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The impact of GST( goods and service tax) on packaged food industry in India. Close to 89% of the population in India has income levels lower than US $3500. As a result, the discretionary spending habits of the population are directly linked to their income levels. Although the middle and upper class have the ability to trade up to better quality products; masses remain price sensitive due to lower income. Hence, price elasticity of staples such as fresh milk and edible oils continues to be higher compared to discretionary products such as ketch up and cookies in the country. Additionally, GST exemption on unpackaged food items could possibly lead to a shift from packaged market to unpackaged and from formal channel to informal channel.
With marketing technologies growing ever more powerful, many companies are deploying the latest tools to personalize marketing or make ad spending more efﬁcient. There’s no question that new digital technologies allow marketers to approach customers with surgical precision, unlike the blunter instruments of just ﬁve years ago. But the rush to invest in new technologies designed to boost the return on investment (ROI) of a single purchase or channel often misses the foundational goal of knowing who your target customers are, what they’re worth to the ﬁrm and how they behave. If a customer has a high potential lifetime value, it’s worth pulling out the spending stops to persuade him or her to make a ﬁrst purchase with the brand, which, of course, would likely hurt short-term ROI. Without that perspective, companies might waste money acquiring low-value customers or targeting prospects who are unlikely to make a purchase. What marketing leaders do differently Marketers who train their machines, metrics and minds to improve customer lifetime value emphasize enduring customer relationships over immediate channel results or a single transaction’s value. As marketers adopt increasingly powerful artiﬁcial intelligence tools—whether for one-to-one or segment marketing—they will want to direct those tools and related ROI metrics to deepening customer relationships. RELATED INSIGHTS How Digital Technology Supercharges Zero-Based RedesignHow Advanced Analytics Helps to Plot a Better Route to MarketHarnessing the Value of Grid-Edge Technologies CONSULTING SERVICE Customer Strategy & Marketing Marketing leaders today do more than acknowledge that customer lifetime value matters; they actually focus their spending and staff resources accordingly. A Bain & Company survey of roughly 500 companies found that marketing leaders exhibit a few characteristics that set them apart from the bottom 25% of companies. The leaders are: 3.5 times more likely to embed employees in marketing who specifically focus on understanding the customer's end-to-end experience; 1.9 times more likely to align their strategy with customer needs rather than channel needs; and 1.9 times more likely to scrutinize customer lifetime value in addition to more traditional last-touch metrics such as ROI, customer acquisition cost and click-through rate (see Figure 1). Shifting to a customer focus leads to better economics. That ﬁnancial beneﬁt ﬂows largely from creating more promoters among the customer base—people who spend more with the company, stay longer and generate more referrals. Marketing leaders break down the challenge of this shift into manageable pieces, and hone skills in three key steps: 1. Build smart, targeted segmentation based on a customer’s overall value. 2. Use technology to develop a deeper understanding of customers’ priorities and experience at each step of their relationship with the company. Make data-informed hypotheses about which technologies to use in order to acquire and retain the customer. 1. Learn who your customers are and what they are worth to you Not all customers are created equal, and gaining a thorough understanding of the variations among customers allows marketers to gauge how much to invest in each one. Fortunately, marketers don’t need a complete view of a customer to reach her effectively, just some minimum viable data such as demographic and location data, frequency of purchase and average purchase size. Even that basic level of knowledge allows marketers to explore how target segments behave, and where to increase or decrease spending in order to inﬂuence behavior. The Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota wanted to improve the number and quality of applications. It began projecting application numbers and choosing marketing investments based on segment sizes and conversion rates at each stage of the marketing funnel, from awareness to consideration to action. Previously, Carlson used a set cost-per-lead metric, with no calculation for projecting which of the potential students actually applied. Now, Carlson uses the lifetime value metric to know the effectiveness of each early-stage campaign in creating applications, and has realized a 28% lift in applications with the same level of spending. Applying a lifetime value lens also helps to identify the individual customers who merit the highest and lowest levels of investment. For years, a major clothing retailer had considered all customers as essentially having equal potential, and it spread its marketing dollars too thin. By turning a value lens on its department, channel and demographic data, the company learned that women whose ﬁrst purchase was a handbag frequently returned to buy goods in other departments. Women who started through lower-priced, more impulse-based departments rarely returned. Likewise, ﬁrst-time shoppers who then shopped in a new channel such as online had a higher lifetime value than those who shopped only in a single channel. Armed with this new knowledge, the retailer steered its marketing communications to women with the highest potential value, and realized a threefold annual increase in its return on spending for three years running. 