Diversity in Digital or e-Marketing Communications Strategy

Marketing and Communications
in Diverse Digital World

 

Hofstede Cultural Dimensions

 

Hofstede’s four cultural dimensions: ‘Power Distance, Avoidance of Uncertainty, Self vs the Group, Male vs Female’, all have significant impact on WOM and brand communication, plus a low or no negative WOM being important when engaging with target audience (Lam et al., 2009).  Hofstede’s dimensions are now six after being expanded further to include ‘Long-Short Term Orientation’, and ‘Indulgence-Restraint’ (Hofstede, 2011).

 

Marketing research and mapping of customer journey in digital and social media marketing

Diversity and Culture in Digital or e-Marketing Communication Strategy (Image copyright Pexels)

 

Some issues with this model include being culturally specific to IBM or the sample population at the time, predated wider access to travel, communications technology, newly emergent broad middle classes, with very significant regional and language differences within target market nations e.g. India and China.  Additionally, there are now demographic and cultural dynamics in societies along with globalisation; but the process of investigation of culture is very worthwhile, especially within a specific business or organisational environment (Myers & Tan, 2003).

 

 

This research study focused upon similarities of individuals when searching for information, not differences between nationalities, precluded by constraints of this study.  However, for utility or at a practical level any marketer or institution must be aware and sensitive towards cultural or national differences, that need to be accounted for in marketing and communications strategy, without national stereotyping.  As suggested, there is no one common behaviour or culture, however, a skilled marketer would understand the importance and how to assess, then account for in any regional or nation specific strategy under their purview.

 

e-Consumer Behaviour – What do they do?

 

Another more contemporary approach has three dimensions in e-consumer behaviour for brand trust: ‘Brand Experience’ and ‘Search for Information’, ‘Brand Familiarity’ and ‘Customer Satisfaction’, both cognitive and emotional (Ha & Perks, 2005).  Again, ‘brand experience’ and ‘search for information’ are highlighted as significant dimensions of consumer behaviour, underpinned by both rational thinking and feelings, including or represented by WOM.

 

Importantly, WOM referrals have longer or greater impact, if part of marketing communication strategy to leverage lower costs and speed of message via internet to persuade consumers, but little if any measurement or research has been conducted (Trusov et al., 2009).

 

Relationship Marketing, Interaction & Consumer Input

 

This leads onto to relationship marketing and online interaction that have become more important with internet due to two-way or multi-lateral communication potential (Liu, 2007).  In related ‘youth’ industry i.e. tourism and travel, youth users of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and SM have changed their behaviour on how they search for information on products, and can contribute to or participate in design, development and distribution of new products (Bizirgiannia & Dionysopoulou, 2013).

 

This highlights the fact that purchasing is a process over time, youth expect interaction around the product, two-way communication helps inform them and they can contribute to new products, including the marketing and communications strategy e.g. SEO.   In other words, talk systematically with and analyse your target market for feedback on products and experience, in addition to preferred distribution or communication channels and behaviour, to ensure any strategy works well.

 

Reference List:

 

Bizirgiannia, I. & Dionysopoulou, P. (2013) The influence of tourist trends of Youth Tourism through Social Media (SM) & Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) at the 2nd International Conference on Integrated Information. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042813003959 (Accessed 18/11/2016).

 

Ha, H. & Perks, H. (2005) Effects of consumer perceptions of brand experience on the web: Brand familiarity, satisfaction and brand trust. Journal of Consumer Behaviour. 4(6) pp. 438–452.  Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cb.29/abstract (Accessed on: 18/11/2016).

 

Hofstede, G. (2011). Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 2(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1014

 

Lam D., Lee A. & Mizerski R (2009) The Effects of Cultural Values in World-of-Mouth Communication. Journal of International Marketing. 17(3) pp. 55-70 Published by: American Marketing Association Harvard system

 

Liu Y (2007) Online interaction readiness: conceptualisation and measurement. Journal of Customer Behaviour. 6(3) pp. 283-299. Available at: http://www.yupingliu.com/files/papers/liu_interaction_readiness.pdf Accessed on: 10/01/2017.

 

Myers, M. & Tan, F. (2003) Beyond Models of National Culture in Information Systems Research. In Tan, F. (Ed.) Advanced Topics in Global Information Management Vol. 2. pp. 14-29. Hershey PA: Idea Group Publishing.

 

Trusov, M., Bucklin, R. & Pauwels, K. (2009) Effects of Word-of-Mouth versus Traditional Marketing: Findings from an Internet Social Networking Site. Journal of Marketing. 73(5) pp. 90-102.

 

 

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International Education Marketing – 4P Products 7P Services and Word of Mouth

4Ps for Products to the 7Ps for Services

and WOM Word of Mouth

 

While many focus upon the promotional aspect of the 4Ps model of ‘product, price, place and promotion’, research has emphasised that education marketing must use ‘7Ps’, not just ‘4 or 5Ps’.  This would also include people, facilities and processes, thus broadening any analysis and perceptions of the market (Ivy, 2008).

