Declining Car Sales : An Evolutionary Motives Perspective

The Finance minister recently attributed the decline in car sales to increased preference and usage of cabs such as uber and ola among the Millenials. The trolls got busy to the extent of ridiculing the statement, a reflection of social mob behavior. This was followed by a remark of Mr.R.C.Bhargava, an automotive expert, which suggested that cars have become very expensive hence lesser buyers. Uday Kotak further added that cars as possession are no longer a status symbol for the youngsters hence it is cool to use cabs rather than buy a car. There could be many more viewpoints on this which are not accounted here in this post. However, we need to uncover this complex phenomenon by answering a simple question; why do people buy a car? what are the fundamental motives that drive the buying decision?

Marketing literature organizes the fundamental motives in seven categories; self-protection, disease avoidance, affiliation, status, mate acquisition, mate retention, and kin care. As one would note, these motives very well capture the evolutionary needs of the human being. In the context of car buying decisions, the most important driver could be a strong need for safety, affiliation, and status. Safety needs are manifested in different behavioral tendencies that include increased aversion to loss and decreased risk-taking. Now consider the consumer sentiments from the end of last year to this year September. Largely it was believed that post-elections, the country’s economy will grow faster and that would bring more stability in jobs and income. Clearly, with no such signs in sight, the sentiments took a dip and the safety motive got triggered. Therefore, less number of the first-time buyer and even lesser number of upgrade buyers. Next, consider the changing spending preferences among the Millenials ; it is a well documented trend that they tend to spend on experiences and less on material possession. That explains the need for affiliation to be there on vacations, eating out and indulging in adventure sports rather than spending money on buying cars.( Just consider the way affiliation need can be fulfilled by being on Instagram or facebook with experience content!) The need for status still remains strong but the choice of possession to display status has moved to soft acquisitions and cars have lost their preferred position on the list.

Therefore, Nirmala Sitharaman, R C Bhargava and Uday Kotak are all right in their assessment of the slowdown trend in the automobile business. Most of us believe that economic slowdown is cyclical and recovery is around the corner. However, the auto marketers must pick up the right levers to accelerate demand by devising ways to trigger two keys motives: mate acquisition, mate retention and kin care ; and position the idea of possessing a car in a novel manner.



Managing Knowledge and Ignorance: A Case for Executive Education

“The more you know, the more you do not know,” writes Shriniv Narayan in The Speaking Tree, a daily column in The Times of India. He argues that the observable universe is about 46 billion light-years in radius and there is an unobservable universe that the scientists are unable to fathom yet. Consider this; if that be the state of our knowledge and ignorance about the universe, what would be like our status in terms of our knowledge and ignorance in the world of business that is evolving at a faster pace. It is just not possible to say that your knowledge expedition is over, for newer developments keep reminding us; you have a long way to go. Specifically, in an Executive’s life, the rule is rather simple; one always remains a work in progress! Therefore, the imperatives of self-growth and self-management are rooted in the idea of new knowledge acquisition and the surest way to succeed here is to build commitment for your development goals. Formal and structured learning is a great way to build such a commitment. Clearly, there are many advantages that accrue for business executives when they sign up for such executive education programs:

  1. Growth Mindset: Sure enough, a growth mindset is about the company’s growth in the market place. But that is just half the story. If a company has to grow, its employees must deploy this mindset at the individual level as well and more specifically, in the way they see themselves as significant partners of the growth story. Executives signing up for executive education programs send a clear signal to their employers that they are committed to learn more and contribute more. Is not that what companies are looking for? It is a win-win for both; the employees and the employers.
  2. A Shift in Perspective: Executives enrolled in an education program develop a wider perspective on their business problems. At their work, they mostly rely on the knowledge bank developed within the company based on its own and or it’s competitors successes and failures. In an executive education program, the participants are encouraged to take a ringside view of the problems and build multiple perspectives on a given situation. In the movie Dead Poets Society, Keating (Played by Robin Williams) said, (

    “Just when you think you know something, you have to look at in another way. Even though it may seem silly or wrong, you must try.”

