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2011 Super Bowl Commercial

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Every year we wait for super bowl to see what, big creative minds have put together to blow our socks off in commercial world. This year most of commercial failed it purpose but some of them really stood out to capture their audience. We also saw the increase of online presence (car.com, homeaway.com, etrade, godaddy etc) and integration of online marketing with offline to create the buzz (Chyrsler 2011 Imported From Detroit and Volkswagen Mini-Darth).

Nowadays it is not only enough to capture the millions of fans watching the game. Even for commercial, like Hollywood movies, it is equally important to create the buzz before the big day.

My personal favorite was Chyrsler 2011 Imported From Detroit, Volkswagen Mini-Darth, Chevy Camaro Miss Evelyn, i phone 4 Verizon and Coco Cola Border War.

The Chyrsler Imported From Detroit created the picture of the tough past due to economy and how it emerged from that. The ad was also able to portrait the personal touch, pride and feeling on owning the new Chrysler 200 sedan. Rather than comparing with other foreign brand and showing its better and strong points,it highlighted its strength by taking pride in where it was made, it’s rich culture and history. Making it very personal to viewers. Due to which it was able to create an online buzz of “Imported from Detroit”.

The Volkswagen Mini-Darth, tapped into the feeling of their target audience with short, clear, funny and interesting commercial which helped it to go viral before super-bowl. The best part of this commercial is you don’t see the car until the end of commercial but that last appearance is so impressive it is hard to miss. It captures the essence of its target audience very well.

There were also some which made us think “Why are we killing our brain cells watching this commercial?” Some of the ads in these category were Kim Kardashian’s Sketchers Break up with personal trainer. You don’t see the actual product until the end of commercial and the beginning  of the commercial is very provocative and suggestive which takes you away from the essence associated with the  product. The groupon also achieved the top place on the worst commercials. Don’t get me wrong, I love groupon, who doesn’t like to get deals. But the commercial really got me wondering really are you this desperate or they didn’t do their homework and as they had already paid 3 million for 30 second spot they gotta throw something. And as if that wasn’t enough after airing that commercial when I check my email this morning this is what I find. It is hard to say if it is their way of saying we screwed and we want to make it right or still trying to cash out of their flop commercial.

Apart from the best and the worst commercial. The other aspect of marketing also amazed the super bowl. Rather than paying big dollars to advertising agency Pepsico decided to crowd source,  “Crash the Super Bowl contest“, that allowed amateur film maker to create super bowl ads for Pepsi and Doritos products.  The Pug Attack for D0ritos chips, won 1 million dollars after tying with Dog Sitter commercial for Bud light beer in USA today ad meter. Their viral marketing strategy paid of when the ad became immediate hit in youtube with thousands of views in weeks.

Creating a Email Blast or Campaign

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Ignoring the important role Email plays in today’s marketing and other aspects of business is impossible. Email marketing is electronic version of direct mail marketing. We have all received the email about new products, sale, offers and so on. The new marketing opened new ways and made it even easier to reach you target audience and communicate with them.

I am sure if you are in some kind of marketing role you have created or contributed in Email campaigns or Blast as we call in our company. In case you haven’t let me give you basic of how we do it.

First and most important is define clearly the goal and objective of the email. Why do you want to send an email? Do you want more visitors to the new page you created in the website or do you want to let your customers know about the product, or just acquire new clients and account?

Next it’s important to have your content and images ready that reflect the goal and objective of email. If the content isn’t strong enough to keep the reader engaged then the whole email will be chucked in delete folder along with your time and effort.

Once you have the dynamic content and the images ready. Think of the Subject for the email. This one line decides whether your email will be read or not. And don’t go away from the content of the email while choosing the subject of the email. If the email and it’s subject are going different direction that is another sign for reader to spam the email.

After those difficult task are performed it’s time to create actual template of email. Carefully choose the template that fits your messages and images and when put together looks interesting.

Here is how its done.

