MBA101: Where is my place?

Where is my place

I’m still figuring out;

Where is my place

Looms my biggest doubt.

Is it under the sun or over the moon,

Wherever it is, I want to find it soon.

Is it in the hands of some political goon
But tell me, why should I dance to their tune.

My place will be mine

It’s mine to decide;

I have made mistakes but at least I’ve tried.

Confused and dazed I search for my place,

When will time come to end this chase.




How can social media help in remarketing?

Remarketing is a tactic that lets you advertise to people who have visited your website and shown interest in your product or service. The way it works is relatively straightforward: Visitors come to your website, you segment your website visitors and create custom ads and then show those ads to those website visitors via websites like Facebook.

Mentioned below are a couple of advantages conferred by social media in re-marketing:

  1. Greater reach which is quantifiable
  2. Capitalize on social proof as people are willing to share positive feedback
  3. Drive higher conversion rates as people browse multiple website before purchasing. Hence a metric is important
  4. Because one can customize one’s ad text/ content, lower cost per click**

Leveraging the social media and tools available to you, you can remarket precisely to the audience you need to reach—potential customers, existing customers and even people who have never heard of you. Key advantage is that the expenses are purely operational.

Check out this link for detailed information.

Why is the thesis of Screening very important for Social Media Marketing?

The core difference between conventional marketing and social media marketing is the move from scanning to screening. Let’s first try to understand both.

Scanning is the process of continually and actively monitoring the external environment in order to identify customer needs, anticipate competitive actions, and, identify technological changes which will provide new market opportunities or market disruptions. In this context let us get to the outcome of scanning which is that a customer only gets to see the product.

Market screening is a useful first step for retailers or developers who are trying to identify the best locations in a large geography. In this context however it will be the ability to assess the credibility/ quality of the good.

Now our key question, why is screening important?

In the age of social media, people are not only influenced by TV ads or hoardings but also by reviews and views of their friends on FB/ Twitter/ Amazon. So now the user can check the reviews and then buy the good. In addition to this, he/ she can also express his views on the product thereby making the brands even more accountable. One example of this can be of a restaurant serving Reshmi Kabab at a price of Rs. 1200/ plate (which is a signal). On social media the customer can ask the restaurant why it offers the Kabab at a high price of Rs. 1200. Further he can ask for a lower price; restaurant will have to explain. This would be screening.

In a nutshell, screening decreases inequality and favors the disadvantaged party (which used to be the customer earlier).

A Successful Social Media Campaign?

9418fb87730daefc5d1bb54fcdfb8dae_400x400If there is one wave which India rode almost immediately after the west it has to be the wave of social media and with it the necessity of social media marketing. Let us discuss one interesting campaign I discovered:

Cafe Cuba: A carbonated drink with coffee flavor whose ad I happened to watch after trying it once. To begin with, it tastes really bad đŸ˜› The campaign on social media is however quite interesting. Parle Agro has come up with a product in this category after a long time. The Ad is themed around a Coffee Revolution where a group of youngsters deal in Cafe Cuba in a secretive fashion. Both music and script are good yet the ad isn’t that riveting. What’s more interesting is their website primarily because it interacts with the user! Okay the campaign all in all is really great but then the taste is really bad. Guess, the taste doesn’t matter as far as effectiveness of the campaign is concerned; because the campaign is good enough for a person to try out the drink at least once. Perhaps because it is anyway a new product hence all sales will be attributed to the campaign. Parle Agro is looking at a revenue of over 1000 Cr within next 12-14 months from Cafe Cuba. Perfect indicator of the campaigns success would only be seen in 2016. Till then Parle can hope that the Coffee Revolution picks up!

To check out other successful social media campaigns in India click here!

Social Media Marketing #2

So what if all you write is stored on some remote servers in Finland? Are you going to stop using WhatsApp or FB? Well no, you are still going to write those hate mails and continue those lovey-dovey chats! Alas, you don’t leave marketers with much choice, so they will hit where it effects you the most; based on all the Information you feed them.

Let me cover here 3 fundamental ideas I learnt today about Social Media Marketing. Let me also warn you that the following material is nothing about how you make an effective Social Media Campaign rather it is about popular failures and a few successes.

Black Friday

It is perfectly okay to not know. So the marketers know that people are going to swamp the stores for this one day. But what was the sure shot strategy for them to win a customer?

