Monday, March 30, 2009

Emotions rule!!

While reading an article, i came across this fantastic quote –
'Rational Marketer - Irrational Consumer'
How true!! A marketer always thinks he is completely rational in introducing new policies, or launching a particular range of products, or any marketing strategy at all. But when that strategy fails or is not yielding; the marketer thinks i was damn rational, i have every possible reason that justify my approach and my plan of action - but still it did not work out the way i wanted to.

He feels that the consumer is utterly irrational. The strategist is unable to comprehend why his strategies failed?

If we try to dig out for the core reason, it comes out to be - Emotional involvement and attachment of the customer towards ‘unthinkable/unexplored’ something. This is an aspect never touched upon by the failed strategists. They need to understand that customers are driven by emotions, and so should their policies.

When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bustling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity. --Dale Carnegie

The USP of a chief strategist should revolve around emotional understanding of the masses. To substantiate this fact, i would like to throw light on some rules for all those well-learned marketing strategists:
  1. Target customer - Any strategist should have a very clear picture of his target customers. You can't bring in a product directly into the market and expect a positive response. The strategist should be aware of the customers who are expected to buy or show interest in the product.
  2. Show it all - Throw light on the USPs of your product. Though it is applicable everywhere, it is particularly observed in the tech sector; take for instance the mobile market. It is solely driven by - The more you show the more you can sell principle. Prerequisites - Your product ought to have all those claimed features.
  3. Create an image - There are companies that do a lot to create an unmatchable positive image in the minds of not only potential customers but also non-potential customers. This point appears to be contradicting the first point, but actually it complements the first one. It requires you to identify target customers and also people who may influence the target customers or might become customers in future.
    For instance, not everyone can buy a BMW, but the image it has developed over the period of time - aids in creating a positive feeling towards it. My Boss asks my opinion about a new car and i suggest why not go for BMWs XYZ model, it is fantastic. Why i suggested BMW? All because of the image it has in my mind.
    Here i would also like to mention Bose - world's most renowned stereo company. They have a fantastic marketing strategy. You go to a BOSE store and they are so willing to show you their product. You are sure in your mind that you can't buy the costly stuff, the sales guy may also be sure that you won't buy this product. But after a display of the product, the respect BOSE gets from you suffice the BMW example.
    And also very important to note here - In future, i may become a potential buyer of any of the above two - BOSE or BMW, hence the foresighted marketing strategy fits perfectly.
  4. Show care and respect for your customer and never take them for granted. No need to elaborate on this one i guess.
  5. Proper availability and providing options: Instead of your competitor cashing in on some new option or choice, why not you go for it? Provide as many options to the customers; supply products in various sizes, shapes and prices. Many a times it happens that the customer is willing to try a new or an improved product but can not find it in the market. This is very bad; the advertising cost incurred upon you actually is doing no good for you instead it is demeaning your name (brand).
    An Rs.800 shampoo bottle would be unimaginable for a middle class woman but why not provide her with a Rs.15 sachet for one wash.

I have deliberately not mentioned money anywhere in this article because that would lead to umpteen new facets (Agree or disagree - money is THE driving force). It is one sole reason for majority of the strategies to fail. Unless a company provides customer's money's worth, it can't stand in the market place. It may sound clichéd, but actually it is the one mantra for success of any strategy - provide 'Value for money'. A company should sincerely be concerned with the customer's money.

So, strategists don't just be a marketing expert, but also try to comprehend various intricacies of the complex emotional behavior of humans in order to get your strategies in order.

--sudharm baxi

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bitching about!!

Homo sapiens have an unbound affinity towards bitching, be it their bosses, their company or for that matter anyone or anything at all, they have an unflinching tendency to bitch around.

A major attribute deciding the sociality of a social being is his ability to bitch. The better he can bitch, the more chances he has of getting accepted in a new bunch of guys. There are bitchers all around. But mind you, if you are a hardcore bitcher, you would have no friends on this planet, because even a real bitcher hates another.

And any sane person would think if this guy foul mouths everyone, he would surely do the same for me too in my absence, and he is certainly right. So, the bitcher has no friends but a whole lot of people for passing time, for talking about things that would create no difference except strengthening his image of a true die-hard BITCHER.

