Showing posts from 2010

Information Scarcity to Information Abundance – Changing thoughts

Couple of things that happened recently, made me think… Has the growth of technology (esp. Internet) actually diminished the value of information?

2 reasons that got me thinking were -
1) I was planning to make a Goan dish – Vindaloo... I logged on to the Internet to check the recipe. I read it, used it to make the dish. All throughout, I never made an effort to remember the recipe and process of making it…One reason could be - In case I need the same information in the future, I could get it at the click of a button…

2) In the past few weeks… the (scam) news sequence could be summed up as follows – IPL scam>CWG scam>2G scam>Adarsh>Media Tapes. While each of the news is important in terms of the freshness and context…the value we attach to the previous incident diminishes drastically with each passing day. The News today has a short shelf life

About 20 years back, (access to) information was scarce. The only known and popular sources of information were – the books, Newspape…

Is online a ‘frivolous’ medium for advertising?

Ok. I know it is a very uncomfortable question, especially in emerging markets where Internet advertising is just about finding its place, and is also one of the fastest growing - in terms of advertising revenue growth. It becomes all the more uncomfortable when you are talking about it online :)

Some weeks back, I overheard someone say that compared to other traditional mediums of advertising Online Advertising as a medium need not to be considered seriously (at-least for now). India, for example, still is a market driven by TVC and Print ads.

True? True, but partially

True, because most of the online advertising is limited to online banners (a replication of the mainline creative/message) with a campaign website that is informative in nature. True, because in most ad agencies, the creative think about the message in terms of TVC, Print, Radio, etc…. and then decide to do something ‘cool’ in the online space. “Let’s have something cool on Facebook” is the latest mantra. True again, bec…

The Importance of “Positioning”

The online would have enough and more dope on Brand Positioning; So, I'd not go into the detailing of what is positioning, and how it can be achieved? I will also not talk about the Importance of Positioning but would try and give some examples of some brand names you are familiar with and interact on day to day basis in the online space.
Couple of days back, I was talking to a brand manager who was mentioning how the online platforms are only best suited for tactical purposes. He went onto mention that maybe in future "positioning" would not be a marketing focus, and "being tactical" would be the marketing strategy of the day. I argued, on the importance of positioning, and had taken couple of examples from the Internet space and said if online companies are focusing on positioning, then 'positioning' is and will be crucial aspect of marketing.
While there is a grain of truth in saying that in future "being tactical" would be important…since ne…

Trying out the Microsoft Word Blog post feature

I've never tried this feature before… one reason could be that I'm not an avid blogger and hence the reason for me to use Desktop applications to blog never occurred.
I'm of the belief that communication through technology is not more of context but of accessibility. I would have never thought about publishing my random thoughts for others to read had there been no Internet. Leave alone publish; I would not have even maintained a personal diary. A reason why the twitter population is increasing day by day could be because of the accessibility to micro-blogging through mobile phones…
Under the above presumption, I've decided to use a desktop application and write down my random thoughts as they come along. And since I have access to the MS Word feature anytime… maybe…maybe I would then begin to blog regularly J
So far, the feature looks cool… except for the fact, I still haven't got to know how to insert pictures and to create labels. I'm sure these features are so…

Who do they think I am?

I was mentioning in my earlier post that almost 80% of the SMS messages I receive are SPAM. Looking at the propositions they are offering me through SMS, I think this is what they think I am – their Target Customer.

One Marketer thinks I am a pot-bellied person, and have some interesting schemes on buying slim belts for 0% interest on EMI’s

According to another Marketer, I am a rich person who invests in properties. The number of Apartments for sale, realty projects that is coming up in Delhi and NCR I have the details of those in my SMS inbox. Another Marketer too thinks the same way bombarding me with 12% return of Investment through mutual funds. How I wish I fell in this category

Yes, I am deeply into religion and devotion. With the service provider themselves sending me ‘exciting and interesting’ offers of VAS. Download a devotional song as ringtone or set it as a caller tune….else offers of Mobile wallpapers and screensavers of gods and goddesses is a daily norm

Some other marketer …

Trendspotting: The Future of SMS

This year’s Independence Day was slightly different from the earlier year(s). No it is nothing to do with Flag hoisting, or the fact that it came on a Sunday (and thus a holiday that got wasted)…. It was different because I did not receive even a single SMS from my friends or acquaintances wishing me a Happy Independence Day. Strange, because over the past few year it was a norm that during festivals and occasions your mobile phone keeps buzzing continuously because of the deluge of SMS being received. Also…neither did I send any SMS to anyone.

