Marketing is transforming and how. We see 2 major transformative changes- the attention fragmentation of consumers’ and their changing buying decision journey. The webinar, below, delved deeper into these phenomenon.
We addressed a few interesting questions from the attendees of the webinar, and tare presenting the transcript as takeaways below:
Given the engagement stage of buying journey is very critical , what % of our budget should be spent in this phase?
OK, so there are two important learnings from the presentation:
It’s prudent to invest money on creating experiences for users at every stage. So what we are saying is that you should focus on what kind of experience is needed in a specific stage and then allocate a budget accordingly. Do not make it watertight by stage- rather focus on experience needed and then spend what is necessary to create that experience.
We have to collect a lot of data to be able to understand the impact of experience on consumers. We need to observe if creating positive experiences, results in the flow of users from one stage to next better than earlier or not. This will give us a conversion rate (and a lift in conversion rate) by funnel stage. And then we can see how much each stage contributes to the final conversion or sales. Now, you can attribute a clear cost of conversion by stage and can attribute a cogent budget.
This is the reason why modern marketers need to invest in data and skill sets to create experiences. (Our media expenses should be less in general, and investment on people & skills, data and experience creation should be more)
What are the Key metrics or KPIs for marketing RoI that we should consider?
See, Key metrics or KPIs will depend on your goals for a specific campaign or goals for a specific journey stage, or goals of a certain product line etc.
CXOs look at Business growth as one key metric. Within business growth they look at market share growth, mindshare growth, satisfaction growth and profitability growth
However as you go down the hierarchy the metrics should become more granular. At the end of the day as a marketing leader, you should be responsible for high level metrics- that’s where your value add is. However you should look at granular metrics to understand what’s causing a lift and or decline in growth.
You should create a metric funnel. At the top of this funnel should be high level metrics and as you go down the funnel- define metrics for each layer of hierarchy, responsibilities and platforms or marketing areas that they handle. The top of the funnel is more strategic and bottom is more tactical, campaign based, platforms based, seasonality based etc.
When we do demand generation, we get a lot of leads, but how do we determine what’s a good lead?
So, net net, if my sales guy just has to pick up a phone, call the lead and the lead converts easily- then that lead is great!
But that’s easier said than done, and in real life it doesn’t happen that way most of the time. The reason is our ignorance- where we look at all types of leads with one standard perspective and expectation.
If a lead has shown interest, and we have been able to collect correct contact and demographic data- it’s a good lead. But unless we attach intent and stage level data- it’s not a great lead.
Once we understand at which stage of buying this audience is and what exactly is the intent – then we can take appropriate steps and create expectations of how soon can this lead convert and what do we need to do till then.
We also need to understand that our target audience follows a journey and then at an opportune time fills up a lead form. Leads forms are not filed on impulse. Hence it’s imperative for brands to capture intent and hand hold audience over time, and transition them towards a final lead capture of form fill.
While consumer attention is getting expensive for advertisers, should brands focus on creating communities?
The focal point should always be user experience. If the journey stage demands advertising, so be it, if it needs touch point experience, let’s invest there. So as I said earlier, let’s not create watertight compartments. If there is a clear rationale of who would be part of the community, what experience will this community deliver and if the context and importance of this experience is justified, we should invest in communities. But lets not forget that metrics or brand expectations should also be in syn with experience objectives. An advertising objective will be quite different than community objective. While advertising is easy relatively and more direct and transactional, community experience will be tough to manage, long term and very less transactional in nature.
In early March 2020, the World Health Organization declared that the COVID-19 novel coronavirus is a global pandemic. In the panic over the spread of the virus, people are worried not only about their own health but the health of their dogs, cats, and other pets.
As most of the governments has imposed lockdowns and asked people to stay at home and maintain social distancing then, you may wonder how to take care of your pets. Can you take them outside? How can they get their exercise? Will this effect their mental health?
Can you take them outside?
Physical and mental exercise are extremely important for dogs and dog owners alike. Before taking a walk, check your local regulations. As long as the area where you reside remains safe enough to venture outside, dog owners feeling healthy and well should plan to continue walking their dogs daily, albeit with added safety measures. Observe any local ordinances concerning curfews, even if that means adjusting your dog walking schedule.
