Wednesday, November 5, 2008


This is from the bakery near my office where I frequent sometimes for a bite. I went there for tea today and I see that Maggie has packaged their rich tomato sauce in a new manner - in a plastic squeeze pouch with a toothpaste tube like thing on top through which you can squirt it out. The thing has a photo of Javed Jaffery on its cover, with a manic grin on his face and holding on to a huge tube of sauce, squirting it out merrily. The product is apparently called "Pichku" - have you seen it?

There's this story by Saki in which a particularly tasteless breakfast supplement is given the absurd name "Filiboid Studge" and a wonderful marketing campaign started around it till it quite becomes the rage, and the owner makes a killing. Because it is so tasteless, housewives take particular demented pleasure in pressing it upon their husbands in the morning. If they would lose their appetite at the sight of that, in the evening they would be served a warmed up mess with the words "Your filiboid studge that you did not eat this morning." Ads were created where sinners were shown roasting in hell, with the ominous line:"THEY cannot have their filiboid studge anymore". You ought to read it.

Talking of advertising, another book to read is Dorothy Sayer's "Death must advertise" - it IS a crime thriller but since Peter Wimsey has to masquerade as an advertising professional in it the book has its moments.

Anyway I am getting beside the point. To think up a name like "Pichku" for a sauce squeeze tube is something ... the implications are legion.

It can be used as a readymade graffiti tool.

It can have a ready market in bloody films - anyway they use ketchup for bloody scenes, this is such a convenient way of achieving the bloody effect with not a drop of ketchup wasted - I am not sure applying it out of bottles is as economic.

The name would also appeal to kids who have a penchant for making a mess of sofas and car seats and walls - something like an amateur effort at graffiti.

Nestle is quite a reputed company - to convince them to name a product Pichku must have taken some doing.

Wonder how long the board of directors laughed when the name was first uttered and when they started taking it seriously and came round to the view that it could be a name for this product.

Or was there a pin drop silence of which an advantage was taken to hasten the decision?
Was it referred to the Swiss parent company, or was the decision taken about the name at the regional level?

- Contributed by Atrijit Dasgupta, Bangalore

Monday, October 13, 2008

Interactive Marketing - who is the customer?

Marketers are accustomed to taking a generational look at their customers in order to find out the most fitting media mix, creative treatment, and call-to-action. This analysis matters even more for those who are in interactive marketing. Young consumers (Gen Yers and millennials) interact with digital media in a fundamentally different way than their older siblings, parents, and grandparents. Here is a closer look at Interactive Marketing:

· Gen Y is redefining the future of interactive marketing. Gen Yers internalize technology like no other generation -- giving more credence to investments in interactive channels. Compared with other adults, they're more than twice as likely to be Creators of original content (31% versus 14%) and Joiners of social networks (54% versus 22%). Like all adults, they regularly use portals for email and search but are more likely to tap other portal resources, like calendars (18% versus 11%) and video search (18% versus 7%). There are reports available on these from Forrester - The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2008 and Benchmark 2008: Gen Y Comes Of Age -- both must reads for any interactive marketers who needs quantitative insights to plan campaigns and grow the overall digital budget.

· Teens multitask more than ever. Anyone with a 16-year-old knows that, at this age, relationships eclipse almost everything. So it should come as no surprise that young consumers, ages 12 to 17, engage in all sorts of social activities while engaging with traditional media channels. Did you know that younger teens multitask more with video games while older teens are more likely to multitask while listening to music and interacting with their peers? Both groups have a tendency to multitask while doing homework (sorry teachers!).

· Social media requires new rules of engagement. Since young consumers -- with their different expectations -- love social media, marketers must become fluent in the language of these tools. In the case of blogs, marketers must answer the questions, "Will we allow posts that criticize our products?" and "Do we want our customers talking about our competitors on our blog?" With desktop and Web widgets -- much more popular with youth than adults -- the question is: "How can we leverage widgets for marketing purposes?"

For Those Of You With Other Customer Segments
Not all of you market to millennials or Gen Yers -- exclusively or even primarily. There are marketing tactics that appeal to other generations. For example, mobile email has specific appeal to Gen X (the average age of consumers who use mobile email at least monthly is 37). Marketers can ready their email programs by asking subscribers about their mobile preferences and understanding how email renders on mobile devices.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Mind of the Strategist by Kenichi Ohmae

To begin with, in the book “The Mind of the Strategist”, Kenichi Ohmae emphasizes that it is a particular state of mind that helps in building successful business strategies. The good news is that this state of mind can be acquired and practised to reach its full potential!

