Hey Mom!

Hey Mom! That’s a phrase we have all grown up saying – All our questions have been directed to Mom to help answer them all.

‘There is nothing in the world that mom doesn’t know’. Similar to the Thank You Mom Campaign that was done by P&G that connected everyone to the master brand – Google repositioned itself this year in a campaign that touched all our hearts.

There is no love like Momma’s love. Let’s make that a tap away.  ‘Google Home – Give your original helper, a little help of her own’.

In a world where most of us live away from our families, we need to take out time to stay connected with them – sometimes just telling them, thank you mom for everything you have done! <3

So to my mom – #Heymom, thank you!

 

Let her “slip” from your hands

Here is a cultural saying in India: “Ladki Haath se nikal jayegi” – Which means that if you don’t control her, she will slip out of your hands.

And needless to imagine, this leads to a painful slippery slope – girls are not encourged to study, not encouraged to pursue a career, instead – She is simply taught that one day she will get married and take her of her in-laws.

This cultural acceptable since decades has been a systematic reason why women are not in the running for most things including representation of women in schools, work and in leadership positions.

Mahindra Rise,  a foundation for the Mahindra conglomerate kickstarted a movement that really makes you rethink the meaning of “a girl slipping out of your hand”.

From a negative connotation, they simply twisted it to something different – Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you let you girl slip from your hands and help her realise her dreams?

Having my roots in India, and my wings outside:  this story is personally quite hard hitting.

Nest Away in tunes

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An upcoming property rental portal in India came up with a rather quirky way of positioning their value proposition: Paying for a home vs allowing your children to pursue their hobbies.

 

I thought it was a great spin to an otherwise, very boring message. We are moving to a rented economy which frees resources that can be used for so many other things like paying for your own and your family’s hobbies. We are an experience economy and the music teacher’s take on it was just funny and truly drives the point home.

 

 

 

 

UX Design be like (Guest Post)

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When the iPhone came along and made touchscreen-led mobile browsing truly mainstream, it was a fatal blow to the horribly-complex desktop websites of yesteryear. You might be able to get away with a dense and almost-unintelligible layout on a big screen, but it simply won’t fly on a pocketable device.

And it’s really Apple’s approach to design that has shaped the internet of today.

We all know now that usability is among the biggest factors when you’re trying to keep a user around, particularly on the smallest screens, and minimalism has become the name of the game in the user experience (UX) community.

But what does a good minimalist UX look like, exactly? What do top brands like Google, Apple and Microsoft get right more often than not? Let’s break it down.

An Ocean of Negative Space…

Negative space (also sometimes known as white space) is a catch-all term for the empty space between page elements, and if you go by sheer coverage, it’s the biggest part of every UX journey. It’s the canvas on which the internet is painted.

Back before everyone understood the importance of negative space, websites were built by technical experts with no appreciation of good design. They were packed with functions, stats, information and stylistic flourishes, and nothing had any room to breathe. As such, if you didn’t know exactly what to expect from a website, you weren’t going to have much luck using it.

Thankfully, standards caught up with user requirements, and now any website that doesn’t space out its content is just asking for a high bounce rate and low search rankings. Check the lead image: Google knows you’re there to do a search, so it gives you a search bar and a couple of buttons. That’s it. No filler. No distractions. (They’ve learned a lot from Apple over the years…)

…Dotted With Jewels…

You’re ready to design your website, and you have so many design elements to choose from. There are banners, buttons, paragraphs, tables, drop-down menus, links, slideshows, videos, animations and more. But minimalism demands harsh criteria: if something doesn’t add serious value to a page, it doesn’t get included.

Are you on a product page? Something style-centric like a watch or an item of clothing? Then sure, include a glossy high-resolution product image that dominates the page. It warrants the space. Otherwise, get it out of the way. It’s just taking up space, slowing the page speed down, and detracting from the worthwhile content.

Remember that the X stands for ‘experience’, and you need to deliver an experience that’s good within the context of the purpose of your website. If a user shows up looking for information and they get pretty images, they won’t find them too helpful. Every single section of your site should be something the user wants to be there.

…And Built Around Delivery.

There’s a solid reason behind every intentional website visit. We go to ecommerce sites to order products, forums to discuss topics, news sites to learn about what’s going on, and image sites to look at nice landscapes and dream of beach vacations. With millions of websites available, a site either delivers on its promise or loses your attention.

That’s why the best possible minimalist website does one of two things in every single fragment of its user journey:

1 – Deliver what the user wants.

2 – Deliver a clear route to what the user wants.

 

It’s very simple, but that doesn’t stop plenty of websites getting stuck wheeling out vanity features and thinking they can dictate what the users want to see. They can’t. It doesn’t work. The moment the user can’t see what they’re looking for or how to reach it, they’ll give up and head elsewhere.

Templates Make Minimalism Easy

Minimalist UX design is difficult to perfect, absolutely, but it’s also incredibly easy to implement well because it isn’t often about adding things— it’s mostly about leaving them out. If you have a website that’s lacking a really important feature, then yes, you’ll need to add it, but otherwise you can move towards minimalism by simply stripping away anything that isn’t needed.

