Business : Marketing
- 1 Various Semi-Random Ideas
- 1.1 Allow to Show off
- 1.2 Services can be Packaged as Products
- 1.3 Optimization is not a Sales Argument
- 1.4 BMW is not Mercedes is not Toyota
- 1.5 Market size Related Thoughts
- 1.6 Quality in Different Cultures
- 1.7 The way fine Engineering can sell more than art
- 2 Various Citations
- 3 Semi-Random Ideas About Market Trends
- 4 Which Clients to Avoid
- 5 Some Philosophical Aspects
Various Semi-Random Ideas
Allow to Show off
Give product properties that allow clients to easily SHOW OFF with it, to boast with it in front of other people (and make sure that they really have a reason to boast with it, e.g. make sure that the technical quality of the product will not set them to a situation, where they boas, show off, with an technically inferior solution). It's important to keep in mind that people should have the right to be genuinely happy and happiness is something that they love to share with loved ones, etc. DO NOT ABUSE PEOPLE by fooling them to be happy about crap!!!!!
Services can be Packaged as Products
Examples: language course; web page development; prototype creation, etc.
The product should be a solution to problem $P_1$, not "a tool"(what) that does X("how"). Part of the marketing activity is then looking for people, who feel that the problem $P_1$ is painful enough for them to pay for its solutions.
Optimization is not a Sales Argument
Be a pain killer, not a vitamin.
The sales offer has to allow the buyer to do something that it was not able to do before, not just to do the old thing better. If people were smart, they would buy optimization, if not for anything else then just for the fact that "cheaper and faster" allows the same old technology to be used for purposes that it was not possible to use them before, e.g. "cheaper and faster" actually offers new functionality, but it takes some smarts to understand that and usually people are not that smart.
Historic Examples, Where More, Cheaper and Faster Offers Fundamentally new Functionality
SMS as a faster and cheaper form of a "telegram"; permanent internet connections as "more and cheaper" form of the old, "modem" based, internet over phone lines service; faster computers and phones; hard disks with greater capacity (progress from text documents to videos); digital photography versus the chemical film based photography; one phone per family versus one phone per person, etc.
Practically all of them would have been sales failures by a "business plan" and "market research". After all, there already was a "photo camera" on the market, it was possible to send e-mail over phone lines, it was already possible to speak from great distances, etc.
BMW is not Mercedes is not Toyota
All of the cars have 4 doors, 4 wheels, approximately the same speed and fuel economy. Yet, there is still a difference. Same with music, accounting software, e-mail software, etc.
Market size Related Thoughts
People, who do not have Money, do not buy
Many hard-working specialists from various fields, specially scientists, yearn for various software related tools, special purpose software, but they hardly ever have any resources for that. Hard-working specialists, who specialize to things other than hierarchy enforcement, e.g. they do real work in stead of management, are usually the lowest and least valued personnel in any big organization and therefore they do not have the freedom to use company resources for making their work more efficient or they are smart enough to know, that showing out any initiative that might not be in line with a boss, manager, who prefers a quiet, comfortable, life, is punishable. The job of managers is to control. Initiative by people, who do the real work, interferes with control. New tools interfere with the set work-flow and therefore also interfere with the managers' vision, how things must be done.
The Distribution of Transaction Types, id est the Economy, Depends on the Mental Capabilities and Customs of the Transaction Participants
The not-so-widely-looked-at thing about markets is that they depend on CULTURE. Communist economy, which is covertly always somewhat capitalistic, and openly capitalistic economies differ. Castro's Communism in Cuba was different from the Soviet Communism in Estonia by at least the fact that growing one's own vegetables was legal in Estonian Communism, but in Cuba growing one's own vegetables was a punishable crime. Markets in rural areas and small towns and big cities differ by size and other properties. (Who drives a tractor in a big city, unless the tractor is for cleaning streets from snow or on its way to a construction site?)
Want to sell some academic books to Africans, who can not even read? How about Bibles to Arabs and Korans to Christians? Mathematics related consultancy services to monkeys in the jungle? Even the preference of short-term thinking over long-term planning determines the choice of tools and other goods.
Another aspect is that the value of an object depends on, what the evaluator knows about the object. For example, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain looks like a pile of trash at first glance, but it looks very different, after a more is known about it.
Quality in Different Cultures
The Flawed Belief that Crappyness does not Hinder Short-term use
As of 2014_09 I (Martin Vahi) suspect that the preference of short-term thinking explains, why American software engineers are more open to adopt closed-source tools than many European software engineers are, because, for the Americans, it does not matter, if the tool stops working at some point. The Americans just throw the whole project quickly away and create a new one, starting from zero, hoping to sell more with the next version. The same with their preference to rent apartments/houses rather than own them.
