Tag Archives: marketing

Myntra’s End of Reason Sale in 7 images

# 1: A week or so back

The Build Up

YT ads promoting the sale
#2 Midnight on the day of sale

Midnight of Offer DayAs per Myntra’s twitter account, they were updating the offers

 

#3 Morning of the day of sale

Morning of the day of sale

Front double page ad on HT Delhi

#4 Minutes after the sale begins

Minutes after the sale began

 

Push notification to their app base (along with emails and sms)
#5 Few hours into the sale

Few hours into the sale

User Accounts (some say IPs) on both app and web were blocked for 30 minutes from making any request to the site

#6 Less than 12 hours into the sale

12 hours into the sale

 

 

#7 A little over 12 hours

end_myntra7

If the sequential order numbers of Myntra is anything to go by, the order id increased by over 1L  in the first 2 hours of the sale.

Time – 9:42 AM, Order id: 70303245

Time – 11:42 AM Order id: 70425987

Run rate: 60k orders/hour (16.67 orders/sec)

 

Product Vs Service Based Businesses

Here’s a post I recently wrote for Shack’s blog.

I’ve been into the business of building web applications for a good part of my professional career. During this period(around 3.5 years) I’ve worked for a MNC, two start-ups and also started two companies on my own. A couple days back while thinking about some business it dawned upon  that there are basically two types of businesses (guess you probably know this already) as far as my view point is concerned (Otherwise trading is also a business). If you are not working for someone else (basically a job) and doing your own thing you are either

  1. Building a product (A website, a facebook app or something else for Ex: Kwippy)
  2. Providing a service ( Social Media Marketing, Website design/development, SEO or something else for ex: Dial-a-Book)
  3. Mix of both (for ex: Shack Companis)

These two kinds of businesses (product and service) have almost equal scope when it comes to growing big, becoming popular etc. However what’s interesting is what it takes to get them to that level. I’ve been on both sides of the line that separates a  product business and a services business. I’ve build a product and am now building a service . Kwippy and Dial-a-Book are as different a business as they can get. While Kwippy was all about building a web product from India that had a global appeal, Dial-a-Book is a over the phone service that’s aimed at the local/domestic market(for now at least).

If you think about it product and service based businesses require way different inputs and take way different life forms once they start to grow. I’ll attempt to explore those differences and what we can do to leverage/optimize them

Product Vs Service Based Businesses:

1) Starting Capital: Product based businesses on an average require more capital to startup than the service based businesses due to the raw material and infrastructure needed. While web products don’t require as much starting capital, services will more often than not be relatively cheaper

2) R&D: Irrespective of the line/domain in which you are building a product, you’ll need to spend considerable amount of time as a team or as an individual to understand what’s been done before, what’s not been done, latest technologies involved, costs, maintenance and other issues. While (most) service based businesses don’t need to think as much(it’s a plus if they do) before starting up.

3) Time to go Live: Product based businesses by their sheer nature will take longer time to go live as compared to almost no-time to launch for a service based business. Essentially a service based business is live from the minute the founder(s) decide to start.

4) Business Development/Marketing: How good a services based business will do depends significantly on the founders interpersonal/selling skills the same gets tough for a product based business. For a product based business you need to have the product right, you need to make it easy to find and spread(viral) and market it in a completely different way.

5) Technology/People Balance: I kinda feel that after a while product based businesses are more dependent on the technology than the people as compared to the service ones. For a company that makes diapers for example, the machines, the processes, raw materials are an important bit and once the basics are taken care of it can run without as much involvement  on the founders part. However for a services based business, say a consultancy service started by 5 guys with a finance background the business depends a lot on the people. Even when the organization grows big it will be known/trusted for the few names of smart/senior guys and once they leave for some other company, the clients might just follow them to their new home.

These are some of the differences I could feel and keeping them in mind I feel one might be (slightly)better of choosing the kind of business they want to do depending on their personality/skill set etc.

Guess you know what I mean, if not drop in a comment and we’ll take the discussion forward.

