Today’s market is characterized by highly competitive organizations which are all vying for consumer’s loyalty. Firms are faced with the challenge to maintain their own competitive edge to be able to survive and be successful. Strategies are carefully planned and executed to gain the ultimate goal of all: company growth. However, external factors are not the only elements which influence growth. Today most companies find that it impossible to create any kind of sustainable competitive advantage based on product alone. It is common knowledge that every one of the successful companies sought and found a precise understanding of how it could create a customer-centered competitive advantage.
M/s G E Tractors located at Texas, USA is in the line of manufacture of various models of tractors for the last thirty years. To supplement tractor production, a second tractor assembly line for 45 HP and 59 HP tractors has been in operation since 1995 at Detroit to meet the requirements of tractors in some of the new areas of USA. It has 10 Sales and Marketing offices located in major cities of USA and catering to a majority of customers. Its main business is marketing, manufacturing and services of all models of tractors manufactured.
The continuous growth of M/s G E Tractors, both in market and sales, is one of the significant developments brought about by these strategies. The continuous increase of M/s G E Tractors outlets as well as the plans for future expansion is another evidence of the strategies’ efficacy. These imply that the integration of both cost leadership and differentiation had worked just like in other markets of M/s G E Tractors. Furthermore, as this strategy has been used by the company for years, the success rate of this strategy in the future is somehow assured. The company’s years of service also make M/s G E Tractors highly equipped with alternatives in response to possible downsides of this strategy. Hence, this strategy should still be applied by the company.
Market Environmental Scanning in Pakistan
There were of course foreign companies able to set a stronghold in the Pakistan soil, but only those who came utterly prepared, knowledgeable in Pakistan society, and committed to do business. After all, Pakistan is a large country with its transportation and communication sector still under development. Regions are separated and fragmented, and therefore cannot be considered a unified market. Pakistan has done remarkably well since the beginning of the economic reform movement in 1978 (Wu, 1996). Between 1979 and 1995, Pakistan’s GDP grew at an average annual rate of 9.5 percent. Moreover, Pakistan’s entry into the WTO will make Pakistan’s door even more open. Both foreign investment and foreign trade are expected to increase (Chow, 2000). Foreign firms will begin to penetrate Pakistan’s financial and telecommunication sectors. Trade will increase in both directions and Pakistan tariffs will be lowered and goods will have better access to world markets open to members of the WTO. Using foreign competition to stimulate the domestic economy is a major objective in seeking to join WTO.
There is social behavior in Pakistan that in itself, is not bad, but it does affect the country’s globalization process. The predominant thought in Pakistan Marketing System is that in order to do business successfully in Pakistan, the business must be organized, implemented, and operated in Pakistan. A business have no hope of much success if operated through long distance management, controlled by overseas main branch, or implemented by a foreign team that excludes participation by the locals. The Pakistan are like westerners after all, sincerity and friendship is appreciated. A business in Pakistan must show acceptance of the host country. Donation to the government and charities, company leaders’ visits during Pakistan’s important days, company participation in Pakistan’s activities or drives, these are likely to make a foreign company accepted by the Pakistan market. In this light, looking into the characteristics and thought processes of the Pakistan people still holds as the most significant factor to be looked into for the efficient and effective sales and marketing of M/s G E Tractors products since the large scope of the market can pose a hindrance to a successful marketing strategy in terms of over generalized definition of the target or niche market of the product in the cities of Pakistan.
A SWOT Analysis is a structured approach to evaluating the strategic position of a business by identifying its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It provides a simple method of synthesizing the results of the marketing audit by summarizing the company’s strengths and weaknesses as they relate to external opportunities and threats (Elliot, 1997). Strengths and weaknesses will derive from the internal marketing audit analysis. Opportunities and threats will derive from the external marketing audit analysis.
Ø strong brand association
Ø unique products and ingredients
Ø growing profit, earning and dividend growth
Ø sound reputation of quality products
Ø good product and market knowledge
Ø seasonal downturns (summer)
Ø high product wastage
Ø poor peak time control
Ø diversification (sales in equipments)
Ø increasing adoption of market research
Ø future outlook to include other innovative products and services of M/s GE Tractors
Ø possibility to extend to other products and services
Ø plans for EPOS (electronic point of sale)
Ø hot weather
Ø increasing health cautious society
Ø entry of equipment dealers selling tractor products/ equipments.