Further, the ‘7Ps’ model was developed to account for differences in service industries versus sub-optimal ‘4Ps’ model for physical goods (Rafiq & Ahmed, 1995).  The ‘People’ and ‘Process’ are very relevant for this research, as they focus upon need to communicate openly with target market through skilled personnel, while viewing marketing, communication and sales as a process, not an instantaneous purchasing event e.g. buying a consumer product or staple (Acutt, 2015).

 

There have been criticisms of this ‘7Ps’ model as being out of date, highlighting the need for new conceptual foundations and marketing methodologies representing today and tomorrow’s world (Konstantinides, 2010).  With e-marketing, digital or internet-based marketing coming to the fore, there needs to be more analysis of consumer behaviour regarding brand experience, information search, brand familiarity and customer satisfaction, both rational and emotional (Ha & Perks, 2005).

 

More recent research suggests that the ‘complex’ student decision making process is viewed as rational economic action when in fact much is emotional and relies upon peers, influencers and related WOM to assess overall or general quality, plus more practical concerns such as immigration and visa (Nedbalová et al, 2014).  How does a student or family access WOM based information and advice from peers and influencers leading to a study decision, possibly through student feedback and analysis?

 

Why is WOM Word of Mouth Important?

 

WOM is important in all communications, and for consumers to participate in social learning through WOM communication, the preference for many if not most (Campbell, 2013).  WOM is related intimately with personal and cultural factors, with informal accepted as a significant communication channel of influence (Kotler & Keller, 2012).

 

Social networks and WOM rely upon users and friends’ reviews and comments, plus helping to generate positive and negative WOM, with ‘trust’ being very important (Barreda et al., 2015).  WOM is also an essential element of digital or e-Marketing and SM, if not the most important, with a need to encourage interactivity and engagement amongst the target market about a product (Whitler, 2014).

 

WOM can now be carried further by social media, be leveraged for better marketing and communications, and it cannot be ignored, especially if negative.  WOM carried digitally across borders amongst friends who may be informed significantly by personal or national culture considerations, whether differences or similarities.

 

Therefore, logically consideration may need to be given to cultural dimensions of marketing and impacts on strategy, differences or similarities? This will lead onto investigation of cultural dimensions and e-Consumer Behaviour – What do they do?

 

Reference List:

 

Acutt, M. (2015) The Marketing Mix 4P’s and 7P’s Explained.  Available at: http://marketingmix.co.uk/ (Accessed on: 17 May 2017).

 

Barreda, A. A., Bilgihan, A., & Kageyama, Y. (2015). The role of trust in creating positive word of mouth and behavioral intentions: The case of online social networks. Journal of Relationship Marketing, 14(1), 16-36.

 

Campbell A. (2013) ‘Word-of-Mouth Communication and Percolation in Social Networks’. The American Economic Review. 103(6) pp. 2466-2498 Published by: American Economic Association. Available at: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.103.6.2466 (Accessed on: 16/12/2016).

 

Ha, H. & Perks, H. (2005) ‘Effects of consumer perceptions of brand experience on the web: Brand familiarity, satisfaction and brand trust’. Journal of Consumer Behaviour. 4(6) pp. 438–452.  Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cb.29/abstract (Accessed on: 18/11/2016).

 

Ivy J. (2008) ‘A new higher education marketing mix: the 7Ps for MBA marketing’. International Journal of Educational Management. 22(4) pp. 288 – 299 Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09513540810875635 (Accessed: 18/11/2016).

 

Konstantinides, E. (2006) ‘The Marketing Mix Revisited: Towards the 21st Century Marketing’.  Journal of Marketing Management. 22(3-4) pp. 407-438. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/1 0.1 362/026725706776861 190 (Accessed: 16/12/2016).

 

Kotler, P. & Keller, K. (2012) Marketing Management. (14th Ed.) Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education – Prentice Hall.

 

Nedbalová E., Greenacre L. & Schulz J (2014) ‘UK higher education viewed through the marketization and marketing lenses’. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education. 24(2) pp. 178-195. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08841241.2014.973472  (Accessed on: 21/12/2016).

 

Rafiq, M. & Ahmed, P. (1995) ‘Using the 7Ps as a generic marketing mix: an exploratory survey of UK and European marketing academics’. Marketing Intelligence & Planning. 13(9) pp. 4-15.

 

Whitler, K. (2014) Why word of mouth marketing is the most important social media.  Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kimberlywhitler/2014/07/17/why-word-of-mouth-marketing-is-the-most-important-social-media/#2f76616d54a8 (Accessed: 10/05/2017).

