I just had a very interesting discussion with a former associate of mine this morning about marketing. My initial statement was that marketing is an art. Immediately, he disagreed with my statement. He contended that marketing is a science. So, is marketing an art or a science?
Having been educated in a science discipline, I had for a long time held the classical view of a science having the characteristics of having immutable laws :
If I held a ball and released it from my hands, it would fall towards the ground with an acceleration equivalent to some 9.81 N/kg (Earth's gravitational acceleration).
Of course, given this worldview of mine, I would expect that in marketing, if you could feed data into a 'machine' and it would spew out the answers to your business marketing problems, then it means it behaves predictably just like the gravitational acceleration.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. There are so many variables in the real world that business marketing problems are not so easily solved in this manner - what works in some cases may not work in others - even when the variables appear to be the same.
On the other hand, marketing is not some voodoo stuff either. There are certainly some clear ideas, principles and methodologies which hold true (mainly) within the discipline. Furthermore, the term 'marketing' is so broad that it would be interpreted differently by the practitioners of the various niche areas which fall within the umbrella of 'marketing'.
For example, for those in the advertising industry, they would necessarily, narrowly interpret marketing within the context of the advertising campaigns, plans and advertising material such as banners, brochures, videos, soundbites etc. On the other hand, those who are in creative arts would argue that the crafting of visual imagery and good copy-writing is really fundamental to marketing.
So, is marketing an Art or a Science? It would be up to you to interpret. But I would like end this with a thought - whether it is an art or a science, what marketing seeks to do is to ultimately create in the mind of the consumer the desire for a product or a service which he will then be in a way enticed to purchase. Therein lies the market economy.
This blog was first published in Linked In on 4 November 2014. To read the original article, please click here.
Poh S. Lim
Being someone who is avidly into social media, I have found that my postings, whether it is on Facebook or Linked In or Twitter can reach a lot more people than if I was communicating with others on email or through other more traditional means such as the telephone.
Indeed, the technology for social media and outreach to the masses is already here and is changing the way we communicate. For the first time in history, any individual with an internet connection is able to reach the masses around the world and push his message, his story or his agenda to everyone who can be reached via the internet. All this can be done within minutes and with a ridiculously low budget.
This indeed, is the disruption in mass communication. Just only decades before, the only way to reach to the public would have been through broadcast over the airwaves and if you did not own a radio or television station with all that expensive broadcast equipment, you would not be able to do this. Big corporations with budget for advertisement would be the only ones able to reach out and market their products to the masses.
Now all this has changed. However, as Peter Parker's gentle Uncle Ben said to him in the movie, "Spiderman", "With great powers come great responsibility". So as the media disruption has started, it is very important that those who now hold the power of mass communication, each and every individual who is able to tweet or blog on the internet is able to reach millions, and they should exercise discretion over their power to influence others.
This capability to transmit information in a flash, and to communicate instantly with massive numbers of people, therefore also increases the risk of communicating mis-information which can be a source of disruption to society at large. Other than that, political views which carry extremist messages can be propagated to large numbers which the authorities find difficult to counteract. Witness the recent recruitment of large numbers of people from so many different countries to support the Islamist terrorist organization in Syria and Iraq.
Therefore it is incumbent upon those who have this power to exercise it wisely and use the power that such technology affords us, for the betterment of mankind, instead of creating chaos and destruction.
This blog first appeared on Linked In on 11 September 2014. The link to the original blog posted by me is here.
Poh S. Lim
Take a good look at both logos above. Is there anything striking between both the logos? One is from a listed telecommunications corporation in Singapore, while the other is a cloud-based, SaaS remote connectivity service corporation listed on NASDAQ (LOGM)....
This month's blog is based on a recent HBR blog article that I just read, and I really do agree with the observations made.
How many times have you ever been told by your client or your boss to perform an urgent task, only to find out that the so-called urgent task was not so urgent after all? Well, this article puts a perspective on this ubiquitous work place phenomena.
HBR Blog article by Ron Ashkenas "Two Ways to Reduce Hurry Up and Wait Syndrome" gives some plausible explanation for this phenomena and some practical advice on how to deal with it.
Hopefully, the tips would be of practical value to the reader and help to avoid this.
Just read from the HRM Magazine of the latest office jargon...
Much has been touted about how new, efficient and effective Singapore's mass rapid transit is compared with those in the western cities like London and New York. It must, however, be remembered that those have histories dating back to over a hundred years ago, whilst Singapore's mass rapid transit is much much younger in comparison, having begun operating in the 1980s. So now what has happened? In the span of about 20 years, the much touted system is beginning to show signs of strains over the seemingly unforeseen burgeoning of the population and the ridership of this mode of public transport.
I think there is much to be learnt from those who have much much more experience in running such systems over long decades of operations and we should have more humility when making comparisons in the future.
As for the other Chinese communities in the diaspora of Southeast Asia, a number will also make such trips. I am one of such and will be travelling back to my home city of origin, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The horse is considered a strong animal, used for many centuries as a means of conveying people and goods. It is also known as a hard worker. For those under this zodiac, it would not be unusual if the Chinese were to ascribe the same characteristics to the people born under this zodiac sign.
Some of the things contemplated is being able to complete a couple of interesting Coursera courses. I managed to complete one in 2013 under the Penn State University, Creativity, Innovation and Change. It was an interesting journey and required some discipline in order to keep up with the quiz deadlines so that I would be eligible for a Statement of Accomplishment, which I finally got.
