16 products to start a business in Sri Lanka

Starting a business is a tempting endeavor for many people. However, when it comes to establishing a business, most people are stumped for ideas. Questions such as “What industry should I pick?”, “Can I handle the workload?” and “How do I actually start it?” will most likely be running through your mind. However, before starting any business, the key is to do some research, pick on some potentially attractive ideas that can actually bring revenue and generate interest and then focus on ways in which you can build your business.

Have the capital to get you started, but running short on business ideas? Here are 16 business ideas for you to implement in Sri Lanka.

Number One- LED Backlit car stickers

Sri Lankans love their vehicles. A great way to generate interest and therefore embark on a business is by encouraging people to use innovative LED backlit logos instead of car stickers for their vehicle windows. These backlit logos will turn on automatically when people drive at night and shut down after parking. When it’s installed, it can really shine through factory tinted windows and don’t require any touching. Because people love to support a cause or an organization with a bumper sticker, they usually display it through a car sticker. However, to take that interest to a whole new level, these innovative LED backlit logos offer a wonderful business incentive. This is presently not availabile in Sri Lanka but it’s a promising possibility with a total market size of 6,302,141. Advertising agencies, NGOs, communities, companies and individuals are ideally the target segment for this venture.


Number Two- Handsfree Umbrella

Carrying an umbrella in a stormy climate could be a nightmare sometimes. This is an interesting innovation in which you can use an umbrella without having to hold it up. It’s simply designed to be strapped to the shoulders and you could talk on your mobile phone, take you dog on a walk, carry your shopping bags and so on with perfect ease while protecting yourself from the rain and stormy winds. You can watch about its efficiency here:


Number Three- Sunbath the comfortable way

Sri Lanka is a beach-lover’s paradise and lying by the pool or the beach is extremely relaxing and most tourists love sunbathing in Sri Lankan beaches as they work on their tan. When they need to sleep face down to get some sun on the back, the position could sometimes be uncomfortable because a towel doesn’t ideally make for a good pillow.

The ideas is a pillow that is creatively designed for the beach or pool. The design of it allows you to be comfortable, regardless of whether you are lying on your back or on your side. It can go a long way in making your tanning session by the beach a perfect one. This is presently not available in Sri Lanka but it certainly has the potential to grab the attention of tourists, travelers and hotels.

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Number Four- Heavy duty cleaning wipes

If you have kids around your house, then you know that they love creating a mess. Wiping the mess left behind by kids is a daunting task and something like these Wipes could come in handy. As individually packages cleaning wipes that uses non-toxic and citrus-based cleaning agents, it can handle even heavy duty cleaning. It’s a level higher than you standard antibacterial wipes and is eco friendly as well. Its portable nature makes allows you to take it with you to garages, compartments, drawers or anywhere you may encounter a mess.

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Number Five- Creative Bobbleheads

While bobbleheads are usually figurines that are generally made as a caricature of a famous person, making custom-made bobbleheads will be a great idea. Custom-made bobbleheads can be sculpted by hand from photos given by the client and this will be a much-loved gift. There are no doubts that this idea will be incredibly popular and high in demand. Fir further details visit http://www.webobble.com


Number Six- A folding Guitar

While guitars are perfect for a road trip or to have around a campire, it’s not something that actually built for travel. Even though there are travel cases for guitars, it’s usually very inconvenient to carry it around and having it with you on public transportation could be a horrid experience. And then, there is the fear of it being stolen or damaged. However, with a foldable guitar, all these issues would be solved effortlessly. Guitarists would certainly opt for this when it comes to ease of use and its portability.

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Number Seven- Branding Grills

These are ideal for BBQ parties because you can now keep track of your steak. Additionally, using equipment like this Grills Charms is helpful when it comes to distinguishing spices, flavors, allergy issues and even temperature preferences.

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Number Eight – No more embarrassing moments

Flatulence is an issue many people face and these digestive problems can range from intolerance to lactose to Crohn’s Disease that causes gas build-up in the intestine, making flatulence extremely hard to control. This creates plenty of embarrassing social situations and with a dress designed specifically for this issue, people with frequent flatulence can feel a little more at ease.

