Monday, December 31, 2007

Top 5 Marketing Predictions for 2008

This month, I have seen many trends being talked about from media, marketing, internet, technology, innovation or what not (Posted earlier) all across the internet. Some are big while some are just micro (in real sense). Some will be hit or hot for year 2008 while some will just fizz away with WTF* statement!!

Still I wanted to share something which I have been seeing for quite sometime now in the business circuit, especially in the marketing arena for that matter. So here are my trends for year 2008:-
  • Branding Shift: Branding will move from traditional way to more nicher media with the advent of newer technologies. Usage of internet as a branding medium will catch on the fire, even in India.
  • Total Brand Experience: Advertisements in the form of televison, outdoors, billboards etc will bring customers close to the brands to complete that “Total Brand Experience” i.e. TBE. Even the engagement of these interactions between customers & brands will increase next year.

  • Social Media Fire: Countries like India where mass marketing is the bread & butter for most marketers, social media will catch the fire as marketers will realize the potentiality of social media. Companies will start using SN and Twitter to understand their customers in a better way. Social Media will be more prominent in western countries with importance on more customer interactivity.

  • Search Engine Optimization: Companies will move away slowly but steadily from Google as advertisement repository to more nicher areas like Digg, StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us etc (Social Bookmarking sites). The reason is relevant search results for end users. Year 2008 will start the beginning of the importance of Semantic Web until Google starts thinking hard to tackle it. I'm sure they will with Knol etc.

  • More disruptive Innovations: Companies like Apple, Google, MSFT and not forgetting Facebook alikes will come with more innovations (mostly disruptive which will set the industry standards). We will see many new products as well great new services.
These 5 predictions will be there in year 2008 mostly. Though all may not be true but I just hope most of them are. But I can guarantee one thing for the future: THE CUSTOMERS WILL HAVE MANY BETTER CHOICES. So companies have to really try hard to pull that extra buck out of our wallet.

So lastly Happy New Year to all of you and have a great time ahead. Cheers!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Using Facebook as Marketing Platform

I have been using Facebook for quite sometime now. Though as a social networking site, it's not that much prevalent in India till now (::come next year though:: It will be a different scene altogether). As a matter of fact, if you type "India" in Facebook search, this is the figure that will show up (People=500+; Groups=130; Events=141; Applications=18). This figure is quite less compared to other active social networking countries. Reason may be partly due to its emergence in the West and less promotion in the east.

Still Facebook as a Marketing Platform can never be denied in terms of its Web Apps/Widgets. Though it can't be ruled as a viable option too. But Facebook with it's rapidly growing user base can be a marketer's bread & butter in terms of exposure for your brand, product or website.

Ways in which Facebook can be used as a marketing platform for companies are:

#1. Targeted Brand Exposure: Facebook with its clearly demarcated demographics can be easily used to to spread the brand communication message.

#2. Viral Marketing: Facebook can be used to spread the word as both content (brand message) & services are fused together in a single platform. E.g. Amazon's Visual Bookshelf apps. The bigger picture is that companies won't have to spend much since the word will be carried forward by the users as engagement between users & apps increases when value will be added to each interaction between apps and users.

#3. Easy hunting ground for Market Research: Facebook's biggest success formula has been it varied demographics ranging from teens to baby boomers. So companies can easily use this wide demographics for different Market Research to understand its target market in a better way.

Not everything is rosy about Facebook. Along with so much promise, there still lurks the usual fad attached to social networking sites like these. So some of the problems marketers may face are:

#1. Fad attached to social networking sites: If something new and cool comes in the way and as we all are aware of B.S.O.S (Bright & Shiny Object Syndrome), so Facebook may just dissipate in the horizon.

#2.
Flyers to Fliers: Furthermore, while some users praise Facebook flyers because they blend in with the rest of the Facebook interface and are not intrusive, others argue that this is precisely the reason why the click-through rates are so low. At the same time, these people welcome using pay-per-click marketing because that way, you only pay when someone notices and clicks on your advertisement. (Thanks Pronetadvertising)

So at the end of it all, Creativity is "THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP" in approaching social communities and hence opportunities can be created if, and only if, you play by the rules and also as marketers we have to consider "Adding value to each interaction" i.e. c0-create the naturally viral nature of the community instead of forcing it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Links for 2007-12-26

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

5 things I did & learnt in 2007

As year 2007 is coming to its end, I sat back and tried to scribble some thoughts about what I did & learn this year as a marketer, a social being and more importantly as a human being. So here are the 5 most important things I learnt in 2007 (in random order):

#1. I started my blog which helped me not only in jotting down random thoughts about marketing and life par se but also these thoughts are now present as an online journal. I can look back at those reflections whenever I want to. In the process, I got some applause as well as criticism. Thanks a ton to everyone for those comments too.

#2. I became more active in Social Media (apart from my single a/c in orkut). Now I have active accounts in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,AdGabber, SlideShare, StumpleUpon, Digg, Del.icio.us etc to name a few. These associations helped me to understand Marketing in a whole new way.

#3. In this process, I joined as well as promoted some social causes like "Cause a Ripple" (which is still in my weblog) to "Stop Global Warming" (in my Facebook Profile) to name a few. It helped me realize that as social human beings it's our duty to give something back to our future Gen (though in a small way) as well as our Mother Earth.

#4. Network of Associations: This year I have networked with people whom I know from distant past as well as with people from some social networking sites. This has helped me to learn a lot from small snippets to large gimmicks. Thanks to Twitter as well as to those bloggers (a long list actually) by and large.

#5. Year 2007 has been quite fulfilling in terms of amount of quality books that I read (Posted earlier in my blog). All in all, I read something about 15 odd books which were not only insightful but also quite heart rendering at times.

So for me year 2007 has been quite enriching in terms of learning, networking as well as my long term desire of philanthropy (in small measure though). So I hope year 2008 also brings the same - not only for me but all my blog readers as well as those who are going to read it in the near future. So, all my well wishes from my side for year 2008.

So what about you in 2007? Did you had a good year?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas ::Ho Ho Ho::


I would like to wish all of you merry Christmas and a happy & prosperous 2008.

One more thing about Xmas which really excites me is "Coke" and Christmas' Santa Claus. The similarity is stupendous. Especially the color combination i.e. Red & white which symbolizes Coke all the way. Did Santa wore it all the way through or it was just a perfectly executed marketing plan which become some sort of "Marketing Icon" by itself. Great work by Coke guys (especially attaching religious myth with brand imagery). So as long as X-Mas will be around we will never forget Santa or its pal Coke!!

Further reading @ Love for color Red in Brand Logos

Friday, December 21, 2007

*Christvertising*:God & Branding

In the process of discovering insightful as well as weird sites, I stumbled upon this one. It's up to you guys to decide whether this is hilarious, insightful or sheer blasphemous. After seeing this, one thing becomes very clear i.e. US people take their Christian Belief very seriously. According to their Website (link) i.e. "Christvertising", they proclaim that through their BTP (Brand Targeted Prayers), millions of ardent Christian believers will pray for your brands. So all in all, here's "Christvertising" as well as me wishing you merry Christmas and Happy 2008.



Sources: Adverblog

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Getting Nostalgic (the ad syndrome)

Nothing great about the ad though, but remembering those days. Actually seeing this ad after a long time (beautifully crafted by P&G and Saatchi & Saatchi). I feel from a marketer's point of view that we all are turning out to be like them i.e. self-centric kid in this era of prosumer (producer+consumer).


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Links for 2007-12-18

Monday, December 17, 2007

India: Thinking Digital, Going Conventional

What it means to go digital? Is it another B.S.O.S (Bright and Shiny Objects Syndrome) which the industry guys just love to latch on. Part of my statement is due to the fact that most of the executions are not that new. They are the same old crap wrapped in neat packages.

Almost all the companies in the world, starting from emerging markets like India to developed nations like US have some kind of presence in web. But the point is how much importance do the top honchos give to this new system of distribution and connection with the customers where the long tail concept is very evidential.

Specially talking about emerging markets like India, the Long Tail concept loses it bastion which it enjoys in western countries in most of the product categories. So when does a company think digital in emerging markets? By and large, most of the activities related to engaging the customers are very conventional in terms of communicating with the customers.

Some of the major road blocks in the way to go digital are lack of awareness of the potential of internet (both in terms of scale as well as reach), low awareness about how internet marketing works at multi-stage level and last but not least resistance to try out new things. Still over the couple of years, internet has gathered some critical mass (at least you can see that in everyday newspapers).So when and how do we exactly start off doing digital....
  • Traditional + Digital = Effective customer engagement: A right blend of both traditional marketing and digital marketing is what is required now. Since the customers are habitual of the usual touchpoints, so going totally digital won't solve the problem. But using technology to co-create newer touchpoints can surely engage your customers in a varied level.
  • Proliferation of newer Technologies: Every month, near about a million cell phone users get added up in India. Whoa!! Thats a huge figure. So getting access to new technologies to engage the customers have increased. But the pace at which the customers have accepted these newer technologies is not at the same rate that of the companies. So try using it to nudge your customer's expectation but bearing the fact that it should not be an interrupting proposition.
  • Exciting those senses:Digital marketing has the power to excite our senses like sight, sound and motion (SiSoMo).Now think about your customers who have always been fed with monologue communication process. This will definitely excite them and make them think about you in this media cluttered environment.
This is the crux of the post. Though there can be other ways too to reach customers and engage them. So any thoughts from your side....

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Links for 2007-12-15

Friday, December 14, 2007

Google's "Don't be Evil" mantra - Holy shit

Last night Google announced that they are starting a new project named Knol. Hmm interesting I must say. Actually, it pertains to creating wiki like pages. Now people will be able to submit comments, questions, edits, additional content, and so on and so forth. One of two things comes to my mind when I read about this new development. Firstly, will Wikipedia and Wikia become yesterday and secondly if it becomes due to certain reasons which I will elaborate later, then are we going to get crappy results (spoke about it in earlier post) which we most often get when we try finding something in Google.

Considering that, Wikipedia is turning out to be one of Google's biggest rivals in terms of search results. So there is all the more possibilities that Google is trying hard to kill both Wikipedia and Wikia (Jimmy Wales social search engine).

So the interesting detail among all these is the timing of this announcement which comes just days before Wikia's beta launch. So what's the future of Wikipedia and Wikia? It all rests in our hands. Though Google is in a win-win situation because of the following reasons:
  • Still we use Google as primary search engine and with its allied services, we will be driven towards making those knols which can anyway outrun Wikipedia in terms of the fresh content which we found in Wiki.
  • Remember Google's indexing mechanism which can now index Knols to a larger extent (since it's Google's own system)and keep the major traffic away from Wiki.
  • The moolah factor which is on the side of Google will definitely help it to close the deal better than wikipedia which is trying to raise some money.
  • The corporations just love Google because of its far-flung reach through its ads program and other different tie-ups. So when the corporations love Google and in a way hate Wikipedia on its openness program, so biting the larger chunk of the cake won't be that difficult for Google, I suppose.
  • Last but not least, the power of the masses is in favor of Google as of now due to its reach.
So my take on this will be conservative, as in, it will take some time for people to get used to Knols and creating, editing & publishing fresh content. But my gut feeling says that the war is far from getting over between Google & Wikipedia. And at the end of it all, we the users will be most benefited as I suppose some changes are due in Wiki's front and I personally want to see what Google comes up with next.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Height of Measuring Word-of-Mouth

Some skeptics say that social media lacks two most important attributes: One being the lack of scalability & the other being the measurability parameter. Though, I don't totally disagree with the above statement but it has always been one of my interests to understand how to measure effectiveness of things like word-of-mouth without asking the analytics guy to work overtime.

The answer came in a very weird fashion if I may say so. Being a marketer, it's important to have an eye for detailing. Even more in your observation, understanding and last but not least sharing the information with your peers, family and sometimes to those whom you don't actually like sometimes :-). So that is the very essence of word of mouth. But you can't actually measure it until & unless you see your sales figure or something related to that moving northwards. Isn't it?

But I have an interesting point of view here. You may disagree with me totally. But being a marketer, when you see your non-geek friend, less media savvy guy or sometimes your grandmother talk about something new which she has seen or heard; then you know that it must be working.

Actually, the point is that nowadays we read into too much of data and forgo the intuition part of it. So when your next door neighbor (whom you usually hate sometimes) tells you about a new gizmo he has seen few days back; remember that your company (if it is making that gizmo), then actually you are doing good in your word-of-mouth campaign. So Information+Intuition=Order of the day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Memes, Haikus & Tinyurls are the order of the day

I am always on a lookout for what's in & what's out, primarily in the business arena. Though it will take the dexterity and finesse of a pro, still my thirst to find something in nothing won't go away that easy. I won't deny at this point that the idea of Twitter"ing" is just very addictive. But on the hindsight if you think about it, internet is nowadays so open that for a web onlooker like me memes, hiakus & tinyurl's is all that matters to start off a conversation.

"Conversation" or you can say dialogue (remember DI-alogue) is the power of two. Bearing the fact that once upon a time, it used to be just TV who was the sole bearer of ideas. Now the power has shifted and now every marketer knows the fact. Infact, the reason TV used to work tremendously well for quite some time was because that was new then and it touched people in a way which they could never have imagined. Now it's not so. The only reason that could be cited is due to more choices and less time. So the most obvious thing that consumers can do is to just ignore you (No wonder there are so many new product launch failures..approx 95%).