 

FLIPPED Model – Pedagogy or Andragogy in Higher Education Teaching Learning

FLIPPED Teaching and Learning Model in Higher Education

 

Introduction

 

Nowadays in higher education there is much talk of MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses), e-learning, blended learning and the ‘FLIPPED’ (Flexible Environments, Learning Culture, Intentional Content, Professional Educators, Progressive Activities, Engaging Experiences, and Diversified Platforms) classroom; what does it mean, what are the issues and solutions?

 

Brief Literature Review

 

One of the first issues to be apparent is that ‘FLIPPED learning’ is under utilised and even when utilised, there maybe sub-optimal delivery for good teaching and learning outcomes (Chen et al., 2014).  Conversely, whether a fee-paying program, compulsory K12 or a MOOC, FLIPPED learning can dramatically increase access (Hazlett, 2014).

 

Flipped classroom is also a benefit to both teaching and learning, with students being exposed to subject content online and participate in active lessons; moving away from teacher directed pedagogy to student centred learning or andragogy (especially important for transition of youth to adulthood).  The benefits are exemplified by less homework issues, question and answer, deeper exploration and those away with illness can keep up.  For teachers it means supporting students in application, reusable, easier individual student attention and more transparency for parents (Mihai, 2016).

 

Another view includes the following benefits: more student control, student centred, content more accessible for students or parents, and more efficient.  However, this is tempered by disadvantages of digital divide or illiteracy, requires significant preparation and front-end input, not good for test preparation and increased screen time (Acedo, 2013).

 

Other related concerns including potential side lining of teachers and their related skills, online content and instructional design can be boring versus active and interesting lessons, excusing bad pedagogy, internet access issues (e.g. Australia has internet speed and bandwidth issues comparing with less developed nations), assuring online content e.g. videos are watched, online content and instructional design can be very time consuming (November & Mull, 2012).

 

What are the issues for FLIPPED model in adult vocation or higher education teaching and learning?

 

The obvious issue is that when developed for K12 it is based upon pedagogic learning theories for children and youth, supported by teachers with strong background in theory and application of teaching, learning, assessment and technology.  However, this may not translate well to adult education, vocational or higher education requiring skills of applying andragogy i.e. matching adult learning styles with instructors, trainers, teachers or lecturers lacking the same education background.

 

What are the differences between pedagogy and andragogy in teaching and learning?

 

Firstly, what do adults bring to learning and how do they learn optimally as identified by Malcolm Knowles?  Knowles identified six principles including internal motivation and self-direction, life experience and knowledge, goal oriented, relevancy, practical and need for respect.  Contrasted with pedagogy in the following table:

 

Andragogy versus Pedagogy in FLIPPED Model for Higher Education

Andragogy versus Pedagogy for the FLIPPED Model in Higher Education

(Education Technology & Mobile Learning, 2018)

 

Reflection on issues and solutions for FLIPPED Model in Higher Education

 

One has experienced online blinded learning in higher education i.e. online MBA with webinars, CPD (Continuing Professional Development) via e-learning platform and vocational training certificate via distance learning and recorded webinars as ‘add-ons’, not well integrated.

 

Issues encountered included lack of teaching, learning, assessment and technology skills in instructional design, lesson planning, delivery of interesting lessons, developing and testing activity resources, creating opportunities for interactivity, involving all students (not just strong or dominant), using existing or old lecture slides for content, technology breakdowns with no disaster plan, not using or updating discussion forums and relying too much on ‘presenting’ versus teaching.

 

Solutions could include CPD like ‘train the trainer’ or in Australia the TAE40116 Certificate IV Trainer & Assessor, however many are not suitable for adult learners whether young or old.  In more diverse international cohorts where English is not the first language, adapt using the Cambridge CELTA (Certificate to Teach English Language to Adults) framework (applied qualification studied full time intensively four weeks including practice and observations).

 

The latter is especially well designed to include all learning theories including pedagogy and importantly andragogy, for student centred communication interaction.  It is based on the PPP model (Presentation, Practice and Production), when applied well is active, interesting, with clear learning outcomes and multi levelled hidden curriculum, in addition to communication skills, when pitched at advanced or proficiency level students (UCLES, 2018).

 

Nowadays with empowered and fee paying adult learners, top down directed teaching and learning of subject matter may neither be accepted nor acceptable?

 

Reference List

 

Acedo, M. (2013) 10 Pros and Cons of a Flipped Classroom. Available at: https://www.teachthought.com/learning/10-pros-cons-flipped-classroom/  (Accessed on: 27 January 2018).

 

Chen, Y; Wang, Y; Kinshuk & Chen, N. (2014) Is FLIP enough? Or should we use the FLIPPED model instead? Computers & Education. 79 pp. 16-27. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131514001559

 

Education Technology & Mobile Learning (2018) Awesome Chart on “Pedagogy versus Andragogy”.  Available at: https://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/05/awesome-chart-on-pedagogy-vs-andragogy.html (Accessed on: 28 January 2018).