Owners should wash their hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds before and after each walk. Consider carrying around a pocket-sized bottle of hand sanitiser during your walks. Practice social distancing measures by walking your dog in uncrowded areas when possible. If you live in a big city, make efforts to take your dog down less-heavily-trafficked blocks, or try adjusting walks to less busy times of day and night.
How can they get their exercise being at home? Play fetch, you’ll be limited when throwing a toy indoors. You can get around that by throwing the toy up or down the stairs or in an empty hallway.
Or If you have to walk on grass, select an area that is exposed to direct sunlight and rain, as it is probably cleaner than one that is sheltered or muddy. It’s also an excellent opportunity to practice the “sit” and “stay” commands. You can also try chasing your pet or, more likely, having them chase you.
Will this effect their mental health?
Physical and mental exercise are extremely important for dogs and dog owners alike. Play Puzzles, Practice old tricks or teach new ones. Pets love challenges, especially ones that give them some reward. Try hiding treats inside a puzzle game, or stuff peanut butter inside one of your pet’s toys. Play hide-and-seek by covering yourself in a blanket. You can flip the switch and make them find their way out from underneath the blanket or an old shirt too.
Another way to challenge your pet and reward them is to work on tricks. Practice the basics and try adding some new moves to the mix. Looking for something more advanced? Have your pet perform their tricks in a specific sequence or randomize the order entirely.
Last but not the least, even after you find them not in good health due to any reason, bring your pet to see a vet, and be up-to-date with their vaccination according to the vet’s recommendations.
Keep them in a good body condition, that is, not too thin or too fat.
So all in all, we have to take some extra precautions for our self as well as for our pets, during this Covid-19 outbreak. But it will be fun, as you get to spend more time with them being at home. So stay safe, stay healthy and keep maintaining social distance.
These are turbulent times for the CMOs and their marketing teams. Not just because they need to think of a way to keep their brand pertinent in the minds of consumers, but to do it fast, ASAP!
On the contrary, often in such catastrophic situations, like the one we are facing now, many marketers enter a state of paralysis. They would want to stop everything, forget about doing anything quick!
The fact is that role of marketing becomes ever more CRITICAL in times like these. Let’s look at few areas which the marketing teams need to focus upon and create value for all stakeholders during this unprecedented situation, here are 5 areas marketing should invest into right now:
1. Update & Assure- These are times, when customers can lose trust very quickly and hence, they need clear assurance about business continuity. This is especially true for B2B Companies. Marketers need to first and foremost create a communication program to assure and apprise users about their support systems and processes, how they are prepared to offer business continuity and how these support systems can be accessed or leveraged by users.
2. Continue Supporting & Building Communities: Brands thrive due to communities. In good times, brands create fancy ads and programs to show their support for the communities. In times like today, brands cannot stop their engagement activities and hope to win back the camaraderie and trust afterwards.
Fitbit is offering a 90 day free usage of it’s pro features to all its users (which include key features like corporate challenges or community driven analytics etc.) as a gesture to delineating their concern about how they could motivate users to exercise in a fun and collaborative way.
At dotConverse, we are working with some of our clients to create online workshops for their communities involving Influencers and members, where both get engaged, educated and also indulge in co-creation together with the brand. We believe that consumers value these initiatives of brands much more in tough times.
3. As CMOs we need to include our employees, especially sales and consumer facing teams and our channel partners in our communication programs, as target audience. This is the time to equip them with knowledge and training.
With one of our clients, we are working on an online education/refresher program to keep all the sales people abreast with products and competition, culminating in a contest and certification- all online. So, a great time for internal marketing and engagement of key stakeholders.
4. This is a great time to invest in research & insights: Simple or advanced neurological, CMOs need to create programs wherein they could explore consumers’ minds to understand, apprehensions, intent, aspirations, pain points and motivations. Understand your consumers and be armed with vital behavioural information post Covid to execute.
Our partners in Singapore, do some cutting edge neuro research (online) for MNCs.
