Decoding the Reliance-Aramco Deal

Decoding the Reliance-Aramco Deal

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, student Surya Jain talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal.

An investment in Reliance Group, rather the biggest one in its 53-year history, might just result in one of the largest ever foreign investment by any overseas company into India. This investor is none other but Saudi Aramco, which is not only the world’s largest and lowest cost-per-barrel producer of crude oil but also the most profitable company in the world [1]. This company is in talks to invest a handsome amount in the largest private-sector corporation in India.

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, PGDM 2019-21 student Surya Jain talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal.

The relationship between Saudi Aramco and Reliance Industries has already been a long one, 25 years to be specific. Saudi Aramco has already supplied 2 billion barrels of crude oil for processing at RIL’s refinery at Jamnagar till date. A potential 20% stake in the Oil-to-Chemical division comprising of Refining, Petrochemicals and Fuel Marketing Business of Reliance Industries carries an Enterprise Value of US $75 billion [2]. This deal will also result in Saudi Aramco supplying 5,00,000 barrels of Crude oil per day to Jamnagar refinery on a long-term basis [3].

However, the deal didn’t really have a great start. It fell apart on multiple occasions with Reliance demanding a higher valuation which, indeed, they were able to command with a much higher multiple than industry standards. As a part of the deal, Reliance industries will carve its oil-to-chemicals division and will become an independent entity in 5 years. However, for the first 5 years, Saudi Aramco will not directly own shares in the business division, though it will get a chance to appoint a key business leader, tentatively the COO, to oversee it [4]. Apart from this, Saudi Aramco has been on an acquisition spree and making other major investments in Asia to bolster its presence, building refineries in Indonesia, South Korea, China, and Malaysia.

PGDM student from Class of 2019-21 at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, Surya Jain, talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal.

To put things in perspective, Saudi Arabia’s oil export to the US was ~2,62,053 BPD in July 2019, nearly 62% down from 6,87,946 BPD as compared in August 2018, as a result of the US becoming self-reliant than ever [5]. This has resulted from the US Shale Oil Revolution and has been one of the major reason of OPEC production cut in 2017, resulting in reduced supply to the largest, transparent and timeliest market – The US. At the same time, according to a report by Wood Mackenzie, India will surpass China to become the second-largest oil demand growth center in 2019 remaining only behind the US and helping them offset a slowdown elsewhere through growth in Indian markets [6].

On the backdrop, this deal seems to be a perfect solution for Saudi Aramco to maintain stronghold and grip on the fastest-growing oil market in the world (bolstered by the swelling middle class) where it is facing stiff competition. By competition, we also mean the US, which is ramping up shale exports, and Russia who is looking for new customers and trying to making inroads

Suppliers of Crude Oil to India
Source : Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas

Stepping into Mr. Mukesh Ambani’s shoes and understanding the story from his perspective, the deal will provide Reliance with the much-required cash to de-leverage its balance sheet, bring net debt to zero by March 2021, and fund the Jio and Digital business [7]. This is part of the company’s larger effort to expand its consumer-facing business including its retail chain, and its effort to move into the technology sector and internet services by diversifying from its core oil refining and petrochemical business. This deal seems to be a perfect synergy between the interests of the world’s largest oil producer and the ambitions of one of India’s largest conglomerates.

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, PGDM class of 2019-21 student Surya Jain talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal and how it would benefit Mukesh Ambani's conglomerate and the world's largest corporation.

Written by: Surya Jain – PGDM “Apache” Class of 2021

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, PGDM class of 2019-21 student Surya Jain talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal and how it would benefit Mukesh Ambani's conglomerate and the world's largest corporation.

