Wednesday, 12 November 2014

New Age Channel Marketing

How does Old Marketing Channels compare to New Ones:

20 years ago brochures and direct mail were the best channel for marketing- now biggest sources are TV and online marketing including Social media. So,how much has it all changed and are these new channels effective enough? Do you need to discard the old completely.Some thoughts:

It's always better to integrate multiple channels based on your brand's user base. For eg. If your product has a strong user based across both online and offline users, then it is best to integrate TRADITIONAL marketing strategies with New age media tools and social connect for bringing users under one brand roof to engage with the brand. 

While digital channel is increasingly gaining importance across B2C and B2B, one needs a right balance of all marketing channels depending on the product or service and the target segment you are chasing. For ROI through digital channels including PPC online ads, webinars, content syndication, email campaigns - a strong nurture strategy is must for conversion of leads into business. If you are targeting CXO's of large corporations, you would still need to have traditional channels like industry conferences and custom hosted events to get instant face time with multiple prospects.

It all depends on the client, the tool and the target audience. When we can get extremely targeted, we're more successful. Search is a significant part of all client strategies, but we like to blend it with other tools for maximum impact.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Buyer Persona

How is a Buyer Persona created?

Personas are fictional representations of ideal customers based upon real data of demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations and concerns.

The strongest buyer personas are based on market research as well as on insights you gather from your actual customer base (through surveys, interviews, etc.). Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas, or as many as 10 or 20. (Note: If you’re new to personas, start small! You can always develop more personas later if needed.)

Here is a template of Buyer Persona of a CIO:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

 Key Titles
Chief Information Officer
SVP of IT, VP of IT (highest level IT executive in a company /division)
CTO (some common interests with CIO)
       SVP of Technology
        SVP Business Technology
  VP of Technology
  IT Director (as highest IT role)
Role of Buyer
The most senior decision maker for the IT organization; final approver for majority of IT expenditures.
Control 65% of company’s IT spend (CIO Magazine’s “State of the CIO 2014”).
Create business value
Provide agility and drive innovation with IT
Reduce IT costs and improve business efficiency
Deliver “IT as a Service” - position internal IT as preferred service provider; rapid delivery of IT as a consumable, optimized service
Attract, retain and develop IT talent
       Maintaining/ transforming legacy apps
  Reduce costs focus; greater % report to CFO
 Trend to move faster to cloud/outsource IT staff
Buying Center
Corporate (44% of CIOs report to the CEO) and Finance (18% report to the CFO) per CIO Magazine’s “State of the CIO 2014 “report
Daily Responsibilities
Drive innovation - identify opportunities for competitive differentiation and develop a culture of innovation within IT and the business
Align IT initiatives with business goals; cultivate partnerships between IT and business
Improve IT operations/control costs; manage system/architecture decisions, manage crises
Technology Coherence – make sure new technologies, applications, and other assets fit. Understand with business architectures and infrastructures
Business Continuity – establish predictable, high service levels and always-on IT services
Provide and validate technology vision and direction to the IT  organization, business stakeholders, end-users, customers, partners and vendors
Content Preference
        Business Publications (e.g., WSJ, Economist, Forbes); Peer Research, (CIO/CXO assoc and events); Executive Summary Reports; increasing exposure to multi-media/social networking
       Social media use by staff
       More likely to use social media
Watering Holes
Industry Groups; Analyst Summits; Partner/Vendor/3rd party CIO events

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Ten Pointers to Write and Market your Blog

The word blog comes out of the words- web log. But that alone doesn’t really define blog at all. In a layman’s language, a blog is a website with content that is written frequently and added in a chronological order.

