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How to Make Sure What You Sell Is What the Market Needs

How to Make Sure What You Sell Is What the Market Needs

Why is there so much fuss about marketers having to be knowledgeable about value chain analysis? We could easily just go around using strong advertising strategies. That, however, is not all that is required for a sound business strategy.

The more knowledge you have about the interaction of your product or service with potential customers the easier it will be for you to pair up company potential with customer requirement. If you are a winner at that, you are a winner at marketing!

Michael Porter in his book, “Competitive Advantage”, clearly explains how important the value chain is for a company, and how value is created within the organization [1] is better explained here as well. For the most part, companies would consider value chain analysis as an essential part of their business strategy.

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Senior management is responsible for organizing managers in the Operations, Sales and Customer services to identify the different areas connecting Company value chain to Customer value chain. This will help to discover what the consumer requirements really are.

The phrases involved in a value chain analysis

A proper value chain analysis for your company can considerably improve your company’s efficiency and effectiveness in meeting your customer requirements.

The main factors involved are the following:

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Logistics

This refers to the coordination of information flow and goods coming in and going out of your business organization. A sound analysis of inbound logistics enables the identification of options to lower supplier costs as well as strengthen relationships with potential suppliers. Outbound logistics, gives you an insight relating to the flow of goods and required information to your buyers, is considered to be a crucial distribution and service factor.

Operations

This stage in the value chain involves a variety of procedures, equipment, and workers employed in production, purchase and sale of inventory to customers. Manufacturers aim to produce top-quality products at reduced costs by identifying ways to optimize manpower and equipment costs and getting rid of wasteful production steps. An example of this is by using Platform.ly [2], where marketing is made in automation to achieve lossless tracking and also runs your whole back-end business. Resellers’ operations are further analyzed to further determine ways to improve inventory management and the ability to efficiently merchandise it to buyers.

Front-end Activities

Porter stresses on marketing, sales and support being core front-end value chain activities. Businesses have to repeatedly review and improve marketing research, promotional activities as well as customer support. Effective research aids in getting to know more about your present and future customers. Promotions such as advertising and sales serve to gain consumer attention. Prominent companies are in the constant habit of reviewing their on-going promotional strategies in search of improvement opportunities. Customer retention is essential to long-term success.

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Supporting Factors

Porter implies that a value chain has four supporting factors:

  • Infrastructure
  • Technology development
  • Human resources
  • Procurement

Infrastructure and technology development refer to the construction as well as the development of buildings, supplies, equipment and technology needed to assist current business activities. A thorough analysis of your infrastructure and technology contributes to discovering ways to enhance your structure in order to support customers. Human resources concentrate on the attraction, retention, and motivation of top employees. Procurement is how the purchasing departments focus on routinely reviewing opportunities for getting reduced costs from suppliers or favorable transactions.

What can value chain analysis give us?

Value chain analysis does have important advantages to be considered, such as:

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  • a very crucial role in determining important organizational, tactical as well as strategic issues connected to the business.
  • a very valuable tool in that it helps businesses to fully exploit all possible sources of competitive advantage.
  • applicable to all types of businesses no matter what the industry or business size.

How is value chain analysis insufficient?

As is typical of any theoretical framework, the value chain is not completely flawless. These can be considered as follows:

  • assumed that it is feasible to split company operations into two different categories: primary and support activities.[3] If we were to take a realist viewpoint, this may very well prove to be contrary when considering the many complexities of business operations today.
  • time-consuming for practical application. After all, we are talking about a thorough analysis of all business operations involved.
  • may not be possible to attain all the adequate information needed for the proper conducting of a value chain analysis.

When is it suitable to apply value chain analysis?

There are many different ways of adapting value chain analysis in various industries, some examples are:

Delivery Service

In order to enhance market share as well as brand loyalty, FedEx’s value chain clearly identifies the importance of employee development by using proper human resources plans and improvements in infrastructure.

Food and Beverage

Properly choosing and locating top-quality coffee beans, enhancing trustworthiness by providing top-grade consumer service, and successfully marketing their brands were the most important elements in Starbucks value chain. PizzaHut managed to defeat its competitors by efficiently delivering a cheaper product than just concentrating on premium pricing.

Retail

Walmart is known to use value chain analysis in order to maintain low prices for their customers. By constantly identifying suppliers, comparing in-store as well as online shopping, and developing innovations have contributed to Walmart’s commitment to making it easier for people to increase their savings.

Reference

More by this author

Junie Rutkevich

Game Developer of iXL Digital

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Last Updated on October 17, 2018

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get plenty of sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

How much sleep should you be getting?

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Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

Yes, there are.

Try these three things:

  • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
  • Don’t eat too late
  • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

3. Challenge your brain

When was the last time you challenged your brain?

I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

  • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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4. Take more breaks

When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

However, I was wrong.

Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

Let me explain.

Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

What’s the answer?

Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

5. Learn a new skill

I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

Let me give you an example of this:

Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

6. Start working out

If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

“But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

Not a problem.

A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

Interested in getting started?

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Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

  • Join a gym
  • Join a sports team
  • Buy a bike
  • Take up hiking
  • Dance to your favorite music

7. Eat healthier foods

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

This applies to your brain too.

The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

  • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
  • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
  • Nuts – improves memory
  • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
  • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

Final thoughts

I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

Reference

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