GO MOBILE!

Monday, March 18, 2013
GO MOBILE!
What do you do if you are a pizza parlour and the neighborhood where you are supposed to deliver your pizzas has people from over 200 nationalities who speak equally varied number of languages? Dubai based Red Tomato found a way to solve this problem – with the help of a fridge magnet. This magnet is connected with the bluetooth of the user’s mobile phone. He just presses the button, selects his choice of pizza online and orders it. Now it no more mattered which language you spoke; you always got the pizza you wanted. Deliveries increased by about 500%!

In 2011 IPL used the mobile phone to spread awareness about the cricket series. It used the SMS2.0 service. All those who used this app to send text messages were shown a banner ad of the series. While their message was being sent the banner ad became full screen where the user could see options like check the score, read more, download ringtones etc. The company received more than 16 lakh impressions and more than 35,000 ringtone downloads!

Lego has found a way to be relevant to the young generation and has found a way to compete with video games for market share. All you required was the special edition box of the Lego blocks, and the mobile app ‘The Life of George’ downloaded on your smartphone. The mobile app beams images which you have to make with your blocks within a time period specified by the app. With every successful attempt you move up levels. There are no estimates available of the sales figures, but it generated 294 million page impressions!

In Stockholm McDonald’s created a digital billboard on which passers-by were invited to play table tennis using their phone’s touch screen. So it was you and your mobile versus the interactive billboard. If you lasted for 30 seconds you won yourself free goodies from the nearest McDonald’s outlet. An electronic coupon was delivered on your mobile phone which could be redeemed at the nearest McDonald’s outlet, directions to which were also sent along with the coupon. 460 people played in 5 hours and 400 of them actually went and cashed their coupons resulting in increased footfall.

Talking of free goodies, now you can send a free Coke to anybody in any part of the world along with a message. Coca-Cola has installed special vending machines which can be accessed through your mobile phone. At the touch of a button a Coke bottle is delivered to who ever you want to deliver – even a complete stranger – along with a personal message. Using your phone you can even see who got your Coke and what was his reaction!

The one thing common between all these examples is the use of mobile phones for increasing customer engagement. It is the gadget of the future, and is fast becoming the most effective way for brands to reach out to their customers.

LOOK WHO MADE MONEY LAST YEAR!

Google is a very happy company this year. Its stock prices have been increasing constantly. Over the past year its stock has increased by 30%. One of the main reasons was its ability to successfully monetize its mobile user base. The company’s mobile ad division is today its second largest division. Mobile revenues have doubled from 2011 to 2012. It is precisely because of this that Facebook’s IPO fizzled last year. Just before the highly anticipated initial public offering it revealed that it was not making any significant revenue from its mobile website, in spite of more than half its 900 million members using the service on their mobiles. This year Facebook’s revenues from ads on mobile devices touched $305 million. Today, the company claims to be a ‘mobile-first advertising company’, according to its Product Director of ads Gokul Rajaram.

In the beginning of last year e-commerce website eBay estimated that it would make $10 billion in mobile revenues. By the end of 2012 the company had touched $13 billion. This year it is sure to touch $20 billion. According to its Senior Director for mobile commerce Olivier Ropars, business is all about ‘connected commerce’. It is the ability to shop anytime, anywhere and a mobile is the perfect device for that. According to him, one third of all eBay transactions are ‘touched’ by the mobile. No wonder eBay invested in mobile apps and today its mobile apps have seen a download of 120 million.

GROWTH OF DIGITAL

A few days back the South African Tourism issued a tender to find a UK agency to manage its website and digital creative for the next three years. This is a new trend that is emerging as clients are slowly but surely venturing into the online space and experimenting with new ways of promoting their goods and services. This is a trend that is worth observing as billings of advertising agencies are dropping every year. According to “Campaign Magazine”, a survey done by Nielson revealed an overall decline in billings of the top 100 creative agencies and the top 50 media agencies in the year 2012. The largest media agency, WPP owned MediaCom too posted a billing of £1.1 billion this year which is huge. However, considering the fact that this figure is 9.2% lower than 2011 once again highlights the fact that traditional advertising is changing.

