Writer’s Checklist


When writing a technical report ask yourself following questions:

  • What is reader’s name and job title?
  • What are reader’s chief responsibilities on the job?
  • What is reader’s educational background?
  • What is your reader’s professional background (previous positions or work experience)?
  • What is reader’s attitude toward the subject of the document?
  • What will the reader do with the document: file it, skim it, read only a portion of it, study it carefully, modify it and submit it to another reader, attempt to implement recommendations?
  • What are the reader’s likes and dislikes that might affect his/her reaction to the document?
  • How will your reader’s physical environment affect how you write and package the document?
  • What is your purpose in writing?
  • What is the document intended to accomplish?
  • Is your purpose consistent with your audience’s needs?
  • How does your understanding of your audience and of your purpose determine your strategy: the scope, structure, organization, tone, and vocabulary of the document?
  • Are there any organizational constraints that you have to accommodate?
  • Are there any informational constraints that you have to accommodate?
  • Are there any time constraints?
  • Have you checked with your primary reader to see if he or she approves of your strategy for the document?

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.

Electronic Mail


The cost of paper, printing and postage for the typical direct mail package is increasing its cost. What’s more, the cost of processing a response can easily be more expensive than producing the mailing. That means direct mail is only cost effective for relatively high-value purchases. Therefore, imagine how many more applications there would be for electronic direct mail costing—just a few pennies per piece. Use email.

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.

Ethical Problems in Product Strategy


Product quality, planned obsolescence, brand similarity, and packaging questions are significant concerns of consumers, managers, and governments. Competitive pressures have forced some marketers into packaging practices that may be considered misleading, deceptive, and/or unethical. Some firms make package larger than necessary to gain shelf space and consumer exposure in the supermarket. Odd-sized packages make price comparisons difficult. The real question seems to be whether these practices can be justified in the name of competition. Growing regulatory mandates appear to be narrowing the range of discretion in this area.

Product testing is another area that raises ethical concerns. To help assure consumers of product quality, many companies use seals of approval for their goods and services. Recently however consumers have begun to question whether the use of these seals is ethical, since they have to be purchased at fees ranging from $10,000 to $1 million. The seals also do not promise that the product is the best one on the market. Many of the organizations that offer seals of approval do not conduct product testing themselves or even compare 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.

Extending the Product Life Cycle


Marketers usually try to extend each stage of the life cycles for their products as long as possible. They can often accomplish this goal if they take action early in the maturity stage. Product life cycles can stretch indefinitely as a result of decisions designed to increase the frequency of use by  current customers, increase the number of users for the product, find new uses, or charge package sizes, labels, or product quality.

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.

Services Marketing


As the forces coincide and evolve, those involved realize that there is something different about marketing services and managing services. When a firm’s core offering is a deed performed by an employee, how can the firm ensure consistent product quality to the marketplace? As services businesses begin to turn to marketing and decide to hire marketing people, they naturally recruit from the best marketers in the world. People who move from marketing in packaged goods industries to marketing in healthcare, banking and other service industries find their skills and experiences are not directly transferable. They face issues and dilemmas in marketing services that their experiences in packaged goods and manufacturing has not prepared them for. These people realize the need for new concepts and approaches for marketing and managing service businesses.

Service marketers respond to these forces and begin to work across disciplines and with academics and business practitioners from around the world to develop and document marketing practices for service industries. As the field evolved, it expanded to address the concerns and needs of any business where service is an integral part of the offering. Frameworks, concepts, and strategies developed to address the fact that services marketing is different. As the field continues to evolve into the 21st century, new trends are developing that will shape the field and continue the need for services marketing concepts and tools.

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.

Availability of Warranties


In countries where consumer rights are protected, the seller makes the written warranty terms available to the prospective buyer before the sale. The text of the warranty is often displayed next to the product, or on the package in which the product is enclosed. Warranty terms can also be collected in notebooks in the department that sells the goods and may even be microfilmed, so long as the prospective buyer can readily use the microfilm reader. The maker of the warranty is required to make the text of the warranty available to sellers in forms that sellers can readily use, such as providing copies of the written warranty with each product, or on a tag, sticker, label, or other attachment to the product, or on a sign or poster. These warranty requirements also cover catalog and door-to-door sales.