References

[1]: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/news/the-worlds-most-profitable-company-4984378/

[2]:  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-14/saudis-defending-coveted-indian-oil-market-with-reliance-tie-up

[3]: https://www.vccircle.com/reliance-to-sell-20-stake-in-oil-to-chemicals-business-to-saudi-aramco

[4]: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/oil-gas/ril-to-hive-off-oil-to-chemicals-business-into-separate-company-in-five-years-rils-pms prasad/articleshow/70651943.cms?from=mdr

[5]: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/15/saudi-arabia-dramatically-changing-its-oil-exports-to-china-and-the-us.html

[6]: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/oil-gas/india-to-surpass-china-to-become-2nd-largest-oil-demand-centre-in-2019/articleshow/67641257.cms?from=mdr

[7]: https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/reliance-industries-agm-live-updates-mukesh-ambani-jio-giga-fiber-jio-phone-3-ril-stock-price-reliance-plan-12-aug-2019/1672964/

Advertisements
Change is Good, “I’m Lovin’ It!”

Change is Good, “I’m Lovin’ It!”

Ranjeeta Gupta, PGPM Class of 2020 student at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about a sustainable new strategy for McDonald's Happy Meal toys.

McDonald’s is the world’s largest restaurant chain, with 37,855 restaurants serving over 69 million customers daily in over a hundred countries worldwide [1]. Short time-to-serve, attractive pricing and offers, adapting to local tastes and preferences in different countries, and the traditional McDonald’s Happy Meal have been some of the prominent strategies of the chain that have stood the test of time. They understand the desire of their consumers and keep upgrading and evolving, not just for the consumers but for the benefit of environment as well.

Two British children,aged 7 and 10 have, launched a petition stating that the plastic toys that come with McDonald’s Happy Meal cannot be recycled and often end up being discarded. This petition has already garnered 325,000 petitions [2]. This movement gives a new direction to the firm in a constructive manner. Amidst growing environmental concerns, the fast food chain is also trying to live up to the expectations for minimum or no disturbance to nature. In the past, it has replaced plastic straws and cups with paper ones. Now the focus has shifted towards plastic toys given away by McDonald’s as a part of its Happy Meal packs and its hazardous effect on the environment.

Ranjeeta Gupta, PGPM Class of 2020 student at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about a sustainable new strategy for McDonald's Happy Meal toys.

McDonald’s can now explore new avenues such as “Sweet Edible Toys” of different flavors, which children can enjoy playing with, and would be not only be harmless but also serve as a neat dessert idea after a scrumptious Happy Meal. This would curb the menace of plastic pollution and, at the same time, would entice more kids to ask for a Happy Meal at an outlet. Introducing new variants of these toys with trending animated movie and comic book characters would help the brand and the product build and maintain its clout among its young customers.

Another option they can explore would be personalized happy meal boxes. Young patrons can have their own pictures or personal messages printed on the biodegradable paper boxes used to pack Happy Meals. Binding this with customer-driven social media campaigns for user-generated content can turn out to be a cost-effective marketing strategy and drive more customers to go “I’m Lovin’ It!” Social acceptance and bragging rights are some of the top priorities of the digitally-enabled youth worldwide. Engaging customers in content co-creation would be mutually beneficial for the customers as well as the brand.

The fast-food giant has started taking all possible steps to reduce the harm caused to the environment by its activities. By 2025, McDonald’s plans to use renewable, recyclable and certified materials in all kinds of packaging [3]. “With great power comes great responsibility”, and McDonald’s is very well cognizant of this fact. To survive in the long run, it is imperative for the company to be sensible enough in taking rational decisions which is in-line with the expectation and need of the society as a whole.

Ranjeeta Gupta, PGPM Class of 2020 student at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about a sustainable new strategy for McDonald's Happy Meal toys.

Children these days need not always be enticed with physical incentives such as toys and the likes. Proliferation of technology and increase use of personal devices by younger demographics have opened up doorways to new ideas for types of incentives. A brand like McDonald’s can bring about a revolution and transform itself into an environmentally-responsible brand by going eco friendly or by going digital, or both. This is where we would let the creative heads at McDonald’s’ marketing fraternity do the thinking.