    Clearly, an immediate consequence of good learning from a program is about developing new perspectives embedded in multiple paradigms of business. To illustrate the point, let me cite an example from my own learnings. At an executive education program when I was confronted with a business growth challenge, I was focussing on just one stakeholder; the customer. During the discussion in the classroom, I could build another perspective that included competitors- how to include them in our strategy to build topline growth?

  3. Recast Knowledge in Emerging Realities: Often, the ignorance is not about lack of knowledge but more about the fit with the new realities of business. Lets us take a very simple example to illustrate this point. Most of the Sales Managers are aware of “how to motivate your salesforce” formula and they feel very strongly about their own way of managing a sales force. Most of it is grounded in the expectancy theory that is fundamentally built on reward expectancy. However, if you are having a good number of salespeople from the millennial generation, you would want to ask; are my older views about motivation hold true? Possibly not. Maybe this generation of employees are more independent and they would perform best with least supervision. The emerging paradigm of self-leadership would help the sales managers understand that intrinsic motivation is a more powerful source of the ‘drive’ and all they need to do is to craft a ‘purpose’ for their sales force. Think of several such issues in operations, marketing, and HR; your knowledge of these domains need a recast into the new tech-driven realities of the business.
  4. The Network Learning: A good executive program helps in widening your network; you include more actors in your sphere of influence. Participant from other companies, industry and faculty members for the program, they all potentially become part of your network. The peer learning here is cross-functional and multi-disciplinary and therefore, you become more welcoming of new ideas and possibilities.
  5. Self-Discovery: As you start your learning in a structured curriculum based environment, you also get a sense of what are your natural strengths and weaknesses. Such a high level of awareness results in self-discovery not only in terms of your career choices but also aids in shaping newer options; for example – it is not uncommon for executives to discover their entrepreneurial streak during an executive program.

Therefore, when a business executive is evaluating the options of whether to enroll or not to enroll in an education program, it is worthwhile to consider the truth; that we are all work in progress. The more we invest now, in terms of available resources, our quest for managing the balance of knowledge and ignorance would grow stronger. That very quest is what successful managers are made of, and organizations who hire such managers reap long term dividends.






Trust erosion as an outcome of a celebrity’s endorsement of a ‘failed’ brand: Is there a recovery mechanism?

Recently, star cricketer Mahindra Singh Dhoni filed a plea at SC claiming about 48 crores of unpaid dues from Amrapali group. The group is facing a fraud charge and the case is with SC. The buyers who invested in the residential projects promoted by the group fought a long battle to ensure that the Supreme court of India intervenes and help them get their property and or refund from the company. The Amrapali buyers are raising a point: till the time the Amrapali group was engaged in a legal battle with its customers, Dhoni did not say a word. Now, for his own money, he is knocking at the door of SC. Customers consider this behavior as a breach of trust because customers bought the property with an idea that the project is not only endorsed by Dhoni, he himself owned a penthouse there. Several customers took to media saying that Dhoni should have stood by them to help them get their flats or money refunded rather than just fighting for his own endorsement money.

This raises two key issues; the first one relates to the moral responsibility of a celebrity who endorses a product or service (in this case, it is a very high value and high involvement purchase) and the firm gets entangled into financial fraud, and, the second one is about the post hoc impact of such fraud on the celebrity brand value. The key question here is; is there a trust recovery mechanism?

Endorsements and moral responsibility

Celebrity endorsements have several risks for the brands such as eclipsing of the brand itself by the celebrity’s powerful brand image. The reverse of that is also true “when the brand does something deemed unacceptable by consumers, the celebrity can also be seen in this light. This could cause followers of the celebrity to be doubtful of them, not just the brand. Assumptions could be made that the celebrity agrees with all actions of the brand and become less credible by association”. (

Clearly, in the case of Amrapali, the buyers believed in the endorsements made by cricketer Dhoni and now they feel let down by him. There is a clear case of a wrong moral judgment that kept Dhoni silent on the whole issue of project delays. The buyers created their own self-help group and took help of the regulators to seek justice from the highest court in the country. No word from the celebrity who urged on the potential buyers to trust Amrapali brand because he believed it to be trustworthy.