Link to Shack’s post: http://shackcompanis.com/post/1521371790/service-vs-product-business

India: IPL, TV Industrial Complex and Social Media

That new technology, trends etc take their own sweet(not so) time to reach and permeate the Indian market is a well known and accepted fact, and Social Media is no different. While marketing and advertising companies/teams from other countries(especially from the west) might have already dipped deep in the Social Media waters, their counterparts in India are no where close.

When Pepsi ditched Superbowl and chose to spend their budget ($20 million) on a Social Media campaign there were celebrations amongst the Social Media folks world over and everyone(Including we in India) felt that Social Media has finally arrived and the game has changed from being Traditional Media centric to Social Media being equally if not more important. If you think that’s the same with India (transition from Tradition Media to Social  Media at a considerable level), think again.

In the course of last year or so I’ve met numerous Social Media enthusiasts/marketers/analysts and quite a few advertising/media agencies and some guys who are in-charge of marketing campaigns for the brands they represent. Little has changed since last year if we talk about how people who offer Social Media solutions feel and how those who should be using those Social Media solutions feel. Despite all the jazz around Social Media, in India particularly brands are spending a bare minimum percentage of their marketing/advertising budget on Social Media. Not just this, what’s particularly interesting is the fact that in India some brands have started spending more(and not less) on Traditional Media. If these figures are anything to go by

AD Rates for IPL3 and T20 World Cup 2010
you can get an idea of how things seem to be moving in the Indian market. We are increasingly spending more money on Traditional Media and it’s not just TV ads, the print media is also on a roll with Realtors and FMCG companies booking full page ads like anything.  It’s not just a co-incidence that there aren’t any remarkable Social Media campaigns around IPL despite all the hype and hoopla.

Keeping in mind all this and the response that these Traditional Media campaigns manage to get I would like to believe
that the days of TV-Industrial Complex are not yet over in India and it will be another few years before significant changes start to happen.

Lessons in Business from Bala Balachandran

About a couple weeks back I happened to come to know about Mr Bala Balachandran from a friend of mine who also shared with me the printouts of an article titled “I firmly believe that all customers are not equal” that  appeared in Business Standard on 24th December 2002(couldn’t manage to find a link). It’s not often that one comes across this much business wisdom in a 4 page printout.

After giving that article a re-read yesterday, I searched a bit on Mr Bala Balachandran and amongst other things I stumbled upon this series of fantastic videos on everything from Cost Management to Customer Astonishment. This would by far be the best material on business I’ve come across in 2010 and the fact that these gems are hidden from the world is reflected in the fact that these videos had been viewed 2-5 times at max. It’s only now after repeated views from me that these numbers have jumped up :). Also, Balachandran not only shares his business wisdom, he does so in a nice and funny manner. At 72, he has contagious energy and passion.

Only if someone could stitch these  small 2-3 minute videos together would they make into an amazing video.

Re-visiting Meow 104.8 FM

It’s been about a year and a half when I first wrote about Meow FM. For the uninitiated Meow 104.8 FM is an Indian talk based radio station that’s aired across Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkatta.

radiogaga

I’ve been thinking of reviewing Meow FM again to understand and share how it has evolved since then but it was only after one of the hosts at Meow emailed me to know “what I feel about the station” that I finally got down to write .

It took me about a week or so to listen to Meow at different hours to see what exactly they are upto and here are a few things I managed to gather.

1) The “A-Stars” Migration: Ever since last year there has been quite a few A-Stars that have left Meow FM for various reasons. Those who’ve left include Hosts Jaishree(last year?) and Rochie(July 9th) and COO(and host) Anil Srivatsava(June 2nd). The roots of migration of A-Stars in this fashion can mostly be traced down to the boardroom (bad policies or management, or both) and I assume that’s the case with Meow too.

Given the fact that the business Meow is in, the loyalties are almost equally(if not more) associated with the Hosts and the station, the station would have definitely felt the heat.