So then the whole Web 2.0 emerged. It's not at all that having a web presence will solve all the problems, but definitely it will help people to talk about you at the end of the day. Now, in the post PC era, companies which let its customers talk about itself makes "Meaning beyond Money". That is power of conversation.

And talking about conversation in Web 2.0, its not all about blogs, wikis etc. It's more about new emerging micro-trends like Twitter, Jaiku's, Truemors etc which are having a very significant & influential impact, even in business and the way your customers talk about you.

So at the end of it all, if you scroll down to that moment when you talk about customer touch points, think about this for a while. The latest cool thing for customers are memes, haikus and all those million tinyurl's which float in this vast web because now the customers can talk, share, criticize, spread the word about you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How can watching Movies in theaters be more interactive

Turn your brand message into a brand experience through emerging technologies- that's what most brand evangelists will say. But the question pertains to rather difficult proposition of nudging consumer's expectations.

I can't help thinking myself doing anything different except buying the usual popcorn, waiting for the intro trailers and finally the moment of truth i.e. the movie. So is there any other way to make movie-watching more exciting? How about this video....



The video above dubs the concept of "Human Joysticks". This shows the power of engagement & participation in the world of conversations between the value innovators (companies) and value perceivers (customers).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Happy Communion of Man,Technology & Data

Moments back, a friend told me about emerging technology trends and its repercussions on us. So where are we going exactly? 3 trends that have followed suit while we were sleeping :-) all this while were:
  1. Moore's Law which states that number of transistors on a chip doubles every after two years. Which means in a simple layman's term that we will see a lot of happenings in tech space (more in hardware though), but also somehow connected to software by and large.
  2. Data,Data everywhere: The second noteworthy thing is proliferation of data as suggested by Forrester Research which talks mostly about how the volume of the world’s data doubles approximately every three years.
  3. Third but lastly, the human element. More and more, in the post PC era (started with iPods,Zunes,iPhones etc), we are getting more and more techno savvy. So dilution of technology is at its prime and least amount of resistance is coming from consumers.
So, the picture seems perfect. Or we may say it seems like a happy communion of ever growing data with fitting technology to collect,hold & distribute it and at the end of it acceptance by man. So the future seems right, isn't it? Or it is just a small blip in the long tail of B.S.O.S. (Bright and Shiny Objects Syndrome).

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Word of Mouth - *The Pond-Ripple Effect*

It's not that word of mouth is now a trend. It's been there for ages; definitely in a different way of course starting from biblical ages. But things have definitely changed along the way. The way it was perceived; the way it was spread; the way it got assimilated in our culture. And of course authors writing about it, made hell lot of difference in the way companies took it as an important marketing tool- be it in form of viral like "dove-evolution to onslaught" campaign or "We didn't start the viral" campaign to name a few in recent times.

But there has been a shift in the way it used to be spread then and now. I call it "The Pond-Ripple Effect". To simplify the concept, few things have to be kept in mind. First, a news/information which has to be spread is more like a story which is passed along the way like a baton. Secondly, the target audience is more like a pond along whose contours we are going to play with (metaphor).

So, we are already there to demystify the strategy. Supposedly, a story (here it is like a stone) is thrown to a target audience (the pond) through various means of media to create a ripple effect i.e. some sort of hype (may be good or bad). Generally, the stone is thrown in the middle of the pond to create maximum ripples. But sooner or later it fades away because of media proliferation and lack of customer attention.

So what do we do now? No, we are not heading towards the dead end. Take this case into consideration. Supposedly, the same story is thrown towards some opinionated evangelists who forms the boundary of the target audience (the pond). Now what may happen is this- Since marketing today has become more of a reflection of social paradigms and we believe more on peer recommendation, so these stories will keep on adding new values all the way through in the pond with bigger & better ripples.

So at the end of the day, your target audience knows about you; credibility is duly manifested since in every culture we follow some figures who are most often than not opinionated and at the end of it, you are creating conversations which makes "Meaning beyond Money".

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My 5 most favourite books- Have you read them?

It seems that the difference between a good marketer and a (not so good) marketer depends by and large on the amount of knowledge that he/she possesses. Now for me thats not all. For me it also depends on how the theory that we learn from these books can be practically transformed into real life solutions. Now thats what is required from a neo age Marketer.

So for all those knowledge thirsty marketers who are always on a lookout for refined knowledge resource, I fortunately came across some of the books which shaped me, guided me, molded me all this while. So this post is dedicated to all those greats who have written those books.

1. All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin
2.
The Cluetrain Manifesto by Christopher Locke
3. The Long Tail by Chris Anderson
4. The Search by John Battelle
5. Join the Conversation by Joseph Jaffe

This list of 5 books have been my best read books of the year 2007 (though the list is not on the priority basis). Hope to read some more like those in the next year. So what are you reading now?


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Slidepost: Innovate to Differentiate

Months back, I wrote a post on "Innovate to Differentiate" in which I try to explain how Innovation is so important to essentially differentiate in the mass cluttered marketplace. Now I came up with a slide which I want to share in this post.


If any of you, has some suggestion, surely I will try to improve in my next slideshare post.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Advertising: Do you know the truth?

Ever wondered about why your customers are getting weary about your ad messages day by day. Now Nielsen did a global survey<download pdf> about which advertising platforms in use today is most effective in terms of generating "Trust" from consumers.

What emerged from this survey is quite interesting. I won't go much into the details (you better download the article) but one thing is of prime importance than everything else- Word of Mouth.

Meanwhile, I will give some of the most important and revealing truths about traditional media. Check it out for yourself; then you can decide whether your last advertising budget should have gone to better places.


  • 18%: Proportion of TV advertising campaigns generating positive ROI
  • 54 cents: Average return in sales for every $1 spent on advertising
  • 256%: The increase in TV advertising costs (CPM) in the past decade
  • 84%: Proportion of B2B marketing campaigns resulting in falling sales
  • 100%: The increase needed in advertising spend to add 1-2% in sales
  • 14%: Proportion of people who trust advertising information
  • 90%: Proportion of people who can skip TV ads who do skip TV ads
  • 80%: Market share of video recorders with ad skipping technology in 2008
  • 95%: The failure rate for new product introductions
  • 117: The number of prime time TV spots in 2002 needed to reach 80% of adult population – up from just 3 in 1965
  • 3000: Number of advertising messages people are exposed to per day
  • 56%: Proportion of people who avoid buying products from companies who they think advertise too much
  • 65%: Proportion of people who believe that they are constantly bombarded with too much advertising
  • 69%: Proportion of people interested in technology or devices that enable them to skip or block advertising
Source: Justin Kirby & Paul Marsden (2006). Connected marketing. Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann. xix

So based on these hard data, everything boils down to two important questions:

  1. How are you going to engage your customers?
  2. How are you going to deliver good customer experiences consistently?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Google knows about you

My last week's traveling got better of me, I guess :-( . Now I am in my bed coughing and sneezing. Though I suffered from another kind of syndrome which is not too much prevalent in the medical books. It's called "Blog Guilt", since I could not post much last week. My sickness by and large is making an impact on the blog posts. So please bear with me, if I am not able to post as such in this week.

Still, while in my bed with all the medication (yikes) with me, I do keep myself hooked into internet to keep those mails and information flowing. Some may ask, why am I then posting in this condition?

Though, the answer could have been any smart pant types, but I will give the truer one. First of all, we have heard and read a lot about Google and its sister concerns, though not refraining from privacy issues. So just wanted to share some information with you folks. Nothing much; at least in this post, no amount of great research is required for which I have to use my grey matter.

So, continuing with the topic, how much do u think Google knows about you. I will give you certain clues.
And not forgetting, everyday Google is coming out with newer products which will be well entrenched into our day to day activities (Think Android).

So at the end of it all, Google (our next door internet friend) knows a hell lot about us. So until it acts as "Big brother", we are more than happy to welcome since the word that follows Google is FREE..FREE...FREE!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Eureka Bar: Backstory as a Marketing tool

Few weeks back, my friend Bozo told me that he bought a new shirt from Peter England (Do check this interactive site, quite interesting I must say). Though this won't hit the headlines for sure, still it did helped me to write this post in "Eureka Bar".

I observed an interesting narrative in Peter England (an apparel brand in India) shirts' packaging which tells us more about how the brand came into existence with "Peter England Story". This piece of simplistic marketing effort goes beyond the traditional capitalist overture.

Now product backstories is not new in the consumer centric markets. It has been there for ages. But now its importance is very well understood. If we dig deep, we will understand that product back stories have more potential than just from societal point of view. It's more on a cultural basis where you are trying to engage your customers with your product.

The backstories run deep inside the human psyche and forms an emotional bond. Now as far as I am concerned, I believe that backstories generate better Word-of-Mouth as people are more thrilled to know about where the product came from, how is it made etc. Nowadays marketing efforts are concentrating more on benefits, creating demand or focusing on attributes. So marketing companies' backstories become all the more important in this case.

The real lesson is "Simplicity in Marketing". Nowadays customers know that "You are Marketing" so simplicity becomes all the more imperative to break through the clutter. Basically no one adapts marketing which is simple and at the end of it all, it just gets ignored. But, simple stories are easier to pass along as they respect their audience by not wasting their time.

At least in this case, an Indian brand has taken to this concept of selling through Simplistic Marketing.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Eureka Bar: Brand me and a little bit more..!!

We all love Tees. But I don’t know if you have noticed it or not but somehow people love expressing themselves through this little piece of cloth. Take for instance, this company lastexittonowhere who got inspired by some of the most memorable places, corporations and companies in 20th century fiction (Look at the inset picture). Idea is simple; people love to attach themselves to the stories which these signages have to say.

Time & again, countries (sometimes cities too like “I love NY” campaign have tried to indulge their audience with them. So why should the companies forget this little idea of communicating their companies’ messages amongst their target audience. More often than not, we have seen companies fancying into sophomoric promotion/marketing through distributing tees to their employees. Now get out and spread the message to the larger mass alike.

Some of the reasons why I think that it will work:

  1. Long term benefits in terms of brand recall.
  2. At the end of it all, you are creating audiences who are inspired by the authenticity & transparency of the company’s story.
  3. Don’t forget the WOMM for this sort of communication which has become the lingua franca for neo emergent companies.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Marketer's dilemma - "Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder"

Advertising has gone to places where no one could ever think off (starting from television-outdoor-internet...). You see them everywhere, I mean every-damn-where. Some time back, in a very bold move, Sao Paulo's mayor banned all sorts of outdoor/billboard advertising campaigns as a part of the "Clean City" law. That of course puts a lot of pressure for those hard nosed marketers as they are trying to cope up with the situation (Thanks to Geeta Saini & Jinal Shah of Influential Marketing Blog fame and photographer & typographer Tony de Marco for this piece of info).


So we have a situation in hand. Most of the developed nations including US in some states has banned billboards as part of saving the natural beauty as it causes a lot of "Visual Pollution". Think about it a bit?

What if one fine morning your country or your state comes up with some law like this? Then is it that most outdoor advertisers/marketers will be out of their job? No I don't think so. Obviously they will come up with some new way of promotion, but the questions remains that is it possible that a complete harmony or coherence can be developed between these two sects of people - one of course the environmentalists & the other being evangelist marketers!!

Some of the strategies which neo marketers/advertising whiz's can put to use are-
  • Mobile billboard advertising (Thanks Abhishek) - Yeah, it's moving, dynamic ads - by & large ads to your doorsteps. Also in these sorts of ads, creativity is often appreciated. So WOMM is inevitable (though caution is necessary as it often may lead to commoditized ad campaign).Here are some of the few chosen alternate advertising campaigns. Have a look at the pictures.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A cue to the future for the marketers

Some time back, I stumbled upon a news report of MSNBC saying that many Europeans are choosing internet over TV. And by and large, the same trend follows across the world. It’s as if we are bored of that stupid idiot box. Actually it doesn’t bring dynamism to our thinking anymore (Crap basically). So most of us are turning towards digital media via internet.

But one question lurks in my mind seeing the news which obviously pertains to our marketing brotherhood. What has this news to do with marketers, you may ask. I believe it has!!

The word for it is Advertising. Now that’s not the only story. Companies, time and again have had engaged, delighted, excited their customers (mostly targeted ones) in different segments, be it product or services alike through this medium.

Now the customers range from toddlers to “Silver surfers”. Now that’s what I call reach or aptly call it the “Power of e”.

Now, I will leave you with three most interesting sites for this week as you guys are smart enough to understand where we all are heading.

  • Themallplus : An interesting online retailing site which can keep you on your toes and you may end up buying something.
  • Thepoint : The Point is a social platform for people to solve problems which they can’t solve alone. Bye-bye NGO’s.
  • Indeed : A job search engine with a twist. Fiddle around a bit and you will know the difference.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Think Blogging as an industry…!!!

Now this might be interesting (I suppose). Most often my posts are targeted towards those who are marketers, “wana be marketers” or sometimes those who just want to have an experience pertaining to anything which internet has to offer. But have you ever given a thought to this- “Blogging (with Capital B) as an industry”. Now that’s what Jeremiah Owyang says in one of his posts.

Now I just can’t help thinking that Oh hell ya it is!! Isn’t it? It has all the necessary ingredients which a proverbial industry needs – Sellers, buyers, advertisers, platform, revenue model, media, celebrities, personalities, trends and blah blah.

So where are we now…? Reality check for many and Status Quo for some. There is one tiny winy problem to that. Remember big brothers- The Search Engine Behemoths!!

Now a lot of traffic is driven to blogs due to search engines like Google, Yahoo or MSFT’s Live etc. Now without proper gate pass, most of the blogs die out or aptly phase out just like that. Hence, emergence of SEO took place which thrives more or less on the search side of the human world. Now there’s nothing wrong with it, though!!