 

Hazlett, C. (2014) Parallel Sessions: MOOC meets Flipped Classroom. Available at: https://blog.edx.org/parallel-sessions-mooc-meets-flipped (Accessed on: 27 January 2018).

 

Mihai, L. (2016) Blended Learning: 8 Flipped Classroom Benefits for Students and Teachers. Available at: https://elearningindustry.com/8-flipped-classroom-benefits-students-teachers (Accessed on: 27 January 2018).

 

November, A. & Mull, B. (2012) Flipped Learning: A Response to Five Common Criticisms. Available at: http://web.uvic.ca/~gtreloar/Articles/Technology/flipped-learning-a-response-to-five-common-criticisms.pdf (Accessed on: 27 January 2018).

 

UCLES (2018) Cambridge English Teaching Framework. Available at: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/teaching-english/cambridge-english-teaching-framework/ (Accessed on: 27 January 2018).

 

Business Simulation Exemplar – Cochlear Hearing Implants

Business Simulation – Competitive Environment

in Taiwan for Cochlear

 

Cochlear can enter this market fully not just on cost leadership and differentiation, but also help shape the industry in a relatively high income nation, already with an existing presence in the region, though minimal in Taiwan.  Following is, according to Porter’s five forces (Porter,1985), an overview of new competition, product substitution, buyer power, supplier power and existing competition aspects of the competitive environment for Cochlear.

 

Of the companies or potential competitors previously mentioned, they all could threaten with high levels of capital access, new product development potential, partnerships or acquisitions and close cultural ties with Taiwan, i.e. both the PRC China and Japanese companies.

On the other hand, Australia and Cochlear do have a profile in the region with quite a good product brand for quality, innovation and relationships with broad stakeholders.  This is complemented further by the Taiwan government having a broad biotechnology policy which could create opportunities for in country presence, research, cooperation or joint ventures (Biotech & Pharmaceutical Industries Program Office, 2016).

 

However, there is direct competition from Chinese private company Nurotron, with the single product the Venus Cochlear Implant System, with R&D in California and manufacturing in China (Nurotron, 2016).  Nurotron recently won one of the largest orders from the Chinese state to provide their budget or lower cost product through a state tender system, in which Cochlear was also competing (Bennett & Giancola, 2015).

 

Cochlear can lead on cost, product differentiation and quality without competition in the short and medium term, via their product suite which includes Cochlear Implants – Nucleus 6 System, Baha Bone Conduction Implant and further suite of Cochlear Acoustic Implants.

 

Due to the uniqueness and differentiation of products, for now, Cochlear has a significant advantage over potential new market entrants and existing providers, if they decided to enter the market, i.e. budget segment in Taiwan, with Cochlear still premium for performance segment.

 

While Nurotron etc. and Cochlear are competitors, including in China, Cochlear has had a near monopoly on high quality bionic hearing products, translating into continued high prices through most global markets. However, e.g. Nurotron is a clear threat for ‘product substitution’ in the budget market growing organically on population demographics of the Chinese mainland, potentially replicable elsewhere through cross subsidisation, partnership or acquisition (Bloomberg, 2013).

 

Cochlear may have to monitor over the short medium term signals from potential new market entrants, competitive products or substitutes and large players with access to capital able to undercut the market if and when they enter.  When the market has signalled a move to more competition and maturity, Cochlear will need to consider options to keep costs down, retain sufficient market share and profitability, with continued innovation e.g. joint ventures with local or other competition on budget products?

 

Ideally Cochlear will compete on differentiation through continued investment in innovation in the short to medium term rather than competing on cost with technically inferior products.

 

What strategies would you recommend?

 

If not competing on price or cost in a new market, but through investment in technical innovation according to the five forces (Porter, 1985), both new competition and potential product substitution needs to be monitored by Cochlear’s marketing with existing limited presence e.g. new entrants, potential innovations and market demand.  Further, as experienced in CompXM simulation environment the following elements of buyer power, supplier power and existing competition, can be leveraged at the expense of an incumbent or new entrant like Cochlear.

 

In short, a large competitor with global presence could potentially enter Taiwan with high performance products, moderate pricing and high customer satisfaction impacting Cochlear’s market share, sales and profitability.  Cochlear also needs to be wary of similar or related threat of product substitution by continuing to invest in innovation, for superior quality products, keeping a ‘step ahead’.

 

Cochlear will need to be aware of issues discussed previously, with focus upon the value chain (IMA Institute of Management Accountants, 1996), and if competition does emerge, value chain may need to be leveraged further to maintain market share and profitability, with focus upon the product life cycle (Klepper, 1996).  This would include marketing division and Cochlear’s networks remaining informed of Taiwan market, including ongoing feedback from direct and indirect customers, especially the need for improvements based upon customer satisfaction and forecasting of demand.

