Saturday, April 19, 2014

Yeh Facebook # 2 hai meri jaan!

It used to stand in a corner quietly observing the techies zipping by in/on their sleek machines.  Whether you reached office at an ungodly 8 am or left at an equally zzzz11 pm+, the thing just stood there wrapped up in its myriad packages. I really hadn’t noticed its name till the day I decided to get myself a li’l bit of sunshine after lunch.

And then I saw it clearly - ‘Facebook Snacks Centre’!! 

Whoa! Had Mark sold off his online business and entered the street side cafĂ© business? Or was he diversifying? Or was it simply his CSR activity for Indian techies? It could also be Mark’s long lost brother, who like the rich-poor Bollywood masala stories was suffering here, while his rich bro was pocketing likes and shares by the millions. Or was this simply the #2 competitor who thought the name would be enough to fetch him the fortunes of his namesake overseas?  

I couldn’t resist anymore. I had to find out.

“Where’s Kaki?” I asked the plain-looking man sitting there. ‘Kaki’ for the uninitiated was the techies’ pet name for the lady who ran the business.  Mark # 2 smiled pleasantly and asked me to take a seat. I pulled a rickety old plastic chair and sat next to the mobile thela (mobile van) which is stationed 24 x 7 at one place in Pune’s Silicon Valley.

“Kaki has gone off to catch some sleep”, he said. “I am her husband.”

“Why Facebook?”, I questioned. He smiled and said, “One young guy from this IT company you see here suggested this name. He told me, this is a name on everyone’s lips and would be a wonderful name. So I started calling my shop by this name. We sell dabba meals, Maggi, omelette pav and chai. My wife makes lip-smacking stuff – amchya sarkhi Maggi koni nahi banvat (read: no one makes Maggi the way we do).”

I was amazed! The man was talking pretty good English – despite being a localite Puneite!

“To us,” he continued, “customer satisfaction comes first. We take care of our customers. We don’t like to keep them waiting. We give them a personalized service. We remember their names and what they like. We believe in giving them quality food.” Complete CEO talk, I couldn’t stop from thinking aloud.

Arre madam”, he said proudly.  “I quit my job at Tata because I wanted to help my wife fulfill her dreams of starting a hotel.  Today, we earn in one day what I used to earn in a month there.”

Till then, Kaki arrived, post sleep. Having had nothing much to do with education of any sorts, the lady smiled, insisted I have some of her special chai. When I asked Kaki to sit next to her husband so I could take a pic, she blushed.

I thanked them for their time and pics. Kaki’s other half got up too and invited me to his other shop – Taj 2! Wow! His logic behind this name – “There’s Taj # 1 in Mumbai (the hotel); but if you want to get the same service in Pune, there’s Taj # 2.” Saying this, he jumped on his BMW and pedaled away.

As I stared at this bite-size man with gigabyte-size dreams fading into the Sun on his antique full blown, shaky bicycle, I couldn’t help wondering – “Mark, mere bhai, you’ve got big time competition on your hands!” 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Digital Marketing Success made simple for SMEs - Part II

Continuing from my earlier blog post, here you go:

Your basic digital toolbox

  • ·        A couple of latest, well-equipped computers/laptops with the latest software
  • ·        Key team members equipped with Smartphones for smoother mobile access to                digital networks
  • ·        A good, solid broadband internet connection: This facilitates faster data uploading,            downloading  of  heavy files – content, videos, audio
  • ·        A good brand plan in place – The digital plan is a subset of your brand plan and has          to cater to the brand’s larger goals
  • ·        A sustainable strategy and wherewithal to continue the digital plan over the long                  term
  • ·        The right team mix with knowledge about your business and knowledge about the              digital ecosystem

The dos of a successful digital strategy 
  • ·     Align it to the big picture: Align it to your brand /company strategy and goals
  • ·     Budget: Earmark a budget for digital from your marketing or advertising budget. Set clear milestones and       monitor progress weekly/fortnightly/monthly
  • ·    Plan the digital activity step by step: Else, you might get overwhelmed and not be able to do justice to          anything
  • ·    Don’t be present on all digital media: Be there where your target audience congregates. For example,  Facebook may not be the place for you if you are into auto components. Research and find the digital  platform – social media sites and websites where most of your target market/buyers go. Don’t be on  Facebook just because everybody else is there. That could mean a waste of valuable budget
  • ·  Sustainability is key: Digital is no jadoo-ki-chaddi (magic wand); it is a long term investment. If you expect overnight results, you are likely to be crushed. Digital is more about building your brand/name over a period of time. It is about diligent, sustainable efforts worked upon every day so you are visible to your target market and stay top of the mind. Giving up is not an option.  

