningful recommendations for the firm’s global marketing strategy.

Aligning research effort and capabilities with market growth potential

A first priority is to focus research effort and capabilities on markets with future growth potential. As indicated earlier, marketing research expenditures are heavily concentrated in the industrialized countries of North America, Europe and Japan. This reflects the current size and attractiveness of these markets. However, the countries with the highest growth potential are the emerging market economies in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and countries of the former Soviet Union. Firms who wish to succeed in the global markets of the twenty-first century will need to pay greater attention to examining markets in these regions of the world, and developing or acquiring the capabilities to conduct research in these markets.
Conducting research successfully in these regions requires both understanding and sensitivity to differences in the market environment as well as an ability to deal with the lack of a well-developed market research infrastructure. The accuracy of results hinges in part on the respondents’ ability to understand the questions being posed. Low levels of literacy in emerging markets as well as lack of familiarity with stimuli or response formats from industrialized markets create challenges. In designing research instruments, caution needs to be exercised in directly transposing stimuli or research formats commonly adopted in industrialized countries. Rather, researchers need to think creatively in designing instruments that are readily understood and unambiguously interpreted, and, as far as possible, devoid of cultural bias. In particular, design of instruments that employ visual as well as verbal stimuli and occur in a familiar and realistic setting rather than requiring abstract cognitive skills will be more effective.
Interpretation of results from emerging market countries may also pose some challenges especially for researchers from other socio-cultural backgrounds. Researchers need to be wary of interpreting results in terms of their own culture and experience, and, in particular, of generalizing from experience in industrialized markets to emerging markets. Indigenous researchers, on the other hand, trained in a different research paradigm, may interpret results in terms of the local context, and focus on the uniqueness of these patterns. Consequently teams of researchers from different backgrounds will be needed to provide a broad and balanced interpretation.

Conducting and co-ordinating research spanning diverse environments

The increasing diversity of the socio-cultural and economic environment, in which research is being conducted, implies that international marketing researchers will need to develop the capability to conduct and co-ordinate research spanning a broad range of environmental contexts and research questions. In essence, researchers will need to be able to tailor research questions, and adapt research instruments and administration procedures to different environments, as well as to interpret or generalize results at a pan-cultural or global level. This goes beyond geographic co-ordination of multi-country studies, translation and development of multilingual questionnaires or research instruments, and requires skills in designing multi-site studies that include a common core and purpose, while at the same time addressing country-specific issues (Douglas and Craig, 1997).

At a first level, skills in designing multi-site studies in diverse environments will increasingly be required. Here, although the key research questions are clearly identified and common across sites, attention needs to be paid to how constructs are operationalized, research instruments designed, and sampling and data collection conducted at each site. The definition of product categories may, for example, differ as well as brand availability, the nature of the retail environment, or, more insidiously, the socio-cultural context of consumption. Constructs or definitions used in one context are not necessarily appropriate in another. Research instruments, data collection or sampling procedures may incorporate bias, requiring reformulation or adaptation to ensure meaningful results (Craig and Douglas, 2000).

Use of a team incorporating members from different cultural backgrounds and sites helps to strike a balance between the need for local input and adaptation to local site conditions with the need for comparability and equivalence across sites. Researchers from each site should participate in the early stages of research design and in the interpretation of data and results, rather than merely acting as local implementers of a centrally designed study. They can then provide input in the formulation of research questions and the design of the research instrument as well as in sampling and data collection procedures. Equally, local researchers are best placed to interpret findings from their sites in terms of local contextual factors, and to explain local anomalies or differences.

At a higher or “supra-country” level, skills and capabilities in designing and managing a research program which spans multiple, diverse environments are likely to become increasingly critical. A research program might, for example, cover a product business or industry worldwide. If the product business is at different stages of the product life-cycle in different regions or market conditions differ substantially, as, for example, detergents, different types of research or information will need to be collected. Ability to define relevant research issues in each context, and to coordinate and manage the different studies, will be critical to provide meaningful input for the development of the firm’s long-run strategy in world markets.

Developing and using new tools

In addition to developing the capabilities to conduct research spanning diverse environments, international marketing researchers also need to create and make imaginative and thoughtful use of new approaches to understand the changing market-place. As qualitative research techniques advance and mature, they offer increasing promise as a means of understanding and interpreting trends in diverse cultural contexts. Qualitative research provides insights and understanding of the consumption and purchase context and the underlying determinants of behavior, as well as a means of interpreting the results of quantitative research and predicting future trends.

Qualitative research techniques offer a number of advantages in international marketing research as they are unstructured and do not entail the imposition of the researcher’s pre-specified conceptual model or terminology on the respondent. As a consequence, qualitative techniques are especially helpful in probing the contextual embedding of attitudes and behavior, providing deep understanding of situational and contextual factors, and providing inputs into interpreting observed differences between countries and cultures (Cooper, 1996). In addition, as qualitative techniques are often observational or unstructured, they require minimal cognitive skills, and are particularly suited to research in emerging markets. They can also provide insights into underlying or hidden motivations as well as probing future trends and scenarios.
Videotaping of consumers in purchase or consumption situations can provide a rich source of information relating to the role of contextual and situational factors on consumer behavior and response patterns in different cultures and contexts. Videotaping of consumers in an in-store environment provides a wealth of information about visual cues and their role in product evaluation not easily obtained from other forms of data collection (Restall and Auton, 1995). In some cases, in store videotaping can be used to prompt or elicit responses from consumers. In emerging markets, videotaping of consumer usage and consumption behavior often provides deeper understanding of how consumers use products and how these are embedded in the cultural fabric of society, as well as perceptions of and associations with foreign products and brands.

