24
Jul

Desde el Retail

Uno de los síntomas de la incipiente recuperación económica, y directamente conectado con la mejora del consumo interno, sería la recuperación parcial de la innovación en los mercados de gran consumo. Como dato, el peso de las productos innovadores sobre el total ventas supera en más del 50% el alcanzado en el año anterior (6.4% acumulado a Marzo 2014).

Se trata de una recuperación basada principalmente en extensiones de línea y mejoras parciales de producto, ya que el 5% que corresponde a marcas nuevas e innovaciones radicales está aún muy lejos del 20% conseguido en el año 2007. A pesar de lo anterior, en un 30% de las categorías de gran consumo la innovación aporta más de la mitad de el crecimiento conseguido.

Y dentro de esta innovación destaca cada vez más la realizada directamente por la distribución detallista en relación con sus marcas del distribuidor. Sobresale Mercadona, con el desarrollo de espacios específicos en algunas tiendas (doce en la actualidad) donde se facilita el acceso de los clientes a nuevos productos para directamente recoger su opinión sobre ellos, sus sugerencias, y sobre todo acceder a la utilización real del producto para ver como es la experiencia de uso.

coinnovacion

No sorprende que Mercadona sea considerada como la empresa líder en nuevos lanzamientos, con 400 registrados en el año anterior. No se trata solo de una cuestión de cantidad, ya que además coloca dos nuevos productos entre las diez primeras innovaciones del año según un estudio de Kantar Worldpanel.

zanahoria

La distribución detallista no solo prioriza cada vez más el desarrollo propio de innovaciones como alternativa a la mera copia de los productos de fabricante sino que cada vez más es reconocida por el consumidor en este sentido, percibiendo la aportación de valor del producto adicionalmente al eje precio y dándole cada vez más credibilidad en segmentos de prestaciones y calidad superiores.

Y como ejemplo comentar el caso de Eroski. Recientemente tuve la oportunidad de asistir a una presentación de Ana Cuevas, directora comercial y compra de productos frescos, sobre un nuevo concepto de alimentación llamado Eroski Cooking (http://cooking.eroski.es/)

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Consiste en una línea de productos compuesta por tres componentes precocinados preparados para ser acabados en un proceso de ensamblaje . El primero sería el producto principal, la base, consistente en una relación de carnes, pescados y pasta a elegir. El paso dos incluye las guarniciones, mientras que el último paso se refiere a la elección de salsas entre un surtido de distintos sabores.

Cooking_pack

Entre los principales encontraríamos pasta con albahaca, muslo de pollo relleno de jamón, merluza al vapor, bacalao confitado y salmón a la plancha. La guarniciones incluirían champiñones estofados, salteado de guisantes con jamón, wok de verduras, arroz con langostinos o patatas carbonara entre otros. Por último, las salsas incluyen salsa verde, de oporto y hongos, de tomate, de quesos y nueces, al curry, de mostaza o piperada. Claramente se trata de propuestas alejadas de la comida preparada funcional y más próxima a la alta gastronomía.

A partir de lo anterior el número de combinaciones posibles es muy elevado ya que permite a al consumidor la personalización del producto final combinando los tres pasos o incluso reduciéndolos a dos. Esta flexibilidad de elección facilita la adaptación del menú elegido a la ocasión de consumo (regular / especial).

Otros elementos de valor aportado se refieren a la confianza que genera, ya que es el propio cliente quien manipula en última estancia un plato preparado al acabar su preparación en el momento de consumo, los beneficios referidos a calidad de componentes, o su comodidad por la rapidez de preparación.

El punto de partida en su concepción y desarrollo se sitúa en dar una nueva solución al cliente en el mercado de platos preparados que se aleje de procesos percibidos como industriales y desvinculados de la calidad y disfrute gastronómico. Y para conseguirlo se crea una línea de trabajo que intenta cambiar la forma de relacionarse entre fabricante y distribuidor, siendo los dos participes de un proyecto completo de co-creación enfocado en las necesidades del cliente y al que se unen distintos proveedores.

