Saturday, December 10, 2016

Tools For Managing Social Media Accounts

With the rise in demand for being available on social media networks, in order to get connected with the customers. There has been increase in complexity to handle these accounts also. Most of the companies who have their presence online are present on more than one platform. Take Facebook, Twitter & Instagram for example now. All these three have a different process in functioning and delivering message, along with that even have different way for generating reports. Which is very much indeed needed to keep track on the progress and ROI (Return On Investment). Thus now the marketers are moving towards using few of the available tools which not only reduces their efforts of keeping all the platform active but also helps in generating reports which helps in tracking the progress on just a single window. Few of such available tools paid and free are listed below.
  1. Hootsuite- As one of the leaders in social media marketing software, Hootsuite allows its users the ability to promote their brand through social channels, generate quality leads, and increase social traffic to their websites, all within one easy-to-use platform. Hootsuite is easily considered one of the most comprehensive social media management tools available.
  2. Buffer- Over here All plans include five or more team members. The ability to schedule posts to your Pinterest account. RSS feed integration for all plans.
  3. Sprout Social- If you’re looking for a cleaner dashboard and some additional analytics with all your posts, Sprout Social might be right up your alley. Sprout Social not only helps you draft, schedule, queue, and post messages in the social realm, but it also allows you to assign and manage tasks among team members and track and measure your social performance.
  4. Viralheat- Viralheat is almost too hot to handle with over 20,000 active users and a wide range of integrated social networks. Beside fan favorites Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, Viralheat throws Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Glassdoor, and more into the mix. It can help to access to custom number of connected social accounts. Ability to customize number of users.
  5. SocialOomph- It allows users to easily schedule updates, find quality people to follow, and monitor social media activity. Originally a Twitter focused solution, in 2009 SocialOomph expanded into additional networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, RSS feeds, blogs, Plurk, and .it can be used to Schedule and publish blog posts from unlimited blogs. Advanced DM management to filter out spam. Unlimited accounts  (even with free version). Offers a WYSIWYG editor for in-software editing. Auto-responder functionality.
  6. Tweetdeck- If Twitter is your game, Tweetdeck is the name. This completely free service allows users to manage an unlimited number of Twitter accounts. You can create a custom Twitter experience by organizing lists, searches, and activities. Tweetdeck allows you to easily find what you’re searching for through topics, events, and hashtags, and you can refine all your search results through filters at the top of each timeline. It can be can be downloaded as desktop software. No limit to the number of Twitter accounts used. Option to set up audio & pop-up notifications. Completely Free. It can easily be combined with Buffer.
  7. Sprinklr- It helps in Social Content includes Facebook apps, polls, quizzes, social ads and web apps. Content translation available for international reach in over 70 languages. In-depth analysis with customized and exportable reports. Goes beyond just posting content, monitor and listen to all your social channels.
  8. SocialPilot- It helps you automate your social media postings across multiple accounts, helping businesses increase their brand awareness, reach, and customer engagement. For companies selling products online, SocialPilot will actually help you automate product additions and updates on various sites. Also, SocialPilot users can automate mobile app promotions and connect to app stores for few bucks. It can be easily integrate your iOS App Store & Google Play Store accounts. Totally flexible schedules for posting and campaigns. Google Chrome plug-in with Bitly integration. 300+ supported apps.
  9. Send Social Media- It allows users to bring together social media, email, and SMS technologies to help you grow your business, monitor your brand, and track results along the way. Some top features in Send Social Media include the ability to post to and connect with over 30+ social networks at once, schedule updates, send bulk and group messages, and engage with your followers. You can also use Send Social Media for your email marketing campaigns by using one of their preset email templates. Then, you can personalize and schedule emails to best fit your needs. If you’re looking for some great SMS features, Send Social Media allows you to send and receive SMS texts from anywhere in the world. You can even schedule messages for a predetermined time or on a recurring basis. In-depth analytics and monitoring for additional social networks such as Yelp and City Search reviews.
  10. Salesforce Marketing Cloud Social Studio- It is a premium product that goes far beyond just social media content publishing. Not only can you connect and publish content through a wide-range of social networks, you can also utilize Salesforce Marketing Cloud across email, mobile, website experiences, and connected products. Send customers a discount when they’re near your store through push notifications. Build a single view of your customers and integrate that with sales and service cloud apps.
Few other tools which would also be helpful are as follows:
  • Netbase- Publish or schedule timed messages, photos, videos, or URLs on multiple social channels or assign tasks to appropriate team members. See live updates and mentions on social and keep a close eye on the intensity of chatter surrounding your brand, monitor emerging topics, and track against competitors in real-time. Netbase supports 42 languages, hosts single sign on functionality, and provides an onboarding team for implementation.
  • Tracx- Best for enterprise companies with large social media teams, Tracx allows you to create and publish content from a central location for simpler workflows and utilize their ‘Geo Heat Map’ to target campaigns on a location level. Benchmark each of your accounts to determine highest performance. Find buyers actively seeking the products you sell on social and send leads to the Sales team.
  • Spredfast- Allows for content publishing, social marketing and activity calendaring, and social listening and analytics. Spredfast easily integrates with Omniture, Google Analytics, Brandwatch, Crimson Hexagon, and more for deeper analysis and trends. They also provide a customer success team for help, scalable training, content strategy consulting, and customized ideation workshops.
  • Meet Edgar- It helps you prevent your social media updates from going to waste by cataloging your updates into a library for later usage. It categorizes status updates to help you engage with followers by customizing your schedule so you ask questions at times when you’ll be more likely to receive responses, promote your site at times when you’re more likely to get shares, and find times to share links that may result in higher click-levels.
  • SpredFast- Here’s another interesting inclusion in our applications similar to HootSuite array that enables you to effectively communicate with a wide audience via major social channels such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare and LinkedIn. This particular service believes in the 3 M’s– monitor, message, and measure everything as it happens on the social media front. As the developer reveals, you can listen in to the social conversation that’s based on you, your company or brand, echoing through multiple channels. Via the dashboard, you’ll be able to perceive just how many comments, retweets, views and mentions your post received.
  • Blurtster- Aimed at small businesses, this social media marketing tool lets you bask in the buzz that’s created around you, your company or brand. Through this service, you can learn what individuals have to say about you, search and contact potential customers, and simultaneously send messages across multiple networks. What’s more, you won’t have to flutter from one tab to the other as your Twitter feeds and Facebook wall will be displayed across a user-friendly dashboard. The website even splashes out your social media activity in the form of easy-to-read visual reports. This inclusion in our sites like HootSuite
So, these are few of the tools that could be helpful in case you required to handle more than a account for individual need or for small enterprise or for an organisation. Do comment below in case I have missed out any of such tools, or you what to give some value addition to the above mentioned content.

