Posts filed under 'Mobile Marketing'

Top Mobile Trends for 2016

Mobile Trends for 2016

2015 was a red-hot year for mobile technology.

The number of mobile devices has now surpassed the global human population. More than ever, consumers are interacting with businesses using their mobile devices before going through any other channel As “mobile-first” becomes the norm for every age group, consumers from all demographics are able to quickly understand each other when referencing products and services that have captured their interest. Whether it’s via face-to-face interaction, email, a text message, a Dropbox shared folder or an Instagram direct message, the language is clear and the smartphone is the sharing tool of choice. This trend of convergence and mobile is accelerating quickly, and the question becomes: which businesses will be able to successfully market & monetize their mobile arm?

Google rolled out its “MobileGeddon” ranking algorithm that penalized non-mobile optimized Web sites, making mobile-first design a must have for all.

2016 is expected to be equally epic for mobile.

So here are top trends:

1. Internet of Things

Even as smartphones have come to dominate the desktop, the concept of mobile itself is fast moving beyond just phones. Mobile no longer means just your phone or tablet, but increasingly your watch, your car, even your fashion accessories and the clothes you wear. Wearables, by their very nature, are more intimate and provide deeper data about consumers.

2. Mobile video usage is exploding

According to Cisco, mobile data traffic grew nearly 70 percent in 2014, with 55 percent of mobile data traffic spent on videos.

As of November, Facebook claims 8 million video views every day – a figure which doubled in six months – with more than 75 percent of these happening on mobile devices.

3. Planet of the apps

Flurry Analytics has released its 2015 Year in Review, analyzing the growth of app usage last year. The company found overall app usage increased by 58 percent in 2015, with ‘app usage’ being defined as a user opening an app and having a ‘session’ within it.

In October, Google had indexed more than 100 billion deep links within apps. Adding app search results will have a profound effect on usage and discovery for apps.

4. The Internet of me

As marketers collect more data about individuals from connected devices and across their purchase habits, one-size-fits-all marketing is fast going out and has several implications for brands:

Beyond mobile first: Moving to context-first design

Most marketers have now caught on to the mantra of mobile-first design.

Location is the new cookie

According to Google, 85 percent of the top 100 retailers are expected to adopt some kind of beacon technology by the end of 2016.

Beacons, accompanied by corresponding consumer acceptance of location-based marketing, will have significant effect on shopper marketing and will enable brands to deliver hyper-relevant, micro-targeted offers.

5. Chat is the new social

For those who do not know how chat is going to evolve, one only has to look at WeChat in China.

What was once a simple messaging app has now become a full-fledged marketing, commerce and payment platform. Users are able to connect with brands, request and reserve services, and buy and pay for goods, all through the same app.

Both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are expected to cross more than 1 billion users in 2016. Although Facebook has been coy about opening up those services to brands for marketing opportunities, expect that to change in 2016.

6. Mobile commerce moves beyond window shopping

Not so long ago, mobile’s role in commerce was largely to influence shopping: read product reviews, check pricing and receive coupons and offers. That is clearly not true any longer.

Mobile currently accounts for 35 percent of all e-commerce, according to Forrester, and less than 2 percent of all retail sales. This will increase rapidly.

7. Mobile will continue to revolutionize shopper marketing promotions

Mobile continues to play an under-appreciated role as a bridge between offline and online, particularly when it comes to retail.

Brands are increasingly leveraging mobile in promotions, both in validating purchase through bridging solutions such as receipt processing and in providing incentives via digital content, electronic gift cards and prepaid credit cards.

8. Mobile wallets will NOT be mainstream in 2016

This is a classic “when, not if” problem. There will come a time when credit cards will be rendered obsolete by mobile wallets. It just will not happen in 2016.

Apple Pay continues to slowly win over advocates, helped by the possibility that it may well be the killer app for the Apple Watch. Apple claims 80 percent of Apple Watch users are using Apple Pay to make payments.

Interestingly, Samsung’s brilliantly named Samsung Pay may well be the killer mobile wallet solution as it can work with all payment terminals that accept credit cards, and not just NFC-enabled ones that are estimated at 10 percent of the market.

Despite clear progress, mobile wallets will remain niche for at least another year, as retailers slowly upgrade terminals, market players continue to compete on standards and features, security and usage issues get ironed out and the public at large remains comfortable charging stuff to their credit card.

SO WILL 2016 be just more of the same, or will there be surprises that we never saw coming? Looking forward to find out.

