A memorable decade..

Last day of a decade.. and what  a decade it was.  Still remember those initial internet and online marketing days when “But who will see it on internet” was such a difficult question to answer. . I remember struggling with data to justify a merge 1.5-2.0 lac spends on online.

Client, and probably rightly so, were very apprehensive of the medium..  those days with dial-up connections, only animated gif banners and emailers were possible.

However,  few clients had that vision and they utilized online marketing and paved way for innovations.  Citibank, Incredible India campaign (Ministry of Tourism) come to mind not only as they were top spenders, they were open to new formats.

Now with the kind of broadband connections, internet penetration and interactive media units, social media and networks mushrooming every day, we surely have come a long way..  

And with so many options available, we now have problem of plenty..  How to target right audience without being intrusive or spreading ourselves too thin..

Our Idiot box is online

Television serials online – started probably with Hulu and have now reached India with sites like Star TV and Zoom streaming complete programs online. 

Star TV has introduced Star Player on their site (www.startv.in) – a great online video entertainment tool that streams shows of the Star Network (channel V included).  Though I have accessed the site from home broadband only (I work in office :P), its interesting to see quick streaming, good quality video along with social media networking elements – allows you to rate/comment/chat/search similar shows.

What also adds to their advantage is the fact that they have created small capsules of the programs with mouse-over write-up.  So, if you have missed or want to view a part of the program, this helps. 

And best is that the site is not overcrowded with ads! That gives a clutter-free and premium look to the site. 

Overall, I found this very impressive! 

What can they do better? Well – few things for sure. Instead of using the main area on homepage for one program promotion, they can create a small video/slideshow of new programs – that could help them promote more than one program. All genres would find interesting programs being introduced and so, pardon my saying, but Star TV’s “saas-bahu” serial image could be improved.

 

Startv.in

Startv.in

Compared this to Zoom – I think they are in different space all together. While Zoom is a channel website – showcasing schedule, image gallery, news and gossip, celebrity pics and video as well, startv site is focused towards online video entertainment.

Both have their niche defined, but if you ask me, I liked startv website more.

http://unhub.com/pallavi

Unhub – my personal toolbar. Useful? Yes.. How much.. Yet to explore! But interesting name – was planning to create an identity on hubpages when I heard of this! 

With so many new and innovative tools available, am sure few years from now, all of us could have our different “home” applications. As internet and profile presence becomes more and more fragmented, such aggregation hubs would continue to emerge!

Vote ME!

Am very optimistic about this election. Each time I voted, I did it ONLY for the party and never for the candidate. And obviously Independents never got my votes as I didn’t “know them”. I neither had interest nor opportunity to know any of the candidates.

 

But this election is different! It surely is! Not just big parties, every candidate is out to woo the youth where they “hang around” – Yes on Social media networks..

 

India has some 714 million eligible voters. So why has reaching to some 21+million who are online and eligible for voting become so important? Is this number big enough to make a difference?

 

Has Obama campaign influenced them? Or have they realized that youth votes are needed as majority of those online belong to this category.  Or should we thank NGOs who took on them to pull youths to vote!

 

L K Advani is reaching out to youths through his website (http://www.lkadvani.in) , live chats, Facebook, Orkut and YouTube, while Narendra Modi, uses tools such as podcasts, Twitter, Google SMS and widgets.

 

Rahul Gandhi has his own site – http://www.rahulgandhi.us/ (why .us?? I thought we were to use .in 😉 and is on Facebook .

 

Surprisingly, lkadvani.in has higher reach and pageviews than rahulgandi.in despite Rahul  being projected as Youth neta.

Is there some thing lacking in his effort to connect?

 

rahulvsadvani

Convert prospects to customers: Be Found

 Connecting with the right set of prospects when they have a “need” is crucial to marketing given the current economic and social scenario.

How does this happen? In what circumstances would you reach the people “ready” to spend? Simple – when they are looking for you!

 

And to do this, you need to be there – to impress them when they look for you. This concept, also called Inbound marketing is fast picking up owing to reduced marketing budgets and increased ROI pressures.

Inbound marketing

You

Prospect

Create/collaborate

Blog, Wiki, website, Ebooks, white papers, thematic websites/pages – thoughts.com, SEO, PPC

RSS feeds, readers, Search Engine, adwords, technorati, blogpulse

Syndicate

wire releases/content, reach high traffic sites, listing

Digg, reddit, stumbleupon

Tag & share

Video clips, images, virals, bookmarks, presentations

Youtube, msn video, flickr, facebook, social networking website, del.icio.us, slideshare

Pleasantly surprised

While working on an Online reputation management project for company leadership, thought would check my reputation quotient. So started with Google search – results showed linkedin, naymz and other business networking sites besides few posts from my blog – pallavibhardwaj.wordpress.com

Then came across posts by Gaurav (http://www.gauravonomics.com/blog/list-of-social-media-blogs-in-india/) and Sampad Swain (http://sampadswain.com/2008/09/top-10-social-media-blogs-in-india/). They had done research on top social media blogs in India and I was pleasantly surprised to see my blog listed there. Though I do not believe in ranking but was happy to find my name in the must read blogs. Think enough inspiration to keep blogging.

 

Thanks both.

 

Social Media for Business..?

Why not? What is it that drives business?

 

1.  Good Product?  Naah! All have it! In such competitive market, bad products don’t survive and die soon..

2.  Innovative solutions? Did you say you introduced something new? Wait for a day till I improvise on your innovations and go big bang with it!

3.  Good service? Though it can be a differentiator, but only after a deal has been closed.. maybe not a key driver to close the deal as all claim to provide best service.

So then what? It’s “Relationship” that drives decisions.

 What is it that you desire from your prospects? 

– To be transaction oriented?
– take impulsive decision and hence choose you?

Or 

– To be loyal to you
– To be passionate about your brand!

 The answer needs no guess work… hence, focus social media plan to develop relationships and not run one off campaign/viral for short term publicity.

 Some brands who have been successful at this : 

1. Sunsilk

a.       Social networking community: Sunsilk Gang Of Girls
b.
      Channel on Youtube and wiki

2.  Absolut Vodka*

a. Online video:  ABSOLUTworld
b. Social networks:  Top Bartender page on Facebook.

3. Ford*:

a.       Blogging: Sponsored a test drive event for women bloggers
b.
      Microblogging: Twitter account for North America.
c.
       Social networks: Ford Drives U Facebook group for student buyers.
d.
      Wiki:  Where are the Joneses?
e.
       WOM campaign:  Hurra Torpedo campaign

4.  Motorola*.

a.   Wikis: MOTO Q Wiki with how-tos on using the phone.

5. Pfizer. 

a. Widgets:  Frame-Your-Horse widget on Yahoo.  

* source: http://www.beingpeterkim.com/2008/09/ive-been-thinki.html

 

Hence, Key rules

1.   Develop relationships

2.   pass on the power to users – don’t hold back and use social media as PR broadcasting channel

3.   learn to lissen and answer – without aggression and temper

4.   respect comments and criticism

5.   most important – start small. Dream big but take one step at a time and let the community/users own up the channel.

Be very clear of what your audience wants before working on social media strategy