Kenichi Ohmae has divided the book in 3 major parts. In first part, which he calls the “Starting Point” or “The Art of Strategic Thinking” he talks about Analysing the problem or the issue, as faced by an organization, into their constituent parts to clearly understand the particular character of each element. This will help us in understanding the “Four Routes to Strategic Advantage” –
1. Key Success Factor in the Business
2. Building on Relative Superiority
3. Pursuing Aggressive Initiatives
4. Exploiting Strategic Degree of Freedom

In the second part, called “Building Successful Strategies” Ohmae writes about the “Strategic Triangle” or the three major constituents of any business strategy. These are:
1. the corporation itself,
2. the customer
3. the competition.

In terms of these three key players, strategy is defined as the way in which a corporation endeavors to differentiate itself positively from its competitors, using its relative corporate strengths to better satisfy customer needs.
The Part three of the book called “Modern Strategic Realities” deals with Environmental influences and how to cope with strategic changes of the present days. Ohmae writes about four strategic changes visible at present:
1. From labor to capital intensity
2. From multinationals to multi-locals
3. Shift from fixed-cost to variable-cost game:
4. Foresighted decision-making

Ohmae also talks about a Five-step process to achieve these strategic changes:
1. The business domain must be clearly defined.
2. Extrapolate the present forces into the future on the basis of cause and effect with a logical hypothesis as to the most likely scenario.
3. Only a few of the many strategic options must be chosen and once the choice is made, people, technology, and money must be deployed very boldly and aggressively towards them.
4. The company must pace its strategy according to its resources.
5. Management must be ready to change the basic direction of the business if changed conditions demand so.

Ohmae believes that it is the combination of analytical method and mental elasticity, which makes strategic thinking extremely relevant to the problem of strategic stagnation in any organization.

The only aspect which I found missing in the book is the Strategic Alliances with suppliers and other business organizations, the two most important strategic decisions for an organization doing business at present.

The best thing about this book is that though it was written way back in 1982, most of the concepts talked about here are extremely relevant even today. Some of these concepts are competitor-based strategies, key success factor, functional strategies, relative superiority, position relative, critical issue, competitive advantage, aggressive initiatives, tunnel vision, flexible thinking, strategic triangle, planning units, back corporation, economic environment, strategic response, strategic change, etc which are considered key elements of modern market strategy. Therefore, it can be said without any doubt that this book is more relevant today than may be when it was published!

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Peek into a Cult Brand

“Cult” brands don’t just happen... they require certain ingredients for success -
• To belong: To become more individual
• they feel they are different from others
• To reinforce something about themselves
• For a sense of purpose
• For a sense of community

Some of the attributes of a Cult Brand would be Differences, Love, Community, Interaction, Tension.

Such brands communicate love not through the product, but through the limited clan of people who take pride in owing such products, by creating a common philosophy which they can all believe, or, through interactions. Simply, such brands are not for everybody! Like – a Mac vs. a PC

A sense of community is of the utmost importance – there has to be strong believe that it’s not shared by everyone! It could also be a doctrine that can be articulated, or a strong belief that “I am more complete in this community”. Therefore, in one hand it does “Polarizes” through “Us and them”; while on the other, it gives an opportunity to rub together with like minded people.

The E-Bay Cult
• It’s a code of conduct built on trust
• E-Bay’s philosophy is right on line
• You take responsibility to abide by it, and to make sure others do.
• Keep people rubbing together
• Mutual responsibility to keep the cult alive

How Harley became a Cult Brand
• Harley is for the “rebel inside”
• Harley is not for everyone – polarization is good
• Harley is different – sound, symbols,
• German/Japanese brands don’t have the “attitude”
• #$@&* Off, I already have enough friends – T-shirt

Which is that Indian Cult Brand you can think of?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

“Insumers” – the new market segment

In US, ~ 23 million people run business from their home, while ~ 10% “telecommute” from their home with their employers sitting across the globe. In India, the numbers could be interesting as well, particularly when lots of companies are allowing their employees to work from their home in order to save precious fuel, electricity, or simply to allow more work-life balance, or during maternity / paternity leaves.

These telecom users have very distinct communication requirements since they are using these services for both personal and official uses, and there could be a good opportunity on the part of the telecom cos, or ISPs, to customize offerings to such users. The “Insumers”, as I would like to call them, since they are not “con”summers, are growing slowly but steadily into new market segment and service providers who can customize offerings, keeping in mind their specific requirements, could very well reap the benefits of an innovative first mover.

To create a market value for this “insumer” segment, the telecom companies need to focus on having a dedicated insumer product strategy with the right mix of product offering, service features, etc keeping in mind the very unique home users.

The insumers could eventually turn out to be an attractive marketing messaging board for the business world.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is there a differnce between Marketing & Sales?

There were a few requests during my previous post to explain the differences between Marketing & Sales.
To understand the difference between marketing & sales, one has to first understand what is marketing & what is Sales, which I am afraid, is not something that can be talked about in such a limited space and time. Therefore, I am trying to give below an outline of what constitutes marketing – its old and new concepts, and what constitutes sales.

