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Oct 31, 2008

Information is Power

Research is one of the most important components of a marketing strategy. Through market research, you may find useful market information and resources.

In other words, information is power. But, if you want to make more sense of it – learn how to turn information into useful knowledge.

Although information have been thoroughly collected and analyzed by market researchers, it faces greater difficulty when the results are in. That is, the client will often query to what extent the results will actually be used?

Hence market researchers should produce value from the data they already have! The first step in using data as an asset is to understand exactly what data you have, and eventually convey the key data together.

Therefore, at the initial stage in the research process, discussions with the client about the business or marketing objectives; and how the results will be used is very important. This will help to enrich data into valuable information and finally an insightful knowledge for the client.

Often enough, our clients simply want positive results. Unfortunately, research findings don’t always get good results! This of course would ruin the client’s overall marketing planning strategy. Yet, negative data is important findings as well!

In actual sense, both – positive and negative – data will provide informative guidelines to help you make a good decision, and select the right marketing strategy for your company needs.

For this reason it is important to be open minded to new information found in the research findings. Also, both client and market researchers must ultimately understand the exact objectives and expectations of the research project.

You can achieve competitive advantage from research process. Let us know you company needs, and we’ll offer fully customizable surveys that generate data, information and knowledge – for you.

Maria Azlan
Chief Operating Officer
BMI Research (Malaysia)

Oct 29, 2008

From Sales Gimmick to Real Deals

Companies have known for years that sales promotion play a very important role in today’s integrated marketing programs. It’s effective to increase business presence, and retain customers.

Indeed, research shows sales promotion can positively boost a company’s sales. The activity designed to boost the sales of a product or service may include:

• Sampling/ Distribution of free samples
• Price promotion / Price discounting / Clearance sale
• Coupons / Vouchers
• Gift with purchase / Premium promotion
• Competitions and prizes contests
• Money refunds / Rebates / Cash backs
• Frequent user incentives / Loyalty incentives / Bonus stamps
• Point-of-sale displays / Point of purchase materials

However, it’s equally important to choose the right sales promotion tools that communicate how you want to be perceived and attracts the customers you want.

Thus a good marketing person will emphasize the function of sales promotion in showing to customers how the products offered will satisfy customers’ needs, and then stimulate the desire to buy the products.

Unfortunately, many customers often perceive that sales promotion technique is just a sale and marketing gimmick. Could we not change their mindset?

Of course, we could!

Most successful sales promotion campaigns don’t happen by chance, you know. In general, market research studies can be used to assist you. Here are 2 basic guidelines:

1. Pretesting / (Before)
Before you set a technique for your sales promotion plan, a simple survey should be conducted to determine if the tool is appropriate; analyze customer suggestions and complaints; and analyze competitors’ sales promotion techniques. Consumers can be asked to rate or rank different possible techniques. I.e. you could describe the sales promotion idea to potential customers and ask, “Would you buy this product?”

2. Evaluating / (After)
After each sales promotion conducted, a consumer survey can be conducted to analyze the types of people who took advantage of the promotion; what they thought of it; why they bought before/after the promotion; and how the promotion affected subsequent brand or choice behaviour. I.e. you could study on post purchase consumer buying behaviour and ask, “Which elements of this premium gift most affect your future buying behaviour?”

All in all, if you intend to develop a sales promotion technique any time soon, BMI Research can provide you with more market research consultation and information.

Maria Azlan
Chief Operating Officer
BMI Research (Malaysia)

Oct 28, 2008

Thrive Together in One Place

Place, as one of the 4Ps (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) of marketing, refers to the location of the business and the channel of distribution chosen to reach customers.

This element plays important role in developing a good marketing strategy. But, how it relates? Well, more often than not, we ask questions like:

• Is this a strategic location?
• Is the rent rate reasonable?
• Will there be many potential customers?
• Will your potential customers find out about your business?
• Will there be many competitors located around your site?
• How many competitors do you have?

In theory, no bosses want competitors nearby their business.

In truth, however, competition is actually good for your business.

