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What Will the Business of the Next Century Look Like? by Victor Edozien Reviews of the Asaba Group, Inc.

Jun 30, 2015

1 Vote

Status: New

We started this book by asking, “What will the New America look like?”   Now that we have shared information and insights that sheds light on that question, it is time to ask a second one:   “What will new American business look like?”   How will it operate? What will its priorities be? We invited Victor Edozien of The Asaba Group to share his views. Victor, a seasoned strategy consultant, is originally from Nigeria. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in electrical engineering and geology from Syracuse University. Also, he studied business administration and management at University of Pittsburgh and University of California, Berkeley. He started his career as an engineer at United Technologies, where he was awarded a US patent. He then went to business school and joined the Ford Motor Company.   After Ford, he joined a Bain & Company consulting spin-off called The Lucas Group. This was a corporate strategy consulting practice focused on the needs of private equity funds and their portfolio companies. Here, he led numerous growth strategy engagements, which has led to substantial growth in revenue and profits for private equity investors and Fortune 500 clients.  Recently Victor helped launched The Asaba Group, a strategy consulting practice focused on developing pragmatic winning growth strategies in the multicultural environment. The goal of The Asaba Group, located in Boston, is to help corporations, private equity investors and middle market companies enter and prosper in this new market.   Find out more about The Asaba Group by visiting www.asabagroup.com.   How should a company find success in America’s growing multicultural markets?   That is a disarmingly simple question. Therefore, I will answer in an equally simple way.   A company should think about entering the new markets in essentially the same way it would think about entering a new market abroad. You begin by asking these strategic questions:   What are the relevant market segments? (Size and defining attributes)   What is your unique value proposition to these segments? How well do your products fit the needs of the target consumers?   What are the optimal channels to fulfil the requirements of the target segments?   Let us say you had decided to sell your products in Vietnam. How should you undertake your marketing efforts?   You would not simply go there with your same products, place advertisements in Vietnamese electronic media and magazines, and expect to succeed. You would most likely begin by asking the key strategic questions mentioned earlier.   Yet, many American businesses approach ethnic markets without asking these same strategic questions. These businesses proceed by spending money and time placing ads. This is indicative of viewing ethnic markets as only a downstream tactical initiative.   Repeatedly, we see mid-level marketing and brand managers who are charged with making decisions about the ethnic markets without clear knowledge on how to approach these markets. These managers have defaulted to hiring ethnic advertising agencies and placing ads in what they have defined as “culturally relevant” media. Creative content is typically an African- American, Asian or Hispanic face in their ad. These, in most instances, maybe the same ads used in the mainstream media. With this done, it assumed that the job is done.   This approach reflects the prevalent attitude that ethnic marketing is really an afterthought - something that comes after your mainstream marketing efforts. The result?  A number of non-strategic and uncoordinated efforts that get very little incremental revenues or build lasting customer loyalty. Non-strategic investments with little or no economic returns.   Let us return for a moment, think again, about how you would go into Vietnam, and try to achieve market success there. (The same questions might be asked about China, Eastern Europe or any emerging market.)   If you followed the current practices - hiring an ethnic-oriented agency, placing some ads - you would sell some product, because there is always latent demand in any market for products, which meet the needs of consumers. However, are these sales the true potential of the product? Would these practices get the sales and ROI you should expect from growing markets?   To achieve success you must find answers to the questions mentioned earlier:   What are my relevant market segments?   Remember that not every Vietnamese will buy your product. It is more likely that a target segment, perhaps two million Vietnamese, will potentially buy what you have to sell. They are your relevant market segment.   Then, taking things further, you can divide the potential two million target consumers. You may determine that there is a segment that will buy your premium product and another segment that will buy your value product.   What is your value proposition? How well do your products match the needs of customers in these segments?   What products will these consumers want? Keeping in mind that the desired products may be somewhat different from those you have in your current portfolio.   Back to our example, in Vietnam, you might identify two unique customer segments to target: Upscale consumers and more general, value-oriented consumers.   It is unrealistic to view the Vietnamese population as monolithic. Yet here in American, some corporations market to African-Americans, Asians or Hispanics through a monolithic lens.   By way of example, let us say I am a manufacturer of fine dinnerware and I am going into the Vietnamese marketplace. There may exist a consumer segment, which will desire high-end, premium dinnerware. Now when you look at your product portfolio and say, “What product do I have in my portfolio that is high-end fine china?”   