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Number Nine- Re-invented ice cream float

This incredibly clever attachment is loaded with flavors of ice cream that screws at the top of a plastic soda bottle. This allows the fizz to mix with the ice cream and takes flavor combinations to a whole new level.

You can watch this video to get a better idea:


Number Ten- Costume makeover for your old fridge

We get tired of our old refrigerators, particularly when it’s scratched or dirty on the outside. But still can’t seem to throw it away? This is a common housewife dilemma and if your fridge is in good working order but not polished on the outside, you can give your old fridge a cosmetic makeover instead of spending thousands in buying a new one. This will certainly be a very prosperous business venture considering how many people would dearly love to make their old fridge look brand new. To get a clearer idea, you can check here: http://www.fridgefronts.com


Number Eleven- Hygienic Play-pen

Every mother wants her child to have a clean and safe place to play. Something like a playpen or a play-yard is generally the solution but usually, toddlers drool or spill on their play-pens and because it gets dirty very fast, cleaning it is hard as well. So what’s the solution? A play-pen such as Coverplay, which, in addition to being easier to clean, also protects children from unhygienic conditions. This will certainly be a hit with mothers.

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Number Twelve- Educational Flash Cards

This is more of an educational tool that is a fun and fast way to learn and the flash cards can help boost better exam scores. Based on Sri Lanka this can be customized. This product is a hit in USA.

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Number Thirteen- Inspiring messages in the gift products 

There’s nothing people love more than personalized messages along with any product they buy. For example, if your business is selling accessories or gifts, it’s always a good idea to include a card / print with a positive and inspirational message. Or you can take creativity to a higher level, such as the product line, “Inspirella”, which is an umbrella with a positive message printed on it saying “You are my Sunshine”.

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Number Fourteen- Pushups the right way

Sri Lankans are now showing greater interest in fitness, meaning there is now greater potential in workout training tools and equipments. A device such as Lift Assist will allow people to do pushups the correct way and with far greater ease. The correct alignment also ensures that no injuries occur and it can especially be helpful for those who find it difficult to do even a single pushup.

bodyjack

Number Fifteen- Chopstick Baskets

DIY projects are rising in popularity and research has proven that billions of chopsticks are used every year, requiring 25 million trees of bamboo plants for this demand. This means that a lot of energy and waste goes into producing something that people use for practically only fifteen minutes. To ensure that it’s recycled in a creative way, there are some great artworks that could be done using chopsticks. The basket below is made out of chopsticks collected from restaurants but you could use it to make an array of patterned artwork.

chopstick

Number Sixteen- Make your kids love medicine

Kids hate taking medicine and mothers spend an awful lot of time in trying to get their child to take the medicine. From the last-minute turn to a dive under the table, parents use so many techniques but, more often than not, the medicine ends up in all places except inside the child’s mouth. A creative way of making you child drink the medicine with minimum fuss is by the method outlined in the image below. Feeding medicines will no more be a nightmare for mums again!

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Are you a successful person? Stereotyped myths about a successful person

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Every entrepreneur wants to be successful in whatever field they are interested in but most of us don’t actually believe that we have achieved a level of success. Success is defined differently by people and everyone has their own ideas as to how it can be achieved. Sadly, most of these ideas are based on common lies that we have been fed upon either by stories, movies or media. Owing to this, most people have a very distorted image of what success actually is, how it is achieved and what it brings to us. Below, I have listed the biggest lies we tend to believe about success.

  1. If you have all the answers, success will come

    People tend to procrastinate trying to achieve success by saying that they can only be successful if they have all the answers to their questions. And until they find all the answers, their journey to success is at a standstill. The truth, however, is that successful people don’t start off with having all their questions answered; rather, they have simply learned how to find answers to what they know by taking to road to achieving success.
    People who have achieved the success they desired have done so through trials and learning from their mistakes. Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. Rather, take action today. Mistakes will happen, but don’t give up.

  2. You don’t need to earn money to be successful

    People define success when they earn lots of money. Entrepreneurs set they are successful when they see money, working class tends to pretend success when they earn more money in their job. Listen don’t just define success with just monetary term. I have seen most of the people tend to act strange when they didn’t earn something. Remember success is not always what you see.

    As an Entrepreneur you may not have earned what the society thinks as success. But the experience you have earned is more precious than money. The lessons from the struggle you go through, a satisfied client, a small news about you in a paper are some that matters more than money.