For instance, Low Yat Plaza is a place where directly competing businesses open right next to each other. Most shops in Low Yat Plaza sell similar IT and electronics product. When several people offer the same types of businesses, it implies that consumers have freedom of choice – in products, services and even, price. In some way, each competitor benefits from the others’ marketing activities. Consequently, shop owners in this mall continue to do well because all competitors work to bring new customers, and increase revenues.

What’s more, competitors could actually make you stronger. They make you understand your business, and make the most of it. They teach you better business strategies, and make it easier to get customers. They teach you what makes you different, and highlight your business’ strengths – in the customers’ eyes.

Nevertheless, before choosing a location for the retail shop, carrying out a simple market research concerning your target customers/buyers; your competitors; and the nature of the product/service could be beneficial. Let us help you, please do not hesitate to:

 Call +603-9281 4564
 Email info@bmi-research.com
 Visit http://www.bmi-research.com/

Maria Azlan
Chief Operating Officer
BMI Research (Malaysia)

Oct 23, 2008

Win Them Over

We all love good customer service. Well, who doesn’t, eh?

But is there anyone who hasn’t heard or experienced with bad customer service? In fact, we could never easily forget any bad customer service experience, couldn’t we? Admit it, you still remember your last bad customer experience, and vow not to visit or patron it ever again, right?

Now, could the company or shop restore your trust and loyalty after the bad customer service?

Or, let’s put it this way: Could a company actually ‘treat’ a frustrated customer?

Honestly – you could win them back!

Be Responsive...
Many times, customers’ frustrations are fueled because we failed to acknowledge their reactions. Therefore, you shall take responsive action to ‘treat’ dissatisfied customers – quickly yet courteously.

Be Empathy...
To listen well, especially when handling customer complaints, you’ll be less tempted to defend yourself. This will also give both seller and customer enough time to calm down and refocus. Showing your own rage will most likely add more fire to his/her anger. More than anything, we hope that most problems can be solved constructively.

Be Problem Solver...
A displeased customer wouldn’t want to know why the problem occurred. He/she wouldn’t want to know how difficult it may need to resolve. All he/she wants is solution. Customer will go somewhere else when the problem wasn’t solved. So, fix the complaint and win a loyal customer.

Every customer is important – specially the disgruntled ones! Indeed, it’s much wiser to retain them than send them to a competitor.

Hence, improve your customer service. You can create a customer service satisfaction survey, or alternatively, let us help you make your angry customer happy.

Maria Azlan
Chief Operating Officer
BMI Research (Malaysia)

Oct 22, 2008

To Go or Not to Go Online?

Computers and internet technology changed our daily lives so much. Cannot deny it.

However, internet has a less significant effect on consumer spending, especially for online transactions, and particularly far lower in Asia. Obviously, the majority of internet users are not interested in online transactions such as electronic payments or electronic shopping due to security concerns. Those online thieves/hackers are able to snatch cardholder information and other personal data. Additionally, internet users are also exposed to online scam!

A retail company’s owner recently asked: What are the benefits of going online?

Needless to say, the internet is a powerful, fast and efficient marketing and communication tool. Many a time, your clients/customers probably ask you: Do you have a website?

In truth, internet marketing tool helps you attract and communicate with new prospects, clients and affiliates on a regular basis. It will make your presence felt 24/7.

And, from the marketing point of view, the online tools and features provide you with endless benefits. It provides unlimited possibilities for your business.

Example: You can use features to create unlimited custom forms to be used on your website to collect visitors’ names, email addresses and more. The gathered database lets you easily and directly asks customers and prospects some key questions; helping you to make the sale; close the sale; and even perform simple market research for your market analysis and future marketing plans.

Also, internet tools enhance two-way communicative marketing. Customers can quickly and easily give feedback on your product and/or marketing approach. In due course, you could find out what your customers like more; how they feel about certain aspects of your business; etc. This helps to determine how you can improve your product and the way you do business.

We can go on with plenty more benefits, but the problem is: How to encourage online buying behaviour?