Written by: Ranjeeta Gupta – PGPM “Spartan” Class of 2020

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

References:

[1]: https://expandedramblings.com/index.php/mcdonalds-statistics/

[2]: https://www.wsj.com/articles/mcdonalds-happy-meal-toys-caught-in-backlash-over-plastic-11562583605

[3]: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/mcdonalds-packaging-sustainable-cut-renewable-recycling-latte-levy-a8162231.html

Marketing – A Science or an Art? Deep Insights by Mr. Julius Augustine: Vice President, Kantar

Marketing – A Science or an Art? Deep Insights by Mr. Julius Augustine: Vice President, Kantar

Great Lakes Institute of Management leaves no stone unturned in ensuring that students are not only introduced academic concepts, but also real world scenarios at a very early stage. They get the opportunity to meet achievers who have contributed to the industry at large and learn a great deal from them. The Spartans – the PGPM Batch at Great Lakes, Gurgaon, this year – had the privilege of interacting with Mr. Julius Augustine, the Vice President of Kantar. Mr. Augustine was here with a platter of marketing concepts and the students were all set to gain a broader picture of their theoretical learning.

Mr. Julius started off his career as a Senior Research Executive at Mudra Communications where he performed customized research for brands such as Rasna, HLL, P&G, and Reliance Industries. He then joined ORG-MARG (now AC Nielsen) and spearheaded the Client Servicing portfolio for Media clients.  He has also served as the Associate Vice President for Hansa Research Group wherein, he was responsible for Business Development and Client Servicing. He then served as the Associate Director & Country Manager for Acorn Marketing & Research Consultants in Kuala Lumpur. Mr Julius has serviced clients such as Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance, ICICI Bank, Reliance Communications, Fame Adlabs, Piaggio, etc. Presently, Mr. Augustine is heading the Coca-Cola India and Havells accounts at Kantar, working towards Brand Communication, and Creative & Media Consulting.

The session was extensively insightful for the upcoming Management Professionals, as it was fascinating to walk through topics such as Market Safety, Market Research, Segmentation, Micro-Management, Customer Retention, and Branding. What made the session more engaging was hearing about his experiences with organizations such as Coca-Cola, Swiggy, Amazon, and other high performing organizations.

Mr. Augustine took the students through the age-old debate of marketing being an art or science, while we drew parallels of marketing with religion as leveraged by marketers, and how segmentation of groups for market development is prevalent within the demographics of India. To quote Mr. Augustine, “Marketing is the antithesis of Religion, you need to desire religion and hence you need to market religion.”

While addressing the importance of good advertisements that please masses in general, he made sure the students learnt to appreciate the aesthetics of acceptability – the underlying art of marketing. He explained how, during the content creation for an advertisement, facial detectors track reactions of the people to whom the content is being showcased. He displayed and described the example of the latest Coca-Cola advertisement, emphasizing on how the first draft of any advertisement is decided by the face value of recognizable people, along with brand recognition. He gave the students the real world picture of Branding, and the underlying Market Research and Psychology behind branding a product.

He addressed a lot of questions from the students as well, especially on topics such as Market Expansion, Market Growth, and Market Intelligence. What made this part the most impactful was the fact that he shared and linked these to all his experiences pertaining to each of the wide sectors and companies he has been associated with. The students were left awestruck by his humility despite being an industry leader, motivator, and an inspiration.

He ended the session by stating “Be a researcher and never be bored,” and every Spartan could resonate with his words.

Compiled by Devyani Sormare, Somil Tyagi and Sunrita Sarkar

PGPM 2020 “Spartans”

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon.