5. Marketing should now invest in activities for which they didn’t have enough time for earlier.
At dotConverse, we are helping our clients
a) do a complete audit of their websites, and social assets as well as
b) creating a nice repository of content. Great time for CMOs to invest in building up content for their websites. Leverage these content pieces with SEO and social activities later on.
c) We are also executing – tele-research– reaching out to users and prospects to understand their product and application preferences and perception/feedback about our client’s brand/products. This is the time to find disgruntled and motivated customers and create an action plan which can be executed immediately after Covid situation settles down.
d) Hosting interactive discussions via webinars/Zoom with consumers, partners and internal teams – to keep brands relevant and at the top of mind of their consumers
No gain saying, then, that it’s much more difficult and expensive bouncing back after a period of lull, than keep being smartly invested in consumer interaction even in times like these.
Within 20 seconds of the kick start of Alibaba group’s annual 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, TOTAL GMV of gross merchandise value surpassed USD155 millions,in 2 minutes it crossed USD1 Billion and the day closed with over USD30b of gross merchandise sales value.
Now, Just let that sink in, appreciate the number of users, transactions, customer care calls and emails and maybe hundreds of terabytes of data generated at an unimaginable speed.
Singles day is a clear example of success with data.
Data by itself is of little use, and Big data even more useless, unless you leverage High-performance computing to process this data, use analytics tools and AI to get actionable insights and deliver action and impact.
Alibaba’s TMall, B2C e-commerce marketplace with top brands and over 600m users have an abundance of data on consumer buying habits and sellers’ marketing strategies and decided to put this data to use in 2017.
And as a result, Tmall Innovation Centre (TMIC) was started as dedicated research and development (R&D)
Some of the world’s top brands like P&G, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Samsung and the likes have partnered with TMIC to create new products and variants for China based on consumer transactions and behavior captured on the platforms.
Let’s look at 2 examples of how TMIC used data to help sellers and brands. Listerine is a well-known brand but it was facing difficulty in cracking the Chinese market, where the users reacted poorly to its antiseptic formulation.
So, Johnson and Johnson worked with TMIC to learn that Listerine’s target audience—young Chinese women—prefer mouthwash with fruit and floral flavors. As a result, Listerine debuted two new products in China during Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, or Singles Day.
Similarly, TMIC and MARS chocolates worked together to find that Chinese consumers would be willing to Try chocolate with some spice AND LAUNCHED SNICKER- SPICY IN CHINA.
From its debut in Mid 2017 till mid-2018, sales of snickers spicy surpassed USD1.4m
Not just with the big brands, but Alibaba repeated this success with smaller brands as well.The watch division of TMall studied consumer behaviour of users and invited young watch designers from the Alibaba ecosystem to create and launch 17 new designs on the singles day.
So, Alibaba group is using data in 3 ways here :
help sellers sell more, both small and large
help brands develop new products
speed up R&D, innovation and go to market.
Now, the story of new retail will be incomplete without Artificial Intelligence or AI.
In the words of Jack Ma DATA AND HPC are the mother and father of ai.
So, AI helps Alibaba ecosystem in 5 major ways:
Recommendation system-Alibaba has developed a software called “E-commerce Brain,” which uses real-time online data to predict consumer wants, and the models are constantly updated for each individual through AI to take into account purchase history, browsing history and online activities. Now, this recommendation system also works across digital kiosks and magic mirror installed offline in delivering consistent user experience.
2. Customer care- Any common queries and questions asked are automatically redirected to a computer system called Ali Xiaomi (Ali Assistant). Other than answering frequent questions and delivery status, it can help users find the right products when provided with a text or voice description or even a photo. It is said that during singles day sale- the chatbots handled 95% of the customer service queries.
3.Pervasive Personalisation-what if each brand and seller on a commerce platform could personalise its store as per individual users based on their taste & preferences?Of course a rise in conversion rates, and that’s what is exactly happening here
4. Supply chain & logistics- from predicting what products will sell more, appropriate pricing strategies, inventory preparation to best route and transportation for deliveries- for online and offline sellers – just about everything a seller could want.
5.Security – Face recognition coupled with pattern mapping and predictive analytics is already helping secure the marketplace and install more confidence in users.
