Monthly Archives: October 2010

P&G’s Swift Market Research Studies

Procter & Gamble conducts primary qualitative online market research to aid its product decision-making process.

Related article :

Video of how P&G created as a community for girls, to help their customers — a marketing method four times as effective per dollar as advertising. This online primary qualitative market research study spiked demand for its tampons.

Main Article:

I will use the Market Research framework (Class 15) to analyse P&G’s market research method.

1.  Define problem/hypothesis

Senior executives could not answer simple questions about  product functions -> P&G remained ignorant of how basic elements of its products were used/what aspects to capitalize

2.  Determine research design

The Market Research Department was implemented. A vast team of researchers implemented primary qualitative research by asking detailed questions, focus-group-style.

Another unique strategy was assembling well-attired, natural door-to-door female interviewers to gain candid responses. They covered entire neighborhoods, and asked comprehensive questions about household products.

3.  Identify data types and sources

Leader of MR campaign could give precise statistics about other companies.

4.  Design data collection

Data collections improved in tande with improvement in communications technology.

5.  Determine sample plan and size

Sample plans and sizes collected were similar throughout P&G’s history.

6.  Collect data

Door-to-door interviewers collated specific data, even total recall in most cases.

7.  Analyze

Detailed surveys distributed to focus groups allowed P&G to grasp product functions, competitor products and customer preferences.

8.  Prepare report

Extensive reports adapted products/commercial messages to customers’ changing needs.

Meticulous attention to brand expectations, packaging, testing environment have resulted in highly satisfied customers.

Wal-Mart’s Wise Value-Adding Strategy

this shows how wal-mart plans to add value to its products to ensure its international sustainability. from

negative side of wal-mar's extensive cost-cutting: poor employee benefits from

*Brief note : In Class 13, we discussed Dell’s innovative value-adding strategies. In this post, I’ll do a mini Wal-mart (again) case study.

Article taken from: pages 3-8

Like Dell (class reading #13), Wal-Mart bypasses dealer channels to eliminate costs and risks. It follows the compact model : suppliers -> manufacturer -> customer. It also has faster inventory replenishment and lower shipping costs.

Wal-mart practises ‘cross-docking’ which challenges the notion of supply chain, focusing instead on the demand chain aspect. This reminds me of the Economics principle of the Invisible Hand, espoused by Adam Smith. Customers determine exchange of goods as it is based on their demand. The value chain, composed of staff, manufacturers and suppliers (not supply chain like Dell) is tightly coordinated.

Wal-Mart places an emphasis on maintaining good relationships with its suppliers, compared to Dell which focuses on assessing real consumer demand and segmenting consumers to service their needs. Similar to Dell, Wal-mart implements sophisticated technology to track inventory and sales levels and has quick inventory velocity (decreased inventory, increased speed).

However, this article presents Wal-mart in a positive light. While its strategies add value, employee welfare is an area of concern — low wages. Also, Wal-Mart poses a threat to its competitors due to competitive pricing, its flip-side is predatory pricing – deliberately pricing goods below market price to drive out rivals.

Wal-Mart and Porter’s 5 Forces

I chose this article because a lot of concepts are applicable to the Porter’s 5 Forces reading we did in class. due to the word limit, i covered more applicable forces like seller’s power, degree of rivalry and barriers to entry.


walmart store locations from

Porter's 5 Forces Diagram taken from

The article discuss how Wal-Mart focuses more on increasing international demand due to slow domestic demand.

Some challenges would be decreasing consumer demand. This is due to careful budgeting and less trips to Wal-Mart because of lower consumer incomes and high costs of traveling to stores (higher fuel prices).  This affects the supermarket industry, as slow market growth causes firms to fight for market share.

Wal-mart is trying to reduce rivalry by seeking competitive advantages in lower prices  “lost some of the wealthier customers it gained during the recession as those customers returned to higher-price stores.” It has also recognized that its larger stores served as one-stop places, but other smaller supermarket chains would pose a threat of substitutes, rendering demand for its products more price-elastic. By improving its technology – productivity and price transparency, the degree of rivalry between Wal-mart and its competitors will be lower. It poses high barriers to entry to supermarket chains who want to enter the industry, due to its variety of stores.

Wal-mart has a reasonably high degree of seller power due to its relationship with suppliers. It plans to leverage on this by offering lower prices, which is yet another ideal competitive strategy.

Is social software really useful?

types of social software taken from

*i picked this article as the HBR is a really reputable source with innovative, applicable articles and the idea of social software is related to Class 8 readings on social media.

from :

Critics of social software feel that fostering interpersonal relationships decreases productivity. I think this is false as good relations, even on a formal level, can be established in a slightly informal context.

Cross-referencing to Community Relations 2.0, which discusses social media, I think that software would help if it is authentic and users are savvy. Individuals must be computer literate in these software. It would be better if there were a team of specialists (members of the PR and HR departments) to leverage on it, as they would have the technical expertise to ensure that the employment of social software meets the company’s aims.

The framework of Access (wide outreach these media platforms offer), Attract (relevant people and resources) and Achieve (securely creating strong collaborations) is solid. However, the examples given are too vague and should be related to specific types of software and how they are used.

It is necessary to “target implementations against very specific operating performance levers.” Certainly, a main challenge to social software is more convenient and accessible forms of social media. These would probably lend a better level of engagement to users who would more likely be more familiar with social media than social software.

related links:

this website provides more specific instructions on how to leverage on social software.