Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Is your segmentation (still) valid?

Blackberry has become an object of ridicule, blackberry owners are likely to hide it under their iPad..... I read in newspaper. Being a blackberry and iPad user myself I could understand....

What went wrong? It was a perfect business proposition. Busy executives need mails on the go, they need to be delivered securely, they need a closed chat program, all nicely packaged by blackberry. Status symbol not so long ago, why should people hide it now.

Apple and android phones who could easily connect to any wifi network and could many more things spoilt blackberry's party. Blackberry is still the most secure and reliable phone but customers don't want it anymore. Why?

Guess the assumptions for customer segmentations failed. Office executives were no different from other smartphone users after all. They got lured by exactly the same thing that lured the teenager to the smartphone. How about security? Well, that was the users concern anyway. That was MIS departments headache. Why should the user worry about them.

There may be several technological reasons but from marketing standpoint blackberry failed to see changing customer segmentations in ever evolving market.

In this fast paced, ever evolving market if you are marketing something you should ask yourself everyday - Is my segmentation still valid?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Never say the Parrot is dead!

Akbar was a noble mughal king who ruled India in 12th
century. It is said that he had a very intelligent, witty and smart
advisor called Birbal in his court. Once a traveller from a distant
land who had a talking parrot visited Akbar's court. The parrot
charmed Akbar and he fell in love with parrot. He appointed skilled
caretakers for the parrot. To ensure they are serious about the job
and understand the importance of the parrot he said, "whoever tells
me the parrot is dead, will get his head chopped off". It worked
like magic and all caretakers worked round the clock to take care
of the parrot. But they could not avoid the inevitable. One day the
parrot died and caretakers did not have anyone else but Birbal to
go to. As always, Birbal had a trick. When Akbar asked about the
parrot next time. They said, "he has been behaving quite
differently. He neither eats, nor drinks anything. He has his eyes
closed and does not move much." Surprised Akbar walked up to the
cage and exclaimed, "oh! Parrot is dead. Why didn't you tell me
that way". "Everyone wanted their head to be saved", exclaimed
Birbal. Like Akbar, every boss has a parrot. A pet idea, a new
project they are in love with. However irrational it may sound they
don't want to hear any bad news about it. In many Asian cultures
saying a direct "No" to any request is considered rude and it is
outright unacceptable.

Describing the facts for the boss to conclude that the parrot is dead,
rather than announcing the parrot is dead, can save a lot of things,
a head for instance.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Its ok to be a reptile...

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="371"](Image source: deviantart.net) Reptiles seem to be quite focussed...[/caption]

Mammals are characterized by their active lifestyle. They are walking, jumping, swinging in the trees. They find food very proactively. They search for the prey by breaking their camafloge code,  secretly get near them , chase them and catch. They also employ superior strategies to catch the prey. Wild dogs work in a large group and catch the prey of any size by merely tiring them. Lionesses surround the large prey from all sides and chimpanzees insert wooden sticks in ant hills and catch the ants that hold on to the stick.

Despite this the best success rate killers like lions achieve is 33%. Mammals waste a lot of energy in searching for food, which if conserved would reduce their need for food. Proactive search for food or business has a built-in risk of wastage. One has to run equally hard for each kill, with20% conversion rate generally seen in business transactions 1 in 5 will succeed. All unsuccessful chases would leave you feeling exhausted, frustrated and filled with self doubt.

Consider a reptiles strategy on the other had. They are passive hunters. They position themselves where food would unsuspectingly come to them. They have patience to keep steady till the kill is in the striking distance. Once the kill is in range they move very rapidly, use secret weapons like camaflouge, poison or hypnotic sounds to catch the prey. Reptiles are cool, aka cold blooded. They have better work life balance as they take long vacations in their hibernation spots. Well all this gets them spectacular results too. Compared to mammals of same size, reptiles have longer life span.

If you are tired of being a mammal at work, if futile chases are demotivating you, if wasteful activities are sapping out precious time out of crunched schedule, its OK to be reptile. Its OK to wait for the opportunity or the customer to walk up to you. Its OK to take a long vacation and recharge your batteries. Its OK to be cool than just running around. There are chances you will not burn out and survive longer in your job!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What are you - hunter, farmer, fisherman or gatherer?

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="400"] What are you a Hunter or farmer or.....?[/caption]

Human being is 250,000 year old species. It outlived other human like
species due to superior food gathering strategies. These strategies
are in our genes and they manifest themselves in corporate world in
the way we get business or get the next order or find the right
candidate or the supplier for that matter.

Hunters require ability to spot the target when its quite far, reach
close to the target smoothly without unsettling her and sprint or take
out the weapon when you are close enough and go for it. Hunters
necessarily need to rest after the kill and should have large enough
stomach to go hungry till they spot the next kill.

Farmers on the other hand need to find fertile land, seeds, water,
sunshine an d truck loads of patience. Some seeds may not germinate so
sow more. When all factors are favorable you will get a bumper crop.
If you can survive on fruits, without touching the tree... You don't
need to do much except for keeping out the pastes, weeds and others
who may be eyeing your fruits.

Fisherman needs to be a silent operator. Should be sure there is fish
around before you throw the bet. Sharpen the risk appetite and wait.
You never know, you may even catch a blue whale.

Gatherer needs to have an open mind for sure. No need to define  what
you are looking for. As long as you are able to use what you have
gathered to feed yourself its fine. Enjoy the variety and
uncertainties, forget the stress.

There is no right or wrong strategy. Key is know who you are and like
the food you find.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Corporate Mantra


Wish you a very happy and prosperous 2013!!

Excited to commence my fourth blog-series : Corporate Mantra.

Corporate life is uncertain, stressful and challenging.  Perhaps we spend more time with our bosses and colleagues than with our family. Each situation we face is new and unique. How we wish we had guides or cheat codes!! Fact is there are no definite answers. What we have are only perspectives.

Have you ever watched a 3D movie without 3D glasses? It's a diffused, multi-layered 2D picture. Wearing 3D glasses is the moment that magically brings crystal clarity and life-like reality to the hazy picture.

Corporate Mantra is an honest attempt to provide those 3D glasses to the everyday situations in our work-life!

Read, reflect and share!