Management Consulting/marketing

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Question
explain the product services a car manufacturer can provide to its customers for competitive advantage

Answer
Explain the product support services that a car manufacturer can provide to its customers for gaining competitive advantage.

A.PRODUCT MARKETING
Product marketing deals with the first of the "4P"'s of  MARKETING , which are PRODUCT , PRICING , PLACE , and PROMOTIONS.Product marketing, deals with more outbound   MARKETING  tasks. For example, product management deals with the nuts and bolts of  PRODUCT  DEVELOPMENT   within a firm, whereas product marketing deals with marketing the PRODUCT  to PROSPECTS CUSTOMERS , and others.
EXAMPLE : LUX  TOILET  SOAP.

Role of product marketing
Product marketing in a business addresses five important strategic questions:
1   What products will be offered (i.e., the breadth and depth of the PRODUCT LINE ?
2   Who will be the target customers (i.e., the boundaries of the market segments to be served)?
3   How will the products reach those (i.e., the distribution channel)?
4   How much should the products be priced at?
5   How to introduce the products (i.e., the way to promote the products)?


THE  MOST  APPROPRIATE / SELECT  A  COMBINATION   FOR    YOUR  SITUATION
SAY, LUX  TOILET  SOAP.

-your  product  has a  '' unique  advantage/benefits.

-your  product  offers  the  most  competitive  ''value  for  money''.

-your  product is  one  of   the  affordable   in the   market  for  its  range.

-your  product  positioning  in the  niche  market.

-your  product  distribution  is  matchless  in the  market,  available  at   arms  length.

-your  product  merchandising   is   the  most  attractive  at  the  retail   level.

etc etc.
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SERVICE  MARKETING

SERVICE IS ANY ACT OR PERFORMANCE THAT ONE PARTY CAN OFFER TO ANOTHER THAT IS ESSENTIALLY INTANGIBLE AND DOES NOT RESULT IN ANY OWNERSHIP
Services marketing is  MARKETING  based on relationship and value.
Marketing a service-base business is different from marketing a goods-base business.
There are several major differences, including:
The buyer purchases are intangible
The service may be based on the reputation of a single person
It's more difficult to compare the quality of similar services
The buyer cannot return the service
The major difference in the services marketing versus regular marketing is that instead of the traditional "4 P's," Product, Price, Place, Promotion, there are three additional "P's" consisting of People, Physical evidence, and Process. Service marketing also includes the servicescape referring to but not limited to the aesthetic appearance of the business from the outside, the inside, and the general appearance of the employees themselves.


Service quality is not one-dimensional; it encompasses numerous factors that are important to customer satisfaction. Satisfaction basically is related to expectations and perceived delivery on these dimensions and as shown by the equation given below.
The quality of service delivery results in customer satisfaction & their retention as it reinforces the perception that the value of the service received is grater than the price paid for it.
Quality is defined as the ability of the service provider to satisfy customer needs. Customer perception , service quality & profitability are interdependent variable.
Even in the case of products, quality is difficult to define because it is highly dependent upon customer perception. The task is made more complicated in the case of service because of the intengible nature of service & the variation in services offered to different customers.
There are several reasons why customers must be given quality service. Most important of them are

1. Industry has become so competitive that customers now have variety of alternatives. If the customers are lost, it can be extremely difficult to win back the individual.

2. Most customers do not complain when they experience problems, these customers simply opt out & take their business elsewhere.

What is CUSTOMER  Satisfaction?
CUSTOMER  Satisfaction = function of {CUSTOMER -Expectation and Perceived delivery}
A person is said to be dissatisfied when the perceived delivery is lower than expectation; he/she is satisfied when they match; delighted when the delivery exceeds expectation and astonished when the delivery far exceeds expectation. The following equations explain these relationships.
Perceived Delivery < Expectation --> Dissatisfaction
Perceived Delivery = Expectation --> Satisfaction
Perceived Delivery > Expectation --> Delight
Perceived Delivery >> Expectation --> Astonishment
Dimensions of Service Quality:
There   are  various aspects that a customer expects from different services.

1. Reliability: This refers to the ability of the company to perform the promised service dependably and accurately. Reliability is probably the single most important dimension of quality. Customers expect that companies will do what they say and they will do when they say they will do it.

2. Tangibles: This refers to the appearance of the physical facilities, equipment, personnel, and communication materials. As services are intangible, the tangibles give an impression to the customers about the quality of service they can expect from a firm. A bank in a shabby building will make the customer wonder whether their money will be safe in such a bank.

3. Responsiveness: This refers to the willingness of the employees to help customers and provide prompt service. When you go to a bank the minimum that you expect is that the employees would attend to you rather than chit-chat amongst themselves.

