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)