If you don’t even have a website yet, then it’ll be even easier for you because of the proliferation of pre-built templates. You can start setting up a web boutique through a store builder and go live with a free minimalist theme that provides all the functionality you need, or throw together a basic site and pick from numerous great WP theme options that will barely need configuring if you’d rather not put in much design work.

Minimalism isn’t just a must-have design approach for the user— it’s also a massive time-saver for the designer, and a technical win for SEO and web hosting. There’s no good reason not to migrate your UX efforts to a more minimalist standard, so make sure every feature you include fully deserves its place and you’ll quickly achieve greater levels of user engagement.

A huge thank you to Patrick Faster who wrote this Mooketing exclusive Guest Post.

Patrick Foster is a writer and ecommerce expert from Ecommerce Tips — an industry-leading ecommerce blog that offers practical marketing advice so your online store receives the exposure it deserves. Check out the latest posts on Twitter @myecommercetips

Measure your content Marketing

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You’ve got a whole bunch of awesome content. People are commenting and liking your posts in hordes. You’ve figured that using cute cats in anything you write is well received. You start to wonder what your life would have been if you were a cat instead. Oh, distractions! You snap back into thinking about great content and wonder what’s the real impact of all this effort, all these likes and these cat memes.

Content marketing is an integral part of the marketing mix. As it continues to be able to demonstrate the value on business outcomes, it becomes a heavier and heavier investment.

To create content that people love and enjoy is probably the most important metric. But beyond that, how do you understand the value that it is driving for your business? What is a framework to think about the effectiveness about content marketing? What are the right metrics to use?

Goodbye likes and shares, hello pirate metrics.

I love the pirate metrics because it is so easy to understand, so intuitive and just badass.

Assuming you have setup all the right UTM tracking, let’s deep dive into the framework that I believe works for everyone – AAR (just like the pirates say it).

(A) Acquisition

How do your customers find you? How do they know about you? How do they end up subscribing to your future content? It’s the beginning of your relationship with them and you want to always be aware of what channels are driving this for you. Perhaps it’s word of mouth, conferences, sharing content on Facebook or tweeting quite often. Whatever works for you, it’s surely worth knowing the how.

(A) Activation

How do they first try your product? Or in many cases, what makes them tick? If you write a blog, how do you become a part of their weekly ritual? It’s probably the aha moment when they connect a particular subject matter to you.

(R) Retention

The holy grail of content? Having your users come back to you over and over again. You have brought them into the circle of value – always providing more and giving more.

Retention patterns are starting to understand who consistently comes to you and why but also why some people are not coming back. Retention is a great gauge for the lifetime value that you can provide to your readers and make your one time visit into a long lasting love story.

So, what does this all mean for me?

A) Write for each part of the funnel

You want to be sure that you are writing not just to acquire people, but also to activate – move them to their ‘aha moment’. Think about how different people are simultaneously moving through the funnel and be deliberate to write for each part of it.

B) Measure correctly

If you are not measuring, how will be you be able to understand the value of your work? Be sure to tag (all source, medium to the URLs) and measure all your content and understand the implications across the pirate metrics. Many times you might find that you have too wide an upper funnel and too narrow a lower funnel.

C) Problem solve for drop offs

The AAR framework will give you the ability to understand where people are dropping off in a very simplistic framework. Try to understand why perhaps a specific group of people aren’t coming back to your content pages and start perhaps catering to their needs or questions. A great starting point is to understand who is leaving and then test consistently to understand what makes them tick.

Pirate On: The AAR framework is a very versatile way of measuring the effectiveness of your content marketing. Spend 15 minutes to customise it for your business and you will be amazed by the laser sharpness that it gives to your entire content marketing strategy. Aye, Aye Captain?

 

This post was originally published on joe-escobedo.com. Joe is recognized as one of the “Top 20 Content Marketers” worldwide and awarded the “Most Influential Global Marketing Leader” at the World Marketing Congress. Joe has helped countless organizations and executives transform from unknowns to superheroes online.

We need to chat about WeChat

Slide1I have realised that we have chatted (&blogged) about so many great campaigns, trends and upcoming fab-jazz, but we still haven’t chatted enough about the biggest wave in that is being driven right here – the land where the sun rises (i.e. the East).

Here are the top 5 reason why WeChat is the mega universe of everything that defines ‘magic of your touch screen phone’ –

  1. Make instore payments through QR codes
  2. Send bitcoins to a friend
  3. Manage a personal wealth fund
  4. Pay Utility bills
  5. Check how much a product costs instore by scanning a code

PS: My favourite one that should be at the top of this list – You can book a karaoke through the app. Hello WeChat, Karaoke is my eternal weakness. Oops, did I just reveal my Kkk-Kryptonite to the world?

 

 

The power of product marketing

How many times have you seen a great ad: sometimes cried, once in a while laughed, ads that use some insane technology that makes you go wow but literally – you can’t remember the name of the brand or the value they might drive in your life.

