Stall Operations Activation Plan near by me

Established in 2007, Fulcrum is one of the leading brand activation and promotions companies, Stall Operations Activation Plan near by me and  in india, leading the way in brand activations, promotions, experiential events and field marketing. Our services are offered all over the country, including major cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Other Metro City.
We have worked across local and international brands, spanning a multitude of industries, throughout across india. Each year Fulcrum performs in the region of many activations and promotions, and has a database of more than 6 000 brand ambassadors in over 10 locations.

fulcrum has developed a unique four-tier brand ambassador rating platform, with specific requirements per level – covering communication and selling skills, personal presentation, and financial and computer literacy. This rating platform helps create an ideal match between brand ambassador and brand, and within the specifications of your marketing strategy and budget.

The Fulcrum is a corporate social investment initiative aimed at finding and developing talent and creating jobs. It assists young brand ambassadors in acquiring and improving a range of skills, including communication and selling skills, personal presentation and grooming, financial literacy and basic technology skills. The Academy also covers career planning so that skills are developed in line with a career pathway.

Fulcrum is a progressive & creative organization, specializing in SalesMarketingBrand Promotions, Brand Activities Professional in pimpri chinchwad. The organization started up in Maharashtra in 2007. As a results-based company, we have provided our clients with a competitive advantage over the last 9 years.

We have managed to bridge the gap between Sales & Marketing. Many companies spend huge budgets on marketing strategies with no real Return On Investment (ROI). Through our approach, we have optimized both of these functions, creating lower cost per acquisition, and maximizing the ROI.

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Marketing tips, ideas, tricks, advice

 

Non-Traditional Marketing Tactics to Boost Brand Awareness

Using marketing strategies to boost brand awareness means that your business will always be top of mind. However, if you are not having much luck with the more traditional methods, it may be time to explore a few other non-traditional tactics to see if they translate well for your brand. Here are the Tradeway team’s top choices:

Let’s Get Tangible
At the moment, the focus for most marketing experts is to make their presence known online through social media marketing and other digital methods. While this can lead to a lot more brand awareness, nowadays, it is very difficult to stand out. It has all been done before.

“One way in which to really grab your potential customers’ attention is to forego the digital route for a while and to start focusing on how to provide the customer with a more tangible, old-fashioned experience that fits in with your brand and its product offering. Sending them a box of chocolates or a hand-written note can make all the difference when it comes to connecting with them on a more personal level than what online marketing allows for,” comments.

Tell Real Stories
When piecing together a new campaign, stop wondering what to do to stir emotion within your target audience, make them stop and listen, or get a reaction from them… and start telling real stories instead. In doing so, emotion comes built-in and is much more authentic and believable. This is sure to make it easier for your potential customers to connect with your brand.

Play a Bigger Part
Stop using stock images on your Instagram. Stop hiring attractive MCs to host your brand’s events. It is time to start involving yourself and your staff more. By getting involved with your audience directly, and giving them the chance to get to know the brains behind your brand, they are much more likely to feel more connected to you. Be your own brand ambassador and your own brand influencer and your experiential marketing strategies will take off on their own with very little effort. Once again, authenticity is the name of the game!

Would you like assistance when it comes to mastering the art of marketing? Allow the Fulcrum team to lend a hand. Specialising in experiential and field marketing, as well as creative activations, we will have everyone talking about your business in a flash! Contact us today to find out more.

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btl advertising promotions, one2one Interactive marketing, Data Collection event, Corporate Marketing, Marketing Agent, merchandising websites, agencies in akurdi

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BTL refers to a series of marketing techniques known collectively as below-the-line marketing. Below-the-line marketing includes direct marketing by mail or email, sales promotion, marketing communications, exhibitions and telemarketing. Above-the-line marketing refers to advertising in media such as print, cinema, radio, television, outdoor posters and the Internet. Marketing campaigns that use both above-the-line and below-the-line techniques are known as through-the-line campaigns.

Agency Remuneration
The terms above-the-line and below-the-line originally referred to the way advertising agencies were remunerated for their services. Agencies received commission from the media in return for placing advertisements. The level of commission was sufficient to cover the costs of creating and producing the content for advertisements, as well as providing the agency with a fee and profit contribution. Agencies retained the commission and clients received the creative and production costs free. Because no commission was available on non-media activities, agencies charged clients for all creative and production costs.

Below-The-Line Agencies
The basis of agency remuneration has evolved, and advertising agencies now base their charges on a combination of fees and retained commission. However, clients have recognized the importance of below-the-line marketing and work with companies that offer specific services, such as direct marketing agencies, sales promotion agencies, marketing communications consultancies and telemarketing agencies.

Precision
Companies use below-the-line campaigns to reach audiences that are difficult or costly to contact through advertising media. A direct marketing campaign, for example, targeting a selected group of key customers with a limited-time offer represents a precise form of marketing with minimal waste. A sales promotion campaign offering discounts on a product in a single retail chain drives consumers to a series of defined locations, allowing precise measurement of the campaign’s effectiveness.

Integration
Combining above -the-line and below-the-line techniques in a single, integrated campaign can improve marketing effectiveness. An advertising campaign to launch a new product, combined with a retail incentive program and an in-store consumer promotion will encourage retailers to carry additional stocks of the advertised product. Through-the-line campaigns are most effective when advertising and below-the-line content use the same creative approach and communicate consistent messages across all media.

Multi-Channel Marketing
The increasing importance of social media is focusing attention on communicating with customers though multiple channels, rather than relying on individual above-the-line or below-the-line channels. Marketers also recognize the importance of building dialog with customers, rather than marketing through one-way communications.

 

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What Are the Different Types of Advertising?

Advertisers pay for advertising to accomplish a wide array of goals. Ad objectives generally boil down to long-term branding communication or short-term direct response advertising. Branding is about building and maintaining a reputation for your company that distinguishes it in the marketplace. Sales promos are short-term inducements to drive revenue or cash flow. Based on your company’s objectives, budget and target audience, you normally advertise through one or more types of media. Calculating your return on investment in dollars is difficult, but you need to establish measurable goals, such as a percentage increase in awareness, to evaluate success.

Broadcast Media
Television and radio are two traditional broadcast media long used in advertising. Television offers creative opportunities, a dynamic message and wide audience reach. It is typically the most expensive medium to advertise through, though. Because local affiliated stations normally serve a wide local audience, you also have to deal with waste when trying to target a small town marketplace. TV watchers normally have a negative attitude toward commercials and many have DVRs at their fingertips. Radio and TV both have fleeting messages, meaning they disappear once the commercial spot ends. Radio is relatively affordable for small businesses and allows for repetition and frequency. You don’t have the visual element of TV and you have to deal with a distracted audience, since most listeners are driving.

Print Media
Magazines and newspapers are the two traditional print media. Magazines offer a highly selective audience who is generally interested in ads closely related to the topic of the magazine. Visual imagery is also stronger in magazines than newspapers. You have little wasted since magazines are very niche and you can target a narrow customer segment. On the downside, magazines are costly and require long lead times, which limits timely promotions. They also have limited audience reach. Newspapers are very affordable for local businesses and allow you to target a geographic segment if you have a universal product or service. Newspapers are also viewed as a credible medium, which enhances ad acceptance. You can usually get an ad placed within a day or two of purchase. Declining circulation, a short shelf life and limited visual creativity are drawbacks.

Support Media
Support media include several options for message delivery than normally add to or expand campaigns delivered through more traditional media. Billboards, transits, bus benches, aerial, directories and trade publications are common support media. Each has pros and cons, but collectively, they offer ways to reach a wider audience in a local or regional market or to increase frequency of message exposure to targeted market segments.

Direct Marketing
Direct marketing is an interactive approach to advertising that has picked up in usage in the early 21st century. It includes direct mail, email and telemarketing. These are direct response efforts to create an ongoing dialogue or interaction with customers. Weekly or monthly email newsletters, for instance, allow you to keep your brand, products and other messages in front of prospects and customers. Telemarketing is a way to survey customers and offer new products, upgrades or renewals. Direct mail is the most common format of direct marketing where you send mailers or postcards to targeted customers promoting products, deals or promotions. Direct marketing has become more prominent because it allows for ease in tracking customer response rates and helps advertisers better measure return on investment.

Product Placement
Another newer advertising technique is product placement. This is where you offer compensation to a TV show, movie, video game or theme park to use your product while entertaining audiences. You could pay a TV show, for instance, to depict your product being used and discussed positive in a particular scene. This ad method is a way for companies to integrate ads with entertainment since customers have found ways to avoid messages delivered through more conventional media.

Internet
The Internet is used by online and offline companies to promote products or services. Banner ads, pop up ads, text ads and paid search placements are common forms. Banner, pop up and text ads are ways to present an image or message on a publisher’s website or on a number of websites through a third-party platform like Google’s Adwords program. Paid search placements, also known as cost-per-click advertising, is where you bid a certain amount to present your link and text message to users of search engines like Google and Yahoo!

Social Media
Businesses can also create different target groups, and send ads on social media platforms to users that would be most interested in their products and services. Targeting options can include targeting based on geographic location, buying tendencies, and other consumer behavior. One effective method of placing social media ads is known as retargeting, which focuses on website visitors that left without buying a product or service, or without signing up for some type of free offer like subscribing to a newsletter. Businesses can place a pixel on the visitor’s browser, and send targeted ads to that visitor as he or she browses other websites. Sponsored ads work in a similar way to retargeting, but the difference is that businesses pay to have these ads appear on specific websites that their target audience is likely to visit.

 

860 Benefits of Sales Promotion

A successful promotion has the ability to nurture relationships with consumers through retention and engagement. Promotions can often shape the characteristics of brands, for example, McDonald?s Monopoly board is something

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INTRODUCTION OF SALES PROMOTION
Sales promotion consists of a diverse collection of incentive tools, mostly short term, designed to stimulated quicker and/or greater purchase of particular product/service or the trend. Sales promotion is a process of persuading of sales to potential customer to buy the product.
The topic is about the sales promotion activity that makes awareness of the product of the company. The topic itself describe that how to increase the sales growth of the company product and it is also about the make awareness to the customer about the company products.
Sales promotion plays a very important role in the company. So in the current context every company makes sales promotion in different ways like advertisement by media, news paper , magazine.
Sales promotion is an important component of a small medium and large business’s overall marketing strategy, along with advertising, public relations, and personal selling. The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines sales promotion as “media and non-media marketing pressure applied for a predetermined, limited period of time in order to stimulate trial, increase consumer demand, or improve product quality.” But this definition does not capture all the elements of modern sales promotion. One should add that effective sales promotion increases the basic value of a product for a limited time and directly stimulates consumer purchasing, selling effectiveness, or the effort of the sales force. It can be used to inform, persuade, and remind target customers about the business and its marketing mix. Some common types of sales promotion include samples, coupons, sweepstakes, contests, in-store displays, trade shows, price-off deals, premiums, and rebates.
Businesses can target sales promotions at three different audiences: consumers, resellers, and the company’s own sales force. Sales promotion acts as a competitive weapon by providing an extra incentive for the target audience to purchase or support one brand over another. It is particularly effective in spurring product trial and unplanned purchases.
Most marketers believe that a given product or service has an established perceived price or value, and they use sales promotion to change this price-value relationship by increasing the value and/or lowering the price. Compared to the other components of the marketing mix (advertising, publicity, and personal selling), sales promotion usually operates on a shorter time line, uses a more rational appeal, returns a tangible or real value, fosters an immediate sale, and contributes highly to profitability.
In determining the relative importance to place on sales promotion in the overall marketing mix, a small business should consider its marketing budget, the stage of the product in its life cycle, the nature of competition in the market, the target of the promotion, and the nature of the product. For example, sales promotion and direct mail are particularly attractive alternatives when the marketing budget is limited, as it is for many small businesses. In addition, sales promotion can be an effective tool in a highly competitive market, when the objective is to convince retailers to carry a product or influence consumers to select it over those of competitors. Similarly, sales promotion is often used in the growth and maturity stages of the product life cycle to stimulate consumers and resellers to choose that product over the competition—rather than in the introduction stage, when mass advertising to build awareness might be more important. Finally, sales promotion tends to work best when it is applied to impulse items whose features can be judged at the point of purchase, rather than more complex, expensive items that might require hands-on demonstration.
Back in 1950s, it was said that doing business without sales promotion is like winking at a girl in the dark; you know you what you are doing, but nobody else does. The message was: crowded scenario of multiple ads even winking in broad daylight goes unnoticed. Since everyone is sales promotion, the idea is to do it with innovation ‘Come on, turn on the light, it pays to sales promotion. Today, in this complex world amidst heavy rush or everything, having a densely.

Sales promotion is of immense utility both to large and small business. There can be no doubt that sales promotion efforts would result in creation of additional sales. All forms of promotion of sale of goods is in one way or the other, supported by extensive advertising campaign. It is not possible to imagine survival of any business, which is in the business of “make and sell” in the absence of advertising efforts. Advertising has extended its coverage to include non-business enterprises also e.g.. Public Water Works advertises the need to preserve precious water and to cultivate the habit of drinking clean water free from any form of pollution. Countless illustrations can be provided wherein non-business enterprises have recognised the importance of advertising and their use it as a tool to promote ideas and services.

Sales promotion is an economic activity and it generates employment. Thousands of men and women are directly or indirectly, employed in professional sales promotion. sales promotion is an economic proposition. People who invest their money in sales promotion anticipate positive results. Hence, sales promotion must be result-oriented. Every newspaper or magazine survives on the advertisements that it receives. sales promotion are definite source of revenue to the publishers. Because of the advertisements inserted in newspapers and magazines, they are sold at lower price, which can be afforded by the public. Advertising is of paramount importance because it creates better-informed public by making available innumerable publications at an affordable price. Considering the response that advertisements generate, it can be stated that “advertising does not cost too much”.
In older to cut down production cost per unit there is a need to increase the total sales turnover. When overall sales increase, production cost per unit is automatically slashed and more people buy the goods. Apart from towering production costs, advertising also pays for entertainment and education through use of media like radio and TV.
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Consumer is the king in the market. He cannot be compelled to buy anything. At the most, he can be persuaded to patronize a certain brand. It is here that advertising plays a prominent role.
There is no standard format to be followed to make advertising liked by every person. Advertising is a creative field. Individual likes and dislikes determine success of advertising or its failure. Advertising scores over personal selling because it provides freedom of choice to the consumer. Decision to make purchases is independently arrived at by the consumers. No civilized society can record constant progress and ensure better standard of living to its people in the absence of information and education provided by advertising
CONSUMER PROMOTIONS
Consumer sales promotions are steered toward the ultimate product users—typically individual shoppers in the local market—but the same techniques can be used to promote products sold by one business to another, such as computer systems, cleaning supplies, and machinery. In contrast, trade sales promotions target resellers—wholesalers and retailers—who carry the marketer’s product. Following are some of the key techniques used in consumer-oriented sales promotions.
PRICE DEALS: A consumer price deal saves the buyer money when a product is purchased. The main types of price deals include discounts, bonus pack deals, refunds or rebates, and coupons. Price deals are usually intended to encourage trial use of a new product or line extension, to recruit new buyers for a mature product, or to convince existing customers to increase their purchases, accelerate their use, or purchase multiple units. Price deals work most effectively when price is the consumer’s foremost criterion or when brand loyalty is low.
Buyers may learn about price discounts either at the point of sale or through advertising. At the point of sale, price reductions may be posted on the package, on signs near the product, or in storefront windows. Many types of advertisements can be used to notify consumers of upcoming discounts, including fliers and newspaper and television ads.
Price discounts are especially common in the food industry, where local supermarkets run weekly specials. Price discounts may be initiated by the manufacturer, the retailer, or the distributor. For instance, a manufacturer may “pre-price” a product and then convince the retailer to participate in this short-term discount through extra incentives. For price reduction strategies to be effective, they must have the support of all distributors in the channel. Existing customers perceive discounts as rewards and often respond by buying in larger quantities.
Another type of price deal is the bonus pack or banded pack. When a bonus pack is offered, an extra amount of the product is free when a standard size of the product is bought at the regular price. This technique is routinely used in the marketing of cleaning products, food, and health and beauty aids to introduce a new or larger size. A bonus pack rewards present users but may have little appeal to users of competitive brands. A banded pack offer is when two or more units of a product are sold at a reduction of the regular single-unit price. Sometimes the products are physically banded together, such as in toothbrush and toothpaste offers.
A refund or rebate promotion is an offer by a marketer to return a certain amount of money when the product is purchased alone or in combination with other products. Refunds aim to increase the quantity or frequency of purchase, to encourage customers to “load up” on the product. This strategy dampens competition by temporarily taking consumers out of the market, stimulates the purchase of postponable goods such as major appliances, and creates on-shelf excitement by encouraging special displays. Refunds and rebates are generally viewed as a reward for purchase, and they appear to build brand loyalty rather than diminish it.
Coupons are legal certificates offered by manufacturers and retailers. They grant specified savings on selected products when presented for redemption at the point of purchase. Manufacturers sustain the cost of advertising and distributing their coupons, redeeming their face values, and paying retailers a handling fee. Retailers who offer double or triple the amount of the coupon shoulder the extra cost. Retailers who offer their own coupons incur the total cost, including paying the face value. In this way, retail coupons are equivalent to a cents-off deal.
Manufacturers disseminate coupons in many ways. They may be delivered directly by mail, dropped door to door, or distributed through a central location such as a shopping mall. Coupons may also be distributed through the media—magazines, newspapers, Sunday supplements, or free-standing inserts (FSI) in newspapers. Coupons can be inserted into, attached to, or printed on a package, or they may be distributed by a retailer who uses them to generate store traffic or to tie in with a manufacturer’s promotional tactic. Retailer-sponsored coupons are typically distributed through print advertising or at the point of sale. Sometimes, though, specialty retailers or newly opened retailers will distribute coupons door to door or through direct mail.
CONTESTS/SWEEPSTAKES: The main difference between contests and sweepstakes is that contests require entrants to perform a task or demonstrate a skill that is judged in order to be deemed a winner, while sweepstakes involve a random drawing or chance contest that may or may not have an entry requirement. At one time, contests were more commonly used as sales promotions, mostly due to legal restrictions on gambling that many marketers feared might apply to sweepstakes. But the use of sweepstakes as a promotional tactic has grown dramatically in recent decades, partly because of legal changes and partly because of their lower cost. Administering a contest once cost about $350 per thousand entries, compared to just $2.75 to $3.75 per thousand entries in a sweepstake. Furthermore, participation in contests is very low compared to sweepstakes, since they require some sort of skill or ability.
SPECIAL EVENTS: According to the consulting firm International Events Group (IEG), businesses spend over $2 billion annually to link their products with everything from jazz festivals to golf tournaments to stock car races. In fact, large companies like RJR Nabisco and Anheuser-Busch have special divisions that handle nothing but special events. Special events marketing offers a number of advantages. First, events tend to attract a homogeneous audience that is very appreciative of the sponsors. Therefore, if a product fits well with the event and its audience, the impact of the sales promotion will be high. Second, event sponsorship often builds support among employees—who may receive acknowledgment for their participation—and within the trade. Finally, compared to producing a series of ads, event management is relatively simple. Many elements of event sponsorship are prepackaged and reusable, such as booths, displays, and ads. Special events marketing is available to small businesses, as well, through sponsorship of events on the community level.
PREMIUM: A premium is tangible compensation that is given as incentive for performing a particular act—usually buying a product. The premium may be given for free, or may be offered to consumers for a significantly reduced price. Some examples of premiums include receiving a prize in a cereal box or a free garden tool for visiting the grand opening of a hardware store. Incentives that are given for free at the time of purchase are called direct premiums. These offers provide instant gratification, plus there is no confusion about returning coupons or box tops, or saving bar codes or proofs of purchase.
Other types of direct premiums include traffic builders, door openers, and referral premiums. The garden tool is an example of a traffic-builder premium—an incentive to lure a prospective buyer to a store. A door-opener premium is directed to customers at home or to business people in their offices. For example, a homeowner may receive a free clock radio for allowing an insurance agent to enter their home and listening to his sales pitch. Similarly, an electronics manufacturer might offer free software to an office manager who agrees to an on-site demonstration. The final category of direct premiums, referral premiums, rewards the purchaser for referring the seller to other possible customers.
Mail premiums, unlike direct premiums, require the customer to perform some act in order to obtain a premium through return mail. An example might be a limited edition toy car offered by a marketer in exchange for one or more proofs-of-purchase and a payment covering the cost of the item plus handling. The premium is still valuable to the consumer because they cannot readily buy the item for the same amount.

CONTINUITY PROGRAMS: Continuity programs retain brand users over a long time period by offering ongoing motivation or incentives. Continuity programs demand that consumers keep buying the product in order to get the premium in the future. Trading stamps, popularized in the 1950s and 1960s, are prime examples. Consumers usually received one stamp for every dime spent at a participating store. The stamp company provided redemption centers where the stamps were traded for merchandise. A catalog listing the quantity of stamps required for each item was available at the participating stores. Today, airlines’ frequent-flyer clubs, hotels’ frequent-traveler plans, retailers’ frequent-shopper programs, and bonus-paying credit cards are common continuity programs. When competing brands have reached parity in terms of price and service, continuity programs sometimes prove a deciding factor among those competitors. By rewarding long-standing customers for their loyalty, continuity programs also reduce the threat of new competitors entering a market.

SAMPLING: A sign of a successful marketer is getting the product into the hands of the consumer. Sometimes, particularly when a product is new or is not a market leader, an effective strategy is giving a sample product to the consumer, either free or for a small fee. But in order for sampling to change people’s future purchase decisions, the product must have benefits or features that will be obvious during the trial.
There are several means of disseminating samples to consumers. The most popular has been through the mail, but increases in postage costs and packaging requirements have made this method less attractive. An alternative is door-to-door distribution, particularly when the items are bulky and when reputable distribution organizations exist. This method permits selective sampling of neighborhoods, dwellings, or even people. Another method is distributing samples in conjunction with advertising. An ad may include a coupon that the consumer can mail in for the product, or it may include an address or phone number for ordering. Direct sampling can be achieved through prime media using scratch-and-sniff cards and slim foil pouches, or through retailers using special displays or a person hired to hand out samples to passing customers. Though this last technique may build goodwill for the retailer, some retailers resent the inconvenience and require high payments for their cooperation.
A final form of sample distribution deals with specialty types of sampling. For instance, some companies specialize in packing samples together for delivery to homogeneous consumer groups, such as newlyweds, new parents, students, or tourists. Such packages may be delivered at hospitals, hotels, or dormitories and include a number of different types of products.

 

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Brand Activities Customized Training near by me, Brand Marketing Supplier near by me, Stall Operations Activation Plan near by me, Brand Activation agency in Parvati, Brand Activation Services in Shivajinagar, Brand Activation consultant in Baramati,

Brand Marketing Supplier near by me

Brand Activations & Promotions Company

Established in 2007, Fulcrum is one of the leading brand activation and promotions companies, Brand Marketing Supplier near by me and  in india, leading the way in brand activations, promotions, experiential events and field marketing. Our services are offered all over the country, including major cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Other Metro City.
We have worked across local and international brands, spanning a multitude of industries, throughout across india. Each year Fulcrum performs in the region of many activations and promotions, and has a database of more than 6 000 brand ambassadors in over 10 locations.

fulcrum has developed a unique four-tier brand ambassador rating platform, with specific requirements per level – covering communication and selling skills, personal presentation, and financial and computer literacy. This rating platform helps create an ideal match between brand ambassador and brand, and within the specifications of your marketing strategy and budget.

