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The Product Game

Heres the thing – Apples, Snaps, and Googles, all in it to win it. Facebook’s catching up playing around with tech and Ai with VR around the corner. So many words.

Snapchat changed its name to reflect its focus on hardware and everything around – Moments and Experiences. Which could mean hardware cameras or software memes XD

1M+ views and likes/dislikes disabled and comments turned off. Casey Neistat should have been roped in, but he’s busy competing in the social space with Beme – another player who thinks – Experience and Authenticity are the corner-stone of all media shared by humans. Yes

Snap’s PR outreach is also weak. Its boring, and lame. If there was any company that could have done this it was Snapchat, but its a hefty price to pay for these goggles. Whats the problem –

“THERE IS NO EPHEMERAL NATURE TO THESE GLASSES”

The whole premise of Snapchat is its chill. Now if people start buying these bulky goggles and paying a ridiculous sum for it – its a bummer and doesn’t match its ethos.

Now if the snapchat glasses (spectacles) were low-tech bluetooth, 5 MP camera attachments and battery outlets with a cheaper, thinner material that you could pick up for $50-60 and toss away when youre bored – That would have been a category killer. Fuck Google, Snap is here to stay. THEN, Snapchat could have upsold to a $130 model. But yeah these will be offered across all malls, concerts, and shopping areas across the world in no time, and sales might not pick up.

Its funny, because the video is weak and Snapchat has actually acquired a media buying and media production company. But the problem is that at the $130 price point, Evan calls it a “TOY”. Which is even more detrimental. There is no synchronicity in messaging across media, and the comms look fake as fuck. Thats not what Snapchats all about. *poop emoji*

Now why did they do it? Because Investors were told early on that that’s what they would be getting. Hence the crazy valuation. Same with Uber, whos investing in driverless trucks. Justify the valuation.

They’ll have to rope in a lot of influencers to push this out, and connect with trend masters to see who’s hot and who’s not. But this won’t i think have a detrminental nature on theapp

 

References –

https://www.thestar.com/business/2016/09/28/snapchat-set-to-roll-out-sunglasses-that-record-video.html

http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/23/13039184/snapchat-spectacles-price-release-date-snap-inc

https://www.cnet.com/products/snapchat-spectacles/preview/

https://www.spectacles.com/

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/26/why-snapchats-new-glasses-could-be-more-than-just-a-toy.html

Snapchat unveils $129 sunglasses that can record video in 10-second snippets

 

 

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What’s more important – The Product or The Marketing

Thats a reduntant question and an absurd one – Product managers think that they know it all and Marketing Gurus want the next best thing in promotion. Its all a cycle, where there are some elements (either product or marketing or both) that drive it forward. Companies that drive both forward (Airbnb, Monster, and RedBull) perform far better in markets where the competition is stiffening up and product differentiation becomes a meagre difference of lemons.

Think about this scenario in auto industry –

A BMW V/S Mercedes Benz.

Mercedes beat BMW in the luxury car space this half year (H2016) by 7% points for the first time in 5 years!

Both car manufacturers have a great product, both grew from last year (BMW – 5%, Merc – 12%) and both have a great sales team at the end of the line to deliver the product.

Last year’s sales –

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Now, barring illegal or unethical activities leading to chokeholding the competition (because its India), we can see that consistent growth in this sector has been great! Because our economy’s growing quick and we’re reaching higher levels of income brackets slowly and steadily.

While Auto industry spends 8% of all Indian media spends, its burning close to 5000 CRs in media spends.

What makes it better than any other industry to study? – One reason – Bad advertising.

The ads aren’t emotionally connecting with the upper echelon and yet because of the global brand value of Merc and BMW they sell to impress. (Esp in Ludhiana)

So what I’m saying is that even if the industry is doing well (aka the product) it can’t escape its brand perception (aka marketing). You buy because you perceive it to be worth your time. If not, you move on.

The Product. The Marketing. The Sale – are all connected.

Dr. Ettlie is to thank for this matrix – ORM – Operations, Research & Marketing are the only three legs on which a company is built for its life time. You can thank him here – He’s a nice guy

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The Marketing Strategist Weekly (MSW #1)

1. Facebook’s testing out a new appearance format for a few pages 

2. Instagram copying Snapchat introducing Memories that disappear after 24 hours. Could be FB’s attempt at competing with Snapchat due to advertiser pressure and increasing retention time.

Facebook’s Timeline Facelift

Alright jumping into the first update with is hello! It looks different. Shared’s official page looks more like a content aggregator than a “community driven page” Looks good, although it drives the attention away from the timeline a little bit focusing on the other aspects of the page. What do you think?

