Thursday, June 24, 2010

Democratization of Marketing?

Kevin Barenblat –

The social stream is the new search box. It’s your replacement inbox. Instead of focusing on search terms, placement and CPMs, marketers who win will focus on friend outreach, viral sharing and social engagement.

From a marketer’s perspective the focus has to shift from influencing the technology tools, system or channel to influencing individuals. This calls for a total shift in the way marketing is planned and executed.

Clearly, the focus on ‘human side‘ of marketing, especially branding, has to increase by leaps and bound. The marketing paradigm has to shift from today’s manipulative frame that tricks customers into buying your product to being transparent and become an attempt to connect with genuine care for a cause.

As customers become the primary marketing channel, marketing has to focus on creating messages that are with high 'share' value, packaged in a way that makes them easy to share.

To find its success, marketing of the future, has to be ‘for the people’ that can be shared and further advanced ‘by the people’. The days of doing ‘broadcast friendly’ messages for the masses might be over soon!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The art of giving!!

Neither Sudama nor Arjuna were explicit about what they wanted. But
Krishna sensed what they needed. This sensitivity is something leaders
must possess.

Krishna knew what to give to whom – wealth to Sudama and wisdom to Arjuna. Imagine what would have happened if he sang the Bhagavad Gita to Sudama! Or gave wealth to Arjuna! When people enter a leader’s room, they come expecting to receive something. And leaders have to be sensitive enough to figure out what exactly they are seeking and respond accordingly. It is not always what they are asking!
Implied Needs | Devdutt

In the din of action points, deadlines and checklists 'sensitivity' never finds a place. In life and work, everyone is bound to fall short of some resource both material or intellectual.
Mostly, people do not explicitly state ones needs to the person who can offer help, worst still, sometimes one might not realize the need for help.

As friends, colleagues or leaders it becomes important to judge our work by how many times we sense the need of people around us, what they seek from us and then actually manage to give that without someone asking for it...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

No Complaints Please!

Your friendly reminder to stop complaining... - Holy Kaw!

In addition to its incisive message, the design of the poster is equally forceful.
I remember ignoring the same message some time back when the content was placed in power point slides with bullets for each of the messages...worst still, imagine if it were to be in a poster with loads of pictures from poor and war prone regions....

Thanks to the design above the message clicks far deeper!

The war for information and knowledge

YouTube has been blocked in Turkey for long and now, according to some news reports, the government has also blocked Google Docs, Google Books, Google Analytics, Google Translate and most other Google services in the country.Unhappy at the ban, a group of Turkish bloggers has created an interesting poster mocking the censors!
[Poster] We Don’t Need No Google!

The trigger for first world war was material control, the second one was forced by ego get back the glory and pride ....wondering if the next world wide war could be triggered for the control of information and knowledge.......?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Do You Really Want Aircel To Save Tigers?

Marketing And Social Cause: Is It A Marketing Gimmick Or The New Success Mantra?

It started with Idea Cellular, JagoRe - Tata tea was next and the latest one seems to be Aircel - save our tiger initiative. However, it's interesting to explore the strengths of business logic to associate with a social cause for marketing?

How many people really 'want' to save tigers? Add to it, how many want their mobile service provider to do the job?

From a marketers perspective, it certainly helps you to stand apart from the crowd. But is it enough to get customers' attention and drive sales? That is the qualifier...

While the save our tiger initiative generated a lot of buzz, it translated into very little sales. The problem with marketing through a 'cause' is it demands lot of 'on the ground' efforts. Like for example, Tata Tea recruited volunteers to reach out to people and ask them to exercise voting rights. However, the Aircel campaign is pretty much limited to hoardings, t-shirts, logos, micro-site and facebook fan page. As a consumer the whole campaign is more of 'brought to you by Aircel'.

The success of marketing through any social cause is in 'on the ground' activity, supported by all other tools, to take the initiative beyond the buzz! In its current form, marketing and social cause are way apart to be the 'success mantra'

Friday, January 15, 2010

"Purpose" as a source of differentiation as opposed to "promise" (read brand)!

Today customers know more about suppliers than they did in the past. Markets have become more transparent with sharing of information, experience and knowledge amongst customers. All this while the actual difference between products and services is vanishing quickly.

With a huge range of products and services, customers face a classic problem - to borrow the term from Alvin Tofler - its the problem of "over-choice". Its tough, as a customer, to mark out the real difference (if any) between products available. In many industries, mostly, everything can be commiditized and that too very quickly.

Today, to build and sustain 'differentiation' companies have to create variety in actual product or its promises (read brand) or some times both. There are serious problems with both the options. Product variety is adding little to customer satisfaction but adds further complexity to the problem of overchoice. While it might be fun to create promises around your products its relatively tough to make the products deliver on those promises.

With China still going strong its mostly suicidal to get into price based differentiation.

While marketers explore for other factors on which 'differentiation' can be loaded..."purpose" of the company, to produce and reach out to customers with the a particular product, remains hugely untapped and a highly meaningful factor for differentiation. For example, every product of google has a simple undercurrent and users can almost immediately identify with its core purpose - organizing information to provide better search results for you!

Its difficult to take customers for a ride with purpose as a key differentiator - a purpose has to be honest in both - its argument and realization. But it does not take any effort to keep customers with you once they identify with your purpose...

Offcourse many of today's products, as a first step, will find it tough to identify a 'purpose' for themselves in the market... i mean imagine what could be the purpose of feeding someone an areated drink? further, difference between purpose of feeding someone with coca-cola as opposed to pepsi? seems farcical...

While the large established companies continue to experiment with 'promise' as source for differentiation the relatively smaller companies can take on the larger ones on 'purpose'. (If you cant defeat the enemy on the battleground try changing the battleground and you stand a better chance.) Smaller companies or new products in commoditized world can start on a totally different plane by focusing the marketing message on their 'purpose' as opposed to price, product features and promise!

Well, just a thought....what do you say?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New year resolutions or wish lists?

"Resolution" is firm determination to do something in a certain time frame. Wish lists are like must-do tasks with no particular implementation date. So why do most resolutions often end up as items in a wish list?

Resolutions without an appraisal naturally gravitate to wish lists!

Appraisal, especially self appraisal, is tricky. The rating forms in annual job appraisals is the time when we come closest to structuring a self appraiasal. A new year, for most of us is about resolutions...appraisals can wait.

But then resolutions will start falling apart from next month. We forget some, cant hold on to most and never start with the rest. Appraisals can be of great help in uncovering the obvious.

Simply put, imagine this year we are out for a journey and we have our vehicle. Resolutions are the destinations that we intend to reach. And what we do is simply start driving ....without really checking how far one has to go? is there enough fuel for the journey? What about battery, air pressure, shocks (crucial if we intend to take the bumpy road) engine maintenance? Do we have the map? Have we figured out how and where to ask for help to get the right directions?

And the disaster begins, for most journeys the fuel ends mid-way, for others you are not sure about the road and so on...Appraisals can help in testing things you already know and uncovering issues which could be critical but are currently hidden from you.

Do a self-appraisal and check your fitness for each of the resolutions that you have taken up for 2010.

Happy New Year!