4. Assurance: This factor is linked to several minor factors such as competence, courtesy, credibility and security. Competence depends on the service provider's possession of the required skills and knowledge to perform the service. The politeness, respect, consideration, and friendliness of the service providers can be bundled into the term courtesy. Credibility refers to the perceived trustworthiness, believability, and honesty of the service provider. Security refers to the fact that the service should be free from danger, risk, and doubt. In sum, the assurance factor refers to the knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to inspire trust and confidence.

5. Empathy: Empathy refers to the caring, individualized attention the firm provides to its customers. It includes access, communication and understanding. Access refers to the approachability and ease with which the customer can contact the firm. Communication refers to keeping the customer informed in the language they can understand and listening to them. Understanding has to do with the efforts made by the service provider to know customers and their needs.
The Service Quality Gaps:
Gaps between perceived & expected levels of service quality delivery result in the failure of the service provider.
These are the  5   gaps.
-The First gap does not know what customers expect. rea
-The second gap is between what the customer expects and what the management understands as the customers' expectation from the company.
-The third gap is with reference to the management's understanding of the customer expectations and the service quality standards set by the management.
-The fourth gap is between the quality specifications and actual service delivery.
-The fifth gap is between what is communicated to customers and what is actually delivered.
It is possible to measure the gaps and take corrective actions to fill them to the extent possible. The most difficult gap to fill is the one between customer expectations and the perceived service delivery. The expectation of the customers keeps rising with every good experience. When a customer visits the service organization, he/she expects a better service than what was experienced in the last encounter.
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The service marketing  challenges  are
-to generate  re-sales
-to create  a  waiting list
-to create a positive word of  mouth advertising
as  a  lot  of  new  business  is generated  from  satisfied  customers.
WHICH  MEANS  THAT  THERE  IS  NO/LITTLE GAP  BETWEEN
SERVICE  EXPECTATIONS AND SERVICE  DELIVERY.
===============================
HOW DO  YOU MATCH  SERVICE  EXPECTATION  WITH  DELIVERIES
IN PRODUCT  MARKETING , WE  RELY  ON  4 P's
-product  attributes/benefits
-pricing  strategy
-place [ right / easy  place to buy]
-promotions [ selected  weighted  mix]
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IN CASE  OF  THE  SERVICE, THE PRODUCT  IS
-intangible, the greater the  intangibility the  more  complex
the  promise.
-perishable /heterogeneous, the  production  and consumption are  often  simulaneous.
IN SERVICE  MARKETING, WE  RELY  ON  7 P's
-product service [ features/benefits]
-place [ flexibility]
-price [ flexi]
-promotions [ selected  weighted  mix]
-people [ ability,competent, right  attitude ]
-physical  evidence
-process
===============================
IN SERVICE  BUSINESS,
-SERVICE  MARKETING  PROMOTES  AND  
SERVICE  MANAGEMENT  GENERATES  RESULTS, through
*service  delivery
*service  quality
*customer satisfaction/ relation   management
-service  recovery
-service  management  audit.
===============================
SERVICE  MANAGEMENT  PROVIDES SATISFACTORY SERVICE
-by designing  the  customer  oriented business  process
-cost  effective  service
-continuous  improvements through research/development
-improving  people's  abilities/competences.
====================================
SERVICE  MARKETING  MEETS SERVICE  MANAGEMENT
-by  managing  customer behavior
-by conducting  customer research
-by  managing  customer expectations
-by reverse-engineering  the  product/service  portfolio.
-by determining  what  service  the  market  needs/ we can  offer.
-what  do  we  need  to  do  to  fill  the  gap.
=============================
THE  INTEGRITY  OF  PRODUCT-SERVICE  DELIVERY
when the  service  marketing  is intergrated with service  management
that is ,what you  promise [either explicitly or  implicitily]  and  
what  you deliver
IN THIS  CASE  , ''INTEGRATED'' =  ''INTEGRITY''
There  is no  gap
WHICH  MEANS  CUSTOMER  SATISFACTION,
WHICH IT  TURN  MEANS = SUCCESSFUL  SERVICE  MARKETING.
@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
PRODUCT / SERVICE  MARKETING.
EXAMPLE :  CAR  PRODUCT
WHICH  HAS   PRODUCT COMPONENT  AND SERVICE  COMPONENT.

IN  THE  AUTO  INDUSTRY, IT  IS   CRITICAL  TO  DESIGN
THE  PRODUCT  FOR   A  TARGET  MARKET,  WHICH  MEANS
-develop  the  target  market  profile.
-then go for  the  product  development.

TAKE   THE CASE  OF   ''INDIA   TATA'S   NANO''.