About the Needs that People Actually use the Products for
One way to classify peoples' choices is to see, to what extent does a person $P_1$ buy social interaction and to what extent is the evaluation of a product/service based on technical capabilities and technical usefulness of the product/service. That explains part of the the early adopters versus late adopters phenomena. There is not much social interaction available for the early adopters and often the argument of the late adopters is that their communication partners use product $P_1$ and therefore they must also use the product $P_1$ to interact with their communication partners. That definitely explains the phenomena that first there is a lot of whining about the lack of some information system and after the moment, when IT-people have worked hard to set the information system up to the letter of the whiners, the whiners just vanish, the information system stays up, online, without even the initial whiners using it.
Use Competitors' crap Selling Efforts in the role of Introduction to a Mockup of a Reliable Product
If client candidates say that they like product X that just happens to be so crappy that one does not dare to offer that to the client, then the product X might be treated as a product mockup of a proper, reliable, product. In that case the marketers of the crappy product X have done all the hard work of making client candidates like something that has the features of X. Unfortunately the price of the crap must be matched, because the client candidate does not see the reliability part, but the price might be matched by being more efficient than the crappy product X manufacturers are and it might even work, because the producers of the crappy product X are probably also crappy and sleazy at designing their production process and the delivery process of the crappy product X.
That idea might be developed further by studying the winning-stragegy-stealing to at least level the game. For example, the reliability might offer an opportunity to construct a simple-to-understand and easy-to-impress feature that the crap producers can not mimic, because to mimic that feature, they have to stop producing crap.
The way fine Engineering can sell more than art
Art has the capability to create positive emotions the way purely engineering based product design probably will never be able to create, with may be the exception of people, who intentionally put engineering related parameters to a higher priority than art related parameters. Engineering based product design can have side effects that having the the greatest, the fastest, the biggest, the most capable or otherwise superior engineering related parameter based product may allow social interaction in the form of showing off or some engineering related parameters may enable some artistic parameters to emerge, id est this is an awesome glowing thing type of sales argument, for example, aerodynamic hull designs may look nice from some artistic style point of view, but all in all "in average" engineering based product designs fail to create the amount of positive emotions than art based product design can create. The way engineering based product design can score higher than art based product design is that the art based product design has serious negative emotions due to lack of proper engineering. For example, people die because an artistically beautiful building collapsed on them. Some artistically and comfort wise superior ship (Titanic) sank. Some artistically awesome car killed its riders. In that situation an engineering based product's zero or slightly negative score in terms of positive emotions can be greater than emotions score of an artistically superior product, because the amount of negative emotions that come from the death of people is much greater than the amount of positive emotions that the artistic nature of the artistically superior product is able to produce.
Basically, fools prefer artistic values over engineering related properties and the smarter ones at least try to buy engineering wise superior products whenever they can afford them.
In his book "The Innovator's Dilemma" Clayton Christensen showed that the success rate for companies who tried to break into a market (disk drives in his study) by dint of a more powerful solution was zero. A big fat zero. 0%.
The only way that company's managed to displace a leader was to go after some market that didn't interest the leader, and then grow from that market into the leader's market while maintaining low margins that keep the leader out.
The thing is, I haven't seen any small alternative market for programmable devices that lends itself to low margins. This is what's keeping the market leaders in their position. Unless someone is able to come up with some dramatically different business model (free silicon if you buy our software and consulting? I don't think so.) then Altera and Xilinx will continue to rule the roost.
Semi-Random Ideas About Market Trends
Marketing of Uninnovative Commodities
An uninnovative commodity is something that almost all people know well enough to not have a need for training or introduction for understanding its use. For example, forks and tea-spoons do not need to be explained, as even the most dumbest "professional leader", career-CEO, knows, what they are good for and how to use them. Some of the commodities are "used up", like tea-powder and the rest of them either wear out, like socks and underwear, or are destroyed like furniture in a war zone or tea spoons that are used on "a Titanic" or lost during their use by loosing a picnic basket or accidentally dropping them off the boat or being deprived of them by other means. For those goods the marketing is the same as in politics, where the support of large, dumb, superficial masses is obtained by holding the contesting super-mafiosos at the attention of the masses at all times, to the extent that their marketing/campaigning budgets allow and the party that is able to be at the attention of the largest amount of dumb, superficial, people at the moment the people mark down their vote, wins the elections, regardless of whether the elections are held the way they are held in democratic countries or the elections are held in some Arab Spring manner, where the masses just elect, whether to kill the dictator or let the dictator continue its regime.
