I thought, should share this interesting survey done by E-consultancy whom I follow regularly! This topic is very much debatable. Perhaps an interesting post via Digi News

The post goes here…

According to a recent report, businesses that invest in marketing apparently cannot measure their growth results on any scale.

Econsultancy states, by a total poll of 47% from the entire staff of over 800 employees, that includes professionals from PR as well as marketers. An estimated 76%w claim there was no ROI amount for their entire investment on social media channels.

Below is a mention of a few statistics accumulated:

•    83% used Twitter for social media strategies.

•    83% used Facebook for social media strategies.

•    83% businesses plan to increase expenditure on social media websites.

•    28% companies do not spend any amount on social media.

•    33% have an expenditure on social media activities which is less than 5£ per year.

•    29% businesses do not have a reliable staff to execute these initiatives.

•    49% companies state resource shortage as a reason for average performance.

•    30% claim insufficient budgets to reach their company goals.

The Research Director of Econsultancy, Linus Gregoriadis recently stated, “2010 has been a year in which companies have tried to become more focused in their social media marketing activity. Much of their activity is concentrated on the use of Twitter and Facebook, with the vast majority of companies (83% and 80% of respondents respectively) using these sites as part of their social media strategy. Companies are harnessing these sites for a range of business functions including marketing, sales, and customer service and product development.”

Is the hype for social media justified with such results for business firms and brands?

To conclude it further. The hype cannot be justified at this point of time because we all know Social Media will start generating results only after sometime. At this point of time.. it is imperative to consider it strongly and include it our marketing mix. Moreover, this is not a time to actually think of results but only keep doing with best of the efforts.

Hence, this topic does not justify that Social Media is actually a hype! We have seen many brands in India who are equally adding their best efforts to engage users in different ways and have been successful. Then there are brands like Pantaloons who consider Social Media as their ATL activity

Along with the dynamism of this medium it also brings ambiguity to many of us about how successful it can be. But, the answer is Try it out first and then conclude! As I said,  getting into Social Media also needs great sense of motivation and devotion. It’s not easy to manage people!  🙂 Isn’t it?

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Conversations are built on the quality of the content used, it could be in the form of Pictures, Videos, text, link, captions or any form of the content. I am not just saying content, but it is all about quality content. “Quality Content!!” this sounds too tricky. Sometimes I would feel what quality content would be. Is it professionally shot pictures, videos, written text… Hey…. No not at all… What I mean about quality content is something which triggers you to express your views, something which tickles you, something which instigates you to raise your voice, opinions. In other words, something which involves you in a conversation, viewing of videos, viewing of photographs and much more. The content associated with every conversation should connect users with their expressions and views. Be it a picture or a video, we always have something to say about it, but sometimes it subsides within ourselves or sometimes the content is so strong that we cannot handle our expressions and the result would in the form of comments, liking etc. Though it might be just a picture or a video there should be something associated with it, as every picture or a video has something to say always. Many of us still feel that if just sharing content would be enough to trigger conversations, YES in simple words. Imagine in our school days, everyone of us would be very excited to share our new fancy looking water bottles, New school Bags, New Book covers, New pencil boxes with our friends. Sometimes you also drive attention of people who are not your friends, just because you have something unique with you to talk about or share about.

It’s the same thing, you do it when you share something unique and creative with the users. These are key elements to drive people’s attention and hence building conversations around the content. Now this content could be company facts, their developments, their expansions in the industry, their achievements, let people know about what we are doing, in this case we are giving them an opportunity to speak to us or about us.

There are some other ways to look at triggering conversations such as using some teaser messages such as “Government goofing up with people’s tax money”, the picture or video associated with it could be very positive such as the video might show the entire tax money getting utilized for the betterment of the country and also showcases important initiatives taken in the progress of the country. These kind of messages will certainly add lot of value and will also gain lot of conversations to its surprise value too. So, the idea behind triggering conversations are not building BIG ideas, but small idea pieces which builds regular conversations around a brand, service or an individual

Cost of Inactivity

June 5, 2009

I would like to thank to one of my online friend – ISABELLE who has been actively discussing with me on this matter, The Best part of our discussion was coming up with a  new perspective to look at “Cost of Inactivity” rather than analyzing it through ROI, Cost per click etc etc.

Inactivity has been an important concern in the Social Media World especially in the Indian Markets. Social Media has been very successful in other countries. India has still yet to taste the response of Social Media. Yes there are many companies who have started using Social Media as one the mediums to engage people. But they are not completely in it. The current perception of the Indian market is still restricted to contests, Campaigns to engage users and not discussions, brainstorming and other Crowd sourcing activities. Indian brands are still skeptical to act transparent to the actual people and still looking at different ways to control these mediums in either restricting themselves on tools or content.

But Social Media is more than just sharing a company’s information, their operations, their expansion plans, service etc. Social Media is also, giving an opportunity to the people to participate in one’s brand conversations, such as brand enhancements and many more. It need not have to be specific to the brand but a relative activity of the brand. Ultimately what people look for is an opportunity to converse with people on different possible discussions, express their views, frustrations, ideas etc. where they would like make some value additions. The Best example of is the Idea Campaign, it does have an emotional connect as well as involve people in the brand’s Initiatives.

