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.

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 –

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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

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!

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!

What YouTube’s marketing strategy should be

YouTube is, simply put, a giant in video sharing and search. There is no alternative for it at the moment. How does a Giant then continue to stay relevant, despite the attacks from miniature niche players like Vimeo, Wistia, Dailymotion, and a few others.

YouTube (Overview) – YouTube is nothing without its content producers. It is only a website that has a search, subscribe and a recommendation facility. It’s recently invested heavily in a content production-house where it invites YouTube superstars to use their equipment and facilities in the US. This will follow suite in other countries as well in the coming years.

YouTube (Unique Selling Proposition) – “Your own personal television”, where you decide what shows you want (from women in bikinis to music videos and movie trailers). You can pick your superstars and watch them until sun-down. You can binge on your favourite videos and even upload your own for sharing with friends and family

YouTube (Consumer Behaviour) – There are by-and-large two consumer segments that visit YouTube.

One of them has an account with a few subscriptions (or none), the other has a lot of subscriptions and has commented on videos during his visits. There is a third category of content providers – who are people that upload videos on their own channel. But these guys don’t make up the vast majority.

YouTube (Business Model) – YouTube makes money through ads. And these ads are targeted to individuals with certain interests. Now, YouTube needs you to subscribe to a few channels, or segment you in groups based on what you’ve liked or commented on, and even on what videos you watch from the same account. Without this data, YouTube is helpless against Facebook, and Google, in terms of advertising. Hence, YouTube needs You to subscribe to channels and to watch more videos on their portal. If you simply watch and go away, YouTube makes nothing from that deal.

YouTube (Targeting Strategy) – YouTube has to please both segments (content providers and consumers), and continue to grow rapidly in developing nations that have growing internet speeds. YouTube thus needs to focus first on the acquisition of viewers, and then quickly shift focus on providing the right tools to content producers to showcase their work better. From a marketing stand-point, YouTube can gain a lot by acquiring new viewers to create and account and subscribe to a few channels.

YouTube (Marketing Strategy) – Finally, now that we’ve arrived to the meat of the matter, I want to establish the consumer-base again. YouTube wants to make people sign-up to other channels, and then come back to visit again. Retention builds data, and that data allows YouTube to categorize you and then serve you ads.

Its marketing strategy should solely be about the value that YouTube channels can bring to you as an individual, and should provide you with key take-aways about what you stand to lose if you don’t sign-up and subscribe.

Their previous ad focused on more on sharing videos with one another, with the focus on the deaf girl with the implant. This strategy works well when the intent is to create virality via social connections. However, it fails when that loop is not closed-up. If you share a video with me, and I dont subscribe to that channel – or even see anything worth-while on that channel, I lose interest and move on.

Their parent Google’s approach was a little different. They wanted to focus on how Google is a great tool to make your desires come alive. The old Indian and Pakistani friends wanted to meet after decades, and Google made it happen. I much prefer the angle that IDEA used with their “NoUllu Banaoing” campaign focusing on the empowerment of the internet. Google could have gone that route.

A new ad needs to be developed around YouTube channels, and how valuable they are to the average consumers. A Malayali coconut vendor could know about the various techniques of cutting coconut faster and better. His daughter can learn mathematics by watching YouTube videos online. His son can perform better in sports by taking cricket lessons online, and his wife can make better recipes with coconut after watching her favourite Manjula “the Indian chef”‘s channel.

See now when you have people subscribing to these channels, products and service providers can directly market to them with relevant ads. A cricket bat company can directly advertise to his son about cheap bats, a masala company can showcase their range of offerings to his wife, etc. You get the picture.

Now, onto the storyboard of the ad –

The Pitch – We show families across India from all different states. A family from the north, the south, the east and west. And we focus on how YouTube is helping them build a better life via the content on the site.

The Elements – A hip young family’s child watches nursery rhymes on his fav channel. A poor family (coconut vendor) uses YouTube to empower themselves. A young student learns IIT-level mathematics while going home from tutions. A single mother, learns how to make the perfect baby cereal. A painter gets inspired by watching his favourite French films. A tech-entrepreneur learns more about how-to find investors for his next big idea.

The hook – We would showcase people clicking on the subscribe button on their favourite channels.

The closer – A young boy, recording a video on soil conservation. His dad comes in and asks him what he’s doing. His son shows him his channel on soil conservation proudly. Cue – dad’s pride and tears.

Tag-line – YouTube, a place for everyone. A place for home.

Call-to-Action – Go to YouTube.com, and find your favourite.

 

photo credit: Diana Garcia BOG via photopin cc

 

Wanna talk to me about a consulting gig? – email me at contact@fivemv.com, and you’ve got an MBA on-board. Fill out this form to make the process quicker –

[contact-form to=’contact@fivemv.com’ subject=’From fivemv form’][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Work’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

 

 

Why marketing is dirty, unethical and bloody brilliant

We’re scammers. We’re forgerers. We’re hackers. Some call us artists. Others – scum. Why did Marketers develop such a bad rep? In more ways than one, we deserve it. Why do marketers play dirty tricks? Here’s why –

“Why mathematicians hate toothpaste companies”

Oral health brands have consistently defied the rules of the game, making this industry exemplary in their ability to bend the rules of 2nd grade counting. If 9/10 dentists recommend every toothpaste brand that exists, then we must be living in parallel universes. We’re living in a multi-verse where all the dentists of a single universe unanimously agree about their preferred choice of toothpaste. Every time you see the “9/10 dentists agree” tag line in a toothpaste commercial; know that we’ve collectively crossed through the worm-hole and entered a different dimension of existence.