Target market is the market  segment to which a particular product is market . It is often defined by age, gender and/or  socio-economic  grouping.
Targeting strategy is the selection of the customers you wish to service. The decisions involved in targeting strategy include:
•   which segments to target
•   how many products to offer
•   which products to offer in which segments
There are three steps to targeting:
•     market  segmentation
•   target choice
•   product positioning
Targeting strategy decisions are influenced by:
•   market maturity
•   diversity of buyers needs and preferences
•   strength of the competition
•   the volume of sales required for profitability
Targeting can be selective  eg.:
-focus  strategy  ,
-market  specialization strategy  
- or niche  strategy ,
-or extensive (eg.:full coverage , mass marketing, or product specialization ].
=====================================================
Market Segments
Here are some market segments to consider:
•   Gender - It's no secret that women have become not just a major segment of the aftermarket, but a primary force. If you doubt this, watch how often auto manufacturers target women in their television ads. At least one vehicle manufacturer considers women to be 50 percent of the new car market.
•   Age - Why target a specific age group? Several good reasons include: the ability to pay; a specific automobile class; older drivers tend to perform more preventive maintenance; and younger drivers are more apt to install accessories and aftermarket parts.
•   Family composite (marital status, family size, age of children, etc.) - Strategy-wise, larger families simply have more vehicles. Mom, dad and several teenagers each need repair and service, and many families remain loyal to one repair or service business.
•   Income level - This is the most obvious target market. Motorists in the higher income brackets drive certain types of vehicles, perform more "elective" services and repairs, and as a rule, don't mind paying for quality. On the other hand, this group is much more selective and normally demands more exacting work.
Middle and lower-middle class drivers, however, are more likely to own vehicles out of warranty and need to keep the family car in road-worthy condition, longer.
•   Neighborhood (geographic location) - Historically, location has been the first measure of walk-in business success. Today, however, our mobile society has evolved to the point where location is not as important as price, quality and reputation. The idea here is we no longer need to restrict our markets to within a one- or two-mile radius of the business. When the average deductible is nearing $500 and even a tune-up runs well into three digits, consumers will go the extra mile to find true value.

•   Insurance adjusters and agents - Marketing professionals call this group a major influence to the buying decision. Body shop owners refer to them as the people who pay the bills. In either case, recognizing this group as a target market is an absolute must for the average shop owner who invoices more than 30 percent volume to insurance companies. More importantly, harmony between the repair facility and insurance company during the estimate goes a long way in closing the sale.
•   Vehicle type, make, model, year - A shop in Texas works only on Volvos. A collision repair business in Ohio accepts only vehicles less than four years old. In Southern California, one shop specializes in Corvettes. The one guiding force in each case is the market's viability - that is, enough vehicles owners of each description were available to keep these businesses operating profitably.
One major advantage of this kind of specializing is a totally focused market. This means once the business owner identifies the market, pleasing the customer becomes much less complicated and promotions are more cost effective.
•   Other automotive businesses (source work, specialty repairs, etc.) - Twenty years ago, sending out the vehicle for frame alignment was more the norm than the exception. Today, it is very hard to make a serious profit by simply hanging sheet metal. However, some specialized tasks such as performing interior work, transmission service or mechanical repairs on collision repair orders are still in demand.
•   Per the size and extent of repairs or service - Most automotive service and repair management systems will help you to recognize the jobs that lose money. For example, occupying a bay for 30 minutes while performing a $19.95 oil change can't compare to the same time spent replacing an up-front component.
But the opposite is also true. Once you have identified the most profitable repairs, vehicle types and operating range, targeting that type of business is just a matter of establishing a shop promotion plan.

ETC    ETC     ETC    ETC
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How to identify your target market? & Why?
What is the target market?
As discussed,the country's consumers can be divided into so many different consumer groups. Based on which consumer groups they lie in, the consumers will have different needs. Also they will find different things that appeal to them. So before you launch a marketing campaign, you need to identify which set of people does your business cater to?
What we mean by this is, that you need to know who are your customers? What kind of life do they live? Who influences their buying decision? What kinds of media are they exposed to? How much purchasing power do they have? Etc. etc.
Knowing this information, you can target your marketing campaign to appeal especially to this group of customers you have chosen.
Many a times, you may find that the product or service you are offering is consumed by not only one group of people. You may find that your product has many varied uses and hence has many varied possible consumers. Because of this you may want to choose more than one group of people as your target market.

Your marketing strategy will fail if you try to be everything to everybody. When you make a marketing strategy you have to choose only one group of people and design your marketing strategy so that it appeals to the group you have selected.
If you have many groups of people to choose from, choose only the group of people that you can best cater too and will offer you the best opportunities to grow.

If you come up with a marketing strategy to appeal to more than one target group of customers, your strategy will not be effective. Your sales will be eaten away by specialist products or specialist marketing strategies.

