Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Lead generation through digital marketing


For most marketers the challenge is to use digital marketing to generate enough leads for their sales team. While the brand development is appreciated it is most of the times not given its due and hence the investments in digital marketing is always questioned in relation to the business it can generate.
Hence, mentioning some tools which enable businesses to generate leads using digital marketing
- Email marketing – One of the oldest forms of digital marketing, it is considered to the most successful and fastest way to build sales pipeline.  You can use various email marketing tools to reach out to your audience and analyze on various parameters like clicks, bounce rates, unsubscription etc
- Video marketing – Videos and animations have proven to be highly successful for generating leads. We had written content on how animation and videos help businesses increase their sales. Check the same here.
- Webinars – While seminars are passe, internet has allowed brands to reach out to larger audience using webinars. Webinars is a great tool to showcase and position the brand as a thought leader
- Blogs – Started as a tool to express opinions, blogs today are widely used by businesses to share knowledge and build a brand recall. Its a powerful tool for B2B businesses looking to explore digital marketing to generate business

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Market your mobile app


Mobile apps are interestingly growing at a very fast pace and saw 100% growth in 2012 with over 46 billion downloads. It is expected to continue growing at similar pace with around 81 billion downloads in 2013.
As apps become more and more engaging and the most used avenue for brands to interact with their users, mobile app marketing will play a significant role in brand’s marketing landscape. It comes with newer challenges, different channels and varied goal setting approach
Some thoughts on mobile app marketing
  1. Much like dedicated teams for traditional and digital marketing, its always good to have accountable team assigned (in house/outsourced) for the mobile marketing activities.
  2. Resources  - According to the Mobile Marketing Association, marketers currently allocate  less than one percent of their marketing budget to mobile advertising. However, based on the MMA’s detailed ROI analysis of mobile, the optimal percentage of  a marketing budget to spend on mobile is seven percent, on average, and up to nine percent for brands with higher app involvement
  3. Defined metrics – App marketing comes with a different set of metrics that the business/marketer should measure. Some of these include Appstore rank, downloads, cost per download, new customer acquisition cost, loyalty, clicks on the apps etc
  4. Market the app more on mobile networks than web. Try ad networks, incentive networks, bidding platforms etc. On all these platforms, optimize the usage and app characteristics very strongly.
  5. Analytics – Use tools to analyze everything you do on marketing – ad spent, metrics, reporting etc.

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Monday, 12 March 2012

How brand perception drives customer behavior!

I was travelling back from Bangalore airport and took Easy Cabs and had a bad experience with the driver. (3 months back i had tweeted 7 times about how Easy Cabs was awesome, drivers are so courteous and so on and so forth). However the bad experience neither made me shout out loud about the experience nor did i feel bad for Easy Cabs. Rather i thought that as a brand they have done great but as they scale these issues are bound to happen, especially considering that its a loosely coupled drive force.


Go back a few days, when a customer wasn't able to extract the expected output from Jade Magnet both the customer and i felt sad about it and doubted the credibility of the platform (of course we do have these self doubts once in a while when things go wrong).

But why? Aren't both above situations very similar?

So that's when i started thinking back and realized so many times this happens with various brands - small and big, not so well known and well known. But when a bigger brand or well known brand goes through such a situation it stands tall based on the credibility and brand positioning while the less known smaller brand goes through .....

For example when i tried to change the username for my facebook page, it didnt allow me to. Why? The username was available but it just didnt for its own set of rules. But that didnt mean i stopped using facebook, i dont even think i created a fuss about it either.

Brand Positioning and its value plays a major role in creating an image or identity of a brand in a consumer's mind. The process is long and not a quick shot (there are always a few facebooks which are exceptions) and hence most entrepreneurs should focus during the lifecycle of a business on creating a brand which sometimes overpowers the shortcomings :) (only sometimes though)

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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

No marketing budget? Follow these 5 steps to increase brand awareness

When constrain of marketing budget is the hindrance to the growth of your business enterprise, we suggest the easiest mode to brand awareness is by repeatedly exposing your brand to your target audience. The current platform of ‘the online' can help consumers become aware of your brand when you are on such a shoestring budget.

Marketing is simple, if you consider the easiest mode to reach your customer base and are able to influence their decision making capabilities. According to the management guru F. Drucker "marketing is so basic it cannot be considered a separate function.... It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is, from the customer's point of view."

Here are five easy steps to increase Brand Awareness, when there's ‘no marketing budget'.

1. Incorporation of the interactive social media platform to reach out your brand to your customers; by availing free social media tools. Facebook, Twitter and linkedin leading the bandwagon of the Social Media Maketing platform that allows you to Create Brand Indentity, Initiate User-Provider Interaction and also provide space for individual interaction.