 

This also leads onto leveraging production and finance well where the former needs ongoing investment to increase automation and possibly increased plant capacity to lower costs, in a potentially more competitive price environment.  If this is to be achieved sales and profitability need to be maintained; in future outsourcing, joint ventures or purchases could be considered to ameliorate any long term rise in costs that may impact profitability.

 

There may need to be assumptions made e.g. move towards a mature and stable market with competition in future, medium or long term, however ageing population and longevity could maintain growth (Biotech & Pharmaceutical Industries Program Office, 2016).  Assuming innovation continues, financial focus will become more important, especially keeping costs within bounds that allow profitability and continuing to attract investment.  Cochlear may have to consider contingencies or alternatives if e.g. new competition enters, maturing market with slower growth and downward price pressure, may require production alternatives whether elsewhere or contracting out.

 

Summary of Strengths and Weaknesses

 

Cochlear’s strengths are high innovation, strong health medical research with global links, unique products, very good product differentiation, trusted brand, regional and global footprint, with limited presence in Taiwan.  Further importance is human capital, expert personnel with strong ethnic connection to proposed new market, experience of new market entry and higher education or research links.

 

However, regarding potential weaknesses, there is little previous direct experience of Taiwan, risk of focusing upon costs versus investing in innovation to maintain share price, securing and maintaining intellectual property rights, high expectations after much global and regional success; not forgetting the impact of silo mentality on divisions, plus potential cross cultural issues amongst personnel.  The latter aspect is important, whether R&D, marketing, production, finance or management with predominantly ‘Anglo-Celtic or ‘white Australian’ whilst divisions would no doubt include Australians of Chinese heritage from old Cantonese, through Singaporean, Malaysian and PRC China, plus Taiwanese.

 

Competitive Strategy through Porter’s Five Forces

 

For now, and in the short term, Cochlear can develop competitive strategy (Porter, 1985) based upon differentiation through a suite of innovative products being updated or introduced, and presently produced in both Australia and Sweden.  While Cochlear has a dominant global market share, high direct and indirect customer awareness with growth and innovative products, premium pricing should be possible in Taiwan as a middle income nation (Biotech & Pharmaceutical Industries Program Office, 2016).

 

Due to proximity of Taiwan and nature of the products, production and shipping costs may not be a very significant issue (with high automation levels), but this will probably change in future as Taiwan and other markets mature with more competition thus potentially slower growth (possibly offset by ageing population).  Australia, as happens now, would be the obvious choice for maintaining R&D and production base being same region, time zone, short air freight times and very strong human relationships whether social, research or business.  Further, if needed, Sweden can be a backup for supply, or leveraging contract manufacturing and health medical research expertise in Asia for outsourcing e.g. Singapore, Malaysia or Taiwan itself via subsidiaries or research institutes.

 

Market research and ongoing market intelligence will be essential for signals and information about actual and potential competitors or new entrants, while organic use of existing relationships and systems should allow monitoring of the situation, both quantitative and qualitative market research.  The importance of good forecasting cannot be ignored as any mismatch between actual and forecast demand can lead to either missed market opportunities or increased costs, especially if forced to outsource.  Conversely excess inventory should be avoided, although excess could be potentially transferred to other regions.  Cochlear’s existing limited presence in Taiwan bionic hearing devices could be leveraged to support ongoing market research and intelligence for expansion.

 

If and when new competition does emerge a risk would be product substitution, especially in budget sector where lower cost competitors could leverage their advantage, e.g. PRC China, on state tenders and contracts.  This may require more focus upon continuing innovation for premium priced niche products in tandem with cost cutting on budget, or co-operation with potential partners on budget production, whether joint venture or licensing.

 

With any new competition which generally has a global presence too allowing cross-subsidisation, there may be indirect pressure through buyers having other choices, both budget and performance, with potentially lower prices impacting profitability.  Again Cochlear may need to consider other options whether partnerships, licensing or other production options, to lower costs thus addressing both buyer and other supplier power.

 

Supplier power of both competitors and Cochlear can be minimised for the former and utilised by the latter.  Simple fact is that Cochlear is continually investing in R&D, innovation and new product releases with high awareness, commensurate reputation for quality, proximity to Taiwan and perception of Australia as a benign or friendly trading partner versus potential competitors or existing competition elsewhere from larger sometimes dominant nations i.e. PRC China, USA and Japan.

 

Focus upon the Value Chain

 

The important value chain process includes R&D, marketing, production and finance (IMA, 1996), along with elements of the product life cycle.  Again, these include earlier ease of entry, product choices and product development which then becomes slower with maturity, fewer product or competitor exits, less innovation and more focus upon production costs and retaining market share (Klepper, 1996).

 

R&D requires retention of strong links and investment into related research: in-house, education institutions and research centres, both Australia and target market(s), continually.  Again, this must include maintenance and leveraging of existing and new human capital through social, research and business links between Australia, Taiwan and region especially via Taiwan’s biotechnology strategy for R&D and investment (Biotech & Pharmaceutical Industries Program Office, 2016).