A mechanism to recover trust

Dhoni did break his silence but only to claim his endorsement fees from his client, Amrapali Builders. This move was certainly ill-advised. A futile attempt to tell the customers; look I am also a victim of this fraud! That is a very meek way of handling the issue of trust erosion. Any celebrity in a situation like this should not only be seen and heard as being empathetic towards the customers but they could also seize the opportunity to engage into customer advocacy for safeguarding customer interests from such firms. A potent mechanism, therefore, is to engage directly with the factors that led to the m-s-dhoni-1460730892loss of trust and amplify the intent to work on those factors. This could help in regaining trust and strengthening the celebrity brand with more power and credibility.


Managing Your Sales Funnel: The Sales Manager-Salesperson Dyadic Perspective

In recent years, the importance of sales funnel management in brick and mortar, online business and hybrid business models is increasingly driven by the advances in CRM capabilities of the firms. Newer models to manage the funnel, newer analytics to power its efficiency and stronger emphasis especially on web-based business models have added multiple layers of complexities and many of these layers, in my opinion, are unwanted. In the next few paragraphs, I am making an attempt to delineate the fundamentals of sales funnel management (SFM, hereafter) and offer a perspective from Sales Manager-Salesperson dyadic relationship; the start and end point of action!
Let’s begin with this question: Why do customers buy our products? The answer to this question is largely dependent on our understanding of the buying funnel that starts with customer awareness, moves to brand awareness, brand consideration, brand preference, purchase intention, purchase, customer loyalty and finally, customer advocacy.(Source: Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing, HBR)

The buying funnel suggests that once the brand preference is built and the customer expresses his/her interest (in varying degrees, of course), the sales lead flows into the sales funnel. From this point on, the lead must be qualified, approached, and converted to a sale thereby sales lead turning into a customer. The sales lead that flow into the selling system could come from the marketing efforts and from the salesperson’s on ground activities including social selling efforts.

The sales force needs to perform different actions at each of the five stages of the sales funnel.
1. Lead generation: Expand the leads basket through activities, social selling
2. Lead qualification: Deep dive and develop intimacy with leads as follow-ups are pursued
3. Selling: Deploy the appropriate selling method to ensure the right value for the customer
4. Close: Conclude the sale and close the order
5. Service: Provide post-sale service to the customer
Clearly, the sales funnel throws up multiple sets of challenging tasks and responsibilities that must be managed and desired efficiency levels are achieved from stage 1, the starting point of the funnel. The leads that flow into the funnel must be treated with utmost care and the sales manager must ensure the following:
• The leads are adequate in numbers
• These are scanned for accuracy
• A great deal of intimacy is developed with the leads – what are the sources of leads? Inbound marketing? Referrals?
• Leads are approached with a sense of immediacy
The issue of immediacy requires complete attention and monitoring of the sales manager. Recent research has suggested that the biggest leakage in the funnel takes place due to a delayed response to a lead. Consider this: 1.25 million online leads were tracked and it was discovered that leads followed up within an hour had seven times better chances of qualifying as compared to leads followed after an hour. The chances were 60 times better as compared with leads followed up post 24 hours. Therefore, it is critical that sales leads are acted upon immediately and this is possible only if the sales manager-salesperson dyad is functional and efficiently managed.

