IMT CENTRE FOR DISTANCE LEARNING
Distance Learning Programme
MARKETING OF SERVICE INDUSTRY
a. Write answers in your own words as far as possible and refrain from copying from the text books/handouts.
b. Write on one side of the paper.
c. Answers of Assignments I, and II (Short Answers/Objective Types) and III (Case Study) must be sent together.
d. Mail the answer sheet along with the copy of the assignment for evaluation and return.
FIRST SET OF ASSIGNMENTS (Subjective) Assignment-I = 10 Marks
1. ‘All principles of marketing apply to services.’ Discuss.
2. ‘The nature of services makes its marketing inseparable from its operations.’ Explain this statement with three
3. Explain the bases of classification of services.
4. The services marketing mix comprises of 7Ps - three more than the traditional 4Ps of marketing. What are these
three Ps? Explain each one of them.
5. What do you understand by service encounter?
6. Discuss the differences in the buying behaviour of individuals and organizations.
7. What are the principal elements at the secondary level of service? Discuss any 3 of them in detail.
8. Discuss the various stages in the process of developing a new product.
9. Briefly discuss the build objective as a marketing strategy. Is it more effective than the hold objective strategy?
Give reasons for your answer.
10. What are the important factors in the management of the service delivery process? Discuss any three factors in
11. Explain the demand situations propounded by Votter.
12. What do you understand by service capacity? How would you manage this aspect of services marketing?
13. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the cost-plus pricing method.
14. ‘An effective pricing strategy must identify the role of price as the service goes through different stages in its life
….’ Explain with relevant examples.
15. Who is the target of the communication process?
16. How would you plan a sales promotion scheme?
17. In what ways can advertising contribute to the marketing of services?
18. What is servicescape? Explain why, in certain service businesses, the physical environment is a major influence
on customer behaviour.
19. How is HRM linked to marketing, and how does it impact on business in the service industry?
20. How will you define service quality? What do you understand by ‘technical quality’ and ‘functional quality’?
SECOND SET OF ASSIGNMENTS Short Answer Type Questions = 5 Marks
1. What are the features of a service offer?
2. Briefly discuss the intangibility aspect of a service offer.
3. ‘Service quality is inseparable from the quality of service providers.’ Do you agree with this statement? Why?
4. List the 7Ps of the services marketing mix.
5. How important is role playing in the service encounter?
6. Who is a gatekeeper? What are the different forms it can take?
7. What are the three elements that comprise a service concept?
8. How do customers perceive and assess a service offer? Discuss.
9. Who are intermediaries? Explain the 'push and pull' relationship with intermediaries.
10. How is the physical distribution of services managed?
11. What are the factors that affect pricing decisions?
12. How is competitor-based pricing done? Explain.
13. Briefly discuss the following aspects of tactical pricing:
(a) in providing short-term competitive advantage
(b) for motivating distributors
14. How can a brand be positioned? Explain.
15. What are the considerations that need to be carefully thought out when opting for celebrity endorsements?
16. Discuss the role of training and development and career development in employee management.
17. What are the strategies an organization can employ to encourage the participation of employees?
18. What is SERVQUAL? How does it work to help businesses understand the expectations and perceptions of their
19. What is a quality circle? How can a QC be successful in its functioning?
20. Why is emotional engagement with the customer of critical importance in the service industry? Explain.
THIRD SET OF ASSIGNMENTS Case Studies = 5 Marks
Strategies to Increase the Retailer’s Satisfaction
IDEA MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED
Under the guidance of
Shri Rizwan Haider Dr. Vimi Jham
Assistant General Manager (Prepaid) Professor of Marketing
Idea Mobile Communications Limited IMT, Ghaziabad
In the last few years, we have seen that there has been a boom in the Telecom sector and a mobile phone revolution in
India. Mobiles today have become more of a necessity. Mobile phones today are the talk of the town and almost
everyone possesses a cellular phone these days.
