Skip to main content


“Customers are selfish and cruel” – this is what I personally believe in. I do not blame them. They have the rights to be selfish. It is their hard-earned money that keeps the companies alive. Every company serves a certain group people and/or market. Markets are ever changing. What is considered as a value added service today, maybe considered as the obvious part of the product tomorrow. So, I was just wondering, who defines the market for the companies. Who instigates all these changes? Who pushes the companies become more innovative? Is it the company itself, its customers or the competitors?

I was having a discussion with one of my colleagues lately. He is senior to me in terms of age and industry experiences. According to him, it should be “you”. How can he be wrong? It is the company/brand that takes all the risks. Any industry that you want to pick, the competition is severe. The power is no longer with the companies; it is with the customers. They have more options, more access to information and more purchasing power. Therefore, it is a tremendous and continuous pressure for the companies to find out the ways to satisfy their demands, figure out the business feasibility and finally introducing a solution/product. But it was never easy. Companies need to adjust their capabilities with the things customers ask for. And in some cases, companies need to look for the things that haven’t mentioned about (in marketing term, we call it latent demand). There is a saying “Do not listen to your customers. Because, they do not know what they really want.” One of the greatest CEOs of the world Steve Jobs used to believe in the same philosophy. This philosophy never says that you ignore your customers’, rather it puts the companies into a more responsible position. It is the responsibility of the companies to offer new and upgraded solutions. No customer asked for portable digital music player. But it was Apple who introduced the player through iPod series. Please note this carefully, the need for portable music player was already there. Apple simply upgraded the music system into portable digital format and thus created the demand. Periodic brand and product audits, monitor the efficiency of supply/distribution chains, review pricing strategies, design communication strategies, etc are some of the tools that help realize the demands better. There are three ‘L’s to be innovative and creative in the market. And these are Look, Learn and Leverage. Look refers to research & development, learn refers to the insights and leverage refers to actions that need in place to implement better. It’s a cycle of process that should never end.

However, it is not always possible for the companies to know everything. Companies are not gods. Lab tests might not always give these companies the precise user experiences. Besides, companies and customers try a new product with two different sets of motives (ignoring other related costs). Therefore, the results cannot be the same. The point I am trying to establish here is that, the customers also play a major role in reshaping the business models as well as the markets. For example, if the customers love to have more pickles with their meals, there is no other way than to provide more pickles; as simple as that. You cannot replace the need of “extra pickle” by offering more sauce or anything else. Many companies are spending huge amount for extensive market research, focused group studies, one-to-one discussions, etc just to the get the key insight. Yes, it is possible to change the tastes of the customers. But you cannot do it overnight and more importantly it will involve more costs, efforts and risks. Do not get me wrong; I am not against it. Many marketers successfully did it in the past and I do appreciate that. But what I mean here is that it is not always the right thing to do. Coca-cola is one of the top brands of the world. I hope many of you can recall the epic failure of Vanilla Coke. Not just coca-cola, there are dozens of business cases where some giant companies failed to change the tastes.

And how can I not mention about the competitors. Many of us might not consider competitors as the driving force. But I do. Let me give you an example. Have you seen the demo of the new iOS 7? Check again. Apple admitted that iOS 7 is not like the previous iOS. It is the whole new iOS in terms of presentation and performance. Why? Apple is gradually losing its market share to a Korean giant ‘Samsung’. Anything that Samsung offers is appreciated by the customers. So, finally Apple had to consider changing the look and feel of its iOS. Nokia on the other hand introduced Asha series to tackle the Chinese brands. Consider any FMCG, Telecom or Financial brand. You will feel the similar heat. Companies are challenged every day for almost everything by its competitors no matter which industry they are in.

Bottom-line: Marketing is not a pure science; it is rather a social science. Hence, there is no universal or straightforward solution to the problems. Problems are situation, geography, target audience, industry, etc dependent. As a matter of fact, every problem is unique to some extent. We cannot say exactly why a specific market did not respond to a specific product. In the same way, it is not just the company or the customer or the competitor changing the market; it is rather the combination of all three. Every successful product is insight driven/derived. And the insights mostly come from these three groups. The intensity may differ from case to case, but the direct and/or indirect influences cannot be overlooked.


Popular posts from this blog


Once again, I’m not a social media marketing expert and I don't pretend to be one. My social media marketing knowledge is limited to the things I learn everyday by observation. Many of you have already gone through my previous blog namely, ‘Marketing in a Digital Space’. Those who didn’t get the chance to go through; don’t sweat. You may read it from the link below:
That article was about the principles of promotion when you are in digital space. It mostly tells you about “going digital and acting normal”. At the final paragraph, I mentioned that we should put more and more WOW elements in social media to be successful. There were other points as well. But this is the toughest and most important of all.

Very recently I have conducted an experiment. Let me give you the background first. I have almost 700+ friends and 1K+ followers on my Facebook. My posts are usually pretty boring and hence very few…


Interviewer to a candidate, “Do you have any leadership quality?” The candidate replied, “I believe so. I have 87 followers on Facebook.”
I think this joke clearly illustrates how digitization has impacted our everyday lives. One of the things we do first in the morning is to check our mobile phone’s notification bar. While working, eating, even in a close social gathering, we tend to check our mobile phones repeatedly. ‘What did I miss? What did I miss?’. Moreover, we tend to easily believe what we see in social media, especially, on Facebook. We rarely check the authenticity of the news or content. Why? It is because 1.2K people that I don’t even know and 54 people from my circle (maybe) liked the post. Strange! Yes, this is an alarming scenario.
One of the commonly and frequently used IMC (integrated marketing communication) terms is 360 degree marketing approach. Yes, 360 means using all possible communication channels at once to push certain message(s). Good idea. And I’m not agai…


That day, I was going through an article which says that 38% of US adults use ad-blockers in their mobile phones and 0.35% average display ad click-through rate. Furthermore, Havas Media Group UK has already frozen spending on Google and YouTube. Another research shows that general visitors of different webpages (in desktop version) cannot recall any brand/communication/contents that are placed in the right side of the website. Can you imagine this? So, what are the ways to overcome this? Many advertisers these days are coming up with some phenomenon infotainments, infographics, interactive contents, etc. through different media channels (both conventional and social media) to keep their customers engaged. But how successful they are?
I don’t consider myself as a creative person. Moreover, the marketing knowledge I have is the very basic. So, pardon me if I sound loud to you. In case of developing a creative/ad, I personally follow a simple theory. Trust me, it helps a lot. The theory …