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Marketing Advocacy

Investigative blog advocating tailor-made marketing strategies for businesses

Where is the ROI?

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When we turn the tables and go to a corporate from an agency, we realize that the glasses from which we see the job or infact the entire business slowly and gradually shifts. It becomes more broad and more stakeholders driven. For a PR agency, the deliverables are measured conveniently with a formula that involves number of articles, the ad values, the circulation, etc. But when we approach a senior executive in the organization, the first question that comes back to us is that how do we measure those results on lines of our strategy for the region? How does this activity align to our overall objective that has been set for the company and not only for PR. Confused? Let’s take it up and clarify for better understanding.

Your biggest bottleneck, as a communication authority in any company is not ideas, execution or even results. The biggest challenge remains as to how you must showcase to your stakeholders and prove to them internally that your efforts are generating results that are helping the company achieve its desired strategy or ultimate goals. As I see it, It has been rather a numbers driven performance measurement that you adopted when you were in a PR agency back then. But this only one of the very small part of what will convince the internal stakeholders to fall back on communication for their important projects and strategies development and implementation. But once you have shifted seats, you struggle to convince on the strategic relevance of your role, and the most bang on measurement tools to take to the business review meetings and show to your internal stakeholders to eventually get a pat on your back!

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Generally, when a PR project is complete and you get a rather heavy dossier from your PR agency showcasing the number of clips and the ad values, etc., from a PR perspective, the job is complete and if you get good numbers, you consider the project as well done. I personally performed a two month long media advocacy program and when I received the coverage report from my agency, I was thrilled to show it to my boss (the country head) as I was not able to wait to get a pat on my back this time for the good work. However, when I eventually showcased the report, I was asked a simple question from my boss. How do you think does this activity fit into the overall strategy of our company in India? How will you measure it? Most importantly, what impact do you think has this resulted on our sales, marketing or any other function of the organization? I was not prepared. And eventually I learned that two month long campaign was of no relevance until we tie it along to our overall business objectives and develop a framework for measurement that is mutually acceptable with the internal stakeholders.

B2B or B2C?

Well, the development of such success measures could be a rather daunting task especially for those companies that are B2B and media shy. Let’s take an example. Pharmaceutical companies function much differently than any regular ecommerce or more direct company. Pharma companies are the ones that are doing a lot of advocacy but remains under the curtains owing to the regulatory and the compliance issues. Communication and PR for such companies could be a rather tricky business. You do not come into the limelight and your success measures will not be direct. Additionally, when you perform communication strategies and campaigns, you are doing it more for the cause and not for the corporate. So in such a scenario, how would you possibly measure the performance when it’s all about the industry? Let’s try to decode an answer to solve the problem.

Eureka

There are two parts of measuring success of your endeavors. One is quantitative and the other is qualitative. Quantitative is nothing more than sticking to deliverables and successfully completing these on time. Also, the numbers that you receive from your agency are also signifiers of the success of a particular campaign.

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The Qualitative measure will be more intricate and essential for your stakeholders. You will have to develop an industry analysis that will track the buzz around the cause and how you have managed to move the needle for the industry. The measure will be the difference between what is being said now and what was being said back then in the industry about that cause. When you successfully perform all your target activities, I am sure there will be ripple effects in the industry where people will start paying attention to the cause and will start paying interest to the idea that you have sown in their heads through repeated efforts intended to direct in one targeted direction. This could be measured through different ways. Hiring a professional media tracking agency will be the simplest way to do so. Then, a rigorous tracking of the opinion shifts from the key opinion leaders of the industry will also be key to measure the buzz that is being generated. However, this cannot be easy. Combining the two measures (quantitative and qualitative) will be the most accurate result of the communication endeavors that you are undertaking.

There is no fixed formula for calculating communication success of the organization. But as custodians of comms, we as professionals will have to work upon different permutations and combinations to make sure that we make sense to the organization leaders and they have confidence in our endeavors too. Unless we speak their language, there is no way that they will be able to find communications as a strategic partner to their business. It is about continuously improving a finding better ways of doing our jobs, daily.

 

The Big Switch

For those who take the big leap of traveling the last rope of Agency to corporate, the corporate environment could be pretty intimidating (not to scare you). The career that you have always dreamt of, the most important shift for most and the ultimate destination of your planned career path for many; is now here. Let’s admit that we, the communication professionals, always aspire to become a part of a fancy brand and become communication consultants to the brand with a fat paycheque and a really influential role in the organization. So setting the scene here, you have joined a mid to high sized international MNC with a really fancy Communications designation. Congratulations! Talking about the role, that sounds equally attractive.