In these times of recession, this habit has aggravated. Many a times, while having a coffee or just chit chatting, i end up debating with someone or the other about my boss, my company, my country and many other things, because i can't listen to people who foul mouth(an understatement for bitching) something that doesn't deserve to be.

In fact, nothing deserves to be foulmouthed, why should we talk bad about anyone at all in his absence? I know it is tough to praise someone, to appreciate someone's efforts, and it takes a lot to be a real genuine praiser (I doubt if this word even exists).

If praise can't come that easily out of your mouth, try to keep your mouth shut. It is better to stay hungry than eating shit. But one would argue for how long you can stay hungry, that limit won't be touched upon, because still there are people with half-filled glass ideology who love to pick positive, who don't really foul mouth anyone, no matter to what extent they hate them.

  • Disagreement is fully accepted, but bad mouthing those disagreements and that too not in front of those whom you disagree with, is a grave crime.
  • Life is short, not enough time for good things and still you waste it in talking shit.
  • Bad mouthing never helps anyone, it may start up a conversation, create a couple of laughs but in the long run it is unethical and surely harms the one doing it.
  • Bad mouthing never allows loyalty, accountability to thrive; you can never be loyal to your company if you foul mouth it every now and then.
  • 'Bitching' knows how to entrap the person employing it, the person never gets to know when it becomes a habit. And after that, all he does is - Bitch this bitch that, Foul mouth him foul mouth her, bad mouth country bad mouth company and nothing else.

And to be on the safer side-don't talk about people; instead talk about ideas, thoughts, processes, etc. More on this in some future post. Thanks for reading.

--sudharm baxi

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Getting into it..

Dear reader/admirer/critique/passer-by,

Apologies for the name, it may sound egoistic but in actuality it is not; just to keep the things in sync with my other blogs, i chose this name 'baximanages' (after 'baxiwrites' and 'baxireads'), so please don't criticize me of being an EGOIST.

This blog would solely be revolving around all my understandings, interpretations and derivations of all i see around. Lessons taught by life, humans, books, aberrations, scarcities, discrepancies and ofcourse gurus (esp.Osho) would be discussed here. I would like to discuss:

  • Management theories: My take on some famous theory or one of my own.
  • Management/Economic terms: I always longed for such a blog and could not find one.
  • People’s behaviors: Every individual has a distinct behavior, but still some pattern can be traced.
  • Latest international happenings: In the times of these crises, anyone would love to do that.
  • All my new reads, learnings and understandings.

I would update this list as I diversify my writings. All the articles you read on this blog are entirely my own creations unless otherwise stated. I get my thoughts moulded into words on this blog only because my writings adore the fact that different eyes are reading it.

And recently, i learnt that if an artist writes/paints/dances or does anything in order to get accolades or recognition; he is doing nothing but feeding his ego hunger, he is nurturing the ego within. And no artist can create good pieces while thinking of the bigger self.

In fact, a true artist should just perform, give his best shot, improve upon previous works and appreciate feedback from a layman to a connoisseur, from critique to fans, from haters to lovers; then eventually a time would come that he would start creating something that is flawless, that is of the order of Mozart's symphonies, Shakespeare’s plays, Van Gogh's paintings, Osho's self-discoveries and all the other divine stuff.

I leave you with the promise that I would do my best to create genuine stuff that would not only be informative but also thought-provoking.

Thanks for dropping by, i will never let you regret.
sudharm baxi

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Writing – From hot-pan walk to cake-walk

There are a variety of readers with varying tastes; they have a reading pattern of their own, some like to read the old fashioned detailed writings, while others prefer crisp and to the point writings.

