This is the only thought I always carry whenever I meet a new client for pitch presentations on Digital Marketing. I always choose to meet the actual decision makers because they are the one who needs to understand how digital marketing can help enhance their brand loyalty and values.  Because Digtial  Marketing needs complete transparency in the information or deals provided to them. Hence the actual decision makers has to be present while understanding how digital Media works and reacts. Even though many times I end up meeting other part of the organizations. I don’t blame them, because everyone who is in charge of marketing always follows the proven methods of marketing. But there has to be a clear thought process and one needs to have enough exposure towards all kinds of marketing.

All the smart marketing professionals do understand the importance of digital Marketing and its reach. One thing everyone should be open is for new ideas and news mediums to explore, which drives marketing communications for their respective companies.

I have met many clients in India where they are not even open for discussions on Digital Marketing, because they are scared of being written wrongly. I agree, since web is a open platform and anybody can write anything about anyone. But what have we done to overcome it? If something is written against you or any wrong information is published.

Let me give an example:

In the traditional media there is a control on what’s written on a brand, service or a personality. Despite of all these things there have been so many articles which are been wrongly published or wrongly quoted. Brands do take care of it through their PR agencies… right…, but what is the use of taking care after the first damage is done. If something wrong has to happen or if somebody wants to write wrongly about anything, they would still write. Same is on WEB. Lot of clients say that we don’t want to carry out any marketing programs online, as sometimes it back fires them. But how? I don’t see a reason to it on why one should not use web as a medium to communicate their marketing or awareness initiatives. Why does one think like that? In fact there is a great influence on the brands through web. It may be a Babycare product or it might be techno gadget. Everybody relies on web for detailed information right from the cost to reviews. And it really matters to ones buying decision.

Let me come back to the topic where we were discussing about how one can write negatively about a brand, service or a personality – on the web. For any product & service, there is criticism & applauds. It all depends on how one carries it forward. If there is criticism, one has to come forward & give enough justification and show transparency towards their practices. I am sure it will not take much of time to convert criticism into applauds. But one needs to be proactive to go ahead and work accordingly towards it. After all why do we have programs such as online monitoring, Online Reputation Management etc, presence in Social Media. All these programs do help an organization or a brand to actually overcome all these hurdles. Well Digital Marketing follows a different set of rules on marketing & PR. One needs to really think out of their old ways of marketing and handling customers. I even mentioned in one of my articles that it is no more a sellers market, hence it’s a buyers market. And buyers do expect direct information, direct reach and transparency in ones communication.

Many marketing professionals do ignore this medium, but what are we doing about those suspicious comments made on the brands in the digital medium. If we don’t bother about it, it might bother us in future. In every marketing practice there is something called anticipation which leads the future of any organization.

To share with:

I had come across a brand called Nestle. Surprising there are so many social Groups on “Boycott Nestle”. Which has more 3,000 users each in the group? I am sure Nestle is not doing anything to manage their online presence. With the extension of Internet Bandwidth and more Internet service providers in the market. Very soon we will find every single person in this country having a Personal computer and an internet connection. I am sure Brands, service industries etc will have a tough time to convince users. So, its time that we build our presence and be ready for all kinds of possible hurdles. Lot of marketing professionals do think of competition, but how many competitive promotions are really genuine enough to be worth called as competitive. People do have enough spending affordability. The only thing they look for is genuine deals. Even if it little out of their budgets but they do see how loyal the marketer are. As that affects their relationship with the marketers in the long run. I hate to see Teaser marketing promotions which follow “Conditions Apply”. In the current scenario this is the most attractive marketing practice but yet it is proven to be very wrong marketing practice. Lot of marketing professional might not agree. But where is the trust in the brand, which every organization looks for. Are we are not targeting long term relationships with our customers? Are we going to sell only one product to the customer in all our future marketing practices? Certainly not…

All I have to say about Digital Marketing is an organization needs to be very transparent when you are directly reaching your consumers and hence rather face them than avoiding them. Because they are ones who can bring success to any business in the world. And digital marketing multiplies your business to X10 times to any other main stream media activities. But they are equally important at times.

I have come across many people perceiving Online Reputation Management (ORM) as a program to only avoid Negative articles. I don’t blame anybody for this, because the concept of Online Reputation Management started with managing negative articles appearing in the search engines. Though it has been an important program to handle negatively published articles online. This post is not just to educate anybody on what is ORM. But this article will help in looking at broadly.