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Friday, October 7, 2016

Learning From 'MS Dhoni- The Untold Story' Movie

What you learn from MS Dhoni Biopic
Well the movie ‘M.S. Dhoni- The Untold Story’ is released and as expected is breaking record. This movie is considered as of the best performance of Sushant Singh Rajput and at the same time there has been question arising on the how far the love story shown resemble with true love story of Dhoni, which indicates of one behaviour of human being is that we are more interested in others personal life than ours. Now keeping these things aside let’s move towards the main reason behind me writing the blog. Every movie depicts a story but every director wants to deliver messages to its spectators/ audience but usually we either ignore it or miss it. So now let’s have a look towards the learning which we get from the movie.

1. Passion- There is a common troll which keeps moving in different social media platform. As what’s use of studying and getting degrees when big companies owners are drop out eg: Dirubhai Ambani, Steve Jobs. Not only these coming from Jamshedpur I, know it clearly that once there was news as Dhoni didn’t completed his graduation. So I want to make it clear over here it’s not the pattern that makes you successful its passion and hunger that makes to achieve your dream.

2. Hardwork- We always hears people telling that there’s no substitute of hard work. But how many of us take it seriously. Many be some of us take it, but when the result is not as per desire we hear complains which is natural but at the same time there are two more saying which will make the definition of hardwork clear that is ‘Don’t do Donkey’s Work’ and ‘Do your work do not desire for result’.

3. Opportunity- There’s a small story I’ll like to tell you about it. (There was a man, frustrated with life was complaining to god. After a day’s it was weekend afternoon, while he was sleeping there was a knock on his door. Being lazy he thought let the person on other side knock two three times then I’ll go and open the door, because many a time its neighbour’s children who does the pranks. He waited but there was no second knock and so he did not open the door. During evening he opened the door and found a letter lying down. The letter has words ‘I was opportunity, you are late for it’. The man realised his mistake and closed his door with belief that there will be a knock again but it didn’t happen). You never know in which form the opportunity will approach you, so before denying it make sure what you are ready to lose.

4. Risk- With opportunity there will be a risk associated, make sure you are ready for it and also if you really want to be successful you need to face challenges because by doing ordinary thing you can become ordinary person only.