Vicks – Generations of Care: Marketing beyond Product Promotion

#TouchOfCare: On March 29th, 2017, a new video advertisement promoting the Vicks brand created a sensation by striking the most sensitive nerve of the Indian population. Created by Publicis Singapore, the video, spanning 3 and a half minutes, tells the story of a young girl Gayatri who is on her way to boarding school. 10 years ago, Gayatri lost her mother to a life-threatening disease and was later adopted by Gauri Sawant. Being thrown out of the house at the age of 18, Gauri has seen her own share of struggles in life before she met Gayatri. Gauri raised Gayatri as her own child, pampering and looking after her all along. Gayatri recalls a memory of being ill and Gauri using Vicks to treat her and spending the night by her side. In a span of 10 years, the two grew closer to each other, surpassing the mother-daughter relationship and becoming best friends. Gauri wants Gayatri to become a doctor. But Gayatri aspires to become a lawyer, for her mother Gauri, a transgender woman.

The ad has received 10 million views on YouTube and has been one of the most touching ads to go viral in recent times. This video has been a part of numerous “Try not to cry” challenges as well. A guaranteed tear-jerker for most who have watched it, the video still continues to be shared on social media more than a year after it was released.

Vicks as a Brand: For generations, Vicks has been a part of nearly every household around the world. It’s an easily available over-the-counter medicine for mild fevers, cold and cough. Vicks VapoRub ointment, along with other products under the brand, basks in the glory of a 96.5 market share in the “VapoRub” segment. What began as an innovative new home remedy christened Vick’s Magic Croup Salve in 1905, by pharmacist Lunsford Richardson and Dr. Joshua Vick, was later rebranded as Vicks VapoRub in 1912. In 1985, American multi-national consumer products manufacturer Procter and Gamble Co. bought the Vicks brand and has been manufacturing and distributing its products worldwide. Vicks VapoRub can be found among the common medicines in a large number of households and even in travel kits of people all around the world.

The Evolution of Vicks VapoRub

“Mother”: With a brand image and a market share as immense as it has, why Vicks need to invest in such an emotionally charged advertisement to grab the attention of the masses? The answer lies in the very heart of Indian values and culture. In a typical Indian family, the father is the head of the family, following a patriarchal family system for centuries. But it’s the mother who breathes life into the family. A mother is someone who has borne intense pain to give birth to her children and raise them. And she continues to do so for the rest of her life even after her children have grown up and are capable of taking care of themselves. She spends sleepless nights when one of her children falls ill. Right from working and earning to doing household chores like cooking, a mother always does everything keeping her children in mind. For a majority of children in India, as well as a fair share of adults, there’s no worry in the world that a mother’s touch and soothing words cannot cure. Through this ad, Vicks and Publicis Singapore emphasize this very sentiment which has been the cornerstone of Indian families for ages. And Vicks VapoRub has been one of the instruments of motherly love as most Indians have a memory of falling ill and their mothers applying Vicks VapoRub on their chest, nose and foreheads before they drift off into a peaceful sleep for the night. And the ad reinforces this role that the product plays. But the story does not end there.

Discrimination against Transgender Women: India has a population of roughly 4.9 lakh transgender women. Discrimination against them is on the rise. Every day, they are subject to harassment in public, often even of a sexual nature. They are despised and looked down on by “normal” people as an abomination. There have been cases of doctors refusing to examine transgender women or trying to molest them during an examination. Humiliation has become a daily routine in their lives. In recent times, a number of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Institutions such as Sahodari Foundation and The Transgender Welfare Society have taken the bold initiative to stand up for transgender rights and welfare. But a lot more needs to be done so that the discrimination is curbed and transgender women are treated and respected as a member of the society that we all are a part of.

Marketing beyond Product Promotion: With subtle product placement in the video, the Vicks VapoRub ad calls the attention of the vast Indian society towards the concerns of the neglected and harassed transgender women of India. It showcases the capability and calibre of such a woman in raising and taking care of a girl child all by herself through the true story of Gauri Sawant and her daughter Gayatri. The adoption law makes it difficult for a single man or a woman to adopt a child. And it makes it much more difficult for a transgender woman to do so, owing to societal norms and taboos. Gauri Sawant sets an example by fighting all odds in making the right choices in life with pride.