Projective and elicitation techniques such as collages, picture completion, analogies and metaphors, psycho-drawing and personalization can be used to encourage respondents to project their private and unconscious beliefs and personal and subjective associations. Collages were, for example, used in a study of teenagers, worldwide, to explore their feelings about the future. This revealed significant differences between countries especially in terms of the degree of pessimism and hedonism (Thiesse, 1996). Equally, brand perceptions can be explored through personalization, association techniques or analogies, to probe culturally embedded images and associations that vary across cultures.

Focus groups and extended creativity groups can also be used to explore underlying motivations, feelings and points of view. These techniques can be used to screen new product ideas and concepts or develop ideas for a new positioning or advertising theme or to examine future trends. Use of such techniques is likely to become increasingly critical in the twenty-first century, as managers seek to identify new products or ideas that will appeal to cross-national segments or consumers worldwide. Their unstructured character facilitates identification of ideas, concepts and trends, which are truly universal, rather than reflecting the influence of any specific culture or country.

Incorporating technological advances into research design and methodology

At the same time, international marketing researchers will need to incorporate the latest technological developments in data collection and dissemination into the research design. These enable researchers to dramatically reduce the time required to collect data across geographic distances as well as substantially enhancing and enriching the type of stimuli that can be used in collecting data from international markets. It is, however, important to recognize that use of sophisticated technological techniques is subject to certain limitations in international markets, due either to the development of the technological infrastructure or to the technological sophistication of respondents.

Advances in computer technology such as scanners, CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing), and CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing) are well established in the developed countries and are beginning to be used elsewhere. They provide faster, more accurate methods of data collection, providing direct input of response and facilitating steering of data collection based on response. Techniques such as CATI and CAPI can also be used to centrally administer and organize data collection from international samples, subject to telephone and computer penetration in different countries as well as use of a common language or availability of software to automatically translate questionnaires.

As these technologies evolve and advance, they also provide innovative ways to present stimuli and collect data particularly suited to international research issues. Multimedia CAPI makes possible the presentation of highly complex stimuli and facilitates obtaining consumer reactions to video and audio stimuli (Thomae, 1995). Developments in virtual reality CAPI will heighten the realism in stimulus portrayal and expand the range of topics on which marketing research can meaningfully be conducted (Needel, 1995).

Equally, as the Internet evolves, it offers the potential to dramatically change the way in which much international marketing research is conducted, both in providing ready access to secondary data, and in providing a new means of collecting primary data. Rather than visiting a traditional research library, the marketer can have virtually instant access to data from traditional sources as well as sources that are only available on the Internet. The Internet can also be used to collect primary data, either by tracking visitors to a Web site, or through administering electronic questionnaires over the Internet. To the extent that Web sites are increasingly likely to be accessed by users worldwide, information on an international sample can be gathered. Behavior at the site can be tracked, revealing interest relating to the products and services or information offered, as well as response to promotional material or offers.
The Internet can also be used to collect data in a more systematic fashion that is closer in character to more traditional marketing research practice. Subject to the availability of suitable Internet sampling frames, questionnaires can be administered directly over the Internet. Questionnaires are sent via e-mail to respondents and the responses are returned via e-mail. This represents a very quick and totally automated means to conduct a survey over a broad geographic scope. The results are available almost instantaneously, as the responses can be checked and analyzed in real time as they are received. Questionnaires administered via the World Wide Web also have the advantage that product details, picture of products, brands and the shopping environment can be portrayed with integrated graphics and sound.

This approach is most suited to surveys among respondent populations that are technology literate, and at present for certain types of products such as computers, computer software or business-to-business research (Frost, 1998). However, as use of the Internet becomes more commonplace, e-mail surveys will begin to replace mail and phone surveys. Progress will occur most rapidly in the USA and Europe and will spread more slowly in other parts of the world (Worldwide Internet Conference, 1999).

An important limiting factor is the extent to which Internet sampling frames correspond to respondent populations that are of interest to marketers. Versions of Web software available in different countries may not be compatible. Technical issues may daunt respondents, resulting in non-response bias. Factors such as overall response rate and item non-response will also continue to be important. Consequently, a large number of surveys need to be sent out to obtain a large enough sample to analyze. However, the fact that results will be obtained rapidly will allow additional sampling, with enhanced incentives, to compensate for short fall. While lower costs and rapidity of response make this mode attractive for international research, potential bias problems suggest that, at least in the short run, and particularly where part of the target market is likely to exist in countries with low Internet access, this approach will need to be used with some caution.

Marketing researchers in a global society must face the challenges of working with diverse cultures and varying levels of social and economic development. This optional module highlights specific demands and opportunities that arise from the international context. Learning Objectives:

1. Describe the environmental factors that affect international research and show how each may impact the steps in the research process.

2. Discuss the problems and various approaches involved in the management of international research projects, including the coordination of fieldwork.

3. Give examples of secondary data sources available for international research and what should be taken into account when using them.

4. Identify the issues that make sampling a challenge in international research.

5. Describe how persons of different socioeconomic types can be identified and classified for sampling and data-interpretation purposes and why different methods may be required in different countries.

6. Explain why qualitative research plays a crucial role in international research and give examples of differences among countries when using qualitative methods internationally.

7. Describe the use (including availability and appropriateness) of telephone, personal, mail, and electronic survey methods in different countries.

8. Discuss the special challenges of executing experimental (causal) research in an international setting.

9. Identify problems in designing questionnaires for international research and describe the best ways of translating a questionnaire into one or more foreign languages.

10. Identify the main problems that affect measurement and scaling in international research and how these may affect the choice of response scales. Discuss procedures for establishing equivalence of scales and measures.

11. Describe the variety of issues that affect interpretation of the results of international research and some of the tools to deal with them.

12. Explain the different ethical and legal issues that apply in different parts of the world and how these may affect research projects.


Change is occurring in virtually all aspects of business and personal life. These changes are being played out at different rates in different parts of the world. Against this backdrop, marketing researchers are being challenged to conduct research that is of the highest possible quality, as quickly as possible, in multiple diverse settings. The issues marketing researchers face are multifaceted and relate to where and how research will be conducted, who the respondents will be, and the tools and techniques that will be used.