2. Provide content-rich blogs for your customers to initiate interaction, as well as provide knowledge base and technical intelligence source, also helps you to rise above your peers by being the thought-leader in your subject and service.

3. Paid search ads also known to increase brand awareness to a great extend, search ads not only drive people to your websites but also create great brand awareness through higher visibility and reach. The major advantage that these search ads provides is the complete control on your marketing budget and ad messages.

4. You Tube, the largest video sharing site that allows your marketing and brand awareness videos published and marketed. Your tube is the second highest trafficked site the world over as surveyed by alexa, giving it the ideal platform for your video marketing success.

5. Innovative internet marketing techniques like SEO(Search Engine Optimization) and SEM ( Search Engine Marketing) and also mediums of marketing like Pay per click and cost per Impression. These exclusive techniques of marketing greatly increases your brand prominence in the wide medium of the web, thereby directly accentuating your brand awareness in tuned to your marketing budget.

Chris Baggott of Compedium Blogware has an interesting view on the use of internet for marketing purposes he states- "It used to be that if you wanted sophisticated marketing tools, you had to be rich. That's not the case on the Internet. Anyone can compete, just at different levels."

However its not just internet which enables you to market for less but there are enough offline marketing modes which can grow you faster without too much investment. While speaking with a very senior executive in education domain he mentioned how one of his portfolio company replaced "no parking" sign posts with their logos on top of no parking. For a tier 2 city it led to 3 times increase in the immediate business generation.

Sometimes simple logical things can derive much more than spending big bucks

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Sunday, 14 November 2010

Branding!

Its been quite some time since SME/SMBs across the globe have been blamed of not giving enough importance to building a brand, however not many have come forward to educate them and change their mindset. However the worse thing is that there are bigger brands which are equally negligent of brand building and these are brands who have the muscle power to flex but its the focus which is missing. They do have brand managers from some of the best marketing and advertising schools but still make enough mistakes. Some of the most well known organizations follow what even an SME wouldnt dare do, check these

1. Facebook – I know lot of you would already have decided to junk this write up, after all who on earth would think facebook to be a bad brand. But consider this – how many of you are happy with privacy policies of facebook. Since Jan 2010 many factions of people have come out and revolted against facebook privacy settings however Mark Zuckerburg believes that the world has changed, that it’s become more public and less private. There are a lot of voices coming up against facebook and not many people like what they are doing (however everyone is still using it) it surely is on a thin ice! I hope there’s not another Myspace coming up!


2. Cold drink brands – Pepsi, Coke, Sprite etc – Another shocker :) Ok imagine you go to a shop and ask for Sprite and he gives you 7Up, would you drink or leave it! More than 90% of people would go ahead and drink it! Good brands are irreplaceable is what we were taught :)


3. Cafe Coffee Day – This is my fav “bad brand”. All of a sudden we found out CCD changing logos and then you realised some of the merchandise in their outlet still had old logos. Excuse them, who wants to waste! Over 5 months since the rebranding happened – go to MG Road in Bangalore or Delhi Airport – same old logo hanging around! If some one is listening, guys pull your socks.

Though i agree SMEs/SMBs haven’t focused on branding but they are not the only ones to be blamed!

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Wednesday, 13 October 2010

GAP bows to the crowd!

With the crowd sharing in a torrent of criticism on social networks, GAP decided to go back to the old blue. There were thousands of tweets and Facebook updates deriding the new logo design and the company was quick to accept the power of crowd and even went a step further asking people on its facebook FAN page to come up with design suggestions calling it a “crowd sourcing project”, once again proving Jeff Howe’s theory on power of crowd souring.

Jeff in his book on crowdsourcing has mentioned that it’s the crowd which will drive the future of business and GAP is a classic example where social media mobilized the crowd to forced GAP to scrap the new logo. Jeff had used strong examples like why companies as big as Procter & Gamble repeatedly call on enthusiastic amateurs to solve scientific and technical challenges? How companies as diverse as iStockphoto and Threadless employ just a handful of people, yet generate millions of dollars in revenue every year? He defines, "Crowdsourcing" as a phenomenon through which power of the many can be leveraged to accomplish feats that were once the responsibility of a specialized few. He shows why the crowd is more productive than a talented individual.

99designs which is one of the largest creative marketplaces provided a platform to designers who wanted to share feedback and designs to GAP, informally, and saw over 4500 logo designs submitted in last 5 days. The winning logo will be decided by community vote and will be provided to GAP management as a gesture of goodwill.

