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Marketing in universities and educational institutions often takes a backseat due to the importance given to academics or new programme development. While some universities are well funded by the government or alumni endowment contributions, most private small institutes earn all their money through tuitions. Thus there is a need to separate marketing from communications or fundraising offices. CMOs need to find a way in order to get greater leverage at educational institutes. In case of increased revenues, marketers will find themselves in important positions framing corporate strategy even.  In order to do so, thorough study needs to be made by the department on demographic trends and on historical spending on business development versus actual results. Source:

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kimberlywhitler/2015/07/22/from-staff-marketer-to-strategic-leader-how-a-marketer-changed-the-role-of-marketing/

Those personnel in charge of developing corporate strategy for respective organizations must now take into consideration the invaluable benefits arising out of collaboration. Leveraging synergies is now the new competitive edge. Four Cs of synergies have been identified to help strategists. Consolidation involves leveraging value from already existing business streams where some level of success has already been experienced. Then there is Combination which looks into getting business benefits out of volumes. Customization looks into creating unique products or delivering unique services so that customers do not feel the urge to look elsewhere. Finally there is Connection by which the seller or service provider feels genuine connect with the customer. Source:  http://knowledge.insead.edu/strategy/what-corporate-strategists-need-to-know-about-synergies-4617

Cause marketing is different to CSR or philanthropy in the sense that it creates mutually beneficial business conditions for all parties concerned. It is about doing genuine good but being rewarded for it indirectly. Marketing research conducted by Cone Communications has proved that majority of modern day consumers prefer brands associated with a good cause rather than those with overtly commercial interests. In fact sales also go up in the short to medium term. Brand awareness increases rapidly. Up to ninety percent of those surveyed in the US, claim that they will switch brands if the other one gets known for its good work. Loyalty of existing customers is also better cemented as experienced through the efforts of Starbucks and Subaru. Such activities also attract better quality of people, thus aiding in propertalent recruitment. Also investors get attracted to such activities as it gives them the strength to have long term relations with the brand.

Source: http://www.gastongazette.com/article/20160326/NEWS/160329218

Michael Porter remains one of the giants of the academics of management, yet some of his theories are being challenged nowadays. His theory of competitive advantage where every organization or economy must try to steer itself clear off competitors through building its core competence is being challenged by the idea of collaboration. The sharing economy has now taken shape where organizations do not compete but collaborate with each other. Platforms are being designed to enable several players to access the business ecosystem. Design and content are being seen as key components of companies’ corporate strategy. Organizations are now structured less on hierarchies but more as networks to break down restrictive silos. The economy is now social by nature where human interactions play most important role and each company’s success begets the possibility of another’s.

Source: http://www.innovationexcellence.com/blog/2016/04/28/collaboration-is-the-new-competitive-advantage/

A new trend gripping the world of business is certifications from B Lab. Such certified firms are known as B Corps and this once done is akin to a farm qualifying as organic. The idea of this certification is that the company is doing good for the society. Here the shareholder benefits do not clash with values driven for other stakeholders. It is also a great marketing ploy as supported by marketing research conducted by Nielsen which states that two-thirds of global consumers are more willing to spend on products or firms that have a clean image. It also makes it a more attractive investment proposition.

Source:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shane-paul-neil/the-surprising-competitiv_b_9476380.html?section=india

Sony was the market leader for music players, computers and phones directed towards entertainment in the 1990s. Its movie studio and publishing house were heavy weights in their fields. Now two decades on, Apple which used to be a niche player has taken over Sony’s position. This has partly happened due to the culture of collaboration missing at Sony. Respective departmental and product heads instead chose a path of individuality where there was internal competition between them. The bosses all aspired for independence within their verticals. Thus employees would be overworked often re-inventing the wheel. Cisco on the other hand is an example of an organization which has served customer needs perfectly by collaborating between units. Similarly, Sony’s top honchos should have developed the corporate strategy in such a way to ensure positive group dynamics rather than fight for independence.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/lbsbusinessstrategyreview/2015/12/07/how-the-fight-for-independence-could-be-the-death-of-your-business/

Electronic giant Apple usually finds itself on top of most lists to do with brand valuation. In the last quarter, Apple recorded its highest ever quarterly net profits in US corporate history. And still the lingering doubt remains that Apple ought to be worried about certain developments. The iPhone remains its biggest single product accounting for about two thirds of overall sales but its numbers have hit a plateau in the developed markets of Europe and North America. In the world’s biggest smartphone market China, Apple remains behind domestic heavyweights Huawei and Xiaomi. The worrying aspect is that in developing markets like India and China where average income levels are lesser than in the developed regions, the premium prices charged for Apple products may suffer losing further ground to Samsung which is already the global leader. Apple has always been known for its business innovations and its future is in its own hands. The challenge will be to integrate these innovations to bring business value.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/lbsbusinessstrategyreview/2016/01/27/why-the-worlds-most-valuable-company-faces-a-challenging-future/#3ff42c3f5a99

Business research on accountants conducted by CGMA on has listed the top ten drivers of value to businesses. Interestingly the first nine of these only included intangibles and only the tenth referred to plant or equipment quality. More than three fourths of the seven hundred plus respondents put customer satisfaction as the top driver. Quality of business processes came second. Next was customer relationship. Quality of people and brand reputation were voted next. After this were strategic decision making and strategy execution. Patented products got a mention on eight rank. Completing this list was supplier relationships.

Conventional marketing teams gather in rooms to discuss various strategies such as content marketing, SEO or inbound marketing. However, thought leaders do not discuss these matters on assignment basis but are instead forever immersed in that world. Some marketers make the mistake of creating content that is too sophisticated but dull. This approach works in some cases, but usually backfires. Thought leadership will study the entire work cycle and analyze it against the corporate strategy set at the very beginning. Integrity at work will get even more important in the future and thought leaders will need to ensure that the entire company structure is built in that model in order to deliver the goods.

The industrial age was one where capital was most essential to all business processes. Now it is consumer who is the centre of all operations. Companies must nowadays focus less on products but more on what customers really need. Extracting business intelligence has become easier due to the internet. Product promotions thus require excessive level of aggression using all means such as discounts, sweepstakes and prizes. Even the television is over used and often abused as a media leaving only the top players to effectively dominate this media.

As per business intelligence provided by McKinsey, the digital divide in the USA is getting stronger than ever before. In fact the American economy is only functioning at about 18% of potential. This is due to the fact that while everyone is using digital technology, some of the leaders have raced far ahead. Technology based companies are doing particularly well. Sectors such as healthcare, government, hospitality, construction and local services are the usual laggards by comparison. The ones which have adopted digital technologies well have increased their profit margins by a factor of two or three times.

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