Learn the five competitive forces facing your business

If you’re in any kind of business, whether it be product or service related, you would face competition.

However is competition just about others who are offering the same type of business as you do? Are there any other kinds of competition you should be worried about? Should you be worried about them in the first place, or can you cooperate for synergy?

One of the most widely used models, and probably the best one still on competition is Michael Porter’s Five Forces model. Developed by analysing industry case studies, the model brings together what goes on in the real business world, and allows the business manager to better understand his competitive landscape, and make decisions to better influence his business for his industry.

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Start thinking about the industry you are in and the five forces you experience. Is your business trying to ride too many competitive currents, or is it surfing well amidst the oceans of competition? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments.

Book Review: Ogilvy on Advertising

Ogilvy on AdvertisingIf you only had one book to read when it comes to advertising, this book is certainly a top contender.

“Ogilvy on Advertising” is written by David Ogilvy, the founder of one of the most successful international advertising, marketing and public relations agencies in the world Ogilvy and Mather, and contains a wealth of golden nuggets on effective advertising, from ad formats to running ad agencies to even advertising for social causes. For example, he stresses ads for donations are really meant to get the market to be more familiar with the issues as supposed to getting actual donations, which is done at a later stage through more personal interactions.

What surprised me most about the book was how the author, despite his genius and ability to create great advertising, also stressed on the need for the marketer and advertiser to base his concepts on the latest research on effective advertising too. In other words, the creative brilliance is a mixture of both artistic flair and scientific research, something that all experienced marketers have come to know.

Get the book. It will give you a good footing if you’re just starting on advertising, and certainly hone your skills if you’ve been in the industry for awhile to make you a better advertiser. It’s certainly going to be one of my reference books.

List of Disruption

Disruptive TechnologiesIn his groundbreaking book “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, Professor Clayton Christensen lists out some of the disruptive technology we have witnessed during our times.

Disruptive technologies displace past technologies by offering superior value that solves the customer’s needs, hence creating a new market altogether. For example, the photographic film was designed to meet the customer’s needs of capturing, storing and displaying moments in a visual format. However, digital photography and the internet have been able to achieve these at a much faster rate and cheaper cost, plus allows customers to also share memories seamlessly, and use these images for other products.

An exciting one on the horizon is of course 3D printing. Imagine printing whole houses, machines in remote places where technology is inaccessible, even in outer space. Transportation costs, logistics may be a thing of the past.

What are some other exciting disruptive technologies that are currently in the pipeline? Share your thoughts in the comments.

A New Book for a New Hope… and You’re Invited

About 2 months ago, I picked up a book entitled “40 Hadith with Stories by Prof Dr M Yasar Kandemir”. It was a thin picture book filled with children’s stories, with each one related to hadith which is a saying or action  by the Prophet Muhammad. And in that one setting I read the book from cover to cover. It was an amazing book.

What was surprising about the book was its execution and packaging. Most hadith books I’ve come across are written in textbook fashion, and packaged for the student, in a classroom atmosphere. This book on the other hand, combined both the wonders of the hadith with a reflection from a story-telling perspective, with beautiful pictures, for children. Through this book, the hadith of the prophet could be reflected by children in a manner they could understand and appreciate; stories.

40 Hadith Reflections on Marketing and BusinessThis idea inspired me to compile 40 selected hadith and reflect upon them from an angle I have always been passionate about: marketing. Starting the process was fairly simple. This was because I have grown accustomed to the habit of tagging hadith with short business notes. A hadith on communication? I’ll tag it with public speaking. A hadith on giving others things of value? I”ll tag it with customer value.

Along the way though, as with any other book you attempt to write, the book begins to challenge you. I began to question deeper into the selection of hadith, how they were organised, and the reflections behind each one. I wanted the reader to not only be guided in realising the hadith gems from a marketing perspective, but to also develop their own critical thinking.

A month later, the book is now finally completed. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it for you.

A new hope, for a new generation of marketers. Introducing: 40 Hadith Reflections on Marketing and Business .

Can Ethics Bring Your Business More Profit?

We are not talking about Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR based on external pressures. Rather, ethics and value are at the core of your very business model, such that they bring you more profit than if you were to remove them from your business model. In fact, your business cannot function without ethics and values.

This is  the basis of CSV or Creating Shared Value. One company which has taken the lead in this new way to do business is TOMS shoes, which gives a pair of shoes to those in need for every pair you buy.

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Doing this of course to an existing model is not easy, and may require many changes. Starting fresh with a new model and brand altogether may be easier.

Can your business use ethics and values to genuinely give you more profit? Share your comments.

Steve Jobs on Marketing and Apple

When lost, it’s time to go back to the roots.

Apple no longer wows us with new innovative products that change the world, which makes this video all the more important and strangely relevant. Let’s go back to that moment when Steve Jobs changed Apple, and marketing itself.

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Managed to catch the key ideas? Share your comments below.

Customer Segmentation by Profit

Besides segmenting your customers by demographics and psychographics, another way to profile your customers is by the amount of profit they make to your business.

Combined with the pareto principle where in general, 20% of your customers account for 80% of the profits, this profit segmentation would instantly generate for you a list of high net worth customers which you must have a retention program for. Simply put it, if you needed to design any kind of retention program, this would be the list to start with.

Take care of your high net worth customers, and they will continue to take care of you.

Retention programs for high net worth customers can be tricky, where the usual discounts, offers and gifts don’t usually work for this group who are more thoughtful in their decision processes. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Difference Between Mass Marketing and 1:1 Marketing

In their book The One to One Future, marketing gurus Don Peppers and Martha Rogers emphasized that the future of marketing will shift from mass marketing to 1:1 marketing, aided by technology.

Here is a table from the book which summarizes the key differences well:

Mass Marketing vs 1:1 Marketing

Mass Marketing1:1 Marketing
It requires product managers who sell one product at a time to as many customers as possible.It requires customer managers who sell as many products as possible to one customer at a time.
Marketers try to differentiate their products.Marketers seek to differentiate their customers.
Marketers try to acquire a constant stream of new customers.They also seek new business from current customers.
Marketers concentrate on economies of scale.Marketers focus on economies of scope.

1:1 marketing is especially relevant with social media, when your strategy should be to offer personalized service and scale this, rather than do mass marketing. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

There is No Such Thing As More Unique

The word “unique” is unique. Simply because grammatically in English it’s an absolute term.

This means that you cannot put the word “more” or “less” to the word because grammatically it would be wrong. So you can say something is unique or not unique, but you cannot say less unique, more unique, and god forbid unique-er.

This relates to your product in marketing, and what your unique value proposition is. If your product is more unique than your competitors, it simply means it’s not unique at all. Your product or service needs to stand out so much that there is nothing that can even compare to it. You beat the competition because there is none.

In other words, you, are unique.

Was this article unique? Share your thoughts in the comments below.