5. People- My colleague usually say me ‘Sonali no company was build alone’ and he is definitely speaking the truth. You will meet with people who would be supporting you in your journey. They may be your friends, relatives, mentors but your parents would be one who will be standing beside you during your success and failure.

So, this is something that I learnt while watching movie. May be even I have missed few learning which you will notice. If that;s so do comment below your point.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Branding a Onetime Investment.

Necessity of branding
It was February, 2016 I was travelling to my home town after a gap of one year from Bangalore. I was going to be a long journey since after much difficulty I was able to get a ticket for train and also I was travelling alone. When you are along with your friends and family a journey will be never too boring but if you’re travelling alone and is not lucky enough to get friendly co passenger the journey may become long as decades. But luckily I did not fall into that category and my co passengers were friendly enough, as most of them were from my hometown itself and working in Bangalore in different sector. Time passed and we kept talking on different topics soon, after covering half of total distance we entered Orissa. We got jerk as the train stopped and looked out of the window of the 2 tier compartment and found we were at station Rourkela. Soon the hawkers started to enter with different things to sell. A person middle of 30’s enter with kettle and mud glass and shouting as “kharab se kharab chai pijiye’’ which means in English “drink the worse than worse tea”. Immediately person sitting next to me said “Ruko bhai, ye karab chai hai na, chalo pilao” (Is it bad tea, give me one). He insisted even us to have it, soon every there got one for them. I tasted it and I was not at all bad. With this incidence two theories of marketing strike into my head immediately. Firstly the vendor Negative Marketing pitch that caught almost everyone’s attention and secondly Branding.

Branding is very important for any business, now if you have succeeded in creating a Brand then onwards you do not need to make too much effort on sales. Branding is result of level of experience and expectation.
  • Poor Branding- When customers have no expectation with the product or service and even their experience are not great. Eg: Chinese products
  • Product Branding- Product Excellence breaks the poor brand cell.
  • Power Branding- When customers get emotionally attached to your product. Eg: Maggi is product of Uniliver but hardly any knows it, other eg: is photo copier machine is manufactured by company Xerox.
  • Hollow Branding- When the customer has great expectation with the brand but his experience on using the product of service is low. It creates a Hollow Branding eg: Audience had very high expectation with Aamir Khan coming movie Mangal Pandey, but the experience didn’t match and movie was a disaster.

Now coming to the ‘Karab Chai’ which means ‘Bad Tea’ the hawkers are not increasing the expectation of the Customers and when customers have it and like it, it helps in branding for them. Who tells best managers comes from IIM and Top B-School, try this tea whenever you are passing MP or Orissa and take my words you won’t be able to forget it.
So, this all for today, leave your comment below if you have even experience any of such events.
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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Advertise Free of Cost (Tools For SEO)

Are you one of the company falling in either of category i.e. Small Company with limited Marketing Budget or Big Company with Huge Industrial Competition, in both the situation you have the challenge of Marketing and Branding yourself in order to get conversion at last. So now moving forward if these two companies want to be featured on any of the search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc they got to advertise. Now every action has a motive behind it, you need to measure your investment. For it’s not always that you have a positive ROI. It may happen so that advertisement cost incurred by a company was much more than the conversion that brings revenue moreover it may happen that A bigger company need to invest huge to get keyword that will generate more traffic (it’s just like game of money- spend more to get the best keyword) in order hand a smaller company will either land up using wrong keyword, that hardly bring a traffic or finally decide not to advertise online and use traditional method.
Get Ranked at SERP with SEO and not adword
All above things mentioned are those in which none of a company ever wishes to be, because it makes the long term growth questionable. So why not try for alternative option where you need not to spend more but return would be tremendous. You would definitely feature on first page of the search engine and you’re your cost incurred would be minimum. And the answer to the question is using the SEO. The Company may try for On-Page or Page-Off to do Black-Hat or White-Hat. Some SEO Tools to optimize your website that are even free of cost are listed below. This image at right states the seo result of few of my Social Accounts  and Website. So now let's have a look at them.
1. GTmetrix- Other alternative to this tool are  Pingdom, WebPagetest (great visual waterfall), and Google PageSpeed Insights.
2. Web Developer Toolbar
3. SEO Quake Toolbar
4. Hootsuite- In 2015, social media is typically vital to SEO success. Hootsuite is one of many platforms for managing social media. It’s not the best social platform, but it is what effective as it is pretty helpful for promoting new content and staying on top of opportunities to engage with key influencers.
5. Wayback Machine- The Wayback Machine is the Internet’s most complete historical archive and lets you see what a website used to look like back in the day.
6. Chrome Developer Tools- Some SEO tasks you can do with Chrome DevTools include: examining mobile UX and SEO with the amazing mobile emulator, diagnosing page speed, picking apart source code, examining HTTP status codes, and mocking-up live edits to a webpage (including the title tags and Meta descriptions in the SERPs).
7. Google Trends- It shows changes in search query volume for specific queries (and topics and entities). For marketers, especially in volatile industries like technology and fashion, it’s critical to at least keep up with the market. And, if you can master online trends analysis and get a step ahead of the competition, the results can be quite profitable indeed. For search marketers, it’s plain good sense to analyze changes in search query behavior. Even everyday writers can improve their results by understanding which topics are trending.
8. This freemium tool quickly spit out a ton of great keywords based on the autocomplete feature of Google, Bing, YouTube, or App Store Search.
9. Bing Webmaster Tools
10. Google (and Bing)
11. Google Keyword Planner- Formerly known as Adwords Keyword Tool, lets you pull monthly Google search query volume estimates for dozens of keywords in seconds.
12. Google Search Console- Formerly “Google Webmaster Tools” – provides data and configuration control for your site in Google. That’s a pretty big deal.
13. Google Analytics
14. Set up Google Authorship- If you write online, make sure you get credit for your content with Google by setting up Google Authorship. Authorship results are more likely to catch the eye of a searcher, as seen in this heatmap.
15. Create astounding content
16. Make it easy to share

