February 26, 2017

Harvard Businness Review - 10 Must Reads 2015 - Information and Interesting Points

This collection includes:

"Beware the Next Big Thing," by Julian Birkinshaw;

"The Capitalist's Dilemma," by Clayton M. Christensen and Derek Van Bever;

"The Focused Leader," by Daniel Goleman;

"The Big Lie of Strategic Planning," by Roger L. Martin;

"Contextual Intelligence," by Tarun Khanna;

"How Netflix Reinvented HR," by Patty McCord;

"Blue Ocean Leadership," by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne;

"The Ultimate Marketing Machine," by Marc de Swaan Arons, Frank van den Driest, and Keith Weed;

"Your Scarcest Resource," by Michael Mankins, Chris Brahm, and Gregory Caimi;

"How Google Sold Its Engineers on Management," by David A. Garvin;

"21st-Century Talent Spotting," by Claudio Fernandez-Araoz.


February 24, 2017

Marketing Research, Market Research and Market Intelligence

Marketing Intelligence - Introduction

If an individual or firm has an interesting product or service idea for offering to market, how will they know whether people like it and want to buy it? If they are willing to buy it, what price are they willing to pay? What quantity they will buy? Marketing research, an activity of marketing, will provide answers to these questions. Marketing research is the process of collecting, analyzing, and reporting marketing information that can be used to answer questions or solve problems so as to improve a company’s top line, sales revenue.  Marketing research includes a wide range of activities of enquiry related to marketing questions. Market research is a narrower activity. Market research is the process of researching a specific market to determine its size and trends.

The many marketing questions that marketing research can help to answers include the issues related to:

Developing product ideas and designs
Determining if there is demand for a product to decide whether or not to produce it
Identifying market segments for a  product
Making pricing decisions
Evaluating packaging types
Evaluating in-store promotions
Measuring the satisfaction of customers
Measuring the satisfaction of channel partners
Evaluating the effectiveness of the Web site
Testing the effectiveness of ads and their placement
Making marketing channel decisions

Market Intelligence

Market intelligence is also an important marketing research activity and is often referred to as competitive intelligence. Marketing research is generally commissioned to solve a specific marketing problem at a specific point in time as a project. Market intelligence involves gathering information on a regular, ongoing basis to stay in touch with what’s happening in the marketplace related to company's offering.

Marketing Research and Market Demand Forecasting


February 23, 2017

Marketing Research and Market Demand Forecasting

Marketing Management Revision Article Series

Marketing Information System

Every marketing department has to put in place marketing information system.

Marketing information system consists of people, equipment, and procedures to gather, sort, analyze, evaluate, and distribute needed, timely and accurate information to marketing decision makers. (Kotler)

Internal records on orders, sales, prices, inventory levels, receivables, payables etc. are part of the marketing information system and they have to be organized for providing information to marketing personnel. The internal records provide information about the actual results.

Marketing Intelligence System

Marketing intelligence system is a set of procedures and sources used by marketers to obtain every day information about pertinent developments in the marketing environment (Kotler)

Marketing intelligence focuses on current happenings.

Marketing Research System

Marketing research is formal study of future opportunities and current problems.

Kotler's definition of marketing research:
"Marketing research is the systematic design, collection, analysis, and reporting of data and findings relevant to a specific marketing situation facing the company.

Kotler emphasised market research, research into a particular market is only one component of marketing research activities. Kotler gave as illustration of marketing research product-preference test, sales forecast by region and advertising evaluation.

John Tanner and Mary Anne Raymond (chap. 10) list more applications of marketing research.

Developing product ideas and designs
Determining if there is demand for a product
Identifying market segments for the product
Pricing preferences of customers
Evaluating packaging types
Marketing channel preferences
Evaluating in-store promotions
Measuring the satisfaction of  customers
Evaluating the effectiveness of the Web site
Testing the effectiveness of ads and their placement
Measuring the satisfaction of  channel partners

The Marketing Research Process

Five steps are involved in marketing research

1. Defining the problem and research objectives

The starting for research is the research problem and its objectives. The marketing manager sponsoring the research and the marketing researcher have to agree on them. Kotler explained this step using the example of a proposal to provide phone call facility to airline passengers. The telecommunication company indicated that cost will be $1000 for flight. So an initial idea was that the call can be charged at $25 and around 40 persons using the service would result in breakeven. But when the research question or problem was finalized, the issue was broadened to give a wider scope to the issue. The problem was stated as "Will offering an in-flight phone service create enough incremental preference and profit for American Airlines to justify its cost against other possible investments that American might make?"