Well, it is not just Independence Day messages…. It is generally seen that people are slowly shifting from Short Message Services usage that the operators provide by default. Most of my SMS are limited to – I’m busy, call back category, My address/reference category, I’m avoiding talking to you category, and alternate to email category.

While the industry trends show that the volume of SMS messages would grow for the next few years… (with Global …

Hello, Is it Rajeev Rai speaking?

“Hello, aap Rajeev Rai-ji bol rahen hain?” I’ve been hearing this since the time I took a new mobile connection when I got transferred to Delhi (about 3 years back)..

The calls on my new number asking for Rajeev Rai has been insistent and consistent over the last 3 years…. Phone calls from banks, friends, loan sharks, out of town relatives..and even from the mobile service provider!!! (Vodafone India you have an awesome database about your customers)

Basis the inputs (from the wrong calls) I’ve been receiving on Rajeev Rai… I’ve been able to create a personality of Rajeev Rai….

I believe Rajeev Rai is around 35-40 years old….He would belong to SEC C category in terms of the socioeconomic classification… (Reason… most of the calls address him to either Rajeev Rai-ji and also some instances of him being referred to as ‘mama’ (Uncle)and almost all the calls are from people who speak vernacular Hindi)

My strong guess is that he is/was a small shop owner… this number was his primary phone a…

The Tipping point of Khap justice and honour killings

The past few weeks I’ve been reading the book –The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. The book has been an eye opener for me in many ways. The idea of how little things can make big impact has been around for a while. The famous one I can think about is the “butterfly effect” – how by the flapping of the wings a butterfly in the Amazon jungle can cause rains in Europe. However, the things that caught my interest were the mavens, the connectors, and the salesman all playing important roles in creating viral effect

The past few weeks I’ve also been reading a lot of new items on Khap Justices and Honour killings. Almost every main stream newspaper and TV Channels has been carrying news about one or another incident happening on a day to day basis. While most of the incidents of Khap justice and honour killings news had centred around rural Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, it has now reached the peripherals of the Metros (Delhi)

It seems that these uncivilized actions have become some sor…

Board Examination, Revisited

For past few weeks, I’ve been reading in the Times of India news items on Examination results and College entrance. The keywords like – Top scores, Cut off marks, First list, preferred courses, college preference, etc all reminds me of that time in my life I wish I could forget :)

I’ve done most of my schooling and college in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. As Bryan Adams crooned “Those were the best days of my life…” but it had some days that is best forgotten

One thing I must mention is that during my studying years most of my thickest friends from my class have been the brightest students. As any bright students, they were the source of admiration of other students. And I thought, me in their company would get a share of the admiration (or that is what my developing mental faculty at that time used to think). But during the examination period and the results thereof they became my source of depression and dejection.

The 10th Board Exams:

In the great Indian Education Challenge, the 10…

Technology – Building Bridges or Building Walls?

This can be part – 2 of my earlier blog on how technology affects human behaviour. Couple of things that has come to my notice in the past few days made me think… is the popular technology more of a communication enabler or disabler?

A colleague of mine has recently been to Singapore for holidays. An interesting observation, he mentioned, was that how people seem to be in their own world – the ear phones plugged, listening to their ipods, mobile phones, etc… or they were busy fidgeting with their mobile phones, either playing games or watching some video on the phone/ipod. They seem to be in their own world as if they have created an invisible wall around them.

Another is a report that was mentioning about the increase of mobile VAS. Currently the mobile VAS contributes to 12% (in India) of the revenue. While text (SMS) seems to be the major revenue generator in VAS services, contribution from other VAS sources like – Music downloads, Ringtones, Caller Ring Back Tone (CRBT), screensaver…

‘Digit’al Revolution: From Index Finger to the Thumb

Experts have been talking about how technology is innovated based on human behaviour, and the cultural behaviour of the people…. But this is no one way street. The use of technology is changing the human behaviour too.

Remember the days of POTS (Plain Old Telephone Systems)…where in you had to actually rotate and dial a number…(I can still remember the kit-kit.kit…tone you get to hear when you release the wheel).. I’m sure like everyone else you would have been using the index finger to dial the number. In case you don’t belong to the POTS generation, ask your parents about the big black telephone covered with the white cloth placed in the corner of a living room…with the bulky telephone directory under it. It was an era when the index finger ruled.

Then came the push-button dial pad telephones….It was usually gifted to you by your rich uncle or cousin coming from ‘Gulf’ on their annual holidays. The late 80’s saw the govt. owned company Bharat Electronics producing the same for mass m…

What else affects E-commerce in India?

A few weeks back, I was working on a proposal for marketing of an e-commerce portal. One look at the stats showed that the e-tailing in India never took off. While categories like travel (led by IRCTC, and the OTAs) and Hotel bookings has taken of in a big way…it has been a dismal performance, when it comes to e-tailing.

e-tailing can be defined as a business to consumer transaction through direct sale of limited quantity of goods or services..