 

Marketing focus should be upon matching customer, intermediary and supplier needs, retail, corporate and state, complemented by dynamic, valid and reliable market research with more accurate forecasting. A significant element of marketing between Australia and the region, including Taiwan, are the perceptions of Australia e.g. innovation, quality, trust, proximity, awareness and ‘big face’ i.e. increased value of premium international products versus budget.  Again, Cochlear can use its very limited but existing client presence in Taiwan to ensure valid and reliable market research, especially qualitative for market intelligence.

 

Production needs higher automation required to keep costs down, avoidance of excess inventory, focus upon actual vs potential demand for better forecasting, adaptability and flexibility.  Presently Australian based production, due to products being highly sophisticated digital electronics, is done on campus at Macquarie University Sydney, accessing R&D, expertise and highly skilled operators.  If there are production issues based upon capacity and cost, other Asian subsidiaries could assist with outsourcing via science or research hubs such as Singapore, and Taiwan itself (Ibid.).

 

Finance strategy would be maintenance of a strong balance sheet helped by global market share and income, ensure financial KPIs are at optimal level and do not decline.  Cochlear has a proven reputation amongst international investment analysts for good management, strategy, increasing sales, profits, share price and dividend growth; with investment in R&D and innovation.  Investment and financing issues for local biotechnology companies has been highlighted in Taiwan which may create a niche for the likes of Cochlear to enter.  While looking to the future capacity and costs, more use could be made of production near or around existing Asian subsidiaries to take advantage of future regional growth, and Africa.

 

If Cochlear can focus on new market opportunities via these aforementioned strategies and with an added emphasis upon human capital, Taiwan can be both a new and significant long term market for bionic hearing implants.

Conclusion

 

The CAPSIM Global DNA and Comp-XM business simulations are practical virtual tools for development of inter-dependent company personnel in R&D, marketing, production and finance divisions; in addition to application of scenario planning, strategy and KPI feedback for main regional competitive markets.

 

In the first simulation Chester in Global DNA was a global niche differentiator for performance products in home market the Americas, in addition to Europe and Asia Pacific; resulting in a leading market position yet without dominating markets.  The simulation allowed focus upon KPIs including profitability, ability to raise capital, asset utilisation, forecasting, inventory management, customer satisfaction and competition; highlighting the inter-play between these and other variables.

 

Meanwhile the Comp-XM lower growth environment via Andrew’s was similar with two main products Able for budget and Acre for performance with strategy of lowering costs, higher automation, future organic growth, customer satisfaction and increased value.

 

Both simulations required focus upon customer satisfaction or buying criteria including price, age, ideal position and service life, with at least two products to cover both budget and performance; in addition to incremental changes or updates.  Comp-XM emphasised the need for cost control e.g. increased investment in automation, and addressing customer satisfaction through continued investment in R&D and product updates.

 

The Comp-XM market environment suggested need for higher specifications for both budget and performance, without increasing prices significantly, and in some cases decreasing prices to maintain or defend market share.  This was confirmed by unexpected events due to competition either entering and dominating market by lower prices, and conversely superior performance or technical specifications.  Final results were mixed due to the latter events, particularly sub-optimal finances, inaccurate forecasting of demand and meeting increased demands of customer satisfaction.

 

For Cochlear the simulations highlighted need for real world competitive strategy through understanding markets and competition to create profitability.  Importantly meeting or exceeding customer satisfaction requirements is essential through focusing upon and leveraging all divisions in the value chain.  The stress should be upon the product lifecycle exemplified by continued investment in R&D and innovation to keep abreast or ahead of the competition, without needing to even dominate the market to be profitable.

 

Cochlear can enter or expand significantly the Taiwanese market successfully by strategy addressing all the key elements of perpetual R&D along with marketing and market research, with commensurate adaptability in production, have sound finances to both control costs and attract further investment.  Like simulations are an opportunity to have divisional personnel experiment together on strategy and other divisions, it also suggests the need to have human resource strategies attracting personnel competent in key skills sets, both technical and soft.

 

  References & Bibliography

 

Advameg, Inc. (2016) Cochlear Ltd. – Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Cochlear Ltd. Available from: http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/history2/29/Cochlear-Ltd.html (Accessed 27/7/16).

Anderson, P. & Lawton, L. Business Simulations and Cognitive Learning: Developments, Desires, and Future Directions, Simulation & Gaming. Sage Journals. 2009 USA.

 

Austrade, (2016) Industries – Export Markets – Taiwan – Market Profile. Available at: http://www.austrade.gov.au/Australian/Export/Export-markets/Countries/Taiwan/Market-profile (Accessed 7/9/16).

 

Bennett & Giancola (2015) Nurotron Biotechnology Wins Tender.  Available at: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/11/prweb13104465.htm (Accessed 28/7/16).

 

Bingham, R. & Drew, S. (1999) Key Work Skills, Aldershot/England: Gower.

