Monthly Archives: August 2016

Learn How to Make a Product Training Program Effective

 

 

In this fast pace business world companies are spending billions of dollars in training their sales forces about their product. But why only a few of the companies are successful when it comes to product training initiatives and rest are not able to yield the desired results? How can a company build an efficient and effective product training program? Let us have a look at it.

Well, product training program should impart an in-depth knowledge of the product or service being offered to the sales team. As a general rule, product training ensures that the sales team understands:

The features and functionality of the product

The features of the product are captured in detail in the input Product Features. When product features are presented to sales personnel, it is important to focus on how the features will benefit the customer. The sales team will need to be instructed on the intent and use of each feature. They may require practice using the product or demonstrations of its functionality. The corporate sales staff should have a level of familiarity with the product that enables them to explain the value of each feature, display the product’s ease of use, and answer any questions the customer might have about the features.

The customer’s use of the product

The way in which the customer uses the product, or integrates it into their existing system, is a key area that the corporate sales staff must understand. The ability to view the product’s purchase and implementation from the customer’s point of view greatly helps the sales staff to communicate with the customer, as it demonstrates knowledge of the customer’s needs. Descriptions of customer use and integration may be captured as part of the product strategy, the product features, and the sales value proposition.

Competitor’s products and their similarities and differences

The corporate sales staff needs to be trained on the specifics of any competitor’s products. Knowledge of similar products will help the sales staff focus on areas in which their product is superior, and anticipate customer questions.

How the product actually achieves the promised sales value proposition.

Being able to effectively communicate how the sales value proposition is applicable to a specific customer or target audience is a key component of corporate sales. The sales team will need training on the sales value proposition, which areas are of interest to which companies, and the quantifiable results of using the product.

Industry trends (related to product use)

Industry trends related to product use help the corporate sales team understand the usage patterns of customers over time. This can also help determine future buying trends. Knowledge of industry trends needs to be updated regularly. The corporate sales team must have access to market research reports to stay current on trends.

Additional offerings

Additional offerings refer to any incentive programs, sales commissions, and gifts for customers. The corporate sales team must know the company policy related to additional offerings when meeting with and presenting information to customers. Many buyers in large organizations are prohibited from accepting gifts or commissions from sellers. The seller can offer “value-adds” as part of the contract. This avoids the appearance of impropriety because it provides the incentives to the buying organization rather than to any one individual.

An effective product training program focuses more towards the benefits of the product and less towards its features. It utilizes the technology and provides the information for the product team. The product training programs are one of the vital parts of the organizational culture, especially of those organizations which are performing really great in the industry.

To read more interesting articles about sales and marketing, visit www.SMstudy.com

Would you like a Warranty for That Explosive Device?

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Every year when the holiday season rolls around people take a glance at their bank accounts and ponder what exciting technological gadget will be released just in time for the shopping rush. This year it was hoverboards. There was just one problem… they are known to catch fire and burn down houses.

The hoverboard of today is actually just a two-wheeled self-balancing motorized scooter, but that is a mouthful, so hoverboard it is. And most importantly, the boards will not levitate like Marty McFly’s, but they may spontaneously combust.

To date there have been ten recorded instances in the United States in which hoverboards have gone up in flames. Most of the fires did not cause any real damage, no fatalities, except to the board of course. However, a hoverboard is currently suspected to be at fault for the burning down of a house in New York.

The reason for the fires is the lithium battery. After the first hoverboard was released, dozens of companies popped up selling their version of the product. The only problem is that if the battery isn’t connected to the wiring correctly it will explode, causing a very real firework show. Major distributors of the product, such as Amazon, pulled numerous hoverboard brands from shelves due to incorrect wiring. Amazon released a compliance statement, “Manufacturers must provide documentation demonstrating that all hoverboards you list are compliant with applicable safety standards, including UN 38.3 (battery), UL 1642 (battery) and UL 60950-1 (charger).”