You might say, “Okay, I have some elegant gold-encrusted patterns which might meet the needs of the consumer.” Alternatively, you might do even better and say, “The patterns that will sell best must be unique and culturally relevant to that population - I can’t position something in my existing lineup as what they want.”   Therefore, you can take the product and make incremental changes so it is relevant to the high- end Vietnamese customer segment. This is all about ensuring optimum fit between your products and the target customer What is the relevant channel for selling your product?   In other to sell product, you must have it available where the target customer will most likely seek it. In our example, high-end Vietnamese consumer will seek the product in the higher-end channels e.g. department stores etc. While the value product at the mass-market retailers. This same principle applies to ethnic markets.   So the key point for corporations, is a need to understand that multicultural marketing is not simply taking existing products and advertising it to your target consumers through appropriate media, but its determining the appropriate products and placing it in the relevant channels and markets.   Bringing it Back Home   Three Questions to Ask * How big is the relevant business opportunity? * What are the relative consumers segments? * How do those segments overlap with my product portfolio?   Therefore, it is critical to take a strategic approach, and not simply spending money advertising in appropriate media.   This is one reason many marketers find themselves in the unfortunate position of saying, “I’m spending all this money in the ethnic segment, but I have no idea whether I am making any sales.”   When marketers express this concern, it is because fundamental marketplace questions have not been asked and answered - the fundamental questions we have discussed above, which must be asked before going into any market.   In addition, questions that are more logical follow.   Is Your Infrastructure Up to the Job?   What portions of your existing infrastructure can you leverage in going after the new multicultural market opportunity?   If you are going after an ethnic segment within the U.S., there are certain elements of your existing infrastructure that you can leverage and some that you cannot utilize in its present form. You might use the same distribution channel and maybe the same sales force. Nevertheless, you have to ask, is that the right way to proceed? Alternatively, is some new kind of thinking required?   As an example, let us consider a marketing problem that can be quite revealing.   Let us say you are a skin-care company and that you have products with a high potential usage with African-Americans, e.g. a lotion that can be an effective remedy for razor bumps. African- American men have a very high incidence of razor bumps and ingrown hairs on their skin after shaving.   Now, if your company already has a product that addresses this problem, the next question is how well are you reaching African-American consumers? Do they have to go to Macy’s or another department store to purchase it? If so, is that the optimal channel to sell your products? I say no. I say the sales you are getting through such general distribution channels are just general-market sales. If you are going to tap the real potential of the African-American market, you have to repackage your product, so that it becomes culturally relevant to African-American consumers.   This can be an African-American cultural image on the packaging - or some other relevant message on the packaging. (Interesting to note, it can be the same product that is already in your product lineup.)   The next question is; how do you distribute the product? The best way is going to be through barbershops and beauty shops that cater to African-Americans.   Because African-Americans, in general, do not get their hair cut or get shaves at typical mainstream salons and boutiques. They have their own hair care channel, which is unique and different from going to your typical saloon. Therefore, if you are the skin-care company and you have an appropriately packaged product, you now sell it through all those beauty locations that are used by African-Americans.   Then you begin to advertise it through African-American dominated media (print and electronic). Marketing investments are promotional fees for free samples rather than listing fees, coop dollars or floor space investments, which characterizes the department stores channel. In addition, you have a unique SKU that allows tracking of product sales and profit contribution in your targeted market segment. You are no longer in the position of saying, “I’m running some ads, but I don’t know how effective they are or if these ads are generating sales.   Because African-Americans are brand-loyal, you are also building strong customer franchise and loyalty. Once the African-American consumer knows you have a product, which works, and it is sold at the point of need: barbing saloons, then you have achieved lifetime value in that customer. The consumer knows that you have a product he needs and it is conveniently available at the time of need.   With lifetime value, you can extend your “share of wallet”. African-Americans, like all Americans, have a variety of needs for skin-care products: for body cream, deodorants, and astringents. Once you are underway, you can grow your presence and “own” that customer in a particular product/commodity category.   Take it One Step Further   The next question is what is your operating model?   The operating model is all about People, Systems and Business processes.   