I need to come out of the closet about how strongly I feel about these award hungry “innovative” advertising campaigns that literally drive 0 business value. We all know these ads – you can sniff their award winning desperation from a distance. Hate it.

I’ve always respected brands that are so confident in themselves that all they want to do is drive business value and grow user love. The ‘it name’ for it today is product marketing. Now, I’m not saying that brand marketing is not important or these are 2 are mutually exclusive. I just believe that if you have limited marketing dollars, the most important thing you want to do first is to drive user growth and love – increase product adoption by being explicit about the utility that you drive in someone’s life.

eBay did a great job to re-establish their credibility by proving their value in the market (even if by taking a direct stab at Amazon).

 

I loved the pun on golden number $119. But more so, I loved how direct the messaging was to be like “hey – we provide more value therefore use us over xx”. Really that simple, but so well done.

Marketing is really about simplicity. We tend to over-complicate it.

Simple messaging to the right audience, at the right time to maximise business impact. (Business impact being the operating clause). I think that we need to always remind ourselves that this isn’t about us being creative (you can pickup a paintbrush for that) – this is really about customer value. More value, more love. Simple and beautiful.

Reebok takes a dig at Donald-Ts.

When do you tell people ‘You are in such beautiful shape’? Reebok has a flow chart to guide people through the decision making.

Seems like the only appropriate time to say that if you dig up a forgotten action figure from your childhood in your parent’s basement. LOL

Not when you meet the spouse of the head of state. -_-

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Even an asshole can save a life

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Genereally any good cause organisation that is focused on social service, charity or collecting donations is focused on displaying the good side of humanity – going after the assumption that human beings are fundamentally good people.

The core narrative follows:

IF you are good, THEN you will do something good for society.

However, Donate a Life (registerme.org) broke that narrative and took a spin on the story:

The narrative follows a guy named Coleman who does possibly the worst things anyone could do in their day to day life – throw other people’s laundry on the floor, barge into women’s toilets, steal candy from kids on halloween, drink and drive and even shout at an old grandma who takes time to cross the road.

Like, literally the worst kind of a human that could possibly exist.

But inspite of everything, Coleman did one thing right – Register to donate his organs.

The video shows real impact of what that means – helping so many different people –  a father, a young girl, a teenage boy and ironically even his neighbour.

So the question is this –

If even an asshole as big as Coleman can save lives, why can’t you?

Instagram Stories are Snappin’ away

Bottom Line -> # of daily active users for Instagram stories > Snapchat

Snapchat = 158 million

Instagram stories = 200 million

Lesson -> A Fast follower strategy should never be undermined.

See a huge wave, learn to ride it. Or be sure to drown under it.

After Snap Inc. went through with their exciting IPO, reports revealed that Snapchat’s growth slowed 82% since the launch of Instagram stories. That’s a massive correlation.

It’s exciting to watch the battle between Snapchat and Instagram as they fight it out over disappearing  content.

From a revenue standpoint as well, Snapchat probably needs to level up since it is still not ramped up to serve brands from a data and tracking standpoint.

In a marketers world, where data is gold,  I’d say Snapchat better get to some digging.

Full disclosure: I am still a Snapchat loyalist. It’s a private network with my closest buds who I am excited to share my daily adventures with.

Yet, I can’t help but watch from the corner of my eye the powerful network effects Instagram stories has been able to create in such a short time.

I can feel the platform calling me -> And I am almost tempted to abandon my Snapchat mission and sail the Instagram Stories ship.

 

Trump with Love

All these Trump domains seems to have hit gold.

Trumpwith.love is an interactive website that turns Trump’s words into Love. <3

Type something random and you get snippets of each word he has said, chop chop.

It is a little bit of a fantasy, but still – After a point: What else can you do, except just laugh.

#copingmechanism

They say, laughter is just the best therapy.

How Super is the Super Bowl?

super-bowl-patriots-2015How Super is the Super Bowl? Well, super enough for a 1 hour game to last for 4 hours.

That means – loads of ads. Ads that cost $5 million for 30 seconds of airtime. That’s 30 seconds of intense eyeballs. 30 seconds of a make or break show. And 30 seconds that cost you a whole lot of $$$$.

Every brand aspires that one day – it will be able to afford to spend those dollars. But is it really all that?

The question is: Do these actually help sell product or create lasting brand awareness?

Bill Coontz from the Dalton Agency has his opinions, and I’d say strong ones. Bill believes the answer is a resounding no, especially considering consumers’ fleeting attention span.

A study by marketing data science company Genesis Media found that 90 percent of consumers aren’t likely to buy something they saw advertised during the Super Bowl. The reason? Brand metrics such as “favorability” or “recall” don’t result in purchases for products featured in Super Bowl ads.

Maybe that’s why Kraft Heinz is spent millions of dollars this year on a single spot that won’t sell one ounce of ketchup. The brand is running a $5 million ad to let us know that they’re giving all 42,000 of their salaried employees Super Bowl Monday off. (A company memo would have been about $4,997,900 cheaper.)

Is it corporate good will or a PR ploy? It doesn’t matter, because it’s generating millions in earned media, and it’s a great example of how brands are thinking differently about creative ideas, tactics and execution.