Still the question remains whether Blogging has matured to be called as an industry? Now, to measure any industry’s competence as well as incompetence, availability of information is the most important parameter. But when that amount of information is not available (considering SE like Google’s robot i.e. spider crawler doesn’t index a page, then it’s not easily available to many). So information is somewhat obscure in terms of availability. But some will definitely thrive as information & media is shifting to more niche zones.

So by and large, I believe that Blogging can be thought of as an industry; still it will take a much larger mass appeal as well as reach to gauge its industry status.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Just for the hunger of *FAME*..!!!

The million dollar question in the web 2.0 era is why users create content online (as web 2.0 is driven by user generated content)? Now of course, consulting giant Mckinsey came with a research work some time back. The reasoning they put forward pertains to one of the most inner desired instincts i.e. The hunger of Fame!!

So is the cat being set among the pigeons? Now as everything in this world has its flip side aspects to it, so does this statement too have one? I believe there is. Now for an amateur user, what forces him to press the content development button…!!

Now some free drinks for those who have hit the chord. Yeah, Fame is one of the reasons though, but originality & relevance of the very content is one of the most important aspects to be “Famed*.

That’s why time & again, we have heard three notions which will drive your fame status to its prime i.e. Originality, Innovative (sometimes viral) idea and Focus. Now these three will definitely drive your content to those parts which you never imagined.

So all in all, Fame is just one side of the story whereas to be famed, you need all those three factors to carry you forward. Now do we see circle being completed? Oh hell yeah, I guess!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

After mass media, it’s your turn Social Media to get fragmented

Mass media is fragmented. We have heard this umpteen times. Haven’t we? Now when the forefathers of media saw a new trend called Web 2.0, their heart must be filled with joy. But I am sorry to be a party popper. Even Social Media (the very backbone of Web 2.0) is getting fragmented. Think about any ripple effect (in terms of reuse & misuse of information) you saw last time in the world of commerce. Won’t you ask me the question, why I made a bold statement like that?

I will definitely answer it. But let’s see, if you have got the clue. I will give a hint to that. The ripple (each time content is developed & distributed) effect of social media is very much available in any other good site (if you consider this site to be a good blog, then definitely this site is also affected). Ok, enough of beating around the bush, I will let you know what’s happening here with an example....

Hypothetical Example
- An important news broke out in WSJ today in the morning and an influential blogger wrote a thing or two in his/her blog. Now as we all know, good content in internet is like chocolate & wine served in a platter which anyone can enjoy without much restriction. So an anonymous blogger wrote about it and the true essence of the information may get lost in between. Adding to it, some social network-ers promoted it as more infotainment rather than information-content. Also, we can’t forget the power of individual emails etc.

So by & large, larger ripples are fewer in number but greater in reach & smaller ripples are greater in number but smaller in reach and more targeted.


So the next question should be what should be done? I say nothing. That’s the beauty of internet -Information distribution beyond boundaries & restrictions. And that’s where the distinction lies between mainstream media & Social media. In mainstream, content is unidirectional whereas social media’s content has dual direction (i.e. content creator & content user is on the same platform). Actually, with new content added in different apps, the credibility is giving place to distributive power of “e” (internet) where targeted population is receiving it the way they wanted it to be.

So no hassles. And I guess, now the forefathers can go ahead and enjoy their usual drinks. Cheers…!!!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Facebook markets *Your Face* through their online advertising

I have mentioned in my previous posts about two likelihoods- one on "Mass Advertising being dead" and the other being that online ads should be revamped to make it more user friendly in the context of Advertisement 2.0.

Now yesterday, Facebook came with an official press release of their Facebook ads. By and large, those ads are targeted at the members using their profile data pertaining to demographics in three parts according to TechCrunch.

Now that's ok for me. But is something more to it there? Now it seems that Facebook wants to market my brand preference, social networking, Web 2.0, websitess (though taking my own permission) according to nytimes (link). I will explain how!!

Literally, they want to put your face on the ads for the products that you like or your friends in your profile likes. Now am I missing the line here between privacy and social networking? Actually, yesterday they began showing ads with profile pics next to the advertisements for the products which their friends like or purchased before. So one sunday morning some of my friends will see me beside a commercial message which tries to sell them something which i liked or would like to have since I have a opinion on that brand. Now these hard data comes from the profile info we all have given to them.

Now according to Facebook, they are in charge of it having access to these sort of information and not the advertisers. Interestingly, this news broke out just a few days after F.T.C. (Federal Trade Commission) came out with a hearing on online privacy and customized ads.

Still not taking the credit away from Mark Zuckerberg (CEO- Facebook), the idea of using more interactive or rather the concept of using "social ads" is pretty kool as in they make direct emotional attachment with the users. As he says nothing influences than the recommendation of a trusted friend.

So as of now, I believe Facebook is going to bring a lot of tremors in the online business world. So check out the space for more info in the near future.

Monday, November 05, 2007

5 warning signals you will hate to miss in the new world

Hyper-connected world has become more of a cliché I must say. But I believe the real makeover in terms of globalization began much during the tech crash & burn times when zillions of clueless money was pumped into the so called fiber optic cables which connected a Mestizo with a Han. Now I call it clueless because they never realized then the new world of facebookers or twitterhommies of today will connect seamlessly with just a simple piece of wire.

So where are we now? In an instant we are becoming the latest actors (thanks to YouTube), writers (thanks to blogs), avatars (thanks to SecondLife) and last but not least RJ's (thanks to podcasts) and many more to come.

So when I put my little bit of thinking into it, all I came out with is 5 ideas which you will hate to miss in the new world of interconnected homo sapiens who can do more.

  1. Letter 'i' turning out to be a word- Yeah thats true. After sometime I am sure Oxford will publish letter 'i' as a word (pun intended). This new age of information flow is creating a new economy as a whole. Aptly it can be called as "Attention Economy". Nowadays even products are coming with the ubiquitous 'i' like iGoogle, iPhone, iPod, stressing much importance to you. The very you who forms the contours of this hyper-connected mesh.

  2. Tulip Mania- Tulip mania refers to any large economic bubble. Now most people believe that after dot-com burst, yet another bubble is on the way which was paved on 9th Oct,2006 when Google bought YouTube. Actually that's when every person with an inevitable thirst saw fresh dollar bills in their eyes with the whole web 2.0. Now with tons of new sites joining the race again, so aren't we heading for the wall again. Actually the point is as more & more are joining the bandwagon, less value is being created.

  3. Personal Media- Now how can we forget the Big Brother in between i.e. the mainstream media. Yeah, they have also come of age as more and more value creation and addition is happening in tandem with more user interfacing (think Ohmynews). Actually hyper-connectivity creates value added information at the corner of the adoption diffusion model. E.g. Bloggers.

  4. The Short Tail of Web2ness i.e. web 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5....so on & so forth- Now Chris Anderson (of the Long Tail fame) has got it right. And the whole inter-connectivity through latest buzzwords like web 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 is creating lesser and lesser value because of too much information clutter.

  5. Information overload-Last but not least, all the information that is available is getting distributed in a very randomly and uneven fashion. E.g. when one blogger writes something about a topic, other bloggers are like honey bees wandering around. So real and true information gets scattered most of the time. So users most of the time suffer from information overload disorder.
All in all, change is good but only when the change creates some value for all of us and not for a handful.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

How those lines say so much about us...!!!

Now this is something which I will aptly called "Weird". Though most of us will refrain from calling us by that name. But I am sure most of us have and will observe something like this.

No, I am not keeping the mystery unfolded for a long time. I will definitely pull the rabbit out of the hat. Actually it's quite interesting to see how many people mark or highlight some lines of books while reading. The other day I was going through a book by Tom Peters named "The pursuit of Wow!". Now thats what I call quenching your thirst in some form. But it's amazing to find out people marking some lines or paragraphs in the book (even though that it not right if you are taking books from the library). Still people won't chuck this small little habit. Yikes I must say...!!!

Oh I must tell you the lines which I saw marked in the book. Thats interesting actually.
"...and I'm struck by how timid most people are in fending off staleness."
Though there were more lines like these which I see marked abrubtly in nearly every book which I get from some library. Now whenever I see those lines marked I'm halted in my reading to understand more deeply what it is trying to convey. As if the lines remarkably stand out from other words that I have read before.

Now trying to understand why some people do this, I am again taken to the age old mystery about "why we do, what we do". Now one of the main reason for every individual has been to stand out in the crowd. So when we mark something in the book which will definitely go in someone else's hand will make us different (though that person is not in the picture). The fundamental thing remains the same. We, human beings are born marketers. We like to tell stories about us, about how we feel & so on and so forth. So those little lines tell about the person what he is...!! Eventually though that doesn't matter still it feels different, isn't it?

By the way have anyone thought of marketing (since some marketers talk about "Permission Marketing") through those marked lines. For example, spreading some mysterious facts about some company or brands or for that matter "You".

Try it, it's exciting I must say (although creativity should be yours).

Monday, December 31, 2007

Top 5 Marketing Predictions for 2008

This month, I have seen many trends being talked about from media, marketing, internet, technology, innovation or what not (Posted earlier) all across the internet. Some are big while some are just micro (in real sense). Some will be hit or hot for year 2008 while some will just fizz away with WTF* statement!!

Still I wanted to share something which I have been seeing for quite sometime now in the business circuit, especially in the marketing arena for that matter. So here are my trends for year 2008:-
  • Branding Shift: Branding will move from traditional way to more nicher media with the advent of newer technologies. Usage of internet as a branding medium will catch on the fire, even in India.
  • Total Brand Experience: Advertisements in the form of televison, outdoors, billboards etc will bring customers close to the brands to complete that “Total Brand Experience” i.e. TBE. Even the engagement of these interactions between customers & brands will increase next year.

  • Social Media Fire: Countries like India where mass marketing is the bread & butter for most marketers, social media will catch the fire as marketers will realize the potentiality of social media. Companies will start using SN and Twitter to understand their customers in a better way. Social Media will be more prominent in western countries with importance on more customer interactivity.

  • Search Engine Optimization: Companies will move away slowly but steadily from Google as advertisement repository to more nicher areas like Digg, StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us etc (Social Bookmarking sites). The reason is relevant search results for end users. Year 2008 will start the beginning of the importance of Semantic Web until Google starts thinking hard to tackle it. I'm sure they will with Knol etc.

  • More disruptive Innovations: Companies like Apple, Google, MSFT and not forgetting Facebook alikes will come with more innovations (mostly disruptive which will set the industry standards). We will see many new products as well great new services.
These 5 predictions will be there in year 2008 mostly. Though all may not be true but I just hope most of them are. But I can guarantee one thing for the future: THE CUSTOMERS WILL HAVE MANY BETTER CHOICES. So companies have to really try hard to pull that extra buck out of our wallet.

So lastly Happy New Year to all of you and have a great time ahead. Cheers!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Using Facebook as Marketing Platform

I have been using Facebook for quite sometime now. Though as a social networking site, it's not that much prevalent in India till now (::come next year though:: It will be a different scene altogether). As a matter of fact, if you type "India" in Facebook search, this is the figure that will show up (People=500+; Groups=130; Events=141; Applications=18). This figure is quite less compared to other active social networking countries. Reason may be partly due to its emergence in the West and less promotion in the east.

Still Facebook as a Marketing Platform can never be denied in terms of its Web Apps/Widgets. Though it can't be ruled as a viable option too. But Facebook with it's rapidly growing user base can be a marketer's bread & butter in terms of exposure for your brand, product or website.

Ways in which Facebook can be used as a marketing platform for companies are:

#1. Targeted Brand Exposure: Facebook with its clearly demarcated demographics can be easily used to to spread the brand communication message.

#2. Viral Marketing: Facebook can be used to spread the word as both content (brand message) & services are fused together in a single platform. E.g. Amazon's Visual Bookshelf apps. The bigger picture is that companies won't have to spend much since the word will be carried forward by the users as engagement between users & apps increases when value will be added to each interaction between apps and users.

#3. Easy hunting ground for Market Research: Facebook's biggest success formula has been it varied demographics ranging from teens to baby boomers. So companies can easily use this wide demographics for different Market Research to understand its target market in a better way.

Not everything is rosy about Facebook. Along with so much promise, there still lurks the usual fad attached to social networking sites like these. So some of the problems marketers may face are:

#1. Fad attached to social networking sites: If something new and cool comes in the way and as we all are aware of B.S.O.S (Bright & Shiny Object Syndrome), so Facebook may just dissipate in the horizon.

#2.
Flyers to Fliers: Furthermore, while some users praise Facebook flyers because they blend in with the rest of the Facebook interface and are not intrusive, others argue that this is precisely the reason why the click-through rates are so low. At the same time, these people welcome using pay-per-click marketing because that way, you only pay when someone notices and clicks on your advertisement. (Thanks Pronetadvertising)

So at the end of it all, Creativity is "THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP" in approaching social communities and hence opportunities can be created if, and only if, you play by the rules and also as marketers we have to consider "Adding value to each interaction" i.e. c0-create the naturally viral nature of the community instead of forcing it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Links for 2007-12-26

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

5 things I did & learnt in 2007

As year 2007 is coming to its end, I sat back and tried to scribble some thoughts about what I did & learn this year as a marketer, a social being and more importantly as a human being. So here are the 5 most important things I learnt in 2007 (in random order):

#1. I started my blog which helped me not only in jotting down random thoughts about marketing and life par se but also these thoughts are now present as an online journal. I can look back at those reflections whenever I want to. In the process, I got some applause as well as criticism. Thanks a ton to everyone for those comments too.