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-mail Marketing: Checklist


  • Is there a perceived need for the product or service?
  • Is it practical?
  • Is it unique?
  • Is the price right for your customers or prospects?
  • Is it a good value?
  • Is the markup sufficient to assure a profit?
  • Is the market large enough? Does the product or service have broad appeal?
  • Are there specific smaller segments of your list that have a strong desire for your product or service?
  • Is it new? Will your customers perceive it as being new?
  • Can it be photographed or illustrated interestingly?
  • Are there sufficient unusual selling features to make your copy sizzle?
  • Is it economical to ship? Is it fragile? Old shaped? Heavy? Bulky?
  • Can it be personalized?
  • Are there any legal problems to overcome?
  • Is it safe to use?
  • Is the supplier reputable?
  • Will backup merchandise be available for fast shipment on reorders?
  • Might returns be too huge?
  • Will refurbishing of returned merchandise be practical?
  • Is it, or can it be, packaged attractively?
  • Are usage instructions clear?
  • How does it compare to competitive products or services?
  • Will it have exclusivity?
  • Will it lend itself to repeat business?
  • Is it consumable, so that there will be repeat orders?
  • Is it faddish? Too short-lived?
  • Is it too seasonal for direct mail selling?
  • Can an add-on to the product make it more distinctive and salable?
  • Will the number of stock keeping units – various sizes and colors – create problems?
  • Does it lend itself to multiple pricing?
  • Is it too readily available in stores?
  • Is it like an old, hot item, so that its success is guaranteed?
  • Is it doomed because similar items have failed?
  • Does your mother, wife, brother, husband, sister, or kid like it?
  • Is direct mail the way to go with it?
  • Does it fill an unfilled niche in the marketplace?

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.

 

Beyond Customer Satisfaction


Satisfying the customer is no longer the ultimate business virtue. Companies need to look for ways to create and increase customer loyalty. The key to this new loyalty-centered approach to customer relationships is creating and managing the customer value package – the combination of factors (price, product quality, innovation, and company image) that creates what the customer perceives as superior value. Five steps are recommended:

  1. Clearly define and communicate your objectives. The company needs to make sure that every stakeholder clearly understands the importance of  creating and delivering customer loyalty and knows how to make it possible.
  2. Let customers define, in their own words, their criteria for quality, price, image, and value. The company needs to distinguish between basic requirements and loyalty builders. Meeting the basic requirements will get the company on the approved vendor list, but generating loyalty will encourage a customer to stick with the company during difficult times.
  3. Conduct a critical need and value assessment. The company must set priorities among important customer requirements and determine the relative importance of these aspects of the customer value package.
  4. Develop an action plan and move to implementation. This turns management of customer loyalty into a way of doing business. The company must make sure that the voice of the customer becomes the principle around which the business processes are organized.
  5. Monitor the marketplace and organization results. Managing customer value is not a one-time effort, so all the loyalty-building components of customer value have to be monitored regularly with a focus on the relationship between customer value, customer loyalty, and financial performance.

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.

 

Writing Useful Instructions


When you need to explain in writing how to do something, a set of step-by-step instructions is your best choice. By enumerating the steps, you make it easy for readers to perform the process in the correct sequence. Your goal is to provide a clear, self-sufficient explanation so that readers can perform the task independently.

Gather Equipment

  1. Writing materials (pen and paper, typewriter, computer)
  2. Background materials (previous memos, policy manuals, manufacturer’s booklets, etc.)
  3. When necessary, the apparatus being explained (machine, software package, or other equipment)

Prepare

  1. Perform the task yourself, or ask experts to demonstrate it or describe it to you in detail.
  2. Analyze prospective readers’ familiarity with the process so that you can write instructions at their level of understanding.

Make your Instructions Clear

  1. Include four elements: an introduction, a list of equipment and materials, a description of the steps involved in the process, and a conclusion.
  2. Explain in the opening why the process is important and how it is related to a larger purpose.
  3. Divide the process into short, simple steps presented in order of occurrence.
  4. Present the steps in a numbered list, or if presenting them in paragraph format, use words indicating time or sequence, such as first and then.
  5. If the process involves more than ten steps, divide them into groups or stages identified with headings.
  6. Phrase each step as a command (“Do this” instead of “You should do this”); use active verbs; use precise, specific terms (“three weeks” instead of “several weeks”).
  7. When appropriate, describe how to tell whether a step has been performed correctly and how one step may influence another. Warn readers of possible damage or injury from a mistake in a step, but limit the number of warnings so that readers do not underestimate their importance.
  8. Include diagrams of complicated devices, and refer to them in appropriate steps.
  9. Summarize the importance of the process and the expected results.

Test your Instructions

  1. Review the instructions to be sure they are clear and complete. Also judge whether you have provided too much detail.
  2. Ask someone else to read the instructions and tell you whether they make sense and are easy to follow.

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.

 

Micro-Macro Dilemma


Producers and consumers making free choices can cause conflicts and difficulties. This is called the micro-macro dilemma: what is good for some producers and consumers may not be good for society as a whole.

Each year thousands of people are killed with handguns. Yet there are producers who make and sell handguns at a profit. And there are many consumers who feel strongly about their right to own guns. But others argue that handguns are a threat to society. They want handgun sales banned sale of all weapons limited. Should gun producers be allowed to sell guns to consumers who want them?

Such decisions don’t have to involve a matter of life and death to be important. People want the convenience of disposable products and products in easy-to-use, small-serving packages. But these same “convenient” products and packages often lead to pollution of the environment and inefficient use of natural resources. Should future generations be left to pay the consequences of pollution that is the result of “free choice” by today’s consumers?

Questions like these are not easy to answer. The basic reason is  that many different people may “have a stake” in the outcomes—and social consequences—of the choices made by individual managers and consumers in a market-directed system.

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.

 

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