There is one more reason why Brands in India are not very keen in involving real people in their activities, as the fear of conversations going against them. But, its worth taking a risk.

It needs a long term strategy to develop good relationships with the real people. An ideal social media strategy should span across between 3 to 6 months. Social Media strategies are little time consuming, but in this case we are building a communication support to backup our promotional activities. It just like somebody approaching you with a product which has no history and future. Everyone needs some supporting, not just appearing it on Hoardings, Electronic media, but also adding some personalized touch to it.

Brands still look at one big Idea, than looking at simple strategies to support it. And this kind of practice is dangerous for a brand image. Moreover, just being listed on all popular social media services, will not be considered as being active on it. One has to talk to people, ask their reviews, involve them in the brand’s survey processes and also involve them in possible brainstorming processes. This will certainly place any brand to a customer’s expectation and also building brand loyalty. People wants their concern to be considered. So far we have been hiding and running away from their concerns, and naturally that leads a Brand Disaster in the coming future. Moreover, being active is so important as there is immense competition around the brands itself. Lets understand one thing, being inactive is far more expensive than being active. Here are some important aspects to look at it:

  1. Misunderstanding towards a Brand
  2. Loosing valuable customers without knowing
  3. Negative Influence
  4. Misinterpretation of the customers  expectation and hence ending up in a loose out
  5. Advantage for the competitors
  6. Negative conversations going out of control damaging the Brand Reputation
  7. Very difficult to convince and provide possible justification on a claim or an incident
  8. Loosing out good opportunities to connect with consumers directly and also understanding their expectations
  9. Spending lot of money on the research companies, with assumptive survey reports
  10. Unwanted Redirection of Valuable Conversations

Looking at so many possible disadvantages, Is Being Inactive Worth a try ?

Recently, I did a close comparison between proprietary tools  and Social Tools available. Now this might sound little confusing. Let me clear this fact. Proprietary tools means having your own site and having your own social features available on your site such as Hindustan Lever having Blogging, Video sharing and community features on their site. In this way they think they can grab the same amount of users to their website, just like all other popular tools available such as Facebook, Orkut, You tube, WordPress, Blogger etc.  The logic behind this is great, but it does not work at all. Many clients featuring all these possibilities on their site anticipate tremendous traffic to their site. But this is not the fact at all. It never works like that.   The clear difference is Proprietor y presence does not have the general identity which other social tools have. Its like knowing a company’s website and knowing yahoo.com. Yahoo is considered to be a landmark, anything published on it has a global reach. So the presence can be considered as a landmark. It also depends what kind of approach Yahoo had towards users and what they offered. Most of the people are glued to this presence.

Recently, I had a chat with one of my client who thinks that they had provided all necessary social platforms on their site and does not feel the need of using other popular social media presence to add more traffic to their site.  Well I don’t see any clear reason to why one should not use other Social Media platforms. In fact, my recommendation would be not spending any money building Social features on an individual company site and use other popular social platforms to drive the traffic to the site. Users want to meet up at a common place. There are 1000’s of places where people discuss and meet online. Yes.. But a website is compulsory….. there cannot be any replacement to it.

A simple example :

Knowing a destination like Gateway of India and knowing an address of a Corporate office, are two different things.  Even if a corporate office has everything as Gateway of India has, people will still go for Gateway of India, because everybody knows about it from ages. It is a Landmark !

Similarly, it is just not advisable to maintain proprietary tools and expect tons of traffic to their site. One must have a clear and a strong presence on general online presence, because they are already established and people have accepted it, because the motive behind is to just connect people and not promote an individual business. Whereas, a proprietary online presence is focused to only promote and talk about specific business. Though a proprietary presence may have tons of traffic, but there is no credibility of the traffic. Most of the traffic is driven through Google Ads, Search Engine techniques and it is been rated on the statistics. Nowadays, statistics is not just everything. One cannot decide the credibility of the information through number of page visits. What about credibility of information, how can statistics define a particular visitor of the site is willing to know about a company’s business or their communications. But all this is possible at the available Social Tools. They are designed and developed only to know about this particular intention of a user.

Online statistics can been a good beginning to rate a website ROI, but in the long run, it fades out and the traffic depends on the quality of information and not just quantity of information

One more example:

A contestant dancing in his room and a contestant dancing on a stage has a clear and logical answer to the above disucssion. No one would go to his room and watch him, until he or she comes on a global platform.

Did we ever realize that we are far far,  far superior than Google.  I realized this, in one of our discussions with my friends & colleagues.  As usual, we were discussing about a brand and how can we leverage multiple platforms in promotion.  Let me start with Google and  its search logic. Whenever we key in any query in the search bar. It gives you many specific results and it also gives you related results. If you click these related results, we can see more related results on it, and this route map continues.