Marketing researchers must find creative ways to harness the new technologies to facilitate the conduct of research and enhance its value to clients. At the same time, research organizations must begin to develop the capability to conduct marketing research simultaneously in the developed and the developing world. Increasingly, multinational marketers are designing and selling global brands and need research to guide their decision making across an increasingly diverse and disparate world. Sound and timely marketing research becomes even more critical for firms as they compete in the twenty-first century.


Barnard, P. (1997), "Global developments and future directions in marketing research", Globalization and the Millennium: Opportunities and Imperatives, Marketing Science Institute, Brussels

Cooper, P. (1996), "Internationalization of qualitative research", ESOMAR Congress, Monte Carlo

C. Samuel Craig, Stern School of Business, New York University, New York, USA, Susan P. Douglas, Stern School of Business, New York University, New York, USA, International Marketing Review, Vol 18, pp 80-90

Craig, C.S., Douglas, S.P. (2000), International Marketing Research, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, Chichester

Douglas, S.P., Craig, C.S. (1989), "Evolution of global marketing strategy: scale, scope and synergy", Columbia Journal of World Business, Vol. 24 No.3, pp.47-59

Douglas, S.P., Craig, C.S. (1997), "The changing dynamic of consumer behavior: Implications for cross-cultural research", International Journal of Research in Marketing, Vol. 14 pp.379-95

ESOMAR (1996), ESOMAR 1995 Pricing Study, Amsterdam

Frost, F. (1998), "Electronic surveys – new methods of primary data collection", Proceedings, European Marketing Academy Conference, Stockholm, pp.213-32

Needel, S.P. (1995), "Marrying market research and virtual reality: implications for consumer research", Information Technology: How Can Research Keep up with the Pace of Change?, ESOMAR Conference, 25-27 January, Brussels, pp.65-75

Restall, C., Auton, R. (1995), "The future of qualitative research from passivity to interaction", The Research Business Group, London., unpublished document.

Stanley J. Paliwoda (1999), International Marketing – An assessment, International Marketing Review, Vol 16, pp 8-17

Thiesse, M. (1996), "The latest developments in qualitative research", Research International Qualitatif, Paris., unpublished document

Thomae, M. (1995), "Multimedia CATI/CAPI", Information Technology: How Can Research Keep up with the Pace of Change?, ESOMAR Conference, 25-27 January, Brussels, pp.89-101

World wide Internet Conference, 1999, Net Effects, ESOMAR, Amsterdam.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Format for Research Proposal - Scondary Research

This is the format recommended by Prof Ghai - Director, Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research.

This format can be used when your research is based on secondary data; i.e. other researches and other reports.

1) Abstract
2) Introduction of the topic - Here meaning of each word used should be elicited.
3) Need for the research - Conflicting opinions about Future Benefits
4) Objective of the research - This should be precise and specific.
5) Concepual framework - We should mention any model which connects these points ( if present)
6) Literature review
7) Conclusions and Findings
8) Recommendations
9) Scope of future research
10) References

Courtesy : Pragya Gaur

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Fresh Brand Brew-By Manish Sinha

The post has been written originally by Mr Manish Sinha.I thank him for his contribution to our blog.He is Vice President Strategic Planning at Bates David Enterprise .Click here for complete profile.

The Fresh Brand Brew(Change Points in Consumer-Brand Relationships)

As we cruise through a chaotic and often messy marketing and branding landscape, how often do we pause to sink-in the fact that many of the consumer-brand relationships have changed dramatically. All of us now have to deal with a fresh brew of brand related issues. This post is about a few of these Change Points.

1. Last Mile is the First Mile.
Today last mile dictates most of our brand purchases - from toothpaste brands to apparel, durables and consumables!
Choice can give freedom. But too much choice can also paralyse the decision-making process. Therefore, it's far easier for the consumer to process brand information, messaging and new experiences at the retail point(last mile) rather than processing it between the first(mass media messaging) and the last mile.

2. The ROI on image-based advertising shows a diminishing trend. Increasingly we are finding that image-led advertising - celebrity image, glamour, hyped promises through environment creation - is for entertainment and aesthetic consumption alone.

The actual consumer purchase on many counts is on purely rational parameters, convenience, value-based offers or a combination of these factors and have very little to do with the brand image that ad agencies create.

3. Brand Baskets. Today, text-book defined brand loyalty is on a precipitous decline. Consumers are not loyal to 'only image' brands anymore. They do not generally stick to a single brand, or to its philosophy. In most cases it's a consideration basket of brands that the consumers date. Multiple brands for the multi-tasking mind and the multiple-avatars that they don...Brand relationships aren't monogamous any-more!

4. Flash Brands. The other interesting 21st century occurrence is a Flash Brand - the fast rising-from-nowhere people and product brands, backed by aggressive/ often manipulative marketing and a combo of PR + Buzz + consumer participation. Of course very often they disappear as fast as they come. But we must try to understand their creation and DNA. Harry Potter, Shilpa Shetty, iPhone can all be bracketed under the 'Flash Brand' cluster...

5. Rise of Authenticity. Consumers these days value brands that have authentic stories...Decades of image manipulation and false promises(new improved, more improved, most improved) have left them cynical about most brand messages. Tag-lines seem repetitive and sound like election slogans. Tired and non-credible. Consumers straight away are screening hype and manufactured statements. They prefer brands with a more authentic and conversational tone.

6. Inconsistency Rocks.The other thing which has fundamentally changed is that many consumers now expect their brands to be inconsistent and surprise them regularly. This is a marked departure from the 'consistency is King' school of brand thinking. Brands now need to be more creative than consistent in their final expressions... And this calls for greater risk-taking and intuition skills on the part of advertisers and marketers. If we look at the case studies of the most popular brands around us, all of them have embraced discontinuous change more readily and rapidly than the also-rans!

