Posts tagged 'Marketing'
All companies should have a blog, to demonstrate their expertise in a particular subject matter and provide a vehicle for two-way communications and engagement with their customers.
This blog that you are reading now is an example of that. I, as the Founding Partner of CellStrat, a consulting and start-up mentoring firm, am trying to come across as an expert in startups who has lived through the same battles you now find yourself fighting through. Not to mention, for many of you, this is your first time ever hearing about CellStrat. You may be asking, “why should I trust this firm to help me solve my startup-related problems?”. Well, hopefully the quality of the content on this blog not only educates the readers on various topics, but it also instills trust to get prospective clients to actually pick up the phone and engage with me on their various needs.
Also, this blog gives my readers the chance to voice their agreement or disagreement with various points that I am making. For example, when I wrote a guest post on Apple Pay on a famous social media site, two readers gave their contradictory and supporting views respectively. Hence, further enhancing reader education on the topic, and creating a two-way dialog with my readers, so they too feel like they are participating in the discussion.
There are two other clear marketing advantages of writing a blog. Firstly, search engines love rich content pages, and the more content you write, the more free search traffic you will drive into your website. For example, this blog is about 7 years old, and is getting 10000+ visitors per month, largely coming from people searching for information related to the posted topics via Google and some through our regular followers. That is a lot a traffic for a small consulting firm, which I didn’t have to spend one penny on, other than the 30 minutes or so that it takes me to write one post.
The second key marketing advantage is the virility of the content on social media sites like LinkedIn, face book and twitter. And, since our connections and followers are largely business people related to startups/ technology or the digital media industry in which we have worked for the last 35 years combined, there are very high odds that: (i) the articles are not only interesting reading for them; but (ii) they will most likely forward or re-tweet the articles to their thousands of collective connections and followers of their own, all ripe new prospects for my own business.
So, for the reasons above, consider a blog a vital component of your website, search marketing and social marketing strategies. And, don’t forget to ask for new followers, as I do in my last sentence below in all posts.
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December 11th, 2014
I am a firm believer of an old age adage, “it is not what you know, it is who you know” and resonates particularly well for startup entrepreneurs. And, it holds true across most sales departments of large corporates as well as most all areas of a startup’s business, including driving sales, hiring employees, raising capital and securing key partnerships. Therefore, establishing, nurturing and mining a deep network of relationships can often make or break the success of a startup. I know many of you may be uncomfortable with networking, but hopefully this post will help you understand the importance of networking and the need to break down any barriers between you and your network. Let’s discuss the various types of networking opportunities available to you.
Firstly, when people think networking, they think attending events to meet people that may be able to help them. This could be industry specific events related to your business, (e.g., strategy, marketing, technology) related to certain specific business needs, or other events bringing together like minded individuals (e.g., fellow CEO’s, fellow startups). Do your best to stay abreast of all of these types of events via your respective industry trade associations, professional associations or local startup groups with the calendars posted on their websites.
I used to think time spent on networking was time away from the business, and tried to avoid it. But, over time, I quickly learned, a strong network can actually help me build my business faster than I could on my own, and should be a vital part of a startup executive’s efforts. You never know what new client, investor, employee or other business colleague will come out of events like these.
But, you do need to be sensitive to investing your networking time wisely, to get the biggest bang for your buck. When assessing in-person networking opportunities, I try to have a good sense to:
(i) the expected size of the event (hoping to meet more people than less).
(ii) the quality of the attendees (hoping to meet more CEO’s than lower level staff members).
(iii) the location of the event.
(iv) the type of event itself (e.g., hoping to avoid dinner events where locked into one table of people, instead of roaming the room)
(v) the reputation of the hosting organization.
Equally importantly, I want to make sure I have a clear mission for the event (e.g., what specific companies or executives do I want to meet based on announced presenter or attendee lists made available prior to the event). And, keep in mind, you don’t always have to be the “hunter” at networking events. Sometimes you can get in front of more people faster, by being the “hunted” as a featured speaker or panelist at the events. So, figure out a reason for you to be the “featured attraction” (e.g., “one of the hottest startups in town”, “pro in online marketing”), which can also save you on any event fees.
But, your networking efforts should not be limited to in-person events. Networking has never been easier with the internet. You should be an active user on networking sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or other sites. This means having a rich profile page that positions you as an expert in your field, posting relevant news and updates to your status updates and joining/ engaging with the relevant “sub-groups” within that network. But, remember, when networking online, it should not be a “one way sale” to the audience; it must be a “two way conversation” to get the dialog started. So, an example, answering forum questions (in a “non-salesy” way) can also be a great way to make new relationships.
We all know how busy you are as a start-up executive. But, you can’t bury yourself in your office, and you can’t be bashful when building your business. Start building your network, and great things (e.g., new clients, employees, investors, and partners) are sure to follow. And, don’t forget, networking is more than simply the networking event itself: you are building long term relationships and need to follow up with these new colleagues after the event, and over time. So, manage this network nurturing process accordingly.