Watch the heart-touching video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zeeVEKaDLM

Author: Bruno Nellissery

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

Has 21st Century Competition led to the Abolishment of Business Ethics?

Has 21st Century Competition led to the Abolishment of Business Ethics?

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”- George Orwell

On September 18th, 2015, United States Environmental protection agency issued a notice of violation of Clean Air Act against Volkswagen for tweaking its diesel engine in order to bypass the emission test. 11 million Cars, worldwide, between model year 2009 and 2015 were identified to have faulty systems. This proves how contemplating an unethical decision with its apparent short-term benefits is eventually a recipe for disaster.

For a business entity, ethics can be categorised as its responsibilities towards (i) its customers, (ii) its employees, (iii) the government and (iv) the ecological balance of our planet. We need ethics as they are vital for the proper functioning of the economic, political and social network which will eventually lead to the overall development of the human race.

So, how and why does unethical behaviour creeps into a system and make highly intellectual business leaders lose track of their ethical responsibilities? The answer lies in the fact that any deviation from ethical practices is mostly the result of the current competitive corporate culture or pressure from the higher managerial food chain, which can emerge when a company is unable to live up to its financial expectations. To overcome these bottlenecks, leaders eventually end up bending the rules and this is when ethics and policies collide.

Let us take an example of child labour. If a firm hires children as its major workforce, it can drive down its prices. Now to remain competitive, the rival firm has to relook into its cost structure and come up with an optimized price point. Should the firm also look to hire children in its workforce? Is it ethical? Will this help in cutting costs? The instinctive answers to these questions may be yes but in the long run, it will not serve the purpose of growth. History is full of references to organisations which have linked good ethical practices with their performance and have eventually outperformed their competitors financially.

Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices has listed Tata Steel and Wipro as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the year 2017 and 2018. Points are awarded to an organization based on; ethics and compliance program (35%), culture of ethics (20%), corporate citizenship and responsibility (20%), governance (15%) and leadership, innovation and reputation (10%). Prior to 2017, the Indian Steel giant, Tata Steel had also bagged this award in years 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016. Over decades, ethics has been a major driver for Tata Group. One of the core ethic business principles that the company follows is to fully support the development and operation of competitive open markets. It may be pointed out that this policy hampers the organization’s revenue, but In the long run, these policies promote a strong public image based on trust and relationship.

The challenge for those in business is to identify ways to do what is ethically correct while maximizing a shareholder’s wealth. Before taking any decision, the leadership of an organization must introspect what impact their decision will have on the organization and society as a whole in both the short and long run. The importance of ethics has been reinforced into business organisations and business individuals time and again.

As Henry Ford once said, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business”. Ethics in businesses is present; the difficult question is how to make it more prevalent.

 

Authors: Saurav Dhar & Rishi Raj

PGPM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

The Great Lakes Approach to Learning Microeconomics

The Great Lakes Approach to Learning Microeconomics

The concepts of microeconomics are the driving force behind the key personal and business financial decisions that we make in our daily lives. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the core fundamentals of microeconomics via experimentation rather than through mere theoretical observation. Coming from a technical background, my concepts of economics were, let’s just say, a bit blurry. But, I and many of my classmates who share the same academic and industry background learnt the entire concept of Microeconomics in a matter of days through experimentation.

The Micro-Economics project of Term-I at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon was very different. As part of this project, the batch of 120 students was divided into groups of six and every group had to start a business inside the college campus. The business could be anything from product manufacturing and home & personal care to food delivery and miscellaneous services. Our investment cap for the business was established at INR 500 and initially it seemed impossible to start a business under that amount. But all the groups then started analyzing the market, needs and demand of their target customers. Everyone did extensive market research before starting the businesses to understand the requirements and needs of their target market. Market research was done through questionnaires, by conducting interviews, taking suggestions etc. Every group collected the primary data about their prospective customers before starting the business. After the research was over, it was time to put it to use and execute the business idea. There were twenty groups and hence, twenty businesses. Some of these were SantaKaBanta (a soda point corner), Fortune Coffee (a small scale coffee house and coffee delivery service), IceExpress, DeliverIt, a Bhelpuri corner etc.