These are some of the Change Points in consumer-brand relations. Do write back with your comments. And expect some more 'Fresh Brand Brew' soon. Ciao...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Want to work with FMCG Marketers?

FMCG Marketers is starting a new venture. We want a team of passionate FMCG marketers who can explore different FMCG categories by covering the following points:

  1. Market Potential/ Size
  2. Market Trends
  3. Existing Segments
  4. Details of companies, brands and SKUs and the respective segments they are in
  5. Marketing Activities
  6. Marketing and Branding strategy
  7. Media Strategy
  8. Distribution Strategy
  9. Legal and Regulatory Environment
  10. Future of this category
  11. And any other relevant issues

We have a ready list of all the categories and want interested people to pick one each in which they are working/ interested. You can choose from the following:

Agarbathi, Air Freshner, Atta, Bath Gels, Biscuits, Branded Noodles, Breakfast Meal, Chocolate, Chyawanprash, Coffee, Soft Drink, Confectionary, COsmetics, Creams (all possible ones), Dates, Deo, Detergents, Diapers, Dish Wash (Powder, Bar and Liquid), Edible Oil, Energy Drink, Eye Drops, Skin Care, Hair Care (Cleaneser, Colorant, Conditioner, Cream, Gel, Oil, Removal etc), Hand Wash Liquid, Instant Mix, Jams, Ketchup, Masala (Chilly, coriander etc), Milk Products, Mosquito Repellents, OTC, Perfumes, Pickles, Ready to Drink and Eat, Salt, Sanitary Napkins, Shampoos, Shaving Creams, Snack Foods (Chips, Namkeen and others), Soaps, Soups, Squashes, Talcum Powder, Tea, Toilet Care, Toothpaste, Fruit Juices, Branded Water etc

The selected entries will be published on this blog and will be given certificate of Appreciation from FMCG Marketers. If you are keen in working with us, please comment on this post and call us on this number - 09831055237. We will let you know the details.

Please mail your report to

Friday, August 24, 2007


Whate are they? In simple terms, they are services offered by organizations relating to financial sector

Types of services offered / objectives
1.Fund raising: raise required funds from investors,individuals,etc
2.Deployment of funds: array of financial services for deployment
3. Specialized services like factoring, credit rating,etc
4. Saving mobilization and eco. Growth: mobilization of savings of a cross section of people, for purpose of channeling them into productive investments.

Major constituents of Fin. Service Market
1.Service providers / institutions
2.Service buyers
3.Financial instruments
4.Specialised institutions
5.Regulatory institutions

NBFC(Non Banking Financial Company)

According to RBI, NBFC is an institution or a company whose principle business is to accept deposits under any scheme or arrangement or in any other manner and to lend in any manner.
Mainly they are
--->Fund Based, NBFCs
--->Service Based, NBFCs

Importance of NBFCs

Provides finance to those sectors who are unable to access banks
Provides financial services to individuals and corporate
Satisfy specialised credit requirements
Mobilisation of deposits
Creates competitive environment
Other services like banks

Based on ur comments I will put in more data regarding the same.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

E-Commerce Business Models : Brokerage Model

Hello Friends

This is my first post of the series, which I am going to start on E-Commerce Business Models.

As one can’t ignore the very fact that E-Commerce is grabbing more and more market share daily and traditionally commerce is loosing the same to E-Commerce.

What is Business Model?

Business model refers to the core architecture of a firm, specifically how it deploys all relevant resources to create differentiated value for customers

What is E-Commerce?

As per Wikipedia, “Electronic commerce, commonly known as e-commerce or eCommerce, consists of the buying and selling of products or services over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks

So, there are number of E-Commerce models being used today. Here, I am writing on the Brokerage Model.

Brokerage Model

At the heart of this model are third parties known as brokers, who bring sellers and buyers of products and services together to engage in transactions. Normally, the broker charges a fee to at least one party involved in a transaction. While many brokers are involved in connecting consumers with retailers, they also may connect businesses with other businesses or consumers with other consumers. A wide variety of different scenarios or business configurations fall under the banner of a brokerage model. These include everything from Web sites posting simple online classified ads and Internet shopping malls (Web sites that sell products from a variety of different companies) to online marketplaces, online auctions, aggregators, and shopping bots.

This business model includes :

Marketplace Exchange – This offers a full variety of products and services and gives platform for negotiation and transaction fulfillment. Like is a marketplace exchange for stocks in India. In this type of model, exchanges are independent. In the case of the exchanges are BSE India ( and NSE India (

Buy/Sell Fulfillment – This offers taking customer orders to buy or sell the product or service, including price, money transaction and delivery fulfillment. ( is focusing on selling and buying cars.

Auction Broker – This service includes setting up an electronic auction process for sellers. The broker charges commission on the sale. ( provides marketplace for all legal selling and buying of products and services. It has recently acquired the Indian business based on similar business model ( and now

Transaction Broker -- provides a third-party payment mechanism for buyers and sellers to settle a transaction. [PayPal,] provides payment mechanisms normally when a person tries to pay online via credit card.

Distributor -- is a catalog operation that connects a large number of product manufacturers with volume and retail buyers. Broker facilitates business transactions between franchised distributors and their trading partners. One example could be ( as it acts as a link between publishers and readers. And also it has diversified its base from only books to virtually everything.

Search Agent -- a software agent or "robot" used to search-out the price and availability for a good or service specified by the buyer, or to locate hard to find information. Auto Graphics Inc. provides such a service via its product A Gent SearchTM , which is focused on libraries. More information about it can be found on

Virtual Marketplace -- or virtual market, is a hosting service for online traders that charges setup, monthly listing, and/or transaction fees. May also provide automated transaction and CRM services. [zShops and Merchant Services at]

I have written this article by reading from various online sources. But, the compilation is my own effort. And I request, that if you have read this article then do comment on it, as it will motivate me to write more articles in the series.
So, friends wait for my next article in the series.