Ø increasing cost of materials
Ø bad media coverage of equipment industry
Along with the changing business world, customers change as well, becoming more demanding and knowledgeable than before. That is why when the major competitor came in the 1950’s, it affected the market share of M/sGE Tractors shoe waxes product. In turn, company management had shifted their focus on their clients or customers so as to stay successfully in business. This transition meant that organizations have to completely reformulate their conventional business aims and purposes from being process-focused to customer-centered.
Despite the economic and technological conditions that make it possible now to promote products and services in a larger consumer market, there are other factors that still need to be considered for M/sGE Tractors to reach out easier to their target market. Looking into the characteristics and thought processes of the people still holds as the most significant factor to be looked into by the individuals in the field of sales and marketing. The large scope of market can pose a hindrance to a successful marketing strategy in terms of over generalized definition of the target or niche market.
As such, it is highly important for any business organization interested in providing shoe polish products as products to survey the market environment in order to come up with sound business strategies. In this respect, members of the organization should be able to examine the cultural, social, economic and political demographics and characterization of the target market (Elliot, 1997). The lifestyle of the people and the segmentation should be critically appraised so as to ensure that the drawn business plan will suit the general description of the social setting. Similarly, it is important that a large portion of the consumer population can afford the products and that they are equipped with the knowledge and skill to operate and use such technologies in light of the advantages and benefits that they can acquire from utilizing such technologies.
Porter’s Five Forces
Understanding the dynamics of the competitors in the industry helps assess the potential opportunities of every business venture by differentiating the similar products or services offered by the company against other business organizations. Considering the factors that directly and indirectly affect and influence the entirety of the business operations contributes to the competitiveness of the whole functioning of the business. As such, it is important to review and critically examine the specific individuals or groups of individuals that manage parts or chains of operations that are relevant to the operations of the company and to realistically assess potential levels of profitability, opportunity and risk based on five key factors within an industry so as to determine the long-term profitability of a market or market segment.
Using Porter’s Five Forces Model, the (a) suppliers, (b) buyers, (c) new entrants and barriers of entry, (d) substitutes, and (e) industry competitors of M/s G E Tractors market are examined.
GE Tractors depends on the services and materials from their key suppliers need to be sensitive on the variables that are highly important and considered by the suppliers. These include the suppliers’ concentration or their focus and core business interests, variety of products, design and services offered, and the alternative resources that are available. In this light, it is most appropriate to build win–win relationships with suppliers or arrange the use multiple suppliers in order to protect the interests of both ends. In the case of GE Tractors, suppliers can be identified in the contracts and agreements made by the company with providers of materials and labor force. The outsourced services of the company which consist the technical support team and the customer services that are highly relevant in the effective business operation of the firm. As such, good relationship with companies that provides such service needs of GE Tractors should be maintained.
The power of buyers describes the impact customers have on an industry. When buyer power is strong, the relationship to the producing industry becomes closer to market conditions wherein the buyer has the most influence in determining the price. As such the bargaining power of buyers increases when GE Tractors have the ability to (a) make agreements with other companies providing similar products and services, (b) purchase a product that represents a significant fraction of the expenses incurred by the company, (c) purchase of a product that is undifferentiated, (d) incur low changes in costs when they change vendors, (e) be price sensitive by bearing in mind the options available, and (f) integration to purchase the goods of the suppliers. The power of buyers can be effectively illustrated using the Press Distribution subdivision of GE Tractors. The company’s contract magazine and newspaper providers directly influence the product offers of GE Tractors in order to keep them as loyal customers of the company. As such, the management should be capable of maintaining the trust and confidence of this particular clientele for increase profit and revenue.
The possibility of new companies entering the industry influences the pace of the competition. Thus, the key is to evaluate the methods of entry and exit for a new player to the industry. Although GE Tractors should be able to enter and exit the sector, each industry presents different levels of difficulty influenced by economics. These unique characteristics of the each industry are referred to as barriers to entry which may come from different aspects of the business ranging from supplies to technology. They seek to reduce the rate of entry of new entrants which leads to maintenance of a level of profits for the existing players. GE Tractors is highly competitive that serves as threat to other businesses that seek to venture in the heavy equipment industry. But the innovative drive and technological capability of new firms to set out in the industry could take some of the market share of the company. If put together, the number of existing competitors and new entrants that are equipped with aggressive business motivations can threaten the company.