  • ·    Have an internal digital team: Even if it means two or three people; have an internal team for this job. Sustained effort is a must; moreover, your internal team can do this job better than entirely outsourcing it to an outside agency. You can do that initially, and then train your team to take over, with a consultant overlooking the progress weekly.
  • ·    Offline presence and delivery: Promises made online have to be ‘kept’ offline. In simple words, what you promise, you have got to deliver, else you are likely to lose face and therefore business and reputation. Your online reputation must always have an offline plan to live up to your word.

The good and the bad about digital
The good
  • Your markets and marketing are at your fingertips and can be reached through even a mobile
  • You can achieve far more marketing effort in a lesser amount of money as compared to printing           costs or traditional media expenditure
  • Digital marketing can be implemented sitting right at your desk. All you need is a well-equipped,    reliable computer
  • You can find your buyers from all over the world and reach out to them in a jiffy
  • You can incorporate to-the-minute updates about your products and services and stocks, so your  buyers always know the latest information about you
  • You can also effect online orders and make the buying and payment process simple for your buyers, thus saving valuable time

The bad
  • Starting digital activity with a big bang and giving it up in a short time is a sure case of loss of face – it   may amount to lack of seriousness on your part and present a wrong image to your buyers
  •  Being everywhere on the digital platform without a clue of what will work for you or where your buyers are
  • Allowing your digital activity to devour your entire marketing budget without assessing if it is the right strategy
  • Not having your digital strategy aligned to your brand strategy/company strategy

They did it. You can do it too.

B2B, they say is not cut out for digital. That’s a myth. Many big and small enterprises have proven this wrong. We will look at how two companies did it the digital way and successfully at that. 

Dell’s Digital Savvy 
Dell is known for its digital experimentation. Dell even won an award for its focused campaign on LinkedIn. This campaign included creating a close network of IT professionals that it wanted to target for its core products. This activity by Dell focused on using custom groups on LinkedIn.

Dell has a huge number of popular B2B Twitter feeds it operates. Some deal with company news and announcements, while others are dedicated to answering customer service queries. Dell Cares PRO provides 24×7 global support and Dell for Business answers questions from small and medium size businesses. Different feeds also communicate with one another to ensure that customer queries are dealt with through the proper channels. To make sure it stays on top of things, Dell’s social media command centre collects customer conversations around the web that enables the company to effectively identify problems, address complaints, collect feedback and respond to it., India’s #1 e-commerce firm for B2B Office Supplies, recently introduced a new range of School Stationary Products and launched it via a campaign on Twitter.

The challenge was to establish the category, generate a buzz around it and subsequently drive sales for the new range of products amongst the right TG. They knew that their right TG i.e. School Students may not be majorly active on Twitter and therefore wanted to focus on driving traction from their parents, elder siblings etc who are a more evolved set of users on Twitter.
To do this, they launched the campaign with the insight that people love to reminisce and talk about their School Memories. People were invited to tweet their favorite School Memory using the hashtag #SchoolMemory. Their winner was declared each day and rewarded with a set of Back-To-School Goodies.
The conversation was kept subtle about School Memories and purposely stayed away from blatant selling while reminding our followers that Office Yes has introduced a new range of Products that might interest them. As a result, they saw a 154.2% rise in mentions and 113.5% increase in retweets without any media budget being spent. Office Yes was successful in reaching out to over 1.6 lakh Twitter users in 20 days and saw a 50% hike in the number of followers as well. The brand maintained an engagement score of 99% through the course of the campaign and hence despite being a B2B setup, Officeyes successfully established School Stationary as a part of its product portfolio.

You may feel they can do it easily. But believe me, taking the first, step, even a small one, is the way to success. When are you going to take that step in your digital journey?