Monday, May 19, 2008

10 Downing: Making use of customer database

I have quite often wondered what companies do with the databases they collect. Every time, I go to a restaurant of some repute, the standard practice is to fill in the feedback form.

Apart from comments on food, ambiance, service, blah blah...these establishments collect details like date of birth and anniversary. In so many years, I have never ever heard anything from them on these special days.

This year on my birthday, I was planning to take my colleagues for a treat to Amethyst, a premium coffee shop in Chennai. As I was finalizing my plans, I got a call from 10 Downing, a pub in Chennai. The caller wished me and then said that I could avail 25% discount as their birthday gift to me. It came as a sweet surprise. And suddenly, the treat turned into a high spirit event rather than a caffeine rich.

As a marketing person, I think 10 D stands apart in using the CRM database. Not only they kept a customer happy, they also managed to steal business.

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Monday, February 11, 2008


Am trying Flock. Will give inputs later.

Blogged with Flock

Thursday, February 07, 2008

In continuation to my thoughts on stock market, here is one which describes the situation. This story is not creation.

The Story of Smart Monkey Sellers

Once upon a time in a village, a man appeared and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for Rs.10. The villagers seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them.

The man bought thousands at Rs.10 and as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort. He further announced that he would now buy at Rs.20. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again. Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms. The offer rate increased to Rs.25 and the supply of monkeys became so little that it was an effort to even see a monkey, so let alone catch it!

The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at Rs.50! However, since he had to go to the city for some business, his assistant would now buy on behalf of him. In the absence of the man, the assistant told the villagers: "Look at all these monkeys, in the big cage that the man has collected. I will sell them to you at Rs.35 and when the man returns from the city, you can sell it to him for Rs.50."

The villagers squeezed up with all their savings and bought all the monkeys. Then they never saw the man nor his assistant, only monkeys everywhere!!!

Welcome to the "Indian Stock" Market!!!!! Where, we Indians are the villagers catching monkeys and the man from the city buying these monkeys are the FIIs – Foreign Institutional Investors .

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Stock Market: A True Indicator of Economy’s Health?

Stock Exchange Drama: Can Government be responsible?

I have always believed that an investment in stock market is akin to gambling. Yes, there are some principles which govern the movement of a stock. PE, I am told, is the basis for an upward or downward movement of scrip.

In the last few days, there has been too much of hullabaloo over the crash of the stock market.

What flared me up was an interview of some association for retail investors or some such association’s spokesperson in one of the business channels. He cried foul over Government’s inaction in controlling the downward spiral. He added that many investors have come to the road and lost their investments.

I respect The Frontline but this article - - by Mr. CP Chandrasekar further incensed me. He blames PM and FM partially for the collapse.

At least, as for the current UPA government is concerned, I have observed that both PM and FM have regularly been non-committal to the blood-bath or extreme rise in adrenaline levels. Of course, I also do remember that BJP-led NDA Government would not loose any opportunity to stake claim for good performance. So much so, when the Congress-led UPA Government took over and the market collapsed, BJP made big hue and cry saying that Congress Government had lost confidence.

I am seriously wondering if stock market is really the true indicator of a country’s economic health. Please read, is it the TRUE indicator?

Shouldn’t an investor be held responsible for his investments?

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Tata's Nano: For who?

Wiki says

"The automobile industry in India is the eleventh largest in the world with an annual production of approximately 2 million units. India is expected to overtake China as the world's fastest growing car market in terms of the number of units sold and the automotive industry is one of the fastest growing manufacturing sectors in India. Because of its large market (India has a population of 1.1 billion; the second largest in the world), a low base of car ownership (7 per 1,000 people)..."

For many Indians owning a car is dream.

Mr. Ratan Tata through his Rs. 1 lac car – Nano – has made the populace's dream more achievable true.

Considering many bikes are selling are selling at upwards of 70 k, doesn’t Nano look like a sure success? Who will buy the Nano? How is the market dynamics going to change?

I am not sure if Nano is going to be a success; I do expect it to be.

Will I buy a Nano? No. Atleast, not now. My wife and I are yuppies and a DINK couple. I work as Manager in a software firm while wife is employed at an MNC publishing house. By SEC segregation, I should surely be in SEC-A. I own Maruti Swift (my first car was Alto). I have a Scooty and a cycle. Yes, bi-cycle. I took to cycling about two years back and use to get to station and to the club.

Nano can/will either be a first car for the bourgeois or a second car to the elite. As first car idea, I think it will be a great success. It might even hurt sales of motor bikes at least the low-end models. Low-end models, did I say? At its price it should only hurt high-end models and not low-end model, isn't it? On the contrary, I feel that those who buy high-end bikes do not buy for functionality. Their purchase decision is more on aspirational. Bikes, today, look handsome and are very powerful. They make a statement! Long time back, Bajaj introduced Eliminator. And, in those days, it was priced at 80k. My friend told me that he would rather buy a second hand Padmini or 800. I told him that if he drove one of those cars, nobody will give you a look but Eliminator was sure to attract eyeballs. Story of Nano vis-à-vis higher-end mobikes is pretty much the same. Personally, I would not like to drive around in a Nano. At least, not after Swift. Even if I buy another car, it won't be Nano.

The other day a young friend of mine said that Nano will be great vehicle of college students. Point to ponder about. For the ultra rich, Nano can become the birthday gift for their kids. But even if that is true, I think that Nano will become a ‘girly’ car. Like the Scooty and others of its kind. Slow speed and positioning is likely to put off guys.

Do you remember this oft repeated statement by ‘advisors’ when you have just learnt driving and plan to buy a new one? They would say “buy a second hand Maruti (read 800), learn well and then go for a better car”. Valid point, isn’t it? I think Nano has a great potential to become the nascent-drivers preferred choice. Watch out, Maruti and second hand car dealers!

Is it likely to sell in rural area than in cities? I think not. Driving conditions is not so conducive in rural area and I am sure that Nano will not be as strong a car as Amby. Of course, mileage and price point is definitely attractive. The next 32-cities in India are the potentially are bigger markets for Nano than any other market. That is one market which is value-for-money conscious.

I am just thinking, what will be the re-sale value of a Nano? How is that likely to affect the car market? Oh god, what will happen to the mobikes market? Interesting times ahead in the automobile industry.

So, is it good for India? Where are the roads to accommodate the influx of Nanos? Worse, the oil prices don't seem to know where south lies. But on the positive side, Nano is also likely to provide indirect employment opportunity to many.

Mr. Tata, as a visionary, couldn't you have planned the car to run on alternate fuel. Solar/Water/Hydrogen/Electricity?

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