The thing to understand is that the first step to making a marketing strategy is to select the “target market” for whom the marketing campaign is to be designed.

How to identify who your target market is?
What you have to do is run a little research about all your existing customers. If you are a retailing unit, you could find out who are the people who purchase form you.
Once you have a general idea about the people who purchase from you, you need to classify them into different groups. Finally you will have a general idea about the different kinds of customers that buy from you. Finally, you have to choose one of these groups as your target market. You may choose the biggest group or you may choose the group with the greatest buying power etc. and decide on it to be your target group.
You should identify how large these different groups are and which group you are comfortable with. Which group of people your PRODUCT  will really be able to satisfy. Once you choose that group you have your target market.

Then the next step is to design your  MARKETING  MIX  to appeal to this group of customers.

In its purest definition, a target market is described as the majority of people your business attracts, either by circumstance or design. As our industry evolves in terms of technology, education and specialization, many owners are also learning to "position" their businesses to draw a specific type of customer.

Here are some other cautions when defining new target markets:
•   Understand the big picture when defining a target market. You may decide to position your business as one that caters to upper income levels. However, you may later learn this group trades cars regularly while still under warranty.
•   The market is people, not the vehicles they drive. Target your promotions to decision-makers. Here, collision repair businesses may also understand not all market segments are car owners. Some, who simply pay the invoices, also need to be targeted.
•   Back your decision to target with facts. Make sure a viable market segment exists before committing to major changes or expenses.
•   Don't ignore your most valuable target market, your customer list. A close study of this list will also play a critical role in defining new markets.
•   Finally, consider the dangers of specializing in a very narrow market niche. If more than 50 percent of new business is generated from the majority of your present customer base, this may be a warning flag to open other new avenues of business.
Market Segments
Here are some market segments to consider:
•   Gender - It's no secret that women have become not just a major segment of the aftermarket, but a primary force. If you doubt this, watch how often auto manufacturers target women in their television ads. At least one vehicle manufacturer considers women to be 50 percent of the new car market.
•   Age - Why target a specific age group? Several good reasons include: the ability to pay; a specific automobile class; older drivers tend to perform more preventive maintenance; and younger drivers are more apt to install accessories and aftermarket parts.
•   Family composite (marital status, family size, age of children, etc.) - Strategy-wise, larger families simply have more vehicles. Mom, dad and several teenagers each need repair and service, and many families remain loyal to one repair or service business.
•   Income level - This is the most obvious target market. Motorists in the higher income brackets drive certain types of vehicles, perform more "elective" services and repairs, and as a rule, don't mind paying for quality. On the other hand, this group is much more selective and normally demands more exacting work.
Middle and lower-middle class drivers, however, are more likely to own vehicles out of warranty and need to keep the family car in road-worthy condition, longer.
•   Neighborhood (geographic location) - Historically, location has been the first measure of walk-in business success. Today, however, our mobile society has evolved to the point where location is not as important as price, quality and reputation. The idea here is we no longer need to restrict our markets to within a one- or two-mile radius of the business. When the average deductible is nearing $500 and even a tune-up runs well into three digits, consumers will go the extra mile to find true value.
•   Insurance adjusters and agents - Marketing professionals call this group a major influence to the buying decision. Body shop owners refer to them as the people who pay the bills. In either case, recognizing this group as a target market is an absolute must for the average shop owner who invoices more than 30 percent volume to insurance companies. More importantly, harmony between the repair facility and insurance company during the estimate goes a long way in closing the sale.
•   Vehicle type, make, model, year - A shop in Texas works only on Volvos. A collision repair business in Ohio accepts only vehicles less than four years old. In Southern California, one shop specializes in Corvettes. The one guiding force in each case is the market's viability - that is, enough vehicles owners of each description were available to keep these businesses operating profitably.
One major advantage of this kind of specializing is a totally focused market. This means once the business owner identifies the market, pleasing the customer becomes much less complicated and promotions are more cost effective.
•   Other automotive businesses (source work, specialty repairs, etc.) - Twenty years ago, sending out the vehicle for frame alignment was more the norm than the exception. Today, it is very hard to make a serious profit by simply hanging sheet metal. However, some specialized tasks such as performing interior work, transmission service or mechanical repairs on collision repair orders are still in demand.
•   Per the size and extent of repairs or service - Most automotive service and repair management systems will help you to recognize the jobs that lose money. For example, occupying a bay for 30 minutes while performing a $19.95 oil change can't compare to the same time spent replacing an up-front component.
But the opposite is also true. Once you have identified the most profitable repairs, vehicle types and operating range, targeting that type of business is just a matter of establishing a shop promotion plan.
=====================================================
THE  MARKET  SEGMENTATION  VARIABLES   CONSIDERED
FOR   MOTOR  VEHICLE  BUYERS.