According to Prof. Philip Kotler (the unquestionable Guru of Marketing until recently when he was dethroned by new age experts like CK Prahalad, Jagadish Seth, Nirmalya Kumar, W. Chan Kim, Jerry Wind and likes), Sales is something you do to push whatever you have produced to the customers; while marketing is a pull strategy where you attract customers to come and buy from you by creating a product which actually satisfy their needs (understanding the customer need and creating a product to meet that need). Marketing is, therefore, a Pull Strategy while sales is always a Push Strategy.

According to traditional concept of Marketing as propagated by Kotler, it consists of 4Ps:
1. Product – the actual offering
2. Price – at what price it is offered
3. Place – where it will be available and how (distribution, etc)
4. Promotion – advertisement, PR, etc
Though this 4P concept has formed the beginning of marketing as an art and science in modern world, the new breed of marketing gurus and expert has, quite rightly, asked a few difficult questions about this definition. Of these, the most important ones are;
1. Where is the “customer” in the definition?
2. How can one talk about price without understanding cost?
3. Is not competition important for all marketing decisions?
4. What about competencies that one has picked up over the period of time?

Faced by such challenges, Kotler created a new framework - holistic marketing – focusing on “whole consumption chain, the life-space of the customer and the surrounding competitive environment.” He, therefore, converted his 4Ps into 4Cs:
1. Customer Value
2. Customer Costs
3. Customer Convenience
4. Customer communication

If you notice carefully, in all these definitions of marketing, the emphasis is always on “Product” and not on “Services”. In fact, Services Marketing was considered a completely new discipline until CK Prahalad along with Venkat Ramaswamy, proved in their classic “The Future of Competition” that the product and service definitions are a passé. They said that Marketing lies in competitive advantage through meaningful customer experience. That means companies should innovate a process that enables every customer to create the product or service experience she wants (customer co-creation). Think of I-Pod.

Prof. Jadish Seth has a completely different view on what marketing should be in the present day’s context. He advises the marketing departments to do away with their old wisdom, and instead expand its role. So far companies’ marketing departments have focused on only one stakeholder – the customer; but now they should focus on 6 more. Here are the 7 new stakeholders of marketing as per Prof. Seth
1. Customers
2. Employees
3. Investors
4. The community within which the company exists
5. The suppliers
6. The media
7. The government

The ultimate result that a marketer looks for at the end of her marketing exercise is how excited she could make her customers about her offerings (product and/or services) and how she could convert that excitement to actual money terms. The moment a customer has taken her wallet out and handed over her cash or credit card, the sales take place.

If you keenly notice this whole cycle you will understand that marketing and sales should be discussed together and not as silos, though one concept of marketing is that it should make sales redundant.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Smart iDeAS, India Innovation PE Fund & Fin Models

Smart Ideas:
There are 2 new things happening at SMART Ideas, 2 very exciting things actually.

SMART Ideas is bridging the gap between a PE fund and some truly deserving companies who need the right financial support to leapfrog to the next level.
SMART Ideas is also collaborating with a Finance WizKid and budding entrepreneur Anand Kumar, who will give training on various Financial Modeling and teach all finance & non-finance professional on how to effectively use spreadsheet to build plans and interpret a Fin Model.

Investment @ SMART Ideas
We at SMART Ideas would like to hear from entrepreneurs who have successful business models and would like to replicate the model beyond known territories. SMART Ideas represents a newly launched Indian Innovation (technical & nontechnical) PE fund which is looking for investing with such innovative companies with replicable models.
Please send details to me at

Financial Modeling & Training
Is financial modeling a dreadful word for you? Are you thinking of letting go the greatest offer in your life because you are scared of financial modeling? Or, are you among those who never thought a trainee’s job at the multinational bank will be to play with numbers on an excel spread-sheet? Or, may be you are that young executive at a retail or fmcg or IT or Real estate company, who is lagging behind in career only because you don’t understand those numbers?
Trust me they are not as difficult as they look. You only have to learn what to look for and how.
There are many big companies across the globe who spend a fortune getting financial modeling experts teaching their people some funda or too; but the bad news is that there is no such experts available in India. The nearest you can get one is in Singapore.

But the good news is that Anand Kumar, a Finance expert with several years of experience with some of the finest finance companies in the world and a good friend of mine, has come forward to help and train any and every body to make them finance savvy. Initially he is going to operate from 3 different locations – Gurgaon, Mumbai & Bangalore. And he has chosen the platform at SMART Ideas to get the ball rolling.

See this space for some more info on this.