  3. You don’t have to make any changes

    There is an old quote that says “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. This is true but it should be noted that there is actually a very fine line between insanity and perseverance. To be successful, you have to be aware of when you need to makes changes. You have gone through a lot to get to where you are right now and if you want to be in a higher position, then you have to make changes whenever the need arises. Adaptability is key.

  4. Success comes without sacrifices

    Does everything you want in life come to you? Yes, if you try but not all at once. You have to make the choices about what you want right now. Our life is never going to be perfect so we need to choose what to sacrifice in order to have what we want. With each phase in our life, our priorities shift and with this shift, we should also make some sacrifices on the way. If we believe that success can come without having to make any sacrifices, then we’re only in for disappointment.

    I have seen hard working entrepreneurs who have scarified their personal lives, friendships and relationships and much more. They have even reduced the tie spent in sleep, shower, food, health and much more.

  5. Success comes overnight

    There are movies and media stories that talk about overnight success and we all love reading a good story about how someone with basically nothing achieved success overnight. If we imagine the same thing will happen to us, then it’s a delusional. What we need to understand is that overnight successes are only achieved by those who have been struggling to refine their skills, trade and business for a long time. And then finally, they received recognition, which in that particular context, refers to success. To be successful, you have to work hard to get there.

    As an Entrepreneur, building a company from 2 people to 20 people in 5 years time, I can firmly tell nothing comes over night.

  6. Only rich people can be successful

    Are successful people born only into rich families? Of course not. In fact most people who have earned success have actually comes from ordinary or even difficult backgrounds and toiled hard to get to the position they are in now. Every ordinary person can be successful. All it takes is to develop habits to bring about consistent improvement, day after day, year after year.
    There are many stories out there about people who succeed without even a single cent. They worked hard, focused fearlessly, faced challenges and kept only the target in their minds.

  7. Success will take all our problems away

    Every single person has to deal with their own share of problems, and this includes successful people. People who are successful face their own problems but they generally have the strategies and resources to help them deal with it better. On the road to success, there will be problems and in order to be successful, you need to learn to solve your own problems. And while most of us probably won’t believe it, the more successful you are, the greater your problems will be. The bottom line is that life isn’t going to be easier when you are successful. You will only be more capable in dealing with problems.

  8. If you are successful, people will like you

    It’s very common for people to criticize others because of their success. Because in a way, your own success can make others uncomfortable with the fact that they aren’t as successful as you and that naturally causes envy. So will people like you more after you are successful? The truth is quite contrary; you are more likely to lose friends after you have reached success but there is good news too- with your success, you will now have the opportunity of making new friends.

  9. Success will make you happier

    Can money buy happiness? To a certain level yes, but it’s only for a short-term. There is only one way in which success can make you happy and that is if you are grateful for every moment, good or bad. Only people who are deeply satisfied can be grateful, regardless of their circumstance. So don’t wait until you are successful to be happy. Choose to be happy now because success won’t always make you happy.

Marketing as a Vehicle???

How can you define marketing in an organization? I would simply define it as a vehicle…

Marketing takes the organization from where it is conceptualized or situated to the target audience. Since I think it’s apt to define marketing as a vehicle. Here I have referred a set of organizations as “conceptualized” because of the recent development of the virtual organizations which don’t have any physical existence. Importantly for this type of organizations marketing carries an extra burden of developing credibility over the organization.

The marketing vehicle which apparently carries the message from the organization can result in a good conditioned, smooth and speed travelling. On the other hand if poorly executed the same vehicle might result in a detrimental travelling. Ultimately the good or poor travelling impacts the bottom line of the organization. Hence it is vital to maintain the vehicle in good condition.