The Fulcrum is a corporate social investment initiative aimed at finding and developing talent and creating jobs. It assists young brand ambassadors in acquiring and improving a range of skills, including communication and selling skills, personal presentation and grooming, financial literacy and basic technology skills. The Academy also covers career planning so that skills are developed in line with a career pathway.

Fulcrum is a progressive & creative organization, specializing in SalesMarketingBrand Promotions, Brand Activities Professional in pimpri chinchwad. The organization started up in Maharashtra in 2007. As a results-based company, we have provided our clients with a competitive advantage over the last 9 years.

We have managed to bridge the gap between Sales & Marketing. Many companies spend huge budgets on marketing strategies with no real Return On Investment (ROI). Through our approach, we have optimized both of these functions, creating lower cost per acquisition, and maximizing the ROI.

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Marketing tips, ideas, tricks, advice

 

 

Costly Mistakes that Could Sink Your Experiential Marketing Event

There’s a lot of planning and money that goes into hosting an experiential marketing event, so it makes sense for business owners to expect to see some pleasing results in exchange for their efforts. Below, we examine 4 different mistakes that you could be making, all of which will cost you the results that you expect and deserve.

Not Paying Attention to the Desires of the Consumer
If you’re simply copying an experiential marketing idea from a competitor or another brand without really thinking about what sort of experiences your unique target market desires, the chances are high that your efforts will fall flat.

“Having an intimate understanding of one’s consumer is the first and most important step when it comes to planning an experiential marketing event or campaign. The experience that you’re going to provide needs to resonate strongly with the right demographic in order to have a lasting effect,”

Not Thinking Holistically
When planning an experiential marketing event, it is imperative that you think about the bigger picture in terms of your other marketing efforts, and your marketing plan as a whole. Do you currently have a campaign on the go? Perhaps your focus has been on promoting a new product or special? You need to think holistically and make sure that your event ties in with everything else in order to really make the most of your budget.

Not Providing Enough Opportunity for the Audience to Get Involved
Remember, the whole point of hosting an experiential marketing event is to make it possible for the guests to interact with your brand and your team. While talks, workshops and motivational speeches all have their place, you also need to make sure that you allow for plenty of interaction in other ways. According to research, the best techniques include giving away free samples and involving guests directly in demonstrations.

Not Making Use of Influencers
Utilising relevant influencers via social media is a wonderful way in which to promote your upcoming event.

“While it may cost a little initially, the pay-out at the event will be well worth it. Influencers who are well-known by those who would be interested in your brand and what it has to offer can help you to double your turn-out, and then some!” says Michelle.

Would you like some assistance when it comes to your company’s experiential marketing efforts? You can always rely on the field marketing, experiential marketing and activations experts at Fulcrum. For more information about us and what we do, do not hesitate to get in touch.

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one2one Interactive marketing, Data Collection event, Corporate Marketing, Marketing Agent, merchandising websites, agencies in akurdi

Brand Activations  in pune ,  Promotions Company in pune, 

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BTL refers to a series of marketing techniques known collectively as below-the-line marketing. Below-the-line marketing includes direct marketing by mail or email, sales promotion, marketing communications, exhibitions and telemarketing. Above-the-line marketing refers to advertising in media such as print, cinema, radio, television, outdoor posters and the Internet. Marketing campaigns that use both above-the-line and below-the-line techniques are known as through-the-line campaigns.

Agency Remuneration
The terms above-the-line and below-the-line originally referred to the way advertising agencies were remunerated for their services. Agencies received commission from the media in return for placing advertisements. The level of commission was sufficient to cover the costs of creating and producing the content for advertisements, as well as providing the agency with a fee and profit contribution. Agencies retained the commission and clients received the creative and production costs free. Because no commission was available on non-media activities, agencies charged clients for all creative and production costs.

Below-The-Line Agencies
The basis of agency remuneration has evolved, and advertising agencies now base their charges on a combination of fees and retained commission. However, clients have recognized the importance of below-the-line marketing and work with companies that offer specific services, such as direct marketing agencies, sales promotion agencies, marketing communications consultancies and telemarketing agencies.

Precision
Companies use below-the-line campaigns to reach audiences that are difficult or costly to contact through advertising media. A direct marketing campaign, for example, targeting a selected group of key customers with a limited-time offer represents a precise form of marketing with minimal waste. A sales promotion campaign offering discounts on a product in a single retail chain drives consumers to a series of defined locations, allowing precise measurement of the campaign’s effectiveness.

Integration
Combining above -the-line and below-the-line techniques in a single, integrated campaign can improve marketing effectiveness. An advertising campaign to launch a new product, combined with a retail incentive program and an in-store consumer promotion will encourage retailers to carry additional stocks of the advertised product. Through-the-line campaigns are most effective when advertising and below-the-line content use the same creative approach and communicate consistent messages across all media.

Multi-Channel Marketing
The increasing importance of social media is focusing attention on communicating with customers though multiple channels, rather than relying on individual above-the-line or below-the-line channels. Marketers also recognize the importance of building dialog with customers, rather than marketing through one-way communications.

 

What Are the Different Types of Advertising?

Advertisers pay for advertising to accomplish a wide array of goals. Ad objectives generally boil down to long-term branding communication or short-term direct response advertising. Branding is about building and maintaining a reputation for your company that distinguishes it in the marketplace. Sales promos are short-term inducements to drive revenue or cash flow. Based on your company’s objectives, budget and target audience, you normally advertise through one or more types of media. Calculating your return on investment in dollars is difficult, but you need to establish measurable goals, such as a percentage increase in awareness, to evaluate success.

Broadcast Media
Television and radio are two traditional broadcast media long used in advertising. Television offers creative opportunities, a dynamic message and wide audience reach. It is typically the most expensive medium to advertise through, though. Because local affiliated stations normally serve a wide local audience, you also have to deal with waste when trying to target a small town marketplace. TV watchers normally have a negative attitude toward commercials and many have DVRs at their fingertips. Radio and TV both have fleeting messages, meaning they disappear once the commercial spot ends. Radio is relatively affordable for small businesses and allows for repetition and frequency. You don’t have the visual element of TV and you have to deal with a distracted audience, since most listeners are driving.

Print Media
Magazines and newspapers are the two traditional print media. Magazines offer a highly selective audience who is generally interested in ads closely related to the topic of the magazine. Visual imagery is also stronger in magazines than newspapers. You have little wasted since magazines are very niche and you can target a narrow customer segment. On the downside, magazines are costly and require long lead times, which limits timely promotions. They also have limited audience reach. Newspapers are very affordable for local businesses and allow you to target a geographic segment if you have a universal product or service. Newspapers are also viewed as a credible medium, which enhances ad acceptance. You can usually get an ad placed within a day or two of purchase. Declining circulation, a short shelf life and limited visual creativity are drawbacks.

Support Media
Support media include several options for message delivery than normally add to or expand campaigns delivered through more traditional media. Billboards, transits, bus benches, aerial, directories and trade publications are common support media. Each has pros and cons, but collectively, they offer ways to reach a wider audience in a local or regional market or to increase frequency of message exposure to targeted market segments.

Direct Marketing
Direct marketing is an interactive approach to advertising that has picked up in usage in the early 21st century. It includes direct mail, email and telemarketing. These are direct response efforts to create an ongoing dialogue or interaction with customers. Weekly or monthly email newsletters, for instance, allow you to keep your brand, products and other messages in front of prospects and customers. Telemarketing is a way to survey customers and offer new products, upgrades or renewals. Direct mail is the most common format of direct marketing where you send mailers or postcards to targeted customers promoting products, deals or promotions. Direct marketing has become more prominent because it allows for ease in tracking customer response rates and helps advertisers better measure return on investment.

Product Placement
Another newer advertising technique is product placement. This is where you offer compensation to a TV show, movie, video game or theme park to use your product while entertaining audiences. You could pay a TV show, for instance, to depict your product being used and discussed positive in a particular scene. This ad method is a way for companies to integrate ads with entertainment since customers have found ways to avoid messages delivered through more conventional media.

Internet
The Internet is used by online and offline companies to promote products or services. Banner ads, pop up ads, text ads and paid search placements are common forms. Banner, pop up and text ads are ways to present an image or message on a publisher’s website or on a number of websites through a third-party platform like Google’s Adwords program. Paid search placements, also known as cost-per-click advertising, is where you bid a certain amount to present your link and text message to users of search engines like Google and Yahoo!

Social Media
Businesses can also create different target groups, and send ads on social media platforms to users that would be most interested in their products and services. Targeting options can include targeting based on geographic location, buying tendencies, and other consumer behavior. One effective method of placing social media ads is known as retargeting, which focuses on website visitors that left without buying a product or service, or without signing up for some type of free offer like subscribing to a newsletter. Businesses can place a pixel on the visitor’s browser, and send targeted ads to that visitor as he or she browses other websites. Sponsored ads work in a similar way to retargeting, but the difference is that businesses pay to have these ads appear on specific websites that their target audience is likely to visit.

 

860 Benefits of Sales Promotion

A successful promotion has the ability to nurture relationships with consumers through retention and engagement. Promotions can often shape the characteristics of brands, for example, McDonald?s Monopoly board is something

 

INTRODUCTION OF SALES PROMOTION
Sales promotion consists of a diverse collection of incentive tools, mostly short term, designed to stimulated quicker and/or greater purchase of particular product/service or the trend. Sales promotion is a process of persuading of sales to potential customer to buy the product.
The topic is about the sales promotion activity that makes awareness of the product of the company. The topic itself describe that how to increase the sales growth of the company product and it is also about the make awareness to the customer about the company products.
Sales promotion plays a very important role in the company. So in the current context every company makes sales promotion in different ways like advertisement by media, news paper , magazine.
Sales promotion is an important component of a small medium and large business’s overall marketing strategy, along with advertising, public relations, and personal selling. The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines sales promotion as “media and non-media marketing pressure applied for a predetermined, limited period of time in order to stimulate trial, increase consumer demand, or improve product quality.” But this definition does not capture all the elements of modern sales promotion. One should add that effective sales promotion increases the basic value of a product for a limited time and directly stimulates consumer purchasing, selling effectiveness, or the effort of the sales force. It can be used to inform, persuade, and remind target customers about the business and its marketing mix. Some common types of sales promotion include samples, coupons, sweepstakes, contests, in-store displays, trade shows, price-off deals, premiums, and rebates.
Businesses can target sales promotions at three different audiences: consumers, resellers, and the company’s own sales force. Sales promotion acts as a competitive weapon by providing an extra incentive for the target audience to purchase or support one brand over another. It is particularly effective in spurring product trial and unplanned purchases.
Most marketers believe that a given product or service has an established perceived price or value, and they use sales promotion to change this price-value relationship by increasing the value and/or lowering the price. Compared to the other components of the marketing mix (advertising, publicity, and personal selling), sales promotion usually operates on a shorter time line, uses a more rational appeal, returns a tangible or real value, fosters an immediate sale, and contributes highly to profitability.
In determining the relative importance to place on sales promotion in the overall marketing mix, a small business should consider its marketing budget, the stage of the product in its life cycle, the nature of competition in the market, the target of the promotion, and the nature of the product. For example, sales promotion and direct mail are particularly attractive alternatives when the marketing budget is limited, as it is for many small businesses. In addition, sales promotion can be an effective tool in a highly competitive market, when the objective is to convince retailers to carry a product or influence consumers to select it over those of competitors. Similarly, sales promotion is often used in the growth and maturity stages of the product life cycle to stimulate consumers and resellers to choose that product over the competition—rather than in the introduction stage, when mass advertising to build awareness might be more important. Finally, sales promotion tends to work best when it is applied to impulse items whose features can be judged at the point of purchase, rather than more complex, expensive items that might require hands-on demonstration.
Back in 1950s, it was said that doing business without sales promotion is like winking at a girl in the dark; you know you what you are doing, but nobody else does. The message was: crowded scenario of multiple ads even winking in broad daylight goes unnoticed. Since everyone is sales promotion, the idea is to do it with innovation ‘Come on, turn on the light, it pays to sales promotion. Today, in this complex world amidst heavy rush or everything, having a densely.

Sales promotion is of immense utility both to large and small business. There can be no doubt that sales promotion efforts would result in creation of additional sales. All forms of promotion of sale of goods is in one way or the other, supported by extensive advertising campaign. It is not possible to imagine survival of any business, which is in the business of “make and sell” in the absence of advertising efforts. Advertising has extended its coverage to include non-business enterprises also e.g.. Public Water Works advertises the need to preserve precious water and to cultivate the habit of drinking clean water free from any form of pollution. Countless illustrations can be provided wherein non-business enterprises have recognised the importance of advertising and their use it as a tool to promote ideas and services.

Sales promotion is an economic activity and it generates employment. Thousands of men and women are directly or indirectly, employed in professional sales promotion. sales promotion is an economic proposition. People who invest their money in sales promotion anticipate positive results. Hence, sales promotion must be result-oriented. Every newspaper or magazine survives on the advertisements that it receives. sales promotion are definite source of revenue to the publishers. Because of the advertisements inserted in newspapers and magazines, they are sold at lower price, which can be afforded by the public. Advertising is of paramount importance because it creates better-informed public by making available innumerable publications at an affordable price. Considering the response that advertisements generate, it can be stated that “advertising does not cost too much”.
In older to cut down production cost per unit there is a need to increase the total sales turnover. When overall sales increase, production cost per unit is automatically slashed and more people buy the goods. Apart from towering production costs, advertising also pays for entertainment and education through use of media like radio and TV.
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Consumer is the king in the market. He cannot be compelled to buy anything. At the most, he can be persuaded to patronize a certain brand. It is here that advertising plays a prominent role.
There is no standard format to be followed to make advertising liked by every person. Advertising is a creative field. Individual likes and dislikes determine success of advertising or its failure. Advertising scores over personal selling because it provides freedom of choice to the consumer. Decision to make purchases is independently arrived at by the consumers. No civilized society can record constant progress and ensure better standard of living to its people in the absence of information and education provided by advertising
CONSUMER PROMOTIONS
Consumer sales promotions are steered toward the ultimate product users—typically individual shoppers in the local market—but the same techniques can be used to promote products sold by one business to another, such as computer systems, cleaning supplies, and machinery. In contrast, trade sales promotions target resellers—wholesalers and retailers—who carry the marketer’s product. Following are some of the key techniques used in consumer-oriented sales promotions.
PRICE DEALS: A consumer price deal saves the buyer money when a product is purchased. The main types of price deals include discounts, bonus pack deals, refunds or rebates, and coupons. Price deals are usually intended to encourage trial use of a new product or line extension, to recruit new buyers for a mature product, or to convince existing customers to increase their purchases, accelerate their use, or purchase multiple units. Price deals work most effectively when price is the consumer’s foremost criterion or when brand loyalty is low.
Buyers may learn about price discounts either at the point of sale or through advertising. At the point of sale, price reductions may be posted on the package, on signs near the product, or in storefront windows. Many types of advertisements can be used to notify consumers of upcoming discounts, including fliers and newspaper and television ads.
Price discounts are especially common in the food industry, where local supermarkets run weekly specials. Price discounts may be initiated by the manufacturer, the retailer, or the distributor. For instance, a manufacturer may “pre-price” a product and then convince the retailer to participate in this short-term discount through extra incentives. For price reduction strategies to be effective, they must have the support of all distributors in the channel. Existing customers perceive discounts as rewards and often respond by buying in larger quantities.
Another type of price deal is the bonus pack or banded pack. When a bonus pack is offered, an extra amount of the product is free when a standard size of the product is bought at the regular price. This technique is routinely used in the marketing of cleaning products, food, and health and beauty aids to introduce a new or larger size. A bonus pack rewards present users but may have little appeal to users of competitive brands. A banded pack offer is when two or more units of a product are sold at a reduction of the regular single-unit price. Sometimes the products are physically banded together, such as in toothbrush and toothpaste offers.
A refund or rebate promotion is an offer by a marketer to return a certain amount of money when the product is purchased alone or in combination with other products. Refunds aim to increase the quantity or frequency of purchase, to encourage customers to “load up” on the product. This strategy dampens competition by temporarily taking consumers out of the market, stimulates the purchase of postponable goods such as major appliances, and creates on-shelf excitement by encouraging special displays. Refunds and rebates are generally viewed as a reward for purchase, and they appear to build brand loyalty rather than diminish it.
Coupons are legal certificates offered by manufacturers and retailers. They grant specified savings on selected products when presented for redemption at the point of purchase. Manufacturers sustain the cost of advertising and distributing their coupons, redeeming their face values, and paying retailers a handling fee. Retailers who offer double or triple the amount of the coupon shoulder the extra cost. Retailers who offer their own coupons incur the total cost, including paying the face value. In this way, retail coupons are equivalent to a cents-off deal.
Manufacturers disseminate coupons in many ways. They may be delivered directly by mail, dropped door to door, or distributed through a central location such as a shopping mall. Coupons may also be distributed through the media—magazines, newspapers, Sunday supplements, or free-standing inserts (FSI) in newspapers. Coupons can be inserted into, attached to, or printed on a package, or they may be distributed by a retailer who uses them to generate store traffic or to tie in with a manufacturer’s promotional tactic. Retailer-sponsored coupons are typically distributed through print advertising or at the point of sale. Sometimes, though, specialty retailers or newly opened retailers will distribute coupons door to door or through direct mail.
CONTESTS/SWEEPSTAKES: The main difference between contests and sweepstakes is that contests require entrants to perform a task or demonstrate a skill that is judged in order to be deemed a winner, while sweepstakes involve a random drawing or chance contest that may or may not have an entry requirement. At one time, contests were more commonly used as sales promotions, mostly due to legal restrictions on gambling that many marketers feared might apply to sweepstakes. But the use of sweepstakes as a promotional tactic has grown dramatically in recent decades, partly because of legal changes and partly because of their lower cost. Administering a contest once cost about $350 per thousand entries, compared to just $2.75 to $3.75 per thousand entries in a sweepstake. Furthermore, participation in contests is very low compared to sweepstakes, since they require some sort of skill or ability.
SPECIAL EVENTS: According to the consulting firm International Events Group (IEG), businesses spend over $2 billion annually to link their products with everything from jazz festivals to golf tournaments to stock car races. In fact, large companies like RJR Nabisco and Anheuser-Busch have special divisions that handle nothing but special events. Special events marketing offers a number of advantages. First, events tend to attract a homogeneous audience that is very appreciative of the sponsors. Therefore, if a product fits well with the event and its audience, the impact of the sales promotion will be high. Second, event sponsorship often builds support among employees—who may receive acknowledgment for their participation—and within the trade. Finally, compared to producing a series of ads, event management is relatively simple. Many elements of event sponsorship are prepackaged and reusable, such as booths, displays, and ads. Special events marketing is available to small businesses, as well, through sponsorship of events on the community level.
PREMIUM: A premium is tangible compensation that is given as incentive for performing a particular act—usually buying a product. The premium may be given for free, or may be offered to consumers for a significantly reduced price. Some examples of premiums include receiving a prize in a cereal box or a free garden tool for visiting the grand opening of a hardware store. Incentives that are given for free at the time of purchase are called direct premiums. These offers provide instant gratification, plus there is no confusion about returning coupons or box tops, or saving bar codes or proofs of purchase.
Other types of direct premiums include traffic builders, door openers, and referral premiums. The garden tool is an example of a traffic-builder premium—an incentive to lure a prospective buyer to a store. A door-opener premium is directed to customers at home or to business people in their offices. For example, a homeowner may receive a free clock radio for allowing an insurance agent to enter their home and listening to his sales pitch. Similarly, an electronics manufacturer might offer free software to an office manager who agrees to an on-site demonstration. The final category of direct premiums, referral premiums, rewards the purchaser for referring the seller to other possible customers.
Mail premiums, unlike direct premiums, require the customer to perform some act in order to obtain a premium through return mail. An example might be a limited edition toy car offered by a marketer in exchange for one or more proofs-of-purchase and a payment covering the cost of the item plus handling. The premium is still valuable to the consumer because they cannot readily buy the item for the same amount.

CONTINUITY PROGRAMS: Continuity programs retain brand users over a long time period by offering ongoing motivation or incentives. Continuity programs demand that consumers keep buying the product in order to get the premium in the future. Trading stamps, popularized in the 1950s and 1960s, are prime examples. Consumers usually received one stamp for every dime spent at a participating store. The stamp company provided redemption centers where the stamps were traded for merchandise. A catalog listing the quantity of stamps required for each item was available at the participating stores. Today, airlines’ frequent-flyer clubs, hotels’ frequent-traveler plans, retailers’ frequent-shopper programs, and bonus-paying credit cards are common continuity programs. When competing brands have reached parity in terms of price and service, continuity programs sometimes prove a deciding factor among those competitors. By rewarding long-standing customers for their loyalty, continuity programs also reduce the threat of new competitors entering a market.

SAMPLING: A sign of a successful marketer is getting the product into the hands of the consumer. Sometimes, particularly when a product is new or is not a market leader, an effective strategy is giving a sample product to the consumer, either free or for a small fee. But in order for sampling to change people’s future purchase decisions, the product must have benefits or features that will be obvious during the trial.
There are several means of disseminating samples to consumers. The most popular has been through the mail, but increases in postage costs and packaging requirements have made this method less attractive. An alternative is door-to-door distribution, particularly when the items are bulky and when reputable distribution organizations exist. This method permits selective sampling of neighborhoods, dwellings, or even people. Another method is distributing samples in conjunction with advertising. An ad may include a coupon that the consumer can mail in for the product, or it may include an address or phone number for ordering. Direct sampling can be achieved through prime media using scratch-and-sniff cards and slim foil pouches, or through retailers using special displays or a person hired to hand out samples to passing customers. Though this last technique may build goodwill for the retailer, some retailers resent the inconvenience and require high payments for their cooperation.
A final form of sample distribution deals with specialty types of sampling. For instance, some companies specialize in packing samples together for delivery to homogeneous consumer groups, such as newlyweds, new parents, students, or tourists. Such packages may be delivered at hospitals, hotels, or dormitories and include a number of different types of products.

 

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Every business owner knows that in order for a business to be successful, all internal strategies need to communicate the same message, represent the brand in the same way and tie in with each other seamlessly. With this in mind, many wonder how to go about integrating experiential marketing in their much larger business strategy, and how to demonstrate that the budget going into experiential marketing is, in fact, paying off in the long run? We have some advice to share below.

We have managed to bridge the gap between Sales & Marketing. Many companies spend huge budgets on marketing strategies with no real Return On Investment (ROI). Through our approach, we have optimised both of these functions, creating lower cost per acquisition, and maximising the ROI.

The mission of the organisation is to consistently exceed client’s expectations. We aim to explore new markets and industries, and to develop innovative ways of yielding the best results for them. Because of our passion and skill, we are able to represent any type of client, selling any type of product or service. Our adaptability and ability to think ‘out of the box’ has allowed us to yield outstanding results, assisting clients in achieving their Sales and Marketing objectives. As part of our goal, we focus on creating efficient and sustainable business opportunities.

fulcrum has developed a unique four-tier brand ambassador rating platform, with specific requirements per level – covering communication and selling skills, personal presentation, and financial and computer literacy. This rating platform helps create an ideal match between brand ambassador and brand, and within the specifications of your marketing strategy and budget.

The Fulcrum is a corporate social investment initiative aimed at finding and developing talent and creating jobs. It assists young brand ambassadors in acquiring and improving a range of skills, including communication and selling skills, personal presentation and grooming, financial literacy and basic technology skills. The Academy also covers career planning so that skills are developed in line with a career pathway.

Fulcrum is a progressive & creative organization, specializing in SalesMarketingBrand Promotions, . The organization started up in Maharashtra in 2007. As a results-based company, we have provided our clients with a competitive advantage over the last 9 years.