1.FOR  THE  BUSINESSES.

-reduction  in capital  expenses.
-reduction in  operation   expenses.
-reduction in  maintenance  expenses.

-improvement in the   cash flow.
-improvement  in  the  working  conditions  for  field  employees.
-improvement  in   the   productivity  of  field employees.

-improvement  in   the  business  market  coverage
-improvement  in  the  business  results.
----------------------------------------------------
2.FOR  THE  INDIVIDUALS


1.Demographic variables
*age
*gender Male and Female
*sexual orientation
*family size
*family life cycle
*Education Primary, High School, Secondary, College, Universities.
*income
*occupation
*education
--------------------------------------------------
2. socioeconomic status
*religion
*REGIONAL  FOCUS   
*language
-----------------------------------------
3. Geographic variables
*region of the  country,NORTH / SOUTH/ EAST/ WEST/CENTRAL etc.
*metro/ rural  : Metropolitan Cities, small cities, towns.
*Density of Area Urban, Semi-urban, Rural.
*climate Hot, Cold, Humid, Rainy.
---------------------------------
4.Psychographic variables
*personality
*life style
*value
*attitude
--------------------------
5.Behavioural variables
*benefit sought
*product usage rate
*brand loyalty
*product end use
*readiness-to-buy stage
*decision making unit
*profitability
*income status
=======================================
NOW --What is Marketing Mix?