Maybe this way people will visit the other tabs that the page has, and FB might receive the advantages of “Fitt’s Law”

This is the perfect way to drive leads, and sales from content, or at the very least, drive advertising from FB’s content.

Instagram imitating Snapchat

Its no secret that because of investor and advertiser pressure, FB’s being made to try different things to keep competing with “the others”, they who shall not be named. “Snape”chat

But check it out, it looks exactly the same! The CEO of Instagram said – Yeah were copying them all credits to them. I think its all about retention. Because ppl on insta might be getting bored of the same ol posts and “perfection” driven mentality of the filters,  that they forget to login and check it out often. Snapchat’s got that ephemeral drive to it that makes you want to check it 10-15 times a day or maybe more – the number’s arent all that reliable unless its real time.

So how does this affect your strategy? – It doesn’t. It makes it deeper thats all. It makes you want to post more often and pay more attention to user engagement metrics. Influencer posts will become more real-time and activity driven and if you’re in the B2B business then you can pretty much VLOG your whole day and share it for the world to see and recall your videos when they need a particular service offering.

What do you guys think about the new changes? Let me know in the comments, lets talk about it

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Pokemon’s doing a movie

I just had to write about it. Its glaringly simple, a unique twist to the age old pokemons, and a new form of pokemon is in the scene. Mechanical pokemons – aka PokeGold for Niantic+Nintendo. The trailor (unlike other reboots) has stuck to its original graphic style, original pacing, and added new elements. No need to reinvent the wheel and disengage hardcore fans, just do what’s worked best. Now the movie franchise makes me think about “The Rock” who also has his own Pokemon and YT channel and is the highest earning actor in the world. Imagine that – a non-actor becoming an actor. A non-movie becoming a movie (Pokemon). A non-election becoming more hyped than the election – GOT elections.

Why? – Audience. Pokemon’s got millions of fans who play the game, meet at conventions and are mesmerised completely with the story. Young kids are still playing the game, unlike others that were popular in the 90s.

The Rock – 60+M fans on social media, and people love him because he gave them a story line when they were bullied, and a fantasy to escape from the boredom of school

Two lessons – AUDIENCE & STORY.

 

Start your journey now – gotta catch emaill!!

 

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Pokemon Go – They had a solid outdoor base to launch

Hi there, here we are. Pokemon Go has been insane, longest time spent, quickest to jump to number 1, quickest to enhance market cap, and insanity craze on its competitor’s platforms – FB YT IN SP

So WTF is going on? You know. Why are people crazy about it?

What you don’t know is that there have been many apps that did exactly what Pokemon did. Same went for Angry Birds. And Candy Crush.

What’s different – Story. Story (derived, borrowed, lent, or created) has been inherent in its success. What we didn’t know is that Pokemon regularly held events, conferences, seminars, and get togethers across the US and Australia. It had a sense of awesomeness about it (much like a comic-con) and people loved it. Crowds gathered to watch it. Check out their FB page here.

So they already had a pretty solid base

The Promise – They promised fighting simulation in the game (which might come in 2017) so people are hyped for it. They did it via two videos hitting 30M each, as well as a Google Prank video. Similar to how Deadpool got funded. The Promise of epicness for bored consumers.

The hype – All of the media was (paid?) invited to talk about it. They were most likely handed press kits to talk about it in the news. Similar to how Snapchat got famous (controversy and cool-off model) Pokemon go had its share of robbings, accidents and eye witness accounts of disasters. A few stories amplified, made it look as though it was a national endemic.

Exclusivity – You cant have it if you arent in the US or Australia. Now you want it more because everyone’s talking about it. When it launches in Japan, thats when the shit will hit the ceiling.

Cosplay  – Cosplay made it cool to pretend to be someone and walk around. That’s what Pokemon Go is all about. Playing a story based game without the heavy expensive clothes, while still being Ash Ketchum

Hacks/Outages – Hackers noticed this. They shut down the servers. This increased the hype to now become a cultural phenomenon

Love – People love Pokemon. And now, with the world in turmoil, they want to connect with their inner child to once again become safe in their own world augmented over so much hatred

Influencers – Influencers will try anything. Brands will collab with them to promote anything. The collaboration helped a lot to get people excited about the one game that forces you to go outside and play socially instead of the lonely confines of call of duty. PewDiePie made 3 videos totalling 10M+ views, along with atleast 100 more influencers

FOMO – Nope cant miss out on it. Gotta catch em all

Charm – The UI of the app is pretty good looking along with its interaction mechanics when you play it. Its got an addictive indication to it (probably developed after solid testing) that makes the user want to play it again n again and gain seemingly free things that are virtual (characters, pokemons, etc)

Pokedex – Yes in the series, Ash carries a Pokedex which is a tablet. Now people carry large phones which psychically reinforce the message that they’re carrying a Pokedex cum PokeBall.