The industry experts have been talking about the rise of e-commerce in India, but what is being missed out is that most of these e-com transactions are done on the B2B space. The data shows that the B2C industry size of ecommerce in India is around INR 11,000 crores*. About 80%* of the B2C e-com transaction is from the Online Travel Industry, followed by online classifieds

The e-tailing pie is only about 9%*. While the numbers and growth might be encouraging, it is nothing great to make a big noise about

(* Guesstimates by classical extrapolation…

Google Vs Facebook: From Traffic to Trust

An interesting news article that came out a few weeks back has got me thinking…. Facebook has overtaken Google to become the most popular website in the United States for the first time, according to new data from Hitwise, which measures Internet traffic. For the week ending March 13, the social networking juggernaut registered 7.07% market share, beating the search giant's 7.03% market share.

See full article from DailyFinance:

What got me thinking was how could Facebook in such a short span of time overtake Google -the default destination for millions of internet users globally?

The data shows dramatic rise of Facebook- this can be attributed to the fact that people are spending more time on the net socializing, and an average user visits more pages on Facebook (not sure though if the Facebook Chat window refreshes are counted as part of the Hitwise data as the chart shows a phenomenal increase since April 2009).

On a different note, a person usually visits a …

Follow Finder from Google Labs - Any takers??

I saw this new stuff that Google Labs is working on…FollowFinder it made me curious to know what exactly does this feature do, and how will it help the users and also how will it help Google as a company.

Followfinder is basically a search engine that will help you find people (nay, tweeps) and expand your twitter network.

While I’m not sure why would people go to a Google feature to search for Tweeps, while I have this function on Twitter page… in terms of finding people. In fact looking at the growth of twitter access through mobile apps (I guess in the last count it was close to 45%) Google is looking at only half the twitter user universe through this feature…

Another reason and I find this most stupid is the fact that if I am following say 2 publication tweets…what inference makes Google believe that I might be interested in other publication tweets too.. I mean, I do not subscribe to all the newspapers or magazines.. I stick to 1 or 2… and I’m sure most people also would be happy t…

5 Skill-sets that would be in demand in Digital Marketing for 2010:

2010 has started off with a lot of promise when it comes to digital marketing. I have seen a sea shift in terms of the clients pro-actively seeking digital marketing ideas and solutions from the agencies. Some reasons for the same could be:

- The user base of internet has grown to an extent, it can be called as a mass media. Reports say that the Internet users in the country is over 71 Million
- The traditional news mediums (TV and Print) are quoting from twitters and blogs that has increased the awareness of these platforms. Quotes (nay tweets) from popular personalities (nay tweeps) are the source of information and content for many of the newspapers and TV channels… What iamsrk is saying, or the recent tweets from iplt20 (Lalit Modi) and shashitharoor has made twitter a household name..
- A phenomenon called Facebook has spread like a pandemic. In today’s world – People have started taking up professions which most will never plan to do in their real life – Farming, Cooking, Mob…etc


Digital Marketing Zone Ahead, Go Slow

3 incidents. 3 clients. Same condition.

Client #1 had to get a website done… their campaign was about to launch in 1 weeks time and they haven’t decided on what their website should contain and how it would look. Now they wanted a website FAST. Client #2 wants to do an online advertising… a lead generation campaign… The creative haven’t been cracked; the landing page not yet ready; and the database (lead capturing) haven’t been thought about. But they wanted to go live FAST. Client #3 just got an approval for doing some social media marketing. They want to do ‘something’ in SM space… why, what and how…they are not sure of… But they want to create a Facebook page, and they want it FAST.

When it comes to Digital Marketing every client wants things done FAST.

I’m curious to know who had sold the idea to the world that every thing about Digital Marketing is FAST. Looking back at my own experience, I realize that during the early days of internet marketing… there was resource time available …

IPL: Royalty Revisited

A few days back I was reading an article on how the titles of the IPL franchisees are basis words related to royalty – Kings (2), Royals, Knights, and Chargers - Words from the medieval world. The more I think about the co-incidence of the titles to royalty, I realize that the similarity to royalty is more than just in the name

The IPL setup: A typical ‘empire’ style model…. With BCCI as the head of the empire, and the franchisees as the ‘jagirs’…. Every jagirdar (franchisee owner) has to pay a standard sum to the emperor every year… whether they make that much money or not…

Each Franchisee has its own flag; and war cry… similar to the medieval times… where the kings had their own flag and the army rallied around it….

