Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Download my book on Marketing Research

It took me some time, but I have been able to finish the compendium I wrote on 'Marketing Research'. It is now available on http://bookboon.co.uk/student/marketing/marketing-research-an-introduction

The book contains eight chapters focusing on the marketing research process in details and it's more of a how to guide. It has been written keeping novice researchers and practitioners in mind. Have a look.

Would love to hear from you all about it.

Happy Reading...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Management and family

MCC has recently acquired a small but successful Swedish software company. Its head founded it three years ago with his son Carl, and was joined by his newly graduated daughter Clara and his youngest son Peter 12 months ago. Since the acquisition MCC has injected considerable capital and also given the company its own computer distribution and servicing in Sweden. This has given a real boost to the business.

MCC is now convinced that rewards for sales people must reflect the increasing competition in the market. It has decreed that at least 30% of remuneration must depend on individual performance. At the beginning of this year Carl married a very rich girl. The marriage is happy and this has had an effect on his sales record. He will easily earn 30% bonus, though this will be small in relation to his total income, supplemented by his wife’s and by his share of the acquisition payment.

Peter has a much less happy marriage and much less money. His only average sales will mean that his income will be reduced when he can ill afford it. Clara, who married while still in school, has two children and this year lost her husband in an air crash. This tragic event caused her to have a weak sales year.

At the international sales conference national MCC managers present their salary and bonus ranges. The head of the Swedish company believes that performance should be rewarded and that favouritism should be avoided; he has many non-family members in his company. Yet he knows that unusual circumstance in the lives of his children have made this contest anything but fair. The rewards withheld will hurt more deeply than the rewards bestowed will motivate. He tries to explain the situation to the American HR chief and the British representative, who both look sceptical and talk about excuses. He accedes to their demands.

His colleagues from France, Italy, Spain and the Middle East, who all know the situation, stare in disbelief. They would have backed him on this issue. His family later say that they feel let down. This was not what they joined the company for.

What solution would you suggest?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Re-negotiate the contract

A year after the BIG mining company had signed a 10 year long term contract with a foreign buyer to buy zinc in 10 annual instalments, the zinc market collapsed due to credit crisis. Instead of paying £6 a ton below world market price, the buyer now faced the prospect of paying £4 above.

The buyer faxed BIG to say it wished to renegotiate the contract. The final words of the fax read: “You cannot expect us as your new (and long term) partner to carry alone the now ruinous expense of these contract terms.”

BIG negotiators had a heated discussion about the situation.

What of the following statements would you suggest?

  • A contract is a contract. It means precisely what its terms say. If the world price had risen we would not be crying, nor should they. What partnership are they talking about? We had a deal. We bargained. We won. End of story.
  • A contract symbolises the underlying relationship. It is an honest statement of original intent. Where circumstances transform the mutual spirit of the contract, then terms must be renegotiated to preserve the relationship.
  • A contract symbolises the underlying relationship. It is an honest statement of original intent. But such rigid terms are too brittle to withstand turbulent environments. Only tacit forms of mutuality have the flexibility to survive.
  • A contract is a contract. It means precisely what its terms say. If the world price had risen we would not be crying, nor should they. We would however, consider a second contract whose terms would help offset their losses.

Research, what research?

Today, while looking through BBC website I came across this story about left and right handed people and the differences in their behaviour. The story is as follows:


Left-hand people 'more inhibited'

People who are left-handed are more likely to get anxious or feel shy or embarrassed about doing or saying what they want, according to new research.

Those involved in the Abertay University study were given a behavioural test that gauges personal restraint and impulsiveness.

Researchers found left-handers tended to agree more with statements such as "I worry about making mistakes."

They also agreed that "criticism or scolding hurts me quite a bit."

In total, 46 left-handed people were compared with 66 right-handers.

'Wiring differences'

The left-handers scored higher when it came to inhibition, especially when a situation was new or unusual. Women were also more held back than men.

All groups responded similarly to statements such as: "I often act on the spur of the moment" and "I crave excitement and new sensations."

Dr Lynn Wright, who led the study in Dundee, believes the results could be due to wiring differences in the brains of left and right-handers.

"Left-handers are more likely to hesitate whereas right-handers tend to jump in a bit more," she said.

"In left-handers the right half of the brain is dominant, and it is this side that seems to control negative aspects of emotion. In right-handers the left brain dominates."

What do we do in the name of ? Should we call this publishable research? How many left-handers after reading this will feel inhibited after this? How could we conclude about 'brain wiring' on the basis of the findings?

Boy, I am worried.

Would love to hear your views too on this.