Proceso

Fabricantes como Angulas Aguinaga, que aportan conocimiento del producto para liderar el desarrollo de un nuevo segmento de platos semi-preparados pero que priorizan el placer de la comida y el disfrute como valor principal. O proveedores como el Basque Culinary Center, que desarrollan las recetas y asesoran en lo referido a la cocción y conservación de todos los componentes para potenciar su sabor. O como el centro tecnológíco AZTI Tecnalia, encargado de garantizar los procesos productivos y la calidad sensorial, nutricional y garantías de este nuevo proceso.

Con independencia del resultado que esta propuesta pueda obtener en el mercado supone un avance en ejes muy claros en el desarrollo de la marca del distribuidor por parte del detallista.

El primero sería el acceso a segmentos de mercado de cada vez más valor, alejados de propuestas basadas exclusivamente en el precio bajo, como forma de diferenciarse, reforzar la marca, generar fidelidad, y mejorar rentabilidad.

En segundo lugar, una integración total de todos los participantes en el proceso así como un claro foco en el consumidor.

Y en tercer lugar, y como resultado de los dos anteriores, un sustancial cambio en la ambición de desarrollo de marcas del distribuidor. Huyendo de productos de imitación, rápidos y baratos en su desarrollo, para atacar proyectos mucho más ambiciosos, más largos de llevar a cabo y mucho más complejos, y por lo tanto, que exigen una inversión considerablemente más alta

Confianza, personalización, alta gastronomía…. Valores aportados al consumidor bastante alejados del tradicional eje precio para una marca del distribuidor.

Saludos muy cordiales

12
Jul

Today I wanted to paraphrase a well-known business article (It is the Distribution, stupid!) to showcase the importance of managing Media properly when building the Personal Brand Identity. And for doing so we have two perfect examples that reflect what should be and should not be done.

lebron james

IKER CASILLAS AND HIS MISSTEP

Iker Casillas has managed its Personal Branding relatively well for many years. I am not sure how systematic and structured he was in his approach, but in the end of the day he came across to Spaniards as a brilliant goalkeeper, with a human touch (reflected when he gave a call to Xavi from Barcelona to end up a club discussion) and passion for what he did and achieved (just recall what happened with Sara Carbonero 4 years ago upon winning the Soccer Wordlcup).

iker casillas

Moreover, he has managed relatively well his presence in Social Media, where we can find him in Twitter, Facebook and even Instagram, and has actually got really good PR thanks to some of his prizes, such as the one granted by the UNPD:  Goodwill Ambassador for the Millennium Development Goals.

What came out of it? Casillas managed to create a pretty good Personal Brand around himself, as it was reflected in the research by Personality Media, and actually some advertisting contracts with well-known companies such as Liga BBVA and Procter & Gamble.

iker champu

So far so good, till recently… The misstep came two weeks ago when he published a picture of his new-born baby, one “follower” attacked the baby (he basically said that he wished the baby would drown) and Casillas replied with all kind swearing and curse words…

comentario-iker

Had Casillas the right to response back like that? Yes, of course. Was Casillas right when responding like that? Absolutely not. Casillas needs to understand that even if he has the right to do so, he has created a Personal Brand, needs to protect it, take good care about what he does and does not say in public and specially take care of Media and Digital Media. For whatever he says, specially if it is a misstep, is going to be viral and promoted all around the Globe…

 

LEBRON GOES BACK HOME

The story of Lebron is somewhat similar to the one of Iker Casillas in a bigger scale. His Personal Branding started when he was only 17 and made it in the cover of Sports Illustrated: The Chosen one was born.

lebron the chosen one

Number 1 of the NBA draft in 2003, he was really up to the expectations he raised and managed to beat quite a few records during his 7 years in the Cavs, with only something missing: An NBA Championship. In 2010, he became an unrestricted agent and had to decide whether to keep on playing in Cleveland or moving somewhere else… Everybody was awaiting and he finally made his move… A move that he announced in an ESPN TV Program (The Decision)…

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Did he have the right to look for another Team where to win the NBA Championship? Of course. Did he mange it properly from a communication perspective? Definitively not. It was considered a brutal communication misstep, an arrogant move that made him a public enemy in Cleveland and in the minds of big chunk of NBA followers (myself included).

4 years later, Lebron was facing the same situation again. He had spent 4 years with the Heats, won 2 NBA Championships, had the right to choose his team again and got everybody was awaiting his decision. And today, he announced his decision and, in contrast to what happened before, he communicated it smartly: He wrote a well-thought and respectful letter published by Sports Illustrated, where he exposes the reasons for “I´m coming back home”.

lebron coming home

The reactions are yet to come, but I can bet that his Personal Brand Image will be strongly reinforced for:

  • He has amended his previous mistakes.
  • He admits the communication mistakes he made in the past.
  • He comes across as a respectful and considerate person, that looks for something else.

SOME CLOSING THOUGHTS

  • Personal Branding has to do with who you are and specially with how you come across.
  • For the latter Media in a broad sense is critical and needs to be carefully thought and manged.
  • When being a well-known Personal Brand, you need to be mindful and aware that everything your claim is subject to be published, promoted and made viral. This works both for offline and online media.
  • Having said that, you need to define your values and positioning and stick to them, even if rational or irrational critics show up.
  • And last but not least, please consider a professional assessment for managing your Personal Brand. Brand Management well deserves some professional help.

personal branding

Look forward for your comments @ignaciogafo.

Reset!!!

Ignacio Gafo

1
Jul

One of the main problems when trying to launch a new business at the BOP is the lack of data. This is a brand new market, with fairly unknown consumer needs, unreliable statistically public data, and extremely difficult to reach consumers.

Luckily the World Bank has solve part of the problem…. Last month it has released the “Global Consumption Database” a comprehensive dataset on consumer spending patterns in developing countries.

The data has been compiled from surveys to more than a million households around the world, and is breaking down by country, by location (rural & urban areas), by consumption segment (lowest, low, middle, high), by sector, by sub-sector, and by specific products and services for 107 detailed sub-categories.

global consumption database

This is the most detailed attempt to obtain data to help size up existing demand and potential demand for specific product and services categories; identify categories where demand may be latent; and identify areas for further research.

All this is key when building and analyzing inclusive business opportunities.

Moreover the research have shown clearly 3 points that, although already known, are worth noticing,

1. Affordability and access to financing are key to success in inclusive business.
As we have seen in my previous post, people at the BOP not only have extremely low but also extremely volatile income. Therefore when buying new products affordability in terms of total amount as well as access to a vehicle to finance the product is key. Microfinance these products and therefore offer this option as a product feature is extremely important for the success of the venture. You can be financing a solar lamp, an electricity meter or construction materials, without financing the product would be difficulty sold.

2. Different segments require very different business models

Up to now, the BOP has been considered as a big segment of low income people, but as in other more mature markets, segmentation is key.
Although the segmentation used in this report is based on income, income also dictates many other attributes as literacy rates, access to other products and services or product understanding
• Lowest—below $2.97 per capita a day
• Low—between $2.97 and $8.44 per capita a day
• Middle—between $8.44 and $23.03 per capita a day
• Higher—above $23.03 per capita a day
In microfinance, we normally offered different kind of products for different segments, group lending for the lowest income segment and more develop individual lending when we start to go up in the ladder. This is mainly due to the very different financing as well as financial literacy rate among both segments. The same needs to be applied to other businesses.

3. The Bop is very young, offering great potential for companies willing to invest.

According to this study more than 61% of people at the BOP are under 30 years old. Young people are much more open to new business models and new products especially those involving new technologies. This is a huge opportunities to make things different and engage them in a different way.

Once we start to work with the data more conclusions would be driven.
Ready to start?

Waiting for your comments! Here and @marialescorial

23
Jun

With all the hype around big data analytics, it’s easy to think that high-visibility Internet companies like Amazon and Netflix invented the idea of using customer data to drive sales. But one of the earliest efforts to leverage big data—and arguably the most successful yet—began nearly 20 years ago in Europe when the British supermarket chain Tesco partnered with the consumer data-mining firm, dunnhumby.

A key factor in Tesco’s U.K. retail domination involved sending customized promotional coupons to customers based on dunnhumby’s analysis of loyalty card data. In the U.S. supermarket chain Kroger followed a similar approach with dunnhumby and reaped the returns. Despite the onslaught of Walmart and unlike most of its competition, Kroger has seen dramatic and consistent growth in its market share of U.S. grocery sales. The Lesson learned by these precocious retail powerhouses? Keep it simple.