2) Talks are making way for Music: While during its initial days Meow was as much about conversations as one could be but I feel things are changing. Possible the Host exodus is the reason behind it. With just a few quality Hosts (Ginnie, Divya ,Manisha and Ved?) to handle about 14 hours of airtime(7 am – 9 pm), playing more music is inevitable. I remember listening to non-stop music for about an hour yesterday around 12-1 pm.
As it turns out Meow is mostly about music on weekends, which isn’t particularly good for people like me.

If in case this music fever spreads to weekdays, Meow will lose out on a good differentiator and even if Meow has to play more music they can try to make the whole process of the music selection a bit more interactive. A simple thing could be to ask listeners to SMS songs they’d like to listen(not sure if they do it already)

3) Diluted Positioning: While I don’t have any official word on this but off late I’ve started to feel that Meow is no longer aimed at just women. Be it the fact that they now have a male host for their 7 AM show or the fact the hosts no longer re-iterate Meow is India’s first ‘Just for women’ radio station. Also, unlike previously where male callers were allowed on just a couple of show(Tu-Tu Meow Meow & Top Cat) and on weekends(?) you can hear them on practically every show now.

If there has been a change in their target audience I am afraid Meow will find it increasingly more different to survive the competition and if there isn’t such a change they should try to leverage their positioning a lot more to do more tie-ups and eventually attract more women to them.

4) Focus on Quality: While other radio stations are still busy doing silly spoofs of Sholay’s Gabar or Sunny’s Papa ji dialogue, meow continues to add value by talking about meaningful things. Meow 104.8 FM offers by far the most intelligent conversations across the radio frequencies. Not sure if most RJ’s(from radio mirchi to fever) are stupid or they pretend so to sell to the masses but I am quite happy to note that Meow has a better lot of Hosts which continue to talk sensible stuff.

It’s not surprising that Meow has Dr Kiran Bedi as a co-host on one of their shows and they can also boast of having a great weekly book club.

5) Community: Meow’s ning community started by Anil reflects its listeners loyalty. With about 10,000 members @ ning they have a wonderful community of their customers available for free. This goes on to show that people love the station and want to stay connected.

merimeow

While I haven’t noticed extensive efforts aimed at making the most out of their community they can do a lot of things and make the most of it though I am not sure how it’ll work out with their ning community as it was created by Anil who is not associated with Meow anymore.

I’d like to conclude by saying that Meow has definitely not reached the place it should have given the strong grounds it started with and it’s a very crucial stage they are in and if they don’t do the right things game could swing either ways.

PS: Meow please get your site re-designed and if not at least update the content. It looks like the site hasn’t been touched for ages.

Update: This post is also available on radioandmusic.com (http://bit.ly/5eT7Z)

Dev D, Ghajini, The President is coming and Tata Nano marketing case study

It’s been quite some time since I wrote marketing case studies on

and it just occurred to me to make the pdfs of all these case studies available as a compressed version, hence this post

Click Here to download the rar file containing pdfs of all the four case studies.

Rickshaw Road Shows

Road shows are a common marketing activity in Delhi and rest of North India. It’s not uncommon to find big brands like Spencer’s, Horlicks, etc doing road shows to promote a new store or a new product. Road shows are also excessively used during political campaigns. A typical road show looks like this

Roadshow

While there’s nothing new about road shows, there’s a new(and low cost) variant of road shows that’s increasingly getting popular for doing promotions. Rickshaw Road Show or Cycle Rickshaw Road Show as it’s called consists of a branded cycle rickshaw(regular or a different small one custom built for such activities) with a rickshaw puller driving it within a given area for about 8 hours a day. Driving is the core activity with addons being parking for some time at certain key points like metro stations, bus stops and distributing leaflets/pamphlets .

djm_rickshaw

(Promotion for a Jewellery House)

xs_rickshaw ( Promotions for an automobile showroom and a satsang)

Ricksaw road shows are generally done at least for a month(2 days monthly off) and they cost anywhere between Rs 8,000 – Rs 12,000 per month ($170-$250). The costing includes rent for richshaw, branding and the fees for rickshaw puller. A rough break up for the total cost would be

Rickshaw Puller:  Rs 4,000 – Rs 5,500
Branding : Rs 800 – Rs 1,500

rest would be the rent of rickshaw and the owners profit.