Consumer Behaviour-Vanilla Coke Failure India

Launch of Vanilla Coke

•Vanilla Coke launched in April 2004
–First flavor extension in India by Coke
–Heavy media exposure for their 60-sec TVC
•Use of a brand new celebrity – Vivek Oberoi
–Retro-Bollywood theme
–Tag line “Ice Creamy Thanda”
–Created a slang ‘Wakaw’ for “cool and different”
•Promotional activities in colleges and malls
–Launch of remix album with 1970s songs and music
–One of the first attempts at viral marketing using SMS

•Target Group: Urban teens and young adults
–Age group of 12-29 years in high and middle-income group
–Focus on ‘Laggards’
•Vanilla Coke launched only in metro cities first
–Covered only 17% of the population in the first phase
•Launched in 500 ml PET bottles
–Followed by 300 ml glass bottles
•Sales expected to rise by 20-30% post launch

Fate of Vanilla Coke

•Retailers reported slow sales of the product
–Rapidly dropping sales in metros
•Sales dropped from retailer average of 48 bottles/day to 24 in 3 months
–In eight months, it was down to 4-5 bottles/day
•Product pulled out of the market in 10 months
–One of the most expensive advertising failure in Indian marketing history

Internal Reasons for Failure

•Clutter-breaking TVC, but contradicts itself
–Targeting youth with a retro theme
–Lack of connect with slice-of-life Coke commercials
•Curiosity generated, but low support from the product
–Instant comparisons with original Coke
–‘Kids’ product because of the flavor
–Taste similar to existing products like ice-cream floats
•Lack of distributor push
–Margins on VC lower at 25 ps. than Coke at 40 ps.

External Reasons for Failure

•Cola market slowing down
–Impact of pesticide and groundwater controversies
–Growth of the health drink and bottled water segment
•Competition from Pepsi and its other brands
•Low acceptance as a mixing agent with alcoholic beverages
For details on latest trends in Indian consumer markets visit


A few years ago, hedge funds could hardly be noticed in the Indian marketplace, and they were highly secretive investment vehicles even in the U.S. Today, India is being looked upon as a potential investment ooportunity.The stock market in India is booming and so are the investments from abroad in the form of FDIs and FIIs.
With a number of deals being struck in the country, hedge fund players are ready to experiment with the kind of upside that might be possible in this market.

What is a Hedge Fund?

A hedge fund is a fund that can take both long and short positions, use arbitrage, buy and sell undervalued securities, trade options or bonds, and invest in almost any opportunity in any market where it foresees impressive gains at reduced risk.
Some features of hedge funds include:
Alfred Winslow Jones started the first known hedge fund in 1949
Only high net worth individuals and institutional investors invest through them
The primary aim of most hedge funds is to reduce volatility and risk while attempting to preserve capital and deliver positive returns under all market conditions.

Some of the hedging strategies available to hedge funds:
Selling short - selling shares without owning them, hoping to buy them back at a future date at a lower price in the expectation that their price will drop.
Using arbitrage - seeking to exploit pricing inefficiencies between related securities - for example, can be long convertible bonds and short the underlying issuers equity.
Trading options or derivatives - contracts whose values are based on the performance of any underlying financial asset, index or other investment.
Investing in anticipation of a specific event - merger transaction, hostile takeover, spin-off, exiting of bankruptcy proceedings, etc.
Investing in deeply discounted securities - of companies about to enter or exit financial distress or bankruptcy, often below liquidation value.


Today one thing the consumer has in abundance is product options. We find a plethora of products in the market in almost any category: FMCG, Retail, Information Technology, Banking Financial Services Insurance (BFSI), Hospitality, Health Care, Education, Consumer Durables, Food and Beverages.
The consumer is ready to pick innovative products and services provided they satisfy the customer needs and fill the gaps. A company needs to understand the changing consumer attitudes and behavior and be clear on their target consumer and what appeals to them. They can then devise a product which fits the mindset of the target consumer.

Innovation is a constant process and it is not a new term it has existed since centuries where innovators have had the same passion. Innovation can come from anywhere or anyone inside or outside an organization. The main ingredients of successful innovation are a fresh perspective, a diverse source of ideas, and an open environment.
However, a policy of innovation will only be successful, if it is pursued systematically and upon a strategic basis.

What qualities are shared by Cadbury’s Schweppes, the European candy and beverage company; Tata Motors, the Indian auto maker, and Google, the superstar of Silicon Valley? What links Caterpillar, of earthmoving equipment fame, with Apple, the nimble conjurer of Ipod Nano, and Adidas, the german purveyor of sportswear? What does Toyota have in common wit Christian Dior?
All these companies spend less than their competitors on research and development, yet outpace their industries across a wide range of performance metrics. They are amongst the world’s high-leverage innovators.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

ERP Vs Family Patriarch

The article doesn’t intent to explain the technology part of ERP, but the significance.

Irrespective of the country or environment, we have all seen the traditional businesses being run, since our childhood.

In a traditional business normally a family is involved. And one of the family members assumes the position of the Patriarch.

Role & Importance of Patriarch

Patriarch is central to the whole business. He is the person, who has final say on every issue. All people, whether a production guy, HR guy, IT guy, Finance guy reports to him. They give reports on issues ranging from minute to critical. He is informed about working capital issues, bad suppliers, bad customers, defaulting employees, competitive landscape and so on.
With this continuous input of information, patriarch becomes most informed and most important person to the whole business.

In other terms, he becomes Datawarehouse of the business. And equipped with this information, when there is any info, advice or decision is required by any stakeholder of the business, patriarch( normally a wise person) applies his Datamining skills on the datawarehouse, and comes out with logical info, advice or decision.

ERP as Patriarch

Now in ERP, the patriarch is replaced by a combination of application softwares, hardware and procedures.