Name brand hoverboard companies such as Swagway and Razor have applauded Amazon for their initiative. The cheap generic brands with the faulty wires were bad seeds and needed to be eliminated, but the question is, what do the name brand companies do to regain faith in their product?

According to the Marketing Strategy, Book 1 of the SMstudy® Guide, “Risk-Sharing Pricing is a strategy that businesses may employ when there is a potential for consumers to avoid buying a particular item because of a perceived risk associated with the product. In a risk-sharing pricing scenario, the seller shares some of the risk with the buyer or takes on all of the risk to induce a favorable buying season.”

Razor has stated that their batteries are manufactured by Samsung, a very reliable brand, but to ensure safety, they include a warranty with each hoverboard sold. In this case, the buyer is still expected to undertake some sort of risk, but hoverboards are worth it, right?

Swagway’s hoverboard is built with plastic rather than metal, so the hoverboard is sold for the low price of $399 dollars. When the majority of hoverboards are in the 1,000-dollar range, $399 looks very reasonable. The company is selling a cheaper product that appeals to the same buyers that were looking to purchase the less expensive generic brand, but still follows the safety standards. In this case, the seller is taking on all of the risk, but is also assuring the consumer that the product is a safe alternative.

Most people would think that Swagway and Razor would want to go out with a bang, but in this case, reliability works.   

The importance of product positioning to the marketing strategic planning

Product-positioning-

 

Product positioning is a very important tool for an effective marketing strategic planning. Product positioning creates an image of the company’s products in the mind of consumers, highlighting the most important benefits that differentiate the product from similar products in the market. Product positioning involves identifying points of parity and points of differentiation that enable a company’s product to both meet market standards while offering consumers additional value on key dimensions such as quality, innovation, price, leadership, and functionality, among others.

Product positioning starts with identifying the specific, niche market segments to target e.g. not just working professionals but single working professionals of age group 25-30 years, having an annual income of $50,000-$60,000, and enjoy adventure activities. After segmenting the target market by demographic and psychographic attributes, marketers must understand customer needs. With well-defined target segments, product positioning enables a company to meet very specific needs of a particular market segment, offering value that may not be provided by competitors.

Marketers must keep an eye on the competitiion while considering positioning elements of their marketing strategy. An effective positioning must convey a message to customers why this company’s product should be preferred over the other competitor’s products of similar nature. In other words, the company should not go by the flow of the market i.e. copying what the competitors are doing rather they need to stand out from the crowd by offering distinguishing or differentiated product attributes and other value added services.

The next stage is how to communicate the differentiated offerings to the identified niche market segments. This is possible by selecting the appropriate communication channels that are tailored to connect with their identified target audience when they will be most receptive to these messages. Say for example, a sports car manufacturer position their products through communication via television advertisements during sports events like formula one. They also use print media by running full page high resolution color ads in sports magazines.

It is important that the business incorporate the product positioning across all facets of the business, including manufacturing and customer service in order to ensure consistency of the positioning from the consumer’s standpoint. Further, the positioning must not only align with other divisions and with the current corporate objectives, but also provide long-term sustainability and remain relevant for product variants and for future market scenarios. Using strong product positioning is a key component to the success of the Marketing Strategy and to meeting overall corporate objectives.

To learn more about the product positioning, visit SMstudy.com

VMEdu and the Way of E-learning

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Companies have long known the financial benefits of online training over physical classroom learning. In fact, companies can save anywhere between 50–70 % on training costs by switching to e-learning alternatives. So naturally it was love at first sight for company bean counters and executives; however, humans, or e-learners, clearly were not so impressed.

Early assessments of e-learning iterations were pretty unanimous: they were dry, boring, technically complicated and didn’t satisfy any quality benchmarks. In other words, the courses weren’t top notch, according to Francisco J. Garcia Penalvo, professor at the University of Salamanca who documented the origins and subsequent growth of e-learning in his book, “Advances in E-learning: Experiences and Methodologies.”

