Live everywhere, moving from social to perennial

Brand everywhere are going live every day, to showcase events, production, behind the scenes, and more on their favorite platforms of choice. With Instagram and Facebook taking a huge leap of innovation towards the 24/7 model, and Whatsapp following suite in the coming quarters, Social+Live is quickly becoming the next avenue of marketing commuincations. Mahesh Chauhan also famously pitching to Nearbuy using Facebook Live as a showcase of creativity and depth.

What is the potential of being online and social real time? – The upside is tremendous. It creates a fan-focused moment, when you’re excited to open Facebook while taking a break, or on the weekends. It makes the relationship between the brand and the consumer more transparent and synchronous. It reveals who the brand is every day, and people can re-imagine what it’s like to have a one-to-one sales conversation at scale.

Brands in the US have pioneered their way into the minds of the customers with live, chief among them are FMCG and Media brands. Brands in India can come a long way if they use the techniques that the West is using all these years and build upon them. Celebrities have been leveraging the Live platform for almost a year now, and they’re loving it – reaching a larger chunk of their followers per live story compared to a regular post, and are connecting directly with their fans to promote their movies or merchandise.

Businesses in India can take over Live using the following quick tactics –

  1. Create an online event – Brands in the consumer space have an immense opportunity in renting a space out, crafting an experience over there, and inviting their audiences to participate in a live event during the session. Fans can interact with the product, or ask the representatives to share their vision for the next few months, etc. E.g. a Puma Store that’s completely online, and sales heads can talk about the upcoming shoes for an extended period. The experience can also be gamified with a contest like activity, where participants can interact with the brand by answering basic questions or interacting with brand collaterals.
  2. Press Release, Media interactions – B2B brands can now open up any press conference, media interaction event, or other public meetings to Facebook live for their audiences to ask questions and drive insights from the media activity directly as well.
  3. SME Webinars – For startups, consultants, and small business, these come in very handy. When you can interact with your colleagues, fans, and prospective leads from the comfort of Facebook, you convert a passive entertainment tool to a powerful lead generation mechanism.

Intelligence for the TrAIling Marketing Industry

We’ve always been slow to adopt new things. Because we like them shiny and easy. AI has been the go-to new platform on which many marketers will develop innovative campaigns, but by 2020. Not anytime soon, will we see significant critical mass.

Extreme personalisation – Now with AI, customers engage with their connected devices, consume personalised content, search hyper-localized queries, and have data at their fingertips about everything. This helps marketers develop niche campaigns that appeal to smaller demographics at scale, thereby making spends more efficient. Imagine all of your customers’ needs were taken care of (with self driving cars, integrated devices, etc), what will customers do? Nothing. Enjoy good content and free time available. And where will marketers be? Right where that good content is.

This will occur in 2040, more so towards 2050 as futurologists predict. Now imagine that the pricing model shared with each customer is uniquely niche as well. Each participant in the transaction ecosystem will have AI empower her with data and the sales partner with insight, giving the perfect price every time, at scale. Now with these personalised economies of scale, marketing will shine through with innovation in processing.

Research & Data – Data improves everything, when used correctly and not only for PR spin. With AI rapidly processing mass chunks of data, marketers will finallyconnect with their customers through targeted acquisition channels and will allow for faster recurring experimentation through various embedded systems. In other words, imagine if Netflix allowed you to showcase a car ad right after the viewer had a high point in her emotion while watching her favourite tv show. Now, imagine bidding for that spot as a marketer

Customer Care – AI bots talking to customers to make them feel like they’re talking to real people. Upside? – No emotional ups and downs. When you talk to a real person, you have to handle their emotions to get your job done. Downside? – Loss of human communication devices. Sales and customer service people are the face of the brand and now the brand is completely dependent on how the customers engage with it. Think it’s sci-fi? There’s already companies in India working with banks to enable it on Twitter. How many years until it becomes a reality over the phone and in-person? Turing test #passed

Emerging segments – Third world countries will get empowered through cheaper chipsets. Now these new customers are huge markets for innovation and growth. This will challenge existing eco-systems and branding & marketing will become paramount for large organisations to increase loyalty in the customer base. This has happened right after the economic crisis of ’08 and will happen more so when a cell phone and data plan is cheaper than a Starbucks coffee.

Honesty in business

Quite often you find people being dishonest, delayed, and denoting that they are busy or are occupied with other things. Employees, people, engagement, and emperors. All diamonds to dust, and figuring out where they belong. Underlying it all is a brand marketing problem. Its a problem of a clear communications, and clear company policy. What does the people working for other people stand for? What does it belong for?

That is the essence of corporate culture. And selling it to the employees is a brand marketing problem.

That is all.

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

 

 

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 –

moss_012116053904

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

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.

ashandpokedex

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.

 

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

 

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!

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.

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!