Small Business Marketing Strategy – A Blink Lesson Part 5

This is Article five of six in a series of lessons for small business marketers from Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink.

Wow, what a great chapter for marketers Chapter Five in Blink is. This quote on p. 160 outlines the thoughts a great marketer (Louis Cheskin) had on packaging: “Cheskin was convinced that when people give an assessment of something they might buy in a supermarket or a department store, without realizing it, they transfer sensations or impressions that they have about the packaging of the product to the product itself. To put it another way, Cheskin believed that most of us don’t make a distinction–on an unconscious level–between the package and the product. The product is the package and the product combined.”

A key concept in this chapter is that experts are often more reliable at identifying what will work–or won’t–in the marketplace than market research based on consumer surveys. For small business marketers, then, this chapter is a must-read. You know full-well you rarely have the money for consumer surveys.

Gladwell explores the New Coke debacle and the incompleteness of the market research that led up to it. Although this is a well-known marketing mistake, Gladwell supplies his typical journalistic behind-the-scenes story, and clues us in on why the marketing information that Coke marketers used to base their decision on was flawed to begin with.

Even more fascinating is his exploration of the musician named Kenna, a person music experts agree should be a smash, but can’t get Top 40 airtime on radio because market research can’t capture the same information the experts see in a Blink.

Why? Because as Gladwell points out, the “…first impressions of experts are different…more esoteric and complex.” (p. 179). Kenna’s music is different and hard to put a specific label on, so the music market research can’t adequately measure him.

Gladwell also relates the story of the Aeron chair–a new product with a completely innovative look that even experts said would fail. But with this chair, which looked so different, people didn’t know how they themselves felt about it; Gladwell says consumers “misinterpreted their own feelings” (p. 173). Market research indicated the chair would fail, but it didn’t, because it was a great product.

What’s this chapter mean for the small business owner? Two lessons.

For one, we need to understand the limits of market research. This method is not fool-proof nor will it guarantee market success or prevent market failure.

Second, the small business owner should learn to recognize in just what areas she is expert and in what subjects she is not. In areas where you know you are an expert–where your years of experience have taught you well and you can now realize something in a blink about your industry or your industry as it relates to your customers-well on those topics it’s a safe bet that you really are an expert.

However, a key pitfall is to then think you are expert in all areas of your business. You aren’t, and even your customers aren’t. They are super-savvy purchasers, but they, too, are not always aware of why they do what they do…so, where possible, study what they do, and then find out ways to alter that behavior in your favor.

Remember: Brand (who you are) + Package (your Face to the Customer) + People (customers and employees) = Marketing Success.

© 2006 Marketing Hawks

Product Information Management Is The Next Gen Business Strategy

Product information management is designed to manage information centrally. The information is related to various products. The main focus of this task is to sell and market products through distribution channels. This management system has been implemented by different entities like websites, ERP system, print catalogs, and electronic data feeds. In the process, a central pool of data is utilized to acquire accurate, consistent, and up-to-date information. In order to support different demographic aspect, multi-lingual situation, and modification and fine-tuning of product information under a central catalog, the product information has gained utmost importance.

The key to multi channel success lies in PIM in a consistent manner. If there is poor data quality in multi channel business, then that business cannot thrive for long. You cannot depend on the cleaning of product data merely. For better results, retailers, CPG manufacturers, and distributors want a comprehensive solution. In product information management, product information is mixed with robust capabilities in integrating data and governance.

The functional areas of data governance case study include supplier portal, master data management, product data authoring, digital asset management, business process management, commerce integration, and web access. Each of the activities has certain features. For example, in digital asset management raw products like graphics, images, audio, documents, and video are managed centrally in order to easily find them out and then format and fine-tune according to the requirement. In case of business process management, it is ensured that each division and group in an organization follows the same or similar process for maintenance and authoring of products. The ultimate aim is to enhance the operational efficiencies. With the help of PIM web interface, a simple, powerful and very fast web-based search is looked after and as a result business is capable of authoring product information for boosting sales and marketing.

Discussion about PIM will be incomplete if we do not take mro data cleansing into consideration. It is truly a fundamental service. Here various factors, such as proprietary software, review from experts, and standard operating procedures (SOP) are taken together to standardize, validate, cleanse, and enhance raw client data. After cleansing, the data is formatted to conform to the particular configuration requirement of ERP/CMMS/EAM besides rectifying character limitation, field type, and data management. Potential duplicate records are identified during the process of cleansing. There are three distinct levels in the process of MRO data standardization —- cosmetic cleanse, standardization, and enhancement.