“In spite of everything, the growth of e-learning is unstoppable, and every important institution (academic, enterprise, or otherwise) knows about the necessity of creating and developing a department or service specially devoted to this subject. E-learning deserves to be considered as a real revolution, ‘The Globalization of Training,’” Penalvo said.

Many of those early complaints are now in the past as e-learning has matured over the last ten years and evolved into a human-centric learning experience with technology (ironically) aiding the e-learning “revolution” Penalvo speaks of enthusiastically.

Although a reported 20% of surveyed individuals still note technical issues as the main frustration with e-learning, it now appears that technology has caught up with our learning preferences and e-teachers as well as learning management systems (LMS) are tempting more students than ever on a global scale. In 2015, the global market for e-learning was $170 Billion, a staggering increase of $75 billion in five years.

One technology that has allowed tremendous growth in the field of e-learning is the global penetration of mobile phones. At some point in 2016, 2.1 billion smartphones are estimated to be in use around the world. In particular, China, Indonesia and Russia are anticipated to see substantial growth in smartphone usage over the next two years. And in the case of India, smartphone usage is predicted to surpass the U.S. as the second largest user of smartphones in the world by the end of 2016. This boom has opened up a huge population to the opportunity of lifelong learning. This period of intense growth in smartphone use has tracked with the rise in e-learning to such an extent that it has been noted by Ambient Insight Research, an online resource for statistics and information related to the e-learning industry.

The report states “The astonishing growth rates and adoption rates in countries like Laos, Thailand, Uganda, Cambodia, and Ghana are good examples of once-nascent markets that became vibrant revenue opportunities for suppliers in just the last two years (literally “overnight” in the context of a learning technology product lifecycle.)”

One such company offering human-centric learning options at the vanguard of e-learning is VMEdu, Inc. Refined over seven years, the VMEdu Cloud Learning Management System (LMS) offers one of the finest platforms for e-learning currently available globally. The VMEdu LMS is open to anyone, anywhere (in any language) and offers ultimate flexibility for both students and teachers, including mobile as well as hybrid options.

VMEdu is a global leader in adult education through its multiple brands and partner ecosystem. The company has taught more than 500,000 students from 150 countries and 3,500+ companies and has an extensive V.A.T.P. (VMEdu Authorized Training Partner) network of 800+ partners in 50+ countries.

For more information on VMEdu’s e-learning courses, platform and training opportunities, visit vmedu.com.

 

Sources:

“Advances in E-Learning: Experiences and Methodologies,” Francisco J. Garcia Penalvo, University of Salamanca. 2008. Information Science Reference, Hershey, NY.

“Mobile Worldwide Active Smartphone Users Forecast 2014 – 2018: More Than 2 Billion by 2016” Ambika Choudhary Mahajan, Dec. 18, 2014. http://dazeinfo.com/2014/12/18/worldwide-smartphone-users-2014-2018-forecast-india-china-usa-report/

“International E-Learning Market Research Report 2015,” Ambient Insight Research http://www.ambientinsight.com/Reports/eLearning.aspx#section2

“The Top eLearning Statistics and Facts For 2015 You Need To Know” eLearning Industry

The Top eLearning Statistics and Facts For 2015 You Need To Know

Going Native

Native

 

Native advertising has been around for a patch now. “Pay-to-play” content began appearing in newspapers (and later over the airwave) as early as the 1910s. Native ads, as noted by the SMstudy® Guide, “blend in with their surroundings” and “are promotional pieces attempting to look like the material to which they are adjacent.”

So, native ads, compared to “regular” ads, feel a lot like editorials, but are in fact ads dressed up to look like legitimate editorial content and all that that denotes, in particular, “free of influence.”

For much of their existence, at least from the news/editorial camp, native ads have been the harbinger of the breach in the ever-threatened levy between editorial and advertising. In addition, they were met with a fair degree of criticism for their deceptive nature. Deceptive because, by its core definition, native advertising is “a form of advertising that matches and blends in with the medium it appears on. Ads use the same form as the content contained in the medium,” according to author Vishveshwar Jatain, and when done well, it should cause no “disruption” in the reader or viewers experience and blend in such a way as to “dupe” them.