Further more detailed questions were the following:
1. What are the main reasons that airline passengers need to make phone calls while flying?
2. What category of passengers are likely to make most phone calls?
3. How many phone calls will be made at different price levels?
4. Will more passengers travel by the Airline due to this service?
5. How much good will will be earned by the Airline by becoming the first airline to provide this service?
6. How important is phone service provision in relation to improving flight schedules, food quality and baggage handling.

Thus the questions are very specific in this example of research study. But in every research study, such specific questions may not be possible.

Some research can be exploratory. In exploratory research preliminary data is gathered to shed light on the nature of the marketing situation. (At this stage the research has no prior guidance or knowledge of the phenomenon either through internal information or through external information) Research projects can also be descriptive. In this type of study, magnitudes can be estimated. How many persons will you a particular product? (To estimate magnitudes, first based on exploratory research, relevant variables which are to be measured have to be decided. Then scales or measuring instruments for measuring them have to be developed). Research studies can also find cause-effect relations which investigate the response of people to certain actions given as stimulus. Marketers are interested to know the response of users to increased advertisement, sales promotion etc.

2. Developing the research
Research plan development includes decisions on data sources, research approaches, research instruments, sampling plan and contact methods.

Data Sources: For answering some research questions, secondary data may be available. If secondary data is not available primary data is to be gathered. Gathering primary data will result in higher expenses.

Research Approaches: Observation, Focus group discussion, Surveys, Behavioral data, and Experiments.

Behavioral research is based on store buying data linked to various socioeconomic data. This gives the behavior people classified into various clusters.

In experiments, various stimuli  in terms of advertisement, sales promotion, packaging can be tried on experimental groups and control groups and the difference in behavior can be observed to answer the research questions.

Research Instruments:  Questionnaires, Qualitative Measures, Technological Devices

Sampling Plan

Sampling Unit and Sampling Frame

Sample Size

Sampling Procedure: Normally random samples are preferred as we get error estimates.

Contact Methods: Mail contacts, Telephone contacts, Personal contacts, Online contacts,

3. Collection of the information
Data is collected using the instruments developed for the project.

4. Analysis of the information
The information is tabulated and measures that give the desired answer are calculated.

5. Presentation of the findings.
The research report is to be prepared for circulation to various decision makers.

In the fifteenth edition, Kotler and Keller, the marketing research question is slightly changed to reflect the current prices of providing internet services. The answer was provided that at $25 per the trip 5 persons will use the wi-fi service and at $15, six will use the service. Therefore, pricing the service at $25 is advisable. Per service, the revenue is $125. We can calculate the annual revenue by multiplying by number of days the service is offered in a year.

6. Make a Decision

The Characteristics of Good Marketing Research

Kotler listed seven characteristics

1. Research creativity
Research is done to help in marketing decision making. Right from defining the objective of research to the submission of the report, effort has to be made by people involved, to come out with ideas that would help the firm in a significant way. Creativity means generation of number of alternatives so that the best way of doing a project or task of a project is selected and pursued.

2. Scientific method

3. Multiple methods: Business decisions involve expenditures to get expected profits. Using multiple methods to confirm a finding is preferred rather than stopping with a method that gives a positive answer.

4. Interdependence of models and data: The model chosen for doing the research determines the data to be collected based on the concepts involved in the model.

5. Value and cost of information: Marketing researchers have to understand the value of the information and come out with designs that cost less than the value of the information.

6. Healthy skepticism: Researchers should not accept opinions and conclusions made by marketers about the marketing issues and have to develop research studies that test these opinions and conclusions. This is healthy skepticism.

7. Ethical marketing: Good marketing research has to benefit both the sponsoring company and consumers. Self serving research studies increase consumer resentment. Marketing research companies have to develop unbiased approach to doing marketing research studies.

Updated 26 February 2017,  15 Jan 2015, 10.12.2012

Market Segmentation and Selection of Target Segments

Marketing Management Revision Article Series

Buyers for a generic product constitute a market. Market can be segmented in a number of ways.

Target Market

Buyers for a generic product constitute a market. But different buyers may have different preferences for attributes of a generic product. A marketer may have to focus on a particular group of potential buyers for a product with specific attributes. This focus is termed as targeting. Market segmentation is the effort to isolate groups of potential buyers having similar preferences for attributes of a product. Instead of mass marketing a single product, segmented marketing is done at four levels: segments, niches, local areas and individuals.