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On the first day of the job, you bring with yourself huge aspirations, some really ‘big ideas’ (reminds you of your PR agency, isn’t it), a flamboyant attitude and great zeal to bring together all the experience that you have so far earned in the agency; now ready to conquer the corporate world of communications. I still remember that day when I first came in and took a notepad to write down all the (15) ideas that were absolutely essential for the company and I wondered why such a big company has not been doing all these already.
After a few days, you start building your ideas further without consulting from your boss since the pace is quite slow (if you compare from your last agency, quite naturally) and you can’t wait to show them how talented you are. This is your (my) first mistake.

Now, once you share these with the boss, she shows a rather unexpected, calm response and term it as ‘It’s Good.’ You then wonder what went wrong. But your zeal is indestructible. You go on to discuss with other few colleagues and they seem to also not get equally excited about it. After a month or two, you start getting anxious. You start wondering as to how and why your rocking work profile is not so influencing in the company. You tend to realize that you as a function are a support function and there are more important roles in the company than yours (sales? Because it generates revenue; marketing because they are more associated with the product, finance because its all about the numbers). And there you are, with all your zeal and motivation, still reserved under the hood.

If you have read so far, I am pretty sure that either you are already in this situation or you aspire for the position that I am talking about. So here is the revelation guys-
Corporate is not about standing out, but standing along with team. It is not about big ideas but processes more aligned, predefined workflows and limited scope of disruption in the way they communicate. The SOPs are already worked out, you are a regional arm to the global team which has to develop a predefined workflow to avoid madness in operations, and your function is not the game changer but the game empire. You are more aligned to the HR team which you have never in the past dealt with (and kind of mismatch of what you had imagined). Ouch!

What you need to know now
You have been driving at fourth gear and you NEED to slow down (probably to second or at times first gear, at times- NEUTRAL). Step back, observe, listen and then take one thing at a time. You might want to set your own expectations right. Do not be overwhelmed by your own idea of Communication. Rather, try to understand the perception of your role from the different stakeholders. The first month (or two) must absolutely be about talking and listening to as many people in the organization as possible and at the same time, not form any judgments of your own (c’mon, you have been trained to that). As a next step, understand what your global counterparts have been doing in their markets. What is the scope of their work that keeps them occupied. From there, you would be able to decode a lot of mysteries here. Ask for communication guidelines, global goals, regional focus, etc.) These will help you define your role in the organization and get more clarity on the right way of doing things.

Caution: Diversion Ahead!
So here are a few cautionary recommendations that every communications professional will have to watch out for before/after switching the seats!
1. Observe, analyze. Repeat
For the first couple of months, instead of bustling vibrant with ideas and trying to execute your idea of communication, try understanding the key stakeholders , the employees, the SOPs and even the minutest of things in the office. Remember, effective communication can only happen if a good amount of time is spent in listening. And keep observing till you completely understand all the grey areas.
2. Develop Understanding and speak aloud
Your line managers will be happy to know that you have done your bit of observation. Trust me, they are generally more impressed not by the exceptional ideas that you bounce off but this tactic! (This is tried and tested). Apart from setting the impression right, this step is important for you to further strengthen your confidence on your understanding and fine-tune it for better understanding.
3. Stakeholders centric ideas

A couple of months down the line, you will be able to devise ideas to solve problems or needs of the different functions vis-à-vis the ideas that you might have thought of on the first day of your job. Although, from the fundamental level, you would know that those were more towards ‘Big Ideas’ and you might still believe on them, but more simpler ideas could be more meaningful if they are pitched at the right time and with the right goals of simple problem solving idea
4. Coordination is the key
You will realize slowly and gradually that you will have to face more SOPs, approvals and fine-tuning as you are at the center of your organizational business functions and you will have to take along all of them in one go. Maintaining strong coordination with everyone around will make your turnaround time more short and things will start smoothening up
5. Identify Internal Influencers
Act smart and you win the team. You will have to pay some time in terms of observing the influencers amongst the key people in the company who you would want to talk more often and discuss your initiatives. This will put you in the right eyes all the time.
6. Where is the ROI
You might find it difficult to explain your ideas only on the basis of their novelty. You will need to develop an ROI prediction for every activity that you work upon if you want approvals from the biggies. So work thoroughly on your numbers and it shall reap.

All in all, your journey to a new world has just begun. It can be very exciting and adventurous, in its own way ofcourse. But the key is to not keep comparing your agency freedom to your corporate responsibility.