As the never-ending parade of new technology and marketing approaches continues, it pays to take stock of the additional lessons emerging in this data-driven era of serving customers:

Serve the unwanted customer. The customers companies want to avoid at all costs sometimes turn out to be the best ones to have. When it was much smaller, the very successful U.S. automotive insurance company Progressive discovered an interesting fact about the pool of drivers who had recently had accidents. Other companies did everything they could to avoid these drivers, either charging massively higher rates or turning them down completely when they could. But Progressive realized this risk class was not homogeneous and that although some were highly likely to have another accident, others in the pool were not. Progressive discovered it could predict those less likely to have another accident by using credit scores, allowing it to embrace this market subset by being able to determine the right premium for the risk. Progressive ultimately made a lot of money using this strategy cheap snapbacks hats.

Don’t hate your customer. “We need better customers,” is how hating the customer starts. The goal is typically higher-income consumers or, if business-to-business, building relationships with larger and more prestigious firms. But a “better customer” mentality leads to under-serving the core customer base and has infected large swaths of entire industries.

The airline industry provides a great example of the “better customer” trap. While chasing after elite frequent fliers and corporate accounts, it’s created a relatively expensive product with few benefits for the vast majority of fliers and an opportunity for ultra-discount carriers like Easyjet and Spirit Airlines. Today’s airlines face the choice of going down the path of an Easyjet or delivering more benefits to the majority of customers that justifies higher prices cheap snapabcks.

Whereas the U.S.-based gaming company Harrah’s, showed us the right way to go. By leveraging data from its customer loyalty program, Harrah’s targeted the under-served, mid-level gamblers and outperformed competitors that were focusing too much attention on whales—individual players wagering massive amounts of money. Yet even though virtually everyone in the gaming industry knows this story, companies continue to make the same mistakes. Recently in Atlantic City, for instance, a casino catering to mid- to lower-end gamblers lost large amounts of money on one whale after giving him better odds than everyone else.

Inspire employees first. Even before embracing customers, the company needs to embrace itself. Research done for the Harvard Business School MBA and Executive Education program in the late 1990’s showed that professional service firms that focused on internal talent and culture significantly outperformed those that did not.

Netflix, one of the great emerging brands today with its stock more than tripling in 2013, provides the latest example of the power of making talent and culture the number one priority. Case in point: the 127-slide PowerPoint presentation Netflix executives wrote on the subject went viral with more 5 million downloads cheap snapbacks.

Drive technology deeper. Embrace technology as a tool to track success. When Zurich Insurance rebranded in 2008, they realized the brand “needed to connect with customers digitally, physically and virtually” – and make a promise on how it would deliver to consumers. It embraced analytics by defining common global measurements of satisfaction and loyalty with the goal of strengthening customer retention, changing customer behavior and prioritizing investments[1]. With the captured data, Zurich was able to identify a number of areas of improvement in customer experience – including those that could be managed with smaller investments.

 

Keeping it simple. Embracing employees. Valuing all customers. Driving technology deeper to deliver an overall great customer experience. In this era of big data, these are some of the real lessons and opportunities for companies aspiring to become the next generation of brand leaders.

I look forward to your comments and experience.

Luis Rodriguez-Baptista and Tom Agan

 

[1] “How Zurich restructured 63 brands into one” – Geoffrey Precourt, WARC Event Report series 2011

22
Jun

Can you disrupt the market with a best-in-class shopping experience? Amazon thinks so.

Marketing and Strategy books claim that you should strive to create a Monopoly, to come up with a Blue Ocean where no competition takes place. This approach is also know as becoming a Game Changer, breaking the existing rules and coming up with something that sets you appart.

blue ocean

When analyzing companies that have managed to do so, we mainly encounter companies that came up with innovative products, that outperformed everything available in the market. However, as competition and globalization evolve, this has turned out to be more and more difficult and nowadays, most companies happen to succeed through innovations in the Business Model (Google) or Customer Experience (Apple with the I-phone).

In this context, Amazon has just launched its new Fire Smartphone, an expected move  supported by analysts, that enview it as a Game Changing through a top-notch shoppping experience.

amazon_customer_service

Is it the case?

Before responding, let´s analyze brevely what they have launched and where does Amazon stand.

The launch has been somewhat different from the one done with the Kindle Fire Tablet for two reasons:

a) The smartphone is a top-class one from a spec perspective (compared to a stripped down version from the initial Kindle Fire tablets).

b) The street price has not been undercut (which was the case with the Kindle Fire tablet).