And this creates an Artificially Intelligent System known as ERP.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Mckinsey's Seven S's Model

Time of Concept: 1980
Use for : Consulting, Decision making, Organizational effectiveness, strategy formulation
Seven ‘S’s

Strategy : In-tune with Vision and mission of organization
Structure : Amalgamation of corporate hierarchy and external environment
System : The Standard Operating Procedure for work, methodology
Staff : The different personnel in various departments of the organization
Style :The learning curve level of the managers
Skills : The core-competencies of the organization
Shared Value : The culture, core beliefs, foundation of the organization
Easy to apply, combines all the rational elements with emotional elements, developing the experience curve
The focus should be on all S parallel, Most of the company following this vanished in 1990s

Reviewed by: Abhishesh Kumar Sharma

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Depositary Receipts or Global Depositary Receipts

We all read about depositary receipts these days. It’s an important tool through which the foreign companies invest in the market. It is a negotiable financial security which is traded on the local stock exchange and usually as equity. These are issued by the companies listed in foreign exchange. This provides the facility to the investors to invest in equity of other countries.
The American Depository receipts are in circulation since 1920. They have gradually evolved into GDR (Global Depositary Receipts). Other popular depositary receipts are
European DRs and International DRs. The GDRs are commonly traded on the European stock exchanges. The GDRs are traded on the validity of the currency in the stock exchanges. The GDRs are usually created to list the already issued securities and debt shares in the other foreign exchanges across the globe. The laws of the country guide the procedure of listing the security on the exchange. IPO is also eligible for issuing GDR.
DRs are instruments of increasing the foreign trade. It not only helps in transferring the money but also the transfer of resources like technology, market procedures and increase transparency. Both the countries are benefited by the mutual transactions. The investors can invest in the global market from their own country. The risks associated are high but so are the returns. The investors don’t face the problem of going into to unfamiliar market for trade. But still the risks of foreign exchange or currency exchange are there. The company has multiple benefits by issuing the GDRs. The benefits are 1. Raising the Capital from world market help the company to attain global status. 2. Increase in the liquidity of the shares. 3. Opportunity for the foreign and the expatriate’s investors based abroad. 4. Solves the problem of barriers on the entry of foreign capital. Thus the company can raise the capital from the world market for its current procedures. The only risks associated with it are the foreign exchange rates.
Author : Ela Johri

Strategy Execution-8 steps

1. Building enabling organization with resources and capabilities:
With changing business landscapes and changing environment, organizations must have a strategy developed for innovation and flexibility by utilizing their resources (human,financial,technological) and developing capabilities which are ongoing incremental activities.

2. Resource Allocation Processes and Resource Commitments

Resource -------> Resource Commitments -----> Activities

Activities--->Resource Endowments
Activities --->Resource Commitments

•Activities u perform are activities u choose depending on ur resources
•Terms on which u perform ur activites depends on whatever choices the company has made in the past
•Integrate the activities and resource based view.Put the time dimension.

3. Business Policies and Procedures worldwide
Pushing down the decisions to lower level
Give the manager the basis of control
In similar situations same decisions are taken

4. Adopting Best Practices and striving for continuous improvement through the value chain

5. Management Information Systems

6. Tying rewards to achievement of strategic and financial objectives and to effective strategy execution.
The objectives determine which business mode the company should follow
Balanced Scorecard
KRAs(Key Responsibility Areas)

7. Creating strategy supportive work environment and corporate culture:
Work Environment:
It depends on the market needs and compliance with company rules and regulations.
Corporate Culture:
It tells about the openness of the people i.e. culture of the members of the organization

8. Leadership Development:
-->Strategic Inflection Point: A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. That change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end. Understanding inflection point can help leaders, decision makers and voters to detect a change in outlook for better decision making process.
-->Red Queen Effect: As organizations struggle to adapt to competitive pressures, their fitness levels improve , raising the baseline against which competitive advantage can be measured.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pyramid-The Indian Perspective

I would like to give the Indian perspective to what Paul has talked about

With the rapid expansion and globalization of India's markets the consumer purchasing patterns and product preferences have seen a change.

The rich class is only 0.8 millions as opposed to 135.4 million households of poor and 41.3 millions households of aspirers. In the last decade there has been increasing focus on the rising Indian middle class but the deprived and aspirers are left out .Here we can see the huge potential at the bottom due to sheer size.

The above figure shows the shift in the pyramid over a span of 5 years. It clearly shows that the deprived class will decrease and there will be an increase in aspirers, middle class and rich class. This is due to increase in the income levels and development. Clearly this shows increase in the consumption market. A simple logic deduction is that instead of companies fighting with each other to get a piece of market pie, it seems sensible enough to invest in the development of the bottom of the pyramid so that the market pie itself increase and there is enough demand to be tapped .This exactly is where fortune really lies – at the bottom of the pyramid

Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid

The world market presents lucrative and diverse opportunities for the MNCs to invest, especially in the lower income group. The world’s most exciting, fastest-growing market is where you would least expect it: at the bottom of the pyramid. Collectively, the world’s billions of poor people have immense entrepreneurial capabilities and buying power. Companies have a genuine opportunity to commit their energy and resources to help the disadvantaged of the world. This report proves the presence and reality of the fortune of the pyramid and provides impetus for further thought process.

Tier 1:
At the very top of the world economic pyramid are 75 to 100 million affluent Tier 1 consumers from around the world. This is a cosmopolitan group composed of middle- and upper-income people in developed countries and the few rich elites from the developing world.

Tier 2 and 3:
In the middle of the pyramid, is Tiers 2 and 3, are poor customers in developed nations and rising middle incomes in developing countries, the targets of MNCs' past emerging-market strategies.

Tier 4: Now consider the 4 billion people in Tier 4, at the bottom of the pyramid. Their annual per capita income based on purchasing power parity in U.S. dollars, is less than $1,500, the minimum considered necessary to sustain a decent life. For well over a billion people, the per capita income is less than $1 per day.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Porter's Diamond

A diagram showing four conditions:

-->Demand conditions

-->Factor Endowments

-->Related and Supported industries

-->Firm strategy, structure, and rivalry

that usually must be all favorable for an industry in a country to develop and sustain global competitive advantage.