There are several mobile phone companies in the country. Idea Mobile Communications Limited is one of them which
is doing very well and growing at a fast pace. Airtel is another organization which is also doing very well. Although a
relatively new entrant, Hutch is growing very well. Reliance with its Wireless in Local Loop (WLL) technology is
concentrating on getting maximum coverage. BSNL is the only cellular service which is a public undertaking and is
doing well in this sector. Last but not the least, ,Tata Telecom is also trying to pull in the market share and is about to
launch its Fixed Wireless Phone (FWP) technology.
Retailers are the most important people from the company’s point of view as they are the only ones who directly interact
with the customers and sell the company’s product. It is very important for the company to make sure that the retailer
is well informed and is well equipped to influence the customers and also increase sales. Retailers will prove profitable
for the company if the company keeps them happy. The ball is always in their court.
Idea may be at number two or three position in Delhi and other places, but in western Uttar Pradesh, it is no doubt at
number position one and has the maximum coverage. Idea has different prepaid cards and plans to influence the
customers and allow them to buy according to their needs. The Idea schemes provided through the retailers are good
and the visibility is also good.
Through this project, one can get an idea of :
1. Existing market share
2. Retailer’s satisfaction with regard to schemes
3. Visibility and knowledge
4. Idea’s weak areas
Idea Mobile Communications Limited is one of the leading mobile service companies in India. It provides both prepaid
and postpaid services to more than five million people across the country. It is a very big company in terms of capital,
technology and reputation. The business partners of Idea are Tata, Birla and STD (a Singapore Company). It covers
more than nine states in India and is also the market leader in most of them. It provides valuable services to its
customers and also lots of additional facilities like Dialer Tones, Jokes, News and various other games or competitions
in which the subscribers can win lots of prizes every day.
Idea is one of the companies providing the best schemes to prepaid and postpaid users and also maximum talk time at
low rates. Idea is the market leader in UP (west) and Uttaranchal, providing maximum coverage in these regions. The
Regional Office in Meerut is also their District Office. There are several other District Offices in other cities like
Dehradun, Aligarh, Moradabad, Agra and so on.
Idea has many prepaid schemes in the market to suit the needs of the customers. One is the Easy Card which is the
most popular and has the maximum sale. Then comes the I Card which has various facilities or factors to attract the
customers. The Conv. Card is another famous card of Idea.
Idea also provides different talk plans in the prepaid scheme such as Talk India Idea, Life Time Idea, Eco Talk and latest
Bolo India Idea.
There are various Recharge or Flexi Recharge Cards which range from Rs 55 to Rs 10,000, providing maximum
comfort, convenience and affordability to the customers.
Idea is providing one of the best schemes to retailers who are happy with their claim processing. Their visibility is setting
a benchmark for the company as it proves its large coverage in the entire zone. Idea has big hoardings and posters all
over its areas of operation and now it has also started covering the roundabouts so that more and people come to know
about its presence. Their distribution and the customer service are making their customers happy by providing them the
best possible mobile service. The facilities provided to retailers are impressive as it shows the care the company has for
The sale of its prepaid cards and recharge vouchers is increasing day by day and has not only met the targets but has
also made millions of customers all around the country. Idea is one company which is providing maximum talk time at
the lowest possible rates. The company is a leading brand name now and customers are attracted by its reputation. The
company is sure to do really well in the coming years by not only covering almost the entire country but also becoming
the number one company in theTelecom sector.
The topic for the project was ‘Strategies to Increase the Retailers’ Satisfaction’. The project head was Mr. Rizwan
Haider who guided the project through its entire tenure of two months. The different prepaid cards and plans of the
company were studied. The Meerut market was then studied by the student along with Idea’s Territory In-Charge. This
exercise gave him a proper idea of the markets. he also assisted the Territory In-charge in his back-office work.
A questionnaire was prepared and approved by the Project Guide, after which he assigned different areas where the
student had to go interact with the retailers and get them to fill in the questionnaire, find out the weaknesses or drawbacks
and then do an analysis.
The areas covered were -
MEERUT District Office:
Meerut - 200 retailers
Hapur - 100 retailers
Sardhana - 14 retailers
Pilkhuwa - 15 retailers
Modinagar - 30 retailers
Mavana - 21 retailers
Baghpat - 30 retailers
Baraut - 16 retailers
ALIGARH District Office:
Aligarh - 90 retailers
Khurja - 18 retailers
Bulandshahar - 50 retailers
Thus, the number of retailers covered in these areas was more than 600.
The retailers’ questionnaire was based on various parameters.
1. Retailer’s Knowledge: There are various prepaid cards and prepaid plans of Idea which were discussed along
with the different prepaid cards of Airtel, Hutch, BSNL, Reliance and Tata. This was to check whether the
retailers had knowledge of all prepaid cards along with their MRP, talk time, validity and tariff.
2. Retailer’s Sale: This was to know the retailer’s sale and the stock he had in hand. In this, the retailer had to
disclose his stock-in-hand of all the companies’ prepaid cards and recharge vouchers. He could give a monthly
or a weekly average;.a small number of retailers refused to disclose their sales or stocks.
3. Retailer’s Satisfaction with the Distributor: In this part, the retailer had to tell about his level of satisfaction
with the distributors, the beat boys and the information provided to them by the beat boys. The question was
divided into three parts. The first dealt with the beat boys’ services. The second dealt with the education provided
to the retailers by the beat boys about prepaid cards and plans. The third was regarding the distributor’s services.
This was a question in which the retailer had to rate the services on a scale of 1 to 5 ( where 1 = very good,
2 = good, 3 = average, 4 = bad, 5 = very bad).
4. Retailer’s Satisfaction from the Company: In this part, the retailer had to rate the level of customers’ satisfaction
with respect to connectivity to the call centre, the network and the resolution of issues at the call centre. The
rating scale was the same as in the previous case. The next part was to ask the retailer to rate the company—
his opinion as to the best or worst service with regard to providing maximum talk time at minimum rates. After
that was the company’s schemes to its retailers. They had to rate the company, providing them the best schemes
and the time taken to receive the claims.
5. Visibility at Retailer’s Outlet: This section dealt with visibility at the retail outlets. This was divided into three
parts— glow signs, materials and display. The student was required to watch retail outlets and check whether
there was proper display or visibility of materials for the customers at the point of purchase. The rating scale was
good, average or bad.
6. Facility at Retail Outlets: This portion dealt with the facilities provided to the retailers by the company, such as
retailer card, low tariff or any other facility. The rating scale here too was good, average or bad.
1. What factors helped make Idea the market leader in mobile telephony in Western UP?
2. Why were the retailer happy with Idea?
3. How were Idea’s prepaid scheme helpful in increasing its customer base?
Analysis of the Competitive Landscape of the
Market Research & Analytics Industry
‘Absolutdata Research And Analytics’
Under the guidance of
Dr. Manica Aggarwal Prof. Reema Khurana Mr. Dipankar Bose
Manager, Analytics Information Technology Manager, Marketing
Absolutdata Research & Analytics IMT, Ghaziabad Absolutdata Research & Analytics
What is Outsourcing?
A firm does not carry out all the activities it needs to produce the goods and services. It procures goods and services
from its supply chain. With the increase in complexities in business activities, firms are always in a dilemma as to what
to make and what to buy. In simpler terms, what the firm does not make in-house, is outsourced.
As a concept, outsourcing has been around since time immemorial. Division of labour, which entails delegating
responsibilities to people who are specialists, can be seen as a very primitive form of outsourcing. However, outsourcing
the way we understand it today started around two decades back but was not popular due to a lot of external and
internal reasons. These reasons include closed economies, internal resistance to the idea and the apprehension that the
vendor might not be able to meet the set expectations.