Our group started a business named “Need2Home.” It was a delivery business in which we delivered anything and everything that is required by the students on a daily basis and could be bought from the nearby areas. On day 1 we designed our team’s pamphlet and distributed those among the students and staff members. We then started taking orders. Initially, we didn’t get many orders and most of the orders that we did get were from immediate friends. But, slowly our business started picking pace and after 2-3 days of providing impeccable services, we became quite famous among the students. We enjoyed managing all the important aspects of running a business like marketing, operations and maintaining balance sheets. Although it was a project of Microeconomics, we applied the knowledge of all the subjects that we had learnt in Term-1 of our course.

We had quite a free hand when it came to experimenting with our business. We (i) fluctuated the price of the services depending upon the market conditions (ii) reduced the profit margin (iii) made demand forecasts etc. Initially, we had kept a higher profit margin but due to severe competition from another team, we had to lower our margins. However, due to this, we managed to secure a large number of orders and as a result also managed to increase our sales figures substantially. And yes, we had a competitor in this small business space. We also felt threat from Amazon, Flipkart and other e-commerce entities because, as a small scale business, we did not plan on entering the online marketplace.

The Happy Customers!

Altogether, it felt like having a real business. By the time the project got over we earned more than INR 5000 in revenue. Considering the fact that we invested about 100 bucks in the venture, it was a tremendous achievement.

Finally, we had to prepare a report based on the data collected from our business. We used all the basic concepts such as demand equations, curve, cost function, profit maximization, regression analysis and demand forecasting techniques to prepare the business report.

This project helped us in the following ways: (i) It broadened our vision towards the various business dimensions, (ii) It helped us understand the concepts of Microeconomics, and, (iii) it gave us the ability to realize and overcome the challenges in business world.

It was truly an extensive and amazing learning experience and we enjoyed every bit of it. I believe such projects help a lot in practical understanding of the theoretical concepts and we are extremely grateful to our faculty, Dr V.P Singh Sir, and the college for providing us such wonderful opportunities to learn in a practical manner.

Authors: Akhilesh Tripathi & Shubham Singh

PGPM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

Purple Cow

Destructive marketing is built in products

Traditional ways of marketing are gone. The old virtuous cycle of ‘buy ads – get distribution –sell product – buy ads’ is now gone for good. So, what is the new way to cut the hyper-clutter and stand out in marketing and sell your product?

Stop advertising and start innovating.

Seth Godin, the marketing guru and bestselling author, explains the new era marketing strategy in a unique manner of a purple cow. Suppose you are travelling to someplace and you see the normal black and white cows that you encounter almost every day. Would you look at them twice? Would you talk to your friends about them? No, right? But, what if it’s a purple cow? The chances of discussing a purple cow are definitely much higher. In the same manner, any product which is remarkably different than the ones existing in the industry will raise curiosity among the potential customers.

Remarkable Product

It comes from people who are making something for themselves.  From here, they are able to project the same for multiple audiences. Here are a few examples:

  • Howard Schultz spent months in Italy, drinking coffee and learning. He was in love with coffee. Thus, Starbucks evolved.
  • Rony Abovitz, CEO Magic Leap, drew inspiration from his childhood fascination with scientific fiction in Star Wars. Later, he started working on augmented reality in his garage in Miami and went on to becoming the fastest Unicorn after first equity round.
  • Ray Kroc, coming from the sales background, fell in love with McDonald’s on his very first visit. Later, during the opening of his first store in Chicago, he emphasised on creating the exact taste of French fries and went on to contact research fellows in many universities to replicate the same Californian taste.
  • At around late 2007, roommates Chesky and Gebbia could not afford the rent for their apartment in San Francisco.They decided to put their loft on rent online(on their own website) with beds for three guests and homemade morning breakfast. They named this concept as Air bed and breakfast which is now known as Airbnb.
  • On a snowy Paris evening in 2008, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp had trouble hailing a cab. In order to solve this very obvious and every day modern human problem, they started Uber – tap a button, get a ride. How simple can it get!