Criticism of native advertising has lessened over the years and native ads are, in fact, seeing a rebirth in our current digital landscape. This isn’t the first time native advertising has morphed to fit in with new technologies. At every step, it has adapted, whether it be radio, television and now…the Internet. Darwin would be impressed.

But simply adapting to a new environment doesn’t necessarily account for its renaissance. For this, we need to delve into the huge financial hit the news media took when the public caught on to the idea of “free” online news. While for many of us a great boon, free online news has led to a drastic decline in subscribership. Pile on the abundance of virtual advertising space currently available (compared to the finite space of a newspaper) and we begin to understand the severely limping revenue streams news outlets are wading in. This financial pinch (stranglehold) experienced in the news media landscape led to a shocking reduction in funds for 1. paying journalists and 2. paying for resources so journalists could do their jobs. For a peek into the harsh takedown of news media in the mid-2000s, visit paper cuts, a site that tracked layoffs and buyouts at U.S. newspapers between 2007-2012.

At the same time, we saw the rise of content marketing (related to the decline of news outlet’s ability to provide quality content? Perhaps a topic for another blog). Based on current research and data, we, the people, are overwhelmingly fond of content marketing, but only if it provides relevant, valuable information. We’re fond even when we know it’s an ad!

And even though the concept of deception and the potential breach of the great wall dividing adverts and editorial is still a thorn in the side of ethically-fierce news folk,  native advertising is back in action and is a natural ally of content marketing.

Whatever the reservations of some legacy news outlets to native adverts, some sites don’t suffer the same ethical hemming and hawing. In fact, some have found very innovative ways to pro-actively manage the content marketing that appears on their sites.

Forbes, under the leadership of Lewis Dvorkin, has created a department called BrandVoice (originally AdVoice) to focus on the content needs of its advertisers. Headed by Forbes Media chief revenue officer, Meredith Levien, BrandVoice is a division of Forbes completely separate from the editorial staff. BrandVoice has hired editors, reporters, designers, and so on in order to offer high-quality content to its advertisers. And business is booming. In fact, Levien sites BrandVoice as the main factor for the company’s high revenue in 2012, a five-year best.

Other outlets who have embraced native advertising are Buzzfeed and The Onion, the 34-year-old satirical news outlet. Onion Labs, a division of Onion Inc., offers its top-notch writers to advertisers for content development with the added bonus of extreme hilarity.

From the Onion Labs web page:

“Onion, Inc. has perfected influencing some of the hardest to reach audiences in the world, through intelligent, insightful and often hilarious content.

Through our content services division, Onion Labs, we offer that influence to brands. We’ve combined the greatest comedy and pop culture writers in the world with some of the most decorated advertising minds in the business.

Onion Labs works with each client to understand the brand’s strategic goals, then builds custom content solutions that are distributed through both Onion, Inc. and client channels.”

And as the good word spreads (a recent Pew Research report notes a major uptick in investment, in 2012, ads rose 38.9%, to $1.56 billion following a 56.1% increase in 2011), other outlets are testing the waters as well, including Hearst, Time and Conde Nast.

So, all signs point to content marketing channeled through native advertising as a direction worthy of investigation, at least from a marketing standpoint…however, maybe not the sort of investigation diehard journos would like to see.