December 5th, 2014
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
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 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
After spending these many years in educating oneself, the one and only ultimate goal is to get a Job…! But how to get it and why most of them are not getting it? Is it the recession hindering or competition is tough? All these question’s answers point to one thing- Same Resume Content.
Recession and Competition inversely varies each other, balancing it is bit difficult. The thing that only matters is: How your resume stands different from others? A very simple answer lies in Tech & Skills part. That’s what you have to do, upgrade your Resume with one of these booming tech domains and see the difference. Let company approach you, you don’t have to approach them…..!
1 . Mobile OS – Trend has been changing so dramatically that now you won’t find silly Mobiles in everyone’s pocket, most of them are using Smartphones, Tablets, iPad, etc, and world is pivoting towards it. It’s all about Android, IOS, Windows, Blackberry, etc. The functionality and graphics provided by these OS’s are simply awesome! Learn the tech, develop an App and launch it to the App Store and you are in the market and if you really bombard the market, one of the Mobile developing companies will hire you…..!
2 . E-commerce – Who cares to go to the shops and purchase a thing? Everyone wants to relax at home, view the product on site, compare it, place an order and they’ll deliver to your doorstep. That’s what E-commerce means and its growing and growing day by day. Learn various E-com technologies like, Magento, WordPress, Prestashop, etc,. Develop a basic E-commerce site for yourself and launch it or highlight in your resume about your knowledge or start a service base program with your friends where you can develop an E-commerce website for others.
3 . Social Media Marketing – Everyone is aware with Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest, etc,; Most of them are aware with Marketing like sales, product, etc,; But very few are aware with a thing called Social Media Marketing. This is the field where all companies are going for, Marketing via Social Media in most inexpensive way. Who wants to pay 1000 bucks for advertisement where it can be achieved by 10 bucks. Get familiar with and try implementing instead of surfing it.
4 . Cloud Computing – Cloud is very cutting edge technology in the market and still most of them doesn’t know about it. Amazon, IBM, Eucalyptus, etc., played a major role in Cloud Computing. You want to access a resource from point A to B Cloud will help you, want to download in a faster way Cloud will help you. Still India is yet to flood with this concept as it is quite expensive and rare thing to implement and execute., but future is in and within Cloud.
5 . Big Data– The name itself suggests what it is, it’s like Big Dam storing trillions gallons of water….! On any field or domain, one has to deal with data storage and manipulation and it never decreases. Big Data has already influenced the market on very large scale. Facebook, Google, EMC and most of them are on this side of Big Data. Master in it and go for it.
May 21st, 2013
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
Testing out ideas then immediately scaling them up is the secret behind Ford’s new program for innovation, says Jim Farley, group vice president of global marketing, sales and service. Social media platforms were targeted for pre-launch buzz, as Ford could find self-selecting enthusiasts to opt in and share their ideas. “They weren’t going to buy the old car anyway, so we could show them the product a year ahead of time,” and innovate in advance of the launch, Farley says.
(via Smartbrief on Social Media)
October 16th, 2012
Social media is a great way to connect with your audience and have a two-way conversation. But it can be easy to forget that not everyone who finds your social media pages will speak your language, or be able to relate to your region’s latest trends.
Creating a global social media strategy early on will prepare you for all of these challenges, and will keep you from over-extending your resources. Just in 4 Steps we can easily guide you how to create a social media strategy that caters to your audience, whether in a specific country or across multiple nations. One can easily follow these steps to start with:-
Step 1:- Create a Global Social Media Strategy
Establish your overall social media strategy before you start tweeting, updating your Facebook status in multiple languages, or creating tons of new pages for each target country.Setting a strategy ahead of time will ensure that you can launch, optimize, and measure your global campaigns’ success without getting overwhelmed.
Step 2:- Organize Your Assets and Channels
If you’re targeting different channels for different audiences, things can get complicated very quickly. You should know which social media profiles go together, which pages on your site you should be linking to, and how all of your campaigns tie together.
Step 3:- Set Up Global Targeting on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
Localisation features are fairly new to Facebook. You can follow a step-by-step walk-through of how to use each one, but keep in mind that Facebook may make slight UI tweaks that make the actual interface a bit different from the screenshots given in different guides.
If you’re using LinkedIn Company Pages to promote your business, then in that case you have two primary localisation features available to you.
Your global marketing approach on Twitter will need to be different than that on Facebook and LinkedIn because of its limited targeting capabilities. In fact, global targeting on Twitter is non-existent unless you’re running paid ads, or tweeting at someone in particular with an ‘@’ reply.
Step 4:- Develop a Content Strategy for Social Media
Whether you are posting content on one of your global blogs, Facebook pages, or Twitter profiles, there are certain content creation best practices for global audiences that you should keep in mind. It’s all about being highly targeted and relevant. If you can talk to each of your audiences about what they care about, you’ll garner the best results from your social media campaigns.