Friday, June 6, 2008

B Schools & what they teach

I was part of an interview panel for an upcoming business school couple of weeks back. This was a mock interview session before they actually go in for their placement in the next few weeks. This interview was for the students who were majoring in Marketing and had come from diverse background. The interview panel consisted of a HR professional, a Personality Development Expert and a Marketing Professional (that’s me)

When the first 2 candidates came for in the interview, we started talking about the projects they have undertaken, key learning from such projects and how have they applied their marketing knowledge and learning into this project. Seeing them fumbling with answers, I decided to check their basic understanding of the discipline. Therefore, when the 3rd candidate came in, I asked him what’s the difference between Marketing & Sales? And that’s where the trouble started. No one, not a single student, can tell me the simple difference. It was a shocking experience for me and for the other two panelists. And we were at a loss at how we should continue with the interview.

Back home, when I started analyzing the situation, I understood, that the students have failed to answer even the most basic questions, because they have not been told at the beginning of the course what is expected of them at the end of such course. Also, the curriculum was not in tune and the exams merely tired to test their memories. Therefore, the fundamentals of a business school were challenged. As an aspiring business school from Bangalore, I was expecting that these would be the main concern area of the school and they would have spent most of their time and energy in planning the courses and its teaching methods.
I called up the dean of the school, discussed about my observation and talked about my suggestions.
The big dilemma that I faced post this experience is :
1. What is the future of these students, who have spent lacs of rupees?
2. Should we have a qualification process for a business school who wants to set up a shop here? At the end of the day, they are not delivering what they are supposed to do.

I asked almost all these students why they want to do MBA in Marketing. Everyone, without exception, said that because they like to interact with people! An answer which could be acceptable before someone joins an MBA school, and definitely not when he / she is graduating from one.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Personal Branding

Do you think, apart from Corporate, Product/Services branding you need a Personal Branding as well?

If you think yes, what are the reasons for that?

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Marketing Challenges of the China Olympics

From Harvard Business School professor John Quelch’s blog on marketing issues, called Marketing Know: How

Normally, the Olympic Games are a positive force in marketing. Worldwide marketing expenditures increase as official sponsors and unofficial free-riders attach themselves to the Olympic logo, to particular sports, national teams, or individual athletes. Global brands, in particular, see the Olympics and World Cup soccer as the two most important international sporting events; brand linkage to these events can boost brand awareness, preference, and sales over competitors who cannot afford the global sponsorship prices set by the International Olympic Committee.

Lenovo hardly wishes to be known as the Chinese PC company that consumers find convenient to boycott.
This year, however, concerns over the Chinese government's role in Tibet, Sudan, and other alleged human rights abuses threaten to derail its plans to stage the Olympics as China's coming out party. Tight security in Beijing may take some of the fun out of the Games, not just for the sports fans and athletes but also for the sponsors.

Take Lenovo, for example. The fourth largest personal computer manufacturer in the world is the first and only Chinese company to be a global sponsor of an Olympics. Lenovo's investment in the Games is around $100 million. The company paid millions, along with Samsung and Coca-Cola, to sponsor the torch relay. Lenovo's sponsorship will doubtless reinforce its brand preference rankings in China. However, around the world, Lenovo hardly wishes to be known as the Chinese PC company that consumers find convenient to boycott.

Here are some trends I'm seeing among sponsoring companies:

First-time sponsors have a lot more to lose than long-term investors.
Lenovo, as a first-time global sponsor whose future depends heavily on success this year, has much more at stake than veteran Olympics sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Visa, and McDonald's. These companies are long-term investors in the Olympics; if Beijing fails to realize earlier commercial expectations, London in 2012 can make up for it.

Around the world, the veteran sponsors may be careful not to over-identify with Beijing. They will emphasize sponsorships of national athletes and national teams rather than focus on the Olympic rings. But, in China, the Western multinationals will pursue a much more aggressive strategy. They will build goodwill for their brands by creating China-specific advertising and promotion programs that tap Chinese pride in hosting the Games.

"Two-faced" approaches.
Those companies that are not global sponsors of the Games will also take a two-faced approach, supporting the Games in China while being disinclined to associate with them in North American and European markets. Given the prominence of China as a supplier and customer, it is unlikely that we will witness grandstanding boycotts of the Games by any company. Most consumers around the world do not let their political views affect their purchase decisions. However, we are likely to see Web sites promoting boycotts of Chinese brands such as Haier, TCL, and Lenovo.

Late campaign purchasing as a safety hedge.
The International Olympic Committee continues to argue that the Games and the aspirations and achievements of individual athletes should be independent of politics. The reality is that the Chinese government has always intended to use the Games to its political advantage and that further escalations of violence in Tibet could diminish public support and lead to national team and individual athlete boycotts, as occurred in Moscow following the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. As a result, marketers are not over-committing funds to Olympics-related brand advertising and promotions, and the normal Olympics year advertising boost may be less than expected. Instead of long-term preset media advertising buys, many companies are planning short-term promotional bursts that they can activate as late as July and August if all appears to be in place for a successful, trouble-free Games.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Email Marketing - The best & the Greenest way for us all

We´d take a look at a very green marketing option, email marketing. Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your readers, but it is also a great ecologically friendly marketing method.