This is where the multicultural market strategies and approaches need to mesh with corporate diversity initiatives. In corporate America, diversity initiatives are implemented independently with no links to the realities of the multicultural marketplace.   Companies talk about diversity. And they talk about multicultural marketing on another track entirely. Corporate executives are thinking, “Corporate diversity is a good thing . . . the right thing to do.” But these same executives also wonder, “Does diversity make sense from a business point of view?” Well, the more important questions that needs to be asked:   How can we get the most ROI from the economic potential in the multicultural markets?   And next,   How can we link our recruitment, hiring and retention of ethnic minorities to that multicultural market opportunity?   Let me loop back to the skin-care company example. If a company can develop and package a skin-care product for African-American men and sell it through appropriate distribution channels, it should logically go on to ask, “Who should be our marketing and sales manager for this skin care product?” If the multicultural market represents a significant share of sales, the company should then define the competencies for that position through a multicultural lens.   The competency definition might be someone who understands the issues of skin problems that are unique to African-Americans; someone who can go to the salons and barber shops and build the required trade/channel relationships.   What emerges is a competency definition that consists of the required marketing and sales capabilities. But in addition, it defines an individual who understands African-American culture and can relate to African-Americans merchants. In filling this position, it is very likely that the individual will be an African-American.   So, the candidate profile stops being a race-based definition and becomes a competency-based definition. And nine out of ten times, that competency definition defines an African American individual, even though there is nothing about race in the profile.   But the company might well end up with a Caucasian who can do the job. But the point is, looking for someone who understands the market space - who can relate.   The Benefit to Your Company   So now that you are entering into the multicultural marketplace, and hiring for needed competencies, it becomes much more likely that you will be interviewing and recruiting appropriate diversity candidates.   In just a short time, the need to search for appropriate minority candidates becomes less. You are attracting a strong set of multicultural oriented candidates, because you have defined competency profiles for jobs that fit their profiles   Over time, this kind of thinking comes to permeate the organization. It defines competencies everywhere in the business process. Another example is, if a customer (skin-care company)   have a problem with a particular product, and there is a toll-free number on the bottle for customer service issues - well, when they call into the customer service call center, who will they reach? Will the people who answer the phones understand African American skin-care needs?   Well, the representatives at the call center need to understand. So if you define the competencies for those positions, chances are you will no longer have all Anglo-Americans answering the phones. You are going to have some African-Americans, Hispanics - or other employees who match your market.   And with sophisticated phone systems now available, when a call comes in you can have a message that says, “If you are calling about such-and-such a product, press 1 now . . .”. You can route that call straight to an African-American representative who will understand the cultural nuances of the customer.   Defining human resources needs based on competencies, you get beyond the kind of thinking that dictates, “I need ten blacks, three Hispanics, four women.”   And you can use this approach at a higher level in the organization. Who will be your Vice- President of customer service? Or the Manager for call-centers? Increasingly, to address your markets, you will need people at all levels that understand the cultural nuances of the consumer. Your entire organization may well begin to have a multicultural flavor.   If you have a sizeable and growing African-American market, for example, you can go to your R&D department and say, “We need four new products for our evolving African-American market.”   You soon need to have R&D employees who understand the marketplace and African- Americans. So soon, you are hiring biochemists that are African-Americans. This is how corporate diversity recruitment initiatives are linked with multicultural market opportunities - and with your business processes and competencies.   You are moving from race-based definitions to competency-based definitions. It is so much more effective and needs based than saying, “We have quotas.” Incidentally, if your company is ever questioned about its minority hiring, you can point to the competencies you are hiring for, and how you are filling them. No one will ever question your activities.   On a grander scale, America is increasingly becoming a multiethnic majority country. By 2010, population experts forecast ethnic minorities at 40% or more of the general population. Some early population statistics forecast California to become the first state to have an ethnic majority population by 2001. If you think about it, the more multicultural and flexible an organization is, the more adaptive and better it will perform in the future.   Linking corporate diversity to the market opportunity makes business sense. It becomes a holistic system. Everything is linked together. The linkage between how you deploy your resources with the market opportunity. And it all makes sense.  