All the best!

The Rice of India- Amira

So I am back with my brand new blog, but this time, it is more about my experience than my interest towards marketing. I was invited by Amira Foods (NYSE:ANFL) to their production plant in Manesar (North India) and I jumped on the opportunity to witness the entire process of rice milling. Amira is a 100 year old provider of branded packaged Indian specialty rice which originated from India by Late Karam Chand Chanana in 1915. The family-owned business has seen seasons of growth and today, the company is listed on New York Stock Exchange with operations spanning to 60 countries throughout the world.

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Something that fascinated me the most about this one-day long extravaganza at a rice plant spread across 19 acres of land was that a commodity as ignored as rice, which is a daily essential, has undergone so much modernization in its process to reach the end consumer that it’s unimaginable. At Amira, one thing that stunned me was that the skilled workforce undertook every activity, starting from procuring rice at the plant till stocking up the packaged product, untouched by hand, thanks to the technology that shines upon us with serene warmth.

So I step into the plant and the first thing I see is the Chairman’s message that stands tall at the reception. AMIRA- Ambition Meticulous Integrity Responsibility Accountability. This could be seen in almost every cabin, every staircase and every corridor of the plant. The best part is that people at the plant resonated with the values that are ingrained so beautifully in every person who I met during my visit. I met a very welcoming person who was there to receive me and he explained very briefly about the whole process. Till about this time, I was treating this visit as a very formal, to-the-point, business-like process. He further took me for a round to the plant.

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As he showcased the different larger than life machines involved in ensuring the quality of the rice being offered to the consumers, I was a little surprised. Every machine was so closely monitored by human intelligence at every step of the process, starting from destoning, husking, separation of different rice varieties, to ensuring consistency in the length of the rice grains, color of the rice grains, quality control systems, packaging, waste management, etc that watching all of this in front of my eyes was an extraordinary experience in itself.

One of the persons who I met was the plant incharge who had immense knowledge of the different varieties of rice. After my round, I was made to meet him to understand the different varieties and how each variety tastes. At their lab, I saw almost more than 40 varieties of rice that Amira proudly sells across 60 countries. ‘Every palette likes different aroma, quality and color. And we forge ahead with great enthusiasm to deliver exactly the quality that the region demands.’ Said the plant incharge. What I learned from this conversant man was that every variety of rice has a name like Tibar, Dubar, Mongra, sella, 1059, 1121, traditional, pusa, sharbati, sona masoori and parmal. And all of these varieties have further variations depending on the region where the rice goes.

Another interesting experience, and my own favourite was the tasting session. There are different aromas of every basmati rice variety. One of the most interesting variety I experienced was smoked rice which had a peculiar aroma of smoke. These are primarily demanded from Middle-east and are used mostly for Biryani.

At the Amira lab, they explained me the tastes and why they are like that. Long grain rice is my favourite and that is one of their premium rice range in India and abroad. The subtle texture of the long grain rice was high in aroma and even higher in health quotient (HQ). Talking about the HQ, I also learnt that basmati rice is low in fat, gluten free and basmati has a low to medium glycaemic index, meaning that energy is released at a slower, steadier rate leading to a more balanced level of energy. Just like wine, basmati rice gets better with age and Amira rice is aged for 12 months to get the best taste out of every rice grain which is closely monitored and improved at the Amira Lab.IMG_20151204_124320

I was impressed by the detailed attention that the entire process receives from the experts at the organization and the amount of care every pack gets before it finally reaches the shelves at the market.

This visit has changed the way I look at a simple commodity of daily essential – rice. There is a lot of technology involved in rice milling and also, a lot of conviction to deliver quality basmati rice to the global consumers. Amira is truly the rice of India.

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Like they say at Amira, why not make every day special with Amira Basmati rice.

 

Do you have a Brand Mantra?

Why do you need a brand Mantra?

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Your product has a brand name, a slogan which is an extension of the brand’s most important communication, the logo and presumably a brand mascot. Why would you then need a brand mantra, a yet another task for you as marketer to think of, reinforce and communicate further to the stakeholders?

May be you do. Theoretically speaking, a brand mantra is an articulation of the heart and soul of the brand and is closely related to other branding concepts like brand essence and core brand promise. Brand mantra is short, maybe three or four word phrases that capture the irrefutable essence or spirit of the brand positioning. It is the shortest brief that is easily to be passed upon every stakeholder of the brand to understand the essence of the brand, and the scope of messaging that the brand wishes to pass on. Basically, the Brand Mantra provides guardrails so as to keep its marketing activities on track. In short, every brand mantra clearly creates a mental filter in the minds of those to whom this mantra is exposed of what the brand stands for, what it is and what it is not.