No Paper: Well, obviously, since you are sending everything electronically, no paper is needed. And, if someone does want to print your email out, it will only be done for a good reason.

Endless recycling: While email doesn´t really NEED to be recycled, it certainly can be and often is. When someone reads your email and really appreciates it, you will find that they often pass it on.

Communicate with millions: You save a lot of energy by simply sending out one email to a huge list. Whether you have 50 or 50,000 people on your email marketing list, you can communicate with them quickly and efficiently.

Why not give email marketing a shot and make your business a bit more environmentally friendly? Let’s make Earth Day, Every Day

Make Email exciting
Email marketing, if you aren´t careful, can be pretty dull. If you find yourself slaving over a few paragraphs to send off to potential clients, or just copying and pasting sales letters . . . it´s probably time to take things up a notch.

You can make your email marketing a lot more interesting, both for you and your readers, if you just make a few adjustments.

Ask a question. Rather than simply state what´s in the newsletter, try asking a question in the subject line. Humans love to answer questions, so many of them will do so mentally and then open the email.
Tell a story. Starting your email off with an anecdote, or short story will catch people´s attention and draw them into your writing. Then transition into what you really wanted to say.

Use humor. Humor is never unwelcome in an email . . . but if you aren´t good at it, consider using a funny quote or joke instead. Making people laugh is a sure way to get them coming back.

Call to Action
With email marketing, it´s not enough to just put out great content. People may enjoy reading your emails and open up every single one, but never click on your links for one very simple reason. If you haven´t included a call to action, your clickthroughs will be far lower than they should be.

What is a call to action? It´s pretty easy, basically, you´re just telling people what to do! That´s it. Whatever you want them to do, you are giving them the action and telling them to do it. This may sound bossy, but it´s actually extremely effective, thanks to human psychology.

How often have you seen a banner or a button on a website that says, “Click Here”? It automatically makes you want to click, doesn´t it? That´s what you want to do within your email marketing, to help people make the decision to go ahead and buy your ebook or hire you or even just to check out a new website.

Your call to action doesn´t have to be anything complicated. You might even just have a link with a short, “Click here to find out more” or “Check it out”. Simple is good in this case. Try to keep your email marketing simple whenever possible and don´t have different calls to action in the same email, which will confuse people.

Email marketing can be a great way to connect with potential clients, but it will be far more effective if you are sure to include a call to action.

The Power of ACTION

“Have you read all the books in the world about achieving success in life and till now you are getting zero results?

How and when will you see significant changes in your life?
Are you brave enough to keep going and never quitting?
If yes then, let me share with you the important factor that is tightly connected to success. No body can ever succeed without this factor.

Here it is:

"Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit." - Conrad Hilton

It is all about taking action!

Have you applied what you've read? Have you taken bold actions? Are you persistent

The common characteristics of highly successful people are that they never quit and they always keep moving.

They are not afraid of making mistakes. They believe that mistakes are their vehicle to massive success. Therefore, they simply learn the lessons and keep moving.

If you are in a journey and discovered that you lost your way, stopping will not take you anywhere. You have to choose another direction and keep moving.

Being in motion is the only way that will allow you to reach your destination. You can take shortcuts, you can take a faster vehicle, or you can get a map to identify the shortest path. Whatever you choose to do, the most important thing is to keep moving and take action.

Successful people are action-oriented. They work very hard, they are determined,
and they are focused.

To rise above mediocrity, learn from your mistakes, keep moving and never quit. This
is your secret formula to taking powerful actions that will lead you to achieve massive success in your life.”

Source: Self Enrichment

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Positioning Your Self - Learnings and key takaways from Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout

This is a submission from a close friend of mine and a marketing professional for the last 12 years. At present he is working with ESPN. Thank you Dips!

"Back in the innocent days" when I was doing my MBA I got hold of a book named "Positioning: The Battle for your mind" by Al Ries and Jack Trout.It was one of the best books I had ever read and got glued to it for hours.

Years after when I wrote my book www.itsdifferent.beshi I completely and solely used leranings from the same book.Let me put some numbers on board.On an average a poetry book written by an established poet is plus minus 500 whereas a poetry book by a newcomer is on an average less than 100.On the contrary the first edition of my book is almost exhausted (1000 plus) and is going for the second edition.Let me tell you it has not happend due to the literary qualty of my book.I strongly believe that in Kolkata only there are 1000 poets who pen down better works than me and believe me I am not being humble.

What did the trick, was quite simple.I just executed my learnings from this great book which I want to share with each one of you.Please remember that the takeaways can be applied in both personal as well as professional life whatever be your profession.(home-maker,doc,corporate,software professional and not only advertising and Marketing people).

Following are my applications which I have executed in the marketing of my book as well as in my professional life.