It’s not just small coaching institutes or local businesses that do richshaw roadshows, they are also being used by brands like Fastrack that are also active on the web(Twitter, Facebook et all)

fastrack

So, what do you think about Rickshaw Road Shows ?

Twitter Marketing, or Spamming ?

Twitter being spreading like wild fire is under a lot of experimentation for marketing and since there isn’t a way to advertise or sponsor stuff “Mentions in Tweets” is the way to get eyeballs along with “Treding Topics” and a few other things. Also, since the trending topics started appearing on every user’s home page, the desire to find a spot among top 10 has soared.

Want to get visibility on Twitter ? Get trending, and the way to be trending is by having enough mentions in tweets.

Add this desire to be mentioned in as many tweets(interesting or boring, happy or sad, sensible or nonsense, related /unrelated to the product or company) to the fact that most people will do just about anything to win something for free (especially if it doesn’t ask them to get up from their chairs) and you get a viral campaign like moonfruit‘s.

moonfruit_spam

Apparently there was a similar campaign by SquareSpace a month back but it failed to make it big because it wasn’t offering the phone but a $199 worth gift certificate but I am not complaining as atleast with SquareSpace’s campaign I got saved from the heavy spam attack that Moonfruit campaign led to.  For me the moonfruit campaign is no different from one of those spam attacks in which people randomly started adding some keyword in every tweet, which eventually led to those topics/keywords being in the trending list.

It’s not that I hate all twitter campaigns, for ex: I appreciate Tweetboard’s campaign, asking people to request for Alpha accounts for their service by tweeting(just once) in a given format instead of submiting their email id’s

TweetBoard

TweetBoard

Now that’s a creative and non spammy way to market using Twitter.

Getting back to #SquareSpace and #MoonFruit campaigns, I’d say this isn’t a particularly good way to market because

1) It’s spammy and so all over the place. More than liking I’d hate if everyone in my stream started putting a random keyword in their tweets. There chances of winning something are a lot less than chances of loosing a few followers/friends. I certainly wouldn’t appreciate my company name in tweets like this

moonfruit_sex

2) It’s not a scalable model:  While SqureSpace, MoonFruit and a few more might be able to get some eyeballs because of these campaigns I strongly believe this won’t be a scalable/easily followable model as if more companies start doing this then we’ll  have  a spoiled twittering experince and almost all the trending topics would be full of these promotional keywords which certainly won’t be liked by Twitter and it’s users and would invite some fixes to avoid such things, which’ll in effect led to a reduction in such campaigns.

3) I doubt if there’ll be significant value addition due to such campaigns: Though some of the statistics could look great after such a campaign I doubt if there’ll be a real value add for most companies that do such campaigns. For ex: I doubt if there’ll be a significant increase in moonfruit’s business or more people will start interacting with @moonfruit etc. Most probably the gift hungry crowd that gathered at their doorsteps  would move to a new free gift location in no time, shattering their false hopes.

That’s how I feel about various marketing campaigns on Twitter, what do you think about them ?

Personal email in a print ad – personal touch or lack of professional attitude?

I started out replying to this question on LinkedIn

In every print ad it is common to give some contacts for a consumer – be it a website address, infoline number or general email (info@company (product).com). What about email address with name and surname of a brand manager? Does it look unprofessional, or on contrary – gives a sense of credibility and personal touch

but thought of posting my answer in form of a blog post.

So here’s the deal:

While most people who read this or commented on this question might feel/say that they are more likely to respond to a firstname.lastname@company.com than to info@company.com, I don’t think it holds true for me. On the contrary I feel it’s better to have generic email ids for following reasons

1) It gives you a sense of knowing what you are getting into:
While a “firstname.lastname@company.com” might be more personal, it definitely doesn’t tell you about the role/designation the guy holds or if you are asking the right question to the right guy.