I found this logic very much similar to our brain and the way we think. I also realized that this is the exact logic we should use it for any brand when it comes in implementing any digital program for them as the platforms are endless. So far, i have observed many people fail to think this way when it comes in implementing online marketing tactics, related to social media and the new evolved online technologies.

Ideas on Social media and other digital marketing tactics are endless.  It depends on how far you can connect each idea and come out with a new sub-idea. But, it also depends how far you can implement those ideas. Lot of people call it as Brain mapping. But, yes it is actually brain mapping, which helps you to realize the endless ideas and implementations towards any Digital Marketing Program. A simple illustration is been illustrated on this perception, the image actually depicts a process on a patient, but the logic remains same to our context.

brain-map-social-media-map, influential map

I think nowadays, I am breathing  Search Engine Marketing & Social Media Marketing, as it is connecting me or rather i am getting connected at every step and every moment of my life.  As i was mentioning about a discussion with my colleagues on a brand, we went on connecting every parameter of the brand and further went on connecting platforms to be used to promote the desired brand.

Initially when it came to me, of course, i had lot of things in my mind, but further i went on realizing many more connecting ideas to it, which very much worked as Brain Mapping. Many people say that it might be a brain storming process, but most of the brain storming session involve only debates and arguments.  Good, I attended one of the Brain Mapping workshops in the past. But frankly I literally got bored of it and even thought why would i think that way. But yes now it gave me a great platform to think that way. Thanks to that Brain mapping workshop which I attended.  Google exactly follows this logic. I think the owner of the Google was a Brain Mapping Guru 🙂 sounds funny right! No not at all. This is a very important aspect to any successful foundation, technology and identity.

influential-brain-mapping, influential marketing, Network Marketing

Did any one realize how brain mapping works, its exactly resembles our popular concepts of Social Networks and the great influential marketing. Where each of your thought is influenced by another thought. I have even added a picture so that it can be related easily.

Every thought is connected to another. Similarly there is no reason why the logic behind Social Media is not exactly like a thought of a  human.

Awareness Drives Sales

January 9, 2009

awareness-drives-sales-digital-communications-digital-marketing-online-awareness-social-media1Recently I had to speak to one client regarding a digital promotion of a book.
As usual, I was pitching will all kinds of explanations, how digital can help you… what kind of tool we will be using to build awareness across the digital space. After all these conversations, the client says “I want 2 lac copies of my book to be sold” Give me an assurity that you can sell 2 lac copies of my book through digital Communications.

I was pretty much surprised with this reaction from the client.

I even took it positively and asked the client that when he is planning to launch the book, “he said – well roughly in 15 days”. I smiled and I said that Digital Communications needs at least 1 month to do the foundation work. In such as short period there is an expectation of selling 2 lac copies. Well I guess nobody knows about this book and about the Author. So It is going be little difficult but we will surely take it as a challenge. But the client kept on insisting about the sale of 2 lac copies. Now this was one of my conversations with one of my clients, which did not turn out to be my client, as he wants to sell only 2 lac copies of the book and make money out of it.

There is a clear and simple logic towards any marketing activity,

“Awareness Drives Sales” – Every marketer knows that without awareness there cannot be any sale towards any product or any service. Similarly in digital Communications nothing can be sold or nothing be absorbed without giving proper information about it. Consumers who are connected to you online are very curious to know each and everything you communicate, and perceive it accordingly. This is the most difficult phase for any marketer at the same time yet challenging, because consumers will have different thoughts and different approach to anything they absorb, naturally comments, reviews & questions will be asked by them and sometimes it is difficult to answer by any marketer, in such a case one needs to be connected with them from the beginning so that one knows about them and how they interact and what is their thought process accordingly they questions, comments can be answered and justified.

Every single step should be planned so that we don’t miss out any kind of communication with the consumer. Similar to any traditional marketing activity a proper profiling, proper communication needs to be established between the seller and consumer. This is only possible if there is any home work done at the sellers end. One should understand that though the digital communications helps any one to reach their consumers directly, but a consumer would not interact with you directly on what you want to offer. In order to achieve that, one needs to be present in all possible ways and build an awareness program initially. Let people know “who you are”, “What is your passion”, “what is your background”, “what is your objective in reaching the consumers directly”. Let people in the web space know about your thoughts about what you feel and about what you think towards your profession, product, service etc. This way initially you will be known to people and then that identity will help you to interact with your consumers. If one tries to offer a product, service etc directly, then there will be no difference between a seller who sells their products without building relationships with the consumers. In this case he will be able to sell his products only once to the consumers… And this would be a bad business practice.

Lot of people doesn’t think about how awareness can drive sales to their company or product. If one observes carefully, only awareness drives sales and nothing else. In short, no sensible marketer will assure a fixed number of sales to any product. But the awareness program needs to be built strategically so that on every step we communicate right kind of information about a product. and also can maintain a record of what is been communicated, so that in later stages we can even review what is been communicated to avoid misunderstandings. In digital Communications, none can sell or talk about their service, product directly until a strong relationship is been established.

And that’s the beauty of Digital Communications. Infact using Digital Communications means connecting your consumers directly without any mediators between. So that gives the answer to all queries in Digital Marketing