A quick take on GAP’s new logo effort

  • For a B2C brand which is driven by the consumers, crowdsourcing is proving out to be a strong contender for marketing campaigns and brand building exercises
  • With more than 5000 entries in 5 days it might be a better option to try a closed set of participants rather than going out to the complete crowd.
  • Brands like GAP needs to understand the role of experts along with the end consumer who need to drive the crowdsourcing campaign
Creative crowdsourcing platforms like 99designs, crowdspring.com, geniusrocket.com, jademagnet.com and others have found acceptance in form of not just SMBs but also big brands like Unilever, Pepsi, Dell which are changing the way they market, to incorporate more crowdsourcing and opportunities of co creation clearly putting a challenge to top down traditional businesses who have been resistant to accept the rising tide of these nimble, young companies which are pouncing on the opportunities.

The advantage of disruption is how most of these crowdsourcing companies portray themselves and I think consumers are now coming to the terms of this changing guard.

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Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Journey so far....

There have been many folks who have written on how entrepreneurship is challenging, how it’s exciting but risky at the same time and many decided to pen down their own successful journey. However one thing which we haven't seen is entrepreneurs who haven't succeeded or who are struggling take time to share what is so good and bad about entrepreneurship.

Frankly, these struggling CxO's have either not been invited or they are busy finding business to survive the next month.So i thought let me share the fun, excitement, risk, guilt, pain, joy, challenge that i have faced in my trial as an entrepreneur. No no, that doesn't mean that my venture didn't do great or i decided to write without worrying about cash flows for next month :). I am yet to be a part of either of the two classes or for that matter any class!.

Any ways, one thing i am sure is that Entrepreneurs are disruptive folks - when i was completing my MBA my only aim in life was to earn money and settle in western country and so luckily or unluckily just when I thought I was on track, but disruptive mind work up and decided that there’s no fun if things go as per plan and so i landed up leaving my job, some decent cash and a nice lifestyle to be on roads selling things in Indian cities. Whether it’s a brave decision or not is yet to be seen but the impulse to create disruption is what pushed me.

Other important thing about entrepreneurs who have managed to get some decent management education is their ability to build on "intellectual wisdom" , which they call with a different and more familiar term as well. So when ever my partner and i got time, especially when you don't have a client to listen to you, we started thinking what more we can do. So from designing logos we were soon printing advertisements on Pizza boxes and tissue rolls. Whether it results in some end product or not, the climax of it all is what makes you feel – yeah, we can do it!

People say entrepreneurship is all about unpredictability - i say it is not. Its the most predictable kind of work that one can do. As an entrepreneur there's so many things which you know would happen, unless you are trying to fool your mind and think you are some superman - clients would never treat you well, your end product will never be up to the satisfaction level of the clients, if you have vendors they will squeeze hell out of you and your employees will think you are one waste fellow who is dumping work without earning money. Can it be more predictable?

Ok, now another wonderful thing i noticed - i know i have quite a few in a short span - Go to an old timer and he will behave like one saint who has kept every step after measuring every cm and he will ensure that he gives you enough gyaan to make you feel - Do i know anything about entrepreneurship? Don't worry, take it with a pinch of salt and erase the history. And don’t forget, come a media channel or let someone ask for a press release from us – we youngsters, I feel good calling myself a youngster, become an old timer in no time.

Then if you are a young startup you will enjoy your freedom but as you slowly start growing there are too many things which needs to be taken care of. Margins and Revenues are not the only thing, statutory compliance, board meetings, targets – the only difference from a corporate world and entrepreneurship in this form is that if you are in corporate world you would be seeing someone’s life getting miserable but if you are an entrepreneur than someone will look at you and quietly observe your life taking “that” direction.

Moving away from direction, be prepared to be away from some quick cash as well. Entrepreneurs who don’t take a hit on pocket are not entrepreneurs J. So unless you fight with you family for money, or ask your wife to earn that extra buck, you haven’t struggled and hence you don’t have anything to write in your biography or journey when you grow big.

However, as everyone says - Its fun and going through all these things is what makes this journey special. If you are struggling you might not agree, even i don't unless it’s the day when the lady luck is smiling.

All said and done, like everyone diplomatically ends a speech I need to do something similar to my article, there are risks, the path isn’t rosy but then it is the sense of satisfaction that you get even after achieving a small thing which makes up for all this. I am trying to build what could be world's only end to end creative crowdsourcing ecosystem - Jade Magnet and when I realize that I have worked with 150 clients, helped at least 300 providers get access to clients they wont have been able to, created interest in 3000 providers to knock doors of Jade Magnet – I sleep with satisfaction that i only read about when I was in the luxurious corporate world.

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