Interestingly, last year (2012) the elite Cannes Lions advertising festival introduced a new category for awards called “Best Mobile Advertisements”.

Late Steve Jobs too is responsible for the increase in mobile advertising. He made big screens fashionable, and today all smartphones have oversized screens. This gives advertisers space to place their advertisements with minimum annoyance to the user. Moreover, thanks to the advancement in ‘Analytics’ there are now softwares that give you exact details about the performance of your mobile advertisements. What in turn it means is that for the first time marketers have a clear idea of whether their advertisement is effective or not, if its reaching the right customers etc.

If Apple showed the world the benefits of a large mobile phone screen then Samsung has shown marketers how to make good use of it. The new Samsung Galaxy S4 launched a few days back has an interesting feature called the ‘smart pause’. Utilizing the phone’s facial recognition software, videos will pause whenever a viewer looks away. What it would mean to marketers is, it would give them an idea of how engaging their content is. If its relevant the most viewers would not look away, it’s as simple as that. Of course, the feature has yet to prove itself, but the point here is everybody is looking at the mobile for the next big leap. Mobile marketing, be it through mobile ads or mobile videos, is going to grow.

Mobile marketing is soon going to become the most practical way of marketing your goods or services. The possibilities are almost limitless. There are mobile apps, mobile web, digital advertising and a plethora of other channels available to marketers to help them create marketing campaigns. If you are a marketer you need to seriously start planning around this. The only thing stopping you will be your creativity.

The number of mobile phone owners is increasing exponentially, the number of people owning smartphones is increasing (according to a recent statistic, 1.038 billion smartphones are in use, which in simple words means that 1 in every 6.7 people on the planet use one), the availability of WiFi is increasing. The number of people using the mobile to browse the web is increasing very fast as compared to desktop browsing, which revealed an interesting phenomena that 67% of mobile web users are more likely to buy from a mobile-friendly website and an almost equal number said they would shift to a competitor’s website if it was mobile friendly (a survey by Moovweb showed that almost 52% of the retailers surveyed did not have a mobile friendly website). That just makes perfect business sense to think mobile. Every smart marketer is today thinking beyond traditional media and shifting to mobile and social. It’s time you did the same.

THE LESS OBVIOUS RULES OF SUCCESS

Thursday, February 21, 2013
THE LESS OBVIOUS RULES OF SUCCESS
A simple arithmetic question for you: ‘A bat and ball cost a dollar and ten cents. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?’ If you answered ‘10 cents’ you also probably are not aware of the ‘less obvious rules of success’. I will try to discuss a few here – the most obvious ones at least. Just as the obvious answer that 90% of the readers gave was actually the wrong answer (the right answer is 5 cents for the ball and a dollar and five cents for the bat), similarly the rules of success are the ones we most often tend to overlook. Success comes from strange quarters and with strange reasons too. Decades ago, an interesting book “What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School” became a best seller. The author had then tried to show how the most obvious things are not being taught, the things that actually impact our careers. Even today, most people are not aware of many similar things.

IT’S NOT WHAT YOU SPEAK, RATHER WHAT YOU DON’T WHICH IS IMPORTANT!

A research by Classes and Careers revealed some interesting secrets about how to successfully crack interviews. While most of us will spend hours learning the important answers and pouring over the course and trying to mug up as much as possible, as many important points as possible, it’s the smart ones who do that little bit extra, which is the difference between success and failure. The biggest game changer in the interview process are the ‘non-verbal’ cues. It is not so much what you speak, rather what you don’t speak which creates the maximum impact. If you falter here it might cost you your job!