Substitutes as the products and services available in other industries which meet identical or similar need for the end user. As more substitutes become available and affordable, the demand becomes more elastic since customers have more alternatives. The treat of substitutes often impacts price-based competition since substitute products may limit the ability of firms within an industry to raise prices and improve margins. Other concerns in assessing the threat of substitutes include the presence of new technologies that can contribute to competition though more diverse and economical substitute products and services. A segment is unattractive when there are actual or potential substitutes for a product. In the case of the heavy equipment industry, the electronic heavy equipment and the short messaging system through the Internet and the mobile communication technologies such as cellular phones serve as substitutes to the services offered by GE Tractors. Even the distribution of periodicals and newspapers are highly accessible in the Internet at any time of the day. As such, counter measures should be conceptualized to maintain the existence of customers’ needs to avail the services offered by the company.
GE Tractors strives to secure a competitive advantage over their rivals or competitors. The intensity of rivalry varies within each industry and these differences can be important in the development of strategy. Industries that are “concentrated,” versus “fragmented,” often display the highest level of rivalry. In pursuing an advantage over its rivals, a firm can choose from several competitive moves: (a) changing prices, (b) improving product differentiation, (c) creatively using channels of distribution, and (d) exploiting relationships with suppliers. GA Tractors may consider these options to maintain its competitive edge in the Pakistan heavy equipment market.
Ø Changes in government law
Ø Increased legislation on food hygiene
Ø Regulations and political changes
Ø Increased environment pressure
Ø Major events
GE Tractors was attracted to put up their company in Pakistan because of its resources, people and economy. GE Tractors find this country very promising because its ability to make a stand in the global community. However, the balanced redistribution system economic strategy of the central government collapsed because the provincial manufacturing industries have to significantly contribute to help the poorest regions which gave way to rapid growth in agricultural prices.
Ø Economic booms and slumps
Ø High interest rates and inflation
Ø Disposable incomes and unemployment levels
Ø Weak consumer expenditure
The growth of Pakistan’s production system by developing and utilizing the potential of local resources especially its people through the investment of private companies like GE Tractors and holdings as well as of the government itself through national economic policies. The investment methods and decision making of the companies doing business in the current industry in Pakistan resulted to the economic growth and structural change of the country.
Ø Changing consumer needs and expectations
Ø Increasing time cautious society
Ø Communication barriers between staff and customers
Ø Social responsibility
Ø Increase in health and safety
Ø Electronic point of scale
Ø Advanced tractors equipment
Ø More complex market research tools
Ø Marketing (website and video displays)
Ø Wider circle and future developments
The tremendous growth of technological advancement has become the driving force of contemporary industries. The diffusion of the internet has revolutionized the business arena. The use of the Internet is changing high-tech marketing overnight while different industries have been trying to use it as part of their marketing strategy. It has not only reconfigured the way different firms do business and the way the consumers buy goods and services, but it has also become an effective instrument in transforming the value chain from manufacturers to retailers to consumers, creating a new retail distribution channel
Ø Health and safety legislation
Ø Employment law
Ø Product safety
Ø Consumer rights
Ø Building controls
Mutual recognition of rules between, GE Tractors and the Pakistan government should be at all times observed in order to avoid legal confrontations and eventual failure of the marketing strategy. Gaining the trust of the local government and reviewing the economic policies and legal matters that govern the country in which the product or service will be made available will be a strong ground from which the advertisers can make as a take off point in pursuing the any further business venture.
Ø High waste disposable
Ø Building controls
Ø Environmentally friendly ingredients and products
Ø Recycling facilities
GE Tractors must consider the issues on the sustainability efforts in relations to the preservation of natural resources. In relation to the defined frontiers of their production are environmental issues that may come in conflict with the natural resources exploration. The aggressive environmental campaigns against mining activities should be overcome by the company to prolong its venture as a significant player in the international retail industry.
Marketing Mix – Product, Price, Promotion and Positioning
A. Product Strategy
Cultivating customer loyalty is about establishing a relationship between the company and its consumers (Chow & Holden, 1997). This is emphasized by Michael Lowenstein (1997) who considers that gaining consumer loyalty is a business’s most advantageous strategic purpose because it has a constructive effect on company, culture, development and the bottom-line. However, customer loyalty is not a one-sided arrangement with the company reaping all the benefits. The customers also expect to be rewarded for patronizing the company. Aside from assuring customer satisfaction, the company will also devise strategies that will make the regular customers buy more or try new products of M/s G E Tractors.