October 2nd, 2012
Last week, I attended Mobile Marketing Association’s first forum in India. It was a two day event and comprised of two back to back workshops on Mobile Marketing and Advertising on first day and main conference on second day. Great set of speakers from across the world and their wow case studies thrilled the audience making one and all feel if anything is there that cannot be mobilised.
Paul Berney, CMO of MMA conducted a hands on exercise with audience on creation of a campaign for promoting a Sedan to 25-34 age group white collar professional who owns a small car now. Teams of 5-6 people were formed and made to present their ideas. Excellent ideas came up from all perspectives – agency, marketers, advertisers, researchers etc.
Paul also conducted another exercise on what audience think are the drivers and barriers to Mobile Advertising from India perspective. Quite a long list was created for the same. I would like to share a few of the important ones below:
Driver of Mobile in India for brands:
Reach and target
Engagement and Interactivity in terms of UI, videos etc.
Highest penetration in youth
Access to data
Barriers to mobile for brands in India:
Stringent TRAI regulations
Cost of smart phones
Fragmentation of devices and demographics both
Knowledge/ education on phone features usability
Not a solo medium but the last to be adopted for media campaigns
Lack of access to relevant user data
September 27th, 2012
Recently I am hearing a lot about the fact that the IT budgets are increasing coming from the CMO department. Indeed “CMO is the new CIO”. Why this trend ? Reasons are manifold :
a) Customer touchpoint is the new focus : Customer touchpoint is where the action is now. Whether it is Customer Engagement, Customer Service, Customer Access or anything to do with orchestrating these, these are the hot topics now for enterprises large and small. This essentially means mobile devices, mobile apps, social, local, cloud, analytics etc. To be more specific, the big themes now are Mobile, Social, Cloud and Analytics – all that relate to customer facing technology or orchestrating the customer experience.
Who owns the customer experience – it is the Marketing office and not really the CIO office.
b) Image and Branding : In this world awash with media and content, image is everything. Social and Digital Media are increasingly commanding higher order of CXO focus and budgets. It is now possible for unknown brands and firms to accelerate their visibility overnight via a variety of Social and Digital channels. Traditional firms often find themselves late to this party or reacting to their customers who are already present enmasse on these Digital Channels. Simple 140 character tweets can embarass monstrous corporations in matter of seconds. Image and Branding on new media has become a herculean challenge for large firms and leveled the playing field for consumers, smaller firms and startups.
Who controls a firm’s image and branding, CMO again. So CMO will drive investments in Social and Digital technology which is increasingly important to firms’s reputation and respect in the marketplace.
c) Backend infra is mature : Increasingly, one finds that backend infrastructure in traditional IT departments is mature – the big bang Oracle, SAP and middleware projects are stable and it is increasingly hard to find those big ticket IT projects now. Most of the transformational IT is now happening at customer edge and not in backend tech or networks. Of course, there are exceptions, like 4G and LTE investments by wireless industry and Big Data projects to slice and dice the voluminous data banks that now exist.
However, save for a few big items on backend, backend tech is now mature and even Oracles and SAPs of the world are now developing products for the front-end, where the growth multiples seem better going forward. The customer front-end, of course, is owned by the CMO and not the CIO.
d) Emergence of new tech : Web 2.0 is now being replaced by Web 3.0 – a world of seamless mobility, applications, and front-end use cases. Mobile Payments, Mobile Media, Mobile Devices, SME Cloud Apps, Social Networks, Location Services, hyperlocal marketing are the big glamour areas of tech now where most developers and firms want to focus their energy now. Apple may have started the trend of massive consumer revolution when it created the iPhone, Amazon has brought Web services to SMEs on a massive scale, Google is innovating in search and platforms, Facebook has amassed the largest number of eyeballs around the world. These kind of firms are at the forefront of consumer revolution in tech devices and applications.
Again, tackling this world is in the primary perview of the CMO with it’s mobile strategy, social and digital technology, connected consumer and advertising.
e) Consumerization of IT or COIT : COIT is a popular term now – where consumers walk in into the workplace with their consumer devices and force the CIO to adopt to their devices and apps rather than the other way round. The concept of a Social Enterprise is being adopted by all large firms to drive employee engagement, mindshare and collaboration. Gen Y employees are forcing their employers to change their ways and business practices to make these corporations employee oriented. Talent crunch is forcing firms to adapt to the employees wishes rather than the other way round. Hyper-informed customers are, in turn, pressurizing companies to provide relevant product information and fantastic customer service.
Certainly, CMO is the consumer and people expert and not the CIO. Most of the COIT trends require CMO to play a key role in the tech strategy.
To be sure, the CIO is not going anywhere and remains the bulwark of operational infrastructure and execution framework within the firms. The tech jazz (and related budgets), however, are now owned by the CMO due the macro trends outlined above. Indeed, CMO is the new CIO in the tech world.
September 24th, 2012