Brand Mantras are powerful devices. The brand mantra can define and decide your ad creatives, the marketing campaigns, the product innovations, designing and promotions. Beyond these tactical concerns, brand mantras can define the most seemingly irrelevant and mundane decisions like the way phones are answered in an organization or the way the first day of a newly hired employee has to be directed.

A basic distinction between a brand mantra and a tag line is that brand mantras are internal and tagline is for external stakeholders. Nike has its brand mantra as “authentic athletic performance” while the external slogan is simply “Just Do It”. Disney adopted a brand mantra during mid- 1980s to facilitate a close scrutiny of the use of its characters like Mickey and Donald Duck as ‘fun family entertainment’. In the light of this, opportunities that were not consistent with the brand mantra were out-rightly rejected.

While designing a brand mantra- always keep these three important points in mind-

Communicate- Simplify- Inspire

In the core of your brand positioning strategy, lies brand mantra which will further be the decider of what, how and when of marketing your brand. Apart from its external communication, it is also important for your internal stakeholders to understand what the brand really stands for. And this has a lot more considerations to be kept in mind as compared to the slogan or the tagline. While a slogan or a tagline is devised keeping in mind the consumers at the center of the positioning bull’s eye, a brand mantra is designed keeping the brand itself in the center. Your employees might not completely understand by themselves the essence of ‘Just Do It’ but they can very well understand the essence of authentic athletic performance. A Brand Mantra gives you a chance to further make your internal brand philosophy clear to your internal stakeholders and even to the investors apart from obviously assisting the marketing and creative teams to basically ‘stick-to-the-brief’.

Some Brand Mantras worth a read-

Wholefoods- Bringing healthier foods to world & creating a workplace based on love and respect

Starbucks- Rich, rewarding coffee experience

Honda- QUALITY, DURABILITY AND RELIABILITY

Haier- Customers as foundation of innovation

Nike-Authentic Athletic Performance

 

What is your brand mantra?

An internalized statement for a company’s core values, operations, mission and ethics; you absolutely need to have a brand mantra to communicate the organizations’ core function or core belief. Your employees and all those who are involved in the operations of the business directly or indirectly, need to be supplied with this mantra in order to stay perfectly in sync with what you are doing, why you are doing and where do you wish to reach through everything that you are doing.

Remember, your brand slogan or tagline is NOT your brand mantra. The slogan is an external manifestation of your brand mantra.

Would love to know more companies and their brand mantras. Leave your comments in the comments box and feel free to hit off a discussion or simply share your thoughts.

 

Divide And Rule

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A glorious perspective on why Micro-segmentation is worth a shot for your next business plan

What constitutes a highly effective marketing strategy? How can your organization possibly outperform the current jinx of stuck revenues?  As marketers, we often tend to go back to the very basics of our marketing fundamentals and try to start over again specially at the planning stage to get the answers of these questions that the management inevitably asks us in the board room. We are, in such circumstances and situations, intrigued to answer the most basic questions in the light of our theoretical knowledge that we had acquired years ago in order to just get a perspective of whether we are going in the right direction or possibly straying away from the objective.

What exactly could be a one-size-fit-all strategy or more precisely, a tool to reach the strategy and further keep your marketing efforts highly targeted?

We are talking about –Micro-segmentation of your existing, potential and even non-existent customers- an advanced form of market segmentation that disintegrates the broad customer group into smaller, homogeneous groups which is easy to tap and understood by the marketers.

Such Micro-segmentation of your target consumers would surely be an eye-opener for first timer marketers and reinforcing for those repeating it all over again. Theoretically speaking, micro-segmentation is further division of your market segmentation into extremely small and homogeneous customer groups thereby identifying their common traits, behaviors and consumption trends. I am not talking about the four broad segmentations that were taught a in the classrooms while we were in school namely, geographic, demographic, psychographic & behavioral. This is a much advanced version of targeting our customers effectively in the current age of changing market and business environment.

Today’s consumer is more evolved and complex. Tapping your consumer could be a hard task and quite frankly, at times, a run for your money. Today, these four segmentations could be just a broader, even bifurcation of the consumer. There are obviously further disintegrated markets, far more effective and astoundingly efficient that are waiting to be tapped. A closer look at such groups, if done efficiently, may result in an altogether new business proposition and ideas. There are micro-growth pockets of highly potential consumers waiting to be explored both by entrepreneurs and the marketers today while the bigger companies are busy targeting masses.