These product strategies include (1) matching the organizational structure to the customers by anticipating and meeting the demands and expectations of the market; (2) extending design and innovation leadership by being sensitive to the dictates of and trends in the consumer demand or buying behavior of the clientele adapting technological means to widen product design and innovation reach; (3) developing leading positions in all major markets by adapting competitive stance that is committed to the aim of the company to excel and best other brands accelerating revenue growth and focus on selected consumer group; (4) achieving excellence in execution through consistent on-time retail delivery, ensuring best quality and the commitment and ability to go the extra mile for the customer along with maintaining the best-practice social and environmental standards, continuous optimization of the own-retail activities to best showcase the brands and products and to improve customer services; and (5) focusing on financial performance through effective management of working capital and generation of significant free cash flow to reduce debt and optimize financial leverage as well as increasing returns to shareholders through share price performance and dividends.
Pricing is a dynamic element in the marketing mix of GE Tractors since it directly dictates the susceptibility of the consumers to try or purchase the products or services being offered. In this regard, pricing has been a strategic tool in GE Tractors throughout the life cycle of the products and services in the market because the prices offered affect how the customers well behave in the long term along with its implications on the perception of the market in Pakistan on the value proposition of the goods (Ruskin-Brown, 1999). The pricing GE Tractors in a fluid environment like Pakistan can single-handedly maneuver the long-term corporate profitability. An average 1 percent price increase can result to a 12 percent improvement in the GE Tractor’s operating margin which is four times as profitable as a 1 percent increase in its equivalent production or output volume. The contrary is likewise true and problematic since a price decrease of 5 to 10 percent can eliminate most of the company’s profits.
There is a significant real wage and unit labor costs differentials exist across the equipment industries and sectors resulting to incomplete labor mobility in the domestic economy of Pakistan, offered prices in the locality present relevant price differentials. Since workers possess skills, experience, and compensation that are specific to their industry and are not easily transferable across industries or sectors prices of products and services introduced in the domestic market vary. Moreover, the domestic productivity in Pakistan and wage innovations result to relative prices for both traded and non-traded goods across different industries and sectors while world prices relatively and slightly influence the domestic price determination. These factors make GE Tractor’s pricing complex.
GE Tractors also must consider the exchange rate. The general concept of exchange rate exposure refers to the degree to which the value of a firm or an industry is affected by exchange rate changes. Exchange rate changes can affect an individual investor who owns a portfolio consisting of securities in different currencies; a multinational company like GE Tractors with subsidiaries and branches in foreign locations; an exporter and importer who concentrates on international trade and even a firm that has no direct international activities. Furthermore, exchange rate changes, through their impact on the costs of inputs, outputs, and substitute goods play a significant role in determining the competitive position of domestic companies with no direct international operations relative to GE Tractors (Joseph, 2002).
The changing world has then placed much emphasis on the importance of communication for effective marketing. All types of communication are involved in marketing communications, including literature, training, advertising, heavy equipment, telephone, product promotions and other contact relevant to marketing communication. Among the channel members, even follow-up on complaints as well as customer billing may be included within the communication loop. In order to effectively serve the marketing channel, correct timing and accuracy in communications is essential. Moreover, it is important for the company to recognize that all members of the channel have an obligation or important role in maintaining the efficacy of marketing communications.
To make the regular customers buy more or try new products, GE Tractors line could initiate the following promotional strategies: (1) distribution of brochures, (2) discount coupons to customers in their dealers, (3) rebates, (4) price-off particularly a few months after the launching period, (5) gift packs or tie-ups with the companies other products during the launching period, (6) free warranty during the first year of purchase (7) free one month trials for new customers , (10) prizes through raffle draws, (12) issuance of patronage card/reward, and (13) product sponsorships for contests that are both directly and directly associated to the lifestyle of the target market. Discount coupons and club cards will serve as a marketing strategy to developed similar loyalty schemes in order to identify and stimulate brand awareness in the Pakistan market. These database marketing and loyalty programs, the ultimate promotion strategies for the retailer are powerful, highly segmented customer-oriented forms of promotions, encouraging customer retention and purchase activation.
Finally, the company’s social responsibilities should be taken seriously by supporting local charities, funding educational scholarships, and contributing to the socially relevant causes and projects that get publicity. Moreover, sustainable development efforts of the organization through environment-friendly social drives that promotes responsible waste management along with other cause-oriented social activities in the Pakistan communities where there is market for GE Tractors
The positioning of GE Tractors may take place in the mind it is vital the companies influence the way consumers think (Kotler, 2005). If GE Tractors can find a gap in the market and the consumers mind then your half way there. If there is no gap create one by repositioning your competitor. Being first on the market is useful providing the gap exists. It focuses on customer perceptions but customer’s perceptions can vary Packaging price and the communication process all help to position the product. It involves identifying the products competitive advantages and which ones to emphasize and to implement it in the marketing mix.