(Excerpted from e-marketer, Mashable, Luxury Daily, Flurry)

January 7th, 2016

Mobile drives the Spark in Startups (notes from MobileSparks conference)

Shradha Sharma of Yourstory.com asks the Startup community to maintain that Spark, regardless of where one is in the journey of life. That Spark may be humility or grace, appreciation for others, lending a helping hand etc. Essentially the point she made, and very well so, that in our “Rat Race” for success in life, perhaps we might have forgotten the more human elements, things which bind us together and a feeling of elevation. Shradha was speaking at the recent YourStory event Mobile Sparks in Bangalore.

I couldn’t agree more. In our quest for success, perhaps we might have forgotten to remember some old friends, or forgot the fact that a good night sleep is more worthwile than achieving a Unicorn status. Big statement, but I insist.

I think the subject is about balance. Nobody is saying that one must give up on one’s dreams. But it must not drive consternation to a level that one forgets the basics of humanity – a desire to do good, be kind, have a positive impact and effect larger good. As many have said, a Startup needs to have an objective larger than valuation, or a profit or loss statement. It is about “value creation” at the end of the day, to quote my friend Manish.

Ok, with that, I come back to the startup notes. The recently concluded event MobileSparks by Yourstory had some great speakers from most of the leading firms – Flipkart, Snapdeal, Grofers, Practo, OYO Rooms, Peppertap, SAIF partners, Inventus, Matrix Partners etc.

Here are some sundry highlights from this event :

Freecharge – Initial adoption strategy – Make first transaction brag-worthy. Eg give away a burger for first recharge.
App installs is not a good metric. Transactions is good metric.

OYO rooms
OYO is envisioning a future of amazing hotel experience. Some potential ideas :
- Manages entire hotel experience.
- App – does booking. Shows nearby restaurants, gets you cab with Ola cab widget,
- Ops team does background audit regularly of hotels
- Alerts – eg room 345 not audited since last three weeks or 5 acs in a hotel broke down
- Correlation between auditor reports and customer feedback audits auditors themselves
- If AC is broken open ticket to get electrician automatically
- Pre-check in from airport. Submit ID card picture before even you reach.
- Could alert property manager that customer is about to reach.
- Mobile key to door
- Reminder to turn on AC or heater from before. Mobile can store customer temperature preference.
- Connect to WiFi automatically.
- Mobile motion sensors based DND (do not disturb). Check if person is sleeping and motionless.
- Checkout from app. Pay from mobile wallet. Feedback on the go on app.

Matrix partners (VC) :-
App distribution -
- Inmobi ads, AdMob, Adwords
- OEMS like micromax lava etc
- App stores.
- Facebook ads
- Google ads
- App Store optimisation or ASO

Lybrate :-
Online consultation app for patients and doctors
- Very less doctors in India compared to patients.
- X axis :- Online, offline
Y axis :-
Discovery – find practitioners
Transaction – create transaction
Delivery – participate in delivery or actual doctor patient communication / consultation
Lybrate is in online healthcare delivery space.
- Got doctors first ie supply first. Then demand ie consumers etc.
- Need hooks on supply side to hold doctors while demand builds up.
Opportunities :-
- Lot has happened in discovery already.
- Transaction and delivery side is left. Healthcare devices can be used. Consumer hardware is big area.
- 70 million diabetes patients in India. Devices for them.
- Revenue model – online consultation commission from user – 5% to 15% of doctor fee.

Flipkart :-
Piyush Ranjan. SVP. Flipkart.
Key idea :- Build a Cathedral. Not walls or bricks.
Eg -
Build for phones with no data. SMS or USSD as underlying protocols. Also phone to phone connection.
Eg -
Reliability is in short supply. Eg IRCTC is not reliable.
Eg -
Build for the low end.
Eg -
Building speed as a feature. Eg google suggest and google instant.
Eg -
A broad base need like education.
So far mostly online classrooms. But how about continuous learning which mimics human whole life ?

Practo
healthcare app for doctors and patients.
Started web-only in 2008. Mobile first now.
Mobile search -
2 lakh doctors
2x non metros
3x conversions
3x engagement
Weekend traffic
UGC declined in mobile though compared to web. Consumers write smaller reviews on mobile compared to web. Struggling with this now.

Practo ray
40000 doctors
2x appnts
3x records
3x engagements

Practo tab
Helps in locking in supply
20% richer data

Practo
10 million searches

Snapdeal
Anand Chandrasekaran, Chief Product Officer
- 19 m registered users
- 1.5 L sellers (I am told less than 10000 are active, more on this in a later post)
- wants to achieve 10L sellers in few years (how many will be active ?)
- 5m daily active users
- Freecharge – 2 out of 3 visitors end up transacting

Other ideas that were discussed :
125 million English speaking Indians. Leaves a billion non-English users. Need to tackle them.
300 million internet users in India currently. To grow to half billion internet users in 2-3 years. Mostly via Mobile Web.