Let me share my experience with a similar case:

The other day my boss just asked me to do some online analysis to find out whether any negative articles are been published on one of our client’s name. I went through the Search engines, Blog directories, Social Communities to figure out if there is anything negative written or negatively portrayed. Surprisingly I did not find anything on these platforms.

I took almost 2 days to do a complete analysis on a particular brand. Well, let me share.. I had been to many Blog directories Indian & International as the possibilities of something written on a brand, service or an individual is more. So I took this route first. But I could not find anything. I had submitted the report to my boss and he got back to me in a day and the first thing he asked me was “hey there is nothing negative about this client what are we doing then for them. Is this some kind of joke” believe me he literally used these words. I took exactly 5 seconds to collate everything and asked him to give me a second to speak up. So he said yes….. The first thing I told him was that Online Reputation Management is not a program to be carried only when there is a problem. But this a program to be carried out even if there is no problem and nothing negatively published. Every one must have heard this saying “Prevention is better than cure” Same way managing a brand reputation or building a brand reputation is equally important as handling negative published articles. Listening to this my boss just tried smiling on it and gave a satisfied nod. Then he said “OH I never thought of this”.

There have been many circumstances when I come across people who stick to the written concepts or published articles online, books etc or influenced. But if one thinks this way… They may start feeling… “Why Not”

Why do we wait till the damage is done to a brand, why can’t we develop such measures before we anticipate of going something wrong. The search engine really supports well in these matters. If we are building a reputation or managing a reputation for any brand, Service, Product or an individual, we regularly post clear and transparent articles, profiles, and all insights of it. We do it regularly,  so that this process always keeps our real reputation up in the search engines, similarly keeping a track of it would also help us monitoring and also avoid unnecessary interference created by negative or falsely written information. Thus we succeed in avoiding a black mark on the respective brand, products, services etc.

In olden days, traditional advertising via newspapers, magazines, radio, television and direct mail were the only ways to communicate with the end users.

But the problem with these Medias was that, they were never focused and hence could not achieve targeted buyer/customers for any business. Yes print advertising, electronic advertising is still crucial for mega brands and it still works for these bigger brands.

However, for millions of other organizations, for the rest of us who are professionals, musicians, artists, nonprofit organizations, churches, and niche product companies, traditional advertising is generally so wide and broad that it is ineffective. Big media advertising buys may work for products with mass appeal and wide distribution. Famous brands are carried out in national chain stores and blockbuster movies shown on thousands of screens achieve targeted sales  🙂

Accept for few selective brands, today people no more rely on these communications. These communications are treated as an interruption in their daily routine work. There has been a significant disagreement in using web as a medium to communicate with the consumers. Lot of companies, organizations do ask how can achieve sales, how do we come to know that the communication is working for their company or brand. OKAY… I have a very good answer with a question attached to it. How can company measure sales out of using traditional advertising methods? Is there a report on it? Is there any record of how many people has seen the ad or how many people have responded to it.? There is a no answer or no proven method to find it all. Yes there are few services which actually provide you some market survey reports through which an assumption can be built to plan the future marketing communications. But yes there are many ways to find out the statistics online. Even responses at geographical locations can be traced out.

Hence the web comes into the picture to create a new dimension and perspective to the marketing communications. In fact smarter organizations should develop relationships directly with the consumers. Now, that actually works for any organization. Just imagine how about an organization directly responding to the consumers queries and actually solving it out for them. Imagine the kind of brand loyalty  & relationship and  organization would develop in the market with the consumers. None of the brands will have a bad phase even in their marketing tenure.  Selling anything would be easier. At the same time every company will achieve a targeted market for future communications. Since it is permission based marketing only those people would respond to the communications who really need a particular service. This might be little time consuming but it saves a lot of money and time for future marketing programs.

The web has changed all the old rules of Marketing and communications towards the consumers. There is a saying “Every time we come up with a new way of reaching our consumers is by breaking the old rules of marketing”

So let’s not see others doing it first. Lets be the first to do it… That’s the sign of a pioneer and a smart marketer.

And its no more a seller’s market… It’s a buyers market now………….

Google Loopholes

December 24, 2008

I heard about Submitting  blogs on google blogs listing. I tried doing it and  it asked me enter code, to confirm whether i am a human or not. Well in the first case i did not understand the written alphabets, so i submitted it so that it can throw some error and it will regenerate a new code to verify. But guess what,  it accepted it. Its such a big loop hole in google Blog submissions. It accepts without confirmation. This means there is no verification taken care by google while submitting blogs.

Social Media Evolution

December 23, 2008

Social Media evolved because of Google’s new search model. I don’t know how many people in India are aware of this. I guess very few people know about it.

