Posts Tagged ‘ie marketing#8217;

9
May

In every marketing endeavor, the first step is the market analysis, what is known as the 5 Cs; Consumer, Company, Competitors, Context, and Collaborators. While all the Cs are important, depending on the case, their importance may vary. For instance, in the case of start-ups, typically the available resources are limited. As such, start-ups are often forced to collaborate with other companies/ organizations in order to operate. The choice of collaborators, then, becomes crucial.

In a recent seminar of the European Commission program Health-2-Market (organized by Qplan, hosted by the Hellenic Pasteur Institute, and delivered by IE) the tradeoffs that many start-ups have to consider when choosing collaborators, especially in the health-sector, came up.

Health2Market

Specifically, start-ups in the Health Sector typically have some knowledge and/or innovation-based competitive edge. However, they also typically lack the resources to reach a critical mass of consumers, that could get a profitable business going. At the same time, there is a multitude of potential collaborators in the field, that can give easy access to these consumers. For instance, a start-up possessing an innovative technology of gene-diagnostics and the expertise to efficiently operate it, does not necessarily have easy access to target groups that would be potentially interested for this service – let’s say women who are or want to soon get pregnant. To reach those women, this start-up can collaborate with either self-employed doctors, or with small independent maternity clinics, or with very large hospitals that own maternity clinics.

Here is the tradeoff. A strong collaborator will probably bring a large customer base for the start-up, but will also have a lot more power in relation to the start-up. To continue with the example above, a start-up collaborating with a large hospital will probably get fast many customers. However, if the hospital sees that there is high demand for the service of the start-up, it will soon develop it for its own, and will not need the start-up any more. The big fish will prevail. This problem becomes even larger as typically diagnostic tools and processes are hard to get legal protection.

On the other hand, if the start-up cooperates with smaller collaborators, the risk of getting driven out of market will be smaller. At the same time, however, it will be a lot harder to get a critical mass of customers soon enough.

Clearly, there is not a single answer regarding which collaborators should a start-up choose. While deciding though, any start-up must balance the benefits of getting early revenues, with the long-term risk of becoming too exposed to collaborators who may end up being competitors. In any case, while in business, the start-up should try to develop and maintain close relations with its customers, and build a strong and unique brand name for itself, independently of its potential collaborators.

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
Apr

Passing above a low bar or below a high one?

Written on April 18, 2015 by Antonios Stamatogiannakis in Research in practice

Many companies (e.g., Google, Yahoo, etc.) evaluate their employees based on their relative ranking. That is, an employee is not getting extra rewards (bonuses, etc.) based on his/her performance, but based on how good this performance is in comparison to other employees. At the same time, other companies (e.g., Microsoft), are abandoning such relative evaluation systems.

What can be hidden behind these inconsistent practices? One thing seems to be certain – relative evaluation systems – that is, rewarding people (employees, students, consumers, etc.) based on how well they do relative to their peers – seem to work better in some cases than in others.

In recent research* (forthcoming at Human Resource Management) that we conducted at IE with the doctoral candidate Jonathan Luffarelli and the marketing professor Dilney Goncalves, we provide such an example.

In this research, we examine the satisfaction with performance of the people being evaluated (e.g., employees) relatively to their peers. We found that when the people being evaluated focus on their own performance, as expected, they are more satisfied as this performance gets better. However, when they focus on how their performance compares to that of others, an interesting effect occurs. If everyone’s performance gets higher by a certain amount, the relative evaluation remains unchanged. However, at the same time, the performance “bar” is raised – as everyone is doing now exceptionally well. As a result, comparing one’s performance with this new-very high bar- makes one feel less satisfied with his/her performance.

These mechanics would suggest that when the employees of an organization are evaluated generously, a relative evaluation system would make them relatively dis-satisfied. When they are evaluated strictly, though, a relative evaluation system would increase their satisfaction.

Clearly, other things may also vary when a relative evaluation system is implemented. One of them, for example, could be the very tendency of people to compare themselves with others (versus only examine their own performance). It is good to see that both academics and managers are trying to figure out the exact forces that come into play.

Stay tuned for more research based insights!

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

antonios.stamatogiannakis@ie.edu

*The Research leading to these results has received funding from the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions ) of the European Union´s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under REA grant agreement No. 298420.

28
Mar

Bad evaluations – happy people… Can it happen?

Written on March 28, 2015 by Antonios Stamatogiannakis in Research in practice

All professors are pushed by the students to give higher grades. In order to relax this pressure, many educational institutions (IE being one of them), started using the curve grading system. In curve grading, the performance of all the students in the class is ranked from the highest to the lowest. The real grade, is then a function of this ranking. E.g., the top 5% get an A, the following 10% gets an A-, and so on.

Alas, though, students still want higher grades! And, many professors give in by employing more relaxed evaluation criteria. For instance, if the “real” grade is based on the ranking only, a professor could make every student happier by adopting a generous evaluation scheme, giving to every student a few points more. The ranking would be the same, and so would the real grade, but everyone would have a higher “evaluation”, and thus everyone would be happier. Well, they would….NOT.

Recent research* (forthcoming at Human Resource Management) we conducted at IE with the doctoral candidate Jonathan Luffarelli and the marketing professor Dilney Goncalves reveals the opposite. In a competitive setting (such as IE), students care relatively more about how others are doing, rather on how well they, themselves are doing. So, if everyone else gets a high grade, any given student would (by comparison) feel less satisfied with his/her grade, even if that is higher too!

Interestingly, neither students themselves, nor professors predict that this would happen, as they overwhelmingly believe that a higher evaluation would result to higher satisfaction. And even more interestingly, when we experimentally made people pay attention to their own performance, they did exactly as they predicted: They were more satisfied when they received a higher evaluation.

So, if you are a professor, or – more generally- an evaluator, do not be overly generous. It can backfire! And if you are a student, or an employee being evaluated, be careful what you are asking for!

Stay tuned for more research based insights!

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

antonios.stamatogiannakis@ie.edu

*The Research leading to these results has received funding from the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions ) of the European Union´s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under REA grant agreement No. 298420.

7
Mar

Assume that you are booking a room at a fancy hotel. This is an important stay for you, so you are willing to pay a lot for a good room. Would it make a big difference if you had to pay 213 or 223 euros per night? Probably not. Ten euros for such stay sound like no big deal.

Now assume that you are arriving at the hotel. It is great- as you expected it. You try to access your Social Media account to let everyone know how great this is…but there is a problem. You have to pay 10 euros/ day to have Internet access. Would it make a big difference to you, compared to if the Internet connection was free? Probably yes. Paying extra when you are already paying a lot (being it 213 or 223), does not sound quite right.

This example illustrates how smart pricing can really affect consumer satisfaction, and was first introduced by the Behavioral Economist Richard Thaler, some 30 years ago. Thaler argued, among other things, that a small loss (or payment) integrated into a bigger one, would be a lot less painful than two separate losses. Paying 223 and having Internet for free, is a lot better than paying 213 and having to pay extra 10 for Internet.

So why do not all companies (hotels etc.) follow this principle? I think the basic reason is that many companies still, implicitly, price based on costs. If Internet (or whatever else) is a separate cost for the company, it should be priced separately. This approach, however, ignores a fundamental fact. Customers, typically, do not care about a company’s cost. They care about their own satisfaction. And pricing, like all other marketing activities, should be done with that in mind.

Similar questionable practices are found in the airlines industry in the US. There are “low cost” flights with a duration of about 5 hours. They cost about 250, or more. What do you think most people would prefer? Pay 250 and then have to figure out if they want to pay some more for a sandwich? Or pay 255 and have a sandwich for free? Given that this is a long flight, the first option looks rather cheap – on behalf of the airline. The second one, looks a lot more generous. It basically buys (for the company) consumer satisfaction at no extra cost.

Stay tuned for more research based insights!

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

Antonios . Stamatogiannakis @ ie . edu

31
Jan

When elections are coming, most political parties do more or less the same. They highlight their core ideology (e.g., liberals, socialists, etc.), they emphasize what they will do well, and what their opponents will do badly. This process has of course a lot to do with marketing principles. For instance, a party whose voters (customers) are known to be religious will typically emphasize how close it is to the respective religion, what it will do to protect religious rights, and will try to differentiate from other parties which are not so religious.

But sometimes, there are opportunities for really disruptive positioning. So how about an advertisement for a political party showing a kid in a toy store unsuccessfully trying to operate a train-toy, and the leader of the party coming to help the kid understand when to speed up and when to slow down. Something like this spot, from the recent Greek elections.

YouTube Preview Image

What does positioning have to do with this? Well, in EVERY poll preceding the recent Greek elections, there were two findings. First, the left-wing party who eventually won the elections (SYRIZA) was always in the lead. Second, its leader (and current prime minister – Alexis Tsipras) was judged as “inappropriate” to rule (either because he was too young or too extreme).

So, to bring this to the advertisement context, most Greeks wanted this kid (called Alexis in the spot) to drive the “Greek Train” (notice the Greek flag at the beginning). They are skeptical however that the Alexis will not make it on his own. These voters – exactly as if they were customers – want someone to guarantee that Alexis will drive the train, but at the same time keep them safe. And – exactly as any good business would do – the leader of the political party “Independent Greeks” – Panos Kammenos – comes to save the day. He helps little Alexis rule. Teach him when to speed up, and when to slow down.

Of paramount importance, reading the market research right (in this case, the pre-election polls) is necessary for any good differentiation and positioning. Had “Independent Greeks” (a party of the right wing, with deep traditional and religious roots) not identified the appeal of the “help Alexis” positioning, they would have probably followed a traditional political campaign highlighting their right-wing beliefs and values. In these polarized elections, that would most likely have resulted to a disaster for them, as they would have been squeezed by the leading “right-wing” party – leader the former government – “New Democracy”.

And now? What about results? What about “market share”? Before this advertisement, the polls were predicting that “Independent Greeks” (a right-wing party) would get a percentage of about 2.5%, leaving them outside of the parliament. They finally got almost double – 4.75%. And as they promised, they are now in the government with SYRIZA (a left-wing party).

So, whether right or left, smart positioning wins in the end.

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

Antonios . Stamatogiannakis @ ie . edu

20
Dec

In a previous post, I introduced to you a joint effort by the IE marketing department and Travel-Club, the purpose of which was to study consumer loyalty (for more details, see here).

In this post, I am excited to present to you the first results!

The IE research team(marketing professors Dilney Gonçalves, Shameek Sinha, myself, and our research collaborator David Santos), leaded by the head of the marketing department, professor Teresa Serra, started investigating a key question: Do loyalty programs really work?

To respond to this question we have analyzed a database of near 4 million of real customers’ transactions, which took place in the multi-sponsor loylaty program Travel Club (www.travelclub.es), the greatest experts in loyalty programs in Spain, recently collaborating with one of the leading international loyalty agencies – Aimia.

 

Some of the key results so far are:

  • Use the channels efficiently: Communication with customers is the key of the program (optimizing the number and the timing of offers and communications does increase memberspending)
  • Use the rewards strategically: Give a final push to members who are close to getting a reward.
  • Use the presence of other partners in the program wisely: Having more partners in the program can increase the members’ spending through cross-selling.

In summary, loyalty programs really work only when they are used strategically, taking into consideration the needs and behavior of the program mebers, and being with them as much as possible, not only at the time of a transaction.

For further information, and for a full report of the results, you can visit directly: www.catedrafidelizacion.ie.edu (only in Spanish – sorry :) )

No doubt, that with such great infornation on such an interesting and important topic, you will be hearing from us more in the future!

Let me wish Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to everyone!

 

Antonios (Adoni) Stamatogiannakis, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Marketing IE Business School – IE University

Antonios . Stamatogiannakis @ ie . edu

*This post is co-authored with David Santos

29
Nov

Christmas is fast approaching, and so the “national craze” of Lotería Navidad. Millions of Spaniards are rushing into buying lottery tickets in all likely and unlikely ways, just to get a shot to be mulch-millionaires.

But why are they doing it? As any economist would tell you, buying a lottery ticket is basically one of the worst things you can do with your money. For instance, it is a lot more likely to get struck by a lightning, than to win in a lottery (for more interesting examples check here).  Yet very few people would bet on the former.

So why are people still buying lottery tickets? Is it that they are completely unaware of their low chances? This is probably true, but only partially. To fully understand this behavior, let’s take a look at the latest advertisement of the  Lotería Navidad – which already has about 4 million views on youtube.

YouTube Preview Image

The fact that there is a remote chance to win, is only a small part of this story. At the same time, the plot capitalizes on several other important drivers of human decision making.

  • Reference point and loss aversion. Many decades of research have shown that losses loom larger than gains. For instance, losing 100 euros would make you a lot more unhappy than finding 100 euros would make you happy. Interestingly, the “no win” situation in the ad is depicted as a loss. This is a lot more impactful.
  • Anticipated regret. When people make a difficult choice, they often try to minimize anticipated regret. The ad cleverly illustrates this. It basically re-frames the decision as “a 20 euros expense vs. potential lifetime regret”. Looked at this way, buying a lottery ticket makes a lot more sense.
  • Identification. The protagonist has been buying a lottery ticket for many years. He never won so far… Wait a minute!! This is probably the story of almost EVERY lottery ticket buyer! So “this guy, could actually be me. I cannot let that happen!” is what many potential buyers would think.

There are many more – but there is no need to analyze everything. The point is that to sell a lottery ticket, like many other products and services, an organization has to appeal to a more hot-emotional side, and not to a cold-rational one. This ad does that in an excellent way.

Let me wish very good luck to those who will play!

 

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

Antonios . Stamatogiannakis @ ie . edu

27
Sep

Hello everyone,

today I just want to open up an issue I was thinking about over the last few days…No answers, just questions.

Probably most of you have noticed the “bend-gate” of the last few days.. The new Iphone 6 bends in people’s pockets… Here is an illustration.

YouTube Preview Image

So, angry Iphone users are wondering why they are paying so much money…But wait a second! Bending is not so bad, as Samsung exemplifies in related products!!