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Marketing tips, ideas, tricks, advice

 

How Understanding Your Customer’s Emotional Needs Will Aid Your Experiential

So many business owners focus on giving customers and potential customers what they want when it comes to experiential marketing campaigns. While this is great, they are likely to get a lot more out of their efforts if they start focusing on catering to their needs instead. Not only day-to-day needs but emotional needs, too. There are four core human emotional needs that marketers can tap into, helping to build a sense of brand loyalty within their consumers. We take a look at three of them below.

Belonging
Humans have a natural desire to ‘fit in’. They have a need to be considered a part of a group. They have a need to know that there are others just like them. This stems from the most common human fear, namely the fear of being alone.

“Marketers can use this need to their advantage by doing things that bring people together. Not only in a physical sense, but uniting them, along with the brand, with the help of a big idea that people can happily get behind. Creating a sense of community with their brand at the forefront is one of the easiest ways in which to generate loyalty and build connections with potential customers. A good example is a company that produces LED lighting taking a stance when it comes to greener living, and getting their customer base to be just as passionate about the movement as they are – as a collective, as a community.”

Identity
We all know that humans are complex creatures. So, it comes as no surprise to learn that another emotional need is to be unique. We all crave to belong; however, we want to belong without completely losing our special sense of self. We want to be able to differentiate ourselves from our groups without standing out too much.

“Here, marketers can strive to do everything in their power to make their customers feel special. Experiential marketing strategies that focus more on providing personalised experiences work well in this regard,” says .

Release
Arguably the most important emotional need these days, especially considering the fast-paced routines that the vast majority of us lead, is that of release: being able to escape from the norm that we are used to and delving into something different that we do not do every day.

“In terms of experiential marketing, providing the consumer with a sense of release should be a priority anyway. The key here is to get creative when it comes to the type of experience you are offering them. Don’t be afraid to do something completely out of the ordinary!”

Would you like to hire an experiential and field marketing company to assist you in tailoring your marketing efforts according to the emotional needs of your target audience? If so, be sure to get in touch with the team at Fulcrum

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5.6 Developing Strategy Through Internal Analysis

5.6 Developing Strategy Through Internal Analysis

 

Learning Objectives

Learn about internal analysis.

Understand resources, capabilities, and core competencies.

See how to evaluate resources, capabilities, and core competencies using VRIO analysis.

In this section, you will learn about some of the basic internal inputs for strategy formulation—starting with the organization’s strengths and weaknesses. We will focus on three aspects of internal analysis here, though you recognize that these should be complemented by external analysis as well. There is no correct order in which to do internal and external analyses, and the process is likely to be iterative. That is, you might do some internal analysis that suggests the need for other external analysis, or vice versa. For the internal environment, it is best to start with an assessment of resources and capabilities and then work your way into the identification of core competences using VRIO analysis.

Internal Analysis

By exploiting internal resources and capabilities and meeting the demanding standards of global competition, firms create value for customers (McEvily & Chakravarthy, 2002; Buckley & Carter, 2000). Value is measured by a product’s performance characteristics and by its attributes for which customers are willing to pay.1 Those particular bundles of resources and capabilities that provide unique advantages to the firm are considered core competencies (Prahalad & Hamel, 1990). Core competencies are resources and capabilities that serve as a source of a firm’s competitive advantage over rivals. Core competencies distinguish a company competitively and reflect its personality. Core competencies emerge over time through an organizational process of accumulating and learning how to deploy different resources and capabilities. As the capacity to take action, core competencies are “crown jewels of a company,” the activities the company performs especially well compared with competitors and through which the firm adds unique value to its goods or services over a long period of time (Hafeez, et. al., 2002; Prahalad & Hamel, 1990).

Sometimes consistency and predictability provide value to customers, such as the type of value Walgreens drugstores provides. As a Fortune magazine writer noted, “Do you realize that from 1975 to today, Walgreens beat Intel? It beat Intel nearly two to one, GE almost five to one. It beat 3M, Coke, Boeing, Motorola (Useem, 2001).” Walgreens was able to do this by using its core competencies to offer value desired by its target customer group. Instead of responding to the trends of the day, “During the Internet scare of 1998 and 1999, when slogans of ‘Change or Die!’ were all but graffitied on the subway, Walgreens obstinately stuck to its corporate credo of ‘Crawl, walk, run.’ Its refusal to act until it thoroughly understood the implications of e-commerce was deeply unfashionable, but…Walgreens is the epitome of the inner-directed company (Useem, 2001).” Thus, Walgreens creates value by focusing on the unique capabilities it has built, nurtured, and continues to improve across time.

During the past several decades, the strategic management process was concerned largely with understanding the characteristics of the industry in which the firm competed and, in light of those characteristics, determining how the firm should position itself relative to competitors. This emphasis on industry characteristics and competitive strategy may have understated the role of the firm’s resources and capabilities in developing competitive advantage. In the current competitive landscape, core competencies, in combination with product-market positions, are the firm’s most important sources of competitive advantage (Hitt, et. al., 1999). The core competencies of a firm, in addition to its analysis of its general, industry, and competitor environments, should drive its selection of strategies. As Clayton Christensen noted, “Successful strategists need to cultivate a deep understanding of the processes of competition and progress and of the factors that undergird each advantage. Only thus will they be able to see when old advantages are poised to disappear and how new advantages can be built in their stead (Christensen, 2001).” By drawing on internal analysis and emphasizing core competencies when formulating strategies, companies learn to compete primarily on the basis of firm-specific differences, but they must be aware of how things are changing as well.

Resources and Capabilities

Resources

Broad in scope, resources cover a spectrum of individual, social, and organizational phenomena (Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000; Michalisin, et. al., 2000). Typically, resources alone do not yield a competitive advantage (West & DeCastro, 2001; Deeds, et. al., 2000; Chi, 1994). In fact, the core competencies that yield a competitive advantage are created through the unique bundling of several resources (Berman, et. al., 2002). For example, Amazon.com has combined service and distribution resources to develop its competitive advantages. The firm started as an online bookseller, directly shipping orders to customers. It quickly grew large and established a distribution network through which it could ship “millions of different items to millions of different customers.” Compared with Amazon’s use of combined resources, traditional bricks-and-mortar companies, such as Toys “R” Us and Borders, found it hard to establish an effective online presence. These difficulties led them to develop partnerships with Amazon. Through these arrangements, Amazon now handles online presence and the shipping of goods for several firms, including Toys “R” Us and Borders, which now can focus on sales in their stores. Arrangements such as these are useful to the bricks-and-mortar companies because they are not accustomed to shipping so much diverse merchandise directly to individuals (Shepard, 2001).

Some of a firm’s resources are tangible while others are intangible. Tangible resources are assets that can be seen and quantified. Production equipment, manufacturing plants, and formal reporting structures are examples of tangible resources. Intangible resources typically include assets that are rooted deeply in the firm’s history and have accumulated over time. Because they are embedded in unique patterns of routines, intangible resources are relatively difficult for competitors to analyze and imitate. Knowledge, trust between managers and employees, ideas, the capacity for innovation, managerial capabilities, organizational routines (the unique ways people work together), scientific capabilities, and the firm’s reputation for its goods or services and how it interacts with people (such as employees, customers, and suppliers) are all examples of intangible resources (Feldman, 2000; Knott & McKelvey, 1999). The four types of tangible resources are financial, organizational, physical, and technological. The three types of intangible resources are human, innovation, and reputational.

As a manager or entrepreneur, you will be challenged to understand fully the strategic value of your firm’s tangible and intangible resources. The strategic value of resources is indicated by the degree to which they can contribute to the development of core competencies, and, ultimately, competitive advantage. For example, as a tangible resource, a distribution facility is assigned a monetary value on the firm’s balance sheet. The real value of the facility, however, is grounded in a variety of factors, such as its proximity to raw materials and customers, but also in intangible factors such as the manner in which workers integrate their actions internally and with other stakeholders, such as suppliers and customers (Gavetti & Levinthal, 2000; Coff, 1999; Marsh & Ranft, 1999).

Capabilities

Capabilities are the firm’s capacity to deploy resources that have been purposely integrated to achieve a desired end state (Helfat & Raubitschek, 2000). The glue that holds an organization together, capabilities emerge over time through complex interactions among tangible and intangible resources. Capabilities can be tangible, like a business process that is automated, but most of them tend to be tacit and intangible. Critical to forming competitive advantages, capabilities are often based on developing, carrying, and exchanging information and knowledge through the firm’s human capital (Hitt, et. al., 2001; Hitt, et. al., 2000; Hoopes & Postrel, 1999). Because a knowledge base is grounded in organizational actions that may not be explicitly understood by all employees, repetition and practice increase the value of a firm’s capabilities.

The foundation of many capabilities lies in the skills and knowledge of a firm’s employees and, often, their functional expertise. Hence, the value of human capital in developing and using capabilities and, ultimately, core competencies cannot be overstated. Firms committed to continuously developing their people’s capabilities seem to accept the adage that “the person who knows how will always have a job. The person who knows why will always be his boss.”2

Global business leaders increasingly support the view that the knowledge possessed by human capital is among the most significant of an organization’s capabilities and may ultimately be at the root of all competitive advantages. But firms must also be able to use the knowledge that they have and transfer it among their operating businesses (Argote & Ingram, 2000). For example, researchers have suggested that “in the information age, things are ancillary, knowledge is central. A company’s value derives not from things, but from knowledge, know-how, intellectual assets, competencies—all of it embedded in people (Dess & Picken 1999).” Given this reality, the firm’s challenge is to create an environment that allows people to fit their individual pieces of knowledge together so that, collectively, employees possess as much organizational knowledge as possible (Coy, 2002).

To help them develop an environment in which knowledge is widely spread across all employees, some organizations have created the new upper-level managerial position of chief learning officer (CLO). Establishing a CLO position highlights a firm’s belief that “future success will depend on competencies that traditionally have not been actively managed or measured—including creativity and the speed with which new ideas are learned and shared (Baldwin & Danielson, 2000).” In general, the firm should manage knowledge in ways that will support its efforts to create value for customers (Kuratko, et. al., 2001; Hansen, et. al., 1999).

Capabilities are often developed in specific functional areas (such as manufacturing, R&D, and marketing) or in a part of a functional area (for example, advertising). The value chain, popularized by Michael Porter’s book Competitive Advantage, is a useful tool for taking stock of organizational capabilities. A value chain is a chain of activities. In the value chain, some of the activities are deemed to be primary, in the sense that these activities add direct value. In the preceding figure, primary activities are logistics (inbound and outbound), marketing, and service. Support activities include how the firm is organized (infrastructure), human resources, technology, and procurement. Products pass through all activities of the chain in order, and at each activity, the product gains some value. A firm is effective to the extent that the chain of activities gives the products more added value than the sum of added values of all activities.

It is important not to mix the concept of the value chain with the costs occurring throughout the activities. A diamond cutter can be used as an example of the difference. The cutting activity may have a low cost, but the activity adds to much of the value of the end product, since a rough diamond is significantly less valuable than a cut, polished diamond. Research suggests a relationship between capabilities developed in particular functional areas and the firm’s financial performance at both the corporate and business-unit levels (Hitt & Ireland, 1986; Hitt & Ireland, 1985; Hitt, et. al., 1982; Hitt;et. al., 1982; Snow & Hrebiniak, 1980), suggesting the need to develop capabilities at both levels.

VRIO Analysis

Given that almost anything a firm possesses can be considered a resource or capability, how should you attempt to narrow down the ones that are core competencies, and explain why firm performance differs? To lead to a sustainable competitive advantage, a resource or capability should be valuable, rare, inimitable (including nonsubstitutable), and organized. This VRIO framework is the foundation for internal analysis (Wernerfelt, 1984). VRIO is an acronym for valuable, rare, inimitable, and organization.

If you ask managers why their firms do well while others do poorly, a common answer is likely to be “our people.” But this is really not an answer. It may be the start of an answer, but you need to probe more deeply—what is it about “our people” that is especially valuable? Why don’t competitors have similar people? Can’t competitors hire our people away? Or is it that there something special about the organization that brings out the best in people? These kinds of questions form the basis of VRIO and get to the heart of why some resources help firms more than others.

Moreover, your ability to identify whether an organization has VRIO resources will also likely explain their competitive position. In the figure, you can see that a firm’s performance relative to industry peers is likely to vary according to the level to which resources, capabilities, and ultimately core competences satisfy VRIO criteria. The four criteria are explored next.

Valuable

A resource or capability is said to be valuable if it allows the firm to exploit opportunities or negate threats in the environment. Union Pacific’s extensive network of rail-line property and equipment in the Gulf Coast of the United States is valuable because it allows the company to provide a cost-effective way to transport chemicals. Because the Gulf Coast is the gateway for the majority of chemical production in the United States, the rail network allows the firm to exploit a market opportunity. Delta’s control of the majority of gates at the Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) gives it a significant advantage in many markets. Travelers worldwide have rated CVG one of the best airports for service and convenience 10 years running. The possession of this resource allows Delta to minimize the threat of competition in this city. Delta controls air travel in this desirable hub city, which means that this asset (resource) has significant value. If a resource does not allow a firm to minimize threats or exploit opportunities, it does not enhance the competitive position of the firm. In fact, some scholars suggest that owning resources that do not meet the VRIO test of value actually puts the firm at a competitive disadvantage (Barney, 1991).

Rare

A resource is rare simply if it is not widely possessed by other competitors. Of the criteria this is probably the easiest to judge. For example, Coke’s brand name is valuable but most of Coke’s competitors (Pepsi, 7Up, RC) also have widely recognized brand names, making it not that rare. Of course, Coke’s brand may be the most recognized, but that makes it more valuable, not more rare, in this case.

A firm that possesses valuable resources that are not rare is not in a position of advantage relative to competitors. Rather, valuable resources that are commonly held by many competitors simply allow firms to be at par with competitors. However, when a firm maintains possession of valuable resources that are rare in the industry they are in a position of competitive advantage over firms that do not possess the resource. They may be able to exploit opportunities or negate threats in ways that those lacking the resource will not be able to do. Delta’s virtual control of air traffic through Cincinnati gives it a valuable and rare resource in that market.

How rare do the resources need to be for a firm to have a competitive advantage? In practice, this is a difficult question to answer unequivocally. At the two extremes (i.e., one firm possesses the resource or all firms possess it), the concept is intuitive. If only one firm possesses the resource, it has significant advantage over all other competitors. For instance, Monsanto had such an advantage for many years because they owned the patent to aspartame, the chemical compound in NutraSweet, they had a valuable and extremely rare resource. Because during the lifetime of the patent they were the only firm that could sell aspartame, they had an advantage in the artificial sweetener market. However, meeting the condition of rarity does not always require exclusive ownership. When only a few firms possess the resource, they will have an advantage over the remaining competitors. For instance, Toyota and Honda both have the capabilities to build cars of high quality at relatively low cost (Dyer, et. al., 2004). Their products regularly beat rival firms’ products in both short-term and long-term quality ratings (Dyer & Hatch, 2004). Thus, the criterion of rarity requires that the resource not be widely possessed in the industry. It also suggests that the more exclusive a firm’s access to a particularly valuable resource, the greater the benefit for having it.

Inimitable

An inimitable (the opposite of imitable) resource is difficult to imitate or to create ready substitutes for. A resource is inimitable and nonsubstitutable if it is difficult for another firm to acquire it or to substitute something else in its place. A valuable and rare resource or capability will grant a competitive advantage as long as other firms do not gain subsequently possession of the resource or a close substitute. If a resource is valuable and rare and responsible for a market leader’s competitive advantage, it is likely that competitors lacking the resource or capability will do all that they can to obtain the resource or capability themselves. This leads us to the third criterion—inimitability. The concept of imitation includes any form of acquiring the lacking resource or substituting a similar resource that provides equivalent benefits. The criterion important to be addressed is whether competitors face a cost disadvantage in acquiring or substituting the resource that is lacking. There are numerous ways that firms may acquire resources or capabilities that they lack.

As strategy researcher Scott Gallagher notes:

“This is probably the toughest criterion to examine because given enough time and money almost any resource can be imitated. Even patents only last 17 years and can be invented around in even less time. Therefore, one way to think about this is to compare how long you think it will take for competitors to imitate or substitute something else for that resource and compare it to the useful life of the product. Another way to help determine if a resource is inimitable is why/how it came about. Inimitable resources are often a result of historical, ambiguous, or socially complex causes. For example, the U.S. Army paid for Coke to build bottling plants around the world during World War II. This is an example of history creating an inimitable asset. Generally, intangible (also called tacit) resources or capabilities, like corporate culture or reputation, are very hard to imitate and therefore inimitable (Falcon, 2009).”

Organized

The fourth and final VRIO criterion that determines whether a resource or capability is the source of competitive advantage recognizes that mere possession or control is necessary but not sufficient to gain an advantage. The firm must likewise have the organizational capability to exploit the resources. The question of organization is broad and encompasses many facets of a firm but essentially means that the firm is able to capture any value that the resource or capability might generate. Organization, essentially the same form as that taken in the P-O-L-C framework, spans such firm characteristics as control systems, reporting relationships, compensation policies, and management interface with both customers and value-adding functions in the firm. Although listed as the last criterion in the VRIO tool, the question of organization is a necessary condition to be satisfied if a firm is to reap the benefits of any of the three preceding conditions. Thus, a valuable but widely held resource only leads to competitive parity for a firm if they also possess the capabilities to exploit the resource. Likewise, a firm that possesses a valuable and rare resource will not gain a competitive advantage unless it can actually put that resource to effective use.

Many firms have valuable and rare resources that they fail to exploit (the question of imitation is not relevant until the firm exploits valuable and rare resources). For instance, for many years Novell had a significant competitive advantage in computer networking based on its core NetWare product. In high-technology industries, remaining at the top requires continuous innovation. Novell’s decline during the mid- to late 1990s led many to speculate that Novell was unable to innovate in the face of changing markets and technology. However, shortly after new CEO Eric Schmidt arrived from Sun Microsystems to attempt to turnaround the firm, he arrived at a different conclusion. Schmidt commented: “I walk down Novell hallways and marvel at the incredible potential of innovation here. But, Novell has had a difficult time in the past turning innovation into products in the marketplace (Haddox, 2003).” He later commented to a few key executives that it appeared the company was suffering from “organizational constipation.”3 Novell appeared to still have innovative resources and capabilities, but they lacked the organizational capability (e.g., product development and marketing) to get those new products to market in a timely manner.

Likewise, Xerox proved unable to exploit its innovative resources. Xerox created a successful research team housed in a dedicated facility in Palo Alto, California, known as Xerox PARC. Scientists in this group invented an impressive list of innovative products, including laser printers, Ethernet, graphical interface software, computers, and the computer mouse. History has demonstrated that these technologies were commercially successful. Unfortunately, for Xerox shareholders, these commercially successful innovations were exploited by other firms. Xerox’s organization was not structured in a way that information about these innovations flowed to the right people in a timely fashion. Bureaucracy was also suffocating ideas once they were disseminated. Compensation policies did not reward managers for adopting these new innovations but rather rewarded current profits over long-term success. Thus, Xerox was never able exploit the innovative resources and capabilities embodied in their off-site Xerox PARC research center (Kearns & Nadler, 1992; Barney, 1995).

SWOT and VRIO

As you already know, many scholars refer to core competencies. A core competency is simply a resource, capability, or bundle of resources and capabilities that is VRIO. While VRIO resources are the best, they are quite rare, and it is not uncommon for successful firms to simply be combinations of a large number of VR _ O or even V _ _ O resources and capabilities. Recall that even a V _ _ O resource can be considered a strength under a traditional SWOT analysis.

Key Takeaway

Internal analysis begins with the identification of resources and capabilities. Resources can be tangible and intangible; capabilities may have such characteristics as well. VRIO analysis is a way to distinguish resources and capabilities from core competencies. Specifically, VRIO analysis should show you the importance of value, rarity, inimitability, and organization as building blocks of competitive advantage.

Exercises

What is the objective of internal analysis?

What is the difference between a resource and a capability?

What is the difference between a tangible and an intangible resource or capability?

What framework helps you identify those resources, capabilities, or core competencies that provide competitive advantage?

Why might competitive advantage for a firm be fleeting?

1Pocket Strategy. (1998). Value (p. 165). London: The Economist Books.

2Thoughts on the business of life. (1999, May 17). Forbes, p. 352.

3Personal communication with former executives.

3Personal communication with former executives.

References

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Baldwin, T. T., & Danielson, C. C. (2000). Building a learning strategy at the top: Interviews with ten of America’s CLOs. Business Horizons, 43(6), 5–14.

Barney, J. B. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17, 99–120.

Barney, J. B. (1995). Looking inside for competitive advantage. Academy of Management Executive, 9, 49–61.

Berman, S., Down, J., & Hill, C. (2002). Tacit knowledge as a source of competitive advantage in the National Basketball Association. Academy of Management Journal, 45, 13–31.

Buckley, P. J., & Carter, M. J. (2000). Knowledge management in global technology markets: Applying theory to practice. Long Range Planning, 33(1), 55–71.

Chi, T. (1994). Trading in strategic resources: Necessary conditions, transaction cost problems, and choice of exchange structure. Strategic Management Journal, 15, 271–290.

Christensen, C. M. (2001). The past and future of competitive advantage. Sloan Management Review, 42(2), 105–109.

Coff, R. W. (1999). How buyers cope with uncertainty when acquiring firms in knowledge-intensive industries: Caveat emptor. Organization Science, 10, 144–161.

Coy, P. (2002, Spring). High turnover, high risk [Special Issue]. Business Week, p. 24.

Deeds, D. L., DeCarolis, D., & J. Coombs. (2000). Dynamic capabilities and new product development in high technology ventures: An empirical analysis of new biotechnology firms. Journal of Business Venturing, 15, 211–229.

Dess, G. G., & Picken, J. C. (1999). Beyond productivity. New York: AMACOM.

Dyer, J. H., & Hatch, N. (2004). Using Supplier Networks to Learn Faster. Sloan Management Review, 45(3), 57–63.

Dyer, J. H., Kale, P., & Singh, H. (2004, July–August). When to ally and when to acquire. Harvard Business Review, 109–115.

Eisenhardt, K., & Martin, J. (2000). Dynamic capabilities: What are they? Strategic Management Journal, 21, 1105–1121.

Falcon, retrieved January 30, 2009, from http://falcon.jmu.edu/~gallagsr/WDFPD-Internal.pdf.

Feldman, M. S. (2000). Organizational routines as a source of continuous change, Organization Science, 11, 611–629.

Gavetti, G., & Levinthal, D. (2000). Looking forward and looking backward: Cognitive and experimental search. Administrative Science Quarterly, 45, 113–137.

Haddox, personal communication with Margaret Haddox. (2003). Novell Corporate Librarian.

Hafeez, K., Zhang, Y. B., & Malak, N. (2002). Core competence for sustainable competitive advantage: A structured methodology for identifying core competence. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 49(1), 28–35.

Hansen, M. T., Nhoria, N., & Tierney, T. (1999). What’s your strategy for managing knowledge? Harvard Business Review, 77(2), 106–116.

Helfat, C. E., & Raubitschek, R. S. (2000). Product sequencing: Co-evolution of knowledge, capabilities, and products. Strategic Management Journal, 21, 961–979.

Hitt, M. A., & Ireland, R. D. (1985). Corporate distinctive competence, strategy, industry, and performance. Strategic Management Journal, 6, 273–293.

Hitt, M. A., & Ireland, R. D. (1986). Relationships among corporate level distinctive competencies, diversification strategy, corporate structure, and performance. Journal of Management Studies, 23, 401–416.