Here is the template I chose. I choose this template because it is clean simple and communicates my message. I have two products that I need to inform my customers about, the template has two distinguish segments to put my products at the same time distinguish them in the same email. My images are square and horizontal, and template has both, so it won’t be stretched or out of proportion.

Next step use your imagination and let it run wild as much as the template can handle.

This is how it looks after:

The screen shoots were taken in 3 different segments, so it might not align exactly. But you can see how the template is customized.

Thanks to different email marketing software company like icontact, constant contact, vertical response, mailchimp etc, it is even more easier to get your email out in no time. You no longer will have to fight with those html codes as some of these provider offer easy message builder and just with basic knowledge you will be pro.

The most amazing part is after you send the email. Remember how I said goal and objective of the email is important to define. Once the email is sent, you can track the results through your email provider itself. You can measure the objective or goal of the email against the actual result from the email campaign. You can track how many opened your email and if you had any links included, if they were clicked? You can import the data for your use. How many didn’t receive the email because of bad email address. So that you can contact them and verify email address. How many was forwarded, who unsubscribed from you emailing list etc.

What is your experience and thoughts?

Groupon: DIY coupon/Small Business Marketing

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small business, small business marketing, coupon, coupon marketing, online marketing, local marketing

We are all looking for new ways to promote our business. In this struggling economy you will try anything to differentiate from competitors. Making it easy for consumer to find you. Marketing seems to be good strategy to get that differentiation. But it might cost you fortune and with free online tools it is another competition. In this jungle of marketing it is really hard to find that one tool that works as hard as you for your business without spending a lot. Yes there are lots of social media available. But everyone is on that band wagon and is difficult to differentiate. I was bouncing from article to blog post to find something new. When I started my research, I was mostly focusing on facebook, twitter, flicker etc, which everyone wants to be part of or already is.

Most of the tools I came across were same old tools that have been popular and by now already over used. As my search continued I found some interesting tools that have taken the marketing world by storm in short frame of time.  Groupon, foursquare, yelp etc. Groupon!!! I know my initial reaction was exactly the same ” What is groupon?”

Spent some time on website and the concept seemed interesting. So here is what groupon is. Groupon is part of The Point, a platform for group action which started in Nov 08. It is all about power of group buying by offering great deals in the community.

Example: Every day they feature a coupon depending on location with amazing deals. Then they have minimum number to be reached for the coupon to be effective. Lets say 100. Unless 100 people join, the coupon isn’t effective. You can invite your friends and family to reach that number. There is the key. They are not only using refer a friend or word of mouth but also all the social networking sites. If there is a deal you like and you tell your friends, you post it on facebook, twitter and so on. That is genius and along with that as you are buying it in group you are guaranteed the best price. No sign up necessary, but you do have to submit your email address to view the coupon. If you like it click on “Buy” and if the minimum number is reached they will charge your credit card and send you the link to print the coupon. Easy !!!

Why is it effective marketing tool?

First and most important as mentioned above, your consumer will do the marketing for you, from word of mouth to social networking sites.
Secondly, with most of the social networking sites measuring the result is some what difficult. With groupon it is easy. You can measure the effectiveness and success by the number of coupons redeemed and bought, number of people signed up and sales.
Consumer feel rewarded and help you create viral buzz.

Why is it attractive to small business?

It is wining situation for everyone involved. Consumer get the best deal, advertiser increases the sales and makes money which is also sales increase for groupon.

Groupon doesn’t charge upfront fees. This makes it more affordable for small business.

Coupons are listed according to city. This helps local business gain more exposure and visibility. It also provides its advertiser with demographic information through its website.

It is risk free, effective and guarantees customer as certain numbers must be reached before the coupon is issued.

This gives your business huge exposure and increase the repeated consumer. Specially if your business is new.

To understand why it works lets first find out how it works.

You will contact the groupon representative. Who will help you design coupon tailored to you business need.
No payment necessary in the front end. They will take a portion of what you sale through groupon.
They will design your groupon coupon, basically after you agree they will take care of everything for you.

Now lets look into some success stories:

Stone Korean Kitchen saw increase in sales and traffic to their facebook and yelp pages after using groupon. They have increased number of repeated customers and they were packed for 2 months after groupon. Here are some more examples.