Lastly, wishing one and all who read my blog posts a Happy New Year for 2014!
Poh S. Lim
It has been quite some weeks since my last blog. I found myself really busy with work from projects that had been assigned. Along the way, I found some time to do some reading while commuting, and the reads that I had were interesting.
It got me thinking, when you're real busy, you've got to take whatever available time, whether in commuting to work, or maybe while taking a lunch break, to catch up on reading. Most of my reading material is from the library and I while I was perusing of the library treasures, I noticed that the book collection on 'Business' appears to be fairly much more than others, like physics or archaeology or anthropology.
It appears that 'Business' has so much more to offer in terms of reading material than the others: there is business psychology, leadership, project management, change management, innovation management, people management, small business, big business, entrepreneurship, and the list goes on and on. Some topics had quite a number of books written on it.
I guess, if I were to ever author any book, it would be one on management. Dare I take the plunge and begin to write?
It has been more than a decade since the term "5C"s was coined in Singapore. For those who are unaware, the 5Cs refer to: Cash, Credit Cards, Car, Condo and Country Club. For a time, the 5Cs defined the 'good life' in Singapore. If you had the 5Cs, you could consider that you had 'made it' to the upper-middle class in Singapore. All 'normal' Singaporeans would aspire to achieve the 5Cs - if you had not, then you would be considered an underachiever.
It is instructive to note that the world has become even more globalized and integrated over the last 20 years, and societies around the world has evolved. Many of the younger generation in Singapore, having gone through a period of stability and prosperity, take this sustained condition for granted. However, there is also a substantial number of them who have decided that materialism would not necessarily translate to a 'good' life and want to move beyond that, hence the rise of social enterprise and volunteerism. These activities would give them more meaning to what a 'good' life means.
Someone I know of was recently placed into a dilemma of sorts. He had achieved his 5Cs many years ago. Drawing a comfortable salary, he had achieved his 5Cs: Cash, Credit Cards, Car, Condo and Country Club membership. However, the company he was working in for a number of years noticed that they could do more with less, decided to make him redundant and let him go. So here he was, minus one C. Cash.
Now imagine, when you have the 5Cs, but the most critical one goes missing, what happens? He still had his car, credit cards, condo and country club memberships. Overnight, they become more of a liability than assets (since he had to settle credit card bills, pay for his condo mortgage and country club membership fees, and maintain his car.
All this goes to say that the 5Cs are an illusion that was created to give a false sense of achievement. So much for the materialistic ways here. Comments, any one?
Poh S. LIm
This morning, my Daily GOOD emagazine had an article about P&G's movement on sustainability. P&G, being a global consumer goods corporation, is pursuing sustainability in innovative ways, in the way they design, manufacture and dispose of the material they use. There is a cool interactive infographic which I would like to share, about how P&G goes about embedding their contribution to making the world more sustainable by turning their waste into something of worth.
The world has enough of exploitation from humans, and need time to heal. By minimizing the impact of our economic activities, by turning waste into something of worth, we will together, make the world a better place to live, and give a chance to future generations to have a better environment.
Click on the P&G image below to read the interactive infographic.
Yet islands of chauvinism still exists and the corporate 'glass ceilings' still exists when the rationale for this has all but disappeared in this information technology, post-industrial revolution age, where women are concerned. When some woman gets to lead a corporation, this is more an exception than a norm. This is changing, albeit slowly, at a glacial pace.
In the following interview on McKinsey Quarterly, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook expands on the ideas in her new book: Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (Knopf, 2013). Watch the four video segments on the link.
Integrate External Engagement therefore seeks to address these shortcomings. Porter and Kramer's 'shared values' and Ian Davis's 'social contract' shares a core idea that must deeply integrate external engagement within their strategies and operations because the success of a business depends very much on the relationship it has with the external world: regulators, potential and existing customers, shareholders etc.
How do we successfully execute an Integrated External Engagement, then? McKinsey's Quarterly reports that there are four things that need to be done:
1. Define what the corporation contributes
2. Know their stakeholders
3. Apply world-class management
4. Engage radically
Anyone interested to read this report, please write me and I will email a PDF copy of it to you.
sufficient trace elements of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, sulfur, phosphorus and oxygen (the key chemical ingredient for life) were found in the sedimentary rock drilled from the surface of Mars. This finding has essentially helped us to close some questions and open new ones: for instance, since the ingredients for life is there, then did life actually exist on the red planet? If it did, in what form and for how long? Were the life forms similar to what was found on Earth, was there any sophistication to the molecules or was it simple unicellular organisms?
So many questions now remain unanswered and I wish Curiosity well, in helping us uncover more in the future.
Global cities will predominate and economics activities from these huge megalopolis will also mean several things:
1. Economies of scale in products and services, as transportation over long distance could be optimized
2. Any type of threats would be magnified as densely populated cities means that more people would be affected if there were any form of large-scale catastrophe
3. Governments need to sensitive to the demographics and population migration patterns, economic well-being of their citizens
It would be interesting to watch and keep track of the trends and events that follow in the coming decades.
Poh S. Lim
As an interested citizen of the world, I make observations and in my way, contribute to the sum total of human knowledge.
My motto comes from Rene Descartes, French philosopher, who at the dawn of the European Renaissance, wrote:
"Cogito, Ergo Sum"
"I Think, Therefore I Am"