 

Biotech & Pharmaceutical Industries Program Office (2016) Taiwan’s Biotech Industry Overview. Available at:  http://www.bdi.ie/presentations/taiwan_workshop/taiwan_research_groups_day_1/Prof_Chei_Hsiang_-_Taiwans_Biotech_Industry_Overview.pdf (Accessed 7/9/16).

 

Bloomberg, (2013) Nurotron Annual Report. Available from: http://www.nurotron.com/sites/default/files/2013.3.31%20Bloomberg%20-%20Nurotron%20Report.pdf (Accessed 27/05/2016).

 

Comp-XM (2016) The Globe Report, Chicago, IL: Capsim Management Simulations.

 

Cochlear (2015) Cochlear Annual Report 2015 – Hearing Performance. Sydney: Cochlear.  Available from: http://www.cochlear.com/wps/wcm/connect/2a3956c0-f09d-4ce7-a8c9-8b0ddccf1999/en_corporate_annualreport2015_financial_1.54mb.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CONVERT_TO=url&CACHEID=2a3956c0-f09d-4ce7-a8c9-8b0ddccf1999 (Accessed: 27/05/2016).

 

Economist Intelligence Unit (2016) Taiwan Healthcare.  Available at: http://country.eiu.com/Industry.aspx?Country=Taiwan&topic=Industry&subtopic=Healthcare (Accessed 7/9/16).

 

Global DNA (2016) The Globe Report, Chicago, IL: Capsim Management Simulations.

 

Gosenpud, J.; Miessing, P. & Milton, C. (1984) A Research Study on Strategic Decisions in a Business Simulation.  Developments in Business Simulation & Experiential Learning, Volume 11, 1984

 

Institute of Management Accountants IMA (1996) Value Chain Analysis for Assessing Competitive Advantage. Statements on Management Accounting. Practice of Management Accounting. Montvale N.J.: Institute of Management Accountants.

 

Investopedia (2016) Porter’s 5 Forces. Available at: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/porter.asp (Accessed: 01/06/2016).

 

Keys, B. (1977) Review of Learning Research in Business Gaming. Computer Simulation and Learning Theory, Volume 3, 1977.

 

Klepper, S (1996) Entry, Exit, Growth, and Innovation over the Product Life Cycle. The American Economic Review. Vol. 86, No. 3 (Jun., 1996), pp. 562-583.

 

Malik, S. & Howard, B (1996) How Do We Know Where We Are Going If We Don’t Know Where We Have Been: A Review in Business Simulation Research. Developments in Business Simulation & Experiential Exercises, Volume 23, 1996

 

Porter, M. (1985) Competitive Advantage – Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance. New York: The Free Press.

 

Porter, M. (2000) How competitive forces shape strategy. Harvard Business Review. March-April 1979 pages 137-145

 

Shellman, S. & Turan, K. Do Simulations Enhance Student Learning? An Empirical Evaluation of an IR Simulation, Thematic Issue: Simulations in Political Science, Published online: 24 Feb 2007, pages 19-32 Journal of Political Science Education, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2006

 

 


 

 

Strategic Management – Porter’s Five Forces – Business Simulation Literature

Business Simulation – Strategic Management

Literature Review

 

Introduction

 

Business simulations have become an important tool for students of business and related studies to apply theory to practice, as a learning or experiential tool (Anderson & Lawton, 2009); also useful for mapping out strategies under different scenarios for real world by corporates.

 

A business simulation also allows students or participants to apply or refine various hard and soft skills including finance, management, marketing, operations etc.  for the former; communication, research, analysis, team work, planning, strategy, report writing and more for the latter (Bingham and Drew, 1999).  Further, team work or group dynamics in simulations can be analysed regarding impact upon any simulation, learning, and also actual business or real world (Malik & Howard, 1996). Learning can be enhanced by the use of business simulations along with conventional forms of education exemplified by reflection, case studies and discussion (Keys, 1977).

 

In other related study areas or fields, i.e. international relations and political science, student evaluation feedback seems to confirm that simulations help in understanding and applying abstract theories and concepts (Shellman & Turan, 2006).

 

Studies of business simulations have emphasised the identification and importance of success factors, planning and stable strategy, as part of the decision-making strategy along with team cohesion (Gosenpud et al., 1984).

 

Accordingly, business simulations such as Global DNA and CompXM have many applications in business from training and development, through market planning, strategy and analysis.

 

Theoretical Frameworks

 

There were issues faced by Andrews in CompXM when dealing with competition.  This included more competitive pricing, better specifications or lower operating costs, new or updated products, customer satisfaction and what appeared to be a drift back from performance to budget.

 

Competition is the main factor in business, in other words, success or failure.  Competitive strategy revolves round long term profitability and what determines it, and how to be competitive in any specific industry. The latter is most important as a company can at least shape a competitive strategy, however shaping an industry is generally not possible.