Now this is all for the day next time I would try to discuss about all the above mentioned tool in details.

Monday, April 4, 2016

What a Marketers can learn from Indian PM Mr. Narendra Modi

It have been quiet long time since I started to write blog but fortunately became more active after I entered one of the known B- School in Bengaluru and learnt the lesson about the importance of social media and digital in area of Marketing today and in coming years. After that where ever I went for the interview a question asked by Interviewer was that “What your Blog Basically Dealing with” and my reply was “Current Happenings and my perception towards that”. And so today also I’m going to telling about something great in the market by a person who is considered Favorite of youth that is Mr Narendra Modi. But before moving ahead let me make it clear this post is not in support or criticism of any political parties or their activity. So now moving ahead with the topic one can hate him or love him but can’t deny the fact that he is the most digital/ tech oriented PM India ever had in past few decades.

Few of the steps taken by Mr. PM are proven records of saying by few of our Marketing GURU’s. So here I point out the action taken by him how it was related to marketing. How he branded himself in front of the population of more 1.21billions as well as outside the country boundaries.

1. Social Media- Narendra Modi is available on almost all social networks you take the name. Be it Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Flickr, Youtube. Not only this in order to connect with outside boundaries like China he is also present on very popular social networking site of the country Weibo.

2. Website- He’s Official Website is very much active and is continuously updated about all the activities going on.

3. Radio- Maan Ki Baat started was a great initiative to connect with people residing in rural India, The Program is also broadcasted on Dordarshan Network.

4. New Market- By using social networks Mr Narendra Modi tried to connect with youth of the country who have a opinion by thought that giving it was a waste of energy and time so a website MyGov.In was started whose motive was to understand citizens opinion on towards and Issues, Policy, Activity and so on.

5. Live Conferences- Mr Narendra Modi from the time he came into power he have been continuously having Live Conferences like with police, farmers with a initiative to connect more with them.

Coming to conclusion like when a company after doing its marketing sold a product or services it tries to get the feedback in order to understand weather the customers are satisfied or not. If not what steps should be taken to bring a improvement. This is what even practiced by Mr Narendra Modi. The only Difference is that they are corporate and he is an individual making efforts to run the country with 1.21 Billion population with 29 States with Different Law At State Level and Central Level.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Concepts/ Tools That Should Be Known By A Market Research Analyst

Earlier in the post Market Research I discussed about the basics related with Business Market Research, now in this segment let’s have a look towards the concepts that one should be clear with if you want to make your career as a Market Research Analyst.

1. SWOT is basically a business tool that deals with the internal and the external factors of the business. A SWOT analysis can be done by a single person or a group of people. Both cases involve performing only a few steps.
  • Synthesis of the internal data to list the weaknesses and the strengths of the firm
  • Collecting the external data to identify the possible threats and opportunities.

Strengths: It describe the positive factors of your business. These are completely under your control, and you decide how to utilize them for the benefit of your company. Strengths are considered as an internal factor and include the positive attributes of your company. It can be classified based on the area of expertise. Like your company has a strong finance sector or a brilliant marketing team, highly skilled workers who have been given adequate training then they are also considered as your strength.