Failure to make eye contact is one of the biggest mistakes. A good eye contact shows a confident personality. When you look at people, they look back at you! When you do not look at people they do not take you seriously and they do not trust you either. It’s a simple rule – liars tend to avoid eye contact. Eye contact is in fact the most important rule for survival and yet it is one of the most overlooked aspects of communication. In the animal kingdom, the dominant male is the one who can outstare other animals in his pack. If the contest turns out to be a draw, a battle ensues. If you stare at an animal, there’s a good chance it will either attack you, or pee on the floor. We humans aren’t much different. Keep looking at the person with whom you are having a conversation; however, do not stare. This is the tricky part. The most frequently asked question is “How do I look and not stare?” Well, there is a formula to help you get it right and solve this problem of yours. The simplest way to get started is by putting the 5 & 7 guide into action. This means, when speaking maintain eye contact for 50% of the time, when listening maintain it for 70% of the time. When you use eye contact properly, you avoid staring but still display interest and confidence. Eye contact is a powerful tool, and should be used wisely. In the end remember never ever to look at your cell phone to check a text message or a call. This not just causes loss of eye contact but also your job. The non-verbal message you send is ‘this interview is not the most important thing right now’.

The second thing to keep in mind is the way you dress. This is probably more important than the way you answer questions. An interview is all about making the best impression and the right dress will help you do that. A good degree, knowledge etc will take you a certain distance, but the right clothes will take you all the way. Ignore the rule ‘dress to impress’ and you may lose your job. The best way to impress is to be yourself. No one knows this better than Indira Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo and today one of the most powerful women of the world. For her first interview she went dressed in an ill-fitting business suit and orange snow boots. Her appearance elicited a collective gasp of horror from the people there and as expected she did not get the job. For her next interview, she decided to follow the advice of her professor at Yale University and went in a sari. His advise to her was, she had to be herself and most importantly be proud of who she was. She went for the interview relaxed, more confident and smart, and Boston Consulting Group recruited her immediately. At the interview table, you are being sized up continuously and it’s these little things that count. Ask yourself, who do you remember after watching a talk show or a reality show? Not necessarily the person with the best points but the one with the best dressing sense. Many people tend to overlook this one point, but its importance cannot be denied. Years ago, Mark Twain said the same thing: “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.” Even today, your clothes could decide your success or failure, especially so if the interviewer has to decide between two similar candidates! You could influence his choice and swing the vote towards you by just dressing right.

IT SOMETIMES DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOU SPEAK!

The most non-obvious rule is, “Most of the times, people do not care about what you speak at all!”

Most speeches are forgotten faster than you can say ‘forget it’. Most of what we learn while attending a lecture is forgotten in the first one hour. In fact, education itself is defined not on the basis of what you remembered, but what you could not forget! “Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school,” said Einstein. This is a fact. We very quickly forget most of the actual words, sentences, but what we don’t forget is how we felt.

While giving a speech, the focus should be on the way of speaking and not on the content. More often than not, it is the tone of the voice, the expressions on the face that matter, more than anything else. The most important thing is how you made the other person ‘feel’ with your words and actions. This is the one aspect, we do not think of at all in most of our communications and it is the most important. The most important rule to remember here is ‘if he feels cared for, then he will care for you too’. Be it the audience inside the auditorium, be it the stakeholders, the rule remains the same. A research has proved that it does not matter in business whether your project is on time, or if you do things within your budget, etcetera... Rather, the factor that decides whether the stakeholder will be happy with you and your company is if he ‘feels cared for’!

Many times, we underestimate the importance of non-verbal cues when meeting with stakeholders. In an experiment, it was shown that customers who were physically greeted when entering a place of business rated their experiences significantly higher than if they were met by someone behind a counter. Even within an organisation (remember employees are your first customers), it is better to walk down the corridor and speak to an employee than to call, e-mail or text. You make them feel special. Just like a mother who rushes to greet her child with open arms. She does not need to say it, but the child feels wanted and loved. We all thrive on non-verbal cues, yet most of the time we forget to use them or read them.

It is the ability of a person to read the non-verbal cues, which decides the success of a relationship, a business meeting, negotiations or even a game of poker! According to David Hayano, author of ‘Poker Faces’, if a player suddenly throws his chips forcefully on the table or suddenly behaves in a brash manner, it may be a non-verbal cue that his cards are weak. Similarly, while negotiating, if a talkative party suddenly becomes quiet, it could be an indication that he is hiding something. The author says that if someone starts over-talking and backslapping, it is an indication that he has very little to offer. It’s these non-verbal cues that determine the success of a negotiation. It is the many revealing body signals that may indicate a hidden agenda. When executives sit on a negotiating table, very few have the ability to read these cues. One simple rule to follow is never lose eye contact with the other person. Even if he tells you to read the papers, don’t make the mistake of looking down. Instead, ask him to give a gist of it as this will give you the chance to not lose eye contact and assess his non-verbal cues better. As decades ago Lord Chesterfield wrote to his son, “Learning is acquired by reading books but the much more necessary learning – the knowledge of the world – is only to be acquired by reading men, and studying all the various editions of them.” The one who can read people like a book is the best player, the best negotiator.