Competitive strategy can be through two main aspects, cost leadership and differentiation.  These five competitive forces include new competition, product substitution, buyer power, supplier power and existing competition (Porter, 1985).  Based on this a corporate strategist or investor must work out their place in the market via strategy, for example, what are our strengths and weaknesses, what may create best income or which should be observed as opportunities or threats (Porter, 2000)?

 

Competitive advantage requires any company to meet or exceed customer expectations via the value chain to assess what perceived value is for customers.   The value chain is dominated by internal processes that lead to a product or service outcome e.g. R&D, marketing, production and finance (IMA Institute of Management Accountants, 1996).

 

Of direct importance is the product lifecycle, especially within innovative industries, exemplified by low barriers to entry, high product differentiation, high innovation while the market can move rapidly.  With maturity, even with further industry growth, fewer new entrants versus exiting, fewer producers, less innovation, less diversity, with more focus upon production processes and market shares stabilise (Klepper, 1996).

 

Reference List:

 

Advameg, Inc. (2016) Cochlear Ltd. – Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Cochlear Ltd. Available from: http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/history2/29/Cochlear-Ltd.html (Accessed 27/7/16).

Anderson, P. & Lawton, L. Business Simulations and Cognitive Learning: Developments, Desires, and Future Directions, Simulation & Gaming. Sage Journals. 2009 USA.

 

Austrade, (2016) Industries – Export Markets – Taiwan – Market Profile. Available at: http://www.austrade.gov.au/Australian/Export/Export-markets/Countries/Taiwan/Market-profile (Accessed 7/9/16).

 

Bennett & Giancola (2015) Nurotron Biotechnology Wins Tender.  Available at: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/11/prweb13104465.htm (Accessed 28/7/16).

 

Bingham, R. & Drew, S. (1999) Key Work Skills, Aldershot/England: Gower.

 

Biotech & Pharmaceutical Industries Program Office (2016) Taiwan’s Biotech Industry Overview. Available at:  http://www.bdi.ie/presentations/taiwan_workshop/taiwan_research_groups_day_1/Prof_Chei_Hsiang_-_Taiwans_Biotech_Industry_Overview.pdf (Accessed 7/9/16).

 

Bloomberg, (2013) Nurotron Annual Report. Available from: http://www.nurotron.com/sites/default/files/2013.3.31%20Bloomberg%20-%20Nurotron%20Report.pdf (Accessed 27/05/2016).

 

Comp-XM (2016) The Globe Report, Chicago, IL: Capsim Management Simulations.

 

Cochlear (2015) Cochlear Annual Report 2015 – Hearing Performance. Sydney: Cochlear.  Available from: http://www.cochlear.com/wps/wcm/connect/2a3956c0-f09d-4ce7-a8c9-8b0ddccf1999/en_corporate_annualreport2015_financial_1.54mb.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CONVERT_TO=url&CACHEID=2a3956c0-f09d-4ce7-a8c9-8b0ddccf1999 (Accessed: 27/05/2016).

 

Economist Intelligence Unit (2016) Taiwan Healthcare.  Available at: http://country.eiu.com/Industry.aspx?Country=Taiwan&topic=Industry&subtopic=Healthcare (Accessed 7/9/16).

 

Global DNA (2016) The Globe Report, Chicago, IL: Capsim Management Simulations.

 

Gosenpud, J.; Miessing, P. & Milton, C. (1984) A Research Study on Strategic Decisions in a Business Simulation.  Developments in Business Simulation & Experiential Learning, Volume 11, 1984.

 

Institute of Management Accountants IMA (1996) Value Chain Analysis for Assessing Competitive Advantage. Statements on Management Accounting. Practice of Management Accounting. Montvale N.J.: Institute of Management Accountants.

 

Investopedia (2016) Porter’s 5 Forces. Available at: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/porter.asp (Accessed: 01/06/2016).

 

Keys, B. (1977) Review of Learning Research in Business Gaming. Computer Simulation and Learning Theory, Volume 3, 1977.

 

Klepper, S (1996) Entry, Exit, Growth, and Innovation over the Product Life Cycle. The American Economic Review. Vol. 86, No. 3 (Jun., 1996), pp. 562-583.

 

Malik, S. & Howard, B (1996) How Do We Know Where We Are Going If We Don’t Know Where We Have Been: A Review in Business Simulation Research. Developments in Business Simulation & Experiential Exercises, Volume 23, 1996.

 

Porter, M. (1985) Competitive Advantage – Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance. New York: The Free Press.

 

Porter, M. (2000) How competitive forces shape strategy. Harvard Business Review. March-April 1979 pages 137-145.

 

Shellman, S. & Turan, K. Do Simulations Enhance Student Learning? An Empirical Evaluation of an IR Simulation, Thematic Issue: Simulations in Political Science, Published online: 24 Feb 2007, pages 19-32 Journal of Political Science Education, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2006.