A point we have to keep in mind while closing on these groups for further targeting is that unless these groups are present in physical form and could be potentially brought together through any effort of your organization or any activity, there won’t be much of a sense left in just identifying them.

Where to start from?

In the beginning of your next marketing planning activity, sit down together with your product development and customer management team and try to figure out the profile of those who buy your products. If you engage a market research firm for this, well and good. Otherwise, it would be a good idea to follow the kind of customers who have already been buying your products and/or services and try to figure out a pattern in there beyond their geographical or demographic distinctions. I am assured that a marketer’s highest achievement lies in – figuring out a pattern in almost everything and anticipating future activities. Coming back to the topic of discussion, a good idea is to look at the customer grievances book which you tend to hide from the management all the time. Consumers can also be clubbed on their dissatisfaction level. In fact, these customers will be the one who will encourage and inspire you to evolve further and devise new features, product specifications, new services and much more for a greater consumption experience. For example, an eCommerce start-up was facing it extremely difficult to go to the next level and rise the revenues which were stuck since past 2 months. The marketing team was called upon and was asked to revisit the strategy. After a month long research, it was concluded that the ratio of repeat and new customers was changing. Repeat customers were dropping. After a thorough look into the matter, it was discovered that since the customer management team was changed completely, they were unable to form a new rapport with the existing customers and hence, failed to give that satisfying experience to the long-lasting customers. Some of the most covered and never to be exposed problems are often just a call away to your dissatisfied customers.

So, talking again about micro-segmentation, the second step after the identification of traits is to club together similar traits and form such micro-targets. For say- unemployed online youth. Such set of customers have common traits, could be communicated a message to instigate response, can be reached out through a platform and if positioned properly by the company, could be successfully tapped and thus, be created as brand advocates.

A tip which must be repeated here is that identification is  excellent, but before you finalize on the micro-segment, always consider the three Ws of such groups- Where, Why and What. This will allow you to stick to only realistic and workable group targeting.

Marketers are often carried away in the entire process and tend to go a little way too far in doing this experimentation and are often observed to come to a non-existent conclusion if failed to targeted realistic, identifiable and achievable micro-groups.

Just to give your imagination a wing, there are consumer groups like drug-addicts, people who stammer, gay population and animal lovers.

Remember that you cannot go ahead and bet your money on every group that you identify in the initial planning process. You will need to do a comparative analysis of the viability of such groups through different measures like the population within each group, overlaps, relevance to business, sensitivity of the culture of different countries and even cities, channels to reach-out to these groups, your budgets and resultant anticipated usability.

Acting upon the identified segments

It is imperative to design and develop specific target messaging for each group that you identify and finalize.

Have a look at this ad-

And a close look on one of the comment on  it-

53,38,843 views and counting. What struck the right cord? People related instantly to the subject since this is quite a common thing that people in general witness, but nobody pays attention to this lot.

It’s all about creating something that people might instantly relate and connect with, if not the masses but atleast a niche segment from your target market. And all this research and micro-segmentation is just to make people fall for the idea so badly that they are forced to think about the simplicity of the idea and at the same time, the brilliant observation in bringing the reality of the lives of common people and thereby making their lives simpler.

Nokia 1100 was designed initially for farmers who work on fields and was given a new feature of flashlight when it was learnt that these farmers used the light of the phone for repairing their trucks and other vehicles at night. This is what I was talking about the idea of further innovations or additions of features when you are clear on the category of customer you are targeting.

Akash tablet was launched for school children and hence, when you keep it in the light of this customer segment, it makes perfect sense to not compare an Akash tablet with an Apple or a Samsung tablet since the markets are completely different.

The agenda of putting up a topic like micro segmentation forward is to propel the idea of re-connecting attempts with your customers and how you as marketers could possibly refocus on those niche groups that are often generalized and might need a little more attention to be targeted better and in order to come up with a brilliant marketing campaign in the end. While segmentation is the beginning point, devising marketing campaigns basis these groups is the end objective that is intended to be achieved. And everything in between is what will decide the efficiency of your planning and execution bit.

Why Does Your Brand need Video Marketing

I am inspired by the way people beautifully convey the most important messages in an extremely simple video format. Creativity plays an extremely crucial part in this set up. Today, marketers of big and small brands pay extra attention and budget allocation to video marketing. But the objective of this blogpost today is not to scrutinize the fundamental question of whether a video is important for a brand or not. I am taking this as given, that video marketing is not only essential for big brands or B2C brands, but it is equally or maybe more crucial for emerging brands, even B2B brands for they provide a great scope of virality at an affordable cost.