Before I end, one last teaser: “A clerk at a butcher shop stands five feet ten inches tall and wears size 13 sneakers. What does he weigh?” Answer is “He weighs ‘meat’”! Come on, he is a butcher after all!

The bottom line is, we as humans tend to overlook the obvious. Success comes to those who are most aware about these small, seemingly insignificant rules of success. So start looking.

THE NEW ERA

Friday, January 18, 2013
THE NEW ERA
The New Year will, as always, bring with it a change. For marketers too it will be a year of looking at business, at consumers, at strategies, at investments, even at job profiles in a different manner.

IBM is in the business of computers. Well, so you thought, for it does much more now. This year, it is also in the business of selling what is known as ‘trend detection’ to marketers. The hottest trend in fashion, music, etc this year is predicted to be ‘the Steampunk movement’. Who predicted it? Yes, IBM! It developed a model using proprietary software that studied various conversations happening in various networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc for years and also in the numerous blogs, and discovered that “Steampunk” was being mentioned more and more frequently and hence predicted that this was a trend to stay. It has been proved right as the popularity of this trend is increasing. Even the fashion label Prada launched its new fashion line with ‘Steampunk’ as the theme. What started as a literary subgenera in the 1980s is today a hot selling fashion trend. Now, IBM is offering its services to brands where it can help them predict and identify new trends with the help of its new software and be better prepared for the future. It is no more the traditional computer manufacturer.

Think about it, the job of a singer is to sing well; and if he is popular, he gets to endorse brands. Not anymore! Will.i.am, the lead singer of the band The Black Eyed Peas, just proved it wrong. Unlike other rock stars, his brand endorsements are different. When Coke wanted to sign him up as their brand ambassador, he convinced them instead to start a new division ‘Ekocycle’ (look carefully it’s actually Coke spelt backwards) and endorse that. He had deeply studied the company profile and found that this was an idea which would benefit both him and Coke, something no brand ambassador is expected to do. Rather, it’s the reverse as brands study the profile of the star to see if he fits well with the brand! This new division would promote ‘recycling’, with each product being labelled, stating clearly how many bottles were recycled while manufacturing the product. For example, a pair of headphones uses three bottles. The idea was a huge success, and today Coke and Will.i.am divide the profits equally from this division. Not just this, Coke probably for a very long time, will not change its brand ambassador either and many companies would be lining up at Will’s door to sign him up. Will has proved that it pays to not just be the traditional brand endorser, but to go a step beyond. Soon gone would be the days of many things traditional, one of them being shopping!

Definitions are changing, lines are blurring in the New Year. Let’s see how things will change even more everywhere.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRADITIONAL INDUSTRY BOUNDARIES WILL BLUR...

Mobiles are blurring the differences between traditional industrial boundaries. A few years ago, Amazon was known as an eretailer while eBay was an online auction site, and Apple made personal computers. Today eBay, Apple, Amazon, and many more are all e-retailers and all are investing in ‘mobile technology ‘ very heavily as for each of them, the future business depends on this. Just focusing on the traditional channels of distribution, promotion will not work anymore. You need to integrate as many channels as possible and blur boundaries.

Home Depot, a brick and mortar outlet, sells home improvement goods, but now it also invests heavily in virtual technology to help increase sales. It now offers a ‘mobile wallet’ so that the customer can pay via PayPal at the cash counter. This has increased its turnover and customer satisfaction. eBay invested $5 billion in mobile technology. The God of all integrations and innovations – Apple – now allows customers to walk into their retail store, scan the bar code with their phone cameras, pay through iTunes and walk out. It’s the best omni-channel retailer in business today. If you want to succeed in the future, you too need to focus towards becoming an ‘omnichannel retailer’, or multi-channel retailer.