Then, in the 1990s came a radical shift in this thought process when an increasing number of firms started to outsource
a major chunk of their activities to low-cost destinations, mostly in other countries (offshoring), the industry began to see
outsourcing as a business strategy that could bring tremendous gains to organizations that have been able to streamline
the process over years of experience.
Why do companies outsource?
The rationale for outsourcing has been extensively debated both in the practitioner and the academic arenas. Broadly,
these can be put into two categories - the Value Rationale and the Cost Rationale. The Value Rationale says that a
firm creates value for itself on the basis of its inimitable resources, skills and core competencies, and therefore non-
value creating activities are suitable candidates for outsourcing. On the other hand, the Cost Rationale is primarily based
on transaction cost economics. The broad view here is that if the cost of buying is lower than the cost of producing the
goods and services in-house, the firm opts to outsource.
Apart from these broad rationales, a firm normally outsources when it sees one or more of the following benefits.
• Avoiding capital expenditure
• Improving efficiency
• Offloading non-core functions
• Getting access to specialized skills
• Saving on manpower and training costs
• Reducing operating costs
• Improving speed and service
• Spreading risks
• Being reliable and innovative
• Providing value-added services
• Increasing customer satisfaction
Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO)
Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) implies outsourcing of knowledge-intensive business processes that require
specialized domain expertise. Unlike Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), which follows pre-defined and structured
processes that can be performed by virtually anybody, these processes demand advanced analytical and specialized
skills of knowledgeable workers who have specific domain proficiency. Therefore, outsourcing of knowledge processes
faces more challenges than BPO. The maturity and evolution of the BPO industry and the success of offshoring as a
delivery model has encouraged the largest organizations in the world to outsource their key domain-based processes to
low-cost destinations like India.
Comparing it further with the BPO, it can be argued that in KPO you just move up the value chain of outsourcing. In
BPO, there is a pre-defined way of solving a problem. A typical agent works like a programmed machine knowing just
what to say or do in a given situation. While BPO would normally include jobs like voice and e-mail support, transaction
processing, selling insurance policies, opening bank accounts, technical support, etc., a KPO, in contrast, would involve
high-end processes like valuation research, investment research, data analysis, patent filing, legal and insurance claims
handling, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology R&D, chip design and embedded systems, etc. The biggest difference
being that in a KPO one would need a high utilization of one’s innovation and skill set, and hence, educational specialization
on the job. As Pavan Bagai, VP, EXL Services puts it: ‘Imagine unsorted data going through a black box and coming out
as useful information. In KPOs, the black box is your mind. There is no pre-defined process to reach a conclusion.’
KPO on the Outsourcing Value Chain
(Source: Deloitte) Today, the global business is more competitive than ever before. The customer has become more
demanding in terms of quality and variety. All this has put pressure on the companies to reduce the cycle time of
introducing new goods and services. Therefore, firms are now looking at outsourcing not only as a cost-cutting tool but
as a business model that adds strategic value to their products. This is where KPO comes into picture because the
processes in KPO are not commoditized, fixed price solutions (as in BPO) but are more customized and value-driven.
Hitherto, KPO has been discussed by comparing it with an existing benchmark, i.e., BPO. But there is another school
of thought which argues that KPO is not a mere extension of BPO. Its philosophy, objective and service delivery
mechanism is significantly different from that of a BPO, and hence the two cannot be compared. The core essence of
KPO is not about delegating or sending away processes in order to focus on core competencies, rather, it is to include
into a global delivery team, the required skills that support and guide strategies for an organization’s core processes.
Therefore, where BPO seeks to exclude processes (send them away), KPO seeks to include talent. This inclusive
philosophy of KPO is driven by the global availability of skills and the simultaneous diffusion and aggregation of knowledge
across multiple geographies. Cost reduction is an additional benefit that organizations happen to derive from including
talented people from lower cost geographies. Access to domain knowledge is undoubtedly the key driver for KPO.