Sneezers

Zespri had a daunting task to launch a new kind of kiwi which is golden in colour with an edible peel. Instead of mass marketing the new food in U.S., Zespri took a risk and introduced it in an upscale Latino community. This community is a regular eater of mangoes and papaya which closely resembles the new kiwi but tastes very different. Such niche Latino community had both the time and the inclination to try something new and different. Over a period of time, this Kiwi grew in popularity among Latinos that Zespri (back in 2001) made a business of $100 million worth.

Sneezers are the first category of people on earth who will, willingly, learn about your product, take the risk to try a product, and bear the pain of introducing it to their friends. This way, marketing strategy becomes much more productive and cheaper. Another benefit in targeting such genre of potential customers is that they are always on the lookout for new stuff. This requires minimum advertisements and marketing expenditure. All you need is to be creative enough to come in their eyesight and, automatically, the rest of the story unfolds.

In case, if you are short of ideas,

  • Find the niche market
  • Create the remarkable product in the right way 

Law of Diffusion

Today, even with narrowing down your potential customers through digital means, your marketing efforts can still fail. The reason being you are one of the 50 marketers who is targeting the same individual for the same set of products and services.

Hence, rather than a push marketing, marketers should devise a pull strategy.

 

law-of-diffusion

  1. Left to Right

Most of us are already aware of ‘Crossing the Chasm’ by Geoff Moore. How can’t it be given a serious thought over here? An idea spreads from innovators to early adopters to the early/late majority (sneezers comes before these). The company should target the innovators and early adopters and strategically build the initial marketing efforts around these two categories. Using the typical mass media strategies would not be of much help at this stage.

  1. Marketing Budget Offloading

The maximum sales and profits come from early and late majority people. Only when your product is being accepted by these people, then only you should offload your maximum budget. Many great astonishing products spent most of its capital on mass marketing. Such marketing efforts came too soon before the idea spreads.

Take-aways:

  1. The message that Tiffany’s blue box and Leaning Tower of Pisa delivers, Pantheon in Rome does not. The marketing is not done for a product. It’s built right in.
  2. Greatest remarkable products and companies such as Starbucks, Apple, Disney, Reliance Industries have been started and successfully ran by marketers. From product development, manufacturing to communicating the value proposition, such passionate marketers have their heads involved in the entire product cycle.
  3. When the company becomes big, it loses its entrepreneurial charm and focuses on profitability. Hence, pick the right maverick in your company for product development and get out of his way.
  4. Work with sneezers. Get Permission from them. Alert them beforehand on upcoming products. Work with them to sell your idea to a wider Audience. (Donald Trump utilised such ‘Stakeholder Driven Media’ internet platforms like breitbart.com to spread his ideology to significant yet unique Americans).
  5. If your company has reached a stage, where nothing seems to be working and marketing department is facing the major brunt, talk to your engineers or product developers and customers. Rather than selling what they wanted to sell, new Best Buy CEO, Brad Anderson, listened to customers and realigned the entire strategy based on their inputs. Often, it was hard and longer in approach but produced more results (and, cheaper too), than typical boring ads and staying that way.
  6. Learn from people who have a track record of launching such remarkable products. Dive deep into the fans’ magazines, trade shows, design reviews – do whatever it takes to feel what your fans feel.

 

Author: Rupam Lathwal

PGPM Class of 2017, Great Lakes, Gurgaon