Godiva today does not just concentrate on making the best chocolates in the world but spends considerable time studying its consumers’ online history too and customize its campaigns almost immediately on the basis of customer reactions. For example in one case, they tested three different price points for free shipping qualifications. A, B and C, with ‘A’ as the highest price and ‘C’ as the lowest price. Everyone knew that the offer with the lowest price (i.e. offer ‘C’) would be the most attractive to consumers to avail of the ‘free shipping’ facility. Surprisingly, data analysis proved that ‘B’ was the most popular deal with consumers and made the company change its strategy immediately. Similarly, according to its VP Mahender Nathan, when they put more photographs of the same product showing alternate views, sales increased. An invitation to enter their e-mail address and get special offers was a move the company thought would turn potential consumers away, but to its surprise it increased the e-mail capture by 1,076% – that’s huge! Godiva now invests heavily in technology to help understand consumers better and serve them across various channels, be they real or virtual. A good web display is as important as a good instore shelf display.

THE REAL & VIRTUAL WORLD WILL BLUR…

The New Year should also get you to think of new ways to do business. The new way is one where there are no distinctions between the real and virtual worlds. The more seamlessly a marketer is able to merge them, the better it is. Take the case of the multi-brand retailer Tesco. Its department ‘Tesco Groceries’ now has a fancy website from where consumers can order their groceries, decide the time they want the delivery, decide the place of delivery, which could be home or a nearby Tesco outlet. As they start ordering on-line, the site can even predict their ‘shopping list’. All they do is log on to ‘My Usuals’ and it would show them the items they have been ordering most regularly. So you could shop in-store or via the mobile. To add to this, in South Korea, Tesco has installed a wall-length billboard in one of the subways. The billboard looks like the shelves of the supermarket where each product has a QR code. Shoppers can scan the QR codes from their mobiles, order it from their mobiles and the groceries are delivered home within 24 hours! Tesco has found the move so fruitful and sales has increased so significantly that in the year 2012-13, it plans to spend $200 million to promote its ‘mobile shopping’ venture.

At Marks & Spencer, the customer has in-store giant screens and iPads where they can see the in-store products, watch videos of latest fashion trends, create their own combinations of outfits and purchase on-line, either from the screen or the iPad available in-store. The order can also be delivered home in case you don’t want to carry a big bag around!

The differences between the real and virtual will blur even more, as more and more retailers will enable consumers to interact with and socialize with their brands through sites like Pinterest, Instagram apart from Facebook and Twitter, not to forget the good old e-mail. As they come to know their customers better, they will have to personalize their marketing strategies according to individual customer preferences. L’Occitane, the high end

bebeauty retailer, has invested in a tool which helps it to personalize its offerings. It found out that inviting new customers to share their e-mail address in exchange for special offers helped increase its conversions by 37%. It also found that placing a ‘best seller’ badge on products resulted in a 3% increase in sales. Through the IP addresses of consumers, it could figure out the ones who were nearest to its brick and mortar stores and mail them information about new products or promotions specific to the store near them. It now runs 70 different marketing campaigns at the same time to be able to attract different consumers with different needs.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GADGETS WILL BLUR... (MULTI-TOUCH RETAILING)

The most successful brands are today selling their products via brick and mortar stores, via e-commerce websites, via mobiles and many other channels. The brand that can integrate all these channels the best will succeed in the long run. So it does not matter any more which gadget you have in mind while designing a website for your business. The key factor today is finding out if it will work as efficiently and as effectively on as many gadgets as possible. The consumer needs multiple touch points to access your products.

If 2012 was the year of understanding the consumer, collecting as much data/information as possible about him and interacting with him, the year 2013 will be a year of intelligently analyzing that data with the help of various technology solutions and providing more comfortable and better ways of serving the consumer.

A richer ‘shopping experience’ will be the key to success; and to achieve this, a seamless integration of various channels – real and virtual – will be the key to growth in the new era.