Leads to Conversion: The Essentials for Sales Managers

The conversion rate in a sales funnel is a function of salesperson’s effort and attention and the supervision support that the sales manager must provide to his/her team. Responding to sales leads immediately is great but often persistence is missing which leads to early losses. Consider these facts:
• 48% of salespeople quit after the first contact
• 90% quit after the fourth attempt
• The remaining 10% are persistent with their sales leads and they find this rewarding; because 80% of the sales are closed after the fifth contact! These salespeople, therefore, are super productive.
Sales Managers must have a collaborative approach towards sales funnel management and should back it up with solid data analysis. They should monitor the leaks and delays at each stage of the funnel and understand the causes of success and failures. Few useful strategies are as under:
1. Don’t keep your prospects waiting: Get close to them immediately
2. All leads are not the same and they require the different intensity of approach and follow-ups: For example, the source of lead could be an indicator of the position of prospect in the buying process. A lead coming in the form of inquiry from a website (in case of cars, if it is coming from could suggest that the prospect is close to firm up his purchase intention. On the other hand, a lead coming from a paid advertisement, referrals could be from prospects at an early stage of the buying process.
3. Allocate leads wisely: Sales managers must use different filters while distributing leads amongst the team members. Some of these could be; skills, demography, salesperson’s expertise.
4. Patiently aggressive: Be aggressive with leads but do not give up easily. Persistence is the key and therefore timely feedback in the dyadic relationship with your salesperson will help a great deal. Make your salesperson realize that even the so-called “bad leads” are hidden opportunities waiting to be harvested, provided meaningful connections are maintained.
5. Learn like a Machine: Measure the success and failure at each stage of the funnel. Learn from the events leading to such developments. Develop strategies to avoid failures and ramp up success rates.
6. Salesperson as a unit of analysis: Aggregate analysis is good; the better strategy is to examine individual salesperson’s funnel performance. This could throw insights that can be useful in improving sales funnel performance on an aggregate basis.

Sales Managers would benefit a lot from understanding the linkages of salesperson’s motivation, opportunity, and ability that drives the efficiency of the sales funnel. Clearly, managers who excel in sales planning and manage sales force motivation are the winners in the crucial sales warfare; sales funnel management.

Wear the badge of a Salesperson with pride

Last few days of 2017 and first few days of 2018 gave me few memorable experiences; sweet and sour. Let’s get over with the sour thing first. I was booked on a Indigo flight on 31st Dec and I was looking forward to being with my family in Delhi, however owing to bad weather the flight was cancelled. A short and crisp message from the airline left me stranded there. But that was not the service failure (we understand bad weather), the failure was that in such situation the service provider did not care for its customers – a call to the customer would have helped. My ticket was booked through premiermiles, a Citibank outfit and they did not even bother to send me a SMS (as per their record, I did travel on the flight which never took off!) A classic and not so pleasant example of a service operations failure. With so much of technology at their command!

Let’s get to the sweet experience. On Jan 2, I walked into a store of Himalaya Opticals and met a very helpful salesperson. While helping me in selecting a good frame he quickly realized that I was closing in on my choice. However, he also sensed that I was not very happy with my selection. Looking at my decision dilemma, he suggested that I postpone my purchase for three days as they were expecting more stock in the store and I will surely get what I was looking for. He was a smart salesperson who could have easily sold something to me that day itself. He chose not to do so but invited me to a later date. That set me thinking; why do good salespeople bet on their customers? How do they offset their risks and tradeoff short-term gains for long-term relationships with customers? To understand these questions, we need to consider the evolution journey for this profession called ‘Sales’.

Powers et al.(1987) published an interesting article chronicling the profession of selling before 1900. This paper provides a detailed review of how the profession evolved through different ages in the history. Here are some of the key points:

1. The Ancient World: Selling as an economic activity started with the idea of shortages and surpluses in the agriculture produce. The ‘Peddler’ was the first salesperson which did primarily two jobs; selling and holding the inventory. The salesperson would go house to house to sell their wares driven by the entrepreneurial spirit.

2. The Classical World: After the Greeks developed coinage system and formed commercial regulations, the markets got a structure: clusters of sellers in one place competing for customer’s business. The era saw the emergence of ‘Merchant Salesman” and Women Salesperson (Pea Soup Woman!).

3. The Dark Ages: It was during this period that Islamic traders started developing the profession and selling became a primary source of economic growth. A salesperson/merchant was considered a contributing member of the society.