Very recently, I attended a session by Google Business Group Jaipur which laid emphasis on a similar subject. What I noticed at the meet up was not the excellence or any such extraordinary path breaking revelation but the fact that there were many startups at the meet who had affordably above average knowledge about video creation, messaging and virality. What is also intriguing was that there are so many platforms and sources online that make video making not only easy but also more professional looking. This is how brands are looking at video content these days.  The average user is exposed to an average of 32.2 videos in a month. There are about 100 million internet users who watch online videos each day. And, its not just numbers that make videos important, but the reason why people watch it. 90% of online shoppers at a major retailer’s website said they find video helpful in making shopping and buying decisions. So before you are convinced of the potential impact of video marketing for your brand, I wish to show you some outstanding videos that you must watch before going ahead with briefing your creative team to get the message bang on.

Coming back to my subject of today’s blog, I am going to talk about some really nice videos that I have picked up especially for you marketers who are looking to create some exceptionally ‘different’ and ‘out of the box’ video ideas that travel more than the speed of light online.

What makes your video stand out? Have a look at this video-

Generally, you would not watch a video for more than 1 minute or maybe 1.5 minutes. Try counting it from now on. But this video was more than 6 minutes which is considerably long from this parameter. But, your engagement level with this video was manifold, far better than any other brand promotion video that you had seen in a long time. Possibility of you sharing it is high. I’ll tell you why.

The mix has been right in this video. Content + Production (aftereffects) + Relevance

The way you weave a story defines the engagement ratio of your video.

This video by MP Tourism stands out on its creativity

Lastly, A Dove video that works quickly and leaves a long-lasting impact on the viewers.

It is intriguing to understand that the simplest of things if shown powerfully can create a ripple effect in terms of visibility and recall.  There are a lot of tools that we can use to help our video reach on multiple platforms and enhance chances of people liking and sharing it, but the very fundamental choice is on you to make- the content, the storyline and the storyboard. Other things that we wish to achieve will eventually follow if promoted successfully.

Here are some innovative ideas to integrate videos in your marketing endeavors-

  1. E-mail newsletters are often the most ignored medium of brand awareness. But the fact that it is still useful, makes it still the best way to reach out to new and existing customers. How about integrating your video in your e-mail newsletter so that the click rate scores higher! Videos engraved in a newsletter often works wonders for those who successfully convey the message interestingly in the blog.
  2. YouTube remains the powerful medium to promote your video. Apart from creating your own channel and promoting the same on various other platforms, it is also interesting that the ads that we see in the beginning of a video are actually FREE till the viewer doesn’t see it till 30 seconds. How about that?

“TrueView” is the name for a family of YouTube ads that allow you to pay only when people choose to watch your video—hence, TrueView.

  1. Use tags, brief and thorough descriptions for your video and most importantly, name it appropriately. Knowing how people search for videos like yours is the key to picking up organic views. YouTube includes a keyword tool, which suggests search terms based on the monthly search volume. For obvious reasons, the keywords with the most searches are the best to use. You can also add a transcript of your video. Always helps in reaching out to global viewers.
  2. Take the video to as many platforms as possible. For websites that support images like Pinterest, take a snapshot or a picture and embed the link in the picture. Create a blog of your video and write about it. Linking your videos with each other also helps generate traffic to your video.
  3. YouTube’s new layout helps you to make your page look more professional. You can now upload a welcome video and this is where you can be creative.

A Tip: Please do not use too many closure links in the last drop which will make you look too desperate for subscription, or whatever you are trying to put in.

Integrated marketing strategy to create value system for stakeholders

 

Holistic marketers are smart enough to foresee the opportunities of reinvention of the business model through successful value creation systems that lie mostly untapped by most of all. Confused? Let me further explain

Creating customer value and customer relationships is the very foundation and the most repeated phrase in a marketers’ daily schedule. But, being a communication consultant to our brands, we are often asked of different ways to connect with our networks, our supply chain, our investors, so on and so forth. The strategy for these stakeholders remain somewhat aligned to the ultimate objective but takes a very different strategy to achieve the desired objective. For an organization to achieve sustainable growth, it is rather of absolute importance to take the different value chain together and forge ahead with a greater force in the market.