1. I never wanted my product to be a "me-too" one.That is why I named it www.its.different .beshi and positioned my work as a Convergence of poetry and photography and thus tried to create a hole in the mind of the prospect.If it was just another poetry book I am sure it would have been caught in a traffic-jam in the book-lover's (prospect) mental highway.

2. I tried to connect with prospect.This is because I felt that poetry (especially in Bengali) is much less popular compared to Music and prose as most of the prospects think one basic thing "Kobita or poetry is just not my cup of tea".I next did a why-why analysis and the answer was simple.Most of the poetries are so difficult to understand that it hardly connects with the prospect.That is why I tried to communicate an over-simplfied message using my over-simplified mind in our over-communicated society to the best of my limited ability.

3.Target-segment: I have tried to increase the size of target-segment just by connecting.It is true that my work may not appeal to the so-called intellectual crowd.But the fact remains that they were never my target segment.

4. Since it was my first book I had to use "Positioning of a Follower".Here if I had taken it head-on with the leader (Joy Goswami in this case) I would have made a cardinal mistake.

5.I used my name as Dips using the concept of "Phonetic Shorthand".

6. In my professional world my boss and I share the same name.I changed my name to Dips to clearly avoid the line-extention trap.

7.Have tried to ensure all my horses are right(Company,Boss,Idea,Friend,Faith).I am not quite sure of the sixth horse though which is myself.

This book has changed my way looking at a Game called Life both professionally and personally.I would humbly request you to buy this book .It is a Tata McGraw Hill publication and go for the 20th Anniversary Edition with comments by the authors."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thank You Readers!

This blog has been selected as one of best marketing blogs for the geographical region, Bangalore by

And I take this opportunity to thank all my readers who have encouraged me with feed backs and suggestions.



Mobile phone for the marketing mix - What Coca-Cola & Unilever is doing?

The mobile phone's increasing potential as a marketing channel is forcing marketers to ring in the changes. Originally only the domain of a few leading-edge brands from the entertainment sector, now a growing number of firms are exploring the mobile channel as a part of their marketing mix.

A study by Airwide revealed that the number of brands planning SMS and MMS mobile marketing/advertising has doubled over the past year to 28 percent, and the same study also claimed that many brands are planning to increase the proportion of the budget allocated to mobile campaigns.

Coca-Cola in particular has long been a vocal advocate of mobile marketing. As long ago as 2005, the company was stating its faith in the future value of the channel, even suggesting that as a medium it would compete with TV. Speaking in November 2005, then Coca-Cola marketing manager James Eadie, said that it ought to be "phenomenally powerful and more important than TV… we should be spending 50 percent of our marketing budget [on mobile] within decades."
Only months later Coca-Cola had hit the streets of Spain with more than 50 Smart cars enabled with Bluetooth devices that sent free content to nearby users. As part of the 'Coca-Cola on the go' campaign, consumers merely needed to be near the car to be able to download music, wallpapers and Coca-Cola customised games.

"Coca-Cola wanted to reach consumers aged between 15-17 years old," explains Alberto Benbunan Garzon, business development director for Mobile Dreams Factory, the agency that worked with Coca-Cola on the campaign. "We branded the Smart cars with Coca-Cola, put Bluetooth antennas in the cars and put them at the exit of schools so that when the schools closed the leavers could receive free branded content. People aged 15-17 received the message and the campaign received coverage in the news. Overall, the campaign lasted three months, with different schools, different music, and we reached a lot of people."

Subsequent campaigns have seen Coca-Cola continue to explore the mobile phone's potential as a marketing platform. And it isn't alone.
“The clear difference in this market over the past twelve months has been the embrace of mobile marketing as an integral part of cross-media brand campaigns,” suggests ABI Research director Michael Wolf. “Mobile is no longer off-limits in the minds of advertisers, but is instead seen as a very personal way to reach consumers who can be incentivised through information services and compelling content, as well as through more directly relevant and targeted messaging.”

The real thing?

But the mobile marketing issue isn't cut and dried. One business that has witnessed both the benefits and shortcomings of the platform is Unilever.

In May last year, Lynx for Men, the Unilever deodorant, launched a new advertising campaign designed to increase awareness of the brand – particularly amongst the hard to reach 16-24 bracket of males that has traditionally been difficult to influence through advertising channels. Offering groups of mates the chance to stake their claim as the ultimate 'Lynx players' – the team best at pulling ladies – the competition saw entrants across the UK competing in regional finals before being whisked off to the five-day 'Boom Chicka Wah Wah' Rally in Florida for the grand final.

Alongside traditional marketing channels like posters and press, mobile advertising also formed an important part of the campaign according to Rachel Bristow, marketing communications and buying director at Unilever.