It might be too early to make any speculation about groupon. But looking at the success and buzz it has created in short time it is safe to say it is best, affordable tool to gain visibility and exposure locally.

Contact group if you have your queries to get your business featured in groupon.

You can also add your coupon or special promotion in  google. There are may free online tools out there, do some research and make the most out of it. Find the one that best suits your business need. If you have any experience or suggestions please leave comment.

BP Oil Spill: Big buck Marketing

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The biggest story today that involved from president to general public. Everyone is and wants to be part of it in some way. No one is unaware of the biggest environmental disaster in the US history. Yes I am talking about BP oil spill in gulf of Mexico. It affects lives of many people who live around the area, mostly of those who relied on gulf of Mexico for income. Many delicate ecosystems are threatened along with the future of fishing and tourism industry.

But more out of ordinary than that was how there were mixed reaction which fueled the internet with oil spill sensation. Many website were created promising to help those affected , youtube videos were created to express the true feeling and again to market the products, twitter was overloaded with the tweets and etc.

BP is on the top to join the parade of this online marketing world by buying the keywords related to oil spill and BP on the search engines like google, yahoo, msn. Making sure they are listed number one when people search for the BP oil spill. Some marketing experts criticized this BP’s effort to rebuild its image and brand, saying BP is manipulating the information public is seeking. Whatever the reason BP has to do everything in its power to get out of this mess. It is brilliant to get their side of story out. BP is working with today’s consumer and world. No matter what is published in magazine or broadcast in news, online is the most visited and important source of information today.

Another point to note even though BP’s own site is the first thing that comes first in search engines, the website is full of only what BP has to say and is doing. Nowhere you will find the reactions of real people and those effected. Rather than only being the first site in the search engines and only showing their side of story, it would have been more impressive if people could share their point of view in BP Response website. Not that people need to rely on BP’s response site to express their opinion. But letting them express their opinion in the BP’s site and posting response might have helped counter effect little bit of negative effect. If you watch the youtube videos the comment section is switched off.

BP even funded 5 million dollar ad campaign to boost New Orleans tourism industry. Similar approach was taken to promote the tourism in Louisiana and Florida.Apart from BP”s own effort to dominate the online world, Law firms are also cutting the slice out of this big pie in a promise to help those effected by oil spill.

As I was coming to the conclusion of this post,  BP announced the news we all had been waiting for , it was able to at least temporarily stop the oil spill. They will start testing on Thursday.Though negative BP got huge publicity, according to bbc its share rose on New York Trading Post after the oil spill was temporarily stopped.

Will all this effort help BP rebuild its image is too early to tell. So while the ecosystems, the people, nature and livelihoods of affected people are hanging by the thread due to this BP fiasco, the opportunities for making lumps of money for marketing and law sector is almost endless.

Marketing Apple iphone4

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The launch of any apple products are much anticipated and awaited by it’s loyal audience around the globe. iphone 4 wasn’t exceptional. According to Steve Jobs it was one of the most successful product launch. With this much anticipated wait and launch came the frustration of the users. It has issue with the antenna. When held the certain way it drops the call.

OK it might be surprising to see me mentioning this point or even talking about the problem iphone 4 is having. What does it have anything to do with marketing? In some sense nothing really and in other context everything. Here is the interesting part. The consumerism, loyalty of apple fans, and the use of social media and the extent consumers went to express there opinion. Blog posts, articles, youtube videos, comments, twitter etc.

Although the consumers concerns reached Apple,the answer from Steve Jobs was far from convincing. Being an apple product, people expected more professional and responsible reply normally associated with the company. But the only terse reply they got in this case was “Don’t hold it that way”. This spread around online media like wild mushroom. But guess what, people still bought latest iphone in masses.

It is also interesting to note that many wireless phone are launched every year and not all of then are defect free. They also have similar issues like iphone does but why so much publicity about the apple iphone.