A broader view sees a company at the centre of the value network- a system of partnerships and alliances that a firm creates to source, augment, and deliver its offerings. A value network includes valued relationships with a firm’s suppliers’ suppliers, and its intermediate customers and their end consumers. A company needs to orchestrate these third parties in order to deliver superior value to the target market.

Coming from this perspective, there are some thumb rules that organizations must have engraved in their stakeholders communication strategy

  1. Always try to create a win-win situation for a sustainable business relationship

This might seem a very obvious statement to make. But keeping your stakeholders in mind while developing your business strategies is definitely going to yield positive results in the long run. You do not have to think of your business and revenue generation in isolation, rather, thinking about the entire value chain will lead you towards innovation in your own business model.

Win Win strategy

  1. Understand their roadblocks, that might be a thread to the untapped innovation waiting to be explored

I have been studying the importance and the exponential growth contribution to the valuable feedback by your different stakeholders. What you get ultimately through this exercise is a 360 degree view of the operations and the success or failure of your own business model. Infact, innovations in business is always a result of devising a solution to one of the problems that arise from your value network. Understand their roadblocks and try to then find opportunity in diversity. This can be a far more effective exercise than a survey of people completely out of your industry that you keep doing on a regular basis.

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  1. When times are tough, it is only the good relationship with your value network that holds a strong base for fallback

There are times when the business witnesses a tough time and when you have great network of the delivery or service chain, you know you have the entire system to fallback or even work out cost effective revised business strategies collaboratively.

  1. Tell them about your achievements

It is important that you communicate with your value chain networks. There has to be as much transparent business communication as possible with your network of suppliers, middle end consumers and other value chain member organizations. They must know that you are growing in the industry (if that is the case). This, at the very basic level, helps build credibility of your company with the value chain.

 Communicate

7 Easy Spy Tricks to Track Marketing Strategy of Your Competitors

What if our troops on the border knew the invasion strategy of the other side every time there was a threat? It is impossible to find out a formula to that. But talking about brands, decision makers spends thousands of dollars for things like competition analysis, competition brand marketing analysis, brands comparison, so on and so forth. 

The job of a marketer is never over. And amidst all the daily tasks like decisions on target deliverables, long-term and short term marketing and business plans, reporting structures, handling external agencies, briefing the internal teams, branding ideas and those infinite to dos on your lists, keeping a close eye on what your competitors are doing becomes, sometimes, a difficult task to perform, and very frankly, not the most important if you try to put it on the priority list.

Even if you have hired an outside agency for your competition analysis to track all that they are possibly upto, there are some absolute on-the-go tools that will help make your life easy. Let’s have a quick glance-

  1. Google Alerts– Set up a Google alert for every competitor of yours. This will help you stalk them on anything they publish officially.
Analyzing marketing strategy by competitors
Analyzing marketing strategy by competitors
  1. Become their customer- Shop for their product(s)/ services to know what sets them apart. In addition to this, subscribe to their newsletter, blog, social channels and bookmark their website on your browser. Everything that they want their customers to do to stay in touch.
  1. Marketing Grader– a tool for monitoring mentions

My personal favorite, this tool allows you to track their social mentions, SEO success, their blogging techniques, lead generation success. It rates each one of them and keeps the scores fluctuating as their activities fluctuate.

  1. Simply measured– A very advanced tool that offers almost everything you need to know about your competitors. Without switching too many apps or tools, you can ‘simply’ go to this tool and get the information instantly and later when you have time, you may download all the 35 different reports to analyze their actions and reactions.
  1. Go through their websites– On a regular basis, check out their websites. This is the very basic and the most fundamental thumb rule of tracking them and involves no fancy rocket science. While your way to or back home, you can quickly see their recent campaigns, new launches and most of the times, something that you were earlier unaware about them through this powerful medium.
  1. Talk to one of their most important brand advocate- the customer– Their customers who are their brand advocates are those who can vouch for them and vice versa. On a more casual note, talk to them about what they feel being associated with the brand, when was it that they found solace in the brand, what sets that particular brand apart. And trust me, this is the best exercise, far better than any other online predictive analysis.

 spying-seo

  1. Read what their leaders have to say– You might escape from the point where I spoke about going through their website, claiming the lack of time, but not this one. It takes only a couple of quick glances to go through what the leaders from the competing team have to say about their strategy in the news/media. Trust me, I have won several marketing pitches through this exercise. The trick is to understand where they are and where they want to reach.