The Marketing Mix model (also known as the 4 P's) can be used by marketers as a tool to assist in implementing the marketing strategy. Marketing managers use this method to attempt to generate the optimal response in the target market by blending 4 (or 5, or 7) variables in an optimal way. It is important to understand that the Marketing Mix principles are controllable variables. The Marketing Mix can be adjusted on a frequent basis to meet the changing needs of the target group and the other dynamics of the marketing environment.
Once you've developed your marketing strategy, there is a "Seven P Formula" you should use to continually evaluate and reevaluate your business activities. These seven are: product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning and people. As products, markets, customers and needs change rapidly, you must continually revisit these seven Ps to make sure you're on track and achieving the maximum results possible for you in today's marketplace.
Product
To begin with, develop the habit of looking at your product as though you were an outside marketing consultant brought in to help your company decide whether or not it's in the right business at this time. Ask critical questions such as, "Is your current product or service, or mix of products and services, appropriate and suitable for the market and the customers of today?"
Whenever you're having difficulty selling as much of your products or services as you'd like, you need to develop the habit of assessing your business honestly and asking, "Are these the right products or services for our customers today?"
Is there any product or service you're offering today that, knowing what you now know, you would not bring out again today? Compared to your competitors, is your product or service superior in some significant way to anything else available? If so, what is it? If not, could you develop an area of superiority? Should you be offering this product or service at all in the current marketplace?
Prices
The second P in the formula is price. Develop the habit of continually examining and reexamining the prices of the products and services you sell to make sure they're still appropriate to the realities of the current market. Sometimes you need to lower your prices. At other times, it may be appropriate to raise your prices. Many companies have found that the profitability of certain products or services doesn't justify the amount of effort and resources that go into producing them. By raising their prices, they may lose a percentage of their customers, but the remaining percentage generates a profit on every sale. Could this be appropriate for you?
Sometimes you need to change your terms and conditions of sale. Sometimes, by spreading your price over a series of months or years, you can sell far more than you are today, and the interest you can charge will more than make up for the delay in cash receipts. Sometimes you can combine products and services together with special offers and special promotions. Sometimes you can include free additional items that cost you very little to produce but make your prices appear far more attractive to your customers.
In business, as in nature, whenever you experience resistance or frustration in any part of your sales or marketing activities, be open to revisiting that area. Be open to the possibility that your current pricing structure is not ideal for the current market. Be open to the need to revise your prices, if necessary, to remain competitive, to survive and thrive in a fast-changing marketplace.
Promotion
The third habit in marketing and sales is to think in terms of promotion all the time. Promotion includes all the ways you tell your customers about your products or services and how you then market and sell to them.
Small changes in the way you promote and sell your products can lead to dramatic changes in your results. Even small changes in your advertising can lead immediately to higher sales. Experienced copywriters can often increase the response rate from advertising by 500 percent by simply changing the headline on an advertisement.
Large and small companies in every industry continually experiment with different ways of advertising, promoting, and selling their products and services. And here is the rule: Whatever method of marketing and sales you're using today will, sooner or later, stop working. Sometimes it will stop working for reasons you know, and sometimes it will be for reasons you don't know. In either case, your methods of marketing and sales will eventually stop working, and you'll have to develop new sales, marketing and advertising approaches, offerings, and strategies.
Place
The fourth P in the marketing mix is the place where your product or service is actually sold. Develop the habit of reviewing and reflecting upon the exact location where the customer meets the salesperson. Sometimes a change in place can lead to a rapid increase in sales.
You can sell your product in many different places. Some companies use direct selling, sending their salespeople out to personally meet and talk with the prospect. Some sell by telemarketing. Some sell through catalogs or mail order. Some sell at trade shows or in retail establishments. Some sell in joint ventures with other similar products or services. Some companies use manufacturers' representatives or distributors. Many companies use a combination of one or more of these methods.
In each case, the entrepreneur must make the right choice about the very best location or place for the customer to receive essential buying information on the product or service needed to make a buying decision. What is yours? In what way should you change it? Where else could you offer your products or services?
Packaging
The fifth element in the marketing mix is the packaging. Develop the habit of standing back and looking at every visual element in the packaging of your product or service through the eyes of a critical prospect. Remember, people form their first impression about you within the first 30 seconds of seeing you or some element of your company. Small improvements in the packaging or external appearance of your product or service can often lead to completely different reactions from your customers.
With regard to the packaging of your company, your product or service, you should think in terms of everything that the customer sees from the first moment of contact with your company all the way through the purchasing process.
Packaging refers to the way your product or service appears from the outside. Packaging also refers to your people and how they dress and groom. It refers to your offices, your waiting rooms, your brochures, your correspondence and every single visual element about your company. Everything counts. Everything helps or hurts. Everything affects your customer's confidence about dealing with you.
When IBM started under the guidance of Thomas J. Watson, Sr., he very early concluded that fully 99 percent of the visual contact a customer would have with his company, at least initially, would be represented by IBM salespeople. Because IBM was selling relatively sophisticated high-tech equipment, Watson knew customers would have to have a high level of confidence in the credibility of the salesperson. He therefore instituted a dress and grooming code that became an inflexible set of rules and regulations within IBM.
As a result, every salesperson was required to look like a professional in every respect. Every element of their clothing-including dark suits, dark ties, white shirts, conservative hairstyles, shined shoes, clean fingernails-and every other feature gave off the message of professionalism and competence. One of the highest compliments a person could receive was, "You look like someone from IBM."
Positioning
The next P is positioning. You should develop the habit of thinking continually about how you are positioned in the hearts and minds of your customers. How do people think and talk about you when you're not present? How do people think and talk about your company? What positioning do you have in your market, in terms of the specific words people use when they describe you and your offerings to others?
that how you are seen and thought about by your customers is the critical determinant of your success in a competitive marketplace. Attribution theory says that most customers think of you in terms of a single attribute, either positive or negative. Sometimes it's "service." Sometimes it's "excellence." Sometimes it's "quality engineering," as with Mercedes Benz. Sometimes it's "the ultimate driving machine," as with BMW. In every case, how deeply entrenched that attribute is in the minds of your customers and prospective customers determines how readily they'll buy your product or service and how much they'll pay.
Develop the habit of thinking about how you could improve your positioning. Begin by determining the position you'd like to have. If you could create the ideal impression in the hearts and minds of your customers, what would it be? What would you have to do in every customer interaction to get your customers to think and talk about in that specific way? What changes do you need to make in the way interact with customers today in order to be seen as the very best choice for your customers of tomorrow?
People
The final P of the marketing mix is people. Develop the habit of thinking in terms of the people inside and outside of your business who are responsible for every element of your sales and marketing strategy and activities.
It's amazing how many entrepreneurs and businesspeople will work extremely hard to think through every element of the marketing strategy and the marketing mix, and then pay little attention to the fact that every single decision and policy has to be carried out by a specific person, in a specific way. Your ability to select, recruit, hire and retain the proper people, with the skills and abilities to do the job you need to have done, is more important than everything else put together.
The most important factor applied by the best companies was that they first of all "got the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off the bus." Once these companies had hired the right people, the second step was to "get the right people in the right seats on the bus."
To be successful in business, you must develop the habit of thinking in terms of exactly who is going to carry out each task and responsibility. In many cases, it's not possible to move forward until you can attract and put the right person into the right position. Many of the best business plans ever developed sit on shelves today because the [people who created them] could not find the key people who could execute those plans.