1 Votes | 0 Comment

Categories: Small Business,

External charging station for Dell laptop batteries

Jun 20, 2015

4 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

We use Dell Latitude laptop computers throughout our facillity.  Our current model is the Latitude E6540.  Physicians and nurses require a fully functional laptop at all times.  If we had an external charging station which could charge 4 to 6 laptop batteries simultaneously then if a clinician's battery died in the middle of a shift they could simply replace it with a fully charged battery from the charging station.  Here is a link to a multi-bay battery charger for 16 batteries.  http://www.datalinksales.com/cgi-bin/prodrequest.cgi  The product is very expensive and way too big for our needs.  Even a charging station capable of charging 2 batteries simultaneously would work and we could purchase 2 units.  Something like this http://www.amazon.com/Fujitsu-FPCBC27AP-Battery-Charging-Station/dp/B0031543MM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434754401&sr=8-1&keywords=laptop+battery+charging+station.   I've run across Internet inquiries from other people looking for the same type of product.  Dell could probably sell a bunch of these if only they existed!  Thanks.

4 Votes | 6 Comments

Categories: IdeaStorm, New Product Ideas, Healthcare and Life Sciences,

Improve the new Inspiron 15 500 series (2015)

Jun 22, 2015

3 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

The new Inspiron 15 5000 series looks sleek and comes at a decent price, but fails at some basics. Most people do not want optical drives on laptops nowadays, so why have it in a model that is meant to be as cheap as possible while offering good specifications?It would make more sense to ditch the optical drive and instead offer a FullHD screen as standard. By doing this, Dell will be leading the way to a higher resolution future and leave other brands less desirable with their low resolution screens. I have seen the bulk prices for HD screens vs. decent FullHD screens, and I just cannot justify skimping here while at the same time offering an optical drive. Highlight the Dell external optical drive for all laptop models instead, so customers who really want to use discs can see the option. The room saved by ditching the optical drive could be used to optimize cooling, add a few extra ports or preferably: both.Customers want sleek and portable devices with low noise levels and good battery life. Optical drives are not as desirable as they once were, and Dell needs to realize that sooner rather than later.

3 Votes | 0 Comment

Categories: Desktops and Laptops, IdeaStorm, New Product Ideas,

research

Jun 29, 2015

1 Vote

Status: New

Hello, Sorry for this but I am trying to get in touch with someone from Dell Idea partner who can explain in detail how idea storm functions and focuses on consumer feedback and promotes innovation. This research is for dissertation purpose and the information would be protected. I know it's a long shot but I would really appreciate any sort of help. Thank you. Regards, Priyanka

1 Votes | 3 Comments

Categories: Advertising and Marketing, Education,

Alienware 17 R2 2015; This laptop should come with a 230W AC adapter, not 180 watts. Throttles immensely.