Maintaining a good conditioned marketing vehicle and safe journey is not that simple. There is always some inherent risks for which a vehicle and the journey are exposed to. This involves;

  • Correctly identifying your target market which is your final destination
  • Fixing the marketing budget which is your funding arrangement for the journey
  • Developing the correct marketing mix which is prearrangements done before a journey
  • Creating the marketing message which is the travelling done on the road
  • Preparing with contingency plans in case of any competitor counter attracts which is something similar to the precautionary actions taken against in a vehicle accidents etc

It is always obvious that depending on the destination the vehicle should be conditioned and repaired if necessary. Likewise the depending on the target market, their needs, their behaviors and their social status the marketing message should be designed.  Additionally it is important to confirm whether your marketing mix is strong enough to take the vehicle to the intended destination. For example the promotion pat can be executed very well. However if there is something seriously wrong with the product it is obvious that your organization wouldn’t enjoy repeat purchase and positive word of mouth. Finally the contingency plans in order to safeguard the vehicle. When you take a vehicle it may face unexpected accidents, road redirections, bad conditioned roads etc. Likewise the marketing vehicle too exposed to such adverse aspects. Hence it is always recommended to have plans and moves to face the counter actions taken by the competitors, governmental interferences, and unfavorable market conditions.

Once all of the above are ensured and looked after very well the marketing vehicle would definitely take you for a safe and successful journey.

The Role of Marketing in Challenging Times

Every cloud has a silver lining and the current economic down turn- which started in the West but is having an inevitable worldwide impact- is no exception. Despite feeling anxious about the overall state of the global economy. The marketing bodies have found that marketers remain relatively optimistic about the fortunes of their own companies, and crucially, the prospects for marketers themselves.

How is this possible? Simple. Marketing is now at the very heart of business and is accepted as the competitive differentiator in these challenging times. In short, there is recognition that it will be those organizations that attract and retain professional marketers who will be best placed to ride out and even profit from the economic turbulence.

Why marketing? Surely when budgets are tight, the last thing you need is marketers overspending on ever so-creative but ever-so-ineffective campaigns? In fact, more and more organizations have woken up to the fact that qualified marketers can have a fundamental role not just in the here-and-now, but in the long term success if their business.

After all, marketing is about so much more than advertising or promotion. When times are tough, forward-thinking organizations need professionals adept in anticipating, identifying and then meeting customer and market needs. Never is this more relevant than at times like this, when competition for consumers’ spending becomes fierce. The survivors- the winners -0 will be those organizations able to respond quickly and appropriately to changes in their customers and markets.

In fact, in bracing themselves for challenging times, many marketers are already significantly altering their plans to cope with the rapidly different climate of the recession. They are adapting to the changing needs of their markets and customers; they are using their resources ever more wisely; and they are monitoring their achievements with growing precision.

What all this means is that there has never been a better time to be a professional marketer, for you have a key role to play in guiding companies through the tough times ahead. Being at the very forefront of business means this profession has more and more to offer both those embarking on a new career or those already working their way up the marketing career ladder.

Indeed, marketing is one of the most dynamic, constantly evolving profession. It encompasses a wide range of activities and skills- from number crunching and analysis right through to innovation and creativity. Marketing executives are involved in planning, advertising, promotion, public and media relations, PD, distribution, sponsorship and research- just name a few. And although marketers are found chiefly within the private sector, there are more and more marketing jobs in the public and not-for-profit sectors as the long-term benefits that responsible marketing brings become more evident. Social marketing too is how firmly on the agenda as a cultural force for beneficial global change.

Whilst the responsibilities of the role will course vary, depending on the size of the organization and sector, and whether the focus is on selling a product, service or raising awareness of an issue, what all marketing roles share is being in an exciting, varied and challenging role at the very centre of business.

Not only is marketing an exhilarating profession, it is also an increasingly popular one. Not only are unprecedented numbers of people choosing marketing as their profession of choice, but many millions of others are making marketing decisions as part of their everyday job role. This does not, however, mean that the profession is saturated. Indeed, it is the qualified marketer the situation, decide the best options and implement appropriate strategies to meet the rapid changes that lay ahead of us all.

For anyone in any doubt about the extent of the transformation within the sector, you need look no further how the techniques of marketing have changes hugely in the last 40 years with the spread of radio and then television, faster and more pictorial printing of newspapers and magazines and the growth of digital media.

The introduction of digital media alone has brought an explosion in the number of channels marketers can use. This year is just the 10th anniversary of the launch of Google. Moreover, we have, as marketers in recent years, had to take on board other business issues such as social responsibility, reputation management and increasingly demanding stakeholder communication.

I think, it’s our time for marketers. I would go so far as to say that as marketers, we are now requiring more than any other professional to understand the business and our role in delivering strategic business objective. Do you all agree?