#2. I became more active in Social Media (apart from my single a/c in orkut). Now I have active accounts in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,AdGabber, SlideShare, StumpleUpon, Digg, Del.icio.us etc to name a few. These associations helped me to understand Marketing in a whole new way.

#3. In this process, I joined as well as promoted some social causes like "Cause a Ripple" (which is still in my weblog) to "Stop Global Warming" (in my Facebook Profile) to name a few. It helped me realize that as social human beings it's our duty to give something back to our future Gen (though in a small way) as well as our Mother Earth.

#4. Network of Associations: This year I have networked with people whom I know from distant past as well as with people from some social networking sites. This has helped me to learn a lot from small snippets to large gimmicks. Thanks to Twitter as well as to those bloggers (a long list actually) by and large.

#5. Year 2007 has been quite fulfilling in terms of amount of quality books that I read (Posted earlier in my blog). All in all, I read something about 15 odd books which were not only insightful but also quite heart rendering at times.

So for me year 2007 has been quite enriching in terms of learning, networking as well as my long term desire of philanthropy (in small measure though). So I hope year 2008 also brings the same - not only for me but all my blog readers as well as those who are going to read it in the near future. So, all my well wishes from my side for year 2008.

So what about you in 2007? Did you had a good year?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas ::Ho Ho Ho::


I would like to wish all of you merry Christmas and a happy & prosperous 2008.

One more thing about Xmas which really excites me is "Coke" and Christmas' Santa Claus. The similarity is stupendous. Especially the color combination i.e. Red & white which symbolizes Coke all the way. Did Santa wore it all the way through or it was just a perfectly executed marketing plan which become some sort of "Marketing Icon" by itself. Great work by Coke guys (especially attaching religious myth with brand imagery). So as long as X-Mas will be around we will never forget Santa or its pal Coke!!

Further reading @ Love for color Red in Brand Logos

Friday, December 21, 2007

*Christvertising*:God & Branding

In the process of discovering insightful as well as weird sites, I stumbled upon this one. It's up to you guys to decide whether this is hilarious, insightful or sheer blasphemous. After seeing this, one thing becomes very clear i.e. US people take their Christian Belief very seriously. According to their Website (link) i.e. "Christvertising", they proclaim that through their BTP (Brand Targeted Prayers), millions of ardent Christian believers will pray for your brands. So all in all, here's "Christvertising" as well as me wishing you merry Christmas and Happy 2008.



Sources: Adverblog

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Getting Nostalgic (the ad syndrome)

Nothing great about the ad though, but remembering those days. Actually seeing this ad after a long time (beautifully crafted by P&G and Saatchi & Saatchi). I feel from a marketer's point of view that we all are turning out to be like them i.e. self-centric kid in this era of prosumer (producer+consumer).


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Links for 2007-12-18

Monday, December 17, 2007

India: Thinking Digital, Going Conventional

What it means to go digital? Is it another B.S.O.S (Bright and Shiny Objects Syndrome) which the industry guys just love to latch on. Part of my statement is due to the fact that most of the executions are not that new. They are the same old crap wrapped in neat packages.

Almost all the companies in the world, starting from emerging markets like India to developed nations like US have some kind of presence in web. But the point is how much importance do the top honchos give to this new system of distribution and connection with the customers where the long tail concept is very evidential.

Specially talking about emerging markets like India, the Long Tail concept loses it bastion which it enjoys in western countries in most of the product categories. So when does a company think digital in emerging markets? By and large, most of the activities related to engaging the customers are very conventional in terms of communicating with the customers.

Some of the major road blocks in the way to go digital are lack of awareness of the potential of internet (both in terms of scale as well as reach), low awareness about how internet marketing works at multi-stage level and last but not least resistance to try out new things. Still over the couple of years, internet has gathered some critical mass (at least you can see that in everyday newspapers).So when and how do we exactly start off doing digital....
  • Traditional + Digital = Effective customer engagement: A right blend of both traditional marketing and digital marketing is what is required now. Since the customers are habitual of the usual touchpoints, so going totally digital won't solve the problem. But using technology to co-create newer touchpoints can surely engage your customers in a varied level.
  • Proliferation of newer Technologies: Every month, near about a million cell phone users get added up in India. Whoa!! Thats a huge figure. So getting access to new technologies to engage the customers have increased. But the pace at which the customers have accepted these newer technologies is not at the same rate that of the companies. So try using it to nudge your customer's expectation but bearing the fact that it should not be an interrupting proposition.
  • Exciting those senses:Digital marketing has the power to excite our senses like sight, sound and motion (SiSoMo).Now think about your customers who have always been fed with monologue communication process. This will definitely excite them and make them think about you in this media cluttered environment.
This is the crux of the post. Though there can be other ways too to reach customers and engage them. So any thoughts from your side....

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Links for 2007-12-15

Friday, December 14, 2007

Google's "Don't be Evil" mantra - Holy shit

Last night Google announced that they are starting a new project named Knol. Hmm interesting I must say. Actually, it pertains to creating wiki like pages. Now people will be able to submit comments, questions, edits, additional content, and so on and so forth. One of two things comes to my mind when I read about this new development. Firstly, will Wikipedia and Wikia become yesterday and secondly if it becomes due to certain reasons which I will elaborate later, then are we going to get crappy results (spoke about it in earlier post) which we most often get when we try finding something in Google.

Considering that, Wikipedia is turning out to be one of Google's biggest rivals in terms of search results. So there is all the more possibilities that Google is trying hard to kill both Wikipedia and Wikia (Jimmy Wales social search engine).

So the interesting detail among all these is the timing of this announcement which comes just days before Wikia's beta launch. So what's the future of Wikipedia and Wikia? It all rests in our hands. Though Google is in a win-win situation because of the following reasons:
  • Still we use Google as primary search engine and with its allied services, we will be driven towards making those knols which can anyway outrun Wikipedia in terms of the fresh content which we found in Wiki.
  • Remember Google's indexing mechanism which can now index Knols to a larger extent (since it's Google's own system)and keep the major traffic away from Wiki.
  • The moolah factor which is on the side of Google will definitely help it to close the deal better than wikipedia which is trying to raise some money.
  • The corporations just love Google because of its far-flung reach through its ads program and other different tie-ups. So when the corporations love Google and in a way hate Wikipedia on its openness program, so biting the larger chunk of the cake won't be that difficult for Google, I suppose.
  • Last but not least, the power of the masses is in favor of Google as of now due to its reach.
So my take on this will be conservative, as in, it will take some time for people to get used to Knols and creating, editing & publishing fresh content. But my gut feeling says that the war is far from getting over between Google & Wikipedia. And at the end of it all, we the users will be most benefited as I suppose some changes are due in Wiki's front and I personally want to see what Google comes up with next.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Height of Measuring Word-of-Mouth

Some skeptics say that social media lacks two most important attributes: One being the lack of scalability & the other being the measurability parameter. Though, I don't totally disagree with the above statement but it has always been one of my interests to understand how to measure effectiveness of things like word-of-mouth without asking the analytics guy to work overtime.

The answer came in a very weird fashion if I may say so. Being a marketer, it's important to have an eye for detailing. Even more in your observation, understanding and last but not least sharing the information with your peers, family and sometimes to those whom you don't actually like sometimes :-). So that is the very essence of word of mouth. But you can't actually measure it until & unless you see your sales figure or something related to that moving northwards. Isn't it?

But I have an interesting point of view here. You may disagree with me totally. But being a marketer, when you see your non-geek friend, less media savvy guy or sometimes your grandmother talk about something new which she has seen or heard; then you know that it must be working.

Actually, the point is that nowadays we read into too much of data and forgo the intuition part of it. So when your next door neighbor (whom you usually hate sometimes) tells you about a new gizmo he has seen few days back; remember that your company (if it is making that gizmo), then actually you are doing good in your word-of-mouth campaign. So Information+Intuition=Order of the day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Memes, Haikus & Tinyurls are the order of the day

I am always on a lookout for what's in & what's out, primarily in the business arena. Though it will take the dexterity and finesse of a pro, still my thirst to find something in nothing won't go away that easy. I won't deny at this point that the idea of Twitter"ing" is just very addictive. But on the hindsight if you think about it, internet is nowadays so open that for a web onlooker like me memes, hiakus & tinyurl's is all that matters to start off a conversation.

"Conversation" or you can say dialogue (remember DI-alogue) is the power of two. Bearing the fact that once upon a time, it used to be just TV who was the sole bearer of ideas. Now the power has shifted and now every marketer knows the fact. Infact, the reason TV used to work tremendously well for quite some time was because that was new then and it touched people in a way which they could never have imagined. Now it's not so. The only reason that could be cited is due to more choices and less time. So the most obvious thing that consumers can do is to just ignore you (No wonder there are so many new product launch failures..approx 95%).

So then the whole Web 2.0 emerged. It's not at all that having a web presence will solve all the problems, but definitely it will help people to talk about you at the end of the day. Now, in the post PC era, companies which let its customers talk about itself makes "Meaning beyond Money". That is power of conversation.

And talking about conversation in Web 2.0, its not all about blogs, wikis etc. It's more about new emerging micro-trends like Twitter, Jaiku's, Truemors etc which are having a very significant & influential impact, even in business and the way your customers talk about you.

So at the end of it all, if you scroll down to that moment when you talk about customer touch points, think about this for a while. The latest cool thing for customers are memes, haikus and all those million tinyurl's which float in this vast web because now the customers can talk, share, criticize, spread the word about you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How can watching Movies in theaters be more interactive

Turn your brand message into a brand experience through emerging technologies- that's what most brand evangelists will say. But the question pertains to rather difficult proposition of nudging consumer's expectations.

I can't help thinking myself doing anything different except buying the usual popcorn, waiting for the intro trailers and finally the moment of truth i.e. the movie. So is there any other way to make movie-watching more exciting? How about this video....



The video above dubs the concept of "Human Joysticks". This shows the power of engagement & participation in the world of conversations between the value innovators (companies) and value perceivers (customers).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Happy Communion of Man,Technology & Data

Moments back, a friend told me about emerging technology trends and its repercussions on us. So where are we going exactly? 3 trends that have followed suit while we were sleeping :-) all this while were:
  1. Moore's Law which states that number of transistors on a chip doubles every after two years. Which means in a simple layman's term that we will see a lot of happenings in tech space (more in hardware though), but also somehow connected to software by and large.
  2. Data,Data everywhere: The second noteworthy thing is proliferation of data as suggested by Forrester Research which talks mostly about how the volume of the world’s data doubles approximately every three years.
  3. Third but lastly, the human element. More and more, in the post PC era (started with iPods,Zunes,iPhones etc), we are getting more and more techno savvy. So dilution of technology is at its prime and least amount of resistance is coming from consumers.
So, the picture seems perfect. Or we may say it seems like a happy communion of ever growing data with fitting technology to collect,hold & distribute it and at the end of it acceptance by man. So the future seems right, isn't it? Or it is just a small blip in the long tail of B.S.O.S. (Bright and Shiny Objects Syndrome).

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Word of Mouth - *The Pond-Ripple Effect*

It's not that word of mouth is now a trend. It's been there for ages; definitely in a different way of course starting from biblical ages. But things have definitely changed along the way. The way it was perceived; the way it was spread; the way it got assimilated in our culture. And of course authors writing about it, made hell lot of difference in the way companies took it as an important marketing tool- be it in form of viral like "dove-evolution to onslaught" campaign or "We didn't start the viral" campaign to name a few in recent times.

But there has been a shift in the way it used to be spread then and now. I call it "The Pond-Ripple Effect". To simplify the concept, few things have to be kept in mind. First, a news/information which has to be spread is more like a story which is passed along the way like a baton. Secondly, the target audience is more like a pond along whose contours we are going to play with (metaphor).

So, we are already there to demystify the strategy. Supposedly, a story (here it is like a stone) is thrown to a target audience (the pond) through various means of media to create a ripple effect i.e. some sort of hype (may be good or bad). Generally, the stone is thrown in the middle of the pond to create maximum ripples. But sooner or later it fades away because of media proliferation and lack of customer attention.

So what do we do now? No, we are not heading towards the dead end. Take this case into consideration. Supposedly, the same story is thrown towards some opinionated evangelists who forms the boundary of the target audience (the pond). Now what may happen is this- Since marketing today has become more of a reflection of social paradigms and we believe more on peer recommendation, so these stories will keep on adding new values all the way through in the pond with bigger & better ripples.

So at the end of the day, your target audience knows about you; credibility is duly manifested since in every culture we follow some figures who are most often than not opinionated and at the end of it, you are creating conversations which makes "Meaning beyond Money".

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My 5 most favourite books- Have you read them?

It seems that the difference between a good marketer and a (not so good) marketer depends by and large on the amount of knowledge that he/she possesses. Now for me thats not all. For me it also depends on how the theory that we learn from these books can be practically transformed into real life solutions. Now thats what is required from a neo age Marketer.

So for all those knowledge thirsty marketers who are always on a lookout for refined knowledge resource, I fortunately came across some of the books which shaped me, guided me, molded me all this while. So this post is dedicated to all those greats who have written those books.

1. All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin
2.
The Cluetrain Manifesto by Christopher Locke
3. The Long Tail by Chris Anderson
4. The Search by John Battelle
5. Join the Conversation by Joseph Jaffe

This list of 5 books have been my best read books of the year 2007 (though the list is not on the priority basis). Hope to read some more like those in the next year. So what are you reading now?