Targeted marketing also referred to as differentiated marketing. It means that the firm  may differentiate some aspect of marketing (offering, promotion, price) for different groups of customers selected. Mass marketing, or undifferentiated marketing involves selling the same product to everybody. Automaker Henry Ford was very successful at mass production and mass marketing. Ford pioneered the  assembly line early in the twentieth century, which helped him to produce large number of identical Model T automobiles and allowed him to realize cost reduction year after year. They came in only one color: black. “Any customer can have a car painted any color he wants, so long as it is black,” Ford used to joke. The affordable Ford car, was bought by large number of Amercians.By 1918, half of all cars on America’s roads were Model Ts.

Then Alfred P. Sloan, the head of General Motors (GM) changed the game. Sloan began to segment consumers in the automobile market—and find the prices different groups of customers wanted to pay and the different cars they wanted to buy. The idea was to offer different car for every target market as per their desires. His efforts were successful, Ford had problems and in the 1950s, GM overtook Ford as the nation’s top automaker.

Markets can be segmented in a number of ways.

Market Segmentation

Two broad groups of variables are used to segment consumer markets. One group of variables is consumer characteristics. The other group of variables is behavioral characteristics. Behavior is consumer response in terms of  benefits sought or  occasions when the product is used.

Consumer characteristics used for market segmentation include geographic, demographic and psychographic characteristics.

Geographic segmentation

Geographic segmentation divides the market into different geographic units such as nations, states, regions, cities and neighbor hood etc.

Demographic segmentation

In this segmentation approach, the market is divided into groups on the basis of variables such as age, family size, family life cycle, gender, income, occupation, education, religion, race, generation, nationality, or social class.

Psychographic segmentation

In this approach to segmentation, buyers are divided into different groups on the basis of lifestyle and/or personality.


Active lifestyle, country lifestyle, latenighters etc. are some of the segments under this classification


Markets are being segmented on the basis of personality. Personality is a group of traits exhibited persistently by a person. For example, Ford buyers were identified as independent, impulsive, masculine, alert to change, and self confident, while Chevrolet owners were conservative, thrifty, prestige conscious, less masculine, and seeking to avoid extremes.

Behavioral segmentation

In this approach buyers are classified into groups on the basis of their knowledge of, attitude toward, use of, or response to a product. Some behavioral variables can be usage rate, readiness for buying the product, attitude toward the product, loyalty to the product, and occasions on which the product is used etc.

Multi-attribute segmentation (Geoclustering)

Some marketers are using multiple variables to define target groups. For example using socioeconomic status and lifestyle variables may be combined and market segmentation is done.

Effective Segmentation

To be useful, market segments identified in a segmentation exercise have to be:
  • Differentiable: the segments must have a conceptual basis and they have to respond differently to different marketing mix variable and attribute mix of the product.
  • Measurable: The size and purchasing power of the segments have to be measurable.
  • Substantial: The segments have  to be large enough to serve them with a separate market mix profitably.
  • Accessible: The segments must be accessible to the marketer.
  • Actionable: The company in consideration must be able to create marketing programs for the segments.

Market Targeting

After the doing the market segmentation, the firm has to evaluate the segments for their market potential. Then the company has to decide which and how many segments to serve and how to serve them. The decision alternatives available to the firm are:

Single segment concentration

In the simplest case, the company selects a single segment.

Selective specialization

The firm selects a number of segments, each objectively attractive and appropriate, for the firms objectives and resources. There may be little or no synergy among the segments, but each segment is a money maker on its own.

Full market cover

The firm may attempt to serve all customer groups

Philip Kotler, Marketing Management , Ninth Edition (Main text for revision articles)


Migration from Knol

Marketing articles are available under the label http://nraomtr.blogspot.com/search/label/Marketing%20Management
Article on differentiating and positioning http://nraomtr.blogspot.com/2011/11/marketing-strategy-differentiating-and.html

Planned Revision schedule for marketing chapters is in February and March

Originally posted by me in Knol

Updated 26 February 2017, 3 December 2011 (First posted in the blog)

February 2, 2017

Summary - Principles - Organizing

Principles in Relation to Purpose

Principle of unity of objectives

An organization structure is effective if it as a whole, and every part of it, make possible accomplishment of individuals in contributing toward the attainment of enterprise objectives.