Word of Mouth in the Digital Era

Word of mouth is an ever and ever powerful tool for the companies. Research from Nielsen carried out in 2007 showed that WOM is the most powerful selling tool available to marketers, with 78 per cent of customers trusting consumer recommendations above all other types of marketing.
The trust consumers place in WOM means it can change the way that brands are perceived, argues Harri Owen, buzz manager at Hyperlaunch. The biggest benefits come from increasing engagement and dialogue with the target audience.
Owen cites Dell’s “Idea Storm” (www.dellideastorm.com) initiative as a great example of WOM’s potential. By encouraging input from its target audience, Dell managed to shift customer perceptions of the brand away from an uncaring and remote image.
“Transparency is crucial,” says Owen. “Connecting with communities under their terms of use and their own community tolerances is critical. Each community sets these levels differently and they should be approached with caution and respect.”

Caution and respect are indeed important watchwords, but, while they should be kept in mind, they shouldn’t preclude original and engaging communication. Smart brands are stimulating WOM in clever ways.

Influential friends

Over the Christmas period, retailer Borders ran a Facebook campaign in which it challenged the wider Facebook community to create a group of friends entitled “I want to win signed Quentin Blake artwork from www.borders.co.uk”.
The person who created the biggest group of friends won the signed prints. As a result, Borders attracted many new friends to its online community, creating a wider audience for marketing messaging.
Borders digital marketing manager Nick Atkinson describes WOM as “a bit of a minefield”. He feels that, even with recent changes to regulations, many marketers are still not as clear and upfront about their identity and intentions online as they should be.
But putting ethics to one side, Atkinson believes this kind of deceptive marketing is lacklustre.
“You get a much higher quality and more sustainable response when you interact with people in a clear and honest way because it gives them the chance to make a considered response to your marketing,” he explains.
“There are two important aspects to a successful online campaign, and these are often the hardest things to achieve,” he says. “One is to trigger a genuine emotional reaction in your target audience, and the second is to be the most price-competitive.”
Sometimes creativity is the way to drive that emotional reaction. American retailer JC Penney created a viral smash for itself in the festive season with its “Doghouse” video, which benefited from high production values and a genuinely funny script (http://bewareofthedoghouse.com).

A question of taste

Burger King recently delivered a WOM campaign in the US that attracted criticism as well as plaudits. The mechanic of the “Whopper Sacrifice” promotion, which ran on social networking site Facebook, involved consumers deleting 10 Facebook “friends” to receive a coupon entitling them to a free Whopper. The ex-friends, meanwhile, were notified as to what had been done and why. Participants could also send each other heavily branded “Angry-Grams”.
The Whopper Sacrifice idea took off. By the end of the promotion almost 234,000 friendships had been sacrificed. Friends joked online about sacrificing each other for the sake of a burger – and the norm was for friends to be reinstated on Facebook after free Whoppers had been claimed. Yet some observers expressed distaste, with at least one blogger going so far as to label Whopper Sacrifice as puerile and obnoxious.
Burger King’s irreverent approach works well with its target audience, but may be too risky for many brands. Mobile phone brand T-Mobile is more cautious with its UK WOM activity. It has created an “Advocate Panel” on an extranet site to create a buzz. T-Mobile market intelligence manager Gavin Sugden says that panel participants are offered rewards such as tickets to football matches to get them to participate, but that they also simply take pleasure in giving their views on products and services.
This co-creation approach is of huge benefit to the company, both in terms of new product development and seeding positive brand associations. T-Mobile is among a large number of businesses that seek to measure customer loyalty using the net promoter score as a metric, dividing consumers into those who rate products or services highly (promoters), at mid-level (passives) or poorly (detractors). Online discussion of products and services can give insight into net promoter scores.