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Slidepost: Innovate to Differentiate

Months back, I wrote a post on "Innovate to Differentiate" in which I try to explain how Innovation is so important to essentially differentiate in the mass cluttered marketplace. Now I came up with a slide which I want to share in this post.


If any of you, has some suggestion, surely I will try to improve in my next slideshare post.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Advertising: Do you know the truth?

Ever wondered about why your customers are getting weary about your ad messages day by day. Now Nielsen did a global survey<download pdf> about which advertising platforms in use today is most effective in terms of generating "Trust" from consumers.

What emerged from this survey is quite interesting. I won't go much into the details (you better download the article) but one thing is of prime importance than everything else- Word of Mouth.

Meanwhile, I will give some of the most important and revealing truths about traditional media. Check it out for yourself; then you can decide whether your last advertising budget should have gone to better places.


  • 18%: Proportion of TV advertising campaigns generating positive ROI
  • 54 cents: Average return in sales for every $1 spent on advertising
  • 256%: The increase in TV advertising costs (CPM) in the past decade
  • 84%: Proportion of B2B marketing campaigns resulting in falling sales
  • 100%: The increase needed in advertising spend to add 1-2% in sales
  • 14%: Proportion of people who trust advertising information
  • 90%: Proportion of people who can skip TV ads who do skip TV ads
  • 80%: Market share of video recorders with ad skipping technology in 2008
  • 95%: The failure rate for new product introductions
  • 117: The number of prime time TV spots in 2002 needed to reach 80% of adult population – up from just 3 in 1965
  • 3000: Number of advertising messages people are exposed to per day
  • 56%: Proportion of people who avoid buying products from companies who they think advertise too much
  • 65%: Proportion of people who believe that they are constantly bombarded with too much advertising
  • 69%: Proportion of people interested in technology or devices that enable them to skip or block advertising
Source: Justin Kirby & Paul Marsden (2006). Connected marketing. Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann. xix

So based on these hard data, everything boils down to two important questions:

  1. How are you going to engage your customers?
  2. How are you going to deliver good customer experiences consistently?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Google knows about you

My last week's traveling got better of me, I guess :-( . Now I am in my bed coughing and sneezing. Though I suffered from another kind of syndrome which is not too much prevalent in the medical books. It's called "Blog Guilt", since I could not post much last week. My sickness by and large is making an impact on the blog posts. So please bear with me, if I am not able to post as such in this week.

Still, while in my bed with all the medication (yikes) with me, I do keep myself hooked into internet to keep those mails and information flowing. Some may ask, why am I then posting in this condition?

Though, the answer could have been any smart pant types, but I will give the truer one. First of all, we have heard and read a lot about Google and its sister concerns, though not refraining from privacy issues. So just wanted to share some information with you folks. Nothing much; at least in this post, no amount of great research is required for which I have to use my grey matter.

So, continuing with the topic, how much do u think Google knows about you. I will give you certain clues.
And not forgetting, everyday Google is coming out with newer products which will be well entrenched into our day to day activities (Think Android).

So at the end of it all, Google (our next door internet friend) knows a hell lot about us. So until it acts as "Big brother", we are more than happy to welcome since the word that follows Google is FREE..FREE...FREE!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Eureka Bar: Backstory as a Marketing tool

Few weeks back, my friend Bozo told me that he bought a new shirt from Peter England (Do check this interactive site, quite interesting I must say). Though this won't hit the headlines for sure, still it did helped me to write this post in "Eureka Bar".

I observed an interesting narrative in Peter England (an apparel brand in India) shirts' packaging which tells us more about how the brand came into existence with "Peter England Story". This piece of simplistic marketing effort goes beyond the traditional capitalist overture.

Now product backstories is not new in the consumer centric markets. It has been there for ages. But now its importance is very well understood. If we dig deep, we will understand that product back stories have more potential than just from societal point of view. It's more on a cultural basis where you are trying to engage your customers with your product.

The backstories run deep inside the human psyche and forms an emotional bond. Now as far as I am concerned, I believe that backstories generate better Word-of-Mouth as people are more thrilled to know about where the product came from, how is it made etc. Nowadays marketing efforts are concentrating more on benefits, creating demand or focusing on attributes. So marketing companies' backstories become all the more important in this case.

The real lesson is "Simplicity in Marketing". Nowadays customers know that "You are Marketing" so simplicity becomes all the more imperative to break through the clutter. Basically no one adapts marketing which is simple and at the end of it all, it just gets ignored. But, simple stories are easier to pass along as they respect their audience by not wasting their time.

At least in this case, an Indian brand has taken to this concept of selling through Simplistic Marketing.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Eureka Bar: Brand me and a little bit more..!!

We all love Tees. But I don’t know if you have noticed it or not but somehow people love expressing themselves through this little piece of cloth. Take for instance, this company lastexittonowhere who got inspired by some of the most memorable places, corporations and companies in 20th century fiction (Look at the inset picture). Idea is simple; people love to attach themselves to the stories which these signages have to say.

Time & again, countries (sometimes cities too like “I love NY” campaign have tried to indulge their audience with them. So why should the companies forget this little idea of communicating their companies’ messages amongst their target audience. More often than not, we have seen companies fancying into sophomoric promotion/marketing through distributing tees to their employees. Now get out and spread the message to the larger mass alike.

Some of the reasons why I think that it will work:

  1. Long term benefits in terms of brand recall.
  2. At the end of it all, you are creating audiences who are inspired by the authenticity & transparency of the company’s story.
  3. Don’t forget the WOMM for this sort of communication which has become the lingua franca for neo emergent companies.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Marketer's dilemma - "Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder"

Advertising has gone to places where no one could ever think off (starting from television-outdoor-internet...). You see them everywhere, I mean every-damn-where. Some time back, in a very bold move, Sao Paulo's mayor banned all sorts of outdoor/billboard advertising campaigns as a part of the "Clean City" law. That of course puts a lot of pressure for those hard nosed marketers as they are trying to cope up with the situation (Thanks to Geeta Saini & Jinal Shah of Influential Marketing Blog fame and photographer & typographer Tony de Marco for this piece of info).


So we have a situation in hand. Most of the developed nations including US in some states has banned billboards as part of saving the natural beauty as it causes a lot of "Visual Pollution". Think about it a bit?

What if one fine morning your country or your state comes up with some law like this? Then is it that most outdoor advertisers/marketers will be out of their job? No I don't think so. Obviously they will come up with some new way of promotion, but the questions remains that is it possible that a complete harmony or coherence can be developed between these two sects of people - one of course the environmentalists & the other being evangelist marketers!!

Some of the strategies which neo marketers/advertising whiz's can put to use are-
  • Mobile billboard advertising (Thanks Abhishek) - Yeah, it's moving, dynamic ads - by & large ads to your doorsteps. Also in these sorts of ads, creativity is often appreciated. So WOMM is inevitable (though caution is necessary as it often may lead to commoditized ad campaign).Here are some of the few chosen alternate advertising campaigns. Have a look at the pictures.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A cue to the future for the marketers

Some time back, I stumbled upon a news report of MSNBC saying that many Europeans are choosing internet over TV. And by and large, the same trend follows across the world. It’s as if we are bored of that stupid idiot box. Actually it doesn’t bring dynamism to our thinking anymore (Crap basically). So most of us are turning towards digital media via internet.

But one question lurks in my mind seeing the news which obviously pertains to our marketing brotherhood. What has this news to do with marketers, you may ask. I believe it has!!

The word for it is Advertising. Now that’s not the only story. Companies, time and again have had engaged, delighted, excited their customers (mostly targeted ones) in different segments, be it product or services alike through this medium.

Now the customers range from toddlers to “Silver surfers”. Now that’s what I call reach or aptly call it the “Power of e”.

Now, I will leave you with three most interesting sites for this week as you guys are smart enough to understand where we all are heading.

  • Themallplus : An interesting online retailing site which can keep you on your toes and you may end up buying something.
  • Thepoint : The Point is a social platform for people to solve problems which they can’t solve alone. Bye-bye NGO’s.
  • Indeed : A job search engine with a twist. Fiddle around a bit and you will know the difference.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Think Blogging as an industry…!!!

Now this might be interesting (I suppose). Most often my posts are targeted towards those who are marketers, “wana be marketers” or sometimes those who just want to have an experience pertaining to anything which internet has to offer. But have you ever given a thought to this- “Blogging (with Capital B) as an industry”. Now that’s what Jeremiah Owyang says in one of his posts.

Now I just can’t help thinking that Oh hell ya it is!! Isn’t it? It has all the necessary ingredients which a proverbial industry needs – Sellers, buyers, advertisers, platform, revenue model, media, celebrities, personalities, trends and blah blah.

So where are we now…? Reality check for many and Status Quo for some. There is one tiny winy problem to that. Remember big brothers- The Search Engine Behemoths!!

Now a lot of traffic is driven to blogs due to search engines like Google, Yahoo or MSFT’s Live etc. Now without proper gate pass, most of the blogs die out or aptly phase out just like that. Hence, emergence of SEO took place which thrives more or less on the search side of the human world. Now there’s nothing wrong with it, though!!

Still the question remains whether Blogging has matured to be called as an industry? Now, to measure any industry’s competence as well as incompetence, availability of information is the most important parameter. But when that amount of information is not available (considering SE like Google’s robot i.e. spider crawler doesn’t index a page, then it’s not easily available to many). So information is somewhat obscure in terms of availability. But some will definitely thrive as information & media is shifting to more niche zones.

So by and large, I believe that Blogging can be thought of as an industry; still it will take a much larger mass appeal as well as reach to gauge its industry status.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Just for the hunger of *FAME*..!!!

The million dollar question in the web 2.0 era is why users create content online (as web 2.0 is driven by user generated content)? Now of course, consulting giant Mckinsey came with a research work some time back. The reasoning they put forward pertains to one of the most inner desired instincts i.e. The hunger of Fame!!

So is the cat being set among the pigeons? Now as everything in this world has its flip side aspects to it, so does this statement too have one? I believe there is. Now for an amateur user, what forces him to press the content development button…!!

Now some free drinks for those who have hit the chord. Yeah, Fame is one of the reasons though, but originality & relevance of the very content is one of the most important aspects to be “Famed*.

That’s why time & again, we have heard three notions which will drive your fame status to its prime i.e. Originality, Innovative (sometimes viral) idea and Focus. Now these three will definitely drive your content to those parts which you never imagined.

So all in all, Fame is just one side of the story whereas to be famed, you need all those three factors to carry you forward. Now do we see circle being completed? Oh hell yeah, I guess!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

After mass media, it’s your turn Social Media to get fragmented

Mass media is fragmented. We have heard this umpteen times. Haven’t we? Now when the forefathers of media saw a new trend called Web 2.0, their heart must be filled with joy. But I am sorry to be a party popper. Even Social Media (the very backbone of Web 2.0) is getting fragmented. Think about any ripple effect (in terms of reuse & misuse of information) you saw last time in the world of commerce. Won’t you ask me the question, why I made a bold statement like that?

I will definitely answer it. But let’s see, if you have got the clue. I will give a hint to that. The ripple (each time content is developed & distributed) effect of social media is very much available in any other good site (if you consider this site to be a good blog, then definitely this site is also affected). Ok, enough of beating around the bush, I will let you know what’s happening here with an example....

Hypothetical Example
- An important news broke out in WSJ today in the morning and an influential blogger wrote a thing or two in his/her blog. Now as we all know, good content in internet is like chocolate & wine served in a platter which anyone can enjoy without much restriction. So an anonymous blogger wrote about it and the true essence of the information may get lost in between. Adding to it, some social network-ers promoted it as more infotainment rather than information-content. Also, we can’t forget the power of individual emails etc.

So by & large, larger ripples are fewer in number but greater in reach & smaller ripples are greater in number but smaller in reach and more targeted.


So the next question should be what should be done? I say nothing. That’s the beauty of internet -Information distribution beyond boundaries & restrictions. And that’s where the distinction lies between mainstream media & Social media. In mainstream, content is unidirectional whereas social media’s content has dual direction (i.e. content creator & content user is on the same platform). Actually, with new content added in different apps, the credibility is giving place to distributive power of “e” (internet) where targeted population is receiving it the way they wanted it to be.

So no hassles. And I guess, now the forefathers can go ahead and enjoy their usual drinks. Cheers…!!!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Facebook markets *Your Face* through their online advertising

I have mentioned in my previous posts about two likelihoods- one on "Mass Advertising being dead" and the other being that online ads should be revamped to make it more user friendly in the context of Advertisement 2.0.

Now yesterday, Facebook came with an official press release of their Facebook ads. By and large, those ads are targeted at the members using their profile data pertaining to demographics in three parts according to TechCrunch.

Now that's ok for me. But is something more to it there? Now it seems that Facebook wants to market my brand preference, social networking, Web 2.0, websitess (though taking my own permission) according to nytimes (link). I will explain how!!

Literally, they want to put your face on the ads for the products that you like or your friends in your profile likes. Now am I missing the line here between privacy and social networking? Actually, yesterday they began showing ads with profile pics next to the advertisements for the products which their friends like or purchased before. So one sunday morning some of my friends will see me beside a commercial message which tries to sell them something which i liked or would like to have since I have a opinion on that brand. Now these hard data comes from the profile info we all have given to them.

Now according to Facebook, they are in charge of it having access to these sort of information and not the advertisers. Interestingly, this news broke out just a few days after F.T.C. (Federal Trade Commission) came out with a hearing on online privacy and customized ads.