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Community – See, Pokemon nerds didnt get a chance to meet each other traditionally. Now they did. The more they connected the more their stories spread. People would ask “what did you do today” and theyd say -” I met someone new playing Pokemon Go in the park” and the conversations flow onwards. WOM spiked with accomplishment, added to hierarchy of being the best Pokemon trainer.

Business – Retail outlets, restaurants, etc make special deals, and offers to Pokemon Go users, adding more incentive to play the game.

Now the question is – have there been games like PoGo before? Yes But they all lacked story and connection.

Branding, PR, Comms – Heavily controlled brand communications over decades. Nothing is out of place and everything is well strategized to the T. Whether its a new console launch or a new storyline for Pikachu, its always thought through and strategically placed in key outlets.

The Youth – Playing it all day as a distraction from the everyday, snapchatting, instagramming and making it a fun-social-casual experience for everyone to be a part of. Pokemon is truly raceless, colourless, agendaless, cool for both nerds and jocks, and fun for everyone secretly wanting to be a part of a latest trend, or even a meaningful story which touched them as a child

Its sparked a new industry – X for Pokemon.

 

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Data in Marketing

Its been a while since I talked about this subject. Data is subjective. That is fact. You can twist and turn it anyway. That’s why data isnt the Bible. Its stories. Stories work and are scalable. Thats what data doesn’t track away. I’ve been priveledged to see sales numbers, valuation data, metrics for ROI on eccentric ads, and mobile links that pointed to news media outlets for better SEO. Data is everything. But i think we forget the idea of culture. When the company has good culture, a loving way to market and do business, data becomes normalized and is clearer to assume. Otherwise, its all rain-man in the rain. Its just falls from the sky and everything is up for grabs. Human (game rules) also interfere in the data. Example –

Customers from last Q purchased 20% more than this Q, but had a stronger recall on ad spends and copy.

Does that ring a bell? It means that people bought less but they remember you more. What does that mean?

It means that the competition’s got something better or cheaper, but you’re the preferred partner. So you need to act fast and get going.

Now the data wouldn’t have told you that directly. Because there are factors beyond its control.

So really, data all that it is – is numbers derived from a particular set of behaviours based on assumptions.

What matters is what you do with it

Strategy

 

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What exactly is Marketing Strategy?

This question haunted me early on when I started my career, because everyone above me considered themselves a strategist. I felt hurt and broken, as i never thought id be good enough. And then I met them. A whole bunch of them. Everywhere. In meetings, in client pitches, in seminars, in webinars, in-house, in everywhere, and I realised they all sucked. Both executioners and strategists faced the same problems in 2012-13, as they do now. – ROI on spends, marketing metrics, communication strategies, etc. We’re all fucked.

Now, fast forward 2016, im here. A strategist. What do i do –

My MottoBUILD Relationships With Your Customers!!!!

A. Communication Audit – This is a fancy buzz word for using my historical library of brands and communications, and analyze your brand’s comms practises – including web, traditional, corporate, employee, etc and change things around while A/B testing everything. So making you say things better.

B. Marketing Audit – What have you done wrong, why you did the wrongs things wrong. Social, SEO, Ads, Creative, Copy, blah blah etc etc – everything! Literally everything you’ve ever done marketing I will find it and analyze it. I will DO IT because I LOVE IT!

C. Corporate Culture – Believe it or not, most bottlenecks come in marketing culture and corp culture. If we’re all risk averse, we’re all doomed. If we don’t talk to customers effectively, we’re all fucked. How to best analyze the situation and combination of things – to make things happen!

D. Customer Research – What they hell do they want? And are you bringing it to them? This is it 🙂

E – Marketing Strategy – How to best find the journey to sales. How to actually get customers, build communities and whats worked best for your industry, and what will work for you. How to actuallllly make you unique and build relationships with customers. OMG! So Coooool. Yes it is. My profile here.

F. Execution Plans – Wha wha wha? FB changed their algorigthm again? What now? Don’t worry Im here. I prepare a heavy heavy plan chalking out EVERYTHING! To the T. So that you dont have to think about any of this. I oversee everything and ensure its done, while leading the team with my networks, vendors, and connections to ensure that no team member feels left behind.

G. Communications Strategy – What should the brand say? And how should they say it? Are you a Nike, or are you Bhavesh’s Garage? Whats the best, the absolute best way to approach customers and showcase yourself on your site, social media, ads, copies, etc to best reflect yourself to your audience.