Weaknesses: These are internal factors that are within your control. Despite being in your control, these factors somewhat stops you from performing at an optimum level. These will hinder your progress and give the competitive edge to your competitors.
Weaknesses may include the lack of technologies, lack of capital invested in your business, unskilled labors or even the poor location of your business. These factors are in your control but needs improvements so that you are no longer at a disadvantage. A key part of analyzing the weakness is to come up with ideas which will not only improve your weaknesses but also match up with the competitors.

Opportunities: Here now let’s move to the external factors. External forces are such that are beyond your control. However, opportunities are the positive external factors. Opportunities reflect the potential of the business and marketing strategy implemented. These open up the possibilities for the business to do well. If done right or taken advantage of them the business will have a significant boost over its rivals or competitors.
Opportunities may arise due to certain reasons. For instance, a change in consumer demand or taste can be an opportunity. Weather factors, economic conditions are also termed as opportunities. Government subsidizing certain firms can be classified as an opportunity if your business falls under those certain firms. Sometimes opportunities may be such that fall under your internal factors. For example say all firms which are eco-friendly will have a deducted income tax. If your company happens to be an eco-friendly firm, then you can take this opportunity and classify it as strength as well.

Threats: These are basically the factors which may put your marketing strategy in danger of loss. Not only that, but your entire business is also at risk as well. A key part of SWOT analysis is the assessments of the possible threats that may arise. Since it is an external factor, you have no control over it. However, you can make a contingency plan to combat such risks. Threats can be of different kinds. If you are in the agriculture industry, then bad weather may be termed as a threat. On the other hand, if you are in the importing business, then government tax regulations are seen as a threat.  Other threats can be raising prices from suppliers, pressure from the activist groups (Social Factor), bad media coverage or even lawsuits which are likely to damage the company’s reputation. Even your competitors are your threats. Their improvements will provide competition for your product. You cannot stop them from doing well. But you can use your strengths to outperform them.

 2. Porter's Five Forces Analysis is a framework that attempts to analyze the level of competition within an industry and business strategy development. It draws upon Industrial organization (IO) economics to derive five forces that determine the competitive intensity and therefore attractiveness of an Industry. Attractiveness over here refers to the overall industry profitability. An "unattractive" industry is one in which the combination of these five forces acts to drive down overall profitability. A very unattractive industry would be one approaching "pure competition", in which available profits for all firms are driven to normal profit. A clear example of this is the airline industry. As an industry, profitability is low and yet individual companies, by applying unique business models, have been able to make a return in excess of the industry average.

Threat of new entrants: Profitable markets that yield high returns will attract new firms. This results in many new entrants, which eventually will decrease profitability for all firms in the industry. Unless the entry of new firms can be blocked by incumbents (which in business refers to the largest company in a certain industry, for example, in telecommunications, the traditional phone company, typically called the "incumbent operator"), the abnormal profit rate will trend towards zero.

Threat of substitute products or services: The existence of products outside the area of the common product boundaries increases the propensity of customers to switch to alternatives. For example, tap water might be considered a substitute for Coke, whereas Pepsi is a competitor's similar product. Increased marketing for drinking tap water might decrease the profit for both Coke and Pepsi, whereas increased Pepsi advertising would likely "grow the profit" (increase consumption of all soft drinks). Another example is the substitute of a landline phone with a cellular phone.

Bargaining power of customers (buyers): The bargaining power of customers is also described as the market of outputs: the ability of customers to put the firm under pressure, which also affects the customer's sensitivity to price changes. Firms can take measures to reduce buyer power, such as implementing a loyalty program. The buyer power is high if the buyer has many alternatives. The buyer power is low if they act independently e.g. If a large number of customers will act with each other and ask to make prices low the company will have no other choice because of large number of customers pressure.

Bargaining power of suppliers: The bargaining power of suppliers is also described as the market of inputs. Suppliers of raw materials, components, labor, and services (such as expertise) to the firm can be a source of power over the firm when there are few substitutes. If you are making cookies and there is only one person who sells flour, you have no alternative but to buy it from them. Suppliers may refuse to work with the firm or charge excessively high prices for unique resources.

Intensity of competitive rivalry: For most industries the intensity of competitive rivalry is the major determinant of the competitiveness of the industry because of innovation, Competition between online and offline companies, Advertising expense, Degree of transparency.

3. PESTLE Analysis, is sometimes referred as PEST analysis, is a concept in marketing principles. Moreover, this concept is used as a tool by companies to track the environment they’re operating in or are planning to launch a new project/product/service etc.
PESTLE expanded as Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental. PESTLE analysis is more comprehensive version of the SWOT analysis.