Idea is the pillar:
The most important part of blog writing is the idea.The content and writing style supplements the idea which is like a formula.It should captivate and intrigue the readers.Unfortunately, lot of bloggers take keywords as a base of writing content.Keywords might  generate traffic but can never make it popular.
Be honest and loud:
Speak out with your heart.Don’t be afraid of a little controversy.A blog which is honest and of a strong opinion makes the strongest impact.
Goldilocks Title:
Keep your title short and simple.The Goldilocks rule can be applied to a perfect T here.Keep your title to no more than120 characters so that it is easily tweetable.
The perfect time :
The right thing at the right time to the right people.The timing of post is quite important to reach out to as many readers.Ideally you should post on weekdays when there is maximum visibility.
Capture senses with visuals:
Make your blog visually interesting.Psychologist Albert Mehrabian demonstrated that 93% of communication is non-verbal.Visual storytelling is poised to be a breakout marketing trend in 2014.If “content is king” then visual is the emperor.
Make a brand of you:

Last but which should come first, is to brand yourself. What do you want people to know about you? Create your story by sharing how you can help others & identify what problems you solve for them first. Share the real you, be vulnerable, honest and don’t try too hard to project perfection

Monday, 30 June 2014

The Writing of a good Case Study

Wikipedia says that a case study (or case report), in social sciences and life sciences,  is a descriptive, exploratory or explanatory analysis of a person, group or event. In business, however, the main purpose of a case study is to convince the reader that the particular organization or individual can solve business problems in methodic, predictable and transparent way.

A case study should be crisp and to the point. It should outline the response provided in face of a crisis situation. A background of what led to this situation is also necessary. However,at the same time you should make the customer look good.You should never tread too far down path of his pains so that he looks like an idiot!

As with any content you need to give it the face of a story to hook your readers. Add liveliness, define characters and integrate multiple sub stories within. A realistic situation will always have unwanted glitches or bottlenecks. These are as important as the solutions.

Graphs, Infographics or pictorial representations all make the understanding easier. Using of bullet points is highly recommended. Leverage  customers current marketing message if possible.

Overall, break up the entire case study into a few subheadings as:

Should have ten words or fewer including the name of the company

It should mention what industry and nature of work the customer is into.What is his vision that led him to look for a solution.Was there somebody specific who led this initiative.

Atleast three points of pain areas that the customer identified. What tactics did they  try to solve these initially. And  what was the big moment they decided to partner you. What are the top three things they love about your product or service.

The process of implementation should be crisply mentioned and who from the customers team helped you out.

Then we come to the final part.What specific problems has been addressed by you that other customers can relate to.Did this particular customer have any direct big win/big as a result.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Are you struggling to write meaningful content

Diogenes, a Greek philosopher, said “He has the most who is most content with the least”. How truly this has come of age in these times. The one with the most original content in the least words will have the most advantage. 

Content marketing plan has been ranked consistently as one of the top three priorities of marketers for several wars. So how do you differentiate your two cents from the sea of content flooding the minds of your customers? Here is my take on few things you cannot ignore while creating content.

Research what readers want

Research about what questions people are asking. Place yourselves in the shoes of your readers and find out what answers they require. Create a persona of the reader and jump over to his side of the fence. There are several sites as Yahoo Answers which can give you a fair idea. Make a list of these and make sure you cover these when you pen your content. Listen socially!

Find out trends

Find out history trends of particular terms or keywords. With the help of google and other sites get an idea of how the subject has been treated over a period of time.This will help you to understand if your ideas are relevant at today’s times.

Distribute and format content

Do not cramp all of your ideas at one place. Distribute them evenly over the entire write up. At the same time, keep the formatting clear with headings and sub headings .Only one out of five readers go beyond your title.So work on it. Make it easy for everyone to find quickly if the subject is relevant to them. Avoid THDR(Too Hard Didn’t Read).It is an important part of content strategy.

A story with pictures

Now that you have made it clear and simple, put in some pictures and weave a story around it. It will be engrossing and pleasing to the eyes of the reader. Not to mention, images tell a thousand words as well as help in your SEO! Plan your content in advance.

Think original

Original is originality which means ideas should be original. This is something which should be on top of your mind to make your content top class. Nothing ever beats original. Do not agree? Just try once.The foundations of content marketing is laid on this.

Apply Pareto's principle

Pareto’s principle or 80/20 rule now applies to almost everything in life. So what does it mean for content. We can safely decipher that 20% of our content will be viewed 80% of the time. Find out those critical inputs (the "critical few") that you should pay a lot of attention to, and many unimportant inputs (the "trivial many") that you can ignore.


Suggest not direct

Make your audience apply your thoughts. Never direct them to do things. Application will make them understand and they will find your content compelling. It will make more sense to your audience if you can justify why they need to read and apply those.