Like the kings and their ministers… you have the business/entertainment Czars with their Durbar sitting in the Franchisee enclosures watching the matches… The kings also are seen showing off their spoils (especially the trophies from the fairer sex)….and as in the King’s D…

Display advertising: towards creativity without limits

Imagine you own a popular coffee chain in Denver that you want to promote. On Monday afternoon, it’s warm and 80 degrees in the city. You run a display ad campaign online that offers Denverites a discount coupon for an iced cold latte, with a searchable map embedded in the ad to show local branches, and a real-time feed from people who have tweeted publicly about your newest flavor. That evening, a cold front rolls over the Rockies. Your ad automatically and dynamically adjusts to present a photo of a hot, steaming cup of hot chocolate in front of a warm fireplace, together with a home delivery number and an offer of free marshmallows.

Creative? Absolutely. Impossible? Hardly. You can do this today using technology from Teracent that we’re working to roll out for our clients who advertise on the Google Content Network or who use DoubleClick Rich Media.

There’s no doubt that advertisers today are increasingly seeking to run campaigns that are highly measurable and relevant to users. That…

How Microsoft Bing 'Farmed' for new users

I had got this interesting article from WebProNews...

More people use Farmville than Twitter, according to Bing, and People are sharing all kinds of activities within Farmville itself. That's why the company saw a great opportunity to experiment. What they did was offer a special offer inside of Farmville, that would give users free "farm cash" if they became a fan of Bing on Facebook, which would encourage continued user interaction with Bing. As a result:

- Over 72% of users who clicked on the engagement became fans
- 59,000 people published the story to their news feed
- Over 70,000 clicks were received on secondary feeds
- In 24hours, Bing had over 400,000 new fans to keep

Microsoft said its goals for engagement and social media efforts have been to:

- Add or create relevant value (stuff that's not even necessarily a Microsoft property)
- Add depth to Bing's personality
- Lead someone to a relevant engagement with Bing or each other.
- Yield passionate or emotional res…

Next Innovation from Apple

Looking at the naming stuff that has been happening in Apple...

i'm guessing that their next 'innovative' product launch is going to be... iCard....

It would have a camera attached which would act as a business card scanner... 2 gb internal memory for music, an sms application, calculator, bluetooth/Wireless... and a MS office, Adobe suite viewer to check files...


Will the Buzz drown the Tweets??

Since the time it launched few weeks back, Google Buzz has been just doing that. Creating Buzz… While the critics are mentioning about the privacy issues (Facebook too had faced privacy issues about a year back), many have started experimenting with this new platform…

For Google, it was necessary that they integrate the Buzz with their ‘star performer’ – Gmail (search engine being the sacred cow they cannot fiddle with). Google has been dabbling in the social media space for past many years, but somehow the success has been elusive. Their strike rate in social media is close to zero. While Orkut is popular in Brazil and India… but in markets that matters, they hardly have been able to make a dent. Flickr has far more traction amongst the online users that Picasa…and Google Wave just managed to create a ripple.

Twitter, since it hit the market in 2006, has been gaining popularity worldwide. The reasons for the same can be attributed to the following:
- Simplicity: Most people are normal… …

Twitter: Connection Generator or Content Generator

I’m sure the following scenarios would be familiar to most people… If you look carefully at what is being said or written in the Media (Television / Newspapers)… news on “My Name is Khan” – the movie, about Shah Rukh Khan’s comments and many other related titbits. Few months back it was Sashi Tharoor and about what he said (the cattle class comments), and what he was saying thereof. Another regular feature in the news channels happens to be what the latest tweets are on specific topics or current events… suddenly you see that Twitter is also about content…

The idea of Twitter was to provide a simple platform for the online users to update their status; and for their friends and followers to see and respond. The idea of keeping it under 140 characters was to make the integration with existing SMS platforms easier…. The idea has been very successful, and people have started taking on to Twitter a big way… The stats say that almost 40-45% of Twitter traffic is from Mobile platforms and th…

Back to tribalism: Future lies in the past

No one will argue the fact that we all live in a networked world. You connected to me, connected to another, and another, and to the whole world. True? Well, not quite. Take a detailed look into this networked world; you will find that it is a chain of islands, with spaces between each other…. It is islands of online communities, groups, niche networks, etc…

You realize that this online world (especially the social networking) is not one big homogeneous society, but a collection of different types of groups. But looking at our past we know that human advancement has been on basis of creating a homogeneous society… From being a small group of hunters and gatherers, to forming large communities, building villages, city states, empires, and to nation states of today… Now that we have the technology and the medium to create this homogeneous society, even if it is online, why do we shy from doing so?

If we look back at the start of the Internet – it was a repository of information that can …