Political: These factors determine the extent to which a government may influence the economy or a certain industry. For example a government may impose a new tax or duty due to which entire revenue generating structures of organizations might change. Political factors include tax policies, Fiscal policy, trade tariffs etc. that a government may levy around the fiscal year and it may affect the business environment (economic environment) to a great extent.

Economic: These factors are determinants of an economy’s performance that directly impacts a company and have resonating long term effects. For example a rise in the inflation rate of any economy would affect the way companies’ price their products and services. Adding to that, it would affect the purchasing power of a consumer and change demand/supply models for that economy. Economic factors include inflation rate, interest rates, foreign exchange rates, economic growth patterns etc. It also accounts for the FDI (foreign direct investment) depending on certain specific industries who’re undergoing this analysis.

Social: These factors scrutinize the social environment of the market, and gauge determinants like cultural trends, demographics, population analytic's etc. An example for this can be buying trends for Western countries like the US where there is high demand during the Holiday season.

Technological: These factors pertain to innovations in technology that may affect the operations of the industry and the market favorably or unfavorably. This refers to automation, research and development and the amount of technological awareness that a market possesses.

Legal: These factors have both external and internal sides. There are certain laws that affect the business environment in a certain country while there are certain policies that companies maintain for themselves. Legal analysis takes into account both of these angles and then charts out the strategies in light of these legislations. For example, consumer laws, safety standards, labor laws etc.

Environmental: These factors include all those that influence or are determined by the surrounding environment. This aspect of the PESTLE is crucial for certain industries particularly for example tourism, farming, agriculture etc. Factors of a business environmental analysis include but are not limited to climate, weather, geographical location, global changes in climate, environmental offsets etc.

4. BCG Matrix is a portfolio planning model developed by BCG Consulting Group. It is based on the observation that a company's business units can be classified into four categories based on combinations of market growth and market share relative to the largest competitor, hence the name "growth-share". The four categories are:

Dogs- Dogs have low market share and a low growth rate and thus neither generate nor consume a large amount of cash. However, dogs are cash traps because of the money tied up in a business that has little potential. Such businesses are candidates for divestiture.

Question marks - Question marks are growing rapidly and thus consume large amounts of cash, but because they have low market shares they do not generate much cash. The result is a large net cash consumption. A question mark (also known as a "problem child") has the potential to gain market share and become a star, and eventually a cash cow when the market growth slows. If the question mark does not succeed in becoming the market leader, then after perhaps years of cash consumption it will degenerate into a dog when the market growth declines. Question marks must be analyzed carefully in order to determine whether they are worth the investment required to grow market share.

Stars- Stars generate large amounts of cash because of their strong relative market share, but also consume large amounts of cash because of their high growth rate; therefore the cash in each direction approximately nets out. If a star can maintain its large market share, it will become a cash cow when the market growth rate declines. The portfolio of a diversified company always should have stars that will become the next cash cows and ensure future cash generation.

Cash cows- As leaders in a mature market, cash cows exhibit a return on assets that is greater than the market growth rate, and thus generate more cash than they consume. Such business units should be "milked", extracting the profits and investing as little cash as possible. Cash cows provide the cash required to turn question marks into market leaders, to cover the administrative costs of the company, to fund research and development, to service the corporate debt, and to pay dividends to shareholders. Because the cash cow generates a relatively stable cash flow, its value can be determined with reasonable accuracy by calculating the present value of its cash stream using a discounted cash flow analysis.

5. GE Nine Matrix was developed by McKinsey & Company as a tool for screening GE's large portfolio of strategic business units (SBU). This business screen became known as the GE/ McKinsey Matrix. It is similar to the BCG growth-share matrix in that it maps strategic business units on a grid of the industry and the SBU's position in the industry. The GE matrix however, attempts to improve upon the BCG matrix in the following two ways:

The GE matrix generalizes the axes as "Industry Attractiveness" and "Business Unit Strength" whereas the BCG matrix uses the market growth rate as a proxy for industry attractiveness and relative market share as a proxy for the strength of the business unit.
The GE matrix has nine cells vs. four cells in the BCG matrix.
Industry attractiveness and business unit strength are calculated by first identifying criteria for each, determining the value of each parameter in the criteria, and multiplying that value by a weighting factor. The result is a quantitative measure of industry attractiveness and the business unit's relative performance in that industry.