Still not taking the credit away from Mark Zuckerberg (CEO- Facebook), the idea of using more interactive or rather the concept of using "social ads" is pretty kool as in they make direct emotional attachment with the users. As he says nothing influences than the recommendation of a trusted friend.

So as of now, I believe Facebook is going to bring a lot of tremors in the online business world. So check out the space for more info in the near future.

Monday, November 05, 2007

5 warning signals you will hate to miss in the new world

Hyper-connected world has become more of a cliché I must say. But I believe the real makeover in terms of globalization began much during the tech crash & burn times when zillions of clueless money was pumped into the so called fiber optic cables which connected a Mestizo with a Han. Now I call it clueless because they never realized then the new world of facebookers or twitterhommies of today will connect seamlessly with just a simple piece of wire.

So where are we now? In an instant we are becoming the latest actors (thanks to YouTube), writers (thanks to blogs), avatars (thanks to SecondLife) and last but not least RJ's (thanks to podcasts) and many more to come.

So when I put my little bit of thinking into it, all I came out with is 5 ideas which you will hate to miss in the new world of interconnected homo sapiens who can do more.

  1. Letter 'i' turning out to be a word- Yeah thats true. After sometime I am sure Oxford will publish letter 'i' as a word (pun intended). This new age of information flow is creating a new economy as a whole. Aptly it can be called as "Attention Economy". Nowadays even products are coming with the ubiquitous 'i' like iGoogle, iPhone, iPod, stressing much importance to you. The very you who forms the contours of this hyper-connected mesh.

  2. Tulip Mania- Tulip mania refers to any large economic bubble. Now most people believe that after dot-com burst, yet another bubble is on the way which was paved on 9th Oct,2006 when Google bought YouTube. Actually that's when every person with an inevitable thirst saw fresh dollar bills in their eyes with the whole web 2.0. Now with tons of new sites joining the race again, so aren't we heading for the wall again. Actually the point is as more & more are joining the bandwagon, less value is being created.

  3. Personal Media- Now how can we forget the Big Brother in between i.e. the mainstream media. Yeah, they have also come of age as more and more value creation and addition is happening in tandem with more user interfacing (think Ohmynews). Actually hyper-connectivity creates value added information at the corner of the adoption diffusion model. E.g. Bloggers.

  4. The Short Tail of Web2ness i.e. web 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5....so on & so forth- Now Chris Anderson (of the Long Tail fame) has got it right. And the whole inter-connectivity through latest buzzwords like web 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 is creating lesser and lesser value because of too much information clutter.

  5. Information overload-Last but not least, all the information that is available is getting distributed in a very randomly and uneven fashion. E.g. when one blogger writes something about a topic, other bloggers are like honey bees wandering around. So real and true information gets scattered most of the time. So users most of the time suffer from information overload disorder.
All in all, change is good but only when the change creates some value for all of us and not for a handful.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

How those lines say so much about us...!!!

Now this is something which I will aptly called "Weird". Though most of us will refrain from calling us by that name. But I am sure most of us have and will observe something like this.

No, I am not keeping the mystery unfolded for a long time. I will definitely pull the rabbit out of the hat. Actually it's quite interesting to see how many people mark or highlight some lines of books while reading. The other day I was going through a book by Tom Peters named "The pursuit of Wow!". Now thats what I call quenching your thirst in some form. But it's amazing to find out people marking some lines or paragraphs in the book (even though that it not right if you are taking books from the library). Still people won't chuck this small little habit. Yikes I must say...!!!

Oh I must tell you the lines which I saw marked in the book. Thats interesting actually.
"...and I'm struck by how timid most people are in fending off staleness."
Though there were more lines like these which I see marked abrubtly in nearly every book which I get from some library. Now whenever I see those lines marked I'm halted in my reading to understand more deeply what it is trying to convey. As if the lines remarkably stand out from other words that I have read before.

Now trying to understand why some people do this, I am again taken to the age old mystery about "why we do, what we do". Now one of the main reason for every individual has been to stand out in the crowd. So when we mark something in the book which will definitely go in someone else's hand will make us different (though that person is not in the picture). The fundamental thing remains the same. We, human beings are born marketers. We like to tell stories about us, about how we feel & so on and so forth. So those little lines tell about the person what he is...!! Eventually though that doesn't matter still it feels different, isn't it?

By the way have anyone thought of marketing (since some marketers talk about "Permission Marketing") through those marked lines. For example, spreading some mysterious facts about some company or brands or for that matter "You".

Try it, it's exciting I must say (although creativity should be yours).

Monday, December 31, 2007

Top 5 Marketing Predictions for 2008

This month, I have seen many trends being talked about from media, marketing, internet, technology, innovation or what not (Posted earlier) all across the internet. Some are big while some are just micro (in real sense). Some will be hit or hot for year 2008 while some will just fizz away with WTF* statement!!

Still I wanted to share something which I have been seeing for quite sometime now in the business circuit, especially in the marketing arena for that matter. So here are my trends for year 2008:-
  • Branding Shift: Branding will move from traditional way to more nicher media with the advent of newer technologies. Usage of internet as a branding medium will catch on the fire, even in India.
  • Total Brand Experience: Advertisements in the form of televison, outdoors, billboards etc will bring customers close to the brands to complete that “Total Brand Experience” i.e. TBE. Even the engagement of these interactions between customers & brands will increase next year.

  • Social Media Fire: Countries like India where mass marketing is the bread & butter for most marketers, social media will catch the fire as marketers will realize the potentiality of social media. Companies will start using SN and Twitter to understand their customers in a better way. Social Media will be more prominent in western countries with importance on more customer interactivity.

  • Search Engine Optimization: Companies will move away slowly but steadily from Google as advertisement repository to more nicher areas like Digg, StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us etc (Social Bookmarking sites). The reason is relevant search results for end users. Year 2008 will start the beginning of the importance of Semantic Web until Google starts thinking hard to tackle it. I'm sure they will with Knol etc.

  • More disruptive Innovations: Companies like Apple, Google, MSFT and not forgetting Facebook alikes will come with more innovations (mostly disruptive which will set the industry standards). We will see many new products as well great new services.
These 5 predictions will be there in year 2008 mostly. Though all may not be true but I just hope most of them are. But I can guarantee one thing for the future: THE CUSTOMERS WILL HAVE MANY BETTER CHOICES. So companies have to really try hard to pull that extra buck out of our wallet.

So lastly Happy New Year to all of you and have a great time ahead. Cheers!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Using Facebook as Marketing Platform

I have been using Facebook for quite sometime now. Though as a social networking site, it's not that much prevalent in India till now (::come next year though:: It will be a different scene altogether). As a matter of fact, if you type "India" in Facebook search, this is the figure that will show up (People=500+; Groups=130; Events=141; Applications=18). This figure is quite less compared to other active social networking countries. Reason may be partly due to its emergence in the West and less promotion in the east.

Still Facebook as a Marketing Platform can never be denied in terms of its Web Apps/Widgets. Though it can't be ruled as a viable option too. But Facebook with it's rapidly growing user base can be a marketer's bread & butter in terms of exposure for your brand, product or website.

Ways in which Facebook can be used as a marketing platform for companies are:

#1. Targeted Brand Exposure: Facebook with its clearly demarcated demographics can be easily used to to spread the brand communication message.

#2. Viral Marketing: Facebook can be used to spread the word as both content (brand message) & services are fused together in a single platform. E.g. Amazon's Visual Bookshelf apps. The bigger picture is that companies won't have to spend much since the word will be carried forward by the users as engagement between users & apps increases when value will be added to each interaction between apps and users.

#3. Easy hunting ground for Market Research: Facebook's biggest success formula has been it varied demographics ranging from teens to baby boomers. So companies can easily use this wide demographics for different Market Research to understand its target market in a better way.

Not everything is rosy about Facebook. Along with so much promise, there still lurks the usual fad attached to social networking sites like these. So some of the problems marketers may face are:

#1. Fad attached to social networking sites: If something new and cool comes in the way and as we all are aware of B.S.O.S (Bright & Shiny Object Syndrome), so Facebook may just dissipate in the horizon.

#2.
Flyers to Fliers: Furthermore, while some users praise Facebook flyers because they blend in with the rest of the Facebook interface and are not intrusive, others argue that this is precisely the reason why the click-through rates are so low. At the same time, these people welcome using pay-per-click marketing because that way, you only pay when someone notices and clicks on your advertisement. (Thanks Pronetadvertising)

So at the end of it all, Creativity is "THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP" in approaching social communities and hence opportunities can be created if, and only if, you play by the rules and also as marketers we have to consider "Adding value to each interaction" i.e. c0-create the naturally viral nature of the community instead of forcing it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Links for 2007-12-26

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

5 things I did & learnt in 2007

As year 2007 is coming to its end, I sat back and tried to scribble some thoughts about what I did & learn this year as a marketer, a social being and more importantly as a human being. So here are the 5 most important things I learnt in 2007 (in random order):

#1. I started my blog which helped me not only in jotting down random thoughts about marketing and life par se but also these thoughts are now present as an online journal. I can look back at those reflections whenever I want to. In the process, I got some applause as well as criticism. Thanks a ton to everyone for those comments too.

#2. I became more active in Social Media (apart from my single a/c in orkut). Now I have active accounts in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,AdGabber, SlideShare, StumpleUpon, Digg, Del.icio.us etc to name a few. These associations helped me to understand Marketing in a whole new way.

#3. In this process, I joined as well as promoted some social causes like "Cause a Ripple" (which is still in my weblog) to "Stop Global Warming" (in my Facebook Profile) to name a few. It helped me realize that as social human beings it's our duty to give something back to our future Gen (though in a small way) as well as our Mother Earth.

#4. Network of Associations: This year I have networked with people whom I know from distant past as well as with people from some social networking sites. This has helped me to learn a lot from small snippets to large gimmicks. Thanks to Twitter as well as to those bloggers (a long list actually) by and large.

#5. Year 2007 has been quite fulfilling in terms of amount of quality books that I read (Posted earlier in my blog). All in all, I read something about 15 odd books which were not only insightful but also quite heart rendering at times.

So for me year 2007 has been quite enriching in terms of learning, networking as well as my long term desire of philanthropy (in small measure though). So I hope year 2008 also brings the same - not only for me but all my blog readers as well as those who are going to read it in the near future. So, all my well wishes from my side for year 2008.

So what about you in 2007? Did you had a good year?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas ::Ho Ho Ho::


I would like to wish all of you merry Christmas and a happy & prosperous 2008.

One more thing about Xmas which really excites me is "Coke" and Christmas' Santa Claus. The similarity is stupendous. Especially the color combination i.e. Red & white which symbolizes Coke all the way. Did Santa wore it all the way through or it was just a perfectly executed marketing plan which become some sort of "Marketing Icon" by itself. Great work by Coke guys (especially attaching religious myth with brand imagery). So as long as X-Mas will be around we will never forget Santa or its pal Coke!!

Further reading @ Love for color Red in Brand Logos

Friday, December 21, 2007

*Christvertising*:God & Branding

In the process of discovering insightful as well as weird sites, I stumbled upon this one. It's up to you guys to decide whether this is hilarious, insightful or sheer blasphemous. After seeing this, one thing becomes very clear i.e. US people take their Christian Belief very seriously. According to their Website (link) i.e. "Christvertising", they proclaim that through their BTP (Brand Targeted Prayers), millions of ardent Christian believers will pray for your brands. So all in all, here's "Christvertising" as well as me wishing you merry Christmas and Happy 2008.



Sources: Adverblog

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Getting Nostalgic (the ad syndrome)

Nothing great about the ad though, but remembering those days. Actually seeing this ad after a long time (beautifully crafted by P&G and Saatchi & Saatchi). I feel from a marketer's point of view that we all are turning out to be like them i.e. self-centric kid in this era of prosumer (producer+consumer).


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Links for 2007-12-18

Monday, December 17, 2007

India: Thinking Digital, Going Conventional

What it means to go digital? Is it another B.S.O.S (Bright and Shiny Objects Syndrome) which the industry guys just love to latch on. Part of my statement is due to the fact that most of the executions are not that new. They are the same old crap wrapped in neat packages.

Almost all the companies in the world, starting from emerging markets like India to developed nations like US have some kind of presence in web. But the point is how much importance do the top honchos give to this new system of distribution and connection with the customers where the long tail concept is very evidential.

Specially talking about emerging markets like India, the Long Tail concept loses it bastion which it enjoys in western countries in most of the product categories. So when does a company think digital in emerging markets? By and large, most of the activities related to engaging the customers are very conventional in terms of communicating with the customers.

Some of the major road blocks in the way to go digital are lack of awareness of the potential of internet (both in terms of scale as well as reach), low awareness about how internet marketing works at multi-stage level and last but not least resistance to try out new things. Still over the couple of years, internet has gathered some critical mass (at least you can see that in everyday newspapers).So when and how do we exactly start off doing digital....
  • Traditional + Digital = Effective customer engagement: A right blend of both traditional marketing and digital marketing is what is required now. Since the customers are habitual of the usual touchpoints, so going totally digital won't solve the problem. But using technology to co-create newer touchpoints can surely engage your customers in a varied level.
  • Proliferation of newer Technologies: Every month, near about a million cell phone users get added up in India. Whoa!! Thats a huge figure. So getting access to new technologies to engage the customers have increased. But the pace at which the customers have accepted these newer technologies is not at the same rate that of the companies. So try using it to nudge your customer's expectation but bearing the fact that it should not be an interrupting proposition.
  • Exciting those senses:Digital marketing has the power to excite our senses like sight, sound and motion (SiSoMo).Now think about your customers who have always been fed with monologue communication process. This will definitely excite them and make them think about you in this media cluttered environment.
This is the crux of the post. Though there can be other ways too to reach customers and engage them. So any thoughts from your side....