So, this was the story and strategy of Alibaba which is slated to revolutionise and transform retail as we know, and everything that we have observed and discussed in these 2 episodespoint to just one thing- Alibaba is focused as hell on improving and unifying consumer experience and helping sellers be more innovative, efficient and profitable.
With over 1 trillion USD spent onlinewhich is about half of the global commerce sales, China is at the forefront of commerce and with about 60% market share, Who can be in better position than Alibaba to forge a strategy for the future of retail, which is aptly christened as NEW RETAIL by Jack Ma.
Now we shall discuss New Retail is two parts.In this episode, we shall discuss the O2O (online to offline) and in the next episode, we shall discuss how Data is central to the New Retail Strategy.
So, Future of retail is not a question of online or offline, it will be a matter of integrating consumer touch points for seamless experience in the most efficient way.And that is what ALIBABA is attempting in its new endeavour of the New Retail.Through New Retail, Alibaba is trying to revolutionise 4 areas of retail as of now:
Mom and Pop Storesand
Before we begin let’s understand that Alibaba group has 3 major pillars from a retail perspective-Taobao- a mass retail marketplace (more like a micro business to consumers or c2c), Alibaba- connecting Chinese exporters with the world (b2b)and TMall -acurated trusted brands marketplace (more b2c)
So, let’s come back and talk about the 1 area of retail to be transformed and that is the supermarket-
The supermarket transformation is christened as HEMA stores.Shopping at Hema is a smartphone-powered experience—you can do it from home or in the store. When you’re in the store, you’re able to scan a barcode with your phone to get product information. Payment is also cashless, done through the Alipay platform embedded in the Hema app.
The fast 30 minute delivery for those who live within three kilometres of the market,is Hema’s key USP. Each store serves as its own warehouse and logistics centre that collects, fulfils, and delivers customer orders as fast as they come in, online or offline.
2.The Car Retail:
china is the world’s largest Car market, and the retail part of it can really become more convenient and effective. Alibaba is creating auto vending machines across the country.It’s a model that lets customers browse makes and models inside their app, choose a car they want to test drive, pick it up from an unmanned vending machine, and drive it for up to three days. After experiencing the car in a no-pressure situation, they can make an appointment to visit a dealer when they’re ready to buy.
3.Mom and Pop Convenience Stores- The local kirana shops, as we call them in India are generally plagued with inventory related insights.There is absolutely no insight into demand prediction, loyalty, up-marketing and inventory management, and RoI. Alibaba launched a program that is called Ling Shou Tong or LST,which digitises the inventory management of each store and integrates these businesses into a central warehousing and logistics system. It also provided them with an analytics platform that anticipates customer preferences and lets proprietors know what they need to order, how much, and when. Ling Shou Tong also modernized the insides and signage of the stores. Early results point to more efficient operations.
4.The Malls-These are the giants that attract a huge volume of footfalls and window-shoppers, but in recent times are witnessing lower volume of shoppers.Alibaba has invested in Malls and the stores in these malls are equipped with “Virtual Shelves,”
As per Google 43% of consumers exit a store without buying in frustration because they did not find what they needed, or lack of information about what they needed.
So with virtual shelves, if you don’t find your size or colour in stock, you can still select the product you want on a screen, punch in your size, colour, and other specs, scan with your app, and have exactly what you want to be delivered directly to your home.
Even the changing room or washrooms of malls can be a New Retail experience. Step into the ladies’ room, and while you’re waiting, check out the “Magic Mirror” on the wall to experiment, virtually, with new makeup colours. And if you Like what you see? You can buy it from the nearest vending machine
So in the next episode let’s look at the DATA part of the New Retail strategy of Alibaba. Thank you and see you soon.
You know Amazon as the dominating force in e-commerce but did you know that in 2018 Amazon garnered up more than USD 4b from advertising revenues?
By my estimate, this would be about 50% of Instagram ad revenues.
In fact, Amazon already occupies the 3rd space in the US from an ad revenue share perspective after Google and Facebook at 4.2%
While the figures do not portray a threat to Google as of now, let’s look at a few key trends and the context, indicating an undercurrent of a new war of sorts between Google and Amazon:
If you look at Facebook’s growth, it grew in a similar manner with USD4-5B in ad revenues in 2012 to USD 40b in 2017.