"We were driving consumers to a WAP site through posters and press, and adverts on the 3 and O2 websites," she explains. "There you could request updates and text alerts and download ringtones and wallpaper of the Lynx Lynxes – stunning girls who were part of the campaign to find the Lynx players. Ultimately we wanted as many groups of guys putting themselves forward to be the best players and the mobile was a perfect way to deliver some additional content, keep them updated, but also create some buzz and pub banter – these guys would have something on their phone that they could show to their mates."

Whilst the campaign wasn't Lynx's first foray into the world of mobile advertising, it was the first time that it used the mobile phone as a platform for a marketing pull campaign. "We have done other mobile advertising in the past, but more focused on pushing messages to consumers," says Bristow. "We have trialled some in-game advertising, when consumers are downloading games to their phones. But this was the first time we were actually asking consumers to opt-in and actively sign up – from which you should get better engagement and marketing results."
The campaign as a whole was a success, with the mobile being an important contributor. Overall, over 10,000 people registered for updates off of the WAP site on to their mobile phones, and Lynx enjoyed a 14 percent clickthrough rate from 3 and O2 to its WAP site.

The results have been sufficient for Bristow to acknowledge the qualities of mobile marketing – and of the possibility of the mobile channel featuring in future Lynx campaigns. But at the same time, there are some reservations.

Despite high mobile phone penetration in the UK and other obvious benefits of the platform, Bristow suggests there are several factors inhibiting it from being exploited to its full potential.
"You can send a lot of additional content and personalise it; you can send updates cheaply and quickly; and you can have a two-way relationship because there is an opportunity to have a two-way conversation," she explains. "Further down the line, I'm sure mobile marketing could be a consistent part of the marketing mix. But this depends on the phone charges – how much it costs consumers to access the web via the phone and how much it costs to download content like videos onto your phone.

"Because of the costs, millions of people aren't doing these at the moment in the UK. It's a major consideration for consumers and therefore a consideration for companies. But I'm sure that as these various charges drop, people using the functionality on their phone will increase."
Indeed, with a new generation of 3G handsets allowing a superior user experience of content downloads and mobile internet, and mobile operators increasingly offering flat-rate data charges, the mobile phone is sure to offer more rewarding opportunities for marketing in the future.
Stymied by some short-term platform-related issues, it may still only be on the cusp of the marketing mainstream. But, as forecast by Coca-Cola in 2005, it looks increasingly likely that the future will prove mobile marketing to be the real thing.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Real Estate Marketing - Reader's Comment

Susmita : We are not getting too unimaginative. It is that Real estate developers sell what they want to - predetermined areas with common requirements - adjusted in minor ways for customers. They are price and profit driven and not customer driven and they don't care as long as they have market. It is like selling ready made shirts.

People who afford at high end of spectrum always get what they want. Only Middle budget people suffers as usual. They want best of both worlds ( money and comfort) and will not get both. Remember our village home when land was not scarce and Real estate is not business model, we had all the luxuries which you have mentioned.

Clothes are dried separately at back yard of the house, Children play separately in verandah while elders had separate study and pooja rooms. Kitchens were large and fit for dinner for as many as 8-10 people.


(Sriram is Director Finance with Cookson India Pvt. Ltd)

My reply
Thanks Sriram. I would like to add here that, while we cant afford the luxury of our village living (in terms of space) in a city, we can tackle most of the issues with good architectural drawings and a little planning with common sense. However, that's what is lacking, because the developers are busy creating the facade but not the functionality of a home. So long its been a seller's market and everything got sold, but things are changing now for good.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Segment Market by Clock

An interesting idea for Market Segmenting:
A new way to target your messaging: by the clock.
By John Rosen and AnnaMaria Turano

"The model that matters most today is not measured by income statistics, educational attainment or political affiliation. It is measured by the clock.

For despite thousands of technological developments, from UPC codes, to telemarketing and direct mail, to 500-channel cable TV, to broadband Internet access, every one of which was supposed to "change everything about the way business is done," the most important constant in marketing hasn't changed since the discovery of fire allowed humans to stay awake past sunset. The number of hours that a human being could theoretically spend in the path of commerce hasn't changed significantly since then, and the hours that they do spend there, shopping and buying, has increased only marginally since the introduction of television. What has changed, of course, is the number of messages competing for those hours . . . and the way in which those hours are now controlled. Consumers don't spend any more time standing in line to examine your product than their grandparents did, but they have a lot more lines to choose from. So if one line isn't moving at the speed they like, they move to another one.

Marketers who want to succeed today have to give their customers more than the traditional four Ps (Price, Product, Promotion and Place); they have to reduce the length of the queue waiting to enter the consciousness of a potential customer. If they want to convince Mr. Green to make a reservation in their hotel, they need to start pitching weeks, months—sometimes years—before he is decision-ready. If they want to rent Ms. Blue a car, they can't waste a second of her time. If they want to succeed in any marketing effort, they have to cut in line at the same place, and at the same moment, that their customers do. They have to make sure that they can deliver what their customers want before those customers glance at their metaphorical watches, and decide either not to buy, or—even worse—leave for another, competing, line. They have to time their selling messages to be no longer than the amount of time that buyers have allocated for hearing them.