A writer writes to be READ and hence he strives to improve everyday, with this thing in mind, I would like to share some points that may come handy to my fellow writers and to-be-writers who are willing to be read:
  1. Keep in mind the target audience, anyone who is going to read your writing is your audience; he is going to see you perform throughout your article.
  2. Never show off, your writing is not your attire but your attitude and hence carry it with utmost care and never ever show off.
  3. Have a clear picture of what you wish to convey, unless you are clear about the ideas you wish to share, it would be very tough for your audience to grasp the same.
  4. Never make unnecessary assumptions which would eventually alter the entire style of your writing. For instance, don’t feed in a lot of details about some basic scientific phenomena when your target audience is scientists or take it the other way round, never write so much superficially that your readers are flummoxed and are even unable to comprehend the piece.
  5. Using thesaurus is good but it is not meant to show off the language; to pick a precise word is one thing and to pick an unknown, uncommon word another.
  6. See if your ‘writing’ interests you or not, if it can not interest you, there is a very high chance that it won’t interest anyone else; I tell you a secret – NO ONE READS TO GET BORED!!
  7. If I want to get bored, I would never prefer reading over umpteen other mediums; hence never take chances and try creating a piece of work that could be anything but not BORING.
  8. Be specific, digression is good only if you know your destination, you digress and reach somewhere, which leaves not only you but also your readers confused, is unacceptable.
  9. Read your article a couple of times before actually publishing it, every time you would be beautifying your piece at least a bit.
  10. Neither feel contended nor complacent; you might have written a fantastic article but DON’T get carried away, always have the zeal to improve upon yourself, bring in consistency, bring in charm, bring in a new wave of magic in each and every article.
  11. Novelty is what we are all are looking for; bring in the variety and kill clichéd works in your article; this newness is always admired and talked about (This novelty made Aravind Adiga win Booker for The White Tiger).
  12. Experiment with your articles; never be afraid of trying something new: it may or may not be liked by one and all, but it would certainly make you much wiser.
  13. In the journey of your article writing, bring in unexpected twists, turns and sharp curves; grave and joyous picturesque sceneries for the reader to admire and then leave your article up to the reader to praise, love and cherish.

""13 points is just a matter of chance, no voodoo attempts""

Comparing writing with the culinary skill, some points garnishing this analogy are:

  • However good your dish may be, it has a scope for improvement.
  • All the best dishes in this world are a result of experimentation.
  • Same kind of the best delicacy if eaten daily can lead to monotony and hence food merely becomes a daily bread rather than a piece of art, so bring in novelty.
  • Be it a food connoisseur or your 10 year old kid, anyone can give you a tip or two to improve upon your dish, so listen to them.
  • The content is certainly important but equally important is the overview of your dish; work on the overall presentation to ensure that no one makes a decision without even tasting it.
  • Prepare food that can be digested, if the eater is required to take in something to digest it, you are to be blamed.
  • Never prepare the food without the prior knowledge of those who are going to consume it, you serve the best sea-food to a bunch of veggies and end up receiving boos and shoos.

Unless you are very clear about the target audience, you can’t create a good piece of art.

Be it
a painting, a song
a poem, a dance

give your best shot
and never miss a chance

it should be appealing enough
even in the first glance

it is a piece of your soul
and not a piercing lance

it would bridge the distances
shorten the gaps

it would narrow the lanes
put you ahead some laps

Spread magic and charm
And make the cold life lovely and warm….

So gear up authors, mould your thoughts into words and present them in a beautiful platter to be remembered and admired till eternity.

You will die but your writing won’t, it would see the times that even your last worn-out strand of DNA won’t be able to.

This post is primarily motivated by a writing project on a fantastic site ‘Confident Writing’ to improve your writing skills by Joanna. Thanks Joanna for the inspiration!!

--sudharm baxi

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Grand Indian IT brigade

India and IT are somewhat synonyms in one way or the other. India, being the leader in outsourcing (more about it later) boasts of high revenue from IT. Till 1991, India used to be a big importer. Only after a lot of amendments to the existing tacky policies, India could retrace all its past glory (YES! India used to be a lavish exporter even before the British came to India).

A lot of companies emerged and eventually flourished as a result. Companies like Infosys, TCS, WIPRO, Tech Mahindra, Satyam, Patni, LnT Infotech and umpteen other small Indian IT enterprises became the front runners amongst exporters in India.

So what exactly do they offer?

They benefit from something called as outsourcing. Now, what is outsourcing? It would be much easier to understand this strange business practice using certain analogies.

Consider a shirt making company that makes variety of shirts. Now, is it required for this company to necessarily manufacture buttons, threads, collar material and other stuff? No not at all, pertaining to various constraints they avoid manufacturing all such stuff by themselves.

So, what they do is - They outsource (out + source) such material from some industry preferably devoted to manufacturing of that particular stuff. By doing this, they can focus on their core competence instead of thinking about other mundane stuff. This practice removes the pain off the shoulders of the shirt manufacturer and let them focus on their shirts.