4. The Middle Ages: Selling evolved as a career choice and people took this option for quick success. However, it was also realized that a career of the travelling salesman was not a pious existence.

5. The Renaissance: The salesman assumed different roles; auctioneer, trader, lecturer and even entertainer. He was considered wise and powerful people invested in his wisdom to increase their own treasuries. During this period of commercial re-awakening, merchant markets and fairs provided a fertile ground for the selling profession to grow further.

6. The Modern Age: Beginning of 18th century, a retail system started forming and technological inventions were taking shape. To complement these developments, advancement on sales practices was an important driver. Josiah Wedgewood, a Potter, can be considered one of the leading businessman in that era who implemented the idea of market expansion and coverage and served his markets by getting his ‘salesmen out on the road’. His use of company salesmen to execute his marketing plan including creative promotion was remarkable. He first coined this idea that distribution would be best serviced by the captive agents of the firm. Also, development in transportation and communication technology helped in realizing the idea of a fully integrated sales force. These developments in transportation and communication made salespeople more efficient.

Therefore, the evolution of sales profession provided a solid foundation for the development of the marketing paradigms in the 20th century. It is important to understand the linkage of marketing thought development and further evolution of sales profession in 20th century and beyond. Let’s take a closer look.
1. The Transactional Paradigm: Selling continued to be dominated by the idea of a transaction; a seller and a buyer and hence the exchange. A large part of 20th century, a salesperson job continued to be a ‘peddler’; to sell and manage inventory. Yes, the sales organizations crafted the selling job in a way that required salespeople to manage customer demand through a distribution channel network. In industrial selling, salespeople mostly handled customer enquiries, gave a demonstration and collect the order. (Many organizations did not have a sales function; they called it commercial department)

2. The Relationship Paradigm: By the end of 20th century, marketing scholars started building the concept of relationship marketing and that had a major impact on the way companies would look at their salespeople. A big change that took place was in terms of the value of a salesperson. Since customer relationships became the key driver for sales growth, salespeople were on the front of relationship building efforts. Again, a technological advancement in term of computing software made the idea of CRM operationally efficient. Now, salespeople were much more informed about their customer and they could customize their selling strategy to be more effective. Salesforce effectiveness became the buzz word.

3. The Value Paradigm: As we entered the 21st century, marketers emphasized that the sustainable relationship with customers is possible only if we understand customer value and deliver it to them. This had huge positive implications for the profession of selling. (a) Salespeople started appreciating the idea of customer value creation and that made them customer oriented. They started following the customers’ benefit schema and designed their sales pitch accordingly. (b) A salesperson was no longer responding to customer requirements, she was actively participating in helping the customer understand and articulate the requirements. The salesperson started doing so with the help of relevant knowledge delivery. (c) The notion of a salesperson as a ‘Value Merchant’ started gathering more strength, as more and more companies treated their salespeople as ‘knowledge brokers’ to get more customer insights that would help them to design market offerings. (d) This brought more prestige, accountability and integrity in a salesperson’s job. (I wish to exclude exceptions to unethical practices by few companies. Salespeople did not fail, sales strategy did!)

With this understanding of the evolution of a salesperson’s profession, I go back to my experience with the salesperson I met at Himalaya opticals. As a salesperson, he was taking full responsibility for the value that I was looking for. With his experience, he could make out that I was looking for something that was comfortable to wear and he must have noted that I was not looking at the MRP. Therefore, he possibly and rightly so took me as someone who could pay a higher price for a better frame. Hence the advice: come back on Friday, we are getting fresh stock. And to ensure that I come back, he said with confidence: “You will get what you are looking for and I will work out the best deal for you”. Am I going back to the store? You bet!