Hitt, M. A., Bierman, L., Shimizu, K., & Kochhar, R. (2001) Direct and moderating effects of human capital on strategy and performance in professional service firms: A resource-based perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 44(1) 13–28.

Hitt, M. A., Ireland, R. D., & Lee, H. (2000). Technological learning, knowledge management, firm growth and performance: An introductory essay. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 17, 231–246.

Hitt, M. A., Ireland, R. D., & Palia, K. A. (1982). Industrial firms’ grand strategy and functional importance. Academy of Management Journal, 25, 265–298.

Hitt, M. A., Ireland, R. D., & Stadter, G. (1982). Functional importance and company performance: Moderating effects of grand strategy and industry type. Strategic Management Journal, 3, 315–330.

Hitt, M. A., Nixon, R. D., Clifford, P. G., & Coyne, K. P. (1999). The development and use of strategic resources. In M. A. Hitt, P. G. Clifford, R. D. Nixon, & K. P. Coyne (Eds.), Dynamic Strategic Resources (pp. 1–14). Chichester: Wiley.

Hoopes, D. G., & Postrel, S. (1999). Shared knowledge: “Glitches,” and product development performance. Strategic Management Journal, 20, 837–865; Quinn, J. B. (1994). The Intelligent Enterprise. New York: Free Press.

Kearns, D. T., & Nadler, D. A. (1992). Prophets in the dark. New York: HarperColllins.

Knott, A. M., & McKelvey, B. (1999). Nirvana efficiency: A comparative test of residual claims and routines. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 38, 365–383.

Kuratko, D. F., Ireland, R. D., & Hornsby, J. S. (2001). Improving firm performance through entrepreneurial actions: Acordia’s corporate entrepreneurship strategy. Academy of Management Executive, 15(4), 60–71.

McEvily, S. K., & Chakravarthy, B. (2002). The persistence of knowledge-based advantage: An empirical test for product performance and technological knowledge. Strategic Management Journal, 23, 285–305.

Michalisin, M. D., Kline, D. M., & Smith. R. D. (2000). Intangible strategic assets and firm performance: A multi-industry study of the resource-based view, Journal of Business Strategies, 17(2), 91–117.

Marsh, S. J., & Ranft, A. L. (1999). Why resources matter: An empirical study of knowledge-based resources on new market entry. In M. A. Hitt, P. G. Clifford, R. D. Nixon, & K. P. Coyne (Eds.), Dynamic strategic resources (pp. 43–66). Chichester: Wiley.

Prahalad, C. K., & Hamel, G. (1990). The core competence of the corporation. Harvard Business Review, 68(3), 79–93.

Prahalad, C. K., and Hamel, G. (1990). The core competence of the organization. Harvard Business Review, 90, 79–93.

Shepard, S. (2001, April 30). Interview: “The company is not in the stock.” Business Week, pp. 94–96.

Snow, C. C., & Hrebiniak, E. G. (1980). Strategy, distinctive competence, and organizational performance. Administrative Science Quarterly, 25, 317–336.

Snow, C. C., & Hrebiniak, E. G. (1980). Strategy, distinctive competence, and organizational performance. Administrative Science Quarterly, 25, 317–336.

Useem, J. (2001, February 19). Most admired: Conquering vertical limits. Fortune, pp. 84–96.

Useem, J. (2001, February 19). Most admired: Conquering vertical limits. Fortune, pp. 84–96.

Wernerfelt, VRIO analysis is at the core of the resource-based view of the firm. Wernerfelt, B. (1984). A resource-based view of the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 5, 171–180. Barney, J. B. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 19, 99–120.

West, G. P., & DeCastro, J. (2001). The Achilles heel of firm strategy: Resource weaknesses and distinctive inadequacies. Journal of Management Studies, 38(3), 26–45.

 

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BTL refers to a series of marketing techniques known collectively as below-the-line marketing. Below-the-line marketing includes direct marketing by mail or email, sales promotion, marketing communications, exhibitions and telemarketing. Above-the-line marketing refers to advertising in media such as print, cinema, radio, television, outdoor posters and the Internet. Marketing campaigns that use both above-the-line and below-the-line techniques are known as through-the-line campaigns.

Agency Remuneration
The terms above-the-line and below-the-line originally referred to the way advertising agencies were remunerated for their services. Agencies received commission from the media in return for placing advertisements. The level of commission was sufficient to cover the costs of creating and producing the content for advertisements, as well as providing the agency with a fee and profit contribution. Agencies retained the commission and clients received the creative and production costs free. Because no commission was available on non-media activities, agencies charged clients for all creative and production costs.

Below-The-Line Agencies
The basis of agency remuneration has evolved, and advertising agencies now base their charges on a combination of fees and retained commission. However, clients have recognized the importance of below-the-line marketing and work with companies that offer specific services, such as direct marketing agencies, sales promotion agencies, marketing communications consultancies and telemarketing agencies.

Precision
Companies use below-the-line campaigns to reach audiences that are difficult or costly to contact through advertising media. A direct marketing campaign, for example, targeting a selected group of key customers with a limited-time offer represents a precise form of marketing with minimal waste. A sales promotion campaign offering discounts on a product in a single retail chain drives consumers to a series of defined locations, allowing precise measurement of the campaign’s effectiveness.

Integration
Combining above -the-line and below-the-line techniques in a single, integrated campaign can improve marketing effectiveness. An advertising campaign to launch a new product, combined with a retail incentive program and an in-store consumer promotion will encourage retailers to carry additional stocks of the advertised product. Through-the-line campaigns are most effective when advertising and below-the-line content use the same creative approach and communicate consistent messages across all media.

Multi-Channel Marketing
The increasing importance of social media is focusing attention on communicating with customers though multiple channels, rather than relying on individual above-the-line or below-the-line channels. Marketers also recognize the importance of building dialog with customers, rather than marketing through one-way communications.

What Are the Different Types of Advertising?

Advertisers pay for advertising to accomplish a wide array of goals. Ad objectives generally boil down to long-term branding communication or short-term direct response advertising. Branding is about building and maintaining a reputation for your company that distinguishes it in the marketplace. Sales promos are short-term inducements to drive revenue or cash flow. Based on your company’s objectives, budget and target audience, you normally advertise through one or more types of media. Calculating your return on investment in dollars is difficult, but you need to establish measurable goals, such as a percentage increase in awareness, to evaluate success.

Broadcast Media
Television and radio are two traditional broadcast media long used in advertising. Television offers creative opportunities, a dynamic message and wide audience reach. It is typically the most expensive medium to advertise through, though. Because local affiliated stations normally serve a wide local audience, you also have to deal with waste when trying to target a small town marketplace. TV watchers normally have a negative attitude toward commercials and many have DVRs at their fingertips. Radio and TV both have fleeting messages, meaning they disappear once the commercial spot ends. Radio is relatively affordable for small businesses and allows for repetition and frequency. You don’t have the visual element of TV and you have to deal with a distracted audience, since most listeners are driving.

Print Media
Magazines and newspapers are the two traditional print media. Magazines offer a highly selective audience who is generally interested in ads closely related to the topic of the magazine. Visual imagery is also stronger in magazines than newspapers. You have little wasted since magazines are very niche and you can target a narrow customer segment. On the downside, magazines are costly and require long lead times, which limits timely promotions. They also have limited audience reach. Newspapers are very affordable for local businesses and allow you to target a geographic segment if you have a universal product or service. Newspapers are also viewed as a credible medium, which enhances ad acceptance. You can usually get an ad placed within a day or two of purchase. Declining circulation, a short shelf life and limited visual creativity are drawbacks.

Support Media
Support media include several options for message delivery than normally add to or expand campaigns delivered through more traditional media. Billboards, transits, bus benches, aerial, directories and trade publications are common support media. Each has pros and cons, but collectively, they offer ways to reach a wider audience in a local or regional market or to increase frequency of message exposure to targeted market segments.

Direct Marketing
Direct marketing is an interactive approach to advertising that has picked up in usage in the early 21st century. It includes direct mail, email and telemarketing. These are direct response efforts to create an ongoing dialogue or interaction with customers. Weekly or monthly email newsletters, for instance, allow you to keep your brand, products and other messages in front of prospects and customers. Telemarketing is a way to survey customers and offer new products, upgrades or renewals. Direct mail is the most common format of direct marketing where you send mailers or postcards to targeted customers promoting products, deals or promotions. Direct marketing has become more prominent because it allows for ease in tracking customer response rates and helps advertisers better measure return on investment.

Product Placement
Another newer advertising technique is product placement. This is where you offer compensation to a TV show, movie, video game or theme park to use your product while entertaining audiences. You could pay a TV show, for instance, to depict your product being used and discussed positive in a particular scene. This ad method is a way for companies to integrate ads with entertainment since customers have found ways to avoid messages delivered through more conventional media.

Internet
The Internet is used by online and offline companies to promote products or services. Banner ads, pop up ads, text ads and paid search placements are common forms. Banner, pop up and text ads are ways to present an image or message on a publisher’s website or on a number of websites through a third-party platform like Google’s Adwords program. Paid search placements, also known as cost-per-click advertising, is where you bid a certain amount to present your link and text message to users of search engines like Google and Yahoo!

Social Media
Businesses can also create different target groups, and send ads on social media platforms to users that would be most interested in their products and services. Targeting options can include targeting based on geographic location, buying tendencies, and other consumer behavior. One effective method of placing social media ads is known as retargeting, which focuses on website visitors that left without buying a product or service, or without signing up for some type of free offer like subscribing to a newsletter. Businesses can place a pixel on the visitor’s browser, and send targeted ads to that visitor as he or she browses other websites. Sponsored ads work in a similar way to retargeting, but the difference is that businesses pay to have these ads appear on specific websites that their target audience is likely to visit.

 

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860 Benefits of Sales Promotion

A successful promotion has the ability to nurture relationships with consumers through retention and engagement. Promotions can often shape the characteristics of brands, for example, McDonald?s Monopoly board is something

INTRODUCTION OF SALES PROMOTION
Sales promotion consists of a diverse collection of incentive tools, mostly short term, designed to stimulated quicker and/or greater purchase of particular product/service or the trend. Sales promotion is a process of persuading of sales to potential customer to buy the product.
The topic is about the sales promotion activity that makes awareness of the product of the company. The topic itself describe that how to increase the sales growth of the company product and it is also about the make awareness to the customer about the company products.
Sales promotion plays a very important role in the company. So in the current context every company makes sales promotion in different ways like advertisement by media, news paper , magazine.
Sales promotion is an important component of a small medium and large business’s overall marketing strategy, along with advertising, public relations, and personal selling. The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines sales promotion as “media and non-media marketing pressure applied for a predetermined, limited period of time in order to stimulate trial, increase consumer demand, or improve product quality.” But this definition does not capture all the elements of modern sales promotion. One should add that effective sales promotion increases the basic value of a product for a limited time and directly stimulates consumer purchasing, selling effectiveness, or the effort of the sales force. It can be used to inform, persuade, and remind target customers about the business and its marketing mix. Some common types of sales promotion include samples, coupons, sweepstakes, contests, in-store displays, trade shows, price-off deals, premiums, and rebates.
Businesses can target sales promotions at three different audiences: consumers, resellers, and the company’s own sales force. Sales promotion acts as a competitive weapon by providing an extra incentive for the target audience to purchase or support one brand over another. It is particularly effective in spurring product trial and unplanned purchases.
Most marketers believe that a given product or service has an established perceived price or value, and they use sales promotion to change this price-value relationship by increasing the value and/or lowering the price. Compared to the other components of the marketing mix (advertising, publicity, and personal selling), sales promotion usually operates on a shorter time line, uses a more rational appeal, returns a tangible or real value, fosters an immediate sale, and contributes highly to profitability.
In determining the relative importance to place on sales promotion in the overall marketing mix, a small business should consider its marketing budget, the stage of the product in its life cycle, the nature of competition in the market, the target of the promotion, and the nature of the product. For example, sales promotion and direct mail are particularly attractive alternatives when the marketing budget is limited, as it is for many small businesses. In addition, sales promotion can be an effective tool in a highly competitive market, when the objective is to convince retailers to carry a product or influence consumers to select it over those of competitors. Similarly, sales promotion is often used in the growth and maturity stages of the product life cycle to stimulate consumers and resellers to choose that product over the competition—rather than in the introduction stage, when mass advertising to build awareness might be more important. Finally, sales promotion tends to work best when it is applied to impulse items whose features can be judged at the point of purchase, rather than more complex, expensive items that might require hands-on demonstration.
Back in 1950s, it was said that doing business without sales promotion is like winking at a girl in the dark; you know you what you are doing, but nobody else does. The message was: crowded scenario of multiple ads even winking in broad daylight goes unnoticed. Since everyone is sales promotion, the idea is to do it with innovation ‘Come on, turn on the light, it pays to sales promotion. Today, in this complex world amidst heavy rush or everything, having a densely.

Sales promotion is of immense utility both to large and small business. There can be no doubt that sales promotion efforts would result in creation of additional sales. All forms of promotion of sale of goods is in one way or the other, supported by extensive advertising campaign. It is not possible to imagine survival of any business, which is in the business of “make and sell” in the absence of advertising efforts. Advertising has extended its coverage to include non-business enterprises also e.g.. Public Water Works advertises the need to preserve precious water and to cultivate the habit of drinking clean water free from any form of pollution. Countless illustrations can be provided wherein non-business enterprises have recognised the importance of advertising and their use it as a tool to promote ideas and services.

Sales promotion is an economic activity and it generates employment. Thousands of men and women are directly or indirectly, employed in professional sales promotion. sales promotion is an economic proposition. People who invest their money in sales promotion anticipate positive results. Hence, sales promotion must be result-oriented. Every newspaper or magazine survives on the advertisements that it receives. sales promotion are definite source of revenue to the publishers. Because of the advertisements inserted in newspapers and magazines, they are sold at lower price, which can be afforded by the public. Advertising is of paramount importance because it creates better-informed public by making available innumerable publications at an affordable price. Considering the response that advertisements generate, it can be stated that “advertising does not cost too much”.
In older to cut down production cost per unit there is a need to increase the total sales turnover. When overall sales increase, production cost per unit is automatically slashed and more people buy the goods. Apart from towering production costs, advertising also pays for entertainment and education through use of media like radio and TV.
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Consumer is the king in the market. He cannot be compelled to buy anything. At the most, he can be persuaded to patronize a certain brand. It is here that advertising plays a prominent role.
There is no standard format to be followed to make advertising liked by every person. Advertising is a creative field. Individual likes and dislikes determine success of advertising or its failure. Advertising scores over personal selling because it provides freedom of choice to the consumer. Decision to make purchases is independently arrived at by the consumers. No civilized society can record constant progress and ensure better standard of living to its people in the absence of information and education provided by advertising
CONSUMER PROMOTIONS
Consumer sales promotions are steered toward the ultimate product users—typically individual shoppers in the local market—but the same techniques can be used to promote products sold by one business to another, such as computer systems, cleaning supplies, and machinery. In contrast, trade sales promotions target resellers—wholesalers and retailers—who carry the marketer’s product. Following are some of the key techniques used in consumer-oriented sales promotions.
PRICE DEALS: A consumer price deal saves the buyer money when a product is purchased. The main types of price deals include discounts, bonus pack deals, refunds or rebates, and coupons. Price deals are usually intended to encourage trial use of a new product or line extension, to recruit new buyers for a mature product, or to convince existing customers to increase their purchases, accelerate their use, or purchase multiple units. Price deals work most effectively when price is the consumer’s foremost criterion or when brand loyalty is low.
Buyers may learn about price discounts either at the point of sale or through advertising. At the point of sale, price reductions may be posted on the package, on signs near the product, or in storefront windows. Many types of advertisements can be used to notify consumers of upcoming discounts, including fliers and newspaper and television ads.
Price discounts are especially common in the food industry, where local supermarkets run weekly specials. Price discounts may be initiated by the manufacturer, the retailer, or the distributor. For instance, a manufacturer may “pre-price” a product and then convince the retailer to participate in this short-term discount through extra incentives. For price reduction strategies to be effective, they must have the support of all distributors in the channel. Existing customers perceive discounts as rewards and often respond by buying in larger quantities.
Another type of price deal is the bonus pack or banded pack. When a bonus pack is offered, an extra amount of the product is free when a standard size of the product is bought at the regular price. This technique is routinely used in the marketing of cleaning products, food, and health and beauty aids to introduce a new or larger size. A bonus pack rewards present users but may have little appeal to users of competitive brands. A banded pack offer is when two or more units of a product are sold at a reduction of the regular single-unit price. Sometimes the products are physically banded together, such as in toothbrush and toothpaste offers.
A refund or rebate promotion is an offer by a marketer to return a certain amount of money when the product is purchased alone or in combination with other products. Refunds aim to increase the quantity or frequency of purchase, to encourage customers to “load up” on the product. This strategy dampens competition by temporarily taking consumers out of the market, stimulates the purchase of postponable goods such as major appliances, and creates on-shelf excitement by encouraging special displays. Refunds and rebates are generally viewed as a reward for purchase, and they appear to build brand loyalty rather than diminish it.
Coupons are legal certificates offered by manufacturers and retailers. They grant specified savings on selected products when presented for redemption at the point of purchase. Manufacturers sustain the cost of advertising and distributing their coupons, redeeming their face values, and paying retailers a handling fee. Retailers who offer double or triple the amount of the coupon shoulder the extra cost. Retailers who offer their own coupons incur the total cost, including paying the face value. In this way, retail coupons are equivalent to a cents-off deal.
Manufacturers disseminate coupons in many ways. They may be delivered directly by mail, dropped door to door, or distributed through a central location such as a shopping mall. Coupons may also be distributed through the media—magazines, newspapers, Sunday supplements, or free-standing inserts (FSI) in newspapers. Coupons can be inserted into, attached to, or printed on a package, or they may be distributed by a retailer who uses them to generate store traffic or to tie in with a manufacturer’s promotional tactic. Retailer-sponsored coupons are typically distributed through print advertising or at the point of sale. Sometimes, though, specialty retailers or newly opened retailers will distribute coupons door to door or through direct mail.
CONTESTS/SWEEPSTAKES: The main difference between contests and sweepstakes is that contests require entrants to perform a task or demonstrate a skill that is judged in order to be deemed a winner, while sweepstakes involve a random drawing or chance contest that may or may not have an entry requirement. At one time, contests were more commonly used as sales promotions, mostly due to legal restrictions on gambling that many marketers feared might apply to sweepstakes. But the use of sweepstakes as a promotional tactic has grown dramatically in recent decades, partly because of legal changes and partly because of their lower cost. Administering a contest once cost about $350 per thousand entries, compared to just $2.75 to $3.75 per thousand entries in a sweepstake. Furthermore, participation in contests is very low compared to sweepstakes, since they require some sort of skill or ability.
SPECIAL EVENTS: According to the consulting firm International Events Group (IEG), businesses spend over $2 billion annually to link their products with everything from jazz festivals to golf tournaments to stock car races. In fact, large companies like RJR Nabisco and Anheuser-Busch have special divisions that handle nothing but special events. Special events marketing offers a number of advantages. First, events tend to attract a homogeneous audience that is very appreciative of the sponsors. Therefore, if a product fits well with the event and its audience, the impact of the sales promotion will be high. Second, event sponsorship often builds support among employees—who may receive acknowledgment for their participation—and within the trade. Finally, compared to producing a series of ads, event management is relatively simple. Many elements of event sponsorship are prepackaged and reusable, such as booths, displays, and ads. Special events marketing is available to small businesses, as well, through sponsorship of events on the community level.
PREMIUM: A premium is tangible compensation that is given as incentive for performing a particular act—usually buying a product. The premium may be given for free, or may be offered to consumers for a significantly reduced price. Some examples of premiums include receiving a prize in a cereal box or a free garden tool for visiting the grand opening of a hardware store. Incentives that are given for free at the time of purchase are called direct premiums. These offers provide instant gratification, plus there is no confusion about returning coupons or box tops, or saving bar codes or proofs of purchase.
Other types of direct premiums include traffic builders, door openers, and referral premiums. The garden tool is an example of a traffic-builder premium—an incentive to lure a prospective buyer to a store. A door-opener premium is directed to customers at home or to business people in their offices. For example, a homeowner may receive a free clock radio for allowing an insurance agent to enter their home and listening to his sales pitch. Similarly, an electronics manufacturer might offer free software to an office manager who agrees to an on-site demonstration. The final category of direct premiums, referral premiums, rewards the purchaser for referring the seller to other possible customers.
Mail premiums, unlike direct premiums, require the customer to perform some act in order to obtain a premium through return mail. An example might be a limited edition toy car offered by a marketer in exchange for one or more proofs-of-purchase and a payment covering the cost of the item plus handling. The premium is still valuable to the consumer because they cannot readily buy the item for the same amount.

CONTINUITY PROGRAMS: Continuity programs retain brand users over a long time period by offering ongoing motivation or incentives. Continuity programs demand that consumers keep buying the product in order to get the premium in the future. Trading stamps, popularized in the 1950s and 1960s, are prime examples. Consumers usually received one stamp for every dime spent at a participating store. The stamp company provided redemption centers where the stamps were traded for merchandise. A catalog listing the quantity of stamps required for each item was available at the participating stores. Today, airlines’ frequent-flyer clubs, hotels’ frequent-traveler plans, retailers’ frequent-shopper programs, and bonus-paying credit cards are common continuity programs. When competing brands have reached parity in terms of price and service, continuity programs sometimes prove a deciding factor among those competitors. By rewarding long-standing customers for their loyalty, continuity programs also reduce the threat of new competitors entering a market.

SAMPLING: A sign of a successful marketer is getting the product into the hands of the consumer. Sometimes, particularly when a product is new or is not a market leader, an effective strategy is giving a sample product to the consumer, either free or for a small fee. But in order for sampling to change people’s future purchase decisions, the product must have benefits or features that will be obvious during the trial.
There are several means of disseminating samples to consumers. The most popular has been through the mail, but increases in postage costs and packaging requirements have made this method less attractive. An alternative is door-to-door distribution, particularly when the items are bulky and when reputable distribution organizations exist. This method permits selective sampling of neighborhoods, dwellings, or even people. Another method is distributing samples in conjunction with advertising. An ad may include a coupon that the consumer can mail in for the product, or it may include an address or phone number for ordering. Direct sampling can be achieved through prime media using scratch-and-sniff cards and slim foil pouches, or through retailers using special displays or a person hired to hand out samples to passing customers. Though this last technique may build goodwill for the retailer, some retailers resent the inconvenience and require high payments for their cooperation.
A final form of sample distribution deals with specialty types of sampling. For instance, some companies specialize in packing samples together for delivery to homogeneous consumer groups, such as newlyweds, new parents, students, or tourists. Such packages may be delivered at hospitals, hotels, or dormitories and include a number of different types of products.

 

Brand Activation agency in Parvati and Brand Activities Customized Training near by me

We have managed to bridge the gap between Sales & Marketing. Many companies spend huge budgets on marketing strategies with no real Return On Investment (ROI). Through our approach, we have optimised both of these functions, creating lower cost per acquisition, and maximising the ROI.

The mission of the organisation is to consistently exceed client’s expectations. We aim to explore new markets and industries, and to develop innovative ways of yielding the best results for them. Because of our passion and skill, we are able to represent any type of client, selling any type of product or service. Our adaptability and ability to think ‘out of the box’ has allowed us to yield outstanding results, assisting clients in achieving their Sales and Marketing objectives. As part of our goal, we focus on creating efficient and sustainable business opportunities.

fulcrum has developed a unique four-tier brand ambassador rating platform, with specific requirements per level – covering communication and selling skills, personal presentation, and financial and computer literacy. This rating platform helps create an ideal match between brand ambassador and brand, and within the specifications of your marketing strategy and budget.