Industry Attractiveness: The vertical axis of the GE / McKinsey matrix is industry attractiveness, which is determined by factors such as the following:
Market growth rate
Market size
Demand variability
Industry profitability
Industry rivalry
Global opportunities
Macro-environmental factors (PESTL/ PEST)
Each factor is assigned a weighting that is appropriate for the industry. The industry attractiveness then is calculated as follows:
Business Unit Strength: The horizontal axis of the GE / McKinsey matrix is the strength of the business unit. Some factors that can be used to determine business unit strength include:
Market share
Growth in market share
Brand equity
Distribution channel access
Production capacity
Profit margins relative to competitors

Strategic Implications
Resource allocation recommendations can be made to grow, hold, or harvest a strategic business unit based on its position on the matrix as follows:
Grow strong business units in attractive industries, average business units in attractive industries, and strong business units in average industries.
Hold average businesses in average industries, strong businesses in weak industries, and weak business in attractive industries.
Harvest weak business units in unattractive industries, average business units in unattractive industries, and weak business units in average industries.
There are strategy variations within these three groups.
For example, within the harvest group the firm would be inclined to quickly divest itself of a weak business in an unattractive industry, whereas it might perform a phased harvest of an average business unit in the same industry.
While the GE business screen represents an improvement over the simpler BCG growth-share matrix, it still presents a somewhat limited view by not considering interactions among the business units and by neglecting to address the core competencies leading to value creation. Rather than serving as the primary tool for resource allocation, portfolio matrices are better suited to displaying a quick synopsis of the strategic business units. For making it easier to understand example of Maruti Suzuki business is taken have a look.

6. Value Chain Analysis is a set of activities that a firm operating in a specific industry performs in order to deliver a valuable product or service for the market.The idea of the value chain is based on the process view of organizations, the idea of seeing a manufacturing (or service) organization as a system, made up of subsystems each with inputs, transformation processes and outputs. Inputs, transformation processes, and outputs involve the acquisition and consumption of resources - money, labour, materials, equipment, buildings, land, administration and management. How value chain activities are carried out determines costs and affects profits. In Porter's value chains, Inbound Logistics, Operations, Outbound Logistics, Marketing and Sales, and Service are categorized as primary activities. Secondary activities include Procurement, Human Resource management, Technological Development and Infrastructure. The appropriate level for constructing a value chain is in the business unit and not division or corporate level. Products pass through a chain of activities in order, and at each activity the product gains some value. The chain of activities gives the products more added value than the sum of added values of all activities.
A firm's value chain forms a part of a larger stream of activities, which is called a value system. A value system, or an industry value chain, includes the suppliers that provide the inputs necessary to the firm along with their value chains. After the firm creates products, these products pass through the value chains of distributors (which also have their own value chains), all the way to the customers. All parts of these chains are included in the value system. To achieve and sustain a competitive advantage, and to support that advantage with information technologies, a firm must understand every component of this value system.

Primary Activities
Inbound Logistics/ Upstream: arranging the inbound movement of materials, parts, and/or finished inventory from suppliers to manufacturing or assembly plants, warehouses, or retail stores.

Operations: concerned with managing the process that converts inputs (in the forms of raw materials, labor, and energy) into outputs (in the form of goods and/or services).

Outbound Logistics/ Downstream: is the process related to the storage and movement of the final product and the related information flows from the end of the production line to the end user.

Marketing and Sales: selling a product or service and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

Service: includes all the activities required to keep the product/service working effectively for the buyer after it is sold and delivered.

Support Activities
Procurement: the acquisition of goods, services or works from an outside external source

Human Resources Management: consists of all activities involved in recruiting, hiring, training, developing, compensating and (if necessary) dismissing or laying off personnel.

Technological Development: pertains to the equipment, hardware, software, procedures and technical knowledge brought to bear in the firm's transformation of inputs into outputs.

Infrastructure: consists of activities such as accounting, legal, finance, control, public relations, quality assurance and general (strategic) management.

Few Others Includes of:
  • 4 Corners 
  • War Gaming 
  • Early Warning System involves monitoring the whole system continuously in order to find out budding problem at the initial stages.
Basically there are other tools also that can be used. Among all the few mentioned above are the most used ones. If you think there are tools that should be mentioned in the list than do comment below, it would be appreciated.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

'Big Data' The Need of Today

With the increase in E- Commerce there have been increasing buzz among all with the word ‘Big Data’. For Example in order to cover growing Indian market Amazon have tied up with IRCTC, as it is having one of the biggest customer base. Companies like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon are continuously in an attempt to provide a better customer experience with help of such data. Not only this companies like FMCG, Apparels collect data from Retails such as Hypermarket, Departmental Store, Supermarket through sales data or loyalty cards.