The Consumption behavior of Politics Consumers: View Through the Marketing Lens

Post Gujrat elections, rims of newsprint, hours of primetime news and thousands of pages of social media are abuzz with multiple views on the winners and losers of the elections. Despite different undertones of the opinions colored by political affiliations, identity inclinations and EVM scare, there exists a common underlying theme; the real winner of the election was the voter, the consumer of the Indian politics. Possibly, the last time that the voters (consumers, here on) swayed on a ‘wave’ was during the elections that followed the end of Indira Gandhi era. Since then, Indian voters have evolved in their approach to voting decisions (read political consumption). Voters are seemingly making a shift from being an automatic thinker to becoming a rational thinker (effortful thinking) while making their choices. If one scans through the results of the recent Gujrat elections, it would be difficult to miss this shift. With so much of noise around the GST by the opposition parties and general anti-GST sentiments among traders, the results of Surat constituencies threw a pleasant/nasty surprise. Through their majority votes, the traders almost approved the reform initiated through GST. Anyone would have guessed that ‘automatic response’ from these voters will be against the BJP, however it turned out to be in favor of the BJP. Clearly, the consumers of political parties (read voters) did some effortful thinking when it came to exercise their choice.
Daniel Kahneman, in his book, Thinking Fast and Slow, describes two systems of thinking; system 1 that operates quickly and automatically without much effort, and system 2 that allocates attention and effort to think through complexities. Possibly, when voters in Gujrat were confronted with the choice of voting for a party, a large majority applied system 2 thinking. Therefore, when they evaluated GST impact, they possibly traded off through the short-term pain and long-term gains; when they considered reservation, religion, identity, corruption and development, their placed more weightage on development and corruption free ideas. Therefore,

Point No.1: Consumers of political parties are moving to system 2 thinking.

This brings us to the core marketing issue; to understand the mechanism that shapes consumer (voter) preferences and choices. My argument here is as follows; as much in marketing of any product or service or a combination of the two, understanding of consumer choices is equally critical in political marketing. The marketing as applied in elections must move beyond managing communication and image of the political parties and leaders. It must take a customer (voter) centric view. A political promise (if we consider that as a product) is a combination of two or several issues that concerns the consumers such as; job reservations, agriculture reforms, economic development, corruption etc. to name a few. Most of the time, communication focusses on one or two such issues whereas the consumers consider multiple issues in different measures and try to figure out the best combination for her choice. This is like a high involvement purchase situation where a consumer may trade off a shorter warranty period for a lower price being offered by a seller, or a consumer may pay a higher price for a machine for a longer service contract, in this case making a trade-off for long-term value. If you ever wondered that why the voters ignore the ‘Hindutva’ label associated with BJP and still vote for it, the answer lies in the trading off mechanism that puts extreme values on development and trust in the leadership. Same goes with demonetization and GST. Consumers trade off the short-term pains with the long term expected gains. Therefore;

Pont No.2: If you want to decode system 2 thinking of the voters, mine into their trade off mechanism and learn to manipulate that.

Clearly, the way forward is to get close to the consumers. Understanding consumer’s choice designs across consumer segments may turn out to be a great enabler. It’s time to think about voting as a high involvement shopping decision and marketers (politicians and their parties) should tune in to their target segments and understand what is not being said. As a Gujrati friend quipped post-election results: Voters are a thinking lot, BJP ko dara diya, congress ko hara diya (They scared the BJP and made congress lose the elections).

Win-Win is certainly an outcome of  system 2 thinking!

Driving SMEs growth through marketing analytics:An illustration

The advent of technology and its application to make industries more efficient and profitable is an integral strategic component of the overall industrial growth plan globally. Technology has helped organizations leverage their strengths and achieve scale and growth. The poultry industry has transformed itself through the infusion of technology that has resulted in new products, processes and more significantly, it’s ability to explore new frontiers of business such as putting eggs and chicken into superfood category. Undoubtedly, the poultry industry is on the cusp of a big change and therefore, the firms need to assess their readiness to embrace new realities that would drive the business. One such reality is that we are ushering in a digital era. The digital revolution is not merely about doing things on a digital platform, it is more about consumption, communication, advocacy and our ability to understand our customers better. Firms have access to more information that is organized, updated and stored for current and future usage. This provides the poultry industry a great opportunity to make a strategic shift; technology in its traditional avatar was more inward-looking and now in its digital form enables firms to have an outside-in approach to business. This approach that essentially puts marketing at the forefront and customers at the core of the business, is about using the information to answer key questions such as:

  • What are the new opportunities to serve our existing customers?
  • How do we reach out to new customer segments?
  • What type of product variants would find more preference in our chosen customer segments?
  • How do we optimize our reach to the customer segments?
  • Which form of communication works best for my customers?