The Fulcrum is a corporate social investment initiative aimed at finding and developing talent and creating jobs. It assists young brand ambassadors in acquiring and improving a range of skills, including communication and selling skills, personal presentation and grooming, financial literacy and basic technology skills. The Academy also covers career planning so that skills are developed in line with a career pathway.

Fulcrum is a progressive & creative organization, specializing in SalesMarketingBrand Promotions, Brand Activation agency in Parvati . The organization started up in Maharashtra in 2007. As a results-based company, we have provided our clients with a competitive advantage over the last 9 years.

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Marketing tips, ideas, tricks, advice

 

 

Integrating Experiential Marketing into Your Business Strategy

Every business owner knows that in order for a business to be successful, all internal strategies need to communicate the same message, represent the brand in the same way and tie in with each other seamlessly. With this in mind, many wonder how to go about integrating experiential marketing in their much larger business strategy, and how to demonstrate that the budget going into experiential marketing is, in fact, paying off in the long run? We have some advice to share below.

Identifying the Return
Seeing as though experiential marketing is all about providing customers and potential customers with memorable experiences in the hopes of building brand loyalty leading to a return further down the line, it can seem impossible to prove whether or not this type of marketing is working for your business, as there is seldom a direct link between these strategies and an increase in your bottom line. The good news is that there is a way in which to track the progress of your experiential marketing campaigns.

“The simple solution is to incorporate the latest data collecting technology into your experiential marketing strategies and events. Things like RFID wristbands or even simple questionnaires on a tablet can help you to collect information on those taking part in your events… and track them as they move through the buyer’s journey over time.”

Planning Quality Experiential Marketing Events

However, in order to get the above right, you need to make sure that you plan successful experiential marketing events. If people are not drawn in to partake in your experiential marketing activities, they probably will not be too keen to provide you with their details either.

“The key to planning a successful event lies in not losing sight of your company’s bigger objectives. While customer experience is of the utmost importance, if you do not communicate the brand’s bigger message and work towards achieving the company’s larger goals, the experience that you have provided won’t amount to much in the long run,

Seeing as though experiential marketing requires solid planning and strategic execution, especially when it comes to ensuring that it fits in with the company’s larger business strategy; it pays to enlist the services and expertise of the professionals from an experiential and field marketing company. Contact the Fulcrum team today to learn how we can help you.

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Brand Activation agency in Parvati

Brand Activation business near by me, Brand Activities Customized Training near by me, Brand Marketing Supplier near by me, Stall Operations Activation Plan near by me, Brand Activation agency in Parvati, Brand Activation Services in Shivajinagar, Brand Activation consultant in Baramati,

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5.6 Developing Strategy Through Internal Analysis

5.6 Developing Strategy Through Internal Analysis

 

Learning Objectives

Learn about internal analysis.

Understand resources, capabilities, and core competencies.

See how to evaluate resources, capabilities, and core competencies using VRIO analysis.

In this section, you will learn about some of the basic internal inputs for strategy formulation—starting with the organization’s strengths and weaknesses. We will focus on three aspects of internal analysis here, though you recognize that these should be complemented by external analysis as well. There is no correct order in which to do internal and external analyses, and the process is likely to be iterative. That is, you might do some internal analysis that suggests the need for other external analysis, or vice versa. For the internal environment, it is best to start with an assessment of resources and capabilities and then work your way into the identification of core competences using VRIO analysis.

Internal Analysis

By exploiting internal resources and capabilities and meeting the demanding standards of global competition, firms create value for customers (McEvily & Chakravarthy, 2002; Buckley & Carter, 2000). Value is measured by a product’s performance characteristics and by its attributes for which customers are willing to pay.1 Those particular bundles of resources and capabilities that provide unique advantages to the firm are considered core competencies (Prahalad & Hamel, 1990). Core competencies are resources and capabilities that serve as a source of a firm’s competitive advantage over rivals. Core competencies distinguish a company competitively and reflect its personality. Core competencies emerge over time through an organizational process of accumulating and learning how to deploy different resources and capabilities. As the capacity to take action, core competencies are “crown jewels of a company,” the activities the company performs especially well compared with competitors and through which the firm adds unique value to its goods or services over a long period of time (Hafeez, et. al., 2002; Prahalad & Hamel, 1990).

Sometimes consistency and predictability provide value to customers, such as the type of value Walgreens drugstores provides. As a Fortune magazine writer noted, “Do you realize that from 1975 to today, Walgreens beat Intel? It beat Intel nearly two to one, GE almost five to one. It beat 3M, Coke, Boeing, Motorola (Useem, 2001).” Walgreens was able to do this by using its core competencies to offer value desired by its target customer group. Instead of responding to the trends of the day, “During the Internet scare of 1998 and 1999, when slogans of ‘Change or Die!’ were all but graffitied on the subway, Walgreens obstinately stuck to its corporate credo of ‘Crawl, walk, run.’ Its refusal to act until it thoroughly understood the implications of e-commerce was deeply unfashionable, but…Walgreens is the epitome of the inner-directed company (Useem, 2001).” Thus, Walgreens creates value by focusing on the unique capabilities it has built, nurtured, and continues to improve across time.

During the past several decades, the strategic management process was concerned largely with understanding the characteristics of the industry in which the firm competed and, in light of those characteristics, determining how the firm should position itself relative to competitors. This emphasis on industry characteristics and competitive strategy may have understated the role of the firm’s resources and capabilities in developing competitive advantage. In the current competitive landscape, core competencies, in combination with product-market positions, are the firm’s most important sources of competitive advantage (Hitt, et. al., 1999). The core competencies of a firm, in addition to its analysis of its general, industry, and competitor environments, should drive its selection of strategies. As Clayton Christensen noted, “Successful strategists need to cultivate a deep understanding of the processes of competition and progress and of the factors that undergird each advantage. Only thus will they be able to see when old advantages are poised to disappear and how new advantages can be built in their stead (Christensen, 2001).” By drawing on internal analysis and emphasizing core competencies when formulating strategies, companies learn to compete primarily on the basis of firm-specific differences, but they must be aware of how things are changing as well.

Resources and Capabilities

Resources

Broad in scope, resources cover a spectrum of individual, social, and organizational phenomena (Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000; Michalisin, et. al., 2000). Typically, resources alone do not yield a competitive advantage (West & DeCastro, 2001; Deeds, et. al., 2000; Chi, 1994). In fact, the core competencies that yield a competitive advantage are created through the unique bundling of several resources (Berman, et. al., 2002). For example, Amazon.com has combined service and distribution resources to develop its competitive advantages. The firm started as an online bookseller, directly shipping orders to customers. It quickly grew large and established a distribution network through which it could ship “millions of different items to millions of different customers.” Compared with Amazon’s use of combined resources, traditional bricks-and-mortar companies, such as Toys “R” Us and Borders, found it hard to establish an effective online presence. These difficulties led them to develop partnerships with Amazon. Through these arrangements, Amazon now handles online presence and the shipping of goods for several firms, including Toys “R” Us and Borders, which now can focus on sales in their stores. Arrangements such as these are useful to the bricks-and-mortar companies because they are not accustomed to shipping so much diverse merchandise directly to individuals (Shepard, 2001).

Some of a firm’s resources are tangible while others are intangible. Tangible resources are assets that can be seen and quantified. Production equipment, manufacturing plants, and formal reporting structures are examples of tangible resources. Intangible resources typically include assets that are rooted deeply in the firm’s history and have accumulated over time. Because they are embedded in unique patterns of routines, intangible resources are relatively difficult for competitors to analyze and imitate. Knowledge, trust between managers and employees, ideas, the capacity for innovation, managerial capabilities, organizational routines (the unique ways people work together), scientific capabilities, and the firm’s reputation for its goods or services and how it interacts with people (such as employees, customers, and suppliers) are all examples of intangible resources (Feldman, 2000; Knott & McKelvey, 1999). The four types of tangible resources are financial, organizational, physical, and technological. The three types of intangible resources are human, innovation, and reputational.

As a manager or entrepreneur, you will be challenged to understand fully the strategic value of your firm’s tangible and intangible resources. The strategic value of resources is indicated by the degree to which they can contribute to the development of core competencies, and, ultimately, competitive advantage. For example, as a tangible resource, a distribution facility is assigned a monetary value on the firm’s balance sheet. The real value of the facility, however, is grounded in a variety of factors, such as its proximity to raw materials and customers, but also in intangible factors such as the manner in which workers integrate their actions internally and with other stakeholders, such as suppliers and customers (Gavetti & Levinthal, 2000; Coff, 1999; Marsh & Ranft, 1999).

Capabilities

Capabilities are the firm’s capacity to deploy resources that have been purposely integrated to achieve a desired end state (Helfat & Raubitschek, 2000). The glue that holds an organization together, capabilities emerge over time through complex interactions among tangible and intangible resources. Capabilities can be tangible, like a business process that is automated, but most of them tend to be tacit and intangible. Critical to forming competitive advantages, capabilities are often based on developing, carrying, and exchanging information and knowledge through the firm’s human capital (Hitt, et. al., 2001; Hitt, et. al., 2000; Hoopes & Postrel, 1999). Because a knowledge base is grounded in organizational actions that may not be explicitly understood by all employees, repetition and practice increase the value of a firm’s capabilities.

The foundation of many capabilities lies in the skills and knowledge of a firm’s employees and, often, their functional expertise. Hence, the value of human capital in developing and using capabilities and, ultimately, core competencies cannot be overstated. Firms committed to continuously developing their people’s capabilities seem to accept the adage that “the person who knows how will always have a job. The person who knows why will always be his boss.”2

Global business leaders increasingly support the view that the knowledge possessed by human capital is among the most significant of an organization’s capabilities and may ultimately be at the root of all competitive advantages. But firms must also be able to use the knowledge that they have and transfer it among their operating businesses (Argote & Ingram, 2000). For example, researchers have suggested that “in the information age, things are ancillary, knowledge is central. A company’s value derives not from things, but from knowledge, know-how, intellectual assets, competencies—all of it embedded in people (Dess & Picken 1999).” Given this reality, the firm’s challenge is to create an environment that allows people to fit their individual pieces of knowledge together so that, collectively, employees possess as much organizational knowledge as possible (Coy, 2002).

To help them develop an environment in which knowledge is widely spread across all employees, some organizations have created the new upper-level managerial position of chief learning officer (CLO). Establishing a CLO position highlights a firm’s belief that “future success will depend on competencies that traditionally have not been actively managed or measured—including creativity and the speed with which new ideas are learned and shared (Baldwin & Danielson, 2000).” In general, the firm should manage knowledge in ways that will support its efforts to create value for customers (Kuratko, et. al., 2001; Hansen, et. al., 1999).

Capabilities are often developed in specific functional areas (such as manufacturing, R&D, and marketing) or in a part of a functional area (for example, advertising). The value chain, popularized by Michael Porter’s book Competitive Advantage, is a useful tool for taking stock of organizational capabilities. A value chain is a chain of activities. In the value chain, some of the activities are deemed to be primary, in the sense that these activities add direct value. In the preceding figure, primary activities are logistics (inbound and outbound), marketing, and service. Support activities include how the firm is organized (infrastructure), human resources, technology, and procurement. Products pass through all activities of the chain in order, and at each activity, the product gains some value. A firm is effective to the extent that the chain of activities gives the products more added value than the sum of added values of all activities.

It is important not to mix the concept of the value chain with the costs occurring throughout the activities. A diamond cutter can be used as an example of the difference. The cutting activity may have a low cost, but the activity adds to much of the value of the end product, since a rough diamond is significantly less valuable than a cut, polished diamond. Research suggests a relationship between capabilities developed in particular functional areas and the firm’s financial performance at both the corporate and business-unit levels (Hitt & Ireland, 1986; Hitt & Ireland, 1985; Hitt, et. al., 1982; Hitt;et. al., 1982; Snow & Hrebiniak, 1980), suggesting the need to develop capabilities at both levels.

VRIO Analysis

Given that almost anything a firm possesses can be considered a resource or capability, how should you attempt to narrow down the ones that are core competencies, and explain why firm performance differs? To lead to a sustainable competitive advantage, a resource or capability should be valuable, rare, inimitable (including nonsubstitutable), and organized. This VRIO framework is the foundation for internal analysis (Wernerfelt, 1984). VRIO is an acronym for valuable, rare, inimitable, and organization.

If you ask managers why their firms do well while others do poorly, a common answer is likely to be “our people.” But this is really not an answer. It may be the start of an answer, but you need to probe more deeply—what is it about “our people” that is especially valuable? Why don’t competitors have similar people? Can’t competitors hire our people away? Or is it that there something special about the organization that brings out the best in people? These kinds of questions form the basis of VRIO and get to the heart of why some resources help firms more than others.

Moreover, your ability to identify whether an organization has VRIO resources will also likely explain their competitive position. In the figure, you can see that a firm’s performance relative to industry peers is likely to vary according to the level to which resources, capabilities, and ultimately core competences satisfy VRIO criteria. The four criteria are explored next.

Valuable

A resource or capability is said to be valuable if it allows the firm to exploit opportunities or negate threats in the environment. Union Pacific’s extensive network of rail-line property and equipment in the Gulf Coast of the United States is valuable because it allows the company to provide a cost-effective way to transport chemicals. Because the Gulf Coast is the gateway for the majority of chemical production in the United States, the rail network allows the firm to exploit a market opportunity. Delta’s control of the majority of gates at the Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) gives it a significant advantage in many markets. Travelers worldwide have rated CVG one of the best airports for service and convenience 10 years running. The possession of this resource allows Delta to minimize the threat of competition in this city. Delta controls air travel in this desirable hub city, which means that this asset (resource) has significant value. If a resource does not allow a firm to minimize threats or exploit opportunities, it does not enhance the competitive position of the firm. In fact, some scholars suggest that owning resources that do not meet the VRIO test of value actually puts the firm at a competitive disadvantage (Barney, 1991).

Rare

A resource is rare simply if it is not widely possessed by other competitors. Of the criteria this is probably the easiest to judge. For example, Coke’s brand name is valuable but most of Coke’s competitors (Pepsi, 7Up, RC) also have widely recognized brand names, making it not that rare. Of course, Coke’s brand may be the most recognized, but that makes it more valuable, not more rare, in this case.

A firm that possesses valuable resources that are not rare is not in a position of advantage relative to competitors. Rather, valuable resources that are commonly held by many competitors simply allow firms to be at par with competitors. However, when a firm maintains possession of valuable resources that are rare in the industry they are in a position of competitive advantage over firms that do not possess the resource. They may be able to exploit opportunities or negate threats in ways that those lacking the resource will not be able to do. Delta’s virtual control of air traffic through Cincinnati gives it a valuable and rare resource in that market.

How rare do the resources need to be for a firm to have a competitive advantage? In practice, this is a difficult question to answer unequivocally. At the two extremes (i.e., one firm possesses the resource or all firms possess it), the concept is intuitive. If only one firm possesses the resource, it has significant advantage over all other competitors. For instance, Monsanto had such an advantage for many years because they owned the patent to aspartame, the chemical compound in NutraSweet, they had a valuable and extremely rare resource. Because during the lifetime of the patent they were the only firm that could sell aspartame, they had an advantage in the artificial sweetener market. However, meeting the condition of rarity does not always require exclusive ownership. When only a few firms possess the resource, they will have an advantage over the remaining competitors. For instance, Toyota and Honda both have the capabilities to build cars of high quality at relatively low cost (Dyer, et. al., 2004). Their products regularly beat rival firms’ products in both short-term and long-term quality ratings (Dyer & Hatch, 2004). Thus, the criterion of rarity requires that the resource not be widely possessed in the industry. It also suggests that the more exclusive a firm’s access to a particularly valuable resource, the greater the benefit for having it.

Inimitable

An inimitable (the opposite of imitable) resource is difficult to imitate or to create ready substitutes for. A resource is inimitable and nonsubstitutable if it is difficult for another firm to acquire it or to substitute something else in its place. A valuable and rare resource or capability will grant a competitive advantage as long as other firms do not gain subsequently possession of the resource or a close substitute. If a resource is valuable and rare and responsible for a market leader’s competitive advantage, it is likely that competitors lacking the resource or capability will do all that they can to obtain the resource or capability themselves. This leads us to the third criterion—inimitability. The concept of imitation includes any form of acquiring the lacking resource or substituting a similar resource that provides equivalent benefits. The criterion important to be addressed is whether competitors face a cost disadvantage in acquiring or substituting the resource that is lacking. There are numerous ways that firms may acquire resources or capabilities that they lack.

As strategy researcher Scott Gallagher notes:

“This is probably the toughest criterion to examine because given enough time and money almost any resource can be imitated. Even patents only last 17 years and can be invented around in even less time. Therefore, one way to think about this is to compare how long you think it will take for competitors to imitate or substitute something else for that resource and compare it to the useful life of the product. Another way to help determine if a resource is inimitable is why/how it came about. Inimitable resources are often a result of historical, ambiguous, or socially complex causes. For example, the U.S. Army paid for Coke to build bottling plants around the world during World War II. This is an example of history creating an inimitable asset. Generally, intangible (also called tacit) resources or capabilities, like corporate culture or reputation, are very hard to imitate and therefore inimitable (Falcon, 2009).”

Organized

The fourth and final VRIO criterion that determines whether a resource or capability is the source of competitive advantage recognizes that mere possession or control is necessary but not sufficient to gain an advantage. The firm must likewise have the organizational capability to exploit the resources. The question of organization is broad and encompasses many facets of a firm but essentially means that the firm is able to capture any value that the resource or capability might generate. Organization, essentially the same form as that taken in the P-O-L-C framework, spans such firm characteristics as control systems, reporting relationships, compensation policies, and management interface with both customers and value-adding functions in the firm. Although listed as the last criterion in the VRIO tool, the question of organization is a necessary condition to be satisfied if a firm is to reap the benefits of any of the three preceding conditions. Thus, a valuable but widely held resource only leads to competitive parity for a firm if they also possess the capabilities to exploit the resource. Likewise, a firm that possesses a valuable and rare resource will not gain a competitive advantage unless it can actually put that resource to effective use.

Many firms have valuable and rare resources that they fail to exploit (the question of imitation is not relevant until the firm exploits valuable and rare resources). For instance, for many years Novell had a significant competitive advantage in computer networking based on its core NetWare product. In high-technology industries, remaining at the top requires continuous innovation. Novell’s decline during the mid- to late 1990s led many to speculate that Novell was unable to innovate in the face of changing markets and technology. However, shortly after new CEO Eric Schmidt arrived from Sun Microsystems to attempt to turnaround the firm, he arrived at a different conclusion. Schmidt commented: “I walk down Novell hallways and marvel at the incredible potential of innovation here. But, Novell has had a difficult time in the past turning innovation into products in the marketplace (Haddox, 2003).” He later commented to a few key executives that it appeared the company was suffering from “organizational constipation.”3 Novell appeared to still have innovative resources and capabilities, but they lacked the organizational capability (e.g., product development and marketing) to get those new products to market in a timely manner.

Likewise, Xerox proved unable to exploit its innovative resources. Xerox created a successful research team housed in a dedicated facility in Palo Alto, California, known as Xerox PARC. Scientists in this group invented an impressive list of innovative products, including laser printers, Ethernet, graphical interface software, computers, and the computer mouse. History has demonstrated that these technologies were commercially successful. Unfortunately, for Xerox shareholders, these commercially successful innovations were exploited by other firms. Xerox’s organization was not structured in a way that information about these innovations flowed to the right people in a timely fashion. Bureaucracy was also suffocating ideas once they were disseminated. Compensation policies did not reward managers for adopting these new innovations but rather rewarded current profits over long-term success. Thus, Xerox was never able exploit the innovative resources and capabilities embodied in their off-site Xerox PARC research center (Kearns & Nadler, 1992; Barney, 1995).

SWOT and VRIO

As you already know, many scholars refer to core competencies. A core competency is simply a resource, capability, or bundle of resources and capabilities that is VRIO. While VRIO resources are the best, they are quite rare, and it is not uncommon for successful firms to simply be combinations of a large number of VR _ O or even V _ _ O resources and capabilities. Recall that even a V _ _ O resource can be considered a strength under a traditional SWOT analysis.

Key Takeaway

Internal analysis begins with the identification of resources and capabilities. Resources can be tangible and intangible; capabilities may have such characteristics as well. VRIO analysis is a way to distinguish resources and capabilities from core competencies. Specifically, VRIO analysis should show you the importance of value, rarity, inimitability, and organization as building blocks of competitive advantage.

Exercises

What is the objective of internal analysis?

What is the difference between a resource and a capability?

What is the difference between a tangible and an intangible resource or capability?

What framework helps you identify those resources, capabilities, or core competencies that provide competitive advantage?

Why might competitive advantage for a firm be fleeting?

1Pocket Strategy. (1998). Value (p. 165). London: The Economist Books.

2Thoughts on the business of life. (1999, May 17). Forbes, p. 352.

3Personal communication with former executives.

3Personal communication with former executives.

References

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Baldwin, T. T., & Danielson, C. C. (2000). Building a learning strategy at the top: Interviews with ten of America’s CLOs. Business Horizons, 43(6), 5–14.

Barney, J. B. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17, 99–120.

Barney, J. B. (1995). Looking inside for competitive advantage. Academy of Management Executive, 9, 49–61.

Berman, S., Down, J., & Hill, C. (2002). Tacit knowledge as a source of competitive advantage in the National Basketball Association. Academy of Management Journal, 45, 13–31.

Buckley, P. J., & Carter, M. J. (2000). Knowledge management in global technology markets: Applying theory to practice. Long Range Planning, 33(1), 55–71.

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Christensen, C. M. (2001). The past and future of competitive advantage. Sloan Management Review, 42(2), 105–109.

Coff, R. W. (1999). How buyers cope with uncertainty when acquiring firms in knowledge-intensive industries: Caveat emptor. Organization Science, 10, 144–161.

Coy, P. (2002, Spring). High turnover, high risk [Special Issue]. Business Week, p. 24.

Deeds, D. L., DeCarolis, D., & J. Coombs. (2000). Dynamic capabilities and new product development in high technology ventures: An empirical analysis of new biotechnology firms. Journal of Business Venturing, 15, 211–229.

Dess, G. G., & Picken, J. C. (1999). Beyond productivity. New York: AMACOM.

Dyer, J. H., & Hatch, N. (2004). Using Supplier Networks to Learn Faster. Sloan Management Review, 45(3), 57–63.

Dyer, J. H., Kale, P., & Singh, H. (2004, July–August). When to ally and when to acquire. Harvard Business Review, 109–115.

Eisenhardt, K., & Martin, J. (2000). Dynamic capabilities: What are they? Strategic Management Journal, 21, 1105–1121.

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Gavetti, G., & Levinthal, D. (2000). Looking forward and looking backward: Cognitive and experimental search. Administrative Science Quarterly, 45, 113–137.

Haddox, personal communication with Margaret Haddox. (2003). Novell Corporate Librarian.

Hafeez, K., Zhang, Y. B., & Malak, N. (2002). Core competence for sustainable competitive advantage: A structured methodology for identifying core competence. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 49(1), 28–35.

Hansen, M. T., Nhoria, N., & Tierney, T. (1999). What’s your strategy for managing knowledge? Harvard Business Review, 77(2), 106–116.

Helfat, C. E., & Raubitschek, R. S. (2000). Product sequencing: Co-evolution of knowledge, capabilities, and products. Strategic Management Journal, 21, 961–979.