We suggest: YOU FORCE THEM!

Basically, describe your company as “the only” online site to give customers an easy and free way to instantaneously find out about special sales and deals – no matter where they are. Emphasize what makes your company or products/services unique!

Air Asia, for example, provides a totally different type of service. It has many features that differentiate it from the traditional carriers. Somehow more importantly, Air Asia emphasizes ticketless travel and online ticket sales! It encourages internet bookings, and travellers will only get exclusive deals, discounts and free giveaways from its website only. Air Asia makes their customers exclusive! The result is, ah… needless to elaborate.

In short, start your business online today – be it to gain sales revenue, or merely to collect customer database. Nonetheless, do differentiate your company’s online existence from your competitors. If you’re having difficulty differentiating it, let us assist you.

Maria Azlan
Chief Operating Officer
BMI Research (Malaysia)

Oct 21, 2008

How “Exclusive”?

Exclusive products are unique and cannot be purchased everywhere. A friend thought this “exclusive right” could give him a large advantage over his competitors. But, he got it all wrong when he introduced discount sales on the product!

He didn’t make profit through it, simply (pun intended).

Ah, nobody said it was easy to sell exclusive products, right?

So what is the problem in conducting a discounted sale?

There isn’t really a problem, yet that could lead to weak product positioning – more so for an exclusive product.

See, the human psychology says that the higher the price, the better the product and otherwise. This is psychologically sense, as well as from the business side.

For example, Brand A has created an image of high quality in the minds of consumers. It is marketed by Brand A to a wealthy segment. From the view of Brand A current and potential buyer, the price is secondary because the brand itself is prestigious and premium.

If Brand A decreases prices, the rich guys will stop buying it, because everybody can. And Brand A is no longer that “exclusive”! This would ruin its segment, and deposition itself. This would hurt the brand, and eventually the sales figures will drop.

Thus there are real reasons to avoid discounts for a certain product. We have an image to keep, an “exclusive” value to protect. We do not want to destroy our markets by offering higher quality products too low.

Also, our customers agree to pay the higher price if they are convinced that what is offered to them, to their perceptions, is just as valuable or worth paying more than the discounted price.

And, indeed, there will be time when we would have the problem that we can no longer raise prices, because everybody expects a cheap price. They are expecting the same discounts for future products offered.

Hence, do clearly identify your current and potential customers. It’s important and easier to retain them than to give an unnecessary discount to everyone.

Let us assist you to target the right customer, and penetrate into the correct market segmentation.

Maria Azlan
Chief Operating Officer
BMI Research (Malaysia)

Oct 10, 2008

What BMI Research Can Do for You?

If you are in a position to make key decisions for your company – I am sure, for many a time, you ask yourself:

  • Will the business idea work?
  • Should I launch a new product now, or should I wait?
  • How many companies are making a competing product or service?
  • Do customers need the product or service we are offering?
  • How to reach out to potential customers and/or current customers?
  • What price would customers be willing to pay?
  • Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera

Not easy to answer, uh?

Somehow you need to get some real answers, don’t you?

Ah well, that’s where we – BMI Research – comes in.

Briefly, market research study is the process of collecting and analyzing data – on/from the customers you want to reach. The result findings would provide you the information you need to develop effective marketing strategies.

With effective market research method*, BMI Research aids you to identify your current customers and target-market demographics; to understand your market; and even your competitors.

We could help you create a business plan; launch a new product/service; improvise your existing products/services; expand into new markets; and even provide insights into how emerging market trends may affect your business.

In addition, we would deliver information to help you in corporate branding and image; advertising awareness and effectiveness; and/or market segmentation.

In short, BMI Research would support you to translate information for making better marketing decisions. Hence, whatever your company’s challenges are, we would deliver the information you need to be optimal successful.

* BMI Research can help you to decide which research method or combination of methods will be the most effective in producing the most worthwhile results – for you and your company. Please call us at +603 9281 4564 or email to info@bmi-research.com

Maria Azlan
Chief Operating Officer
BMI Research (Malaysia)