H. Asset Management – Do you reallllly have a solid creative team? Do you realllly have a good SEO team? I audit and analyze to find, train and motivate your employees or vendors to work better! With love and leadership – ofcourse

I. Asset Class Analysis – Do you realllly need an SEO team spending only 20K a month? How about more? How about new avenues of growth, how about new essential moderation of research? New new new, faster faster and better! Love your work through loving your hardline!

J. Brand Identity – Who the hell are you? And what do you want to portray through your PR, communication and marketing? What is it that makes you remarkable and irreplaceable (per say) to your customers. How do you uniquely benefit your clients or customers?

K. Marketing Optimization – Should we just then optimize your existing practises and I can get going then?

L. Marketing Analysis – So we did the campaign, and we acheived nothing. JK! Acheived something 😀 So lets make it better, and if you’ve done things in the past that didn’t work, then lets analyse and optimize it to create real value for your customers.

MFAO – Make your marketing remarkable!

That’s all folks. Love your work and your work loves your back – very very much!

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The problem with content these days

One of the major issues with content in India is the idea that we compare and compete with the US. Make-up, beauty, fashion, fitness etc etc. We have bloggers who aren’t able to capture a market because its all so saturated. Under the guise of “following passion”, people enter this industry and aren’t able to corner a strong demand from the public. While most people wonder – “who follows these people”, a handful of them actually make millions. There are hundreds of people who offer success steps and few that preach the right things to people. So here’s what we need –

  1. Corner a niche market; make it grow – Have you and your voice reach out to millions but start small from a hundred true fans. If a hundred people love your work then you’ve got it. You can make a lot of money if you’re the sole provider for a hundred very specific people. The whole world can accommodate a million bloggers, but they each would need to be unique and appeal to a very small and specific demographic.
  2. Don’t follow the crowd – Stop wrecking yourself by being another thing that comes n goes. There’s one Justin Beiber, but theres a million Justin Beibers for XYZ (Pop, Grunge, Hip Hop, Fashion, etc).
  3. Don’t build a brand; build a following
  4. Don’t take risks; and you will die – Taking risks is the most important thing to grow in your business and in content
  5. Talk to your audience – Follow them, talk to them and be friends with your fans because they need you to be.

 

Heaps of people want what’s best for you, just give it to them.

It takes years to build a sizeable audience, and it will happen if you keep at it.

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So Microsoft acquired LinkedIn – Now what?

S= Strenght W= Weakness

Well microsoft is in a unique position where it owns PC (S), Mobile (W), Social (S) – through linkedIn,

Google – PC(W), Mobile (S), Social (W)

Apple – PC (S), Mobile (S), Social (W)

So who comes out in the end the winner? Ding Ding Ding – its Microsoft. Why did Microsoft acquire LinkedIn? Because Investors are hungry for data and are urging the dinosaur to do something and it just did. Big Data, Enterprise, and Cloud makes Microsoft a B2B GIANT!!! Dominating everything in that space. Meanwhile Google and Apple are battling in the smaller B2C space for the title of most valuable company

As you can see from the video, Jeff just doesn’t give a fuck about LinkedIn anymore and there’s some yap about aligning and vision and shit.

Basically what Satya wants is to combine professional cloud and professional network to dominate professionalism. Reif n Jeff get stability in the market and Microsoft get a boost in their rates.

So what does Microsoft get? – A foot in the social media game, database of B2B folks, a fast returns investment, B2B consolidation, Access to more markets, & Branding and Marketing

LinkedIn – Leadership, Access to markets, Cloud services, Business integration, Stability in markets, and Access to more investors

Win-Win? Maybe more so for Microsoft

What does this have to do with Marketing Strategy?

Invest in LinkedIn much much much more! Ad rates will go up and you will find a smarter, more defined sales team and is more focused on driving value than just campaigns. The user base will go up and the acquisition will result in more data for LinkedIn to play with to refine their advertising. I.e. Microsoft knows whether you use power point for shoes advertising or sales representation training through their office cloud, and itll match your name to LinkedIn’s database. This’ll help shoe recruiters to tap into you better. Its all about DATA!

Big buys big money and lots of moolah if you invest wisely in LinkedIn marketing and advertising

Cheers and Enjoy your Tuesday!

SEO-2016-webinar

SEO in 2016 – Has anything changed strategically?

The answer is NO. The reason – There hasn’t been anything significantly different in terms of tech, acquisitions, formats, or channels to upset the current primers in SEO in 2016 – social, links, on-page + off-page. These 4 still account for 80% of all the bulk of your traffic and rankings on Google for keywords. Some people say that having ads on the search rank trick people into thinking that Google ranks 2 sites at one page in 2016 SEO, which influences people into survivor bias. But really beyond these tricks, nothing has changed. Ill skip the stats because they’re boring.