Hitt, M. A., & Ireland, R. D. (1985). Corporate distinctive competence, strategy, industry, and performance. Strategic Management Journal, 6, 273–293.

Hitt, M. A., & Ireland, R. D. (1986). Relationships among corporate level distinctive competencies, diversification strategy, corporate structure, and performance. Journal of Management Studies, 23, 401–416.

Hitt, M. A., Bierman, L., Shimizu, K., & Kochhar, R. (2001) Direct and moderating effects of human capital on strategy and performance in professional service firms: A resource-based perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 44(1) 13–28.

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BTL refers to a series of marketing techniques known collectively as below-the-line marketing. Below-the-line marketing includes direct marketing by mail or email, sales promotion, marketing communications, exhibitions and telemarketing. Above-the-line marketing refers to advertising in media such as print, cinema, radio, television, outdoor posters and the Internet. Marketing campaigns that use both above-the-line and below-the-line techniques are known as through-the-line campaigns.

Agency Remuneration
The terms above-the-line and below-the-line originally referred to the way advertising agencies were remunerated for their services. Agencies received commission from the media in return for placing advertisements. The level of commission was sufficient to cover the costs of creating and producing the content for advertisements, as well as providing the agency with a fee and profit contribution. Agencies retained the commission and clients received the creative and production costs free. Because no commission was available on non-media activities, agencies charged clients for all creative and production costs.

Below-The-Line Agencies
The basis of agency remuneration has evolved, and advertising agencies now base their charges on a combination of fees and retained commission. However, clients have recognized the importance of below-the-line marketing and work with companies that offer specific services, such as direct marketing agencies, sales promotion agencies, marketing communications consultancies and telemarketing agencies.

Precision
Companies use below-the-line campaigns to reach audiences that are difficult or costly to contact through advertising media. A direct marketing campaign, for example, targeting a selected group of key customers with a limited-time offer represents a precise form of marketing with minimal waste. A sales promotion campaign offering discounts on a product in a single retail chain drives consumers to a series of defined locations, allowing precise measurement of the campaign’s effectiveness.

Integration
Combining above -the-line and below-the-line techniques in a single, integrated campaign can improve marketing effectiveness. An advertising campaign to launch a new product, combined with a retail incentive program and an in-store consumer promotion will encourage retailers to carry additional stocks of the advertised product. Through-the-line campaigns are most effective when advertising and below-the-line content use the same creative approach and communicate consistent messages across all media.

Multi-Channel Marketing
The increasing importance of social media is focusing attention on communicating with customers though multiple channels, rather than relying on individual above-the-line or below-the-line channels. Marketers also recognize the importance of building dialog with customers, rather than marketing through one-way communications.

 

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What Are the Different Types of Advertising?

Advertisers pay for advertising to accomplish a wide array of goals. Ad objectives generally boil down to long-term branding communication or short-term direct response advertising. Branding is about building and maintaining a reputation for your company that distinguishes it in the marketplace. Sales promos are short-term inducements to drive revenue or cash flow. Based on your company’s objectives, budget and target audience, you normally advertise through one or more types of media. Calculating your return on investment in dollars is difficult, but you need to establish measurable goals, such as a percentage increase in awareness, to evaluate success.

Broadcast Media
Television and radio are two traditional broadcast media long used in advertising. Television offers creative opportunities, a dynamic message and wide audience reach. It is typically the most expensive medium to advertise through, though. Because local affiliated stations normally serve a wide local audience, you also have to deal with waste when trying to target a small town marketplace. TV watchers normally have a negative attitude toward commercials and many have DVRs at their fingertips. Radio and TV both have fleeting messages, meaning they disappear once the commercial spot ends. Radio is relatively affordable for small businesses and allows for repetition and frequency. You don’t have the visual element of TV and you have to deal with a distracted audience, since most listeners are driving.

Print Media
Magazines and newspapers are the two traditional print media. Magazines offer a highly selective audience who is generally interested in ads closely related to the topic of the magazine. Visual imagery is also stronger in magazines than newspapers. You have little wasted since magazines are very niche and you can target a narrow customer segment. On the downside, magazines are costly and require long lead times, which limits timely promotions. They also have limited audience reach. Newspapers are very affordable for local businesses and allow you to target a geographic segment if you have a universal product or service. Newspapers are also viewed as a credible medium, which enhances ad acceptance. You can usually get an ad placed within a day or two of purchase. Declining circulation, a short shelf life and limited visual creativity are drawbacks.

Support Media
Support media include several options for message delivery than normally add to or expand campaigns delivered through more traditional media. Billboards, transits, bus benches, aerial, directories and trade publications are common support media. Each has pros and cons, but collectively, they offer ways to reach a wider audience in a local or regional market or to increase frequency of message exposure to targeted market segments.

Direct Marketing
Direct marketing is an interactive approach to advertising that has picked up in usage in the early 21st century. It includes direct mail, email and telemarketing. These are direct response efforts to create an ongoing dialogue or interaction with customers. Weekly or monthly email newsletters, for instance, allow you to keep your brand, products and other messages in front of prospects and customers. Telemarketing is a way to survey customers and offer new products, upgrades or renewals. Direct mail is the most common format of direct marketing where you send mailers or postcards to targeted customers promoting products, deals or promotions. Direct marketing has become more prominent because it allows for ease in tracking customer response rates and helps advertisers better measure return on investment.

Product Placement
Another newer advertising technique is product placement. This is where you offer compensation to a TV show, movie, video game or theme park to use your product while entertaining audiences. You could pay a TV show, for instance, to depict your product being used and discussed positive in a particular scene. This ad method is a way for companies to integrate ads with entertainment since customers have found ways to avoid messages delivered through more conventional media.

Internet
The Internet is used by online and offline companies to promote products or services. Banner ads, pop up ads, text ads and paid search placements are common forms. Banner, pop up and text ads are ways to present an image or message on a publisher’s website or on a number of websites through a third-party platform like Google’s Adwords program. Paid search placements, also known as cost-per-click advertising, is where you bid a certain amount to present your link and text message to users of search engines like Google and Yahoo!

Social Media
Businesses can also create different target groups, and send ads on social media platforms to users that would be most interested in their products and services. Targeting options can include targeting based on geographic location, buying tendencies, and other consumer behavior. One effective method of placing social media ads is known as retargeting, which focuses on website visitors that left without buying a product or service, or without signing up for some type of free offer like subscribing to a newsletter. Businesses can place a pixel on the visitor’s browser, and send targeted ads to that visitor as he or she browses other websites. Sponsored ads work in a similar way to retargeting, but the difference is that businesses pay to have these ads appear on specific websites that their target audience is likely to visit.

 

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860 Benefits of Sales Promotion

A successful promotion has the ability to nurture relationships with consumers through retention and engagement. Promotions can often shape the characteristics of brands, for example, McDonald?s Monopoly board is something

 

INTRODUCTION OF SALES PROMOTION
Sales promotion consists of a diverse collection of incentive tools, mostly short term, designed to stimulated quicker and/or greater purchase of particular product/service or the trend. Sales promotion is a process of persuading of sales to potential customer to buy the product.
The topic is about the sales promotion activity that makes awareness of the product of the company. The topic itself describe that how to increase the sales growth of the company product and it is also about the make awareness to the customer about the company products.
Sales promotion plays a very important role in the company. So in the current context every company makes sales promotion in different ways like advertisement by media, news paper , magazine.
Sales promotion is an important component of a small medium and large business’s overall marketing strategy, along with advertising, public relations, and personal selling. The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines sales promotion as “media and non-media marketing pressure applied for a predetermined, limited period of time in order to stimulate trial, increase consumer demand, or improve product quality.” But this definition does not capture all the elements of modern sales promotion. One should add that effective sales promotion increases the basic value of a product for a limited time and directly stimulates consumer purchasing, selling effectiveness, or the effort of the sales force. It can be used to inform, persuade, and remind target customers about the business and its marketing mix. Some common types of sales promotion include samples, coupons, sweepstakes, contests, in-store displays, trade shows, price-off deals, premiums, and rebates.
Businesses can target sales promotions at three different audiences: consumers, resellers, and the company’s own sales force. Sales promotion acts as a competitive weapon by providing an extra incentive for the target audience to purchase or support one brand over another. It is particularly effective in spurring product trial and unplanned purchases.
Most marketers believe that a given product or service has an established perceived price or value, and they use sales promotion to change this price-value relationship by increasing the value and/or lowering the price. Compared to the other components of the marketing mix (advertising, publicity, and personal selling), sales promotion usually operates on a shorter time line, uses a more rational appeal, returns a tangible or real value, fosters an immediate sale, and contributes highly to profitability.
In determining the relative importance to place on sales promotion in the overall marketing mix, a small business should consider its marketing budget, the stage of the product in its life cycle, the nature of competition in the market, the target of the promotion, and the nature of the product. For example, sales promotion and direct mail are particularly attractive alternatives when the marketing budget is limited, as it is for many small businesses. In addition, sales promotion can be an effective tool in a highly competitive market, when the objective is to convince retailers to carry a product or influence consumers to select it over those of competitors. Similarly, sales promotion is often used in the growth and maturity stages of the product life cycle to stimulate consumers and resellers to choose that product over the competition—rather than in the introduction stage, when mass advertising to build awareness might be more important. Finally, sales promotion tends to work best when it is applied to impulse items whose features can be judged at the point of purchase, rather than more complex, expensive items that might require hands-on demonstration.
Back in 1950s, it was said that doing business without sales promotion is like winking at a girl in the dark; you know you what you are doing, but nobody else does. The message was: crowded scenario of multiple ads even winking in broad daylight goes unnoticed. Since everyone is sales promotion, the idea is to do it with innovation ‘Come on, turn on the light, it pays to sales promotion. Today, in this complex world amidst heavy rush or everything, having a densely.

Sales promotion is of immense utility both to large and small business. There can be no doubt that sales promotion efforts would result in creation of additional sales. All forms of promotion of sale of goods is in one way or the other, supported by extensive advertising campaign. It is not possible to imagine survival of any business, which is in the business of “make and sell” in the absence of advertising efforts. Advertising has extended its coverage to include non-business enterprises also e.g.. Public Water Works advertises the need to preserve precious water and to cultivate the habit of drinking clean water free from any form of pollution. Countless illustrations can be provided wherein non-business enterprises have recognised the importance of advertising and their use it as a tool to promote ideas and services.

Sales promotion is an economic activity and it generates employment. Thousands of men and women are directly or indirectly, employed in professional sales promotion. sales promotion is an economic proposition. People who invest their money in sales promotion anticipate positive results. Hence, sales promotion must be result-oriented. Every newspaper or magazine survives on the advertisements that it receives. sales promotion are definite source of revenue to the publishers. Because of the advertisements inserted in newspapers and magazines, they are sold at lower price, which can be afforded by the public. Advertising is of paramount importance because it creates better-informed public by making available innumerable publications at an affordable price. Considering the response that advertisements generate, it can be stated that “advertising does not cost too much”.
In older to cut down production cost per unit there is a need to increase the total sales turnover. When overall sales increase, production cost per unit is automatically slashed and more people buy the goods. Apart from towering production costs, advertising also pays for entertainment and education through use of media like radio and TV.
.
Consumer is the king in the market. He cannot be compelled to buy anything. At the most, he can be persuaded to patronize a certain brand. It is here that advertising plays a prominent role.
There is no standard format to be followed to make advertising liked by every person. Advertising is a creative field. Individual likes and dislikes determine success of advertising or its failure. Advertising scores over personal selling because it provides freedom of choice to the consumer. Decision to make purchases is independently arrived at by the consumers. No civilized society can record constant progress and ensure better standard of living to its people in the absence of information and education provided by advertising
CONSUMER PROMOTIONS
Consumer sales promotions are steered toward the ultimate product users—typically individual shoppers in the local market—but the same techniques can be used to promote products sold by one business to another, such as computer systems, cleaning supplies, and machinery. In contrast, trade sales promotions target resellers—wholesalers and retailers—who carry the marketer’s product. Following are some of the key techniques used in consumer-oriented sales promotions.
PRICE DEALS: A consumer price deal saves the buyer money when a product is purchased. The main types of price deals include discounts, bonus pack deals, refunds or rebates, and coupons. Price deals are usually intended to encourage trial use of a new product or line extension, to recruit new buyers for a mature product, or to convince existing customers to increase their purchases, accelerate their use, or purchase multiple units. Price deals work most effectively when price is the consumer’s foremost criterion or when brand loyalty is low.
Buyers may learn about price discounts either at the point of sale or through advertising. At the point of sale, price reductions may be posted on the package, on signs near the product, or in storefront windows. Many types of advertisements can be used to notify consumers of upcoming discounts, including fliers and newspaper and television ads.
Price discounts are especially common in the food industry, where local supermarkets run weekly specials. Price discounts may be initiated by the manufacturer, the retailer, or the distributor. For instance, a manufacturer may “pre-price” a product and then convince the retailer to participate in this short-term discount through extra incentives. For price reduction strategies to be effective, they must have the support of all distributors in the channel. Existing customers perceive discounts as rewards and often respond by buying in larger quantities.
Another type of price deal is the bonus pack or banded pack. When a bonus pack is offered, an extra amount of the product is free when a standard size of the product is bought at the regular price. This technique is routinely used in the marketing of cleaning products, food, and health and beauty aids to introduce a new or larger size. A bonus pack rewards present users but may have little appeal to users of competitive brands. A banded pack offer is when two or more units of a product are sold at a reduction of the regular single-unit price. Sometimes the products are physically banded together, such as in toothbrush and toothpaste offers.
A refund or rebate promotion is an offer by a marketer to return a certain amount of money when the product is purchased alone or in combination with other products. Refunds aim to increase the quantity or frequency of purchase, to encourage customers to “load up” on the product. This strategy dampens competition by temporarily taking consumers out of the market, stimulates the purchase of postponable goods such as major appliances, and creates on-shelf excitement by encouraging special displays. Refunds and rebates are generally viewed as a reward for purchase, and they appear to build brand loyalty rather than diminish it.
Coupons are legal certificates offered by manufacturers and retailers. They grant specified savings on selected products when presented for redemption at the point of purchase. Manufacturers sustain the cost of advertising and distributing their coupons, redeeming their face values, and paying retailers a handling fee. Retailers who offer double or triple the amount of the coupon shoulder the extra cost. Retailers who offer their own coupons incur the total cost, including paying the face value. In this way, retail coupons are equivalent to a cents-off deal.
Manufacturers disseminate coupons in many ways. They may be delivered directly by mail, dropped door to door, or distributed through a central location such as a shopping mall. Coupons may also be distributed through the media—magazines, newspapers, Sunday supplements, or free-standing inserts (FSI) in newspapers. Coupons can be inserted into, attached to, or printed on a package, or they may be distributed by a retailer who uses them to generate store traffic or to tie in with a manufacturer’s promotional tactic. Retailer-sponsored coupons are typically distributed through print advertising or at the point of sale. Sometimes, though, specialty retailers or newly opened retailers will distribute coupons door to door or through direct mail.
CONTESTS/SWEEPSTAKES: The main difference between contests and sweepstakes is that contests require entrants to perform a task or demonstrate a skill that is judged in order to be deemed a winner, while sweepstakes involve a random drawing or chance contest that may or may not have an entry requirement. At one time, contests were more commonly used as sales promotions, mostly due to legal restrictions on gambling that many marketers feared might apply to sweepstakes. But the use of sweepstakes as a promotional tactic has grown dramatically in recent decades, partly because of legal changes and partly because of their lower cost. Administering a contest once cost about $350 per thousand entries, compared to just $2.75 to $3.75 per thousand entries in a sweepstake. Furthermore, participation in contests is very low compared to sweepstakes, since they require some sort of skill or ability.
SPECIAL EVENTS: According to the consulting firm International Events Group (IEG), businesses spend over $2 billion annually to link their products with everything from jazz festivals to golf tournaments to stock car races. In fact, large companies like RJR Nabisco and Anheuser-Busch have special divisions that handle nothing but special events. Special events marketing offers a number of advantages. First, events tend to attract a homogeneous audience that is very appreciative of the sponsors. Therefore, if a product fits well with the event and its audience, the impact of the sales promotion will be high. Second, event sponsorship often builds support among employees—who may receive acknowledgment for their participation—and within the trade. Finally, compared to producing a series of ads, event management is relatively simple. Many elements of event sponsorship are prepackaged and reusable, such as booths, displays, and ads. Special events marketing is available to small businesses, as well, through sponsorship of events on the community level.
PREMIUM: A premium is tangible compensation that is given as incentive for performing a particular act—usually buying a product. The premium may be given for free, or may be offered to consumers for a significantly reduced price. Some examples of premiums include receiving a prize in a cereal box or a free garden tool for visiting the grand opening of a hardware store. Incentives that are given for free at the time of purchase are called direct premiums. These offers provide instant gratification, plus there is no confusion about returning coupons or box tops, or saving bar codes or proofs of purchase.
Other types of direct premiums include traffic builders, door openers, and referral premiums. The garden tool is an example of a traffic-builder premium—an incentive to lure a prospective buyer to a store. A door-opener premium is directed to customers at home or to business people in their offices. For example, a homeowner may receive a free clock radio for allowing an insurance agent to enter their home and listening to his sales pitch. Similarly, an electronics manufacturer might offer free software to an office manager who agrees to an on-site demonstration. The final category of direct premiums, referral premiums, rewards the purchaser for referring the seller to other possible customers.
Mail premiums, unlike direct premiums, require the customer to perform some act in order to obtain a premium through return mail. An example might be a limited edition toy car offered by a marketer in exchange for one or more proofs-of-purchase and a payment covering the cost of the item plus handling. The premium is still valuable to the consumer because they cannot readily buy the item for the same amount.

CONTINUITY PROGRAMS: Continuity programs retain brand users over a long time period by offering ongoing motivation or incentives. Continuity programs demand that consumers keep buying the product in order to get the premium in the future. Trading stamps, popularized in the 1950s and 1960s, are prime examples. Consumers usually received one stamp for every dime spent at a participating store. The stamp company provided redemption centers where the stamps were traded for merchandise. A catalog listing the quantity of stamps required for each item was available at the participating stores. Today, airlines’ frequent-flyer clubs, hotels’ frequent-traveler plans, retailers’ frequent-shopper programs, and bonus-paying credit cards are common continuity programs. When competing brands have reached parity in terms of price and service, continuity programs sometimes prove a deciding factor among those competitors. By rewarding long-standing customers for their loyalty, continuity programs also reduce the threat of new competitors entering a market.

SAMPLING: A sign of a successful marketer is getting the product into the hands of the consumer. Sometimes, particularly when a product is new or is not a market leader, an effective strategy is giving a sample product to the consumer, either free or for a small fee. But in order for sampling to change people’s future purchase decisions, the product must have benefits or features that will be obvious during the trial.
There are several means of disseminating samples to consumers. The most popular has been through the mail, but increases in postage costs and packaging requirements have made this method less attractive. An alternative is door-to-door distribution, particularly when the items are bulky and when reputable distribution organizations exist. This method permits selective sampling of neighborhoods, dwellings, or even people. Another method is distributing samples in conjunction with advertising. An ad may include a coupon that the consumer can mail in for the product, or it may include an address or phone number for ordering. Direct sampling can be achieved through prime media using scratch-and-sniff cards and slim foil pouches, or through retailers using special displays or a person hired to hand out samples to passing customers. Though this last technique may build goodwill for the retailer, some retailers resent the inconvenience and require high payments for their cooperation.
A final form of sample distribution deals with specialty types of sampling. For instance, some companies specialize in packing samples together for delivery to homogeneous consumer groups, such as newlyweds, new parents, students, or tourists. Such packages may be delivered at hospitals, hotels, or dormitories and include a number of different types of products.

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Retail Merchandising: Set Up Your Store For Retail Success

Retail merchandising is necessary for brick and mortar retailers to be able to compete with online shopping sites. And yet, a lot of retailers would be hard-pressed to answer the question, what is retail merchandising? Retail merchandising covers everything from how you visually arrange your merchandise to the traffic patterns in your store, how you display items to promote add-on sales, to signage, and for apparel retailers – the power of the fitting room. It is all behind the scenes data collection that proves what is effective and what isn’t. This post serves as a tactical primer for retailers looking for visual merchandising strategies and ideas.

Retail merchandising, when done right, removes confusion of what to buy from shoppers, encourages a customer to shop in your store rather than in another, and most importantly, converts more shoppers into customers.
It’s a coordinated effort that keeps you from carrying a ton of SKUs, slapping them on a wall or table, and expecting them to sell. Too many choices make shoppers feel overwhelmed.
Why should merchandisng matter to you? The quicker you can cut down on a shopper’s choices, the quicker you can make them relax and consider purchasing your merchandise. The less time you devote to how you arrange your store and display your products, the more overwhelmed your shoppers will feel when trying to know what to look at. And an overwhelmed shopper never becomes a customer – they just leave.

You can attract as many new bodies to your shop as you want, but if they discover a hodgepodge of merchandise that takes too much to figure out, if the meet with too much frustration trying to find what they were looking for, or if they encounter only flat or uninteresting displays, your merchandise will sit.  Merchandise that sits for too long is like spoiled milk; it starts to smell and loses all value until it is thrown out.

Your shoppers shouldn’t notice great merchandising, but it should focus their eyes on a display. The lighting should draw them toward a fixture; the signage should pique their curiosity, and together make them want to buy more.

In order to implement a strong retail merchandising plan, you have to have someone who understands the science of which colors are in fashion, what trends they can tie into, the cause and effect of fast-moving or dead products, as well as someone who has the creativity to create the excitement of serendipity when shopping in your brick and mortar store.
At its most basic a retail merchandising plan should include:
An overall plan of how traffic will move through your store.
A department plan that changes with the seasons and holidays.
A budget for store fixtures, props, lighting, and signage.
A merchandise planning system which will help maximize turn, limit out-of-stocks, increase margins, and minimize markdowns.
An open-to-buy system and predictive analytics to determine the variety of merchandise available to shoppers.
The time needed to merchandise a store will vary due to a variety of circumstances including the total number of SKUS, special requirements for individual displays, especially those needing security, as well as your ability to move your fixtures easily. Large stores have entire teams devoted to the four separate areas of retail merchandising while single-operator locations struggle to do something more than just get the merchandise out and priced.
The thing to remember is that there is no merchandise in your store that a customer can’t purchase online.