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The latter is basically telling us that Amazon feels more comfortable about its positioning and confident to demand somewhat similar prices than those from Apple and Samsung.

In this regard, it is fair to say that Amazon has done an impressive job in terms of attracting its customer base (mainly the in US) and getting app developers on board (you can now download more than 300k apps through the Amazon Portal), whilst providing a state-of-the-art shopping experience

Being this the case, I do think that Amazon is taking a reasonable risk, that sets the basis for its long term strategy: Reaping the benefits of a loyal customer base, that is expected to keep on purchasing from Amazon, even when discounting is not applied.

Amazon-Phone

My first guess is that the initial results will be positive but will not tell if the bet works. This will be the case for the Phone will be just launched in the US with AT&T, which is where Amazon is stronger and gets most of its loyal customer base. The challenges will show up in the mid-term, when they need to go beyond the american market and convince other markets (like Europe) to pay full price for an Amazon device.

And my second guess is that this will be an all or nothing initiative. For if they are unable to reach in two years to a critical customer base, key app developers and distributors (mainly Telecom Companies) will stop supporting them.

Time to time then. But let´s welcome Amazon Phone on board!

Reset!!!

Ignacio Gafo

PS: This post is dedicated to Teresa Serra, my mentor at IE Business School, and to all my loyal blog readers that have being patient with me. Sorry about so many months without posting. Just needed a small break to Reset!!! and go beyond Think Different!!!

21
Jun

Recently, we hosted at IE the training academy “New Venture Creation and Marketing in Health/Life Sciences”, as a part of European Commission program Health-2-Market. During this week-long intensive training program, researchers-entrepreneurs from all over Europe had the chance to develop in collaboration with IE faculty the marketing plans of their ventures.

What struck me the most during this academy is the following. All of the participants were extremely motivated and knowledgeable about how their business ideas (products, services, or complete solutions) could be used. Each of them could talk for hours (literally) on how great and useful their business idea was… However, almost nobody could (at least at the beginning) adopt the view of their potential customers’ regarding their business. What would be the core benefit, for them?

In marketing jargon, they were focusing on their actual, and not on their core product. They were focusing on what their customer would pay for, and not why they would pay for it. For example, participants thought that they were providing “easy to use and technologically advanced medical devices” instead of “time, flexibility, and accuracy of results” to the doctors. “An integrated patient monitoring system” instead of “Cost reduction” for the hospitals. And, finally, “an easier and less intrusive way of heart-surgery”, instead of “more saved lives”.

Why may this be happening? Well, most entrepreneurship profs argue (rightly) that one of the keys to entrepreneurial success is passion for your business. They frequently use the metaphor that entrepreneurs must see their business as their child. Here, I believe, is the problem. It is extremely difficult for parents to stop admiring how great their child is, and start thinking how their child can be helpful to other people, the society, etc. Just as many parents believe that the society should be full of admiration for their children, many entrepreneurs believe that their business is so great, that the market and the customers should automatically appreciate them.

We have, thus, the following paradox: The very same passion that is necessary for entrepreneurial success, is preventing entrepreneurs from being customer focused, inhibiting thus entrepreneurial success at the same time. Maybe, then, the real key is to be able to manage your passion in such a way that keeps entrepreneurs motivated, but at the same time does not switch their focus away from customers’ needs.

 

More about Health2market e-training: http://elearning.health2market.eu/
More about Health2market: http://www.health2market.eu/

Antonios (Adoni) Stamatogiannakis, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Marketing
IE Business School – IE University

Antonios . Stamatogiannakis @ ie . edu

18
Jun

Baseball Caps in All Shapes and Patterns

Written on June 18, 2014 by Ignacio Gafo in Marketing Strategy

Hats and caps are constantly associated with sunshine security or keeping warm in cold weather. Following the fad for a better life, they are regarded as a modern apparel and are being appreciated by the more youthful generations. Modern individuals are chasing their appeals not simply in their clothes however other matching garments. Hats and caps have now play a crucial cast in the trend.