Talk tactics

The clout behind the online words of one individual or another is not equal. Paid services such as Brandwatch, Buzzmetrics and Onalytica offer an analysis of data and claim to be able to identify conversation influencers. Services such as Radian 6 and Sysomos offer a more do‑it‑yourself toolkit for conversation analysis.
Influence is not something marketers can always hope to command online, but respecting certain rules will gain marketers respect in turn. Marketing guru Seth Godin stresses the importance of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who want them. Spamming people with your message will not create a buzz.
Nor is WOM about labelling a medium with branding. Justin Kirby, chairman of online WOM opinion panel Yooster, says many marketers fail to realise that in social networks, the people themselves are the medium, not the site. He reminds marketers that a few negative consumer comments should never trigger a knee‑jerk change of strategy. “You could make some schoolboy errors by basing strategic decisions on the input of a handful of vocal disgruntled teenagers.”
It is vital, therefore, to build up a picture of who wields influence and who does not. With regard to the blogosphere, the specialist search engine Technorati produces a measure of authority for all the blogs it searches, using the inbound links to an individual blog to generate a measure of its influence.
For social networks, simple measures such as the number of “friends” an individual has attached to their profile can help to define influence, but this can also be a measure of an individual’s preoccupation with popularity, which is not the same as influence. Emerging tools such as Facebook Grader attempt to calculate an individual’s influence scientifically.
Twitter offers a more immediate measure of influence in terms of number of followers of an individual profile, but the number of others they interact with and how often their messages are passed on are also worth noting. Tools such as Twinfluence aim to deliver a picture of reach and authority on Twitter, although the company may soon begin charging companies for its brand‑tracking services.
“If you go to a WOM conference, 70 per cent of the presentations are about digital WOM, but 90 per cent of the conversations people have about brands happen offline,” says managing partner of agency Spring Research, Stephen Phillips.
“The difficulty you have with offline is that you can’t measure it,” he says. In other words, never forget that online is only part of the picture.

Foot in mouth

Wal-Mart ended up with egg on its face when its PR agency Edelman was shown to be behind a fake blog, or “flog”, that followed the progress of a supposedly impartial couple driving their motorhome to Wal-Mart car parks across America. (www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2006/oct/16/whatsafloga)
A Facebook group of Tesco employees caused embarrassment to the retailer when comments were posted labelling customers as rude, smelly and stupid. (www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/20/michele-hanson-tesco-facebook)

In 2006, Sony was discovered to have hired a marketing company to create a sham fan site called All I Want For Christmas is a PSP, attracting plenty of negative comment on genuine games sites and blogs once the ruse was rumbled. (http://adweek.blogs.com/adfreak/2006/12/sony_gets_rippe.html)

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey spent a decade praising his company on Yahoo message boards under a pseudonym before his true identity was uncovered. (www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/05/23/rahodeb-returns-whole-foo_n_103244.html)

Burger King fired two executives in the US last summer after anonymous comments disparaging a farm-workers’ group were posted online.
(www.ciw-online.org/BK_campaign_archive.html)

Deliver to people who want to hear your message – spamming will not create a buzz

The above great article was written by Robert Gray for The  Marketer Magazine

As Featured On EzineArticles

The Makings of Today’s Marketer

Today we operate in challenging world. The modern marketer’s big challenge is the rapidly changing customer needs and wants. As a marketer I came across these great points stated in an article in the Chartered Marketer Magazine written by my lecturer Mr.Prasanna Perera, a well known Sri Lankan Marketer and Marketing & Management Consultant. I think these points are fabulous for marketers. .

 Characteristics of the modern marketer

Today’s marketer needs to show the following traits and competencies

 1 – Creativity and innovativeness, specially the ability to challenge conventional methods of thinking and doing. Innovation is widely acclaimed as the single most important factor for corporate excellence. Marketers would do well to harness creative skills, by always challenging the “status quo”. For example, there are several innovative methods of distributing and marketing products and services.

 2 – Endurance is critical for the modern marketers, as markets today are characterized by phenomenal and perceptual change. In these challenging times, sheer grit and conviction become paramount. Marketers should remember the age-old cliché “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”.

 3- Absolute dedication and focus on customers at all times, striving to build relationships, by going that extra mile for the customer. Customers are not contented with marketers who merely satisfy their needs. They require modern marketers who will aspire to delight them.

 4 – Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to get along and get the best out of people. Marketing is after all, a team game and to play in the team marketers must be team players. Many well qualified marketers fail to produce results, as their leadership and team management skills are poor. It is worthwhile to reiterate that marketing is a practical discipline that requires execution skills. It is people that make it happen.