Marketing skills for your sales team

 

Your marketing team knows answers to all the Ws of marketing- why, where, who so on and so forth. And amongst your team members, you can comfortably believe that your business is being rightly portrayed in bright colors and neat strokes to the stakeholders.

Have you ever got a call from your bank while a presumably naïve salesperson calls you and tries to sell you a scheme that you are aware has been turned down repeatedly ? Or, even scarier, have you yourself heard your sales team pitching the right agenda with the wrong facts and figures about your company and/or wrong tagline of your brand or wrong overall sub-messaging of your brand? Seems like a nightmare right? For me atleast, I have personally encountered multiple incidents where my sales team, sitting right in front of me, is pitching exactly the message which I have been trying to brush off from the minds of the public and resultantly, have had repeated sessions with them to educate them, empower them and make them understand the overall messaging so as they do not end up screwing up the perception about the brand to which I am a custodian.

All of us would surely remember atleast 1 sour experience with a brand due to some ‘brainless’ salesman on the other side of the call. Right? Result? We never remember the name of the salesman, do we? We remember that some salesperson from XYZ acted in an absurdly awful manner. In the end, it is the brand to be blamed.

So here lies a problem. The lack of clear flow of brand belief, lack of ownership of the brand image management, lack of realization that the person is associated with the company and he/she represent the brand through their words, attitude and action. So how to do address it?

Common mistakes that Salespeople commit (As for me, they are blunders). One of these being, sending repeated newsletters is absolutely normal (twice a week). The problem starts when the salesperson doesn’t do his research well in two things- one, the content of the newsletter and two, the profile of the person he is sending this to and making it tailor-made or atleast in a tone that is anticipated to be of interest to the consumer.

Have a look at this-

Hi,

A very good morning!!!

It is extremely honorable to write this e-mail to you. We, XX, are specializing in data analytics, customer data report generations basis which we can help you to achieve your sales objectives. We have been assisting companies like XX, XXX, XXX, etc.

Attached is our company’s credentials and we will be happy to hear from you. Undersigned are our contact details where you can call as soon as you receive this e-mail.

 

Thanks

Clearly, this e-mail is asking me to take the ownership of too many things apart from asking for attention with some poor English involved. If you are reaching out to me, I would not want to perform tasks that you tell me. Have a look at this email that I got as part of one of the similar regular promotion emails.

 

Hello Ritika –

We haven’t met before – I’m with XXX, a predictive customer analytics company that helps online health & beauty stores use the entirety of their customer data to power product recommendations and send personalized triggered emails. Is becoming more personal and targeted in your customer interactions a priority for you?

I have spent some time on your website- XXX, and based on our experiences with other online stores, I have a few ideas about how we might be able to help you improve conversion and retention. We start by centralizing all of your customer data – purchases, email actions, web browsing, demographics – and use this information to predict how each individual will behave and spend. Think of powering your site and sending email campaigns using personalized product recommendations, projected lifetime spend, customized segments, and more.

It would be great to spend a couple of minutes to share our feedback on your site and describe a few of the predictive tools that might be worth exploring. Would you be available for a quick 15-minute call sometime next week?

Cheers,

 

Now in this e-mail, what I liked was that the sender is trying to act as a resource to me to make one of my jobs easier and even more, solve a problem that through their understanding, might arise in a business like ours. You HAVE TO CONNECT WITH ME TO CONVINCE ME!

There are also some funny calls that I receive and the prolonged resultant conversations that lead me to form an extremely negative perception about the company. What is the remedy?

  1. Training, practice and reinforcement of belief, values and messaging. Every professional needs training. For salespersons, since they are the point of contact to the businesses and consumers, it is extremely important for them to resonate with what the brand has been trying to communicate since long.
  2. Develop them as in-house internal brand advocates. Once they are in sync with the brand communication and the overall messaging, you need to keep them motivated to turn into advocates, either through monetary or non-monetary incentives, or organizational environment or through their participation in important decisions to motivate them to feel as much a part of organization as are others.
  3. I firmly believe that the sales man is one person who needs to know the in and out workings of what the organization does, how, where and what are the future plans… that too very clearly. So that it boosts up their confidence while talking to the public at large.
  4. Make them a part of your regular communication, brainstorming meetings on marketing objectives and strategies and new campaigns to keep them excited of new things coming.
  5. Help them improve, impart training in not only sales techniques but also pay more attention towards communication, technology and techniques, motivate to go on relevant seminars.

 So, it is also about keeping the internal communication clear in order to keep the external communication crystal clear, effective and powerful. Any suggestions? Drop in a comment and let’s get the conversations rolling. 

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