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So, could apple (with a bit of R&D and a lot of marketing investment of course), could turn the “bend-gate” into a “Bend-able phone that everyone loves”? Something like this:

YouTube Preview Image

What would it take? As I said in the beginning, I am not sure at all. Could it be that Apple is starting to lose a bit of their marketing magic? Or will they turn this around, sooner or later?

What do you think? Well, let’s wait and see!

Best,

Antonis

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

Antonios . Stamatogiannakis @ ie . edu

13
Sep

Imagine you want to create a movie. The only requirement is that its story should be based on a specific book. The good news are that this book contains a great variety of amazing stories: The creation of a world by a rather interventionist almighty god, successful and disastrous adventures of whole nations under the guidance of inspiring leaders, wise prophets who fight against unfaithful monarchs, and an old man saving animals from a great rainfall.

Now, why would anyone pick the last story? Well, it may have a great brand name: Noah!

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Why is this important? If you ask people about important elements of movies they would enjoy watching, you will get the answer “a good story” very frequently, but the answer “a story that I am familiar with” very rarely, if ever. Yet, the movie industry knows that what will make people watch a movie is (at least in many cases) the latter. The abundance of remakes and sequels attest to this fact.

Let’s take the case of science fiction films. Why experiment with an original and unknown story like this:

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When you can make remakes, sequels, or prequels of a story that science fiction fans are familiar with, like this:

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In conclusion, a strong brand is without a doubt a very strong marketing tool, sometimes the most important one for market success. It may be even stronger than the product itself, even if in many cases consumers will be reluctant to admit it. This fact becomes even stronger with the wide use of social media. It is a lot easier and cooler for anyone to twit “Check out the new Spiderman movie” than “Check out this new movie that I find interesting, but you have never heard about before”.

 

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

Antonios . Stamatogiannakis @ ie . edu

30
Aug

The summer is almost over, and in this  post I would like to discuss issues related with the “King” of the summer industries – tourism. The question was born in my head during my vacations at my hometown, in Crete. Specifically, the official numbers for Greece – and Crete in particular – showed an increase in the number of tourists in relation to 2013 (which was also a good year). In addition, I could personally observe that there was a big number of tourists strolling on the streets. Nevertheless, the owners of tourism related businesses (e.g., small hotels, gift shops, etc.) were complaining that their business was down. And a quick look inside these businesses confirmed their view: Most shops and small hotels were not nearly as busy as last year.

So how could both of these opposing facts be true? I believe it is because of the existence of two pretty well-defined segments of tourists. The first segment, let’s call them “the relaxers” primarily care about resting and relaxing. What they want from their vacation is as few hustle as possible, even if that means missing out on a few interesting stuff. Naturally, they prefer a vacation package that they book from a travel agent. This includes a big hotel (usually part of a chain), which offers them everything: 3 meals, shops, cafes, bars, close access to a nice beach. They typically leave their hotel only for pre-scheduled excursions either to the closest town, or to a few main attractions.

The second segment, let’s call them “the explorers” primarily care about exploring and getting to know the place they visit. What they want from their vacation is new experiences, and are willing to exert more effort in discovering the “secrets” of the place they are visiting. They usually stay at small hotels, but they spend very little time there. On the contrary, they leave their hotel early in the morning, and it is not unusual for them to eat, shop, have drinks, etc. at a different place each day – or even during the same day. They plan most details of their trip on their own, perhaps with the help of friends and “experts” (e.g., tripadvisor).

So, what seems to have happened in Crete this summer, is that many tourists came (thus, the increase in the gross numbers), but most of them were “relaxers”, and few of them were “explorers” (thus, the decrease in tourism revenues for small tourism related businesses).

Now, is this a problem? I believe it is. In an uncertain industry, such as tourism, it is risky to concentrate only on one market segment. For instance, relaxers would go to any place that their travel agent sends them, as long as they can relax. But travel agents operate based on profit, so they would have no problem to send their clients to other locations, as long as they get a better price. So low prices (at the package level) are critically important for that segment, and can result in big changes in demand from year to year.

I could mention several examples, but perhaps the most convincing is the following. The Greek Ministry of Tourism, seems to want to target both the relaxers and the explorers. For instance, take a look at the following ad – it seems to be targeting for the most part the “explorers”. So are many of the videos of the official agency for tourism in Greece.

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In summary, it looks that the good results in terms of “sales” (i.e., gross tourism numbers) are not the result of a careful marketing strategy building on the competitive advantages of the brand “Greece”, but a result of competitive pricing (which, may be a result of the ongoing economic crisis in Greece). If that is the case, the positive results of Greek tourism during the last couple of years are not likely to be sustainable.  They will be over together the price advantage, largely stemming from the crisis. In order to ensure long-lasting market growth,   an aligned marketing strategy is necessary.

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

Antonios . Stamatogiannakis @ ie . edu

 

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