2. Once you know your high-value customers, learn how to connect with them After a company has built a smart segmentation scheme, the next task is determining how best to connect with target customers at a personal level. Before consumers buy, they typically have hundreds of touchpoints, online and in the physical world, across many channels, devices and situations (see Figure 2). Marketers must understand an individual’s needs and wants throughout the episodes that make up his experience—where he shops, what products he buys, what moments and interactions annoy or delight him. Technologies can help marketers ﬁll out the picture of how people behave before they make a purchase. For example, Google Analytics shows whether people redeem discounts that increase their loyalty, or whether mobile or desktop searches result in more conversions for a particular product. Marketers can choose billboard or radio advertising by mining smartphone location data to see where and when people drive before they enter a grocery store. When consumer engagements are complex enough that it’s difﬁcult to manually optimize marketing, some companies have deployed machine learning in a more automated approach (see sidebar, "Questions to consider when evaluating automation"). Sam’s Club, a retail warehouse club, has learned that people who download its mobile application and start browsing consumables will probably become regular members. Using a machine learning tool from Liftoff, Sam’s Club has been targeting “lookalikes”—prospects who have characteristics matching current customers—to identify users most likely to sign up for membership. Now it’s raising the average revenue per member by reminding them to complete half-completed tasks within the app. 3. Use informed hypotheses to identify which marketing levers to pull Having identiﬁed which high-value customers to address, deﬁned their lifetime value and drawn a proﬁle of their priorities, leading marketers then make informed hypotheses on which media levers to test ﬁrst. Knowing someone’s shopping history, location, media preferences and at least some of her expressed views would be enough information to, for instance, push marketing messages to certain websites on her cellphone during her morning train commute. If the customer follows inﬂuential reviewers, those reviewers could merit a pitch by the company. When one consumer products company teamed with a drugstore chain to increase sales of an everyday personal-care product, it ﬁrst set about creating detailed digital proﬁles of likely customers in test cities. The company gathered demographic and economic data on residents near the drugstores, then overlaid the responses to advertising on two groups that it hypothesized would be likely customers with a high lifetime value: heavy coffee drinkers and online daters. It made several offers through such channels as mobile ads on Match.com, Marthastewart.com and other websites, as well as mobile ads to nearby Starbucks locations. The company also discovered that ads shown during the 7 to 10 days per month when residents typically receive their paychecks sharply increased sales. By reaching the right people in the right stores at the right time and through the right channels—and at relatively low cost—the campaign spurred a 34% increase in sales through control stores. Marketers beneﬁt from the proliferation of digital data exhaust and better tools to analyze the data. But machines alone cannot build strong relationships with target customers; the care and feeding of relationships require human intervention, as the experiences of these companies attest (see Figure 3). Marketing staff will still add value by hypothesizing what variables to test and what stories to tell, and the most powerful marketing will bring together the machines, metrics and minds. Questions to consider when evaluating automation Succeeding with a customer-centered approach entails integrating the strands of technology that may be scattered inside an organization, such as ﬁrst-party data, the customer relationship management (CRM) system and the programmatic ad-buying system. To assess whether their technology is customer-worthy, marketers can address a few key questions: Do we own our customer data sets, and do customer insights inform our advertising? Do our CRM system and ﬁrst-party data connect to our data management platform and digital marketing? Will we bid higher in our digital advertising for customers with a greater potential lifetime value? Can we link online actions with ofﬂine results, and vice versa, to truly measure ROI? Are our marketing model and data centralized so that all the business units can learn collectively? Are we making decisions on outdated historical data or investing in predictive analytics to inform our next moves?
The global hypermarkets & super centers sector produced good but decelerating growth to moderate growth between 2008 and 2010. However the market returned to strong growth in 2011 and is expected to produce moderate growth through to the end of the forecast period in 2016.