Are times changing?

It is also a sign of the changing times. For the last few years, the strategic execution of Super Bowl ads has changed from a one-time event on Super Bowl Sunday, to using an ad as a springboard to launch integrated digital and social media campaigns. Research from last year’s Super Bowl suggested that Super Bowl ads in 2016 generated as much as $10M in incremental exposure for advertisers.

Some brands go overboard on concept, like Mercedes-Benz, which last year relocated its N. American headquarters to Atlanta. The venerable luxury car brand hired The Coen Brothers to direct an “Easy Rider” themed Super Bowl spot featuring Peter Fonda. That’s easily an eight-figure budget for an ad that, if the studies are accurate, won’t sell many cars.

What about brand awareness?

So does that mean that Super Bowl ads are all about brand awareness? Not really. A full 75 percent of respondents from the Genesis Media study said they couldn’t remember ads from the previous year.

Advertising technology company Fluent surveyed 1,600 Super Bowl watchers in 2015 to test the effects of five first-time ads, finding that the average “brand lift” – whether viewers could recall advertisers after their first Super Bowl ad – was just 12.7 percent.

That’s not an ROI that many brands can readily justify, and the main reason why the Super Bowl will remain the ultimate arena for the advertising budget haves and have-nots.

The final verdict:

ROI, Product Sales – No

If you integrate the campaign as part of gripping 360 degree, well executed campaign using the super bowl as a spring board – Probably Yes.

Is it the best bang for your buck – I’d say, probably not.

This article was written in collaborate with Bill Coontz from the Dalton Agency. 

Bill brings large agency-management experience to the Dalton Agency.  Bill’s 25 years of advertising experience include work for many domestic and global brands, including United Healthcare, Optum, 3M, Cargill, General Mills, Kraft and Ameriprise. Bill has also served two terms as president of the Advertising and Marketing International Network (AMIN).

That’s not fair. BNB.

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We are sometimes so disconnected from the truth. It’s like almost a shell that we create around ourselves. A bubble where everything is fantastic, beautiful and full of our petty little problems.

‘Solidarité Grands Froids’ (Solidarity in the Great Cold), an organization defending the interests of the homeless launched a website to spread awareness of the day to day reality of homeless people.

It’s an effort to expose and demonstrate a sight that you may not see everyday – to strike a cord of authentic empathy.

I feel uncomfortable about how closely they have ‘ripped’ what AirBnB looks like, but nonetheless – it does convey a powerful message.

Everytime you hit ‘book’ – you donate money to the organisation – a meaningful way of demonstrating the exact cause your money is going towards.

 

The man who kept runnin’in’ing

My heart always goes out to Kevin Hart.

He’s cool, funny and perfect for Nike.

Nike launched a series of youtube videos about a story of a man who kept running. I love this because it’s something that is catching up so quickly – a series of small clips tied together to make a story.

Most of the times, we just binge watch these multiple clips – but if we ever see a 40 minute youtube video, you can pause the though of # of views, right there.

Kevin Hart introduces Apple Watch Nike+’s features and functionality in a hyper animated way (what else were we expecting? Haha). You go along with him on a journey about survival (fancy much) and running to save himself.

Branding: 4/5

Product Placement: 3/5

Humour and engagement: 10/5

 

 

 

 

If you were wondering what Mr. Hart was upto?

Well, he was working on his beard. Haha.

The yawn Christmas video

As much as Christmas is a time for celebration and travel, Honda just slowed my mood down with their new ‘online Christmas sleigh’ where you can watch christmas candy & snow in 360 degrees.

If Honda was about speed, this would have moved a lot faster.

If Honda was about brand character, the surroundings would have been exciting and engaging with snow fights.

If Honda was about technology, this would have been way more sophisticated experience.

But clearly, Honda’s agency is about ‘riding the next big way’ ’cause that’s the cool thing to do.

I’d suggest you don’t watch this video, but I’m purposely posting this before bedtime so we all get some good yawns before hitting the sack.

You owe your beauty sleep to me now, folks!

 

Apple’s painful commercial.

Rarely, do I use the harsh word – ‘painful’ to describe a commercial.

But this one was so dragged that every additional second seemed like a ‘light’ year away. (To get the pun, watch the video below)

 

“Hey siri, what happened to Apple’s inspiring commercials?”

“Sorry, I didn’t get that”

Well, clearly.

xx typed on a mac book xx

 

 

Facebook’s Fake News? -_-

First of all, let’s cut people some slack.

People are upset after the elections. I get it. But that doesn’t mean that we put the ‘closest possible target’ in the line of fire.

There are numerous accusations that Facebook promoted fake news and that played a part in the US elections results. (Seriously?)

Let’s get the basics straight – Facebook is not a media company. It’s a tech company – that connects all kinds of publishers to the audience that is most interested in consuming that content. (Read: level playing field)

How does the Facebook algorithm work? Well, the algorithm shows you content that your friends are sharing that you are most likely to engage with. So if you dislike a certain political party, you will either see negative news about that party or positive news about the party you support. It’s really as logical as that.