Baseball snapbacks are a very popular product that are utilized nearly anywhere around the globe. They are available in lots of forms, dimensions, colors, material and patterns. Some caps are especially developed for a certain career. One of the most well-liked style is the baseball cap. Baseball caps are not just worn by baseball gamers yet by folks of any ages. Baseball caps are an universal cap made of soft tool with a tight brim that could wither be curved or flat. The caps that are solid in the back and do not permit for modifiable sizes are called cheap snapback hats. Caps that are part of an uniform are created to match the team colours and normally have a group logo design on them. It offers an overall sporty appearance but additionally a sense of uniformity.

When used by “normal” people it assists them to seem like component of the group. Baseball snapbacks are also worn by females and children. Kids enjoy to copy their favorite sporting activities amount and by putting on a reproduction of their hat they can pretend to be that person. Apart from being a style accessory baseball caps also protect you from the sun. This can safeguard your face from being burned by the rays. Whatever the factor for putting on baseball caps they continuously be a fad and will certainly continue to be trendy for a long time. They are a genuinely global item that anyone and every person could use whatever ages, race, sex or topographical location. Each individual may has his/her own taste.

You may experience ‘buying around’ till your ideals come into sight. Baseball snapbacks are a very prominent thing that are made use of almost anywhere around the globe. Baseball caps are not just worn by baseball gamers but by people of all ages. Baseball caps are a global cap made of soft product with a stiff brim that might perish be bent or flat. The caps that are solid in the back and do not permit for flexible sizes are called snapback hats. Baseball caps are likewise worn by females and kids.

12
Jun

No me voy a parar a analizar el caso de Uber, ni el de Airbnb ni lo que está ocurriendo alrededor de un repentino movimiento regulatorio que pretende frenar con leyes lo que el mercado ya ha adoptado y los clientes han hecho suyos.

Lo que me interesa de estos casos y de otros que ahora veremos es cómo estos servicios están conectando de una manera íntima con sus consumidores generando un “engagement” extraordinario.

Y todo empieza con una innovación. Como he visto hoy aquí las innovaciones no se deben exclusivamente a una idea genial que surge de una mente privilegiada sino que normalmente consiste en una reinterpretación creativa de la realidad actual que atiende las necesidades de los consumidores e inspiran cambios en los modelos de negocio.

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Uber, Airbnb, Cabify y otras tantas lo que han hecho ha sido ofrecer una solución práctica y cercana que base su éxito en la reputación, en la confianza en los pares (peers) y en la disponibilidad. Y todo esto con un marketing inteligente, osado y trasngresor que es capaz de reinterpretar la realidad.

Este el caso que este mes nos trae trendwatching.com en el que vemos una iniciativa divertida, simpática y diferente de Uber. Durante una huelga de trenes y metro en Londres, la compañía lanzó una promoción genial: un 50% de descuento para todos los viajeros que compartieran tarifa. Sencillo. Directo. Just in time.

Captura de pantalla 2014-06-12 a la(s) 17.43.38

Y lo que es evidente es que esta tendencia está llegando a todos los sectores. Ya sea el de comida a domicilio con los ejemplos de JUST EAT (líder mundial valorada en +1.770 M € tras su salida a Bolsa), el de la cosmética (Wahanda es un gran ejemplo), al de los abogados (mybarrister.co.uk)o los que todos conocemos (Amazon, Alibaba, Ebay…) o

En cualquier caso, estas empresas se basan en algo tan sencillo como difícil: poner en contacto a la oferta y a la demanda y además, creando valor en ambos extremos de la misma.

Con modelos que se suelen basar en la comisión directa sobre las transacciones, los marketplaces exitosos  son aquellos que son capaces de rentabilizar su negocio sin caer en la tentación de guiarse por un espejismo con forma de burbuja y que tienen la voluntad y el conocimiento necesario para crear empresas sostenidas en el largo plazo.

Analicemos mercados maduros, hagamos ejercicios de marketing lateral e innovemos. A lo mejor satisfacemos a 1 cliente. Y, a lo mejor, detrás de ese primer cliente vienen otros miles de usuarios que nos estaban esperando.

Feliz jueves a todos. Me encantaría leer vuestros comentarios

@jesusrebollog

PS. Hoy en el Mundial #nomelajuego !

 

11
Jun

Are women better in Sales than men? The case of selling properties

Written on June 11, 2014 by Claire Bastien in Pricing

Real estate is very different from other sales; they are complex sales and in this case Big Sales more than multiple interlocutors need to be convinced in order to close the sale.