Even if people know about it, I would still request everybody to read it patiently as it has other connections to it.

Let me start with Search Engines. Google is the most popular & the best possible search engine available currently on internet space. There are other search engines such as yahoo, msn, ask.com but not as popular as Google.

Earlier Google used to search only WebPages & Documents. Ever since Google improved their search model, it can now start searching WebPages, PDF, Video, Audio, Images documents such as word documents, PPT, RSS feeds etc.

Now this might help you to link to my older posts. Why Social Networking, blogging, video sharing, photo sharing, social news are popular because all these are searchable in the new Google search model. And we all know that how many people rely on Google for information. Right from the product to the personality we are totally depended on Search engines.

Naturally, your profiles, videos, audio, documents can be searchable through easily. Hence Search Engine marketing such as bidding of keywords, sponsored links need not have to be taken seriously. The only important one must follow is to be present and active on these platforms in terms of Participation, conversations, updations etc. So why not take advantage of it and adopt best possible online marketing tactics

Lot of people in India does not know about how these platforms appear in Google search engine in your regular searches. Hence may not be able to connect themselves with the new media. The fact is all these Medias are so popular now that if you have a profile or a blog on any of these social media platforms, they start appearing in Google.

Now doesn’t it sound interesting?

Digital Marketing has tremendous potential in India. Provided one should be a smart marketer to understand and start using it. Especially during this recession, one needs to think smart and use this media as an advantage as it cuts down you advertising budgets drastically.

By writing these posts on Social Media in Indian Scenario, I am trying to build a connection between the traditional media and online media. So, our Indian marketers understand it quickly and are the first one to use it and create their long lasting existence.

Abroad most of the brands spend only on social media marketing and other digital Marketing methods.

My next post will talk about the current PR and advertising media and how it has been helpful to us for so long & what are their loop holes and how social media acts as a superior media to it.

Friends I am not using any technical words in all my articles just to avoid creating confusions. My articles are purely for any layman to understand how can digital media be a one stop solution for marketing and communication about their products, services, individuals, entertainment, Non government organizations, schools, Exhibitions, Logistics, Churches, Trusts, small entrepreneurs, Niche verticals, such as commodities, engineering etc.

Bloggers making a Mark

December 15, 2008

Ever since people started discovering about Social Media platforms in India, things have changed drastically in Indian Web world.

We had discussed about the use of Social Media in India, which would take lot of time to use it as a practice around six months ago. Within no time things have changed and it looks that people in India are getting acquainted to this media very soon.

Nowadays, ever since the Terror Attacks have taken place in Mumbai. All the Blogs are flooded with excellent posts and News. There have been continuous news postings on the Blogs which were also covered in the News Publications.

Now this sounds very very Interesting. haaann……………………… WHATT.. THE BLOGS WERE ALSO COVERED IN THE NEWS PUBLICATIONS……such as Mumbai Mirror, Mid Day ……. OH MY GOD. Don’t you think this sounds exciting…

Well Social Media is really booming in INDIA. I have found there are so many videos uploaded on YOU TUBE on Mumbai Terror attacks, News Media clippings from Pakistan Media. Social Networking sites are flooded with News groups voicing against Mumbai Terror attacks. I could see majority of people glued to these kind of sites expressing their opinions, views, comments, solutions etc.. It means this is happening now in India.

There has been so many articles on Individual Blogs discussing about Terror attacks. So many people had visited those blogs turning out those blogs to be the most popularly viewed blogs. Even the individual Blogger’s picture appeared in the Newspapers. What else one can expect now…

We were always skeptical about Social Media, whether the Brands would really take up this media seriously. After, all this.. i could only say that its time to take none other media than social Media Seriously.

So now we all know that majority of people do discuss about a brand, service, person etc. There has been so many things happening in the online world. I am sure in the coming month or two. Corporates will be very much inclined towards the idea of using online space to promote their businesses. Considering the fact of recession in India, this is the only inexpensive media available which can drive your marketing communications to millions of people.

JAGO INDIA JAGO………. 🙂

One of my friend Isha Shah, who was studying in Dubai and also a Social Media Enthusiast. Well, l she was discussing with me on how to monitor and measure Social Media. I had contributed some about of knowledge towards her report. I really appreciate her hard work and her determination in gathering information on Measuring Social Media.

She recently she sent me a detailed report on Measuring Social Media. It is interesting and pretty informative. So thought of sharing with the world. Hey ISHA– Keep it up.