I just don’t understand how Facebook landed in this line of fire? And for no fault, at all?

Sure, there are things that can be improved –

  1. Hiring journalists to vet through the news feed
  2. Adding a feature to switch off personalised content
  3. Or even – segmenting friends based on their affinity to create a basket of opinions

Fancy stuff. Well, sounds great.

But here is a reality check:

We read what we read, because we make a choice. The onus is on us to make informed decisions based on information we gather from multiple sources and our relative weightage of the authenticity of those sources. If we can’t be cognisant of multiple sources of media, to make our own choices – then well, well. Let’s stop blaming media, and start blaming ourselves.

And for god’s sake – Stop reading the Onion. It makes my eyes tear up.

 

Get in anywhere, like really

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Brands sharing their opinions about political issues is entering choppy waters. Some ride the waves and emerge victorious, some sink into a crushing PR Tsunami.

The swimmer: 

Durex – keeping it casual, witty and open to interpretation. Taking the reality and teasing it, just a little bit.

The sinker: 

New Balance – Senior Execs (LeBretton) taking a strong political stance about supporting Mr. T

Their  potential customer base- Probably Hillary lovers, coastal folks started burning their shoes, taking this story viral. (Read: PR nightmare)

 

In conclusion:

Make sure you understand your target audience and their potential political orientation. If you want to take big bold steps, tests the waters a little bit (humour is a universal language) and try not to get too deep in the waters.

We all like 4 feet pools. Like really.

How not to corrupt Snapchat (from a 22 year old)

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Snap, Snap, Snap – everyone is taking about leveraging Snapchat as a new platform: What can brands do? How do we change the game? While all these rather enlightening discussions are going around the internet, I thought I will make a gentle plea to the advertising world about how to not corrupt Snapchat.

Also, 60% of Snapchat’s audience is Millennials, so it wouldn’t hurt to get a 22 year old’s perspective on it.

3 ways to prevent corrupting Snapchat:

1. Don’t be perfect:

We all know that Snapchat stories can’t be pre-created and uploaded. You need to hit ‘record’ and that’s it. There are not fancy editing possibilities and neither is your logo going to appear on the top right. The truth is, you are going to end up with  fuzzy-unstable-video and that is okay. Infact, that is perfect. We look for imperfect (aka authentic content) so please, don’t give us beautified (=fake) content.

2. Don’t be a brand: 

This might sounds fundamentally different from what you do on your day to day job. But hold on, this sounds about right. Snapchat (unlike most other platforms) is still unadulterated. We want friends, not brands. You might be like, sure – brands are friends on facebook, twitter etc. so how is Snapchat  different? Well, cause the choice to engage with you completely lies in our hands. We don’t get brand updates on our news feed that we ‘see, but can scroll past’. On Snapchat, we will even choose ‘if we want to see  your content.’ So if I  don’t see you as a friend, I won’t care about you. Do stuff that friends do – post stupid videos, update us on pranks you play in the office and give us  some behind the scenes sneak peaks about how your everyday lives look like.

3. Don’t offer offers:

No, we are not money-less. So no, don’t push your buy one get one free offers on us via Snapchat. I have seen brands be like – here, poor kids, look at this wannabe groupon deal, take a screenshot (whohoo) and come to the store to redeem it (followed by a forced cool smile). We care about experiences, and humor. So yes, I will watch random Starbucks employees wear a banana costume and ‘go bananas’ while making coffee -> go to Starbucks on my way home 5 days later rather than see a Snapchat deal and run to the store for the ‘limited validity offer’.

Snapchat is not a ‘new channel’ for the ‘same old content’. It is a ‘new channel’ for a new  ‘form of (authentic) content’. So unless you have your content-channel fit sorted, please don’t embark on a corrupting your Snapchat journey. As I said, no one will care cause that’s just lame af. 

Should marketers hate Ad-blocker?

Marketers are often perceived as the Darth Vaders of the world: the ‘evil people’ – destroying happiness and taking over the world with their evil little ads.

In this constant battle between the ‘dark side’ and the ‘force’, ad blocker was created. Today, 48% of the web visitors (in the United States) use Ad Blocker – the shield that protects consumers from the firing of ads.

Ad-Block interferes with the HTML and proper loading of a web site to block ads from displaying on both desktop and mobile devices. Marketers believe (read: convince themselves) that this breaches the implicit “free content in exchange for advertising” understanding between a website and visitor.

Industry experts estimate that ad blockers on desktop computers will cost publishers $22 billion this year alone in lost ad revenue – a huge hit for the entire industry. So today, there are technologies (example: BlockBypass) that allow any website to continue serving ads to users running Ad-Block. While some might believe that this is a step forward for marketers, this in-fact is a step backwards for our consumers. 