2. The trends suggest that more and more people are now beginning their search on Amazon when they intend to buy something, rather than on a search engine. In fact, the no. of people starting their search on Google with purchase intent has been declining over the past years and increasing on Amazon.
3. The third trend points to the fact that Google’s ad revenue market share is already slated to dip from 41% to 37% this year, this is despite the fact the overall advertising pie is increasing.
So from an advertising point of view, Amazon is already a threat to Google largely as also to Facebook and poised to be a very strong third channel for advertisers.
Now let’s look at this competition from a different angle, and that is about how Google is trying to become a threat to Amazon with its Shopping endeavour
Google shopping marketplace is now launched in India and overall it’s strategies are very interesting to observe.
So, we know that about 55% of shoppers will begin their search on Amazon, what is more, interesting is 70% of the shooters will want to cross-check the price on other shopping platforms too before finally buying. Google is trying to tap this opportunity through its aggregation platform where it displays products and prices of products from different marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart etc.
So it’s a great start to get the attention of shoppers and engaging them even if they start on Amazon and then potentially divert traffic to Amazon’s competition. or fulfil the purchase via Google ’s shopping actions, in which Google gives users access to the universal shopping cart which they can fill with products while searching from any marketplace and then pay via Google pay.
Google is hitting on the convenience USP of Amazon. Users buy from Amazon not because its the cheapest, but because of its easy and intuitive buying process. Google wants to make this process even quicker and easier.
Only about 5% of sellers on Amazon make more than USD 1LAC AS annual profits. The long tail of smaller merchants may not find Amazon as a very attractive option. Google will target these small merchants to allow them better visibility on its platform
So, If you see, the war between the 2 giants is at various levels, from Voice assistants to advertising to search to e-commerce. In fact, it’s a platform or ecosystem dominance war and it would an interesting one to observe how the competition plays up.
Most of the new age businesses like Uber, Facebook or Airbnb, are launched as platform business models, wherein typically they connect 2 sides of a platform, like buyers and sellers, or riders and drivers and so on.
The challenge is to understand which side to grow first.
It’s a classic chicken and egg situation.
For e.g. in the case of Uber, Its platform is two-sided, connecting people who need rides with people who have rides to offer.
In general, platform models work on getting the supply first, for e.g. In Airbnb if there is no supply, people will not come. However, if the platform has listings available, then there is value for people to come to the site. After this- the demand will accelerate supply and supply will accelerate demand.
In the case of Uber, it’s quite evident that the supply side is limited, and that’s what Uber should attempt to grow.
But how do you get the supply side going?
Here are a few ways to build traffic and traction for your platform in its initial days:
Piggyback–When Airbnb wanted to get listings on their site from homeowners. The founders of Airbnb started thinking about where would people go if there was no Airbnb?The answer was clear- Craigslist!They found volumes of people who are renting out their apartments via craigslist. The property owners had nothing to lose by listing in Airbnb, and suddenly Airbnb was blossoming with huge volumes of listings.The supply side is sorted.
2.Choose your suppliers carefully: In order to get a huge volume of suppliers or listings, platforms should very carefully choose their suppliers. They should invest in moderation and filtering out the bad eggs.Supply will build the demand so platforms should have zero tolerance here.
Etsy, for example,went on to craft fairs across the country to identify and onboard the best vendors
3.Focus on user experience:Help your supply side sell better and look better: Just getting the listings was not enough, those listings needed to look very attractive and provide a great user experience for dead side well.Airbnb hired professional photographers to go to property owners’ homes to take inviting pictures.This made the site much more attractive than the competition.
Uber also started with ‘Black’ cars first in the US, wherein they accessed a pool of professional drivers and enrolled them.
This created a professional experience for riders and Uber instantly had a huge fleet running on the road.
These great user experience spread via word of mouth and a the platforms start receiving referral customers and repeat customers.
Remember-If you are not getting repeat users, you will not get referrals.That’s why building a great supply side with great user experience is the no.1 task for any platform-driven business.