2) Easy to remember:
While firstname.lastname@company.com might look and sound good, what people don’t realize is that it’s difficult to remember these email ids. For ex: If every company whose products you use started giving people’s names as ids for things like support would you be able to remember even a few of them ? No, on the other hand think if each one of those companies had an email id like help@company.com or support@company.com. Isn’t this a lot easier to remember and share ?

3) Ease of management:
While giving personal email id’s is not a big deal but it might not be a practical deal, especially for big brands. I for sure know that I won’t be able to handle if I start getting hunderds of emails per day. The way these email accounts are maintained(mostly) is that the emails to them gets forwarded to everyone whose part of the support team or alternatively is assigned to a member from support team. Supporting that sort of thing would be difficult unless you make a fake account and give it out rather than giving email id of a real user.

These are a few points that I could think of in support of using a generic email id.

What do you think about this and why you think that way ?

How is Social Software changing us

The invention of a tool doesn’t create change; it has to have been around long enough that most society is using it. It’s when a technology becomes normal, then ubiquitous, and finally so pervasive as to be invisible, that the really profound changes happen.

Social Software has been around for quite a long time for us to ask the question “how has its use changed us” or rather “how is excessive use of social software changing us”. To crowdsource views , I asked this question on the social networks I use i.e LinkedIn,Kwippy, Twitter and Facebook. While a lot of people took the question in a different light and shared how is social media helping them etc,  here are some of the interesting replies(network wise)

LinkedIn:

“While I was a very private and secretive person before, I’ve found that opening up on social media via non-threatening means has given me the ability to be more open in my real world relationships”  – Shamoz Shah

” With increasing interaction over social media my faculty for thinking and rationalizing has increased. Because of my writings, discussions, posts I have a ready audience who interact. As a result of it I get motivated and write/discuss/post more and it’s a cycle. It has definitely improved my writing skills, thinking skills, rationalizing faculty (being open to various thought processes).

In negatives, I have become more reclusive because I am glued to my computer for more number of hours. Impacted on eye-sights (natural I suppose).

Thirdly, the anonymity provided by cyber-media and through certain Social Media sites, such as ‘fropper’ you tend to fantasies or possibility of personality distortion.” –Devasis Chattopadhyay

I communicate more. Like now. It is good that this communication is non-intrusive and you have more choices to connect personally or professionally.” – Bama Ramesh

“The thing I noticed I started doing more and more, is to double check if I am not offending anyone with my replies / posts. I’ve learned that there are some quite sensitive topics, where it is not appreciated if you express yourself in a frank way, even if there is no purpose in attacking a certain group” – Ives De Busser

Sushaantu Mathur repeated the same thing  – “Living an online life just makes you more accountable in public eyes”.

Shawn is right when he says “Social networks have lessened my patience a bit . Think about how fast information flies around the web and the speed at which we receive breaking news. When we’re plugged in, we’re able to get what we want almost instantaneously. I have to sit back at times and remind myself that many things in life don’t work that way”

“Bigger bags under my eyes!” – Mark Porter

“The evidence we do have from reliable studies is that social networking software is helping people become more social. The most active people on Facebook, for instance, are the most active socially in the “real world”. And as some of the answers on this page suggest, people who have social fears or difficulties are finding that online social networking is helping them overcome such issues.

Overall, it is clear to me that social networking software is a substantial help to people. It deepens existing relationships, makes people more social (not less) and helps individuals with social anxiety come to terms with their condition.

So, I’d encourage people to use it even more.” – Graham Jones

Kwippy

“My friends don’t tell me anything directly anymore. I constantly hear “Oh, you didn’t see my post about it on myspace?” and “Well, I invited you on facebook!” I can’t keep up, frankly.” – Tarasa

Facebook:

It definitely has. Soon there will be internet/social media rehabs! – Riputapan Singh

The virtual world has made me more real. I was in an island before, now i know of the ocean. – Harish Iyer

Twitter:

“Its ensured my ‘breaking news’ sources are not the newspapers or the websites anymore.  Also, I am more clued into ur life” – Asfaq

To each according to their own,  while for someone it’s about opening up more, for someone it’s about being more visible and ultimately more accountable. Here are a few inter related ways in which I think Excessive/Continued use of social software is changing us.