Shareholder activism is a quintessentially American form of investing. In the U.S., CEOs live in fear of activist hedge funds, and politicians worry about their effects on workers. But the case for shareholder activism is perhaps best seen in Japan, where the corporate sector tends to be structurally skewed in favor of employees, at the expense of shareholders and the economy. In Japan several factors combine to help insulate managers from outside influence, including cross-holdings where the company owns shares in a partner firm, docile boards mostly composed of company executives, and a court system historically biased against investment funds. In Japan the worry lately has not been about too much shareholder activism but about too little. Remarkably, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has embraced shareholder activism, in a bid to encourage the adoption of his corporate governance reforms, a central part of his economic policy platform. The governance shortcomings of the Japanese corporate sector are core to the sclerosis experienced by the economy since the 1980s. The Abe administration’s corporate governance reforms attempt to remedy this lack of dynamism in various ways. While it has explicitly encouraged both more shareholder-friendly governance by companies and greater engagement from institutional investors, it has implicitly supported shareholder activism as a forcing mechanism. Reform is the carrot; activist investors are the stick. Recognizing that getting Japanese institutional investors to pressure companies to implement changes that run counter to decades of cozy understanding will be, at best, a slow process. The Abe administration has created the conditions for smaller, nimbler funds — typically independent of large Japanese institutions — to push forward its corporate agenda, one company at a time. Uncharacteristically, the administration seems unconcerned by the fact that many of these funds are foreign. In fact, the government-run GPIF, Japan’s largest pension fund, has invested in Taiyo Pacific, an American activist fund targeting Japanese companies. Abe has even met with one of the most prominent American activists, Dan Loeb, in a private albeit well-publicized encounter, suggesting he sees value in foreign involvement in Japanese markets. The more positive public perception of activists in Japan marks a dramatic change. In the 2000s a wave of activists targeted Japanese-listed companies, typically adopting confrontational approaches similar to those prevalent in the United States. By and large, they failed. Whether they were Western funds, such as Steel Partners and TCI, or Japanese funds, such as Murakami, they found that the entire system conspired to support the embattled companies, no matter how impaired their corporate governance. At the time, activists were seen as bullies and pariahs. Today they’re seen as part of the solution, in part because they’ve changed tactics. Since the global financial crisis, a new wave of “constructive,” or friendly, activists (typically referred to as engagement funds) has tackled the same corporate governance issues, but with an explicitly low-key, humbler approach. Rather than berating management publicly, these funds have led quiet discussions behind closed doors. They earn senior managers’ trust by demonstrating their patience and, more often than not, refraining from asking for board seats or challenging them in proxy fights. They seek to win management over by sharing well-researched analysis and connecting them to a network of potential partners. Pioneer funds of this approach include Asuka Value-up, Taiyo Pacific, and Simplex Asset Management. (Full disclosure, I am involved in this strategy as part of Cornwall Capital). Even traditionally confrontational activists such as Third Point have shifted their strategy in Japan to adopt a more constructive approach. Since the launch of Abe’s Corporate Governance and Stewardship Codes, the number of constructive activists in Japan has proliferated. Whereas activists in Japan have historically been treated with scorn for attempting to extract value from the system, they can now point to the fact that their actions are consistent with the government’s policy goals. The jury is still out on Abe’s corporate governance reforms. Naysayers point to low adoption rates of the Stewardship Code among corporate pension plans, limited participation by listed companies that follow the Corporate Governance Code in form rather than in spirit, and continued resistance to outside influence by large numbers of listed companies. The greatest sticking point remains cross-holdings, which provide the ultimate buffer against outside influence since they effectively prevent the possibility of a takeover. Optimists point out measurable progress, including the percentage of companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange level 1 with at least two independent board directors, which has increased from 17% in 2012 to 88% in 2016. Will Japanese-style shareholder activism help the corporate governance reforms succeed? Anecdotal evidence points to individual successes: for instance, Third Point preempting a nepotistic succession plan at Seven & I and Misaki Capital guiding interior materials distributor Sangetsu to improved investor relations and capital efficiency. But much of the engagement activity takes place discreetly, by design. And some corporate actions are likely taken by management to preempt engagement funds from intervening. Listed companies have returned record levels of cash to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks (a capital allocation shift that is less vulnerable to criticisms of short-termism than in the U.S., given that Japanese companies are global outliers in terms of excess cash, low ROEs, and limited domestic growth prospects). More important, companies are increasingly tuned into the Corporate Governance Code. In my own experience, many companies have gone from being completely oblivious to being solicitous of investors’ perspective on the code. A subset of companies has become less suspicious of engagement funds. Optimists perceive the emergence of a snowball effect. Other countries with dormant, overprotected corporate sectors should take heed of Japan’s experiment in the use of shareholder activism as a policy tool.