FOR  COMPETITIVE  ADVANTAGE, THE  MANUFACTURER  COULD  OFFER


1.Vehicle delivery  at  convenient  locations.
2.Vehicle Leasing
3.Executive & Corporate Chauffeur
4.Vehicle Recovery,
5.Independent Financial Advisor
6.Commercial Insurance Broker
7.Car Insurance Broker
8.Mobile Dent,
9.Car Valet
10.Window Security Film
11. Mobile Mechanic,
12.Mobile Tyre Service,
13.Windscreen Replacement
Etc etc  .
================================================
CAR  PRODUCT  AND  SERVICE  ---MARKETING  MIX
P 1  ---  Product
Product
Marketing is about identifying,
anticipating and satisfying customer
needs. You need to be sure that your
products and services continue to meet
your customers. needs.
1. Carry out simple research by
asking your customers .
_ What they think of each
product/service
_ How satisfied are they
with the quality
_ How satisfied are they
with any support services
you may provide
_ How effective it is in
meeting their needs
_ How they see their needs
changing in the short and
long term future
2. Carry out step 1 for each product
or service you offer
3. Have a system for collecting and
analysing feedback from your
customers so that ideas are fed into
a new product development process
that is ongoing.
4. Ask yourself what stage of the
product life cycle your products or
services have reached. The .product
life cycle. is one way of looking at
how the marketing mix links
together. Products are said to go
through stages . an introductory
stage, a growth stage, a mature
stage and a decline stage. At each
stage a slightly different mix is
appropriate . see the .What you
need to know. section of this
material for more information.
5. Analyse the profitability of each
product/service you offer. For more
information on calculating this, take
a look at the 10-minute 80/20 Rule.
Which products/services make the
biggest contribution or provide the
highest profitability? What support
services do you offer with each
product? Could it be improved,
adding value with little cost?

Historically, the thinking was: a good product will sell itself. However there are no bad products anymore in today's highly competitive markets. Plus there are many laws giving customers the right to send back products that he perceives as bad. Therefore the question on product has become: does the organization create what its intended customers want? Define the characteristics of your product or service that meets the needs of your customers.
Functionality; Quality; Appearance; Packaging; Brand; Service; Support; Warranty.
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P 2  ---  Price

Price
Price generates profit so is an
important element of the mix. You
need to consider -
1. What your target group of
customers will be prepared to pay
for your product or service. It is
important not to set the price too
low as customers may think there is
something wrong with the product.
Equally, if you set the price too
high, customers may think that it
is too expensive for the benefits
offered. Think about how you have
.positioned. your product in terms
of quality. This will help you to
assess how to price it.
1. What it costs you to produce it.
This will show you what you need
to charge and not what you could
or should charge. However, if you
do not calculate what it costs you
to produce your product correctly,
the more you sell, the more you
will lose. Don.t forget to make an
allocation for costs such as selling
which are usually treated as fixed.
(See item 1 for more information.)
3. What your competitors charge.
Look at your competitors. web sites,
or simply phone them and ask for
a price list or quotation.

How much are the intended customers willing to pay? Here we decide on a pricing strategy - do not let it just happen! Even if you decide not to ask (enough) money for a product or service, you must realize that this is a conscious decision and forms part of the pricing strategy. Although competing on price is as old as mankind, the consumer is often still sensitive for price discounts and special offers. Price has also an irrational side: something that is expensive must be good. Permanently competing on price is for many companies not a very sensible approach.
List Price; Discounts; Financing; Leasing Options; Allowances.
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P 3  ---  Place
Place
.Place. is the means of distribution
you select depending on the type of
product or service you are marketing.
Your choice will impact on your pricing
and your promotion decisions.
1. Are the customers for your
products and services consumers or
businesses? If they are consumers
you will have three main options .
_ Selling to wholesalers who will
sell to retail outlets who will sell
on to the consumer
_ Selling direct to retail outlets
_ Selling direct to the customer
If your customers are businesses you
will probably sell to them direct
through your own sales force.
2. If you sell through wholesalers and
retailers, remember when you price
your products that they will each
want their own mark-up to cover
their overheads. You will also need
to promote your products and
services to all members of the
channel. Wholesalers and retailers
will have to be persuaded to stock
your product and end customers
to buy them.
3. If you are selling to businesses you
will have to cover the cost of a sales
force. This can be an expensive
overhead and will again impact
on your pricing.

Available at the right place, at the right time, in the right quantities? Some of the recent major changes in business have come about by changing Place. Think of the Internet and mobile telephones.
Locations; Logistics; Channel members; Channel Motivation; Market Coverage; Service Levels; Internet; Mobile.
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P 4  ---  Promotion