Modified to bring in things into the principle

An organization structure is effective if it as a whole, and every part of it, make possible accomplishment of individuals (in combination with things given to him for operating and utilizing) in contributing toward the attainment of enterprise objectives.

Principle of efficiency

An organization or organization structure is efficient if it is structured to make possible accomplishment of enterprise objectives by people with minimum unsought consequences or costs.

Modified to bring in things into the principle

An organization or organization structure is efficient if it is structured to make possible accomplishment of enterprise objectives by people (and things given to them to utilize) with minimum unsought consequences or costs.

Principles Related to the Cause of Organizing

Span of management Principle

There is a limit at each managerial position on the number of persons an individual can effectively manage. But this number is not a fixed number and it will vary in accordance with underlying variables of the situation.

Modified to bring in things into the principle

There is a limit at each operating position on the number of machines or equipments an individual can effectively operate. But this number is not a fixed number and it will vary in accordance with underlying variables of the situation (Japanese managers increased the number of machines to even 100 and ultimately into fully automated production systems requiring zero operating personnel).

Principles in Developing the Structure of Organization

The scalar Principle

The more clear the line of authority from the ultimate authority for management in an enterprise (CEO) to every subordinate position, the more effective will be decision making and organization communication at various levels in the organization.

Principle of delegation

Authority is a tool for managing to contribute to enterprise objectives. Hence authority delegated to an individual manager should be adequate to assure his ability to accomplish results expected of him.

Principle of responsibility

The responsibility of the subordinate to his superior for authority received by delegation is absolute, and no superior can escape responsibility for the activities of his subordinate to whom he in turn has delegated authority.

Principle of parity of authority and responsibility

The responsibility exacted for actions taken under authority delegated cannot be greater than that implied by the authority delegated, nor should it be less.

Principle of unity of command

The more completely an individual has a reporting relationship to a single superior, the less the problem of conflict in instructions and the greater the feeling of personal responsibility.

The authority level Principle

Maintenance of authority delegation requires that decisions within the authority competence of an individual manager be made by him and not be referred upward in the organization.

Principles in Departmentizing Activities

Principle of division of work

The better an organization structure reflects a classification of the tasks and activities required for achievement of objectives and assists their coordination through creating a system of interrelated roles; and the more these roles are designed to fit the capabilities and motivations of people available to fill them, the more effective and efficient an organization structure will be.

Principle of functional definition

The more a position or a department has clear definition of results expected, activities to be undertaken, organization authority delegated, and authority and informational relationships with other positions, the more adequately individual responsible can contribute toward accomplishing enterprise objectives.

Principle of separation

If an activity is designed to be a check on the activities of another department, the individual charged with such activity cannot adequately discharge his responsibility if he reports to the department whose activity he is expected to evaluate.

Principles in the Process of organizing

Principle of balance

The application of principles or techniques must be balanced in the light of the over-all effectiveness of the structure in meeting enterprise objectives.

Principle of flexibility

The task of managers is to provide for attaining objectives in the face of changing environments. The more provisions are made for building organization flexibility, the more adequately organization structure can fulfill its purpose.

Principle of leadership facilitation

The more an organization structure an authority delegations within it make possible for various managers to design and maintain an environment for performance, the more it will facilitate leadership abilities of managers.

Note: Principle of efficiency is there in Principles of Planning also.

Review Articles on Steps in Organizing

The Nature of Organizing - Review Notes
Departmentation in Organizations - Review Notes
Line-Staff Authority and Decentralization - Review Notes
Effective Organizing and Organizational Culture - Review Notes


Harold Koontz and Cyril O’Donnell, Principles of Management: An Analysis of Managerial Functions, 4th Ed., McGraw-Hill, New York, 1968

Harold Koontz and Cyril O’Donnell, Principles of Management: An Analysis of Managerial Functions, 2nd Ed., McGraw-Hill, New York, 1959

Updated  4 February 2017,  5 Jan 2015,  7.12.2012

Revision of Principles of Management in January Revision Plan.

MBA Core Management Knowledge - One Year Revision Schedule

February 1, 2017

Societal Direction System - Yehezkel Dror

According to Yehezkel Dror, knowledge in the area of societal direction system is scarce.

Google Book Link as Reference

One full article of Yehezkel Dror

Also visit page 25 of this book



Pubic Policy Making Reexamined - Yehezkel Dror - Google Book Link

Thoughts of various thinkers in the area of public administration summarized


First posted on 2 February 2017.