 5 – Strategic think is a must for the modern day marketer, contrary to the short-termism prevalent today. The modern marketer needs to be a visionary, with abilities to chart the future of their brands.

 6 – Supreme self-confidence and positive attitudes are vital characteristics. This only comes with a comprehensive knowledge of your products and brands, organization, markets and job. Technical knowledge if technical products are marketed is a must. This is an area where marketers have been found wanting.

 7 – Analytical skills: Modern marketers need to have an inquiring mind, supported by the willingness to analyze things. Perhaps the detective skills of a Sherlock Holmes and the analytical skills of a master strategist such as Ketan J Patel.

 8 – Dynamism and initiative are two other vital characteristics. Basically, the ability to make things happen and to act faster and smarter.  Present day marketers should be able to think and act their feet. Changing markets require swift decisions, to capitalize on evolving market opportunities.

 This list is by no means exhaustive. However, they are probably the most important characteristics. Some of these have to be developed consciously in order to do so, skill development training should be undertaken, both on- and off-the-job. 

How to fail at Attracting and Retaining Customers in 2009?

There are articles and other stuffs on how you can attract or win customers. But a recent articles I went through stated some interesting points on how to fail in the business world/ how to take your self away from customer mind set.

First, ignore what your current customers and supporters are saying

Go with your gut and forget what the feedback says. Customers don’t understand or appreciate one of your offerings? Too bad. They’re just going to have to live with it.

In fact, practice this: When customers try to share their opinion with you, stick an index finger in each ear and say loudly, “Blah, blah, blah…I can’t HEAR you!” When their attitudes, perceptions, and concerns land on deaf ears, they’ll simply find another avenue for their dollars, and you will have succeeded.

And prospective customers? You’re sure to turn them away with your demonstrated lack of caring and understanding of real customer needs and wants.

Next, have apathy about your brand and your business

To ensure failure, show indifference and lazy attitudes about your business—and your brand—and you’ll be well on your way. Because when you don’t love your brand, what it stands for, and why it matter… others will begin to feel the same way.

In fact, for quicker results, proactively share your negativity with your customers and prospects through your inconsistent messaging, customer disservice, and irrelevance in the marketplace.

There’s a now-apocryphal story of Quaker’s acquisition of Snapple. You might remember when the Snapple brand was super-popular, its commercials were edgy and memorable, and the grassroots owners were clinging to a shooting star.

After Quaker bought the brand, it stopped listening to consumer feedback, the commercials got dull and predictable, and Quaker started using Gatorade-like distribution and packaging methods, all of which flew in the face of the established promises of the once-humble brand.

That episode has been described as a classic case of brand managers’ simply not loving the brand they were entrusted to steward. After having invested billions, Quaker ended up spinning off Snapple at a huge loss.

Then, crank in some pessimism

This is where it gets fun, which is important because managing your company’s brand is complex and multifaceted. In other words, it’s an ongoing, demanding series of tasks. You’ll have to stay on top of consistent messaging, unwavering voice and tone, and dozens of other intricate parameters. It’ll never work, so get used to the idea.

Take British novelist, Thomas Hardy’s advice: “Pessimism…is, in brief, playing the sure game. You cannot lose at it; you may gain. It is the only view of life in which you can never be disappointed. Having reckoned what to do in the worst possible circumstances, when better arise, as they may, life becomes child’s play.”

Hope you have a short-term perspective—you’ll need it to fail

Building a successful brand takes time. But we’ll have none of that. We’re driving down the dead-end road to guaranteed failure, so a short-term perspective will be just fine, thank you.

Forget the fact that change takes time to “take,” and that brands are continually evolving. Not only that, but target markets transform, audiences age, and their needs vary. But a short-term perspective will work just fine. Move on to the next thing before you grow stale.

Finally, stay inside the box

Don’t forge a new path. Copy what your competition is doing. Differentiation? Overrated. Developing creative solutions to brand strategy and tactics is a colossal waste of time. Don’t get prospects attention by leveraging creativity. Blend in. Conform and be dull.

It’s been said that dictators often see creativity as a subversive activity because it leads to knowledge—possibly the most revolutionary insight of all.

Stay inside the box and you’ll join the ranks of the world’s dullards.

Originally published in marketingprofs. This is one of my favorite read.

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