In IT scenario, the big organizations of US of A and European nations prefer to get their IT operations outsourced, so that they can focus on their core competency - be it Banking, Manufacturing, Marketing, Advertising, or whatever.

They could have a full fledged department for carrying out their IT operations, but in that case their focus would be diverted and also they would require a lot of skilled professionals to carry out miniscule works (Compared to their major business flows, IT is just a small section).

One more reason for not doing their IT operations themselves is – Transformation of the business knowledge into IT panorama. So vendors come into picture, these vendors provide that ‘IT competence’ for the businesses. And where are the major IT vendors based on this planet - Ofcourse India!!

Now the question arises - why India? Because we are cheaper than our western counterparts; we know their language very well and above all we have learnt the tricks of trade over the period of time. The internal competition has made us smarter and more practical.

Before presenting another analogy about this scenario let me throw light upon some of the familiar IT companies:

Oracle: the Giant Database

SAP: the ERP pioneer

SUN: java fame, open source giant

MICROSOFT: who on earth has not heard of MICROSOFT

IBM: the real hardware giant, much into software development nowadays

YAHOO: the pioneer search engine, email provider

GOOGLE: the Giant search, the API/code provider and much more

ADOBE: .pdf fame, front end beautifier (particularly with FLASH)

All of these are the driving forces of the IT. I would like to do a little more detailing with the aid of another analogy that would explain the IT scenario as a whole.

Consider all the companies mentioned above as car manufacturers. They manufacture both customizable as well as non customizable cars. They design, innovate, and refurbish these cars from time to time.

And all the Indian companies (IT VENDORS) are either drivers or mechanics or both for these cars. As IT vendors, we drive the cars manufactured by some of those WESTERN car makers, we also modify, service, maintain, beautify, manage, buy/fix accessories for the owner of the as per his needs.

Now the drivers can also be put into varying categories based on their driving styles or the kind of car they prefer to drive:

  • Some are good at driving the robust and reliable JAVA cars (INFOSYS, TECH MAHINDRA)
  • Some are good at driving and customizing the automatic SAP cars (TCS, LnT Infotech)
  • Some like to drive the legacy vintage cars (Patni)
  • Some like to do a mix of all (WIPRO)
  • Some are significantly into servicing (SATYAM- yes after all the ups and downs it is still a major player)
  • Some provide stylish chauffer driven services (MINDTREE and many other small companies)

Some prefer to drive big cars, some small; some drive petrol cars, some diesel; some drive ready-to-use automatic cars; some others modify them according to the needs of the end customer and some offer chauffer benefits. The entire-grand-Indian-vendor-brigade is like a driver to the cars manufactured by US or European companies (particularly German and English).

All of these cater myriad of customers, aiding them in various IT tasks related to various business processes and existing at various stages of the business-process-life-cycle, in brief their operations can be pointed out as:

  • they modify and customize the ERP systems as per their needs,
  • they provide support and maintenance for the existing systems,
  • they provide solutions to ease out the businesses using latest technologies
  • they help customers to migrate from an old car(some legacy system) to a new one (some new technology).

But the only thing that trips me is being a Vendor - we don’t really get into R & D and bring up new products on our own.

I am not suggesting that the driver is not important. The driver is certainly an integral part of this complete process because the customers are unwilling to drive/service the car themselves; they have to have a driver cum service guy to do all this as per their needs. But how great it would be if our own IT giants (vendors) also try their hands at some R & D and develop newer technologies for themselves to work upon.

This is not like Indians are not a lot into product building but they do all this being in one of the ’car making companies’. Most of the guys in those western companies are Indians only but not in any Indian company that could develop such new technologies.

Have a look at the ‘credits list’ of Acrobat reader:


And you will find every third name in the team is that of an Indian. So, ultimately Indians are driving everything everywhere in IT, but not the way that can help Indian companies come out of the garb of being a service provider.

The car manufacturers do listen to the drivers extensively because ultimately they are going to drive the cars and not the manufacturers or the real Customers.

But my urge to the Indian IT vendors is to spend more on R & D and develop newer technologies to cater the clients more ergonomically; provide solutions that help them in planning and creating a clearer picture of their businesses and ultimately helping them gain benefits where they actually want, that is - the BOTTOM LINE (i mean in monetary terms).

P.S.- Please put in your thoughts to provide a new direction to this debate.