The Aging Crisis


Not a company exists whose management doesn’t say, at least for public consumption, that it wants an organization flexible enough to adjust quickly to changing market conditions, lean enough to beat any competitor’s price, innovative enough to keep its products and services technologically fresh, and dedicated enough to deliver maximum quality and consumer service.

So, if managements want companies that are lean, nimble, flexible, responsive, competitive, innovative, efficient, customer-focused, and profitable, why are so many. Companies are bloated, clumsy, rigid, sluggish, non-competitive, uncreative, inefficient, disdainful of customer needs, and losing money. The answers lie in how these companies do their work and why they do it that way.

Corporations do not perform badly because workers are lazy and managements are inept. Just the same, the record of industrial and technological accomplishment over the past century is proof enough that managements are not inept and workers do work.

Inflexibility, unresponsiveness, the absence of customer focus, an obsession with activity rather than result, bureaucratic paralysis, lack of innovation, high overhead—these are the legacies of industrial leadership. These characteristics are not new; they have not suddenly appeared. They have been present all along. If costs are high they can be passed on to customers. If customers are dissatisfied, they have nowhere else to turn. If new products are slow in coming, customers will wait. The important managerial job is to manage growth, and the rest doesn’t matter. Now that growth has flattened out, the rest matters a great deal.

The business problem is that in 21st century with companies designed during the nineteenth century to work well in the twentieth—we need something different.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Situation Appraisal


We may experience confusion and uncertainty over where to begin, how to recognize situations that require action, how to break apart overlapping and confusing issues into manageable components, how to set priorities, and how to manage a number of simultaneous activities efficiently.

Nearly every manager has entered the fantasy of starting fresh. Even on the first day in a new job, the manager is beset by issues that were chronic frustrations for the previous incumbent. Every manager must operate from a middle ground, surrounded by the accumulated problems of the past, a profusion of demands of the moment, and the certainty that future threats and opportunities await him not be ignored.

Situational analysis in this situation thus has a role. It consists of evaluative techniques that lead to proper selection and use of analytical techniques. This process builds the framework for daily use of rational process ideas. It enables managers to make best possible use of the technique of problem analysis, decision analysis, and potential problem analysis.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Fear Appeals


Companies sometimes use fear appeals in attempting to motivate customers to action. The underlying logic when using fear appeals is that fear will stimulate audience involvement with a message and thereby promote acceptance of message arguments. The appeals may take the form of social disapproval or physical danger. For example, mouthwashes, deodorants, toothpastes, and other products make us aware of the social disapproval we may suffer if our breath is not fresh, if our underarms are not dry, or if our teeth are not white.

Aside from the basic ethical issue of whether fear should be used at all,  the fundamental issue for marketing communicators is determining how intense the fear presentation should be.

When using fear appeals, advertisers stand a greater chance of converting numerous of a product to its use than of convincing consumers to switch brands.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Leadership and Transformation


There is some consensus concerning what is important, and what needs to be done to bridge the gap between transformation expectations and transformation achievement that is found in many companies.

  • A clear and compelling vision and strategy is essential for both differentiation and transformation. The vision should embrace both the transformation ‘end state’ and the transformation process.
  • Top management commitment is of crucial importance in the management of change. It needs to be communicated and sustained. A practical and necessary demonstration of commitment is to ensure that all the pieces of the transformation jigsaw puzzle and the critical factors for competitive success are in place.
  • People need to be empowered and equipped to manage change, and to handle the extra responsibilities that are being placed upon them. This requires a holistic perspective, new attitudes, fresh approaches and additional techniques. In particular, there is a need for the qualities associated with the ‘organic manager.’
  • Within corporations there are hidden businesses. Management and business processes should focus energies and resources upon those people and activities that activities that make the greatest contribution to business development the greatest contribution to business development and competitive success.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Direct Response


You should, if at all possible, engage in direct marketing. The value to you is enormous. You get to pinpoint your prospects with amazing accuracy. You can be selective in regard to age, race, sex, occupation, buying habits, money spent on past direct mail purchases, education, special interests, family composition, religion, marital status, and geographic location. The list should naturally start with your own customers. From there you can expand it to include people who have recently moved into your area, and people who have recently been married or divorced, or become parents. You can eliminate people who have moved away.

You might engage in a simple direct mailing of postcards to customers, informing them of a sale you will have the next week. They will very much appreciate the early notification and will show their gratitude by purchasing from you. You might also engage a full scale direct mailing, consisting of an outer envelop, a direct mail letter, a brochure, an order form, a postpaid return envelop, and even more.

Whatever you do, the process begins when you decide exactly what it is you wish to offer. How will you structure that offer? Then you must select your mailing list. If you haven’t got the names already, you can purchase them from a list broker. Be sure, you buy a clean, fresh list. You must be certain that you know all  the costs involved: postage printing, writing the mailing, artwork, paper, personalization (individualizing each letter by name and address, and repeat mailing costs. Your gross sales, minus these costs and your production, handling, and shipping costs, will contribute your profits. Be sure you make financial projections and know your break-even point.