I’ll share a few tips n tricks that have worked –

  1. CTR lead magnet – If your ranking is receiving low CTRs on SERPs then consider spicing up your headline and text. Potential searchers may find it more irresistible and click through, leading google to rank you higher. A. Check out what Ads consistently appear on your desired keyword SERP. B. Copy them. C. Experiment along with them. D. Measure results. The posit is that if adwords (which is a more highly competitive space than organic) has one or two winners, then the same should apply to organic as well. E.g. Search for bad shoes NY, and it shows you Amazon’s results and a few ads by smaller players. You should copy their headlines and text, and jump base from there because these ads (for their higher quality scores) have performed better
  2. Topics not keywords – Stop focusing on one or two long-tail or short tail keywords, actually solve the user’s query with topics. Google Trend, and other paid tools (wordstream etc) will help find relevant topics to write and research about. Solve real problems.
  3. VOC – Talk to customers about new emerging pain points. Do a qualitative research and talk to people in the industry about what they feel their next set of challenges are and then solve them. Do some competitive analysis to see what your competition is crushing in.
  4. LONG FORM – Focus on 2000-3000 keywords on your page, because Google will rank you higher for multiple keywords you didn’t even know about. Plus you can keep updating that document and still get the link juice for other keywords
  5. Invest in VIDEO – INDIAN MARKETERS listen up!! Do more video and invest in YouTube SEO. I’m telling you that it performs way better than text in many cases and you gain their trust immediately
  6. On-Page UX – Get heatmaps, track lengths, eye movements, UX testing, etc etc to figure out where your visitors are going
  7. Plugins – Get them on everything you do. Plugins like Yoast are brilliant!
  8. Mobile? Social? AI? – Fuck all that. Just have a responsive site that users like, and a content that looks appealing and intelligent. AI won’t affect your efforts, neither will the wave of cheaper mobile phones
  9. Focus on business, not SEO alone – HatTip to Dana. Focus on incremental visits, walkins, customers, goal setting and inbound acquisition rather than just saying – “I will rank you at page 2 for shorts”
  10. Tactics – On page optimization (url structures, site links, anchor text, attribution leads, schema.org etc) need to be refreshed every quarter or so according to Google’s latest algo changes. This is handled by your developer. If youre into Ecomm, then you’re fucked worse. Spend a lot of money in this space
  11. Voice SEO – Amazon Echo, Siri 2.0, FB live, and other innovations have made it important to satisfy user queries through voice seo. There’s nothing drastically different. The context to each search changes, thats all. So you’ll notice fluctuations in the reports but nothing too crazy. BUT remember that when people talk into a microphone, they’re queries will be a lot more different than on text. So it’ll be longer tail and more topical.
  12. Image text – FB’s getting good, Google great at it, and the rest are catching up. If you have keyword titles inside of images on your posts, then Google will rank you for that as well. So remember to keep things very clear when you’re using these tactics
  13. Nice niche nice niche – Deeper and stronger into really niche queries and sites. So you want to be the first to create mini sites that satisfy the queries that fuel traffic back to your site. E.g. Hamilton reviews, or Chinese rappers 2016, you can make a mini site called chineserappers2016 and literally focus on all the niches under them. Itll take a few weeks but itll be worth it. Affiliate links!
  14. Visitor Personas – More nuanced, more refined, and more diverse. Language on-copy as to be on-point
  15. Trust Josh Bachynski – He’s the best. He’s got a free guide here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zq9Eq_4mnUc)
  16. Make it FASTER – Load times will (definitely) affect your rank. Make it faster. Use CDNs or invest in bigger servers and compression!
  17. Be an expert – The more your outreach and link juice, the higher you rank on guest post, and unrelated content.

Alright, thats it for now. Subscribe to the newsletter and ill keep sharing interesting links everyweek!

 

 

Extra Credit –

  1. A great tactical resource to getting 15K in 30days in the shoe business, by using social to generate topical content and garnering links ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGzjx_YE7x4)
  2. Rand says no impact of IOT on Google rankings. Rightfully so (https://moz.com/blog/10-predictions-for-2016-in-seo-web-marketing)
  3. Yoast Plugin (for WP)
  4. Dana’s talk at Moz (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWvOkIsKNZY)
  5. Old boring but basic – http://www.seonick.net/7-simple-seo-tricks-to-improve-your-2016-seo/
  6. A seriously outdated resource by Forbes “2016” (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/270067)