To be known in the market place, the tractors should be distributed directly to its clients and consumers through its store in Pakistan and through the on-line marketing at the company’s website. And to be known internationally, one of the strategies that the product will utilize is going on a joint venture with distinguished distributor of tractors and other heavy equipments.
Recommendations as to how M/s G E Tractors will conduct its marketing communications plans is governed by the assumptions that using the right mix of advertising tools (TV, Internet, print and radio) will allow the company to get the best of online and offline advertising. Following is the six-month communications plan for the launching of M/s G E Tractors.
1st to 2nd quarter 2008. This is when initial collaboration with prospective advertising partners should be done. They should be selected by virtue of their reputation and performance in handling advertising tasks. The company will contact partners that will cater to its need to be publicized online and offline. Specifically, the company will employ extensive new media, TV, radio, and print campaign. Each would-be partner will be given the chance to present their marketing plans for the company. There will intensive negotiations between suppliers, assessment of artworks, and evaluation whether such marketing strategies are designed following the company’s objective. The activities will include the following:
· Complete a detailed situation analysis to examine the context of the environment and to determine the need for the project.
· Involve the stakeholders of the project so as to consider their needs and preferences.
· Identify alternative options of the organization so as to exhaust the available alternatives.
· Set the assumptions and objectives of the project to distinguish the direction as well as the standards for project assessment.
3rd and 4th quarter 2008. Once the right mix and budget communications were decided, it is expected that at this time of the year, all the advertising outputs will be ready for their launching nationwide. The advertising efforts will be completed by criteria to measure its effectiveness. Intensive researches will be implemented to determine the success of each campaign tool. Advertising media could be in the form of brochure, newsletter, printed materials, the Internet, newspapers, radio, and television. The communications department of the company will be directly responsible on monitoring the content design, layout, dissemination, and communication training and development for employees and executives. Furthermore, the department is also expected to supervise all the market and attitudinal research. The activities will include the following:
· Determine project size in order to limit the concerns of the project, identify the necessary resources, and evaluate its feasibility.
· Examine the available resources whether material or human that should be acquired to meet the goals of the project.
· Analyze the risks, benefits, and costs of the project so as to ascertain the project’s financial return that will assist to the long-term goals of the organization.
· Develop a master plan that details the focus and concerns of the project’s goals.
2009. The last period of advertising campaign will focus on the maintenance and management of media relationships. Research findings must guide the company on appraising its marketing approaches. All the steps that will be taken must be geared towards the determination, development, and design of the organization image, presence, and reputation. The activities will include the following:
· Document all the development and changes of undertaking the project at all its stages.
· Coordinate planning and project efforts between all of the project participants.
· Effectively and efficiently manage information, technology and people.
2010- Evaluation and Control
The art of planning for the future has always been a human trait as humans are thinking individuals. In essence a project can simply be captured on paper with a few simple elements: a start date, an end date, the tasks that have to be carried out and when they should be finished, and some idea of the resources (people, machines etc) that will be needed during the course of the project. The following activities will be initiated during the entire monitoring and control of the marketing campaign:
1. Detail the activities undertaken to close the project.
2. Outline outstanding issues, risks, operational matters and recommendations.
3. Determine if the objectives of the projects were met.
4. Deliver all the outputs generated by the project.
5. Enumerate the significance and benefits to justify the cause and rationale of undertaking the project.
6. Prepare a report or presentation that will detail the accomplishment of the project.
7. Monitor and regularly evaluate the development to ensure the timely completion of the project.
8. Ensure a logical intervention strategy to minimize the unnecessary impact of undertaking the project.
9. Identify cross-cutting objectives to be able to work on the project based on the assumptions considered.
10. Prepare back-up plans to supply assist for the possibility of unforeseen difficulty during the course of the project.
11. Plan for capacity development and sustainability to ensure the continuous implementation, control, and evaluation of the project.
Thus, it is always important to know the characteristics and nature of the products and services offered by any advertising campaign because this will guarantee the success of the marketing strategy. But knowing the product alone can be detrimental any marketing plan if the advertisers and the manufacturers themselves have no idea of the new target market they are trying to penetrate. The fact that there are really products and services that cannot be applied or utilized in a particular country should be a constant thought and reminder to the advertisers and business organization with plans of gaining entrance and share of clients and consumers in other countries. The services and products should be correctly classified as to whether they will be sellable in the new market.
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