Therefore, when they do drive to your store, they expect to get something more than they can glean off a website. That’s where the art and science of retail merchandising gives brick and mortar retailers an advantage over their online competitors.
To begin merchandising your store, always start with the front doors, for this is the first chance your shoppers have to understand the alien planet that is your store.
Newcomers hate to have to ask where something is. Is your directional signage easy to understand and well-placed?
People like to shop in bright energetic spaces. Is there adequate lighting to achieve this?
With shoppers wanting to proceed counter-clockwise through a store, is the counter location causing friction between those browsing and those queuing up to pay?
There should be visual barriers between departments to make a large store seem more intimate. Are those backdrops or barriers interesting enough to draw shoppers to them?
Displays are your silent salespeople because they can show an entire system or series of add-ons to lift average ticket. Are the relationships in your displays obvious?
Well-placed, well-worded signs help intrigue, answer questions, and entice shoppers to look, touch or hold. Do yours?
Apparel stores best chance at converting lookers to buyers is with bright, air-conditioned and clean fitting rooms. Are yours up to the challenge?
You’re always working on three things with your plan: the current promotion or event, the one upcoming, and a review of the one just passed. That’s why it’s always best to set up a full year calendar as part of your retail merchandising plan noting holidays, seasons, local events, and promotions.
If you’re looking to really master retail merchandising, there are several degree programs where you can go to deepen your knowledge and skills.
Visual Merchandising: Curating Your Brand Experience
Visual merchandising is everything a shopper sees at your store that hopefully leads to a remarkable shopping experience. It is the unspoken language retailers use to communicate with their customers. In the advent of omnichannel retailing, it also connects to the online brand experience to provide a seamless, consistent look and feel between the web and the physical store.
how to visual merchandise your retail store
It’s easy to confuse the broader retail merchandising plan with visual merchandising. But visual merchandising is only that part of the retail merchandising plan which includes rearranging merchandise, shelving, and fixtures to maximize sales as well as maintaining the cleanliness and functionality of the store fixtures, signage, and lights.
So is visual merchandising the same as displays? No, visual merchandising is more of a high-level view that includes eye-catching visual displays but continues to to lead the customer through the entire store. Specific product displays focus on just one department or brand.
One thing many retailers miss is that visual merchandising is a team effort; you must train all store associates about visual display standards and maintenance. Otherwise, they’ll simply say It’s not my job or refuse to sell a shirt off a mannequin.
A visual merchandiser is responsible for creating an environment that sells, one that allows shoppers to relax and consider all your store has to offer by crafting areas of discovery. The best visual merchandisers creatively design displays, create planograms for window displays, create both display and directional signage, buy fixtures, and generally decide what goes where, why, and for how long.
In the end, they must be both business savvy and creative in constructing an environment that stimulates a consumer’s desire to buy what they came in for as well as the add-ons they didn’t know they needed…and all at full price.
Here are 7 tips and tricks for visual merchandising your brick and mortar store:
Great merchandising invites shoppers into a store, so avoid putting a display table perpendicular just inside your entrance.
Moving a product from its regular shelf location to a featured end cap has been proven to lead to an average sales increase of 25%, so regularly move your products around.
Digital displays can help tell a fuller, specific product story but can also detract customers from the products they are near, so make sure your digital displays are supporting but not the main show. If conversion doesn’t improve, change messaging or location.
Look through your whole store for distractions. Are there too many messages to try thisor do that or buy this or look here? Streamline a shopper’s experience so they linger, not bolt for the door.
Select fixtures with wheels so you have unlimited opportunities to change your entire store around quickly and efficiently.
Feature your best merchandise at the front of the store as shopper interest wanes the further they go into the middle of a store.
Put sale items in the back so thrifty consumers have to move through your store to get to them.
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Great Displays: Stop Your Customers In Their Tracks
A great display takes the customer from either not noticing or feeling stupid about a product.  It gives them the bright idea about how it would look in their homes, how they could use it in their business, how they would feel wearing it, and especially how they could smartly combine several items.  Displays help build sales because they stop the customer in their tracks and persuades them to select an item they hadn’t necessarily considered. Properly built merchandising displays give them hope that what they purchase will deliver more than just a price.
the power of great display merchandising in a retail storeSloppy or poorly coordinated displays rob your store of its ability to make additional profit. I saw an end cap at a grocery store that had Oreos, toilet paper, and bleach. You never want a shopper to scratch their head, trying to figure out why your items are displayed the way they are.
For that reason, you want to know the different types of displays to choose from:
Five Types of Displays
1. Complementary displays that say, This makes this better.
2. Coordinated displays that say, These are all the items you need for this to work.
3. Creatively constructed displays of one product. Think 6-packs of lemonade stacked as a school bus.
4. Product in use displays that show the product in its environment. Think mixer, spatulas, and cookie cutters on a countertop or lawn mower, edger and fertilizer on grass sod.
5. Surprise prop displays where you add a totally unrelated item to your product. Think a pink stuffed toy pig sitting on the chair next to the BBQ.Welcome customers like they’re coming to your home.

Is there a difference between what should you do when setting up your display windows, display cases, shelf or table displays? Not really, the key is to create a story using different items that all work together.

Here’s how to create effective and interesting retail displays:

1. Begin by asking yourself these four questions:
1. Is it high profit? Will it deliver more profit if you pull it off the shelf and feature it?
2. Is it a limited-time item that can only sell for a short period?
3. Is it a want, an item that a customer might covet in their heart of hearts but probably doesn’t have on their shopping list?
4. Is it something that can be bundled?
2. Put new arrivals first
3. Use a color story of contrasting colors
4. Vary heights and add at least one prop to add interest
5. Light your display like it’s show time
6. Add well-placed signs
7. Keep it simple. Don’t group more than five different products together.

While window displays in Manhattan, London and Chicago are legendary due to their scale and resources, anyone can do a display with very little expenditure of money as long as you follow the seven step approach outlined above.
With labor scheduling budget cuts, remember your displays are your silent salespeople. A well crafted display grabs a shopper’s interest and shows rather than tells.
You might be tempted to get your whole staff involved in visual merchandising and displays. Avoid this temptation unless you’re willing to teach them everything about your retail merchandising and display plans. Otherwise, they’ll get the idea to create a display when the store is slow, and the result won’t be as well thought-out as you’d like.
There can be exceptions of course, so if you find someone interested and creative, give them some training about how you are trying to focus the customer’s eyes, why you choose the colors you do, and the different heights you can use to achieve a longer linger time from the casual browser.
Three things you can teach your retail associates about displays:
When something is sold off a display, put another item on it. You never want naked mannequins or empty tables.
If items come from another department, write down where they came from so other employees know where to find them, so they won’t tell a shopper I don’t know.
Take a picture of each display so everyone in the department knows what it should look like and can keep it that way.
Store Signage: Direct, Inform and Inspire.
There are three types of signage in a retail store: directional, informative, and invitational. The first is used to identify what is found in various departments. The second is just like it sounds, signs that inform like customer service, returns, BOPIS, and even layaway or custom order signs. The third is used to entice a shopper to come closer, to point out benefits over features of a display of products, and even to make a shopper laugh.
great retail store signage example
When you are thinking about how to create store directional or informative signage for your brick and mortar store, begin by thinking like a new shopper to your store.
What would they be most interested in knowing?
What if they wanted to go to the bathroom?
What would they need to know to get to the department they are interested in?
Then write down the ten most common questions you receive in a day. I’ll bet many are either looking for directions or store information.
Next ask your staff what are the most common questions they receive every day that are not product-specific.
Now you can prioritize all those concerns and make signs that address the most important ones first.
Invitational signs are rare in many retailers’ stores because they take a bit more work than slapping a sale price on day-glo yellow posterboard, but they can deliver many more profitable sales. You find these outside on sidewalk A-frames, and in both window and product displays.
All three types of signs share the same design characteristics and here’s how to create them.

The nine best practices for creating signage:

1. Find a color palette and stick with it.
2. Use big enough font so no one has to squint to read it.
3. Keep the word count short.
4. Make sure the sign applies only to what it is in front of, on top of, or next to.
5. Limit your use of the word No. For example, instead of No Refunds after 14 days say Refunds available within 14 days.
6. Explain benefits over features. For example, instead of 39 Herbs and Minerals say Thickens Balding Hair.
7. Use humor. For example in a floral shop, ask How Mad Is She?
8. Use analogies. For example declare, Like A Shot of Espresso For Your Skin!
9. Test signage for clarity by using your desktop printer before committing to having them professionally printed.

The five best practices to avoid for your signage :

1. Don’t allow hand-drawn signs.
2. Don’t use the words Do Not.
3. Don’t be English-centric if you’re in an area that has a high population that speaks another language. Add translations.
4. Don’t use ten identical signs when one will do the job.
5. Don’t just have a sale price; show the original and the percentage discount.

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Fitting Rooms: Create A Welcoming Experience
I’m sure some of you will be surprised that fitting rooms are considered part of retail merchandising, but when it comes to clothing, the sale is only made once someone tries it on. The fitting room is a huge advantage for brick and mortar retailers. An Accenture study revealed 70% of online apparel is returned due to fit issues. However, when the apparel is tried on in-store, that drops to the single digits.retail store fitting room is part of retail merchandising
The proof of your retail merchandising comes together in the fitting room which moves your shopper from browser to customer. You are taking the vision you created in your store that stimulated their buying sense and fulfilling it in your 5’x8’ fitting room.
Just like a well-designed display, the fitting room experience has to continue the engagement from the salesfloor, so here are three tips to make that happen:
Keep the fitting room floors spotless – pin, hanger, and clothing free.
Provide lighting that helps the selling process by making the customer look good. Backlit mirrors are the best.
Install good quality mirrors inside the dressing room so the shopper looks realistic.
And always remember…
If a shopper has to wait long, they’ll walk away.
If the room has bad lighting, conversions will suffer.
If the room doesn’t have air conditioning, it will be either too hot or too cold – never good for half-naked people to feel uncomfortable.
If you abandon them, they’ll get frustrated and leave.
You’ll have to work with your Director of Operations and store managers to make sure all associates are properly trained to monitor and service the fitting room visitors to increase conversion rates.
Retail Merchandising: Pulling It All Together
Retail Merchandising refers to all the activities both seen and unseen which contribute to the sale of products in your store. It includes the visual merchandising which creates the environment to sell, the displays which stops shoppers in their tracks, the signage that directs, informs, or inspires them, and the fitting rooms where the final decisions are often made.
how to visually merchandise a brick and mortar store
Use these tips and tricks as well as best practices to merchandise your store like a pro. And if you’d like me to come speak to your group about how to make displays that convert along with signage that entices, visit my speaking page.

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Marketing tips, ideas, tricks, advice

 

 

5.6 Developing Strategy Through Internal Analysis

5.6 Developing Strategy Through Internal Analysis

 

Learning Objectives

Learn about internal analysis.

Understand resources, capabilities, and core competencies.

See how to evaluate resources, capabilities, and core competencies using VRIO analysis.

In this section, you will learn about some of the basic internal inputs for strategy formulation—starting with the organization’s strengths and weaknesses. We will focus on three aspects of internal analysis here, though you recognize that these should be complemented by external analysis as well. There is no correct order in which to do internal and external analyses, and the process is likely to be iterative. That is, you might do some internal analysis that suggests the need for other external analysis, or vice versa. For the internal environment, it is best to start with an assessment of resources and capabilities and then work your way into the identification of core competences using VRIO analysis.

Internal Analysis

By exploiting internal resources and capabilities and meeting the demanding standards of global competition, firms create value for customers (McEvily & Chakravarthy, 2002; Buckley & Carter, 2000). Value is measured by a product’s performance characteristics and by its attributes for which customers are willing to pay.1 Those particular bundles of resources and capabilities that provide unique advantages to the firm are considered core competencies (Prahalad & Hamel, 1990). Core competencies are resources and capabilities that serve as a source of a firm’s competitive advantage over rivals. Core competencies distinguish a company competitively and reflect its personality. Core competencies emerge over time through an organizational process of accumulating and learning how to deploy different resources and capabilities. As the capacity to take action, core competencies are “crown jewels of a company,” the activities the company performs especially well compared with competitors and through which the firm adds unique value to its goods or services over a long period of time (Hafeez, et. al., 2002; Prahalad & Hamel, 1990).

Sometimes consistency and predictability provide value to customers, such as the type of value Walgreens drugstores provides. As a Fortune magazine writer noted, “Do you realize that from 1975 to today, Walgreens beat Intel? It beat Intel nearly two to one, GE almost five to one. It beat 3M, Coke, Boeing, Motorola (Useem, 2001).” Walgreens was able to do this by using its core competencies to offer value desired by its target customer group. Instead of responding to the trends of the day, “During the Internet scare of 1998 and 1999, when slogans of ‘Change or Die!’ were all but graffitied on the subway, Walgreens obstinately stuck to its corporate credo of ‘Crawl, walk, run.’ Its refusal to act until it thoroughly understood the implications of e-commerce was deeply unfashionable, but…Walgreens is the epitome of the inner-directed company (Useem, 2001).” Thus, Walgreens creates value by focusing on the unique capabilities it has built, nurtured, and continues to improve across time.

During the past several decades, the strategic management process was concerned largely with understanding the characteristics of the industry in which the firm competed and, in light of those characteristics, determining how the firm should position itself relative to competitors. This emphasis on industry characteristics and competitive strategy may have understated the role of the firm’s resources and capabilities in developing competitive advantage. In the current competitive landscape, core competencies, in combination with product-market positions, are the firm’s most important sources of competitive advantage (Hitt, et. al., 1999). The core competencies of a firm, in addition to its analysis of its general, industry, and competitor environments, should drive its selection of strategies. As Clayton Christensen noted, “Successful strategists need to cultivate a deep understanding of the processes of competition and progress and of the factors that undergird each advantage. Only thus will they be able to see when old advantages are poised to disappear and how new advantages can be built in their stead (Christensen, 2001).” By drawing on internal analysis and emphasizing core competencies when formulating strategies, companies learn to compete primarily on the basis of firm-specific differences, but they must be aware of how things are changing as well.

Resources and Capabilities

Resources

Broad in scope, resources cover a spectrum of individual, social, and organizational phenomena (Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000; Michalisin, et. al., 2000). Typically, resources alone do not yield a competitive advantage (West & DeCastro, 2001; Deeds, et. al., 2000; Chi, 1994). In fact, the core competencies that yield a competitive advantage are created through the unique bundling of several resources (Berman, et. al., 2002). For example, Amazon.com has combined service and distribution resources to develop its competitive advantages. The firm started as an online bookseller, directly shipping orders to customers. It quickly grew large and established a distribution network through which it could ship “millions of different items to millions of different customers.” Compared with Amazon’s use of combined resources, traditional bricks-and-mortar companies, such as Toys “R” Us and Borders, found it hard to establish an effective online presence. These difficulties led them to develop partnerships with Amazon. Through these arrangements, Amazon now handles online presence and the shipping of goods for several firms, including Toys “R” Us and Borders, which now can focus on sales in their stores. Arrangements such as these are useful to the bricks-and-mortar companies because they are not accustomed to shipping so much diverse merchandise directly to individuals (Shepard, 2001).

Some of a firm’s resources are tangible while others are intangible. Tangible resources are assets that can be seen and quantified. Production equipment, manufacturing plants, and formal reporting structures are examples of tangible resources. Intangible resources typically include assets that are rooted deeply in the firm’s history and have accumulated over time. Because they are embedded in unique patterns of routines, intangible resources are relatively difficult for competitors to analyze and imitate. Knowledge, trust between managers and employees, ideas, the capacity for innovation, managerial capabilities, organizational routines (the unique ways people work together), scientific capabilities, and the firm’s reputation for its goods or services and how it interacts with people (such as employees, customers, and suppliers) are all examples of intangible resources (Feldman, 2000; Knott & McKelvey, 1999). The four types of tangible resources are financial, organizational, physical, and technological. The three types of intangible resources are human, innovation, and reputational.

As a manager or entrepreneur, you will be challenged to understand fully the strategic value of your firm’s tangible and intangible resources. The strategic value of resources is indicated by the degree to which they can contribute to the development of core competencies, and, ultimately, competitive advantage. For example, as a tangible resource, a distribution facility is assigned a monetary value on the firm’s balance sheet. The real value of the facility, however, is grounded in a variety of factors, such as its proximity to raw materials and customers, but also in intangible factors such as the manner in which workers integrate their actions internally and with other stakeholders, such as suppliers and customers (Gavetti & Levinthal, 2000; Coff, 1999; Marsh & Ranft, 1999).

Capabilities

Capabilities are the firm’s capacity to deploy resources that have been purposely integrated to achieve a desired end state (Helfat & Raubitschek, 2000). The glue that holds an organization together, capabilities emerge over time through complex interactions among tangible and intangible resources. Capabilities can be tangible, like a business process that is automated, but most of them tend to be tacit and intangible. Critical to forming competitive advantages, capabilities are often based on developing, carrying, and exchanging information and knowledge through the firm’s human capital (Hitt, et. al., 2001; Hitt, et. al., 2000; Hoopes & Postrel, 1999). Because a knowledge base is grounded in organizational actions that may not be explicitly understood by all employees, repetition and practice increase the value of a firm’s capabilities.

The foundation of many capabilities lies in the skills and knowledge of a firm’s employees and, often, their functional expertise. Hence, the value of human capital in developing and using capabilities and, ultimately, core competencies cannot be overstated. Firms committed to continuously developing their people’s capabilities seem to accept the adage that “the person who knows how will always have a job. The person who knows why will always be his boss.”2

Global business leaders increasingly support the view that the knowledge possessed by human capital is among the most significant of an organization’s capabilities and may ultimately be at the root of all competitive advantages. But firms must also be able to use the knowledge that they have and transfer it among their operating businesses (Argote & Ingram, 2000). For example, researchers have suggested that “in the information age, things are ancillary, knowledge is central. A company’s value derives not from things, but from knowledge, know-how, intellectual assets, competencies—all of it embedded in people (Dess & Picken 1999).” Given this reality, the firm’s challenge is to create an environment that allows people to fit their individual pieces of knowledge together so that, collectively, employees possess as much organizational knowledge as possible (Coy, 2002).

To help them develop an environment in which knowledge is widely spread across all employees, some organizations have created the new upper-level managerial position of chief learning officer (CLO). Establishing a CLO position highlights a firm’s belief that “future success will depend on competencies that traditionally have not been actively managed or measured—including creativity and the speed with which new ideas are learned and shared (Baldwin & Danielson, 2000).” In general, the firm should manage knowledge in ways that will support its efforts to create value for customers (Kuratko, et. al., 2001; Hansen, et. al., 1999).

Capabilities are often developed in specific functional areas (such as manufacturing, R&D, and marketing) or in a part of a functional area (for example, advertising). The value chain, popularized by Michael Porter’s book Competitive Advantage, is a useful tool for taking stock of organizational capabilities. A value chain is a chain of activities. In the value chain, some of the activities are deemed to be primary, in the sense that these activities add direct value. In the preceding figure, primary activities are logistics (inbound and outbound), marketing, and service. Support activities include how the firm is organized (infrastructure), human resources, technology, and procurement. Products pass through all activities of the chain in order, and at each activity, the product gains some value. A firm is effective to the extent that the chain of activities gives the products more added value than the sum of added values of all activities.

It is important not to mix the concept of the value chain with the costs occurring throughout the activities. A diamond cutter can be used as an example of the difference. The cutting activity may have a low cost, but the activity adds to much of the value of the end product, since a rough diamond is significantly less valuable than a cut, polished diamond. Research suggests a relationship between capabilities developed in particular functional areas and the firm’s financial performance at both the corporate and business-unit levels (Hitt & Ireland, 1986; Hitt & Ireland, 1985; Hitt, et. al., 1982; Hitt;et. al., 1982; Snow & Hrebiniak, 1980), suggesting the need to develop capabilities at both levels.

VRIO Analysis

Given that almost anything a firm possesses can be considered a resource or capability, how should you attempt to narrow down the ones that are core competencies, and explain why firm performance differs? To lead to a sustainable competitive advantage, a resource or capability should be valuable, rare, inimitable (including nonsubstitutable), and organized. This VRIO framework is the foundation for internal analysis (Wernerfelt, 1984). VRIO is an acronym for valuable, rare, inimitable, and organization.

If you ask managers why their firms do well while others do poorly, a common answer is likely to be “our people.” But this is really not an answer. It may be the start of an answer, but you need to probe more deeply—what is it about “our people” that is especially valuable? Why don’t competitors have similar people? Can’t competitors hire our people away? Or is it that there something special about the organization that brings out the best in people? These kinds of questions form the basis of VRIO and get to the heart of why some resources help firms more than others.

Moreover, your ability to identify whether an organization has VRIO resources will also likely explain their competitive position. In the figure, you can see that a firm’s performance relative to industry peers is likely to vary according to the level to which resources, capabilities, and ultimately core competences satisfy VRIO criteria. The four criteria are explored next.

Valuable

A resource or capability is said to be valuable if it allows the firm to exploit opportunities or negate threats in the environment. Union Pacific’s extensive network of rail-line property and equipment in the Gulf Coast of the United States is valuable because it allows the company to provide a cost-effective way to transport chemicals. Because the Gulf Coast is the gateway for the majority of chemical production in the United States, the rail network allows the firm to exploit a market opportunity. Delta’s control of the majority of gates at the Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) gives it a significant advantage in many markets. Travelers worldwide have rated CVG one of the best airports for service and convenience 10 years running. The possession of this resource allows Delta to minimize the threat of competition in this city. Delta controls air travel in this desirable hub city, which means that this asset (resource) has significant value. If a resource does not allow a firm to minimize threats or exploit opportunities, it does not enhance the competitive position of the firm. In fact, some scholars suggest that owning resources that do not meet the VRIO test of value actually puts the firm at a competitive disadvantage (Barney, 1991).

Rare

A resource is rare simply if it is not widely possessed by other competitors. Of the criteria this is probably the easiest to judge. For example, Coke’s brand name is valuable but most of Coke’s competitors (Pepsi, 7Up, RC) also have widely recognized brand names, making it not that rare. Of course, Coke’s brand may be the most recognized, but that makes it more valuable, not more rare, in this case.

A firm that possesses valuable resources that are not rare is not in a position of advantage relative to competitors. Rather, valuable resources that are commonly held by many competitors simply allow firms to be at par with competitors. However, when a firm maintains possession of valuable resources that are rare in the industry they are in a position of competitive advantage over firms that do not possess the resource. They may be able to exploit opportunities or negate threats in ways that those lacking the resource will not be able to do. Delta’s virtual control of air traffic through Cincinnati gives it a valuable and rare resource in that market.

How rare do the resources need to be for a firm to have a competitive advantage? In practice, this is a difficult question to answer unequivocally. At the two extremes (i.e., one firm possesses the resource or all firms possess it), the concept is intuitive. If only one firm possesses the resource, it has significant advantage over all other competitors. For instance, Monsanto had such an advantage for many years because they owned the patent to aspartame, the chemical compound in NutraSweet, they had a valuable and extremely rare resource. Because during the lifetime of the patent they were the only firm that could sell aspartame, they had an advantage in the artificial sweetener market. However, meeting the condition of rarity does not always require exclusive ownership. When only a few firms possess the resource, they will have an advantage over the remaining competitors. For instance, Toyota and Honda both have the capabilities to build cars of high quality at relatively low cost (Dyer, et. al., 2004). Their products regularly beat rival firms’ products in both short-term and long-term quality ratings (Dyer & Hatch, 2004). Thus, the criterion of rarity requires that the resource not be widely possessed in the industry. It also suggests that the more exclusive a firm’s access to a particularly valuable resource, the greater the benefit for having it.

Inimitable

An inimitable (the opposite of imitable) resource is difficult to imitate or to create ready substitutes for. A resource is inimitable and nonsubstitutable if it is difficult for another firm to acquire it or to substitute something else in its place. A valuable and rare resource or capability will grant a competitive advantage as long as other firms do not gain subsequently possession of the resource or a close substitute. If a resource is valuable and rare and responsible for a market leader’s competitive advantage, it is likely that competitors lacking the resource or capability will do all that they can to obtain the resource or capability themselves. This leads us to the third criterion—inimitability. The concept of imitation includes any form of acquiring the lacking resource or substituting a similar resource that provides equivalent benefits. The criterion important to be addressed is whether competitors face a cost disadvantage in acquiring or substituting the resource that is lacking. There are numerous ways that firms may acquire resources or capabilities that they lack.

As strategy researcher Scott Gallagher notes:

“This is probably the toughest criterion to examine because given enough time and money almost any resource can be imitated. Even patents only last 17 years and can be invented around in even less time. Therefore, one way to think about this is to compare how long you think it will take for competitors to imitate or substitute something else for that resource and compare it to the useful life of the product. Another way to help determine if a resource is inimitable is why/how it came about. Inimitable resources are often a result of historical, ambiguous, or socially complex causes. For example, the U.S. Army paid for Coke to build bottling plants around the world during World War II. This is an example of history creating an inimitable asset. Generally, intangible (also called tacit) resources or capabilities, like corporate culture or reputation, are very hard to imitate and therefore inimitable (Falcon, 2009).”