 

August 10th, 2015

Types Of Marketing Techniques : For A Business & Its Brand

Marketing is very powerful tool that every business model has to deal with, either a small or giant, tech or non-tech, online retail or offline retail. Until you are not spreading your business name, you’re not doing business. The Brand of the business depends on the effective use of marketing strategies, people shouldn’t know you by your name, but by your business brand. Let’s take a look at various marketing techniques.

1. Direct Marketing - Direct Marketing deals with spreading your business by interacting with customers/business executives, face to face. It can be very effective as you are talking with your direct contact inperson, expressing your feelings and emotions that he/she can get very straight idea about your model. It can even be time consuming process as a single meeting can be minimum of 2 hours.

2. Outbound Marketing - Outbound Marketing is what most of them opts for. It gives an opportunity to cover nice number of audience and getting some of them as your loyal customers. It can be implemented by brochures, pamphlets, newspapers ads, etc. You are forcing end customers to view your ads and may create a feeling to go for it. This is an expensive technique as it requires some of your money power to be invested.

3. Inbound Marketing - Its bit reverse process of the previous one. In this form, you have to let your customers reach you for the need of product, instead you approaching them. This process starts in very slow manner but when expands rapidly, you have created a good brand of your business. It can be implemented by Search Engine Optimization(SEO), word of mouth, desperate customer need, etc. This is very inexpensive technique as you are not investing much in spreading your word, customers themselves are doing on behalf of you.

4. Social Media Marketing - A very niche, booming and effective technique that most of them now-a-days are going for. There is no need to prove the previous line as 95% of World Population are engaged at least 2 hours daily in one of the Social Media Site. It can be implemented via some social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+, etc. This technique can be implemented in both the ways; expensive way where you have pay for ads, or in inexpensive way where you can use the platform with limited resources.

5. Newsletter Marketing - A very old and effective technique that most of them are using as their default marketing strategy. Nothing more has to be done here, simply create a mail database in thousand numbers and start sending them the newsletters covering all the stuffs of your business, product, service, etc. But yes, newsletters requires a very useful information that should attract the end customer to open it, read it and redirect them to your website directly. Newsletters can be represented in informative way, graphical way, hybrid form, etc.

6. Article/Magazine Marketing - Don’t get confused with Outbound and this one, both are logically same but physically different. In this one, you can’t cover a large number of audience as Article/Magazine Subscribers are very few compared to newspapers. But, the customers that you’ll get here would be mostly above middle class and professional & luxuries in nature. The company creditability increases highly as you are making a good relationship with the genuine customers and even the cost of publishing is bit higher.

7. Promotional Marketing - One of the great and effective way to attract the customers to your product/site/business is Promotional Marketing. Everyone knows 85% of customers will see the price first then the actual item, whether its branded good quality item or average one. This technique targets 3P/4P of Marketing, that are, Promotion-Price-People. Promotions are the only thing creating a very cut-throat competition, no matter you are able to make Profit or Loss, but what you get is good number of traffic. This can be done by using discounts, deals, offers, coupons, stock clearance sale, etc.

8. Viral Marketing - This type of marketing relies on the message of a marketer being spread quickly through various social networks in order to increase brand awareness. The name viral marketing stems from the rapid spread of viruses in general. Typically, a viral marketing campaign will not last as long as other marketing efforts, but if a company can come up with a good idea for viral marketing and reach the right people, it will become highly successful in a short amount of time.

9. Mobile Marketing - Even this form is emerging along with Social Media/Internet Marketing techniques. As mobiles(smartphones actually) are very common to see in every individuals hand, marketer is targeting a large number of audience. It can be done on all of the Mobile OS platforms and many manner. Showing ads while playing games, showing related apps while downloading one, direct SMS of your new product, etc. There can be even scenario where user can mostly neglect your ad if it doesn’t suits to his/her requirement, and that’s the reason it has to be done in very effective manner giving at least 10% clicks of the target.

10. TeleMarketing - A very expensive way to show your business/product to end consumer is this form of marketing. This includes TV ads and it requires a lot of financial capability and that’s the reason why only big companies go for it. This technique can’t be adopted by mid-level or start-up firms, in-fact it shouldn’t be adopted. The way of displaying your ads is the main thing to concern here, by hook or by crook, you have to convince your consumers that why your product stands out from others, and its done.

 

Excerpts – Bruce Jones

July 2nd, 2013

Top 5 Android Apps Of May 2013

Are you looking for new apps to download for your Android device? Here’s a list of our favorite Android apps for May 2013. You will find everything from gaming to personal finance to apps that will protect your personal data.

1. Fruit Ninja – Gaming

 

 

 

 

 

To start, use your finger to swipe through new game and classics, fruits will automatically be thrown up in the air and you will need to slice them as fast as you can. Fruit Ninja me seem like a simple game at first, but the speed picks up and bombs are thrown into the mix. Whatever you do make sure you don’t try to slash through the bomb, otherwise game over! Fruit Ninja is a fun and addictive game. You can download Fruit Ninja from the Google Play Store here.

2. Pulse News – News Info

 

 

 

 

 

Back in April, it was announced LinkedIn acquired Pulse mobile-news reading app for $90 million. Pulse News app will take the latest from news sources you add and will present them in a easy-to-ready mobile format. Pulse News is similar to Flipboard, and lets users browse stories by source or subject. It can be customized to your liking, and there’s a search function which allows you to search for your favorite sites. This app makes reading news on the go simple and easy. If you find a story that really caught your attention you can save it by hitting the star in the top right hand corner. You can also share articles through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, email and SMS. You can download Pulse News from the Google Play Store here.

3. Pandora Internet Radio – Entertainment

 

 

 

 

 
Pandora is an internet radio app that allows users to create customized stations based on their favorite artist, band, or song. You can also indicate if you like a song, and Pandora will program the station accordingly to your likes. Pandora is a great way to discover new artists and genres. When you register with the app, your profile will be public, unless you decide to make it private. You can download Pandora Internet Radio from the Google Play Store here.

4. Vault-Hide SMS, Pics – Privacy & Security

 

 

 

 

 
If you’re looking for an app that will protect your photos, videos, SMS message and call logs, you may want to check out Vault. Vault can hide everything from work-related messages to unflattering selfie pictures you don’t want anyone to get ahold of. Personal data is encrypted and can only be seen if a correct password is typed in. Some other beneficial features of Vault include making private contacts invisible and being able to make Vault icon disappear so no one can see that app exists on your device. You can download Vault-Hide SMS, Pics from the Google Play Store here.

5. Mint.com – Personal Finance

 

 

 

 

 
With Mint, you can keep all of your personal finance accounts into one place, so its easy to manage your money while you’re on the go. Track your spending, create budgets, and save more money. If you end up losing your device, your app is passcode protected. You can logon to mint.com and deactivate your device access straight from your profile page.
Download Mint app from the Google Play Store here.

 

-presented from a research and post by

June 17th, 2013

Facebook not quite “Home” yet on mobile phones

Apparently, Facebook “Home” is not to be, not yet at least.

The Android application launched by Facebook to create an FB overlay on the Home screen of the phone was supposed to be the big bet by FB to control the first touchpoint screen for a smartphone user. But due to poor reviews by initial analysts, Facebook is said to be revamping the FB Home application. The device which was supposed to launch this was HTC One and in US, AT&T was to be the exclusive carrier for this. In UK, operator EE and Orange were planning to launch it. The social network is said to be encouraging the carriers to delay the launch to give the firm more time to create a more palatable user experience.

The battle for the phone user is becoming more intense as time goes by. With smartphones overtaking web users globally, it is of paramount importance for tech firms to own the phone customer and drive more and more smartphone traffic to these firms’ offerings, in order to attract ad revenue and other commerce monetizations.

Without a doubt, Facebook social network application remains one of the top apps on all mobile systems including Apple iOS and Android. But Google, Facebook, wireless carriers and other media are jostling for more and more of user attention on phones as well as real estate on the limited phone screen, which are the next evolution of internet cycle.

Facebook released the following statement on Thursday evening via Engadget: “Following customer feedback, Facebook has decided to focus on adding new customization features to Facebook Home over the coming months. While they are working to make a better Facebook Home experience, they have recommended holding off launching the HTC First in the UK, and so we will shortly be contacting those who registered their interest with us to let them know of this decision. Rest assured, we remain committed to bringing our customers the latest mobile experiences, and we will continue to build on our strong relationship with Facebook so as to offer customers new opportunities in the future.”

htc-first-2

HTC First aka “Facebook Phone”  (Photo: Courtesy / HTC)

After extremely disappointing sales of the HTC First, Facebook will reexamine the Facebook Home before expanding its operating system to more phones in more countries.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said he would’ve rebuilt Facebook as a mobile exclusive app if he had the chance, so clearly offering a solid mobile experience means a great deal to Facebook. In this regard, the Facebook phone was a brilliant idea and makes a great deal of sense — like Google and Android, a true Facebook phone would allow Zuckerberg & Co. to have complete control over the user experience and ad strategy. The HTC First was the company’s first attempt at such a device — Facebook would focus on software while HTC would focus on hardware — but with the phone failing so soon after its initial release, Facebook will need to take a long look in the mirror. 

Failure of the HTC First may be blamed on Facebook’s decision to make Facebook Home features too accessible to other mobile users on Android and iOS, or maybe Facebook will realize that the Facebook Home features were not that stellar to begin with.

Facebook has fumbled on mobile before, when it launched it’s first mobile site using the mobile browser channel – with poor user feedback on that approach, Facebook later changed course and focused on more cleaner mobile apps, but this was much later in it’s lifecycle; Facebook mobile has a history of bouncing back. The early years of Facebook mobile efforts were limited to working on a common mobile website version of it’s platform addressing multiple platforms like iOS and Android with one approach. It later realized that that approach did not augur well and got into building platform specific Facebook apps, which have been superb hits since.

The last note above take one back to mobile site vs mobile app debate, which continues to simmer in the mobile development world. So far, it seems, the Apps are winning with many firms (eg Financial Times) having switched from a common http://m.xyz-firm.com approach to custom mobile apps for each mobile platform. More on this later in this space.

(with extracts and ideas from International Business Times article dated May 24 by Dave Smith)

May 26th, 2013

HBR Article review “Advertising Analytics 2.0″

(excerpted from Harvard Business Review article on Advertising Analytics dated March 2012)

HBR has an interesting article on Analytics 2.0 which is driving advertisers and brands to fine-tune their effort allocations to the various media mix. Presented below is the crux of the article by the author Wes Nichols, CEO of MarketShare, an Analytics firm in LA, USA.

Until now, the advertisers are measuring ROI using swim lane tactics, which means that media spend on one channel is measured for ROI independently – it has to do with revenue attribution due to direct impact of that media channel advertising. In reality, the media is more complex, the various media have impact on each other which causes complex mixed media effect on consumer purchase decisions. Eg a TV spot on a Toyota Camry car may lead a user to dish out her smartphone to google search the Camry. The Google search shows a sponsored ad by a nearby Toyota dealer as well as it may lead the user to a sponsored YouTube video ad which plays the motion picture of the car ad. The user is thinking about Camry but purchase decision is still forthcoming. Later when the same person is driving down the highway, she notices the billboard advertising the Camry.  She remembers the sponsored dealer ad and decides to drive by that dealer. This concludes in a purchase decision to buy the Camry.

In the above scenario, each media channel has an impact on each other and it is hard to attribute revenue to one or more media channels directly. As a result, firms do not know how much to spend on various media channels and how these channels cross-impact each other.

Such analysis of one data campaign revealed that swim-lane measurement grossly underestimated the revenues attributable to social-media marketing and display advertising while overestimating PR and paid-search revenue. For firms like Ford, which have a $1 billion advertising budget each year, such analysis is crucial to derive maximum bang for the advertising dollars.

Statistical models that reveal the effect of advertising on consumer behavior and business results must account for hundreds of variables related to market conditions, marketing actions, and competitive activities. A software analytics engine uses those models to attribute each variable’s effect accurately, to optimize the marketing mix, and to guide spending allocation. Data on consumer response and business outcomes feed back into the engine, allowing marketers to fine-tune their cross-media spending in real time.

Analytics 2.0 requires that advertisers assign an elasticity factor between each impacting media – eg Paid search will have an elasticity factor due to TV ad spot and also from other media channels. So each media format is assigned an elasticity factor from every other factor that is likely to impact it, this is referred to as Assist factor. Such factors can include non-media factors like weather, competitive advertising, unemployment rates and like. This leads to a complex cross-dependency scenario across a wide gamut of factors. From here, the advertiser has to assign revenue attribution to each media factor followed by optimization and finally budget allocation. Optimization involves war gaming various scenarios across the factors in question to arrive at optimum marketing conclusions. Finally, this leads to re-balancing budget allocation to achieve the maximum efficiency marketing scenarios.

Factors -> Attribution -> Optimization -> Allocation-> Consumer Response -> Business Outcomes  …….. -> Attribution again

The Business Outcomes influence the Attribution in real time so it is a constant feedback loop.

HBR gives the case study of Electronic Arts (EA) which used the above cycle of Attribution, Optimization and Allocation to increase it’s ad spend efficiency dramatically for the launch of it’s new Battlefield 3 online game. It seems that EA was placing heavy emphasis on TV spot ads for its game launches but these were having only a marginal impact on the success of games sales. An Analytics study led EA to shift advertising dollars to online and paid search, and the game launch revenues improved remarkably for EA.

For the full HBR arcticle, click here.