Well apart from the problem, another interesting note here is how apple managed to increase it’s sales by 70%. What fascinates me even more again is audience loyalty. The technology iphone4 has was invented long ago and was/is available with other phones. But still when it came with iphone4 it was something everyone wanted. Looking closely we can see the clever marketing strategy. The existing at&t customers were eligible for upgrade if they had been customer for at least 6 month. They didn’t have to wait for year. This automatically captured the loyal audience and 77% of people who got iphone 4 were returning customer.

Not only now but since the beginning apple have been able to keep loyal audience wowed and wanting more with their differentiating marketing strategy. Design, ease of use and innovation combined with clear and attractive communication helped apple achieve its market position. They integrated online and offline marketing with clear and easy message for its audience to understand is another big apple strategy. This can be seen on latest tv commercial for iphone4. When you look at that add it has a lifestyle story to tell, it communicates with you, at the same time showing the latest innovation and technology.  White never looked fashionable until it came in form of ipod.

SociaL meDia:GlaNce at real ExamPLEs

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Social Media, we all are familiar with the impact of social media in our life by now it is safe to say it has changed the way we connect, communicate, research and perform our daily tasks. Many blog posts, books, ebooks and articles have been written about its uses and many have tried to predict where the future of social media lies, which on itself is another vast topic to be explored.
It was initially designed to connect with family and friends, which became worldwide trend as seen today. Whether young or old, it has made its impact on every denomination. With increasing number of social media, it is also evolving with time and demand. It is no longer tools to only connect with your family and friends ,it is also a the way marketers reach you and connect with you.

Before the invention of toady’s social media like facebook, twitters, myspace etc marketing meant telling consumer what to do. With social media it means involving your consumer and listening to them and working with them in real time. Here is very good example of this two way flow of communication. The article is from http://www.webinknow.com by David Meerman Scott, Real-time blog post gets ELoqua CEO tons of B2B ink.

Second article is also from David Meerman Scott’s blog; you-cannot-take-back-a-tweet. I am a huge fan of his blog and work. Interesting part of this second article is, it not only gives real world example of using social media but also highlights the issues to consider while using social media to communicate. It also shows how social media was used to  to clarify the issue, while communicating with their audience. Yes social media is great free tool for marketing but at the same time when you publish your content and it is out in the web there is no way of controlling who views them or taking it back.
But when you know and understand the power of social media as a marketing tool, there is an endless possibility. Lets look into some more examples.

This interview with Sunil Gupta(Harvard Business School professor) on smallbusinesscomputing.com by Jennifer Lonoff Schiff has some great examples of how social media is used by different companies for their benefit. It also mentions very helpful tips from the people who have actually used social media to get results. I particularly liked the advice from Luongo, “Be authentic and engaging to your audience”, you want to connect with your audience not bombard them with lots of information that might confuse them or even think of you as Spam.

Important aspect mentioned in this article, “Social Network Marketing: What Works?” by Sarah Jane Gilbert is “influencer”,how marketing budget can be used to create ROI (Return Of Investment) along with viral buzz and refer a friend. Rather than investing ton of money on banner ads (though sometimes this is the only way), invest it in your influencers and let them do the marketing for you. It is less effective when you are shouting out you are the best and completely opposite when someone else does that for you. The Valentine’s day campaign for Honda mentioned in this article is great example.

All this articles addresses different aspects of the social media, whether it is for small or big organization. With the above mentioned examples, here are few points to consider before jumping into social medai band wagon.

  1. Think and carefully think through before publishing any content on the web.
  2. Clearly define and know your target audience.
  3. Identify your  influencers and make them your marketing advocates. Nurture,Treasure and guard then as your life.
  4. Good content still is the king.
  5. Have a clear vision of your business and what you want to achieve using social networking. For instance increase visibility, increase the number of sales, promote new product, increase sales etc. Once you have clear idea, design your marketing strategies around it.
  6. Do not overwhelm the consumer with information. Less and specific is always better.
  7. Keep it entertaining, fresh and updated.

Do you have an example or thought on the topic? Share it, use the power of social network.

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