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Links for 2007-12-15

Friday, December 14, 2007

Google's "Don't be Evil" mantra - Holy shit

Last night Google announced that they are starting a new project named Knol. Hmm interesting I must say. Actually, it pertains to creating wiki like pages. Now people will be able to submit comments, questions, edits, additional content, and so on and so forth. One of two things comes to my mind when I read about this new development. Firstly, will Wikipedia and Wikia become yesterday and secondly if it becomes due to certain reasons which I will elaborate later, then are we going to get crappy results (spoke about it in earlier post) which we most often get when we try finding something in Google.

Considering that, Wikipedia is turning out to be one of Google's biggest rivals in terms of search results. So there is all the more possibilities that Google is trying hard to kill both Wikipedia and Wikia (Jimmy Wales social search engine).

So the interesting detail among all these is the timing of this announcement which comes just days before Wikia's beta launch. So what's the future of Wikipedia and Wikia? It all rests in our hands. Though Google is in a win-win situation because of the following reasons:
  • Still we use Google as primary search engine and with its allied services, we will be driven towards making those knols which can anyway outrun Wikipedia in terms of the fresh content which we found in Wiki.
  • Remember Google's indexing mechanism which can now index Knols to a larger extent (since it's Google's own system)and keep the major traffic away from Wiki.
  • The moolah factor which is on the side of Google will definitely help it to close the deal better than wikipedia which is trying to raise some money.
  • The corporations just love Google because of its far-flung reach through its ads program and other different tie-ups. So when the corporations love Google and in a way hate Wikipedia on its openness program, so biting the larger chunk of the cake won't be that difficult for Google, I suppose.
  • Last but not least, the power of the masses is in favor of Google as of now due to its reach.
So my take on this will be conservative, as in, it will take some time for people to get used to Knols and creating, editing & publishing fresh content. But my gut feeling says that the war is far from getting over between Google & Wikipedia. And at the end of it all, we the users will be most benefited as I suppose some changes are due in Wiki's front and I personally want to see what Google comes up with next.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Height of Measuring Word-of-Mouth

Some skeptics say that social media lacks two most important attributes: One being the lack of scalability & the other being the measurability parameter. Though, I don't totally disagree with the above statement but it has always been one of my interests to understand how to measure effectiveness of things like word-of-mouth without asking the analytics guy to work overtime.

The answer came in a very weird fashion if I may say so. Being a marketer, it's important to have an eye for detailing. Even more in your observation, understanding and last but not least sharing the information with your peers, family and sometimes to those whom you don't actually like sometimes :-). So that is the very essence of word of mouth. But you can't actually measure it until & unless you see your sales figure or something related to that moving northwards. Isn't it?

But I have an interesting point of view here. You may disagree with me totally. But being a marketer, when you see your non-geek friend, less media savvy guy or sometimes your grandmother talk about something new which she has seen or heard; then you know that it must be working.

Actually, the point is that nowadays we read into too much of data and forgo the intuition part of it. So when your next door neighbor (whom you usually hate sometimes) tells you about a new gizmo he has seen few days back; remember that your company (if it is making that gizmo), then actually you are doing good in your word-of-mouth campaign. So Information+Intuition=Order of the day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Memes, Haikus & Tinyurls are the order of the day

I am always on a lookout for what's in & what's out, primarily in the business arena. Though it will take the dexterity and finesse of a pro, still my thirst to find something in nothing won't go away that easy. I won't deny at this point that the idea of Twitter"ing" is just very addictive. But on the hindsight if you think about it, internet is nowadays so open that for a web onlooker like me memes, hiakus & tinyurl's is all that matters to start off a conversation.

"Conversation" or you can say dialogue (remember DI-alogue) is the power of two. Bearing the fact that once upon a time, it used to be just TV who was the sole bearer of ideas. Now the power has shifted and now every marketer knows the fact. Infact, the reason TV used to work tremendously well for quite some time was because that was new then and it touched people in a way which they could never have imagined. Now it's not so. The only reason that could be cited is due to more choices and less time. So the most obvious thing that consumers can do is to just ignore you (No wonder there are so many new product launch failures..approx 95%).

So then the whole Web 2.0 emerged. It's not at all that having a web presence will solve all the problems, but definitely it will help people to talk about you at the end of the day. Now, in the post PC era, companies which let its customers talk about itself makes "Meaning beyond Money". That is power of conversation.

And talking about conversation in Web 2.0, its not all about blogs, wikis etc. It's more about new emerging micro-trends like Twitter, Jaiku's, Truemors etc which are having a very significant & influential impact, even in business and the way your customers talk about you.

So at the end of it all, if you scroll down to that moment when you talk about customer touch points, think about this for a while. The latest cool thing for customers are memes, haikus and all those million tinyurl's which float in this vast web because now the customers can talk, share, criticize, spread the word about you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How can watching Movies in theaters be more interactive

Turn your brand message into a brand experience through emerging technologies- that's what most brand evangelists will say. But the question pertains to rather difficult proposition of nudging consumer's expectations.

I can't help thinking myself doing anything different except buying the usual popcorn, waiting for the intro trailers and finally the moment of truth i.e. the movie. So is there any other way to make movie-watching more exciting? How about this video....



The video above dubs the concept of "Human Joysticks". This shows the power of engagement & participation in the world of conversations between the value innovators (companies) and value perceivers (customers).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Happy Communion of Man,Technology & Data

Moments back, a friend told me about emerging technology trends and its repercussions on us. So where are we going exactly? 3 trends that have followed suit while we were sleeping :-) all this while were:
  1. Moore's Law which states that number of transistors on a chip doubles every after two years. Which means in a simple layman's term that we will see a lot of happenings in tech space (more in hardware though), but also somehow connected to software by and large.
  2. Data,Data everywhere: The second noteworthy thing is proliferation of data as suggested by Forrester Research which talks mostly about how the volume of the world’s data doubles approximately every three years.
  3. Third but lastly, the human element. More and more, in the post PC era (started with iPods,Zunes,iPhones etc), we are getting more and more techno savvy. So dilution of technology is at its prime and least amount of resistance is coming from consumers.
So, the picture seems perfect. Or we may say it seems like a happy communion of ever growing data with fitting technology to collect,hold & distribute it and at the end of it acceptance by man. So the future seems right, isn't it? Or it is just a small blip in the long tail of B.S.O.S. (Bright and Shiny Objects Syndrome).

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Word of Mouth - *The Pond-Ripple Effect*

It's not that word of mouth is now a trend. It's been there for ages; definitely in a different way of course starting from biblical ages. But things have definitely changed along the way. The way it was perceived; the way it was spread; the way it got assimilated in our culture. And of course authors writing about it, made hell lot of difference in the way companies took it as an important marketing tool- be it in form of viral like "dove-evolution to onslaught" campaign or "We didn't start the viral" campaign to name a few in recent times.

But there has been a shift in the way it used to be spread then and now. I call it "The Pond-Ripple Effect". To simplify the concept, few things have to be kept in mind. First, a news/information which has to be spread is more like a story which is passed along the way like a baton. Secondly, the target audience is more like a pond along whose contours we are going to play with (metaphor).

So, we are already there to demystify the strategy. Supposedly, a story (here it is like a stone) is thrown to a target audience (the pond) through various means of media to create a ripple effect i.e. some sort of hype (may be good or bad). Generally, the stone is thrown in the middle of the pond to create maximum ripples. But sooner or later it fades away because of media proliferation and lack of customer attention.

So what do we do now? No, we are not heading towards the dead end. Take this case into consideration. Supposedly, the same story is thrown towards some opinionated evangelists who forms the boundary of the target audience (the pond). Now what may happen is this- Since marketing today has become more of a reflection of social paradigms and we believe more on peer recommendation, so these stories will keep on adding new values all the way through in the pond with bigger & better ripples.

So at the end of the day, your target audience knows about you; credibility is duly manifested since in every culture we follow some figures who are most often than not opinionated and at the end of it, you are creating conversations which makes "Meaning beyond Money".

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My 5 most favourite books- Have you read them?

It seems that the difference between a good marketer and a (not so good) marketer depends by and large on the amount of knowledge that he/she possesses. Now for me thats not all. For me it also depends on how the theory that we learn from these books can be practically transformed into real life solutions. Now thats what is required from a neo age Marketer.

So for all those knowledge thirsty marketers who are always on a lookout for refined knowledge resource, I fortunately came across some of the books which shaped me, guided me, molded me all this while. So this post is dedicated to all those greats who have written those books.

1. All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin
2.
The Cluetrain Manifesto by Christopher Locke
3. The Long Tail by Chris Anderson
4. The Search by John Battelle
5. Join the Conversation by Joseph Jaffe

This list of 5 books have been my best read books of the year 2007 (though the list is not on the priority basis). Hope to read some more like those in the next year. So what are you reading now?


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Slidepost: Innovate to Differentiate

Months back, I wrote a post on "Innovate to Differentiate" in which I try to explain how Innovation is so important to essentially differentiate in the mass cluttered marketplace. Now I came up with a slide which I want to share in this post.


If any of you, has some suggestion, surely I will try to improve in my next slideshare post.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Advertising: Do you know the truth?

Ever wondered about why your customers are getting weary about your ad messages day by day. Now Nielsen did a global survey<download pdf> about which advertising platforms in use today is most effective in terms of generating "Trust" from consumers.

What emerged from this survey is quite interesting. I won't go much into the details (you better download the article) but one thing is of prime importance than everything else- Word of Mouth.

Meanwhile, I will give some of the most important and revealing truths about traditional media. Check it out for yourself; then you can decide whether your last advertising budget should have gone to better places.


  • 18%: Proportion of TV advertising campaigns generating positive ROI
  • 54 cents: Average return in sales for every $1 spent on advertising
  • 256%: The increase in TV advertising costs (CPM) in the past decade
  • 84%: Proportion of B2B marketing campaigns resulting in falling sales
  • 100%: The increase needed in advertising spend to add 1-2% in sales
  • 14%: Proportion of people who trust advertising information
  • 90%: Proportion of people who can skip TV ads who do skip TV ads
  • 80%: Market share of video recorders with ad skipping technology in 2008
  • 95%: The failure rate for new product introductions
  • 117: The number of prime time TV spots in 2002 needed to reach 80% of adult population – up from just 3 in 1965
  • 3000: Number of advertising messages people are exposed to per day
  • 56%: Proportion of people who avoid buying products from companies who they think advertise too much
  • 65%: Proportion of people who believe that they are constantly bombarded with too much advertising
  • 69%: Proportion of people interested in technology or devices that enable them to skip or block advertising
Source: Justin Kirby & Paul Marsden (2006). Connected marketing. Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann. xix

So based on these hard data, everything boils down to two important questions:

  1. How are you going to engage your customers?
  2. How are you going to deliver good customer experiences consistently?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Google knows about you

My last week's traveling got better of me, I guess :-( . Now I am in my bed coughing and sneezing. Though I suffered from another kind of syndrome which is not too much prevalent in the medical books. It's called "Blog Guilt", since I could not post much last week. My sickness by and large is making an impact on the blog posts. So please bear with me, if I am not able to post as such in this week.

Still, while in my bed with all the medication (yikes) with me, I do keep myself hooked into internet to keep those mails and information flowing. Some may ask, why am I then posting in this condition?

Though, the answer could have been any smart pant types, but I will give the truer one. First of all, we have heard and read a lot about Google and its sister concerns, though not refraining from privacy issues. So just wanted to share some information with you folks. Nothing much; at least in this post, no amount of great research is required for which I have to use my grey matter.

So, continuing with the topic, how much do u think Google knows about you. I will give you certain clues.
And not forgetting, everyday Google is coming out with newer products which will be well entrenched into our day to day activities (Think Android).

So at the end of it all, Google (our next door internet friend) knows a hell lot about us. So until it acts as "Big brother", we are more than happy to welcome since the word that follows Google is FREE..FREE...FREE!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Eureka Bar: Backstory as a Marketing tool

Few weeks back, my friend Bozo told me that he bought a new shirt from Peter England (Do check this interactive site, quite interesting I must say). Though this won't hit the headlines for sure, still it did helped me to write this post in "Eureka Bar".

I observed an interesting narrative in Peter England (an apparel brand in India) shirts' packaging which tells us more about how the brand came into existence with "Peter England Story". This piece of simplistic marketing effort goes beyond the traditional capitalist overture.

Now product backstories is not new in the consumer centric markets. It has been there for ages. But now its importance is very well understood. If we dig deep, we will understand that product back stories have more potential than just from societal point of view. It's more on a cultural basis where you are trying to engage your customers with your product.

The backstories run deep inside the human psyche and forms an emotional bond. Now as far as I am concerned, I believe that backstories generate better Word-of-Mouth as people are more thrilled to know about where the product came from, how is it made etc. Nowadays marketing efforts are concentrating more on benefits, creating demand or focusing on attributes. So marketing companies' backstories become all the more important in this case.

The real lesson is "Simplicity in Marketing". Nowadays customers know that "You are Marketing" so simplicity becomes all the more imperative to break through the clutter. Basically no one adapts marketing which is simple and at the end of it all, it just gets ignored. But, simple stories are easier to pass along as they respect their audience by not wasting their time.