According to IBM “Every Day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data- so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data comes from everywhere: sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, purchase transaction records, and cell phone GPS signals to name a few. This data is big data”.

So, big data is exactly what it sounds like- a lot of data, since the evolution of the Internet. It's been estimated that in all the time leading up to the year 2003, only 5 exabytes of data were generated- that's equal to 5 billion gigabytes. But from 2003 to 2012, the amount reached around 2.7 zettabytes (or 2,700 Exabyte’s, or 2.7 trillion gigabytes) [sources: Intel]. According to Berkeley researchers, we are now producing roughly 5 quintillion bytes (or around 4.3 Exabyte’s) of data every two days [source: Romanov].

The term 'big data' is usually used to refer to massive, rapidly expanding, varied and often unstructured sets of digitized data that are difficult to maintain using traditional databases. It can include all the digital information floating around out there in the ether of the Internet, the proprietary information of companies with whom we've done business and official government records, among a great many other things. These data are today being analyzed for some purpose such as finding consumer preference, loyalty, targeting media for advertisement, etc.

Company generates lots of such data by making online purchases and participating in social media, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Big data can include digitized documents, photographs, videos, audio files, tweets and other social networking posts, e-mails, text messages, phone records, search engine queries, RFID tag and barcode scans and financial transaction records, though those aren't the only sources. The data are produce every time you do anything online, leaving a digital trail that others can come along and gather the useful information.

The numbers and types of devices that produce data have been continuously increasing as well. Besides home computers and retailers' point-of-sale systems, we have Internet-connected smartphones, WiFi- enabled scales that tweet our weight, fitness sensors that track and sometimes share health related data, cameras that can automatically post photos and videos online and global positioning satellite (GPS) devices that can pinpoint our location on the globe, to name a few. Don't forget weather and traffic sensors, surveillance cameras, sensors in cars and airplanes and other things not connected with individuals that are constantly collecting data. The large numbers of electronic devices that generate and upload data have given rise to the term "the IOT- Internet of things."

You'll find multiple definitions of big data out there, so not everyone agrees entirely on what is included, but it can be anything anyone might be interested to know that can be subjected to computer analysis. And these large, unwieldy sets of data require new methods to collect, store, process and analyze them.

How Big Data is Analyzed and Used

Big data has to be collected, massaged, linked together and interpreted for it to be of any use to anyone. Companies and other entities need to filter the vast amount of available data to get to what's most relevant to them. Fortunately, hardware and software that can process, store and analyze huge amounts of information are becoming cheaper and faster, so the work no longer requires massive and prohibitively expensive supercomputers. Some of the software is becoming more user friendly so that it doesn't necessarily take a team of programmers and data scientists to wrangle the data (although it never hurts to have knowledgeable people who can understand your requirements).

Companies take advantage of cloud computing services so that they don't even have to buy their own computers to do all that data crunching. Data centers, also called server farms, can distribute batches of data for processing over multiple servers, and the number of servers can be scaled up or down quickly as needed. This scalable distributed computing is accomplished using innovative tools like Apache Hadoop, MapReduce and Massively Parallel Processing (MPP). NoSQL databases have been developed as more easily scalable alternatives to traditional SQL-based database systems.

Much of this big data processing and analysis is aimed at finding patterns and correlations that provide insights that can be exploited or used to make decisions. Businesses can now mine massive amounts of data for information about consumer habits, their products' popularity or more efficient ways to do business. Big data analytics can be used to target relevant ads, products and services at the customers they believe are most likely to buy them, or to create ads that are more likely to appeal to the public at large. Companies are now even starting to do things like send real-time ads and coupons to people via their smartphones for places that are near locations where they have recently used their credit cards.

It's not just for making us buy stuff, however. Businesses can use the information to improve efficiency and practices, such as finding the most cost-effective delivery routes or stocking merchandise more appropriately. Government agencies can analyze traffic patterns, crime, utility usage and other statistics to improve policy decisions and public service. Intelligence agencies can use it to, well, spy, and hopefully foil criminal and terrorist plots. News outfits can use it to find trends and develop stories, and, of course, write more articles about big data.

In essence, big data allows entities to use nearly real-time data to inform decisions, rather than relying mostly on old information as in the past. But this ability to see what's going on with us in the present, and even sometimes to predict our future behavior, can be a bit creepy.

For a conclusion 'Big Data' is need for today. If a company needs to gain a competitive edge over its competitors is have to understand its importance as soon as possible. If you want to get more of such information related to market update follow my blog. Do comment below if something is missed that can add value.