For more on sales and marketing, visit smstudy.com

 

Sources:

“Native Advertising Shows Great Potential, But Blurs Editorial Lines,” Mediashift, Terry Thornton. April 2, 2013. http://mediashift.org/2013/04/native-advertising-shows-great-potential-but-blurs-editorial-lines092/

Onion Labs, http://labs.theonion.com/advertising/

Native Advertising Summit: Beyond Church and State https://vimeo.com/61302537

The Ultimate Guide to Native Advertising, Joe Pulizzi, Jan. 7, 2014. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140107180859-5853751-the-ultimate-guide-to-native-advertising?trk=mp-reader-card

“Native Advertising is Not Content Marketing,” Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute, Aug. 25, 2015. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2015/08/native-advertising-content-marketing/

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, The State of the News Media 2013: An Annual Report on American Journalism. http://www.stateofthemedia.org/2013/overview-5/

“Native Advertising: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know,” Vishveshwar Jatain, Go Native or Go Home, Aug. 7, 2015.  http://www.adpushup.com/blog/native-advertising-everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know/

 

Importance of Data collection in Marketing Research

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Data collection is an important part of marketing research. Many significant marketing decisions are made based on the analysis of the data collected from a research project. One critical component of data collection is ensuring the quality of the data collected. Specifically, the data should be both high-quality and relevant. Data quality is the degree to which data represents the true situation. High-quality data is accurate, valid, and reliable, and it represents reality faithfully.

In some instances, researchers try to obtain the same data from multiple data sources to ensure the reliability and validity of the data collected. The following characteristics are assessed to determine the quality of data:

Reliability – The data should be reliable such that repeating the same methods produces the same results.

Validity – The data should measure or represent what it is supposed to measure.

Along with the quality of data, other important factors to consider in a research project are the availability of data and the affordability of the process required to collect it. Often the marketing organization already possesses enough information to make sound decisions without additional marketing research.

When adequate information is not available to make a decision, additional data needs to be collected from an appropriate source. If a potential source of data exists, the researcher or the decision-maker must consider the cost of obtaining it. The data should be obtained as quickly as is required to keep the research project on schedule and at an affordable cost. If the data cannot be obtained, or if it cannot be obtained in a timely fashion, the marketing research project should not be conducted.

Researchers have the option of collecting secondary data, primary data, or both. Secondary data is that which has already been collected for purposes other than the problem at hand. Primary data is newly obtained data for a specific purpose or a specific research project.

The marketing researcher needs to decide whether to collect primary data or spend the research budget exclusively on secondary data. Researchers usually prefer to examine the utility of low-cost and readily available secondary data first to see whether they can partly or fully solve the research problem under investigation without collecting costly primary data.

The source of the secondary data can be internal or external. The sources may include books or periodicals, published reports, data services, and computer data banks. When the needed data is non-existent, out-dated, incorrect or inadequate, the researcher needs to collect primary data. Most marketing research projects do include some aspects of primary data collection. Primary data may be obtained from individual consumers, subject matter experts, random samplings of a target segment, organizations, and other sources.

To learn more about data collection, visit http://smstudy.com/Certification/Marketing-Research-Associate and try our free associate course on marekting research.

 

How to Ensure your Campaign is Noticed with SMstudy

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Last year 540 million dollars was spent on marketing globally. 90 percent of that marketing went unnoticed. This number does not represent the percentage of marketing that was liked or disliked, instead it includes the billboards that fade into the background of a city skyline or a print ad that was flipped past while searching for a story about some sort of celebrity gossip.

Marketing managers often ask their teams, “How should we brand our product?” Or “What will make a consumer want to buy a product?” But maybe they should be asking, “How do we get noticed?” Because if you can’t get noticed, then why even bother?

In order to get your marketing noticed, we need to reinvent the wheel a bit. Marketing automation is just as necessary to marketers as QuickBooks is to accountants. According to Tim Asimos vice president & director of Digital Innovation, “Marketing automation provides marketers a powerful and easy way to integrate all the components of their online marketing program into one system, helping to more intelligently manage the customer experience across online channels. And over the last several years, the software has seen enormous growth, fueled by the likes of Act-On, Pardot, Marketo and Hubspot among others.”

Not only does marketing automation save time and improve efficiency, but it also gives marketers the ability to focus their attention on creativity and innovation rather than worrying about the nitty gritty aspects of a campaign. Asimos notes, “As today’s buyers (B2B and B2C) have become increasingly sophisticated and research oriented, marketing and sales simply have to change their approach. Customers are in control and want to make informed decisions. And they seek out information that is educational, insightful and helpful, not the in-your-face sales messages that dominated marketing of the past.”