I believe that instead of spending resources to circumvent a clear signal of disinterest from consumers, we should be moving forward to create innovations in digital advertising that users would not want to block. We as marketers, should be able to convince our audiences that we can be useful to them. Perhaps, advertisers and consumers might never be the best of friends but at-least we can make strides to live harmoniously in the Galaxy. In this mission, I do see some trends that I would like to highlight:

1. Change in choice dynamics: Currently the way we serve impressions are as follows- we serve, consumers are forced to see. This illusion of power that if users consumer free content or use free apps, they will have to see crappy ads. We evolved from video impressions in gaming apps that you have to watch to users ‘skipping’ a video on YouTube. Today, platforms like Snapchat truly change the choice dynamics – consumers CHOOSE to engage with certain brands and channels. Choice dynamics will change very rapidly and we no longer will hold the upper hand by throwing marketing dollars and forcing people to watch our ads.

2. Immersive Ad Experiences: The current model of advertising disrupts current user flow. Bombarding users with ad impressions in the middle of content is just sad. Can’t put it any other way but while consumers put up with that (with a mindless scroll of-course), they are never going to give a sh*t. Advertising will move towards a fully immersive ad experience with multi-media and brand content that people love and want to share. (aka. Love marks, done right). If you don’t know what I am talking about, check out Facebook’s Canvas Ads – the one format I would +heart on.

3. Native Content 2.0: Native Advertising has been a step forward for consumers in the right direction. Ads in the native experience of a site are both appealing and exciting. Still in it’s nascent state, this has a potential to be that bridge of harmony between the two. Breaking the experience between a publisher and an advertiser is painful for the consumer and the less we fight amongst ourselves, the better it is. Google is moving towards displaying the right chunks on information through their quick answers box (and micro-moment questions) while Facebook is releasing Instant articles that gives consumers the opportunity to read content directly in the app. While publishers will try to take everything on-platform, I don’t see this as such a bad thing for advertisers. Publishers and advertisers need each other to exist and currently are both working towards a ‘least damaging model’ (i.e. reducing drop off and improving the experience while giving sessions to the advertiser).

I think we are really lucky to be marketers in this era – moving away from the manipulative ways of Mad Men to truly caring about the consumers and fulfilling their needs. Let’s move forward with consumer-first mindset; after all, the galaxy will cease to exist without them.

#Sharetheload

Brands create powerful videos by sharing real stories. But Ariel goes one step further with by connecting something that every person has grown up playing (“Ghar Ghar”) and matching it to life’s reality.

We might brag about equality in the work place (promotion, pay) etc. but the true question is – is there equality in the house?

Never thought a clothes washing brand had the power to create content that moved people across the globe. Let’s not be scared to bring up social issues through powerful content. Living on the edge, is not always clean, but does have it’s perks.

Watch the video below:

 

Turning Online to Offline Sales

Conversion is key in the sales pipeline. Moving beyond Digital awareness, it is essential to convert that awareness and branding into sales. But how can we achieve this?

There are the top 4 must do’s in order to marry online & offline:

1) Connect with mobile users.

A large percentage of your consumers are using their mobile devices even when they are already in your store. According to a Wanderful survey, 77 percent of clients have searched online for product information while shopping, and the growing millennial audience is particularly likely to engage in this at 85 percent. One way to encourage customers to visit your store is by merging the online and offline shopping experience through mobile applications. You can accomplish this by giving customers the option to quickly order items via mobile for same-day, in-store pickup. Be sure to highlight the benefits of this option, such as cutting out lengthy checkout processes and shipping costs while delivering instant, face-to-face service.

2) Listen and respond to customer reviews.

Your customers want to know what people are saying about your products and services. 63 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has reviews, and visitors who read the reviews have a 6 percent higher average order value than those who do not. Reviews can improve things like customer confidence, SEO, and credibility. Afraid of negative feedback? One study found that negative reviews actually boost client trust by 68 percent if a customer complaint is immediately rectified. By addressing customer concerns, you demonstrate listening willingness to your audience in order to improve your products and experiences. A positive review of an exceptional customer experience will motivate shoppers to visit your business in search of the same encounter.

3) Monitor your social media presence.

Another way to receive and use feedback to drive offline sales is by monitoring social media conversations regarding your brand. Show customers you are ready to answer their questions and talk about their concerns by networking through your social media platforms. Facebook and Twitter are extremely valuable channels for customer interaction because they allow you to have a one-on-one connection with your patrons. You can also create virtual window shopping opportunities through sites like Pinterest to give your customers a sneak-peek at the items they will find in your store. Also, consider offering coupons that can be shared with friends and brought to your business for promotional items and discounts.

4) Go to the customer with Geo-location services.

Soon, Google Maps will introduce similar technology to smaller companies in the space that already offer offline turn-by-turn voice direction and the exploration of local businesses for users with low connectivity. This means that being involved with location-based mobile targeting will be incredibly beneficial to your business moving forward. Only 23 percent of retail marketers are utilizing geo-targeting for mobile marketing, giving businesses that implement this strategy an early adopter advantage. A successful way to get in on geolocation services is to drive offline sales through targeted mobile coupons. Become a part of location-based social media platforms like FourSquare and encourage your customers to check-in to your location. This will show the popularity of your store to locals, prompting loyal customers to continue to visit and inviting new customers to get involved.