4.Find strategic gaps–E.g. Uber did not launch in all cities on day 1. They identified which cities show the widest gap in terms of supply and demand of taxis. Then they identified which time bands show this wide gaps, and launched in specific cities and specific time gaps only.
Airbnb followed a similar strategy with its rollout, launching in Denver in 2008 to coincide with the lack of hotel space during the Democratic National Convention and adding new cities at times when they had major conventions or other events.
Launching in situations of high demand and low supply also helps startups acquire the right type of customers—the early adopters
So, these are a few ways and best practices that few of the top platform companies adopted to get their first thousand or few thousand customers.
I had this discussion sometime back with a few colleagues and I thought of sharing the key thoughts from there
Most of know a bit about blockchain and we use ola or uber regularly as well.
And interestingly cab hailing service is one of the industries that have a huge potential to get disrupted
Not just Uber and Ola but companies like Oyo orUrban Clap etc. also work on a platform model of business, wherein they facilitate an exchange of value between 2 parties. In the case of cab-hailing companies- rider and driver become the 2 parties.
While doing this, they create and locks-in immense value for both parties in terms of driver and rider reputation, safe payments, easiness of finding cabs and customers, remembering your music playlist and so on.
This is why the riders and drivers eventually become dependent on the platform and the platform charges a premium through surge pricing, transaction cuts etc. means. which make your ride more expensive and less profitable for drivers.
We will understand Platform businesses in detail in one of the coming episodes.
Now, imagine if riders were to find and connect with drivers directly, without any platform in the middle to make the match and yet enjoy all or most valuable benefits that a platform gives them.
Of course, the rides will be cheaper and earnings for drivers would be better. There would be more privacy and data accuracy as well.
How is this possible?Blockchain OR A decentralised platform can makes this possible
So, imagine that we have a suite of distributed applications all connected to a decentralised platform, let’s name it SMART.
All a driver has to do simply is access this suite of applications: one to verify insurance, one for background checks, one for licensing, etc. These apps are provided by certified vendors. Once all these boxes are checked, the driver appears on the network as “available.”
Riders need a coin wallet. The rider appears instantly on the other end of the SMART network and is matched with a driver automatically.
There are no commissions or premium charges, but just a one-to-one transaction. Driver and rider both are happy.
This is not fantasy when we talk about Bitcoin, there is no one in charge there, and it works in a similar way. So there is a good use case for blockchain already.
Having said that, we still may have to give a very small fraction of each transaction to a few entities for marketing, validation and support activities, but I guess this will still be a very efficient system than what we have now.
This would also be interesting because I see that instead of one or two big platforms we may see many such platforms and this would usher in a different type of platform dynamics and competition at play.
So looking forward to meeting you again with a topic that has an impact on our businesses and lives. Till then keep tuned in.
I have been asked this question many times, and I thought of bringing this up today and document through our DigitalDNA video series.
I have been asked this question many times, and I thought of bringing this up today and document through our DigitalDNA video series.
First and foremost, my personal belief is that -there are other more important attributes than time to post, which social media practitioners and content marketers should address.
Let’s discuss those attributes and metrics in one of our upcoming shows.
So, there are various studies already available on this subject, but the fact of the matter is that one size, or in this case one time will not suit all.
Different industries and their consumers will be active at different time bands, so there is no single generic answer to this and I am not going to provide that as well.
So, before we advance ahead, let’s understand by what we mean by the best time to post:
We essentially mean that the best time to post is the time :
When the most number of people are online
When there is the least competition
When there is most engagement possibility
Again, personally, I don’t believe in points 1 & 2, for one because they are contradictory and second that they are not in our control.
Let’s understand how:
Facebook insight gives you a great way to find out the time band when most of your fans are online
1.this does not imply that all of them will see our contentand
2. this implies that most of the competition would also be active around this time band, and competition does not only include our direct competition but also all those brands which target this audience.
So, the real test of what time is best to post, is to check engagement level by time band.
As you can see, the engagement is low at 11AM (which is the peak time for Reach), while engagement is maximised at a non real peak time, which is at 1PM.
The bottom line is clear- look at engagement time bands for posting your content.