As brands in different industries aim to differentiate their positioning, the oral heath care brands have strived to do the exact opposite. They usually go down the product endorsement route by using actors to vouch for their products. Sometimes, its in the form of celebrities; other times its in the form of *expert* recommendations. These experts are easily recognizable in their past appearances in failed tv shows or from other toothpaste commercials. People have grown tired of these forms of advertising; but hey, as long as it comforts the brand managers, its all good.

Here’s a bunch of some great ads that are really creative and play within the rules:-

hide toothe

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“Why numbers lie to us, and why we like it that way”

Let’s start with Facebook. People buy likes, comments, and shares from third-world countries for their Facebook pages. They do this because real visitors to their Facebook page feel comforted in the fact that 100K+ others have liked it before them. There’s safety in numbers, but even more safety if your friends have liked the page as well. A recent article on the NY Times covered the not-so-underground $200 Million industry of buying and selling fake accounts.
A company called Unique IT world, publically commented on the article about how it created fake accounts and has regular employees that constantly like, share and comment on these social media pages. It’s not robots anymore. Robots are easy to catch and delete. These are human beings that create these accounts and share each other’s content as well. One would suspect that Facebook would counter these activities by tracking the locations of their IP addresses, but companies like Unique IT world are smarter than that. The brash nature of these companies is what really defines the strong need for fake followers, likes, and shares.
YouTube. Our beloved YouTube had so many fake views on its platform, that it had to remove the Top-10 feature all together. Marketers then found the “Statistics” section below every video.

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A feature, they believed would give them better insights about the quality of that YouTube channel and the content that it produces. Little did they know, that this data is almost completely hack-able. It is next to impossible to conduct any primary research based on the data available through YouTube.
Twitter? Oh boy. Let’s move on.

So why do these numbers give us so much comfort? Well, we like the way they look, and sometimes they are directly connected with our performance appraisals. When we see our competitors destroying us on these platforms, we have to stop and wonder if it’s worth our time explaining to everyone in our company that our competitors purchased fake likes – without having any shred of evidence against them. It’s a difficult place to be in.
I couldn’t resist skipping Twitter altogether without talking about this mid-2013 trend of “liking-back”. I see so many *experts* that have 100K+ followers, but follow 100K people at the same time. What kind of an expert could that person be? Then again, someone with 100K+ followers and 10 follows could indicate that his bank statement has an entry called “Fivver.com – buy 1000 followers for $5”.

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A waste of $5 you say? Well, think about how many customers he could con, claiming that he was an expert in the field. “Just look at my follower count”, he would say. “ I charge $250 an hour”, he would add. What should really scare you right now, is that brands can advertise to accounts directly on Twitter, with tailored audiences. Try and guess who they’ll be targeting in 2014. It’ll be these high-rollers with large followers, so they’d RT some of their advertised content.

“Why we love displaying banner ads – when its more likely that a person will be accepted to Stanford than click on a banner ad”

The absolute worst examples of banner ads are the ones that ask you guess something or shoot something. These flash based banners have existed in the trenches of the internet, and sometimes lead you to well known and popular websites if you click on them. This happens, most likely, when brands outsource their banner campaigns, and the agency agrees upon a range of CTRs or impressions. Since the click throughs can be tracked using Google Analytics, these agencies mask the traffic as redirects or even as direct traffic sources. GA doesn’t breakdown direct traffic effectively and hence, brand X might see a 20% increase in direct traffic, but a 0% increase in conversions.
Another excellent example of pushing ads on unsuspecting people is the interstitial ads in mobile games. We’re used to being interrupted by interstitials on popular news websites, but mobile games have an ingenious way of forcing you to click through. They offer in-app upgrades for clicking on the ad or installing a specific application. They give you a 100 gold points if you click on an ad, that you eventually close and proceed to playing your game again. How effective is this type of conversion going to be? Your CTRs could be 70%, but your conversions would be negligible. But then again, marketers are masters at misinterpreting numbers.

 

“Why marketing built the internet and why we’re the most brilliant bunch of people you’ll ever meet”

As Dan Pink once said – “To sell is human”. Think about the greatest inventions in technology in the 21rst century. Arguably, “the internet” could be considered to hold a special place in that category. Think about how it started off in the 1970s. Way before cat memes and online trolls, there were a few servers, a data transfer protocol and some people that wanted to share ideas with one another. Computers were heavy, transfer speed was low, and people were quite contempt with talking over their cordless phones.

Think about how we interact with the internet almost everyday now. As soon as we open our browser, we press the letter “f” on our browser and pop opens Facebook. Our morning routine has us checking our emails, browsing the news, and looking at Buzzfeed lists of – the top 10 reason why (insert thing here) is (insert emotion here).
Here’s the ugly truth kids – the internet isn’t free and its funded by advertising.
If it wasn’t for marketing, we would have never figured out a way to sustainably enjoy the benefits of the internet. Why else do you think Google is pushing its internet service Fiber, and Facebook is pursuing Internet.org. The more people there are on the internet, the more brands will pay to show their messages. It’s this fundamental rule that created and grew the internet to where you can enjoy it completely free from the comfort of your homes, without paying a single dime. The tenacity of marketers to push and sell products and services is remarkable – if you really think about it.
We use creative tactics to game the system, we stalk our customers wherever they go, we use psychology to increase consumption, and we use influence to mould society the way we want to. Beer commercials will always be about sex – because it works, skincare will always show fair skin and long hair, and fast food will always be about fighting obesity and healthy nutrition.

We understand what makes you happy, what makes you insecure, what makes you believe in our products, and what makes you unique in your unoriginal way. In more ways than one, we know you better than the NSA. All we ask in return, is that you be yourself. Be original. Be whoever you want to be, and be in charge of your own decisions. Because, we could use a challenge. And because we love to make you smile, in our own creative and quirky way.

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc