Marketers are Making Smart Products


By

Prof. Medha Chintala
Ex-Faculty Member
ICFAI University
MS Program
Nagarjuna Hills, Hyderabad
 


Consumers are trapped in the frenzy race against time. How do marketers help them feel organized in the chaotic time crunch-age? When most things are measured in nanoseconds and consumers' needs to lead smart lives enabled by new businesses? The article aims to present a snapshot of time saving quality smart products..

The world is moving in a fast-track that was never seen before. Everybody is running frenzy on cutting short project times that can actually crash costs. The whole business of marketing is into the realm of "adopting a sense and respond marketing mood".Today it is not merely simplicity or user friendliness, but it's "saving time" the most important factor for any business's  success. All inventions are focusing on making things move faster.  So product lines and brands are presented to the consumers catering to such needs.

Need To Relieve Stress:

Consumers want to lead stress free-lives, and they are ready to do anything for it. The whole range of mind-body-soul products and brands sold today are billion dollar schemes. Such alternative therapies don't superficially work on their customer's bodies, but are promised to enter into spirits to heal them. That's just one reason why all the spa clinics and ayurvedic centers are burgeoning as business propositions.

Consumers seek to fill lives with variety, clearly separating work with family lives known to relieve stress levels. They also want to have practical solutions to enrich their lives and improve their quality of living. Consumers know how to do this with doing simple household chores. Those help relieve stress although not getting bogged down doing them. That's only possible with the whole lot of utility and friendly gadgets operating in our planet- our lives are unthinkable without them. And of course these simple solutions don't separate the mass from the class of elite. The example in the block presents the whole picture:

"WHAT do overwrought superstars do when they are stressed out? The obvious answers would be workouts, meditation, tai chi and, of course, hitting the bottle. But washing clothes? That now makes it to a different genre altogether. Ask actor SHARMILA TAGORE, presently chairperson of the Censor Board, and she confesses with a tiny smile. "I had taken to washing clothes as a means to escape and unwind." This surprising admission came, when Tagore recently launched a popular detergent's new product. Tagore said that she got into the habit in order to "escape the complete intrusion that celebrity status brings into private lives." Of course she also did other household chores in order to escape the pressure cooker existence. But her washing clothes faded out the minute she discovered the modern joys of a washing machine. Now of course, it's the machine she loads up1."

Source:  www.hindu.com


Consumers Want To Do Everything Smartly:

Consumers don't want to simply appear smart, but need to feel and live smart. Since marketers know that consumers are hard pressed for time, brands and products are living up to consumer's expectations in making lives smarter. Today gardening can be done with friendly brands like- Scotts and its power brand like Miracle-Gro, besides a directory of various gardening magazines and tools for garden fanatics at their disposal fulfils and tempts creative passions. Tarla Dalal is a brand to reckon with that makes cooking only a child's play.

Further to this, smart gadgets and gizmos flooding in the market, we come across everyday empower consumers' multitasking need. Today we have intelligent washing machines that have a friendly-chip with fuzzy logic inside; digital cameras can automatically zoom. Digital images are so much cheaper and easier to take than never before that photography is becoming everyone's favourite pastime. Smart car keys can never be misplaced; TVs can now be programmed to record the most favorite soap while away at work. What's more all these household gadgets can be started and programmed by the owner's single remote control.

Do-it- Yourself Kits:

IKEA5 the Swedish furniture brand has revolutionized the reason consumers buy furniture- not to merely decorate their interiors, but to self design and assemble them with its do it yourself furniture kit. The result a new business model - changing the rules of the game. IKEA is a fad caught up in Europe and the US homes, while market research says sales are picking up in Japan and other Asian countries. Other brands like Blu Dot2 furniture is usually shipped flat for customers to assemble themselves in a Do-it-yourself-Kit that makes them believe they are smart, to assemble parts within no time because it's told that-"By the time you've pondered the subtext of the directions; the bed has almost assembled itself2". The case explains how a new business model can change the even a traditional industry.

Similarly Anchor the UK based brand for embroidery has ready to stitch embroidery cross-stitch kits that enables a step-by-step guide, for children especially girls to embroider. Anchor shows the way to stitch faster, without any help is reviving a fading hobby. The founding member of Google Lary Page 4 became an instant genius in creativity because he made a working printer model with LEGO's "Mindstorms5. The select retails outlets of such high quality engineering kits and building sets are a beeline; to kindle creative veins in a systematic way for concerned parents.

More details given in the block below showing examples of how consumers want to solutions from marketers on how to think-out-of-the-box:

In 2002, IKEA was one of the leading furniture retailers in the world. IKEA's business formula had been built around high-quality, Scandinavian design, global sourcing of components and knock-down furniture kits that customers transported and assembled themselves. IKEA's cost leadership strategy had enabled it to pass on to customers lower prices, anywhere from 25% to 50% below those of its competitors. IKEA had emerged as a global player in one of the most highly fragmented industries in the world5. In 2006 Businessweek ranked IKEA 19th out of the top 100 most innovative global brands, ahead of Wal-Mart or Amazon9 .The case explains how a new business model can change the rules of the game even in a traditional industry.

"Anchor" part of the coats crafts UK Company and are one of the largest needlecraft, counted cross stitch and tapestry suppliers in the UK. From tatty ted to dimensions Christmas counted charts; the quality of every design is paramount to anchor to give the customer a unique stitching experience. All the kits supplied by Anchor have anchor threads in a free loaded thread sorter to make you project as organized as possible6

Larry Page4 was Google's founding CEO and grew the company to more than 200 employees before moving into his role as President. He continues to share responsibility for Google's day-to-day operations with Eric Schmidt and Sergey Brin. Larry's love of computers began at age six., Larry built an inkjet printer out of Lego™ bricks. The LEGO ® MINDSTORMS5(tm) (#9719) product is a robot-kit-in-a-box. It consists of a computer module (the "RCX(tm)"), and an inventory of many TECHNICS(tm) parts. It appears to be a productized version of the MIT Programmable Brick- Places to buy MINDSTORMS (not a comprehensive list): The Construction Site in Waltham, MA ,The Robot Store F.A.O. Schwarz ,Hammacher-Schlemmer, Toys 'R' Us, Zainy Brainy ,Target, The Magic Box,Hobbytron.com, Mr Robot ,Active Robots (UK) 4

Source : mentioned under references.


Need For Individual Achievement

All along as consumers are craving for quick fixes with brands that give them success formulae. Consumers do not want anyone to counsel and guide them because now they can go online when in doubt. Consumers can never go wrong with the time-tested self help books like smart parenting material, good house keeping or maybe even driving hints, etc. Products and services giving guidance are on the horizon. Following these are the web enabled e-services, self educating e-learning search engines, ATM e-banking, self e-booking air tickets, internet mail ids, fingerprint recognizers, personal mobiles. Their need for privacy and belief in individual achievement are on the top priority. For this consumers need to be dynamic and current, that's the reason they upgrade their PCs and handsets and are investing on devices that improve their knowledge power. Like Podcasting7 enabled by Apple for example is expected to grow from 7 lakh users to 12.3 million by 2010 in the US households alone. With such a podcast consumers can expect news, music, finance and comedy all free broadband connection.

Conclusion: It's the dawn of brands and products that cater to such consumers needs. Today they are in full swing, and shall last so long as they satisfy consumers need to live smart contemporary and dynamic. The implications this has can be seen in what  Travyn Rhall8 regional MD AC Neilson says –"banking has come to a level, where people haven't been to branches in months. Footprints aren't as critical as they were at one point." In essence such culture is only set to grow further. Only those companies will survive who adapt to the smart consumer-driven market. Most marketers are consumer-sensitive to power-pack consumer's lifestyles in getting things done in a jiffy. Marketers while focusing on getting work done smartly for consumer convenience are reaching superior standards by each day. Because consumers are shouting loud and clear–"life is very short we live only once and can't compromise".

References:

1. www.hindu.com/mag/2005/ 01/23/stories/2005012300450500.htm
2. http://www.metropolismag.com/html/content_1100/blu.htm
3. http://www.legomindstorms.com
4. http://www.google.com/corporate/execs.html#larry
5. www.ikea.com.
6. www.crossstitchuk.com/ProductList.aspx?Cat=1
7. Businessworld-May 28, 2006.
8. www.exchange4media.com
9. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_17/b3981413.htm

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P.S: The writer is Medha Chintala, Faculty Member, ICFAI School of Marketing Studies, Hyderabad. She can be contacted at medha005@yahoo.com
 


Prof. Medha Chintala
Ex-Faculty Member
ICFAI University
MS Program
Nagarjuna Hills, Hyderabad
 

Source: E-mail January 8, 2008

          

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