At least in this case, an Indian brand has taken to this concept of selling through Simplistic Marketing.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Eureka Bar: Brand me and a little bit more..!!

We all love Tees. But I don’t know if you have noticed it or not but somehow people love expressing themselves through this little piece of cloth. Take for instance, this company lastexittonowhere who got inspired by some of the most memorable places, corporations and companies in 20th century fiction (Look at the inset picture). Idea is simple; people love to attach themselves to the stories which these signages have to say.

Time & again, countries (sometimes cities too like “I love NY” campaign have tried to indulge their audience with them. So why should the companies forget this little idea of communicating their companies’ messages amongst their target audience. More often than not, we have seen companies fancying into sophomoric promotion/marketing through distributing tees to their employees. Now get out and spread the message to the larger mass alike.

Some of the reasons why I think that it will work:

  1. Long term benefits in terms of brand recall.
  2. At the end of it all, you are creating audiences who are inspired by the authenticity & transparency of the company’s story.
  3. Don’t forget the WOMM for this sort of communication which has become the lingua franca for neo emergent companies.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Marketer's dilemma - "Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder"

Advertising has gone to places where no one could ever think off (starting from television-outdoor-internet...). You see them everywhere, I mean every-damn-where. Some time back, in a very bold move, Sao Paulo's mayor banned all sorts of outdoor/billboard advertising campaigns as a part of the "Clean City" law. That of course puts a lot of pressure for those hard nosed marketers as they are trying to cope up with the situation (Thanks to Geeta Saini & Jinal Shah of Influential Marketing Blog fame and photographer & typographer Tony de Marco for this piece of info).


So we have a situation in hand. Most of the developed nations including US in some states has banned billboards as part of saving the natural beauty as it causes a lot of "Visual Pollution". Think about it a bit?

What if one fine morning your country or your state comes up with some law like this? Then is it that most outdoor advertisers/marketers will be out of their job? No I don't think so. Obviously they will come up with some new way of promotion, but the questions remains that is it possible that a complete harmony or coherence can be developed between these two sects of people - one of course the environmentalists & the other being evangelist marketers!!

Some of the strategies which neo marketers/advertising whiz's can put to use are-
  • Mobile billboard advertising (Thanks Abhishek) - Yeah, it's moving, dynamic ads - by & large ads to your doorsteps. Also in these sorts of ads, creativity is often appreciated. So WOMM is inevitable (though caution is necessary as it often may lead to commoditized ad campaign).Here are some of the few chosen alternate advertising campaigns. Have a look at the pictures.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A cue to the future for the marketers

Some time back, I stumbled upon a news report of MSNBC saying that many Europeans are choosing internet over TV. And by and large, the same trend follows across the world. It’s as if we are bored of that stupid idiot box. Actually it doesn’t bring dynamism to our thinking anymore (Crap basically). So most of us are turning towards digital media via internet.

But one question lurks in my mind seeing the news which obviously pertains to our marketing brotherhood. What has this news to do with marketers, you may ask. I believe it has!!

The word for it is Advertising. Now that’s not the only story. Companies, time and again have had engaged, delighted, excited their customers (mostly targeted ones) in different segments, be it product or services alike through this medium.

Now the customers range from toddlers to “Silver surfers”. Now that’s what I call reach or aptly call it the “Power of e”.

Now, I will leave you with three most interesting sites for this week as you guys are smart enough to understand where we all are heading.

  • Themallplus : An interesting online retailing site which can keep you on your toes and you may end up buying something.
  • Thepoint : The Point is a social platform for people to solve problems which they can’t solve alone. Bye-bye NGO’s.
  • Indeed : A job search engine with a twist. Fiddle around a bit and you will know the difference.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Think Blogging as an industry…!!!

Now this might be interesting (I suppose). Most often my posts are targeted towards those who are marketers, “wana be marketers” or sometimes those who just want to have an experience pertaining to anything which internet has to offer. But have you ever given a thought to this- “Blogging (with Capital B) as an industry”. Now that’s what Jeremiah Owyang says in one of his posts.

Now I just can’t help thinking that Oh hell ya it is!! Isn’t it? It has all the necessary ingredients which a proverbial industry needs – Sellers, buyers, advertisers, platform, revenue model, media, celebrities, personalities, trends and blah blah.

So where are we now…? Reality check for many and Status Quo for some. There is one tiny winy problem to that. Remember big brothers- The Search Engine Behemoths!!

Now a lot of traffic is driven to blogs due to search engines like Google, Yahoo or MSFT’s Live etc. Now without proper gate pass, most of the blogs die out or aptly phase out just like that. Hence, emergence of SEO took place which thrives more or less on the search side of the human world. Now there’s nothing wrong with it, though!!

Still the question remains whether Blogging has matured to be called as an industry? Now, to measure any industry’s competence as well as incompetence, availability of information is the most important parameter. But when that amount of information is not available (considering SE like Google’s robot i.e. spider crawler doesn’t index a page, then it’s not easily available to many). So information is somewhat obscure in terms of availability. But some will definitely thrive as information & media is shifting to more niche zones.

So by and large, I believe that Blogging can be thought of as an industry; still it will take a much larger mass appeal as well as reach to gauge its industry status.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Just for the hunger of *FAME*..!!!

The million dollar question in the web 2.0 era is why users create content online (as web 2.0 is driven by user generated content)? Now of course, consulting giant Mckinsey came with a research work some time back. The reasoning they put forward pertains to one of the most inner desired instincts i.e. The hunger of Fame!!

So is the cat being set among the pigeons? Now as everything in this world has its flip side aspects to it, so does this statement too have one? I believe there is. Now for an amateur user, what forces him to press the content development button…!!

Now some free drinks for those who have hit the chord. Yeah, Fame is one of the reasons though, but originality & relevance of the very content is one of the most important aspects to be “Famed*.

That’s why time & again, we have heard three notions which will drive your fame status to its prime i.e. Originality, Innovative (sometimes viral) idea and Focus. Now these three will definitely drive your content to those parts which you never imagined.

So all in all, Fame is just one side of the story whereas to be famed, you need all those three factors to carry you forward. Now do we see circle being completed? Oh hell yeah, I guess!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

After mass media, it’s your turn Social Media to get fragmented

Mass media is fragmented. We have heard this umpteen times. Haven’t we? Now when the forefathers of media saw a new trend called Web 2.0, their heart must be filled with joy. But I am sorry to be a party popper. Even Social Media (the very backbone of Web 2.0) is getting fragmented. Think about any ripple effect (in terms of reuse & misuse of information) you saw last time in the world of commerce. Won’t you ask me the question, why I made a bold statement like that?

I will definitely answer it. But let’s see, if you have got the clue. I will give a hint to that. The ripple (each time content is developed & distributed) effect of social media is very much available in any other good site (if you consider this site to be a good blog, then definitely this site is also affected). Ok, enough of beating around the bush, I will let you know what’s happening here with an example....

Hypothetical Example
- An important news broke out in WSJ today in the morning and an influential blogger wrote a thing or two in his/her blog. Now as we all know, good content in internet is like chocolate & wine served in a platter which anyone can enjoy without much restriction. So an anonymous blogger wrote about it and the true essence of the information may get lost in between. Adding to it, some social network-ers promoted it as more infotainment rather than information-content. Also, we can’t forget the power of individual emails etc.

So by & large, larger ripples are fewer in number but greater in reach & smaller ripples are greater in number but smaller in reach and more targeted.


So the next question should be what should be done? I say nothing. That’s the beauty of internet -Information distribution beyond boundaries & restrictions. And that’s where the distinction lies between mainstream media & Social media. In mainstream, content is unidirectional whereas social media’s content has dual direction (i.e. content creator & content user is on the same platform). Actually, with new content added in different apps, the credibility is giving place to distributive power of “e” (internet) where targeted population is receiving it the way they wanted it to be.

So no hassles. And I guess, now the forefathers can go ahead and enjoy their usual drinks. Cheers…!!!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Facebook markets *Your Face* through their online advertising

I have mentioned in my previous posts about two likelihoods- one on "Mass Advertising being dead" and the other being that online ads should be revamped to make it more user friendly in the context of Advertisement 2.0.

Now yesterday, Facebook came with an official press release of their Facebook ads. By and large, those ads are targeted at the members using their profile data pertaining to demographics in three parts according to TechCrunch.

Now that's ok for me. But is something more to it there? Now it seems that Facebook wants to market my brand preference, social networking, Web 2.0, websitess (though taking my own permission) according to nytimes (link). I will explain how!!

Literally, they want to put your face on the ads for the products that you like or your friends in your profile likes. Now am I missing the line here between privacy and social networking? Actually, yesterday they began showing ads with profile pics next to the advertisements for the products which their friends like or purchased before. So one sunday morning some of my friends will see me beside a commercial message which tries to sell them something which i liked or would like to have since I have a opinion on that brand. Now these hard data comes from the profile info we all have given to them.

Now according to Facebook, they are in charge of it having access to these sort of information and not the advertisers. Interestingly, this news broke out just a few days after F.T.C. (Federal Trade Commission) came out with a hearing on online privacy and customized ads.

Still not taking the credit away from Mark Zuckerberg (CEO- Facebook), the idea of using more interactive or rather the concept of using "social ads" is pretty kool as in they make direct emotional attachment with the users. As he says nothing influences than the recommendation of a trusted friend.

So as of now, I believe Facebook is going to bring a lot of tremors in the online business world. So check out the space for more info in the near future.

Monday, November 05, 2007

5 warning signals you will hate to miss in the new world

Hyper-connected world has become more of a cliché I must say. But I believe the real makeover in terms of globalization began much during the tech crash & burn times when zillions of clueless money was pumped into the so called fiber optic cables which connected a Mestizo with a Han. Now I call it clueless because they never realized then the new world of facebookers or twitterhommies of today will connect seamlessly with just a simple piece of wire.

So where are we now? In an instant we are becoming the latest actors (thanks to YouTube), writers (thanks to blogs), avatars (thanks to SecondLife) and last but not least RJ's (thanks to podcasts) and many more to come.

So when I put my little bit of thinking into it, all I came out with is 5 ideas which you will hate to miss in the new world of interconnected homo sapiens who can do more.

  1. Letter 'i' turning out to be a word- Yeah thats true. After sometime I am sure Oxford will publish letter 'i' as a word (pun intended). This new age of information flow is creating a new economy as a whole. Aptly it can be called as "Attention Economy". Nowadays even products are coming with the ubiquitous 'i' like iGoogle, iPhone, iPod, stressing much importance to you. The very you who forms the contours of this hyper-connected mesh.

  2. Tulip Mania- Tulip mania refers to any large economic bubble. Now most people believe that after dot-com burst, yet another bubble is on the way which was paved on 9th Oct,2006 when Google bought YouTube. Actually that's when every person with an inevitable thirst saw fresh dollar bills in their eyes with the whole web 2.0. Now with tons of new sites joining the race again, so aren't we heading for the wall again. Actually the point is as more & more are joining the bandwagon, less value is being created.

  3. Personal Media- Now how can we forget the Big Brother in between i.e. the mainstream media. Yeah, they have also come of age as more and more value creation and addition is happening in tandem with more user interfacing (think Ohmynews). Actually hyper-connectivity creates value added information at the corner of the adoption diffusion model. E.g. Bloggers.

  4. The Short Tail of Web2ness i.e. web 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5....so on & so forth- Now Chris Anderson (of the Long Tail fame) has got it right. And the whole inter-connectivity through latest buzzwords like web 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 is creating lesser and lesser value because of too much information clutter.

  5. Information overload-Last but not least, all the information that is available is getting distributed in a very randomly and uneven fashion. E.g. when one blogger writes something about a topic, other bloggers are like honey bees wandering around. So real and true information gets scattered most of the time. So users most of the time suffer from information overload disorder.
All in all, change is good but only when the change creates some value for all of us and not for a handful.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

How those lines say so much about us...!!!

Now this is something which I will aptly called "Weird". Though most of us will refrain from calling us by that name. But I am sure most of us have and will observe something like this.

No, I am not keeping the mystery unfolded for a long time. I will definitely pull the rabbit out of the hat. Actually it's quite interesting to see how many people mark or highlight some lines of books while reading. The other day I was going through a book by Tom Peters named "The pursuit of Wow!". Now thats what I call quenching your thirst in some form. But it's amazing to find out people marking some lines or paragraphs in the book (even though that it not right if you are taking books from the library). Still people won't chuck this small little habit. Yikes I must say...!!!

Oh I must tell you the lines which I saw marked in the book. Thats interesting actually.
"...and I'm struck by how timid most people are in fending off staleness."
Though there were more lines like these which I see marked abrubtly in nearly every book which I get from some library. Now whenever I see those lines marked I'm halted in my reading to understand more deeply what it is trying to convey. As if the lines remarkably stand out from other words that I have read before.

Now trying to understand why some people do this, I am again taken to the age old mystery about "why we do, what we do". Now one of the main reason for every individual has been to stand out in the crowd. So when we mark something in the book which will definitely go in someone else's hand will make us different (though that person is not in the picture). The fundamental thing remains the same. We, human beings are born marketers. We like to tell stories about us, about how we feel & so on and so forth. So those little lines tell about the person what he is...!! Eventually though that doesn't matter still it feels different, isn't it?

By the way have anyone thought of marketing (since some marketers talk about "Permission Marketing") through those marked lines. For example, spreading some mysterious facts about some company or brands or for that matter "You".

Try it, it's exciting I must say (although creativity should be yours).