Content creation is an art and science as well. So next time you set out to write some content, keep the above things in mind and let me know the results! Happy Writing!

Monday, 9 June 2014

How to handle the evolved email marketing?

What is it about email marketing that it is still ranks in top three lead generation tactics even after the advent of social media. This got me to read more about what has changed in this marketing channel and what new tactics people are using to avoid being in spam.

How and where to start?

The first and foremost view that I got is segmentation, putting across the right message at right time. You should be paying attention to where the contact is in the purchasing cycle so that you send the right message at the right time to the right audience. There should be one clear call to action, this is important as customer attention span is shrinking. The subject line is your “foot in the door”. It should be engrossing. Each subject line should be the superhero that stands out from the crowd, the pre-header should be its trusty sidekick and your email should be a story that your viewers will want to sit through.

What to put inside?

Now, coming to content part, Create emails using inverted pyramid style, with most important info up top. Only send quality information (imagine you are receiving this). Incorporate strong visuals into your email.Add real scarcity to emails (live countdown timers, days left for an offer...). It boosts CTR as well as open rates on the long run. Getting response is more about what's in it for them more than what's in it for you - let your audience's "WIIFM?" lead your offers, content, segmentation – everything

When and how much to send?

Don't send too much, too fast. Warm up your IP's and establish a pattern, before you start blasting.Focus on growing your list all of the time as newer subscribers are more engaged adding to healthier open rates and ROI. Send 1 salesy email, for every 3-4 informative emails that build trust with your subscribers. When an audience opens an email, be sure to have a series of 2-3 more emails close behind related to the same subject/topic of discussion - Engage the Engaged!
Do not forget the mobile readers!

Remember your mobile readers, check your links are easily clicked on desktops and mobile users alike. Don't miss out on A B testing. Add hidden teaser text to the very top of your code. This text will display as the first 2-3 lines for mobile users but won't be seen by desktop users.

Be creative at each step

If you're out of ideas for your next newsletter, take a break to think about it. Try something simple but meaningful for your email list. Example: Build a newsletter with a link to a quiz about your audience interests, built on a special landing page on your website. Another could be making a video on Screenr, and same process. Be creative!Stop thinking of it as "marketing"; it's a conversation and treat it as such.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A crisp guide to help you choose the right cloud provider :

Cloud computing is an inevitability that you can no longer ignore. Most studies suggest that businesses without a proper recovery plan shut down within 12 months of a flood or fire. With roughly 30,000 service providers in storage and backup, how do you go about choosing the one that serves you perfectly. Few areas of concern could be security concerns ,expensive bandwith, uptime history or unwanted features.
Cloud Computing,Cloud storage, data storage
Security:First and foremost, security of your data should be the topmost priority.The Secure Socket Layer(SSL) and Transport Secure Layer(TSL) is the standard and most widely deployed security protocol when transferring data. Going forward, more encryption protocols are required to protect your digital assets in the cloud.Your provider should offer a minimum 128-bit encryption but the ideal is always a 256-bit encryption.
Once you are satisfied with the level of security, you need to probe further into their services and features including :
Regulatory Compliance: It can cover many things from Government regulations-Sarbanes-Oxley and EU Data Protection Act to industry regulations such as PCI-DSS and HIPAA. You need to make sure that your provider submits all audits and follows all regulations. It is all the more important with the 43A amendment to the IT Security Act 2000.
Physical and Digital Security: Does your provider have a good access management strategy and data center orchestration for their data center. Is the data stored protected by a comprehensive endpoint security solution or network based hardware and software security.With 17 percent of Internet servers vulnerable to the recent Heartbleed bug , this aspect is a must to look into.
Recovery Capabilities: A natural disaster or a simple accident can threaten your data.You need to make sure that your provider has “Hot Sites” and “Warm Sites”  with defined Service Level Agreements by the hour. Do they run Disaster recovery tests regularly. The Huffington Post-Hurricane Sandy case study is a case in point.
Integrated Service Provider: An Integration Data Protection Plan includes anti-virus expertise,data cleaning and hardware lifecycle management. A stand-alone backup service provider would not be able to offer this.Do they offer value such as pricing options for different data types.
There would be a lot of other but critical things to consider, your comments on same are welcome!