1) Increased thirst for knowledge:
The use of social software has not just helped us meet new people easily and regularly or stay in touch with old friends. It has made us more hungry for knowledge/information. Thanks to the exposure(over ?) of  information on most social sites(think no of hyperlinks/update in your twitter/friendfeed stream) and various social pressures of sorts, most of us have become addicted to know more and more.

2) Increased Voyeurism:
Facebook Feeds and Twitter Streams are best examples of the increasing levels of voyeurism as a side effect of our increased usage of Social Software. People who replied to my question on various social networks, directly or indirectly touched upon this facet. It’s a lot easier to keep an eye on what’s going not just in one’s personal life but in their overall/complete life. The underlying principle of social networks is to keep people in your network updated about what you are doing. So not only your actions but those of your friends that invole you(for ex: you being tagged by someone) will be broadcasted to your entire network. Such things further fuel people’s voyeuristic tendencies. Whose single or whose relationship status just went to “It’s complicated” was never more visible or sought after.

3) Increased Sharing:
We might not realize this but due to easy of sharing and the culture(s) of most social sites, we are  increasingly sharing more stuff with people in our online circles. Hyperlinks, songs, videos, pictures,news we now share pretty much everything that we get our hands on and like(dislike too in some cases). “Sharing anchors community”, while most of us don’t realize this consciously, we have a sense that sharing adds value(or gets you attention) and thus you’ll find more people over sharing than under.

4) Increased Transparency:
It is one of the interesting ways in which social software is transforming us. What started of as a small change with people starting to share more about themselves and other people, things they know has gradually raised our expectations to the level that we now demand more and more transparency/openness from our friends and others on the network as if it’s our right to know what they are upto. Not only this we now expect much more transparency from public organizations and governments.

5) Compulsive Broadcasting/Life Streaming: Everyone’s an exhibitionist
If you are active user of facebook, kwippy and twitter like me chances are you too might have those moments when you are out somewhere doing something and you think in terms of what should be a relevant status update for it. For ex: While watching a movie, I tend to think and come up with the most relevant update for this experience, which in a sense distracts me(as I divert my attention from the movie to say updating my Facebook Status that my friends can see) from the experience. That’s not it, this habbit of continously throwing up on the web what ever comes to your mind is a really addictive habit but not without any side effects.

6) More Social:
If man was a social animal before than he’s now become a social beast. There will be very few people who would feel/say that they’ve become less social after using social software because the whole set up is geared to make you socialize. You get social objects which act as ice breakers, you get automated updates on people’s activites and a lot more. It is really difficult for someone to not make new friends or to not get more involved with one’s existing friends.Friends of Friends are now a lot more discoverable and accessible thus adding more links to your network.

7) Bloated Egos:
“Social Media is all about your ego” casually remarks a friend and I won’t say he’s completely wrong. Being in the space for about four years now and you sorta know what works for Social Software and what doesn’t. It’s not just Twitter or Facebook ,every social site that you use or have used has some inbuilt features to let the system massage your ego(think featured users) or let other members of the system massage you(think testimonials by friends). Be it the follower count, number of retweets, number of comments and likes your posted items receive, it’s all a big boost to one’s ego. It’s human, whether you like it or not most people prefer sites/networks/people/lifestlye(online or offline) that massage their egos to those who don’t. I believe if there’s something called a threshold or default level for bloated ego then we’ve left it miles away as a result of excessive usage of social software.

8.) Rise of the Marketers:
You are a marketer deal with it. That’s indeed the case, with the tools we use and how we use them we all are much better positioned to spread the word about ourselves or our products. Though the scale at which we all do things may vary we all atleast are better equipped than what we were before social software.

These are some of the ways  in which social software has changed us. How do you think has social software changed you ?