1. Demand Conditions: Market demand of a product in local market and foreign market.If the demand is more in the local market the company must focus on that product to develop a sustainable competitive advantage
2. Factor Conditions: A company has both natural and acquired resources.It can create its own factors like skilled labor,strong technological base,etc in order to develop its core competencies
3. Related and Supported Industries : If the local related industris are competitive it will force the company to innovate and be competitive and rapidly respond to changes in the external environment.
4. Firm's Strategy,Structure and Rivalry :
The culture of a country have an effect on the firm's strategy and structure.For instance certain countries have more family owned businesses than others which are more hierarchial.
Rivalry might help a company from being competitive.It helps a company to continuously compete with the others and continuously improve their value chain and thrive for innovation in products and processes.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Brand Name: Bingo Chips

Company: ITC Foods

Category: Snack food

Biggest Competitor: Pepsi FritoLays

Pricing : Rs 5 and Rs 10

They wanted to popularize the brand during the world cup but since India was out early they never gained much success there.

Saturday, August 11, 2007



    The furniture industry in India is estimated to be worth Euro 5 Billion as on April 2007. Within this the wooden furniture accounts for Euro 750 million. Of this the imported furniture market is currently worth Euro 75 million and is growing at 50 - 60% each year.The furniture sector in India only makes a marginal contribution to the GDP,representing about 0.5 per cent of the total GDP. The major part of this industry is in the informal sector that is, about 85%. The remaining 15% is in the formal sector and is made up of manufactures and importers catering to the various segment of the industry.


It can be classified on the basis of:
It comprises mainly sofas, dining tables and seating, professional production is destined for offices and companies and the institutional furniture sector serves mainly hotels, schools and hospitals.
Types of Raw Material:
About 65% of the furniture produced in India is in wood, 25% in metal and the remaining 10% in plastic.


Hotel Furniture

Home and Garden Furniture

Corporate/Office Furniture


Etiquette means manners……good manners. It’s a protocol or custom to behave. Etiquette means “the rules governing socially acceptable behavior.” Business Etiquette is defined as “the forms, manners and ceremonies established by convention as acceptable or required in social relations, in a profession, or in official life.”
A good point to remember in business etiquette is everyone should be treated with equal courtesy and respect. Business etiquette should be a give and take, to help each other when help is needed and have consideration for others. Good manners and business etiquette have always been based on common sense and thoughtfulness.
Business dressing:

Successful business dressing is more than wearing the correct blue suit and white shirt or blouse to an interview. It requires ongoing, careful attention to a few simple rules of clothing and grooming. As rungs on the ladder of success get increasingly crowded, personal appearance takes on greater appearance. While books of advice on selecting the right color and cut of business clothing abound, attending to a few minor details can polish a person’s image.
The way you dress speaks volumes about who you are as a person and as a business communicator. Let's face it, clothes talk. Whenever you enter a room for the first time, it takes only a few seconds for people you've never met to form perceptions about you and your abilities. You don't have to utter a word; people peg you one way if you're dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, slacks and a sports coat, and yet another if you're wearing a bow tie and seersucker suit. Regardless of who you really are, your clothes and body language always speak first.


Attrition: A reduction in the number of employees through retirement, resignation or death.
It is assumed that every employee would love their jobs, like their coworkers, work hard for their employers, get paid well for their work, have an excellent , and flexible schedules so they could attend to personal or family needs when necessary, thereby never leave.However, in reality the biggest concern and challenge for an HR Manager is ATTRITION.

Common Reasons for attrition:

· Odd Work timings with night shifts being one of the most common reasons
· Compensation and benefits
· Monotonous work or no autonomy of work
· Company policies
· Lack of Career growth
· Strained relations with co-workers or seniors
· Dissatisfactory training facilities or work surroundings.

Unlike its counterparts the HR Manager in the BPO Sector sector has to bridge the ever increasing demand and supply gap of professionals. In the BPO Sector the HR professionals have to find the right kind of people who can keep pace with the unique work patterns in this industry. Adding to this is the issue of maintaining consistency in performance and keeping the motivation levels high, despite the monotonous work.

The toughest concern however for a HR Manager is to control the Attrition Rate.

Attrition Rate: "the rate of shrinkage in size or number"

Staff attrition (or turnover) and absenteeism represent significant costs to most organizations. It is odd, therefore, that many organizations neither measure such costs nor have targets or plans to reduce them. Many organizations appear to accept them as part of the cost of doing business - a sign of increasing job mobility and decreasing staff loyalty perhaps, a matter to be regretted but just 'one of those things.' They add a sum in their budgets for 'temp staff' and 'recruitment' and forget about it.
The attrition rate in the BPO Sector in India is as high as 35%.
However, it is one area where an HR can make a difference - and one that can be measured in quantifiable, financial terms against targets.


This is the "HAT curve" which explains the problem level with time. When ever the restructuring in the organization takes place intially the problems are less but as the people factor comes in the problem amplitude increase. But at the same time if proper action by corporate management is take then the problem will finally subside and will be decrease.
For achieving this the company has to do continuous improvement (CI).

Talent Management

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of talent management.It must be something to do with management of talent shows prevalent on television today.Well No.Talent Management is a term increasingky being used in organizations for their overall HR startegy.What is required today is to have talented pool of workforce who can add value to the organization.The process here involves :

1. Enhancing skills of existing employees by training and development

2. Attracting people from other organizations to join yours

Basically getting the right people for the right job is most important in an organization to utilize their potential to the maximum.It is the talemt management team that is responsible for maintainence and prospering of the corporate culture.Today having the right skilled people hekps you build your core competencies and differentiate yourselves from the others ultimately providing your organization with a competitive adavntage.It is said that if your employees are are happy then so will be your customers.For instance the SouthWest Airlines presents a good case of talent management although the term may not have been prevalent than but the essence created a paradigm for other airline companies to follow and the case itself is taught and discussed in management schools even today.In India, when you talk to a Kingfisher Airlines employee he shows a sense of pride and satisfaction with his company.You will never find him brooding over bosses and stuff.Sois reflected in their service both on board and on the ground.