Jun 20, 2015

3 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

The Alienware 17" R2 2015 laptop with the 4980HQ Haswell CPU and nVidia 980m GPU throttles like immensely with the 180W AC adapter.I have noticed that maximum power consumption of the AC adapter is about 171 watts, measured with a kill-a-watt meter. Meaning, about 154 watts max power draw from the AC adapter at full load if I assume 90% efficiency of the AC adapter. That power consumption is maintained even if the CPU cores are idle the but GPU is running Furmark. In all cases the GPU throttles and if the GPU is running Furmark while the CPU is taxed, the CPU is throttled as well. It cycled between 2.8GHZ and 800MHZ every few seconds. So I am concerned why the laptop cannot use all 180 watts from the AC adapter. Power consumption should be a bit over 200 watts from the wall when this happens. Will power draw be articificially limited with the 230W AC adapter as well? The web site, notebookcheck saw this behavior as well (http://www.notebookcheck.net/Alienware-17-R2-Notebook-Review.140380.0.html) 240 watts should be standard for your laptop with the 980m GPU. It's like having a big V8 engine in your car but the fuel pump can't keep up the fuel pressure if you floor it. Or an inverter in an electric car that can't supply full power to the electric motor.The throttling is not due to chip temperatures, but from the lack of available power draw from the AC adapter.This is what MSI tried to do this with their GT60 and GT70 high end gaming laptops a few years ago. They tried using 180w AC adapters and using the battery to supplement the AC adapter, but it was not enough and so people experienced a lot of throttling. Now Alienware is doing the same mistake. But luckily the AC adapter upgrade should be free per Dell KB (http://www.dell.com/support/article/us/en/19/SLN295814/EN), and at least it is an option for this laptop, versus MSI users who were stuck.

3 Votes | 0 Comment

Categories: Desktops and Laptops, Alienware,

Ditch Alienware 14 and make thin n light Alienware 15 to compete with MSI GS60/70 and Razer Blade

Apr 11, 2014

15 Votes

Status: Under Review

Hello, As the title suggests I'll get straight to the point.Because Alienware 14 is so thick and heavy the 14inch screen on it seems pointless. Discontinue Alienware 14 and make a 15.6" thin and lightweight Alienware laptop that has similar portability as the MSI GS60/70, Razer Blade and Mac Book Pros but can match or outperform the MSI GS60/70 because they have GTX860m and GTX870m thus they are the most powerful thin and lightweight out of the 3 mentioned brands.If Alienware pulls this off it would really give them a run for their money.And regarding the design it off course has to look on par or even better than the mentioned 3 competitors above. Don't make it look imature but subtle like the current Alieneare 14, 17 and 18 but maybe even better.Thank you for your consideration.JohnStatus Update: Your Idea is currently Under Review. Please be patient during this process as we will be limited in what information we can share. Thank you for posting.

15 Votes | 13 Comments

Categories: Desktops and Laptops, Gaming, Alienware,

Incorporate laptops with scanners

Sep 24, 2014

2 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

With the increasing standards placed on EMRs, sending and receiving information electronically will soon become a requirement. Over the past year, I have noticed the amount of documents needed to be scanned into medical application has doubled. This requires medical staff sitting at a desktop when time becomes available. If a laptop with a built-in scanner was developed it could highly benefit the medical field. It would eliminate the countless hours medical staff currently spend scanning documents whenever time permits. This would also allow for immediate interaction with documentation. I believe this function has a tremendous amount of potential in number of fields. It would ultimately increase productivity and overall efficiency in any business. Thank you

2 Votes | 3 Comments

Categories: Desktops and Laptops, Healthcare and Life Sciences,

New Power management plan

May 27, 2015

7 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

When Battery power reaches 100%, battery should start discharging, when it reaches 10% it should recharge the battery again using the ever connected AC Adapter / Charger. Dell should integrate this as part of their DC-IN port fuzzy logic / intergrate this logic with QuickSet utility, whichever is feasible.Some people use their laptops like desktops, always connected to power, hence battery health deteriorates rapidly. 1 yr / within 1 yr the battery dies. By using this idea, customers can get improved battery life. Dell can save on the costs. Win-Win for both parties.

7 Votes | 2 Comments

Categories: Desktops and Laptops, New Product Ideas, Service and Support,

2015 Alienware R2 17" Laptop Heat Fix, Here is how.

May 19, 2015

6 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

Add 4 custom fan settings in the bios.  Silent, normal, performance, Extreme gaming, user. Also allow fan speed customization (heat to fan speed ratio) in your Alienware AW command center. in the alienware forum there are 100 pages of compliants about overheating. http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/official-alienware-17-r2-owners-lounge.770314/page-108Alienware R2 owners lougeAlso this one.Thank you for your time. Please save my laptop, and gaming experience.

6 Votes | 8 Comments

Categories: Gaming, Service and Support, Alienware,

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