Promotion
The promotional mix is made up
of 5 elements:
_ advertising
_ sales promotion
_ public relations
_ direct marketing
_ personal selling
The combination of tools you use
depends on the budget you make
available, the message you wish
to communicate and the group of
customers you are targeting
(How) are the chosen target groups informed or educated about the organization and its products? This includes all the weapons in the marketing armory - advertising, selling, sales promotions, Direct Marketing, Public Relations, etc. While the other three P's have lost much of their meanings in today's markets, Promotion has become the most important P to focus on.
Advertising; Public Relations; Message; Direct Sales; Sales; Media; Budget.
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P 5  ---  People
People
The people employed in your
organisation will determine the quality
of service your customers receive. This
is truer for services, but also impacts on
businesses making tangible products.
Happy, skilled and motivated staff make
happy customers. They are more likely
to think about the customer and deliver
good customer service if they are well
trained and are recruited for their
positive attitude to customers.
You can achieve a competitive
advantage over your competitors
through offering a high level of
pre-sales and after-sales support and
advice. Again, this can impact on the
price you set, as customers are likely to
be prepared to pay more for the service
they receive but there may be a higher
cost for you to take into account.
Identify those staff who come into
contact with customers, either face-toface
or by phone.
1. Carry out a task analysis of what
they do in terms of customer
contact.
2. Involve your staff in setting
standards for customer service.
For more information on customer
service, look at the 10-minute
Customer Service Programme.
3. Prioritise training needs
for these staff and provide
appropriate training

An essential ingredient to any service provision is the use of appropriate staff and people. Recruiting the right staff and training them appropriately in the delivery of their service is essential if the organisation wants to obtain a form of competitive advantage. Consumers make judgements and deliver perceptions of the service based on the employees they interact with. Staff should have the appropriate interpersonal skills, aptititude, and service knowledge to provide the service that consumers are paying for. Many British organisations aim to apply for the Investors In People accreditation, which tells consumers that staff are taken care off by the company and they are trained to certain standards.
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P 6  ---  Process
Process
The processes involved in delivering
your products and services to the
customer have an impact on the way in
which your customers perceive you.
1. Look at all the processes involved in
getting your products to the
customer. Start with the
identification of prospects and work
through to after-sales support. Does
any stage cause a delay? How can
you improve this?
2. Are your customers kept informed
about what is happening?
3. Do your staff keep their promises to
customers?
4. How effectively are you handling
customer complaints?

Refers to the systems used to assist the organisation in delivering the service. Imagine you walk into Burger King and you order a Whopper Meal and you get it delivered within 2 minutes. What was the process that allowed you to obtain an efficient service delivery? Banks that send out Credit Cards automatically when their customers old one has expired again require an efficient process to identify expiry dates and renewal. An efficient service that replaces old credit cards will foster consumer loyalty and confidence in the company.
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P7  ---  Physical Evidence
Physical Evidence
Physical evidence is a term used to
describe the type of image that your
business portrays through its physical
presence, namely its premises, the
appearance of its staff, its vehicles, etc.
When customers do not have anything
that they can touch, see or try before
they buy, they are more likely to assess
you by the image you put across. It is
therefore particularly important if you
offer services rather than tangible
products.
1. How tangible is the product you
market? If it is heavily dependent on
the service element (for example, a
restaurant, or hotel, or window
cleaning service, or hairdressing)
then you should pay particular
attention to this element of the mix.
Even if you are a manufacturer, this
element is important if customers
visit your premises.
2. Ensure that the image portrayed by
your organisation is consistent with
the type of product or service you
offer.
3. Look at your reception area, your
car park (are there spaces for
visitors near to the entrance), the
appearance of your delivery staff or
customer service staff, that
condition of your vehicles, etc.
Where can you make
improvements?

Where is the service being delivered? Physical Evidence is the element of the service mix which allows the consumer again to make judgements on the organisation. If you walk into a restaurant your expectations are of a clean, friendly environment. On an aircraft if you travel first class you expect enough room to be able to lay down!
Physical evidence is an essential ingredient of the service mix, consumers will make perceptions based on their sight of the service provision which will have an impact on the organisations perceptual plan of the service.
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FOR   THE  MOTOR  VEHICLE  INDUSTRY,  WHICH  HAS   AN   
AFTER  SALES  SERVICE/   SERVICE /  WARRANTY,
P5-P6-P7  BECOMES  A  CRITICAL  COMPONENT  OF  TOTAL  MARKETNG.

People - People refer to the customers, employees, management and everybody else involved in it. It is essential for everyone to realize that the reputation of the brand that you are involved with is in the people’s hands.
Process - It refers to the methods and process of providing a service and is hence essential to have a thorough knowledge on whether the services are helpful to the customers, if they are provided in time, if the customers are informed in hand about the services and many such things.
Physical (evidence) - It refers to the experience of using a product or service. When a service goes out to the customer, it is essential that you help him see what he is buying or not. For example- brochures, pamphlets etc serve this purpose.
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Leo Lingham

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management consulting process, management consulting career, management development, human resource planning and development, strategic planning in human resources, marketing, careers in management, product management etc

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18 years working managerial experience covering business planning, strategic planning, corporate planning, management service, organization development, marketing, sales management etc

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