May 20th, 2013

Business Development Plan : Do’s And Don’ts

By – Prof. Nandini Vaidyanathan – Founder & Mentor @ Carma Venture Pvt Ltd. Date – 10th May, 2013

Prof. Nandini has worked for many MNC’s for almost 20 years, within many domains and fields, she’s Board of several companies, Mentor & Promoter of Startup(forstartups.blogspot.com), India’s leading Strategist in management. She has even been a Teaching Entrepreneur in US, UK Premier Business School, Princeton, IIM-B, etc, etc, etc. If I still continue to introduce her, then I think I’ll just end up with her intro itself.

The webinar was awesome, never got so many meaningful and important things to learn just within 2 hours. Prof. Nandini was clear and sound, very straight to her points that were to be conveyed to the audience. So let’s get to her talks about Business Development Plan, I’ll narrate point wise:-

What is a Business Plan ?
“A Business Plan is nothing but your Wishlist that you want within specified period of time, anyhow. Make sure Entrepreneurship and Wishlist goes hand-in-hand.”

  1. If you are a new Entrepreneur, forget everything else and first approach to get Mentorship from a good Mentor, without which you may have very less chance to survive for long.
  2. Don’t ever write a plan just because you’re very eager or desperate to start a business or to attract an investor. Write a plan to capture an vision and fulfill your Wishlist.
  3. Don’t do copy-paste in your business plan, don’t come with a plan and say currently this is there in the market and we can do the same in an efficient way, never think of it. Your plan has a product, if someone sells this product to you then how much you’ll spend from your pocket? The more the price figure comes, the stronger your plan is…!
  4. Don’t make a business plan that has monopoly kind of business, research for the competitors and make a plan that defers from them. No one can win without competitors, if you don’t have competitors what you’ll compare & with whom you’ll compare, they’re the one who’ll point out your defects. Eg- Imagine everyone in the world with Mercedes Benz…!
  5. Don’t ask or refer your business plan to any of your friends, family members or relatives, they’ll support you because they wanna see you happy, they’ll speak what you want to hear. Eg. Hitler asked his Army Chief during war, “What’s our status?”. Chief:”We are going to win”. Ultimately Germany got defeated. Hitler:”Why you lied to me?”. Chief:”That’s the thing you always wanted to heat from us…!”
  6. Equity is Entrepreneur’s Blood, don’t plan to donate it at very early stage. Don’t let anyone rule over you, your team and your org. at an early stage. If you still need to raise funding at early stage, don’t look for Venture Capitalist, look Strategic investor. Never divide your Equity in 1:1, keep at least 51:49 ratio to make good future decisions in an easier way.
  7. Don’t consider that market is easy to cover with your awesome product, you are still a Starfish and Big Whales are already roaming there in the market. Have a point in your business plan that how your product will change, influence and grow the market. Get a Differentiator in your plan.
  8. Differentiator in plan can’t always be only in ideas, it can be in Execution too. Eg. Lays Vs. Bingo. Lays introduces itself in market flavours by flavours whereas Bingo introduced by 12 various flavours. They say every Bingo retailer in the market will have at least 12 packets…! Whatever Differentiator you have, it should be very unique and innovative.
  9. Market research is very important to get boom into the market. Eg. Kurkure researched that most of them want snacks while working on computers, so they introduced Kurkure in Cyber Cafe’s initially and boomed the market.
  10. Have your idea feasible, scalable and profitable. You should plan for innovation but not at that extent that it becomes hard to implement. It should be profitable, it you can’t take out profit from your idea, then just generate it. If one is not interested in generating the profit, then tell him to book his/her domain as .org instead of any other.
  11. During hiring process decide you want, a cat or a camel, because later you can’t expect them to change as per your expectation. Even if you get your cat, decide you want which specific cat- big, small, fat,etc. If you can groom your employee, you’re intelligent Entrepreneur, if you can’t (most of them) then deal with them.
  12. Discuss your plan with every employee, you know the plan very well because its your baby, but do your team know the plan? Does your team know what are your dreams and for what they are working? If you make your employees to work for the salary, they won’t deliver you your expectations, because they don’t know actually.
  13. Use simple English to communicate, simplify the high-tech and jargon words so that every one gets your idea thoroughly.
  14. Don’t chose Co-founders like tomatoes and potatoes. Every Co-founder should have complementary skill set. All should want same thing from the company. All should share same value.
  15. Best point to raise fund is when you don’t need it, that will make you stand above the VC’s. Raise funds only and as per your requirement, if you go for more than your requirement, you may lose control over your expenditure.