Stopping that consumer at precisely the right time requires a set of disciplines that we call stopwatch marketing."

"Clustering customers into groups with distinct patterns of behavior is nothing new; familiar behavioral clusters include Basic shoppers (seekers after essentials and convenience, in that order), Apathetic shoppers (those who lack interest in virtually every aspect of shopping), Destination shoppers (for whom the mall, or supermarket, or mass merchant is reason enough for shopping, even absent convenience or brand-name merchandise not associated with the merchant), and Enthusiast shoppers (the mirror image of Destination shoppers, consumers who will spend days shopping for the same handbag at a dozen stores).However, “Typing consumers is not the same as Typing consumption”Here’s a model that measures consumption—not consumers—along two axes: the disposition to spend time shopping for a particular product or service; and the net margin of that product or service. (Since marketing resources, over time, must be a fraction of any business' gross margin, they will determine the quantity and quality of the touchpoints and catchpoints—the resources available for marketing the product or service.) This model segments shopping style into understandable groupings, so that marketers can align their marketing strategies to those segments, or their marketing styles.
In this model, transactions tend to fall somewhere within one of the four quadrants that comprise the matrix: In one, we match low-margin products or services with consumers who have a low willingness to spend time shopping; others match low-margin with high willingness; high-margin/low willingness; and high-margin/high willingness. Of course, since we're marketers who understand the importance of packaging, we actually give the quadrants slightly less imposing names:
• Few touchpoints + lower margin/Fast stopwatch = Reluctant shopping
• Many touchpoints + higher margin/Fast stopwatch = Impatient shopping
• Few touchpoints + lower margin/Slow stopwatch = Recreational shopping
• Many touchpoints + higher margin/Slow stopwatch = Painstaking shopping

To read the matrix, think about, for example, air-conditioning in the reluctant quadrant. Purchase of a new air conditioner, especially a central-air unit, is nearly always done by a reluctant consumer. The consumer is not an expert, is usually in a hurry (she has a quickly ticking stopwatch) and the reason for the purchase is likely an unplanned event (it's August and the darn thing just broke!). Moreover, there are few touchpoints: Almost certainly, there are more conveniently located, well-lighted and comfortable Starbucks than central-air-conditioning showrooms in her neighborhood.

Understanding the real estate your customers occupy on this map—their shopping style—is the single most important thing you need to know in order to succeed in selling your product or service to them. The relevant customers for some products occupy only a small section of a single quadrant of the matrix; others cover large sections of the map, with customers appearing in more than one quadrant, such as the Green and Blue families. In general, most businesses will find the behavior of their most important customers congregating around a single shopping quadrant . . . though, of course, we never forget that even the most reluctant shopping experience is a joy to some small fraction of shoppers. This highlights an important consideration for marketers in understanding and using this matrix construct—a consumer's or customer's placement in a quadrant is situational (it's August and it broke!), behavioral (I'm not the type to comparison shop) and emotional (I'm just getting too old to be uncomfortable in my own house)."

Thought of the Day - The Mystery of Human Energy

"Surround yourself with people who are positive thinkers, especially people who support you. Minimize contact with people who only drain you."

Friday, February 1, 2008

Real Estate Marketing - Are we becoming unimaginative?

Look at some of the latest ads – Jet Airways, Hind ware (Italian Inspiration!), Times Group, and particularly the Spice Telecom Ads.

However, nothing beats the Real Estate ads for that matter!

It makes me wonder – are we selling houses which a family / couple wants to turn into a home, a completely private space for themselves? Or, we are selling some kind of abstract idea like a piece of Spain, Portugal, and Italy with butterflies and rainbows, with no details to the practical aspect of life?

As a real estate marketing professional for the last 1 year, such a scenario makes me sad and happy at the same time. Sad to see how ‘ignorant’ consumers are being fooled by the developers by playing on their ‘dream’ of owning a home; and happy because I see there is so much opportunity for professionals like us to change the way Real Estate is being marketed and sold these days.

As a common home buyer my concerns are - how spacious is my bedroom, how well planned is my kitchen (does water sprinkle on me from the basin when my maid is cleaning and I am chopping vegetables next to her), do I have space to dry my clothes without showing them to the whole world outside, is there a provision to keep my suitcases and baggage somewhere instead of keeping them underneath my bed or on top of my almirah, can my children study in their rooms without getting disturbed by the TV sound when my mother-in-law is watching her favorite serials….

Unfortunately, I don’t get answers to these questions. And the developers very cleverly avoid answering them.

I think we are getting too much imaginative!

Any comments?

(Next topic – Women in advertising)