A firm that markets to other firms in the poultry industry(B2B) or a firm that markets to consumers(B2C), the key business imperative is to ask the right question and find answers by deploying data analytics. Insights emerging from such investigations could then serve as a beacon for thinking innovative ways to build cutting-edge marketing capabilities. For example, many hatcheries in Delhi-NCR region has started marketing eggs through an established channel of grocery stores, online as well offline. A careful analysis of product offering would reveal that the variants of eggs are just two ; white and brown. As a marketer, these firms would benefit a lot if they were to consider choice analytics to understand consumer preferences. Consumers might be looking at different benefits which might include low-calorie eggs, low cholesterol eggs or high protein content eggs. Clearly, their willingness to pay different and higher price for their preference would mean more margins for the marketer. The consumers might also be looking at eggs with longer storage life that would increase convenience and minimise wastage. Therefore, this could be a great idea to deploy choice analytics ( Conjoint tools such as choice based conjoint ) and develop understanding on the combination of benefits that different types of consumers are looking for and are willing to pay for the value.

Yes, different types of customers! This is all about looking at the market with a dissection tool that slices the market into few homogeneous groups of consumers which are termed as market segments. Segmenting the market is a base level strategic decision but it is one of the most crucial call a firm needs to take. Therefore, three questions must be asked:

  • What constitutes the market?
  • In what meaningful ways the market can be partitioned into segments?
  • Which segment(s) do we want to target?

In absence of such a strategic direction, a poultry marketer would continue to market similar eggs to all customers(continuing with the same example) and make profits. However, it would certainly miss the bigger picture that contains the seeds of new market opportunities and presents opportunities for maximising value by making segment specific offerings. This also enables the marketer to define his business. In this example, is the firm in the business of eggs, business of food, or, it is in the business of providing superior nutrition. Firms can answer and address such strategic imperatives by examining their markets at a broad level and then can deploy customer analytics to partition the market and define customer segments in a more meaningful and profitable way.

In the context of firms that are engaged in marketing products to other firms in poultry industry(B2B), application of marketing analytics can yield huge dividends. Consider a firm in the business of producing and marketing feed to other poultry firms. Considering the challenges of storing feed is complex and daunting, the best possible scenario would be to minimize the warehousing and inventory cost. Demand forecasting tools such as predictive models based on industry consumption pattern and individual firm’s market share can accrue huge cost savings and better customer service. Such models can guide the firms into building efficient supply chain capabilities and turn in better profits.

Another big opportunity for poultry product marketers is in the form of going ‘direct-to-customer’ model. While most of the firms are reaching out to their consumers through the various distribution channel, a clear opportunity to build a direct network is a possibility considering the fast evolution of delivery companies. Firms can market different poultry products ( processed ones included ) to their customers using technology platforms and leverage these through digital marketing. There are examples galore wherein related products such as Cow’s milk-producing firms are using smart technology to build such milk brands. Therefore, one wonders if a firm can deliver chicken to customers guaranteeing hygiene and great value for money. Expand this idea a little more and one start thinking of creating chicken brands, variants, and exotic poultry meat.

Overall, it’s a great time to be in this business if firms can develop a sharper sense of consumer behavior and understand consumer preferences clearly. Therefore, poultry firms need to build capacity for market insights mining and work on identifying opportunities that can be harnessed through technology and data analytics. A firm’s size does not matter, firm’s intention and ambition to grow bigger does matter a lot. Tune in to marketing analytics to drive growth in your firm and in the poultry industry.