Suppose there are 2 firms, let's say, grocery store chains, that both have the same revenue size, pay the same amount of money for the goods that they sell and their sales distribution of goods also match. The moment one of them figures out a way, how to cut operational costs, it will beat its competition, because the savings can be invested to marketing, which will increase revenue, which gives further "extra" money for doing "extra" marketing, which will in turn increase revenue. As the process is exponential, the very small, initial, advances in efficiency will be unnoticed by the competition, until, suddenly, it's too late and the competitors are totally overwhelmed.
If that's the case, then businesses, who increase the efficiency of commodities traders, but are working at a niche market that does not have almost any clients at all, can still charge the commodities traders a pretty huge price. After all, the commodities traders have a pay-or-go-out-of-business situation, regardless of, whether they themselves understand it or not. Of course, being in a dire situation does not stop the commodities traders, for example, grocery store chains, from being stupid and the stupidest ones, regardless of size, will go out of business without being mentally prepared for it.
How to cope with Technically mad Trends
Just like a tornado at some other part of the world does not matter at the area that never has any tornadoes, it does not matter, if the majority of people decide to waste most of their money on technologically crappy, hyped-up, professional marketers' success stories, provided that there are enough smart clients that fully fill the smart developers' service time slots. Bubbles do happen and as long as there is at least some money left outside of the bubble, the smart providers will get by.
Usually in America everything is a bubble. A lot of talk, huge amounts of marketing and hyping and little substance.
Which Clients to Avoid
I do not know about other industries, but in software development there are always sub-tasks that are time-consuming and difficult and not everybody is willing to do them. Most developers cut corners. If the client thinks that he/she has plenty of developers to choose from, then the price will not be sufficient and the client will be unsatisfied with the time delay that comes from doing a proper job, because, he/she is not able to understand the task at hand and if someone, who cuts corners, offers a cheaper price and faster delivery, then why should he/she tolerate some "slow slackers, who are expensive and do not deliver", when there "is a lot of service providers to choose from"? That kind of clients should never be serviced, unless You are the crook, who abuses their stupidity and just collects their money by delivering them job-NOT-done.
Psychology Based Differences
Corporate world and hierarchies are for people, who just want to be and chill around, even if that work-avoidance offers proper income only to the parties at the top of the hierarchy. Those, who understand that pyramid math and are willing to do a lot of honest work for getting proper income and ARE INTERESTED OF A PROPER INCOME, must toil as freelancers and keep away from corporations. The recruitment industry lives off of the reoccurring savings that corporations get by hiring cheaper fools. That's another reason to avoid offers that come through recruiters.
Rehabilitation Plan for Human Resource Workers
In stead of luring young and inexperienced people to waste their time at the corporate world, they should try to educate the CEO-types so that the CEO-types would stop trying to organize any projects that involve any kind of technical development, because technical development takes smart people and ultimately all truly smart people will send the corporations to hell, because they get fed up by the fact that they do all the work and the multiple layers of CEO-types get the greatest income, not to mention the direct bullying and abuse that the CEO-types impose in the form of various Non-Disclosure-Agreements, competition restrictions, lying HR-officials sticking their nose to the personal affairs of people, the idiotic requirement to waste multiple hours per day on commuting to the office, the work disrupting requirement to stop working at some time in the day to be able to re-appear to the office at some dumb time at the next day, etc.
Rehabilitation Plan for the CEO-types
Participate at the lectures of the rehabilitated human resource workers and stop trying to pull off any projects that require actual hard work or smarts. By their nature the CEO-types are lazy narcissists and no smart person, who is able to do a good job at technical development work, is willing to dumb themselves down to regularly attend office hours to praise the narcissists for a shoddy salary, specially if the salary is smaller than the one that the narcissists get. In stead of "acquiring" they should buy business projects and have the traits taught to the set of passive chill-out guys, who are willing to do nothing and sit at the office for a shoddy salary. The smarter people at the start-ups will resign the moment the start-up gets acquired. Why to pretend? Better to conduct the business project transfer openly.
Some Philosophical Aspects
One way to look at "economy" is that the "economy" is not resource planning, but COOPERATION between people. (An article in Estonian.) For cooperation with strangers there must be possibilities for the following activities:
- Share information freely to make it possible to learn from each other. The learning is necessary to obtain capabilities to get things done. To stand on the shoulders of giants, the creation of the giants must not be censored.
- Advertise and offer one's services publicly to make it possible for strangers to buy the services. Creation of physical goods is a service.
- Keep and use the results of the services of others, without being deprived of them through taxation or other forms of robbery. If the results of the services of others can be copied, redistributed, reused, then that must not be limited, id est "Copyright Law", "Patent Law", "Weapon's Manufacturing Licenses" must all be abolished.
- The ability to operate without being killed, kidnapped or physically injured by competitors or some other party.
The collapse of the Soviet Union due to the economic problems that its censorship, taxation, limits to free entrepreneurship caused is a fine illustration about the necessity of the aforementioned freedoms.