This article was written in collaboration with Manish Patel, CEO of Brandify and Where2GetIt

Cookies, Do We Part?

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The basic assumptions of online advertising have always been so simple.

1) The foundation of all online ads are Cookies.

2) For the sites we love, we cannot escape Cookies.

3) Advertisers gather meta-information from these Cookies and push out interest based ads.

The question is, are these assumptions changing? Consumers are voicing out their concerns regarding privacy policies, people are only browsing in Incognito mode and technology-geeks are coming up with Cookie-confusers to mess data up. To me, it almost seems like activism against the ways of Digital Marketing. To be fair, there is still so much room for evolution and change.

The Network Advertising Initiative, a leading non-profit self-regulatory association dedicated to responsible data collection and use for digital advertising, recently published Guidance for NAI Members: Use of Non-Cookie Technologies for Interest Based Advertising Consistent with the NAI Code of Conduct.  The Guidance provides clarity on how their members can comply with the NAI Code of Conduct when they use non-cookie technologies for interest-based advertising and reflects NAI’s commitment to supporting a free and thriving internet while protecting consumer privacy in the modern digital ecosystem.

Compliance to new privacy standards is essential. So the question is how do we change our current ways to adapt to the new ones? Will there still be interest based targeting through cookies or will we all eventually become Cookie Monsters?

The Click and Mortar World

Walmart at 8500 Golf Road, NIles. PhotoPat Krochmal

The war of Traditional Media v/s Digital has surfaced again with Walmart v/s Amazon Prime. Except that that is the Game of Thrones with the Game of Drones (Yes, I hope you are all as excited about Amazon’s Drones).  Walmart, the largest retailer in America, is developing a subscription program to directly face-off against Amazon Prime.

For just $50 a year, Walmart will offer unlimited free shipping on items purchased from its online store, a bargain compared to Amazon Prime’s $99. However, the only benefit to the service will be unlimited free shipping, with delivery guaranteed in three days or less. However, because free shipping continues to be the most popular and effective sales closer in the online retail space and because Walmart shoppers are typically thrifty, the upcoming service could be mega-popular.

Nothing exists in isolation and e-commerce can never flourish if they don’t get the basics right – Pricing, Pricing, Pricing (and the other 3P’s). Walmart has already challenged Amazon; so all we need to ask Amazon is – Do you accept?

This post was written in collaboration with Tom Caporaso, CEO of Clarus Marketing Group, a company that builds subscription e-commerce programs similar to Amazon Prime.

What is my personal social media strategy?

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I believe that everyone should take ownership of their personal brand. Much like corporate brands, you should think about your positioning, value proposition and communication strategy. I must admit, that I am learning along the way as platforms and capabilities evolve. But having an iterative strategy is key in developing your brand identity through the power of social media. You don’t have to be a ‘particular type’ or ‘seniority’ to do this. Everyone has a unique identity, but are you leveraging it to share the right message to the right audience at the right time?

Here is how I use different platforms to represent different facets of myself. This is not the gold standard, but just something that I do. Hopefully, it should inspire you to start thinking about your own social media strategy.

The first step is to understand yourself. Like customer segmentation, you might want to segment your own identity. I think about my identity as split between my professional self and my personal self (but this might be different for you). Here is my social media (no-magic) formula:

1) Representing My Professional Self:

# The power of LinkedIn – Currently, I use LinkedIn as the primary platform to represent my professional brand. I use LinkedIn to share my professional interests, network with people and participate in profession-related discussions. Find me at /asthakalbag

# The power of Twitter – Many people use twitter to express their personal day-to-day lives (what they eat, where they go, what they feel). But for me, I don’t believe that information is shared on any platform as fast as it is shared on twitter. Infact – If you have ever met me, you will know that I have an opinion on almost everything. (This includes having an opinion on not having an opinion). Therefore, I use twitter primarily to share my opinions/ viewpoints on latest happenings in the world. Follow me at @AsthaKalbag

# The power of WordPress – If you are reading this blog, you will realise that I use this platform extensively to share trends, opinions, campaigns in the digital marketing/ advertising space. Since I am really passionate about this industry, I write focused posts for people who are interested to be part of my learning journey. I like to think about my blog’s positioning as a cross between The Economist (making complicated things understandable) and Twitter (Keeping content digestible, cause ain’t nobody got time).

2) Representing My Personal Self:

# The power of Instagram – Instagram to me is a super-intimate platform. Almost exclusive, I share parts of my private life – memories with my best friends, amazing places I have visited, awesome food encounters (and pre-hangover-beer-pong photos). If you are my instagram friend, we must be close <3

# The power of Facebook – I remember the time when Facebook would my ‘public-cloud-server’ to share photo albums of everything on my digital camera. That doesn’t hold true for me anymore. In the rare case that I post a photo on facebook, it is probably cross published through Instagram (Yes, Mark Zuckerberg- it was a good idea to buy Instagram). But I still think about Facebook as an avenue to get in touch with long-lost-friends through facebook mail. And ofcourse, I can’t run away from events published on facebook that often serve as a starting point for all my weekend plans :)

# The power of Snap-chat – Snapchat to me is like some people’s personal twitter handle – only more intimate. I share real time updates to my tight circle of friends about all the random-stupid-funny-encounters I have. (Hoping that there is no trace of this the next day).

