Is after life only a prerogative of story tellers in context with humans? Or do the non living objects also fall in the category? Well, the pedagogy of Product Relationship Management is gaining momentum with marketers as they understand that the value of product is not from initial sale but from chain of revenue attached to its constant use and continuing maintenance over a long period of time.
Measuring value chain of a product
The value chain of many products can be measured in years. It means a product could still be generating you service income while in the hands of its second or third owner.
For example: A stapler can live on for years by using pins, so while they sell stapler at a loss they make it up on pins. A car or a jet plane can be generating you service income while in the hands of second or third owners or more.
A new phenomenon that will gain momentum
The extension of products value chain will become a common phenomenon as products will become increasingly upgradeable, with modular add ons and firmware upgrades.
According to Abhay Kumar, WeP Peripherals, “In today’s world, business has become a lot more complex, and so has the marketing involved with it. But it is no longer sufficient to just market your product. It is equally important to keep your existing customers satisfied and connected with you through its usages”.
Recession had marred sales as customer focus shifted to older products thus forcing manufacturers to take renewed interest in older stuff which is now in the hands of second or third owner. Well, it may be difficult to to get details of current owners and their addresses. So, the clever manufacturers are devising their own methods like car manufacturers have been offering free MOT to all those owners who present themselves at the local dealer.
In case of branded jeans like Levis and footwear like Adidas and Nike even, the life can extend from the user to his younger sibling or children etc with upgaradation like new zipper in jeans and soles in shoes.
Harish Bijoor of Harish Bijoor consults Inc asserts, "PRM applies on every product, however, in the early days, starts off with higher end products that are high value and high consumer involvment oriented. The automative category is a clear example of such work".
Abhay thinks it is too early to comment on this at this stage whether PRM will take off as a better option to CRM. He further adds, “We need to wait for development”.
According to Bijoor, "PRM in many ways is an offshoot of CRM. In the beginning, it is Customer Relationship Management. When CRM becomes too mass-oriented, and gets reduced and decimated to an integer-management system, in comes PRM. Product Relationship Management is that much more Product besotted. it focusses on the Prodcut and its ability to deliver and satiate the needs,wants, desires and aspirations of the end-consumer".
CRM has played major role in satisfying this need of market but at a price which they sometime can not chew. In CRM, we make existing customers end up buying more of our product or services.
On the other hand, PRM is emerging as one of substitutes to CRM where Product Manager can plan revenue generation through its consumables as well and price its product accordingly. This could also help Product Manager to make his product more competitive and sustainable. PRM emphasizes on consumer retention and continual satisfaction rather than just the per-case individual transaction.
PRM extensively deals with customer loyalty. By satisfying customers, which is ultimate goal of any Marketer PRM makes customers loyal to buy further products from the company and recommend others to do the same. It is an essential marketing strategy that has to be used in tandem with almost all products and services today for the parent company to remain successful.
How to track the after sales life?
As products become increasingly upgradable with modular add ons and firmware upgrades, this phenomenon is catching up. But it is difficult to know the owner status, whether it is with the first owner or has moved into second or third hands as it is difficult to get the data. Hence, different ways are being worked out at to know the status. Like, Audi has been offering free MOT tests to all owners who present themselves at their local dealer. This way they know where exactly is their product. Other retailers may soon follow suit.
But hey, wait right there! while we are crossing swords over the two, a witty Bijoor is trying to put his best bunny ahead -BRM, which is Brand Relationship Management. He laughs cunningly while propagating that he would wash away others with his favourite bet, BRM that is waiting at the ambush to get a nod of approval from the Mandarins of the trade.