What’s better….process or outcome

differentiation, Frameworks, ideal customer, Positioning, segmentation, single target market, Uncategorized

In our world of monthly or quarterly targets, where we are we marked in every week’s review meeting, it gets very enchanting to see the outcome without noticing the process and inputs.

Sometimes good processes can also lead to bad outcomes because of the randomness in the market that you are targeting . For example you may have identified the single target market , you would have planned your marketing activities for the long haul, you would gone about systematically educating your market, you would have identified the positioning by doing the correct segmentation, but suddenly an unexpected event occurs and throws your complete plan out of gear. The COVID-19 pandemic threw so many launches out of gear. No process can predict this kind of a situation.  But because of the right process, while we couldn’t go ahead with our original OEM we now have an even more responsive OEM to launch our offerings. 

On the other hand I have had situations in my life, where I was scared, because we had short circuited the process , because of lack of time, but still got amazing results. That was also a result of randomness or luck where a certain trigger of a government deadline moved all our inventory in no time. We made a lot of profit also.

Sometimes you need to tweak processes to make them more responsive for the increased pace of product launches. However I am of the belief that we need to map the process for a product launch. It could be directly from the books by Philip Kotler or it could be built on your experience but having a process ensures that you don’t miss any step.

Tell me in the comments below, what is your view.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Product management concepts for a consumer company -2

B2B, differentiation, differentiation, ideal customer, Marketing, Positioning, route to market, segmentation, single target market

Product management is actually a much stronger discipline with consumer companies – both in the FMCG and White Goods space. What has happened with the e-commerce companies is that they have actually taken the whole consumer marketing concept to a different scale. Having said that, all the companies which are successful even in the e-commerce space, have followed the basics of marketing / product management to the core.

What started this series of posts was the fact that while these companies were burning massive cash, they were still enjoying heavy premiums when they get listed in the stock market. So is it that they are blindly burning cash or is there a method to the madness.

I highlighted some of the concepts in yesterday’s post. Today let’s look at other things like Single Target Market. Amazon today is a very big market place where they sell their own products as well as provide a platform for others to sell and take a commission on items sold. But Amazon only started by selling books initially. They did not try to get into selling everything at once. And they just sold books first in the Americas before expanding.

Look at another company Uber – they were only the ride hailing App. They did not get into the Uber Eats or the Uber Connect till they had taken a dominant position in that market. Similarly Zappos – which is now part of Amazon – was only into selling shoes.

Generally when I talk of concepts and give ideas for targeting the customers, building partnerships, I speak from the perspective of a small or mid-sized company which is wanting to get into the market. So some of the ideas are very specific.

However the same concepts at a different level are also applicable over the e-commerce space. So while Amazon is a big daddy in the retail products space, a small start-up in India “Nykaa” started with just selling cosmetics and related products to ladies. Today if you want even a French perfume in India, your first port (in this case App) of choice would be Nykaa. Its become such a big brand for the cosmetics and related categories. Similarly in the fashion space its “Myntra”. These companies segmented the market even within e-commerce and specialised in certain areas and have made a success out of it.

So principles of marketing and product management won’t change, what could change is the scale, the risk and the delivery mechanisms.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Riding the elephant – the relationship can cause challenges

Marketing, Positioning, Symbiotic relationship

As a small company when you get into a relationship with one large global OEM, you don’t have the wherewithal to invest in otherrelationships.

Also when you get into a relationship, and you can’t get into multiple relationships because of the size, you tend to get marked with that OEM. All your customers see you as a provider of services or products around that OEM.

I always love taking a position in the market. While you eliminate a lot of customers in the market, the customers who stick to you will always be the ones who are willing to do business with you because of your capabilities around that OEM.

That makes it easier to do business. It becomes easier to make money. But you need to keep a track of where the elephant is going.

I have faced situations where we had such a strong position in the market, that customers would line up for the services. However suddenly there was a new set of disruptors who entered the market and within maybe 3 years or so the OEM with whom we were aligned did not see a future and they dismantled the sales teams.

Suddenly the investments we made were worth nothing. That was the easy part. The tougher part was the fact that customers always thought of us as a specialist on that product line. So they were not willing to consider us for others in a similar line of business.

That is a very difficult situation to be in.

As we grew bigger we made it a point to look for OEM agnostic solutions as far as possible so that we could target a larger piece of the audience.

However for a small company my advice would still be to find the right elephant. Its always worth the risk. Once you grow big, then you could look at diversifying.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Price versus value, cost versus value- Part 2

Positioning, Value, value proposition

Apple is a perfect example of value in the mind of the user.

In my last post on this topic I had written about how value like beauty is in the eyes/mind of the user.

No one knows to exploit this better than Apple. You have seen photos of people queuing up in front of Apple stores hours before the opening to buy the newest iPhone to be launched.

I am not an iPhone user but we do use Apple computers at home. And when my last MacBook Air’s battery started giving me problems I decided to buy a new one. This was October last year. When we started looking, the first thing we noticed that Apple was intending to come out with a new processor based system soon. This processor would reduce battery usage by a fraction and performance was atleast 2 times more. So instead of immediately buying the readily available product we decided to wait because we saw value in that. Eventhough we also knew the price points would be much higher.

The M1 chip MacBook was launched sometime November last year in the US, but it was not available in India till April this year. And then the second wave of Covid hit India and everything was in lockdown. So again we waited. Finally we got our new Apple M1 MacBook Air in June end.

If you can create a position in the minds of the target audience, then cost becomes a secondary factor, it is the value that the customer perceives which makes all the difference.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!