So how you produce this sort of material? It’s quite simple, really. Companies can perform surveys to gather the necessary data to target their decided consumer base.

As stated in Marketing Strategy, book 1 of the SMsutdy Guide®, “Surveys typically gather quantitative and qualitative data. They are conducted to help companies understand how their brands are viewed in the market and to identify the brand attributes that are preferred by customers. Surveys also help to determine how customers view the company’s products or services relative to competing products. Customers may associate positive attributes with a company such as reliable, innovative, fast, secure, and friendly, or they may perceive a company or a product in a negative fashion and provide attributes such as inconsistent, frustrating, slow, or mediocre when describing their perceptions.”

Leveraging marketing automation software can provide your online marketing program a much-needed boost. It saves you time and increases reach and engagement by sending relevant and timely content to prospects. It also allows for marketers to focus their energy on creating the magical content that’ll get a campaign noticed.

To learn more about improving your marketing efforts, visit www.SMstudy.com today.

Learn How to Make a Product Training Program Effective

product-training.jpg

In this fast pace business world companies are spending billions of dollars in training their sales forces about their product. But why only a few of the companies are successful when it comes to product training initiatives and rest are not able to yield the desired results? How can a company build an efficient and effective product training program? Let us have a look at it.

Well, product training program should impart an in-depth knowledge of the product or service being offered to the sales team. As a general rule, product training ensures that the sales team understands:

The features and functionality of the product

The features of the product are captured in detail in the input Product Features. When product features are presented to sales personnel, it is important to focus on how the features will benefit the customer. The sales team will need to be instructed on the intent and use of each feature. They may require practice using the product or demonstrations of its functionality. The corporate sales staff should have a level of familiarity with the product that enables them to explain the value of each feature, display the product’s ease of use, and answer any questions the customer might have about the features.

The customer’s use of the product

The way in which the customer uses the product, or integrates it into their existing system, is a key area that the corporate sales staff must understand. The ability to view the product’s purchase and implementation from the customer’s point of view greatly helps the sales staff to communicate with the customer, as it demonstrates knowledge of the customer’s needs. Descriptions of customer use and integration may be captured as part of the product strategy, the product features, and the sales value proposition.

Competitor’s products and their similarities and differences

The corporate sales staff needs to be trained on the specifics of any competitor’s products. Knowledge of similar products will help the sales staff focus on areas in which their product is superior, and anticipate customer questions.

How the product actually achieves the promised sales value proposition.

Being able to effectively communicate how the sales value proposition is applicable to a specific customer or target audience is a key component of corporate sales. The sales team will need training on the sales value proposition, which areas are of interest to which companies, and the quantifiable results of using the product.

Industry trends (related to product use)

Industry trends related to product use help the corporate sales team understand the usage patterns of customers over time. This can also help determine future buying trends. Knowledge of industry trends needs to be updated regularly. The corporate sales team must have access to market research reports to stay current on trends.

Additional offerings

Additional offerings refer to any incentive programs, sales commissions, and gifts for customers. The corporate sales team must know the company policy related to additional offerings when meeting with and presenting information to customers. Many buyers in large organizations are prohibited from accepting gifts or commissions from sellers. The seller can offer “value-adds” as part of the contract. This avoids the appearance of impropriety because it provides the incentives to the buying organization rather than to any one individual.

An effective product training program focuses more towards the benefits of the product and less towards its features. It utilizes the technology and provides the information for the product team. The product training programs are one of the vital parts of the organizational culture, especially of those organizations which are performing really great in the industry.

To read more interesting articles about sales and marketing, visit www.SMstudy.com

BCG Growth-Share Matrix: Tool to Determine Internal Strengths and Weaknesses of a Company

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Determining internal organizational capabilities is an integral part of a companys market opportunity analysis. It helps explain whether a company can afford to create a successful product or brand.