Organized

The fourth and final VRIO criterion that determines whether a resource or capability is the source of competitive advantage recognizes that mere possession or control is necessary but not sufficient to gain an advantage. The firm must likewise have the organizational capability to exploit the resources. The question of organization is broad and encompasses many facets of a firm but essentially means that the firm is able to capture any value that the resource or capability might generate. Organization, essentially the same form as that taken in the P-O-L-C framework, spans such firm characteristics as control systems, reporting relationships, compensation policies, and management interface with both customers and value-adding functions in the firm. Although listed as the last criterion in the VRIO tool, the question of organization is a necessary condition to be satisfied if a firm is to reap the benefits of any of the three preceding conditions. Thus, a valuable but widely held resource only leads to competitive parity for a firm if they also possess the capabilities to exploit the resource. Likewise, a firm that possesses a valuable and rare resource will not gain a competitive advantage unless it can actually put that resource to effective use.

Many firms have valuable and rare resources that they fail to exploit (the question of imitation is not relevant until the firm exploits valuable and rare resources). For instance, for many years Novell had a significant competitive advantage in computer networking based on its core NetWare product. In high-technology industries, remaining at the top requires continuous innovation. Novell’s decline during the mid- to late 1990s led many to speculate that Novell was unable to innovate in the face of changing markets and technology. However, shortly after new CEO Eric Schmidt arrived from Sun Microsystems to attempt to turnaround the firm, he arrived at a different conclusion. Schmidt commented: “I walk down Novell hallways and marvel at the incredible potential of innovation here. But, Novell has had a difficult time in the past turning innovation into products in the marketplace (Haddox, 2003).” He later commented to a few key executives that it appeared the company was suffering from “organizational constipation.”3 Novell appeared to still have innovative resources and capabilities, but they lacked the organizational capability (e.g., product development and marketing) to get those new products to market in a timely manner.

Likewise, Xerox proved unable to exploit its innovative resources. Xerox created a successful research team housed in a dedicated facility in Palo Alto, California, known as Xerox PARC. Scientists in this group invented an impressive list of innovative products, including laser printers, Ethernet, graphical interface software, computers, and the computer mouse. History has demonstrated that these technologies were commercially successful. Unfortunately, for Xerox shareholders, these commercially successful innovations were exploited by other firms. Xerox’s organization was not structured in a way that information about these innovations flowed to the right people in a timely fashion. Bureaucracy was also suffocating ideas once they were disseminated. Compensation policies did not reward managers for adopting these new innovations but rather rewarded current profits over long-term success. Thus, Xerox was never able exploit the innovative resources and capabilities embodied in their off-site Xerox PARC research center (Kearns & Nadler, 1992; Barney, 1995).

SWOT and VRIO

As you already know, many scholars refer to core competencies. A core competency is simply a resource, capability, or bundle of resources and capabilities that is VRIO. While VRIO resources are the best, they are quite rare, and it is not uncommon for successful firms to simply be combinations of a large number of VR _ O or even V _ _ O resources and capabilities. Recall that even a V _ _ O resource can be considered a strength under a traditional SWOT analysis.

Key Takeaway

Internal analysis begins with the identification of resources and capabilities. Resources can be tangible and intangible; capabilities may have such characteristics as well. VRIO analysis is a way to distinguish resources and capabilities from core competencies. Specifically, VRIO analysis should show you the importance of value, rarity, inimitability, and organization as building blocks of competitive advantage.

Exercises

What is the objective of internal analysis?

What is the difference between a resource and a capability?

What is the difference between a tangible and an intangible resource or capability?

What framework helps you identify those resources, capabilities, or core competencies that provide competitive advantage?

Why might competitive advantage for a firm be fleeting?

1Pocket Strategy. (1998). Value (p. 165). London: The Economist Books.

2Thoughts on the business of life. (1999, May 17). Forbes, p. 352.

3Personal communication with former executives.

3Personal communication with former executives.

References

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Barney, J. B. (1995). Looking inside for competitive advantage. Academy of Management Executive, 9, 49–61.

Berman, S., Down, J., & Hill, C. (2002). Tacit knowledge as a source of competitive advantage in the National Basketball Association. Academy of Management Journal, 45, 13–31.

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Dyer, J. H., & Hatch, N. (2004). Using Supplier Networks to Learn Faster. Sloan Management Review, 45(3), 57–63.

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BTL refers to a series of marketing techniques known collectively as below-the-line marketing. Below-the-line marketing includes direct marketing by mail or email, sales promotion, marketing communications, exhibitions and telemarketing. Above-the-line marketing refers to advertising in media such as print, cinema, radio, television, outdoor posters and the Internet. Marketing campaigns that use both above-the-line and below-the-line techniques are known as through-the-line campaigns.

Agency Remuneration
The terms above-the-line and below-the-line originally referred to the way advertising agencies were remunerated for their services. Agencies received commission from the media in return for placing advertisements. The level of commission was sufficient to cover the costs of creating and producing the content for advertisements, as well as providing the agency with a fee and profit contribution. Agencies retained the commission and clients received the creative and production costs free. Because no commission was available on non-media activities, agencies charged clients for all creative and production costs.

Below-The-Line Agencies
The basis of agency remuneration has evolved, and advertising agencies now base their charges on a combination of fees and retained commission. However, clients have recognized the importance of below-the-line marketing and work with companies that offer specific services, such as direct marketing agencies, sales promotion agencies, marketing communications consultancies and telemarketing agencies.

Precision
Companies use below-the-line campaigns to reach audiences that are difficult or costly to contact through advertising media. A direct marketing campaign, for example, targeting a selected group of key customers with a limited-time offer represents a precise form of marketing with minimal waste. A sales promotion campaign offering discounts on a product in a single retail chain drives consumers to a series of defined locations, allowing precise measurement of the campaign’s effectiveness.

Integration
Combining above -the-line and below-the-line techniques in a single, integrated campaign can improve marketing effectiveness. An advertising campaign to launch a new product, combined with a retail incentive program and an in-store consumer promotion will encourage retailers to carry additional stocks of the advertised product. Through-the-line campaigns are most effective when advertising and below-the-line content use the same creative approach and communicate consistent messages across all media.

Multi-Channel Marketing
The increasing importance of social media is focusing attention on communicating with customers though multiple channels, rather than relying on individual above-the-line or below-the-line channels. Marketers also recognize the importance of building dialog with customers, rather than marketing through one-way communications.

 

What Are the Different Types of Advertising?

Advertisers pay for advertising to accomplish a wide array of goals. Ad objectives generally boil down to long-term branding communication or short-term direct response advertising. Branding is about building and maintaining a reputation for your company that distinguishes it in the marketplace. Sales promos are short-term inducements to drive revenue or cash flow. Based on your company’s objectives, budget and target audience, you normally advertise through one or more types of media. Calculating your return on investment in dollars is difficult, but you need to establish measurable goals, such as a percentage increase in awareness, to evaluate success.

Broadcast Media
Television and radio are two traditional broadcast media long used in advertising. Television offers creative opportunities, a dynamic message and wide audience reach. It is typically the most expensive medium to advertise through, though. Because local affiliated stations normally serve a wide local audience, you also have to deal with waste when trying to target a small town marketplace. TV watchers normally have a negative attitude toward commercials and many have DVRs at their fingertips. Radio and TV both have fleeting messages, meaning they disappear once the commercial spot ends. Radio is relatively affordable for small businesses and allows for repetition and frequency. You don’t have the visual element of TV and you have to deal with a distracted audience, since most listeners are driving.

Print Media
Magazines and newspapers are the two traditional print media. Magazines offer a highly selective audience who is generally interested in ads closely related to the topic of the magazine. Visual imagery is also stronger in magazines than newspapers. You have little wasted since magazines are very niche and you can target a narrow customer segment. On the downside, magazines are costly and require long lead times, which limits timely promotions. They also have limited audience reach. Newspapers are very affordable for local businesses and allow you to target a geographic segment if you have a universal product or service. Newspapers are also viewed as a credible medium, which enhances ad acceptance. You can usually get an ad placed within a day or two of purchase. Declining circulation, a short shelf life and limited visual creativity are drawbacks.

Support Media
Support media include several options for message delivery than normally add to or expand campaigns delivered through more traditional media. Billboards, transits, bus benches, aerial, directories and trade publications are common support media. Each has pros and cons, but collectively, they offer ways to reach a wider audience in a local or regional market or to increase frequency of message exposure to targeted market segments.

Direct Marketing
Direct marketing is an interactive approach to advertising that has picked up in usage in the early 21st century. It includes direct mail, email and telemarketing. These are direct response efforts to create an ongoing dialogue or interaction with customers. Weekly or monthly email newsletters, for instance, allow you to keep your brand, products and other messages in front of prospects and customers. Telemarketing is a way to survey customers and offer new products, upgrades or renewals. Direct mail is the most common format of direct marketing where you send mailers or postcards to targeted customers promoting products, deals or promotions. Direct marketing has become more prominent because it allows for ease in tracking customer response rates and helps advertisers better measure return on investment.

Product Placement
Another newer advertising technique is product placement. This is where you offer compensation to a TV show, movie, video game or theme park to use your product while entertaining audiences. You could pay a TV show, for instance, to depict your product being used and discussed positive in a particular scene. This ad method is a way for companies to integrate ads with entertainment since customers have found ways to avoid messages delivered through more conventional media.

Internet
The Internet is used by online and offline companies to promote products or services. Banner ads, pop up ads, text ads and paid search placements are common forms. Banner, pop up and text ads are ways to present an image or message on a publisher’s website or on a number of websites through a third-party platform like Google’s Adwords program. Paid search placements, also known as cost-per-click advertising, is where you bid a certain amount to present your link and text message to users of search engines like Google and Yahoo!

Social Media
Businesses can also create different target groups, and send ads on social media platforms to users that would be most interested in their products and services. Targeting options can include targeting based on geographic location, buying tendencies, and other consumer behavior. One effective method of placing social media ads is known as retargeting, which focuses on website visitors that left without buying a product or service, or without signing up for some type of free offer like subscribing to a newsletter. Businesses can place a pixel on the visitor’s browser, and send targeted ads to that visitor as he or she browses other websites. Sponsored ads work in a similar way to retargeting, but the difference is that businesses pay to have these ads appear on specific websites that their target audience is likely to visit.

 

 

860 Benefits of Sales Promotion

A successful promotion has the ability to nurture relationships with consumers through retention and engagement. Promotions can often shape the characteristics of brands, for example, McDonald?s Monopoly board is something

 

 

INTRODUCTION OF SALES PROMOTION
Sales promotion consists of a diverse collection of incentive tools, mostly short term, designed to stimulated quicker and/or greater purchase of particular product/service or the trend. Sales promotion is a process of persuading of sales to potential customer to buy the product.
The topic is about the sales promotion activity that makes awareness of the product of the company. The topic itself describe that how to increase the sales growth of the company product and it is also about the make awareness to the customer about the company products.
Sales promotion plays a very important role in the company. So in the current context every company makes sales promotion in different ways like advertisement by media, news paper , magazine.
Sales promotion is an important component of a small medium and large business’s overall marketing strategy, along with advertising, public relations, and personal selling. The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines sales promotion as “media and non-media marketing pressure applied for a predetermined, limited period of time in order to stimulate trial, increase consumer demand, or improve product quality.” But this definition does not capture all the elements of modern sales promotion. One should add that effective sales promotion increases the basic value of a product for a limited time and directly stimulates consumer purchasing, selling effectiveness, or the effort of the sales force. It can be used to inform, persuade, and remind target customers about the business and its marketing mix. Some common types of sales promotion include samples, coupons, sweepstakes, contests, in-store displays, trade shows, price-off deals, premiums, and rebates.
Businesses can target sales promotions at three different audiences: consumers, resellers, and the company’s own sales force. Sales promotion acts as a competitive weapon by providing an extra incentive for the target audience to purchase or support one brand over another. It is particularly effective in spurring product trial and unplanned purchases.
Most marketers believe that a given product or service has an established perceived price or value, and they use sales promotion to change this price-value relationship by increasing the value and/or lowering the price. Compared to the other components of the marketing mix (advertising, publicity, and personal selling), sales promotion usually operates on a shorter time line, uses a more rational appeal, returns a tangible or real value, fosters an immediate sale, and contributes highly to profitability.
In determining the relative importance to place on sales promotion in the overall marketing mix, a small business should consider its marketing budget, the stage of the product in its life cycle, the nature of competition in the market, the target of the promotion, and the nature of the product. For example, sales promotion and direct mail are particularly attractive alternatives when the marketing budget is limited, as it is for many small businesses. In addition, sales promotion can be an effective tool in a highly competitive market, when the objective is to convince retailers to carry a product or influence consumers to select it over those of competitors. Similarly, sales promotion is often used in the growth and maturity stages of the product life cycle to stimulate consumers and resellers to choose that product over the competition—rather than in the introduction stage, when mass advertising to build awareness might be more important. Finally, sales promotion tends to work best when it is applied to impulse items whose features can be judged at the point of purchase, rather than more complex, expensive items that might require hands-on demonstration.
Back in 1950s, it was said that doing business without sales promotion is like winking at a girl in the dark; you know you what you are doing, but nobody else does. The message was: crowded scenario of multiple ads even winking in broad daylight goes unnoticed. Since everyone is sales promotion, the idea is to do it with innovation ‘Come on, turn on the light, it pays to sales promotion. Today, in this complex world amidst heavy rush or everything, having a densely.

Sales promotion is of immense utility both to large and small business. There can be no doubt that sales promotion efforts would result in creation of additional sales. All forms of promotion of sale of goods is in one way or the other, supported by extensive advertising campaign. It is not possible to imagine survival of any business, which is in the business of “make and sell” in the absence of advertising efforts. Advertising has extended its coverage to include non-business enterprises also e.g.. Public Water Works advertises the need to preserve precious water and to cultivate the habit of drinking clean water free from any form of pollution. Countless illustrations can be provided wherein non-business enterprises have recognised the importance of advertising and their use it as a tool to promote ideas and services.

Sales promotion is an economic activity and it generates employment. Thousands of men and women are directly or indirectly, employed in professional sales promotion. sales promotion is an economic proposition. People who invest their money in sales promotion anticipate positive results. Hence, sales promotion must be result-oriented. Every newspaper or magazine survives on the advertisements that it receives. sales promotion are definite source of revenue to the publishers. Because of the advertisements inserted in newspapers and magazines, they are sold at lower price, which can be afforded by the public. Advertising is of paramount importance because it creates better-informed public by making available innumerable publications at an affordable price. Considering the response that advertisements generate, it can be stated that “advertising does not cost too much”.
In older to cut down production cost per unit there is a need to increase the total sales turnover. When overall sales increase, production cost per unit is automatically slashed and more people buy the goods. Apart from towering production costs, advertising also pays for entertainment and education through use of media like radio and TV.
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Consumer is the king in the market. He cannot be compelled to buy anything. At the most, he can be persuaded to patronize a certain brand. It is here that advertising plays a prominent role.
There is no standard format to be followed to make advertising liked by every person. Advertising is a creative field. Individual likes and dislikes determine success of advertising or its failure. Advertising scores over personal selling because it provides freedom of choice to the consumer. Decision to make purchases is independently arrived at by the consumers. No civilized society can record constant progress and ensure better standard of living to its people in the absence of information and education provided by advertising
CONSUMER PROMOTIONS
Consumer sales promotions are steered toward the ultimate product users—typically individual shoppers in the local market—but the same techniques can be used to promote products sold by one business to another, such as computer systems, cleaning supplies, and machinery. In contrast, trade sales promotions target resellers—wholesalers and retailers—who carry the marketer’s product. Following are some of the key techniques used in consumer-oriented sales promotions.
PRICE DEALS: A consumer price deal saves the buyer money when a product is purchased. The main types of price deals include discounts, bonus pack deals, refunds or rebates, and coupons. Price deals are usually intended to encourage trial use of a new product or line extension, to recruit new buyers for a mature product, or to convince existing customers to increase their purchases, accelerate their use, or purchase multiple units. Price deals work most effectively when price is the consumer’s foremost criterion or when brand loyalty is low.
Buyers may learn about price discounts either at the point of sale or through advertising. At the point of sale, price reductions may be posted on the package, on signs near the product, or in storefront windows. Many types of advertisements can be used to notify consumers of upcoming discounts, including fliers and newspaper and television ads.
Price discounts are especially common in the food industry, where local supermarkets run weekly specials. Price discounts may be initiated by the manufacturer, the retailer, or the distributor. For instance, a manufacturer may “pre-price” a product and then convince the retailer to participate in this short-term discount through extra incentives. For price reduction strategies to be effective, they must have the support of all distributors in the channel. Existing customers perceive discounts as rewards and often respond by buying in larger quantities.
Another type of price deal is the bonus pack or banded pack. When a bonus pack is offered, an extra amount of the product is free when a standard size of the product is bought at the regular price. This technique is routinely used in the marketing of cleaning products, food, and health and beauty aids to introduce a new or larger size. A bonus pack rewards present users but may have little appeal to users of competitive brands. A banded pack offer is when two or more units of a product are sold at a reduction of the regular single-unit price. Sometimes the products are physically banded together, such as in toothbrush and toothpaste offers.
A refund or rebate promotion is an offer by a marketer to return a certain amount of money when the product is purchased alone or in combination with other products. Refunds aim to increase the quantity or frequency of purchase, to encourage customers to “load up” on the product. This strategy dampens competition by temporarily taking consumers out of the market, stimulates the purchase of postponable goods such as major appliances, and creates on-shelf excitement by encouraging special displays. Refunds and rebates are generally viewed as a reward for purchase, and they appear to build brand loyalty rather than diminish it.
Coupons are legal certificates offered by manufacturers and retailers. They grant specified savings on selected products when presented for redemption at the point of purchase. Manufacturers sustain the cost of advertising and distributing their coupons, redeeming their face values, and paying retailers a handling fee. Retailers who offer double or triple the amount of the coupon shoulder the extra cost. Retailers who offer their own coupons incur the total cost, including paying the face value. In this way, retail coupons are equivalent to a cents-off deal.
Manufacturers disseminate coupons in many ways. They may be delivered directly by mail, dropped door to door, or distributed through a central location such as a shopping mall. Coupons may also be distributed through the media—magazines, newspapers, Sunday supplements, or free-standing inserts (FSI) in newspapers. Coupons can be inserted into, attached to, or printed on a package, or they may be distributed by a retailer who uses them to generate store traffic or to tie in with a manufacturer’s promotional tactic. Retailer-sponsored coupons are typically distributed through print advertising or at the point of sale. Sometimes, though, specialty retailers or newly opened retailers will distribute coupons door to door or through direct mail.
CONTESTS/SWEEPSTAKES: The main difference between contests and sweepstakes is that contests require entrants to perform a task or demonstrate a skill that is judged in order to be deemed a winner, while sweepstakes involve a random drawing or chance contest that may or may not have an entry requirement. At one time, contests were more commonly used as sales promotions, mostly due to legal restrictions on gambling that many marketers feared might apply to sweepstakes. But the use of sweepstakes as a promotional tactic has grown dramatically in recent decades, partly because of legal changes and partly because of their lower cost. Administering a contest once cost about $350 per thousand entries, compared to just $2.75 to $3.75 per thousand entries in a sweepstake. Furthermore, participation in contests is very low compared to sweepstakes, since they require some sort of skill or ability.
SPECIAL EVENTS: According to the consulting firm International Events Group (IEG), businesses spend over $2 billion annually to link their products with everything from jazz festivals to golf tournaments to stock car races. In fact, large companies like RJR Nabisco and Anheuser-Busch have special divisions that handle nothing but special events. Special events marketing offers a number of advantages. First, events tend to attract a homogeneous audience that is very appreciative of the sponsors. Therefore, if a product fits well with the event and its audience, the impact of the sales promotion will be high. Second, event sponsorship often builds support among employees—who may receive acknowledgment for their participation—and within the trade. Finally, compared to producing a series of ads, event management is relatively simple. Many elements of event sponsorship are prepackaged and reusable, such as booths, displays, and ads. Special events marketing is available to small businesses, as well, through sponsorship of events on the community level.
PREMIUM: A premium is tangible compensation that is given as incentive for performing a particular act—usually buying a product. The premium may be given for free, or may be offered to consumers for a significantly reduced price. Some examples of premiums include receiving a prize in a cereal box or a free garden tool for visiting the grand opening of a hardware store. Incentives that are given for free at the time of purchase are called direct premiums. These offers provide instant gratification, plus there is no confusion about returning coupons or box tops, or saving bar codes or proofs of purchase.
Other types of direct premiums include traffic builders, door openers, and referral premiums. The garden tool is an example of a traffic-builder premium—an incentive to lure a prospective buyer to a store. A door-opener premium is directed to customers at home or to business people in their offices. For example, a homeowner may receive a free clock radio for allowing an insurance agent to enter their home and listening to his sales pitch. Similarly, an electronics manufacturer might offer free software to an office manager who agrees to an on-site demonstration. The final category of direct premiums, referral premiums, rewards the purchaser for referring the seller to other possible customers.
Mail premiums, unlike direct premiums, require the customer to perform some act in order to obtain a premium through return mail. An example might be a limited edition toy car offered by a marketer in exchange for one or more proofs-of-purchase and a payment covering the cost of the item plus handling. The premium is still valuable to the consumer because they cannot readily buy the item for the same amount.

CONTINUITY PROGRAMS: Continuity programs retain brand users over a long time period by offering ongoing motivation or incentives. Continuity programs demand that consumers keep buying the product in order to get the premium in the future. Trading stamps, popularized in the 1950s and 1960s, are prime examples. Consumers usually received one stamp for every dime spent at a participating store. The stamp company provided redemption centers where the stamps were traded for merchandise. A catalog listing the quantity of stamps required for each item was available at the participating stores. Today, airlines’ frequent-flyer clubs, hotels’ frequent-traveler plans, retailers’ frequent-shopper programs, and bonus-paying credit cards are common continuity programs. When competing brands have reached parity in terms of price and service, continuity programs sometimes prove a deciding factor among those competitors. By rewarding long-standing customers for their loyalty, continuity programs also reduce the threat of new competitors entering a market.

SAMPLING: A sign of a successful marketer is getting the product into the hands of the consumer. Sometimes, particularly when a product is new or is not a market leader, an effective strategy is giving a sample product to the consumer, either free or for a small fee. But in order for sampling to change people’s future purchase decisions, the product must have benefits or features that will be obvious during the trial.
There are several means of disseminating samples to consumers. The most popular has been through the mail, but increases in postage costs and packaging requirements have made this method less attractive. An alternative is door-to-door distribution, particularly when the items are bulky and when reputable distribution organizations exist. This method permits selective sampling of neighborhoods, dwellings, or even people. Another method is distributing samples in conjunction with advertising. An ad may include a coupon that the consumer can mail in for the product, or it may include an address or phone number for ordering. Direct sampling can be achieved through prime media using scratch-and-sniff cards and slim foil pouches, or through retailers using special displays or a person hired to hand out samples to passing customers. Though this last technique may build goodwill for the retailer, some retailers resent the inconvenience and require high payments for their cooperation.
A final form of sample distribution deals with specialty types of sampling. For instance, some companies specialize in packing samples together for delivery to homogeneous consumer groups, such as newlyweds, new parents, students, or tourists. Such packages may be delivered at hospitals, hotels, or dormitories and include a number of different types of products.

 

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