This said, the next question that emerges is - ‘What is a knowledge process’? The same question can be rephrased to
‘What is knowledge’ or rather, ‘What qualifies as knowledge’? To answer this question, one must first understand that
KPO as an industry is in the nascent stage. With the passage of time, companies are discovering new ways of leveraging
IT and networking to new innovations in knowledge processing and its offshoring. Therefore, the KPO industry will not
have a definite shape as the BPO industry.
The Research Design
• The general methodology adopted for the study was to conduct a secondary web-based research followed by
primary research on employees of major players in the Market Research and Analytics industry. Therefore, at
first, an exhaustive list of key players with their focus areas, service offering, size and revenue was formulated
and then from that list the population (companies we are interested in) was defined.
• Population included companies like Evalueserve, Ugam Solutions, WNS, Pipal Research, Marketics, Inductis,
Modelytics, CrossTab, MuSigma, etc.
• The stratified random sampling process was used to choose samples from the above mentioned population so
that the sample collected included representation from all the major companies in the population. The targeted
sample size was fifty. It is quite common for the survey response rates to be around 20 per cent, Therefore,
initially, a sample of 300 was chosen to obtain at least fifty responses.
• The data was collected through a questionnaire. Utmost care was taken to keep the questionnaire relevant and
respondent-friendly. The MS Excel format was used to design the questionnaire. Most of the questions were
kept close-ended and had multiple choices to ensure comparability and to avoid wastage of time in filling the
Since samples included all the major companies in the industry and many of them did not have their presence in
Delhi, a survey was launched online. An overwhelming response rate was received and ninety responses were
collected in a week’s time. Apart from questionnaire survey, people in the industry were interviewed through
teleconferencing and online chat.
• The qualitative and quantitative analysis of the data was done through SPSS and MS Excel software
The findings mentioned in the report were based on the thorough analysis of the survey. The major findings were:
Service provided by various companies
ONLINE DATA MARKET
ADT 1 1 1 1
Cross-Tab 1 1 1 1
Evalueserve 1 1 1 1
FairIsaac 1 1 1
Fractal Analytics 1 I
Inductis 1 1
Marketics 1 1 1
MarketRx 1 1
Musigma 1 1 1
Ugam Solutions 1 1 1
Companies like CrossTab, Evalueserve, Absolutdata Research & Analytics, Musigma and Ugam Solutions, provide
end-to-end service from data collection to consultancy. FairIsaac, Inductis, and Marketics provide market research,
analytics and consultancy services. Other companies like Modelytics and Fractal Analytics focus majorly on the analytics
domain and also provide consultancy services.
1. Branding: The research suggests that though Absolutdata is a pioneer in the field of market research
and analytics and has end-to-end service providing capabilities, it is not known much in the industry. Till now,
the Company has put in very little effort to market itself and to enhance its visibility. The Company has
relied too much on its website and a few articles published in newspapers and magazines for its branding. In
the current scenario, it is imperative for the company to take major steps in this regard. A few of the proposals
(a) Magazines/Newsletters: The Company should come up with its own monthly or bimonthly newsletter
which should be circulated to all its employees and the industry. It should contain articles related to the
industry, preferably written by employees of the company. It should also contain some case studies and
Absolutdata’s approach towards solving it. If the newsletter could also public some small talks had with big
business houses, it would further add value to it.
(b) E-zines : Today, in the Internet world, electronic magazines popularly known as e-zines have proved to be
an efficient and effective alternative of magazines. The link to the e-zines published by the Company could
be provided in the Company website and many other websites related to KPO and the outsourcing industry.
Owing to its reach, it could prove to be a wonderful tool for building the brand, Absolutdata.
(c) Conferences/Seminars: Absolutdata should attend seminars and conferences related to its business domain.
It should also organize and sponsor a few to advertise itself.