Elements Of Business Plan:-

  1. Have a snapshot summary; its easy to read index page than 1000 pages of a novel.
  2. Product and Customer must be focused.
  3. Hire a team that is die-hard, self-motivated and that can fly your ship.
  4. Market & Competitors. Your every competitor has a drawback, make it your strongest point.
  5. Good monetisation model excluding ads.
  6. Don’t have just one innovation, have a whole pipeline, a series of innovations.
  7. Budget planning for at least 3 years. Revenue and Expenses must have assumptions.
  8. Milestones- break your plan/wishlist into milestones.
  9. Monthly Profit & Loss Sheet should be there.
  10. Differentiate between Risks & Opportunities.
  11. Plan your Elevator Pitch. Say you are in elevator with Warren Buffet and you got just 30 secs to impress him so that he’ll give you a check in 30 secs, what you’ll say?
  12. Build Evangelical Team that will bring Evangelical Customers.
  13. Check where you stand . Give customer what he wants -> Colgate gave. Give customer more than he wants -> Google gave. Give customer which he never dreamed of -> Facebook gave.

So these were the great advices and suggestion by Prof. Nandini represented here in front of you. Hope you found it interesting and learned at least one point to follow your journey of Entrepreneurship…!

May 14th, 2013

The Internet – still an Equalizer ?

Today there is a post in the Wall Street Journal as to how the websites are tracking all user activities, right from location, personal profile, profession, hobbies, likes and dislikes.

Today’s internet is perhaps “too open”, where users information is freely available to retailers, analysts, marketers alike. While this may serve the purpose of “personalizing” offers and deals to consumers, it risks being labeled discriminatory if such information is used to offer different product pricing or search results to consumers. Not to mention the bigger risk of spammers and ID thieves catching hold of such information and launching malicious campaigns against consumers.

A WSJ investigation found that the office products retailer Staples is offering different prices on the same stapler to two different consumers who were just a few miles away.

Retailers are justified in offering different prices to different customers – this is what happens in stores too especially in different stores of the same chain. Retailers argue that local operating costs, real estate pricing, manpower costs and other logistics etc influence local pricing. In that sense, the online differential in pricing is no different than it’s offline cousin.

“But the idea of an unbiased, impersonal Internet is fast giving way to an online world that, in reality, is increasingly tailored and targeted. Websites are adopting techniques to glean information about visitors to their sites, in real time, and then deliver different versions of the Web to different people. Prices change, products get swapped out, wording is modified, and there is little way for the typical website user to spot it when it happens”, says the Journal.

WSJ said that many firms resorted to such price tactics, including Discover Financial, Rosetta Stone, Home Depot etc. Office Depot told WSJ team that they use customers browsing history and geolocation to offer tailored product offers and pricing for online shopping.

Technically, this is all legal, but the boundary line to ethical or discriminatory behaviour is not far. Eg certain racial groups may claim discrimination or local governments may cry foul. It seems that 76% of Americans are opposed to this kind of differential pricing.

But there are advantages too for differential pricing. Eg certain services like movie theatres offer senior citizen and student discounts.

The key takeaways are :

  • the fundamental premise of internet being an unbiased and same-for-all internet is bring eroded now as personalization increases and website behave differently for different people. The INTERNET IS NO LONGER AN EQUALIZER.
  • while differential pricing is normal and legal, it can raise ethical and discriminatory haggles across sections of the society. So retailers need to tread carefully.

What is CellStrat view : Retailers and web commerce firms need to abide by laws and be careful in offering personalized offers and pricing. Tailoring offers based on user information or their location has to be considered in view of the prevailing laws and user acceptance. Otherwise, the online commerce firms risk alienating the consumers who took to the internet to find an equal society, in the first place.

(Excerpted from WSJ article titled “Websites Vary Prices, Deals, Based on Users’ Information” dated 23 Dec 2012)

December 24th, 2012

Map wars

Since the launch of Apple iOS 6, one is seeing major activity in the world of Digital Maps. Both Apple and Google have been duking it out recently on this front. Before the iOS 6 was released, Google Maps was the default map application installed on the iPhones. But map application in recent times has become perhaps the most popular mobile app and hence substantial customer engagement and media sales get initiated with the map experience. The primary fruits of iPhone mapping app were being enjoyed by Google, until iOS 6 came along. With iOS 6 and iPhone 5, Apple decided to take the Map app internal and worked on Apple Maps for this version of iOS, thereby dropping Google Maps as the default Map app on the new iPhone.

In it’s haste to release the Map App along with iOS 6 launch, Apple mapping team seemed to compromise on reliability and accuracy in Apple Maps. The error proved deadly, as the Apple Maps app was widely criticized after iOS 6 was launched, being that rest of the iOS 6 as well as iPhone 5 was much appreciated. Apple Map Apps shows incorrect placement of landmarks and is frustrating mobile users around the world who rely on smartphone maps to guide them around cities.