 

In the late 1960s, Bruce Henderson of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) conceptualized the BCG Growth-Share Matrix to evaluate various business units of a company on the basis of their relative performance in a particular target market. However, the matrix can be equally applied to evaluate the various products or services offered by a company.

 

This tool is a two-by-two matrix containing four quadrants, with the vertical axis depicting market growth rate and the horizontal axis representing market share. It provides a way to determine the appeal of each business unit, product or service, which in turn can be used to determine the amount of investment, if any, that should be made in each product.

 

BCG Growth-Share Matrix classifies products into four categories: Cash Cows, Stars, Dogs and Question Marks. The Cash Cows and Stars are the strengths of the company, while the Dogs are generally weaknesses.

 

Cash Cows:

These products have high market share but low growth rates. The commanding position of Cash Cows ensures a continuous source of cash flow for the company.

 

Stars:

These products have high market share in markets and high growth rates. They are typically market leaders in new and emerging markets. To ensure that products considered as Stars continue to generate profits, a high amount of investment is required.

 

Dogs:

These products have low market share in stagnant or declining markets. However, they can be profitable for a company by being loss leaders for a particular market or product segment. In case there are no such benefits involved, it is better for a company to discontinue products in the Dogs category.

 

Question Marks:??

As the name suggests, this product category poses a question mark for management because, at some point, a decision has to be made on whether to invest in the product or phase it out. Question marks are present in markets with high growth rates but low market share.

 

For example, a leading electronics company can categorize its products as follows:

 

Cash Cows: Laptops that have high market share but low growth rate

 

Stars: Smartphones and tablets with high growth rate and high market share

 

Dogs: Music players and desktop computers with a low or declining market share

 

Question Marks: Television sets that have a low market share but have the potential to achieve high market share in the future with some investment

 

Fragmented New-Age Marketing

 

In recent times, the media has become increasingly fragmented with several hundred television and radio channels, as well as a large variety of print media, including newspapers, magazines, and trade publications.

Moreover, since the late 1990s, with the increased popularity of the internet and, more recently, smartphones, many options now exist for advertisers to reach a global audience using digital media marketing methods such as mobile phone apps, Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, QR codes, gamification, and proximity marketing.

With all of these options, many marketers find it beneficial to use an integrated approach to marketing by leveraging the strengths of various types of media. Companies must evaluate all media in terms of who the target audience is and what media resonates with them best. In many cases, assumptions will need to be made and incorporated into the media-testing framework.

It is a fact that people now spend more time on the internet using smartphones, tablets, or computers than they spend through conventional mass media, such as television, radio, or newspapers. This is especially true for the thirty-year-old and younger market segment. Since Sales and Marketing is most successful when it meets the demands of consumers, this change in consumer preferences is significantly altering the Sales and Marketing landscape for established companies.

Businesses are discovering that conventional mass media marketing has limited effectiveness and some customer segments are not even reachable using these traditional media forms. Fragmented new-age marketing generally supports new, small brands with much smaller budgets targeted directly to customers in a global marketplace. This represents a significant distinction from conventional mass media marketing, where achieving a global reach for a small company may have been prohibitively expensive.

While mass media marketing is less targeted and primarily focused on affecting emotional attitudes about the brand, new-age marketing is data-driven and more focused on driving specific calls to action.

Also, while mass media marketing typically involves interruption, new-age marketing is about engagement. Unlike older media options where Sales and Marketing communications were primarily uni-directional, communications have increasingly become multi-directional.

Although generally a benefit to both producers and consumers, this trend can make brand management challenging for companies if actual or potential customers perceive that a product does not reflect the brand message intended by marketing efforts.

Due to the nature of new-age marketing, consisting of multiple media forms and the ability to generate significant information, huge amounts of data commonly referred to as big data are now available to companies. The ability to process this data through proper marketing analytic, and assimilate such data to generate valuable insights, can become a significant differentiator for ensuring that companies engage in smart marketing.