(d) Branding among the student community:
(i) Absolutdata should participate and sponsor events in esteemed graduate, engineering, MBA and other
postgraduate institutes in India including IITs, IIMs, D.S.E, etc.
(ii) While recruiting from premier institutes, interviews should be held in the institute itself and not over
telephone. The recruitment activity should not only be looked at as an HR activity but also as a source
of branding and increasing its visibility.
(iii) Absolutdata should organize inter-college paper writing and case study competitions across India.
Brochures of the event should be designed and circulated informing the participants about the theme of
the competition and the prize money. The winners could be awarded in cash or could be given PPI from
Absolutdata. It would definitely increase the visibility of the company as it would find space in the
notice board of the institution and the winning institute would definitely publish it in its website.
2. Internal branding: Employer brand is all about the employment experience factor of the employee and how he
or she perceives that experience. In that sense, linking employees to the brand name and vice versa are extremely
important in today’s world. Successfully transforming employees into ‘brand enthusiasts’ is a complex change
management initiative that requires a step-by-step approach. It should be well understood that it is the employees
who make the brand of the Company. Therefore, it is important that all the employees understand the corporate
brand so that they can deliver on the brand promise in a unified voice, consistently. Only when they connect with
the vision and strategy of the company would they be able to project what the Company represents.
Ways to improve internal branding:
(a) Provide local intranet facility in the office to share information
(b) Increase the satisfaction level of employees:
1. Provide avenues to express concerns like open house
2. The quarterly award process should be made more transparent
3. The names of award winners should be put on the notice board
4. Provide cab facility for the departure of second shift employees and arrival of third shift employees
(c) Enhance the skill sets of employees:
1. Provide oral communication training as employees directly interact with the clients
2. Cross-functional training should be provided so that employees can progress in their careers and can
also be better utilized as per the need
3. Managerial training should be provided to the team leaders
(d) Better utilization of idle time:
1. Provide a reading room
2. Subscribe to more newspapers and business magazines like Business World and Business Today
3. Conduct quiz, article writing and paper writing competitions
4. Participate in corporate quiz contests
3. Career Planning: The study reveals that thirty-five people joined the organization for growth in their career.
Thus, this Company can exploit this opportunity to control attrition and provide a clear accelerated growth path
backed by training and individual achievement. The clear picture depicting the career path in terms of time
(number of years to climb up the ladder) and the future roles and designation should be well communicated to the
4. Mentorship: There should be a formal mentoring programme that assigns senior-level professionals as advisors
to each junior-level employee. The mentor could play the role of an impartial sounding board, advisor, supporter
and an alternate source of information about the firm. The goal for the mentor and mentee should be to form a
close relationship and to discuss issues and concerns that extend beyond Absolutdata, including future academic
and professional goals.
5. Emerge in new sectors/services: Absolutdata is an excellent performer when it comes to the services it
provides in analytics, consultancy, online data collection and market research which is in sync with the services
provided by its competitors. It also excels in the type of software it uses for its data collection which is technologically
new and competent. It is time that this organization, which built a niche for itself in the research domain, now taps
the underlying potential and works upon the services like equity research and intellectual property research. In
analytics, Absolutdata should consider providing more services like financial analytics, risk analytics, etc.
6. Building domain knowledge: Domain knowledge is one of the key drivers of the market research and analytics
industry. The Company should promote activities like paper writing, case study and article writing competitions
among its employees. The best papers and articles should be rewarded and be given space in the Company’s
magazines and newsletters. It would serve the dual purpose of not only helping to build domain knowledge but
also being a source of intellectual material for the promotion of the Company.
1. Analyse the suggested branding exercise to enhance the Company’s visibility. Do you feel the desired results can
be achieved through these means? Suggest improvements.
2. Describe the research design used for this study. Do you feel the methodology was suited to the same?
3. How is KPO different from BPO? Which business model is suitable for Indian conditions & why?
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