In the old days, a direct mail campaign meant a letter. Today it means a letter, two, three or five follow-up letters, perhaps a follow-up phone call or two, and finally, one more direct mail letter. Many entrepreneurs engage in weekly or monthly direct mailings.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

The Utilities Created by Marketing


 

All of marketing’s functions are performed to move goods from products to consumers. During this process, marketing adds utility (value) to goods and services. There are five types of utilities: 1) form, 2) time, 3) place, 4) possession, and 5) information.

1)      Form utility: refers to the changing of raw materials into a finished product. Taking grains and turning them into cereal is an example of form utility. Form utility is usually considered a production function rather than a marketing function.

2)      Time utility: it helps consumers by making products available when the consumer wishes. Supermarkets that are open 24 hours a day provide time utility. Making fresh fruit available in the winter is also a form of time utility.

3)      Place utility: it makes sure that the goods and services are conveniently located where consumers want them.

4)      Possession utility: it helps make the exchange of goods between buyers and sellers easy.  Anything that helps complete the sale – delivery, installation, warranties, credit – is considered part of possession utility.

5)      Information utility: it informs buyers of the product’s existence, how to use it, the price, and other facts. Such information is provided through advertising, salespeople, and packaging.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Convenience Stores


Convenience stores are actually mini supermarkets. They carry many of the same food and nonfood items that are sold in supermarkets, but they offer a limited selection of brands. The products are normally packaged in small sizes, to allow shelf space for other items. Convenience stores do not have meat or fresh produce departments. One of the most significant changes in convenience stores has been the addition of gasoline.

Since convenience store prices on non-gasoline items are typically higher than supermarket prices, we should ask why people shop at them. Many shoppers tolerate the higher prices because the total of their convenience store purchases is quite small. They are willing to pay a little extra for the convenience of being able to make purchases quickly and easily. Consumers recognize that they are paying a little more for these products than they would at a supermarket. But most people are not willing to invest the extra time and effort to go to the supermarket to save a few cents on one or two items. In effect, the convenience store retailer charges the consumer a premium for this time savings.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

The Seedbeds of Managers


Good managers are not born; they are made. An organization acquires managers in three ways: promoting employees from within, hiring managers from other organizations, and hiring managers graduating from universities.

Promoting people within the organization into management positions tends to increase motivation by showing employees that those who work hard and are competent can advance in the company. Internal promotion also provides managers who are already familiar with the company’s goals and problems. Promoting from within , however, can lead to problems: it may limit innovation. The new manager may continue the practices and policies of previous managers. Thus, it is vital for companies—even companies committed to promotion from within—to hire outside people from time to time to bring new ideas into the organizations.

Finding managers with the skills, knowledge and experience required to run an organization or department is sometimes is difficult. Specialized executive employment agencies—sometimes called headhunters, recruiting managers, or executive search firms—can help locate candidates from other companies. The downside is that even though outside people can bring fresh ideas to a company, hiring them may cause resentment among existing employees as well as involve greater expense in relocating an individual to another city.

Schools and universities provide a large pool of potential managers, and entry level applicants can be screened for their developmental potential. People with specialized management skills are specially good candidates. Some companies offer special training programs for potential managers just graduating from college.

When exposed to advertising, the consumer is not merely drawing information from the ad but is actively involved in assigning meaning to the advertised product.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Growing up


Organizations are not conscious in the same way people are: they do not have their own memory and the future can be separated from the past more quickly and totally.

The way organizations learn, store and share knowledge becomes key, and any effective organization must encourage learning. It must always be able to learn and store the lessons of the past, but with people coming and going faster and faster, this is not always easy.

At the same time as learning fast and remembering important lessons, they must also be able to unlearn and break bad habits, which can be a more difficult task than effective learning.

Every new organizational generation must be given a fresh chance to prove itself. As chairmen and CEOs come and go, so the organizational slate can be wiped clean in the same way that the sins of the father should not be passed on to the son. Organizations need to choose wisely about what to hang on to and what to jettison.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Hetrogeniety


Because services are performances, frequently produced by humans, no two services will be precisely alike. The employees delivering the service frequently are the service in the customer’s eyes, and people may differ in their performance from day to day or even hour to hour. Heterogeniety also results because no two customers are precisely alike; each will have unique demands ir experience the service in a unique way. Thus, the heterogeniety connected with services is largely the result of human interaction (between  and among employees and customers) and all of the vagaries that accompany it. For example, a tax accountant may provide a different service experience to two different customers on the same day depending on their individual needs and personalities and on whether the accountant is interviewing them when he or she is fresh in the morning or tired at the end of a long day of meetings.

Because services are heterogeneous across time, organizations, and people, ensuring consistent service quality is challenging. Quality actually depends on many factors that cannot be fully controlled by the service supplier, such as the ability of the consumer to articulate his or her needs, the ability and willingness of personnel to satisfy those needs, the presence (or absence) of other customers, and the level of demand for the service. Because of these complicating factors, the service manager cannot always  know for sure that the service is being delivered in a manner consistent with what was originally planned and promoted. Sometimes services may be provided by a third party, further increasing the potential heterogeniety of the offering. For example, a consulting organization may choose to subcontract certain elements of its total offering. From the customer’s perspective, these subcontractors still represent the consulting organization, even though their actions cannot be totally predicted or controlled by the contractor.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

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