The model of the customer profile in real estate selling is really very peculiar and the shape is an hourglass.

As in any business the first level of “customers with initial transaction” is important and in this case very broad but only a few of them become repeat customers.

Hourglass-Profile

Read more…

10
Jun

Originalmente escrito para y publicado en elpaís.com planeta futuro

El término innovación es clave en cualquier proceso de mejora, y normalmente está asociado a grandes descubrimientos, hoy, me gustaría hablar de la innovación que es capaz de mejorar la vida de millones de personas, “la innovación que realmente importa”.

Y ésta no está mayoritariamente en Silicom Valley, sino que se encuentra, sobre todo, en las miles de empresas que se están desarrollando para solucionar problemas sociales especialmente en África y Asia. Las enormes carencias, los escasos recursos y la necesidad de sobrevivir, agudizan el ingenio.

Me ha impresionado, la empresa Husk Power Systems, que provee electricidad generada a partir de cáscaras de arroz, en Bihar, una de las zonas más pobres de la India con un 80-90% de los pueblos sin electricidad y sin ninguna posibilidad de que se instale por la falta de accesibilidad.

La falta de electricidad es un problema que afecta a casi un cuarto de la población mundial (alrededor de un billón y medio de personas), y que además impacta en el desarrollo económico, la educación y la salud de las personas que lo padecen.

Husky Power Systems, con 84 “mini plantas” gasificando la cáscara de arroz, provee electricidad de forma recurrente, fiable y ecológica a más de 200.000 personas en 300 pueblos. Generando un ahorro de keroseno de alrededor de 9.244.800 litros, con un coste de 2$ al mes por familia, menos de la mitad de su coste mensual en energía. Reduciendo la polución de las casas, mejorando la salud de las zonas rurales y promoviendo desarrollo económico al mantener los negocios abiertos más tiempo e incrementando las horas de estudio de los niños. Además da empleo a 350 personas locales. Adicionalmente han encontrado la forma de transformar las cenizas de la cáscara de arroz, producto residual del proceso, en incienso, lo que genera un ingreso extra a más de 500 mujeres.
Una solución global, escalable y sostenible en el tiempo.

No ha sido fácil. Aparte de los problemas a los que ese enfrenta cualquier emprendedor al lanzar una empresa en un mercado desconocido, incluida la falta de financiación, Husk Power Systems, para poder ser viable y sostenible ha tenido que crear y operar verticalmente en toda la cadena de valor. Desde la cadena de aprovisionamiento de las cáscaras de arroz, la construcción de la red de cableado con postes de bambú, el desarrollo de contadores electrónicos, un sistema de pago para clientes sin historial crediticio e incluso la creación de “Husk Power University” para formar al personal local que opera sus plantas.

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Y además, convencer a unos clientes que, por mucho que necesiten la electricidad, tienen unos ingresos ínfimos, muy irregulares y una entendible aversión a cambiar costumbres muy arraigadas.

En todo este proceso, la ayuda de inversores y donantes internaciones ha sido clave. Me gustaría enfatizar el papel de Fundación Shell y su programa “Acceso a la Energía”. En total, la fundación Shell le concedió a HPS entre 2008 y 2011, 2.3 millones de dólares para la consecución de diferentes hitos en el proyecto: testar escalabilidad, acortar el tiempo de construcción, alcanzar punto de equilibrio por planta, reducir costes operacionales. La Fundación además complementó su apoyo con asesoría empresarial y técnica desde el Grupo Shell.

Y ahí entran otros de los temas centrales de esta tribuna, el papel de la empresa y en particular la española, en este proceso innovativo y en su contribución en la mejora de los problemas sociales.

La empresas centradas en los clientes de la base de la pirámide tienen una serie de retos enormes:
- Infraestructuras muy precarias
- Clientes con capacidad de pago muy limitada
- Poca capacidad de atraer gestores excepcionales
- Cadenas de suministro inexistentes.

Pero a cambio la posibilidad de alcanzar un impacto social inmensurable, con la posibilidad de un retorno económico a largo plazo.
Desde aquí me gustaría retar a la empresa española a embarcarse en este apasionante desafío y ¡unirse a la conversación!.

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Espero vuestros cometarios! En el blog y en @marialescorial

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