Talent Management is basically a strategy concerning the experiences of people since the time they join the organization to the time they leave it.

Important Features:

1.Alignment of Vision and Mission:

Firstly it is very important to align company strategies to its vison,mision and objectives.Whatis more important is to bring your workforce to a common platform in terms of their understanding of the company's vision/mission/objectives.Only then the work culture can lead to success of organization.

2. Training and Development

3. Recruitment and Selection:

Are we employing the right people for the right job?

4. Incentives:

What kind of incentive our my employees expecting.Are they intrinsically motivated or extrinsically motivated.

All these and probably more parameters can help you manage your talent better in the organization

Friday, August 10, 2007

Changing Marketing Dynamics with Changing Consumer

Customer’ will play an integral part in the changing marketing dynamics. Shift of power in the market place from the marketer and channel to the consumer or customer is occurring primarily because of the shift in information technology and changing customer characteristics. Information and knowledge will flow both ways: from marketer to consumer and from consumer to marketer. Information technology has resulted in the growth of customer power. Consumers can determine what they want to buy, search all available resources and compare prices and alternatives. Marketing and communication development in future will be based on who controls the market place and the variables that influence market place power. Major changes in the market place are primarily caused by technology.

Changes in the market place are also caused by the changing expectations and demands from customers. Identifying new opportunities and developing successful competitive strategies based on the creative application of leading edge technologies will also decide the success and failure of marketers in the future. Firms have to act in advance to tap this competitive advantage rather than reacting after the opportunity is lost. Focusing on consumers’ changing views and changing trends in future buying plans will be necessary for survival. This research paper attempts to understand the role of customers in the marketing network and throws light on the customer characteristics, which influence the transition from passive consumer to an active co-creator.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Management Strategy

A Management Strategy
I witnessed some interesting behaviour from one of our premier management schools this summer. A behaviour that I have since discovered is not uncommon.

This summer I met the PA of an emminent professor at a business school.
I had met her on several occassions before and knew her to be a bright chatty woman who always enjoyed passing the time of day.

On this occassion when I asked her how her week was going she looked at me and I could see that she wanted to smile but the muscles in her face would not work and after a few twitches she gave up trying and looked back at the ground.

I asked her what was the matter and she told me that her department was undergoing change.
I asked her what that actually meant.
She told me that a "Change Manager" had appeared in the department and everybody was waiting to see who got the sack.

This was a woman, who is normally a capable and confident administrator, had been reduced to a nervous wreck because she perceived that an anonymous arbiter had been brought in to decide her future.
This was her reaction to the presence of a "Change Manager" based on her perception that change meant people being sacked.

How close was this perception to reality?

I met my PA again a month later and the way that she and her colleagues had been treated made me spit.
She had got over her first shock and was now extremely angry with the college authorities.
30 senior PA's were now involved.

It seems that the chancellor and his senior team had announced the changes then brought in a consultant to ratify them.
The situation for the PA's was that they had been told that their fates would be announced in six weeks.
They had no idea how many jobs would be left after six weeks but were told that nobody would be made redundant, alternative employment would be found.

The perception of the PA's was that their managers had already decided how many would be let go and were only spinning it out under the guise of "Managed Change" because they wanted to pretend that the decision was part of a reasoned process and not the arbitrary wielding of a financial axe by the accountant.

It was awful to watch the diabolical way a centre for excellence was treating its own staff, and still had the temerity to continue to hold itself up as an example to whom we should look for learned guidance.

"What thickness is the ivory on their tower that prevents them seeing the consequences of their actions?"

My initial question was whether this girls perception of change was shared by others.
It seems that it is.
I spoke to my PA friend again last month and they were still telling her to wait while the decision was made about her future.
She could not endure the stress any longer and started to look for alternative employment.
As she said, she loved the job that she used to have,

The authorities had through their actions caused her to lose trust in them and come to hate the job that was now causing her so much stress.
She could not consider continuing to work for them even if they announced tomorrow that her job was safe because she could not continue to work for, or trust, people who had caused her so much pain.

This behaviour from a respected university that is held up as a centre of management excellence is, in its personal effect on these individuals, appalling.

It is interesting to note that the bosses of all the PA's affected had by this time been asked to reapply for their jobs too.
The PA that I know told me that her boss has started to look for work elsewhere for the same reasons as she had.

Last week I met the PA again and she told me that both she and her boss had found new jobs, still working together, at a neighbouring school.
It does not have the same reputation but that is a situation that neither of them thinks will last for very long.

Having spent long hours discussing how diabolical the action of the college was the PA's had come to realise that what was apparently just another example of Crass bad management was in actual fact management best practice.
As a centre of management excellence one of the techniques that was advocated to avoid making redundancy payments when you need to get rid of people is too make the workplace so stressful that they choose to leave.

The favourite technique for doing this is to make people reapply for their own jobs.

I am happy to report in this instance that the management school were well and truly stuffed.

My PA, and a number of others who had all found alternative employment, accidentally neglected to tell the college that they had found alternative employment.

The result was that the college, when nobody left voluntarily, were forced to announce the redundancies. Every single person made redundant took their payment then walked straight into a new job that they had already accepted.

The college still had to make redundancy payments to the people it had always intended laying off but in addition it also had the expense of recruiting new staff to fill all the other posts of the people who had left because of the shoddy way the college had treated their staff.

What goes around, comes around.

Score one for the good guys.

Peter A HunterAuthor of "Breaking the Mould"
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