We all know that digital media platforms have powerful network effects. We are there because we know other people who are there. So depending on where my network moves, tomorrow I might just be hyper active on We Chat or Kakao Talk. But for now, this is how I leverage different social media platforms. What about you?

Vogue: It’s my choice

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We would all like to believe that none of us ever judge or stereotype people, things or places. But the truth is, we all implicitly do. Psychologists would argue that we are cognitively geared to categorise things to make the world easier to navigate through. But I think, we should try and make an extra effort to break those mental barriers and categories to give people the benefit of the doubt.

I recently came to terms with acknowledging one of my own stereotypes – My ideas about the Fashion/ Beauty world and how ‘shallow’ I though it all was. Brands like Dove have surely positioned themselves to break those barriers, but Vogue in India has truly touched every woman’s heart in a way that empowers her inner soul. Traditionally, a magazine that just talked fashion, beauty and celebrity has stepped up to represent the thoughts, feelings and emotions of an Indian woman in a society that is predominantly patriarchal and sexist.

Critics (mindless traditionalists) may well argue that Indian women are too influenced by ‘western ways’ but I believe that women need be empowered with the ability to alteast make a choice. If she wants to wear a hot pink bikini with a skirt much closer to her hips than knees or drape herself from head to toe in an Indian saree, it should be only and only her choice. This fundamental thought shapes the ideology behind #Vogue Empower. Click below to watch this thought provoking video:

I am so glad that today, brands don’t just ‘sell stuff’, but in-fact stand for a profound set of values that transcends beyond hollow names wrapped in pretty logos. I probably was never the type to spend my evening coffee hours with a Vogue magazine, but you never know – Maybe now I will.

Festival of Media 2015: Information v/s Inspiration

The Festival of Media 2015 has been close to my heart for 3 key reasons:

1) Re-connecting with folks from the industry

2) Getting selected for Twitter’s Young Promising Leader (#YPL)

3) But most of all, Getting Inspired. 

The Festival of Media was packed with great sessions from thought leaders across the industry – Joanna Flint (MD of Google Singapore), Shiv Shivakumar (CEO of Pepsi Co India), Cheryl Goh (Global VP, Grab Taxi), Rohit Jawa (CEO of Unilever Philippines) and Sunita Kaur (Managing Director of Spotify) to name of few.

I absolutely enjoyed myself learning more about the rapidly evolving media space that is increasingly being dominated by Digital, Social and Programmatic discussions. While a lot of these conversation were super informative and thought provoking, there were some sessions that really inspired me to ‘dream a bigger dream’ and imagine a marketing world so different from the one we live in now. My top 3 Inspirations are as below:

1) Jeffrey Yang, CMO China at Huawei

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Jeffrey asked deeper philosophical questions about what marketing really is. He drew parallels to ancient Chinese Philosophy such as how the five elements are relevant to marketing. He talked about how we are not targeting men or women but actually the masculinity and femininity in both (much like Yin and Yang). But something that will stick with me for the rest of my life is how the ability to analyse things (in this big data age) can sometimes cloud our long term vision and marketing strategy. He talked about how when we try to understand a tree, we look at the leaves, then analyse the leaves, understand chlorophyll and end up analysing that. But the question is, do we end up losing sight about the tree itself?

2) JC Oliver, Global Head of Innovation at Microsoft 

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Gosh. What a ball of Energy! JC Oliver is obviously extremely passionate about what he does and doesn’t give a damn about what anyone thinks. That is exactly what I love about him. JC Oliver talked about Innovation in a way no one has ever talked about – he didn’t break down complex equations (Yes, there are equations!), talk abstract things that no one understood or throw the word around like a Frisbee. He gave numerous examples and explained what Dragon Slayers really do. His example about Microsoft Cloud’s collaboration with Virgin Airlines to create a multi-sensory in flight experience during Christmas got me jumping in my seat. What we can do together is so much powerful than what we can do alone. Just imagine the possibilities!

3) Brian Wong, CEO at KIIP 

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This 23 year old CEO got everyone at the conference thinking – What have I done with my life?! Brian has a great sense of humour, is driven and talked about something that sadly no one talks about in the marketing world – (Real) VALUE. Often, we think we are adding value to the customer but the excessive conversation about programmatic (blah. blah. blah.) really just adds value to ourselves. Brian talks about capturing moments – specifically conquering the amygdala (the part of the brain associated with pleasure) when people ‘progress to the next level in a game’ or ‘check off a to-do-list’. The ability for brands to reward these crucial moments with delightful surprises (Ex: $20 Uber Ride) gives brands to the ability to maintain a really intimate relationship with the customer (& maintain a robust CRM Model). He urged the entire industry to not just bombard people with ads on every different screen but really engage with customers in a meaningful and respectful way.

Genius might be 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, but I think marketing is really 100% Inspiration (everything else will fall into place).