Sunday, September 20, 2009

Demand creation


The proof of the pudding is in its eating!! The effectiveness of marketing processes is measured through demand creation. The main motto of marketing is demand creation. During the process of marketing, goods move from producers to consumers. It needs to be accomplished in line with customer/consumer (prescriber and patient) preferences and spending power. Marketing inputs like strategic visual aids, leave behind literatures, point-of-Rx and point-of-purchase inputs, freebies, sponsorships, free goods schemes, site facility for wholesalers and retailers ... are used continuously to boost demand. Yet some marketers are more effective in eating the pudding than others! Why is it so?

Marketing depends on people and the climate of the organization

VALUE creation and delivery depends a lot on people and the marketing climate of the organization. Marketing achievements are made by people, and it requires an understanding of the climate of the organization to facilitate marketing achievements. Organizational climate refers to the features of the work climate as perceived by the employees. The organizational climate has a major influence on employee behavior.

Various organizations have different motives that are dominant in them. These motives shape the organizational climate. And in turn, the organizational climate shapes employee behavior and organizational results. The organizational motives are described as: achievement, expert influence, control, dependency, extension, and affiliation.
Thus, the employee will see the organization as having 'dominant achievement motive' or 'dominant control motive' or 'dominant dependency motive' etc. Let us see more details of these motives (in organizational climates below):
In Public Sector Units, the dominant motive is normally CONTROL (adherence to rules and regulations).

In family run businesses, DEPENDENCY is the usual dominant motive (there are key powerful decision makers through whom activities are done).

In specialized organizations, ACHIEVEMENT is a dominant motive. The achievement characteristic is more dominant in industrial and business organizations. If the organizational climate tilts towards excellence, the climate will be characterized by ACHIEVEMENT motive. For example, a biotech contract research organization will obviously offer greater freedom while doing work, with least bureaucratic controls. The focus will be on achieving certain key result areas - in organizations where achievement is the dominant motive.

In pure research organizations - for example - pharmaceutical colleges or departments of pharmacy, the dominant motive of the organizational climate is EXPERT INFLUENCE. The expert influence characteristic is more dominant in universities and scientific organizations.

Nonprofit healthcare organizations or pharma companies or certain departments of pharma companies that are involved heavily in community service or societal marketing have EXTENSION as the dominant motive in their organizational climate. Whatever marketers do in extension motive based organizations should produce community service effects or societal benefits. For example, marketers may have an extension program where poor TB patients are provided medicines at subsidized rates through key prescribers.

AFFILIATION motive is a major theme in the climates of organizations where relationships matter and people are from similar backgrounds. For example, the climate of a medical communications company may have affiliation motive as the predominant motive.

For marketers working in pharma companies or healthcare organizations, understanding the dominant motive of the organizational climate is critical for effective results.

The organizational climate, the dominant motives, and leadership influences the process by which ordinary people make extraordinary achievements.

In the Indian context, the motive of DEPENDENCY is very vital as it is common in traditional and family owned enterprises. The dependency motive is dominant in traditional and autocratic organizations too. A sub-type of dependency motive in organizations is the dependency achievement motive that refers to respect for individuals in certain positions of power. Key decisions are taken by these individuals in positions of power, and is required for achievements of the organization. This sub-type of motive (dependency achievement motive) based organizational climate is common in family-owned organizations. Thus, the dominant motives in the organizational climate and the consequent employee behavior shapes the organizational marketing results.

To produce marketing results in line with the corporate objectives, a keen understanding of the organizational climate is required by marketers. When marketing inputs are designed in line with the dominant motives of the organizational climate it becomes easier to make the marketing input (print or nonprint item), and it is even easier to implement them.

For example a very highly scientific leave behind print input for the retailer made in line with the dominant scientific 'expertise influence' motive of an organization, will obviously be poorly received in the market as it does not meet the customer (retailer's) requirement. For the pharmacist-retailer or chemist-retailer, the print leave behind literature input should be simple, elegant in presentation, and should avoid scientific information overload. So the marketer should be very tactful while designing and providing the product promotional item. On one hand it should satisfy the dominant motive of the organizational climate ie., scientific expertise influence in this case. And at the same time, the print leave behind item should have aspects that are appreciated by the more commercial-minded retailer.

When marketing inputs are produced in traditional family based organizations it is obvious that the dependency achievement motive will be dominant. Hence, keeping key management personnel in the loop will facilitate the making of the print or nonprint promotional input. In organizations with a dominant dependency achievement motive, only certain individuals by virtue of their power can make key decisions. Hence, the marketer will be wise to keep them in the loop for producing the promo inputs.

The marketer should be tactful

Marketers involved in strategy making, creating campaigns, and making promotional inputs (print and nonprint) need to balance marketing insights with realities of organizational functioning. Only then will the marketer be successful with his work. For instance, if a marketer has not understood the reality that the dominant motive is achievement dependency (where authorization or approval is required from higher powers; as in family based organizations), and tends to work as an achievement expert (where greater freedom is granted by the organization), he or she will inevitably come in conflict with the higher powers, and will get bogged down by the organizational climate. The wise marketer however will first understand the organizational climate and the dominant trait of the work environment; only then will he or she proceed to create strategies, campaigns, and promo inputs in line with the organizational climate and the market picture.

This implies that the marketer needs to have a binary orientation for successful functioning. Firstly, he understands the nature (or dominant motive(s)) of his work climate, and simultaneously he is also keyed on to market understandings. The marketer then goes on to produce marketing inputs in line with the organizational climate and market picture. This balanced way of working differentiates the successful marketer from the frustrated marketer. For effective demand creation realizing the realities of the dominant motive of the organizational climate and the market realities are equally important.

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