This resulted in Tim Cook of Apple issuing an apology to Apple customers. Google, with a guilty pleasure, enjoyed the Apple Map criticism. Google has since announced that they are working on a custom Google Maps app for the iOS 6 platform. It is expected to come out before the end of the year.

Why are Map Apps such a big deal after all ? In an App survey conducted by Wireless Technology Forum, Atlanta, Google Maps was rated as the most popular mobile app. That means that navigation and directions via smartphone maps has become the most key use of these phones. One knew that Mapping Apps were popular and widely used, but who would have guessed that Map App is “the” most popular mobile app out there. Especially Google Maps. Obviously, smartphone users really use this app in their daily movements.

Maps are also used for the most cutting-edge of phone applications, that is Location-Based Services or LBS. LBS refers to finding businesses nearby and guiding customer traffic to those businesses. LBS also enables local advertising and shopping. LBS is key aspect of SoLoMo – Social Local Mobile – a concept referring to convergence between local commerce, mobile phones and social shopping.

Maps also facilitate searches now – Search is more relevant if locational aspects are added to it. Search Advertising has been a revolutionary concept and LBS makes Search even more relevant.

When the iOS 6 Apple Maps app faced ridicule, Tim Cook suggested that iPhone customers download Bing or other Map Apps from App Store. Google, of course, had not planned a iOS 6 compatible Map app, until it realized that iPhone users were clamoring for the Google version, after having experienced the cloogy Apple Map App. Apple Map flap has caused many a casualty at Apple office – with many execs including one of the most senior execs, Scott Forstall, being asked to leave. Just today, Apple fired another manager in charge of Map App.

With the Apple Map app mess, other mapping programs have gained eg Embark and Bing Maps.

Mapping wars are front and centre in the smartphone evolution, the various map providers need to check their coordinates in this new war.

November 29th, 2012

How to enable SoLoMo for a commerce firm

SoLoMo (Social Local Mobile) has become the new fad in town for most commerce firms and retailers, as well as technology providers. This concept refers to the idea of enabling hyper-local retail via mobile convergence and providing a social interaction between users and retailers for engagement, sales growth and loyalty.

What are the technologies which enable SoLoMo ? What products provide best of breed solutions in this space ?

Below is a sample list of some of the leading firms / products which offer solutions in this space :-

a) Digby – Leading Mobile Retail convergence solution. They have potentially the strongest Mobile Retail convergence solution and are considered a SoLoMo specialist – Digby solution provides integration between web store / offline store / mobile commerce / social commerce / QR code solution / real time messaging. Digby Localpoint software enables brands to create geo-fences around their stores and other points of interest and embed those geo-fences into the brand’s app

b) Capillary Tech - leading retail CRM / loyalty solution – one of the hottest startups from India, now a global phenomenon. High quality retail CRM / loyalty / retail analytics solution

c) Facebook Connect and Twitter API – for close Social integration to enable Social commerce

d) Pluck from Demand Media – Pluck is interesting as it allows social engagement, social commerce and social loyalty solutions. Pluck enables these concepts via communities, content generation and gamification.

e) Foursquare Enterprise solutions may offer robust gamification solutions –  Foursquare is considered leading gamification firm around communities.

f) Groupon / LivingSocial / Snapdeal / mydala – these firms are known for the Group shopping experience and offer LBS capabilities. These are not products but full-fledged startups in the area of Social Commerce.

g) Antenna Mobile Platform / IBM Worklight / Sybase 365 - These Enterprise Mobility platforms offer Mobile app development which can enable a retailer to publish engagement and commerce apps for its customers. This includes Mobile POS on smartphones / tablets, mobile wallet and in-store apps.

h) Telibrahma – Telibrahma has solutions in the areas of virtual reality and LBS, which empower the consumer to have a closer interaction with the retailers. Telibrahma LBS relies on Bluetooth or Wi-Fi proximity marketing to allow retailers to engage the audience in the nearby vicinity.

i) ZipDial – ZipDial provides an intuitive missed call voting and feedback system, which allows a retailer to leverage the mobile shoppers in the store to respond to a retailer survey instantaneously. This helps retailer drive business intelligence and customer feedback about the store experience.

Here are some relevant links in this area :
www.digby.com, http://www.capillarytech.com, http://www.pluck.com/, http://www.groupon.com, http://telibrahma.com/, www.zipdial.com

A combination of the above technologies / products will enable the SoLoMo experience for a retailer or service business.

CellStrat’s next conference, the India Digital Forum on 07th Feb in N. Delhi, will address a lot of the SoLoMo topics and technologies outlined above. Be sure to book your seat today and hear from top speakers in the Social Commerce space.

November 27th, 2012

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