  1. Give a heavy discount on a hot selling product (like a PS4 maybe)
  2. Keep the prices of the other products almost as is because a customer once in – after queuing for hours, wouldn’t really go anywhere else

This would have worked wonderfully till dedicated website appeared to direct the customers to stores which gave them maximum value for money. Hence, social media empowered the customers as now they knew exactly where they should go to get exactly what they wanted at the price they were comfortable with!

What if Crowd deserts you?

An interesting case here is the case of on how they were brought down by the crowd which built them. is popular website for best-in-class reviews on products written by the users. One fine day however the owners decided to remove the delete button for the users. So now the users could write a review but could never delete it. Idea was to safeguard itself and owning all the reviews written by the users. Users revolted almost immediately and asked the website to re-introduce the delete button. When the website refused to budge, the user did something clever. They wrote a review titled Epinions Blows Dogs Write-Off. Then they up-voted by clicking it again and again to make it appear on the website’s home page. Within no time did Epinion succumb to its user base and granted the delete button. To their surprise however, this time the user base just said goodbye! So, as we discussed in the SMM #1 post, here we understand that the power of the crowd can also play against you. So better be careful!

Information Economics

First fundamental here is that the markets work due to asymmetry of information. The one who has more information makes money. Then comes the concept of Signaling and Screening. A simple analogy to understand and differentiate both would be a situation of an interview where the resume you send is signaling while what you speak in the interview is screening. So with the advent of social media, screening has become much more easy. For instance, the reviews of a product on Amazon tell you weather the product delivers what it signals. Moreover the asymmetry of information has now been evened out by the simple act of screening. What it means to the marketers? Well they will have to be ready for screening because now the fact that subway is actually just 11 inch long can’t be hidden anymore.

Perhaps to summarize it will be apt to say that Social Media Marketing/ or not Marketing is tricky business. Question is who gets tricked, the marketer or the customer? Meanwhile Information Management Experts can lay back and enjoy the show because in this zero sum game they are always the winner!

Social Media Marketing #1

Today the much awaited course on Social Media Marketing kicked off for the batch of PGDM 2014-16 at SPJIMR, Mumbai. What follows are 3 interesting insights and questions which popped in my head during the class. BTW, it’s going to be a series of three blogs with this being the first one. So here we go!

  1. Power of Crowd: What did Google do different to lure the users away from once popular Yahoo? Was it the clean interface, plain focus on search or something inherently different? Google delegated the task of content curation to the users contrary to Yahoo’s idea of doing it for the users. The core reasoning was to let customers decide what’s best for them – instead of forcing something a set of experts believed in. So, it was a move towards the wisdom of crowd which prevailed. In this context it will be interesting to consider the case of Waze – which did the exact same to google!
  2. Your Digital footprint will stay longer than you live: I always knew that all my whatsapp chats, blogs and tweets are stored somewhere and can be used against me – if the need be. However, I today understood exactly how its impossible to remove my footprint. Check out this link. Hence, one must be careful of what one writes because once on internet, forever for internet!
  3. Don’t Burn yourself!: While the companies always aim to minimize the burn rate, we here took the example of Amazon & UPS on how they collaborated to generate savings both for themselves and their customers. To know more about it, click here. What’s also important is to keep the customer at the center, which Amazon never forgets

So in a nutshell, it was quite a class. However, a few questions remain. Does this mark the end of self made products? What is so special about companies like Apple who violate the wisdom of crowd and follow an inside-out approach to innovation? Hope all this gets answered in post #2.

No Credits Please!

In my opinion one of the most amazing aspect of living a good life is good food. Without good food there is no joy, no excitement and no motivation. Perhaps that’s the reason why all the ingredients need to be present in right measure. Therefore, my favorite Rajma with a pinch of excess salt is just not done! So, you great cook don’t spoil my food and my life by adding something so useless that it makes the whole curry sour.

Opportunities in life are often like food recipes, an ingredient more or less and the entire experience is ruined. Take the example of an initiative by a college in Mumbai to send its students for rural internships in NGOs for development of corporate citizenship and sensitization. It is a once in a life time opportunity to experience something unique; an exposure to the people and lifestyle in rural areas. The program gives students hands-on experience in solving actual problems of the NGO. In a nutshell, there’s nothing like it and no other college across India; in my knowledge, offers anything even close. Oh wait, weren’t we talking about recipes of opportunities? Opportunities like these which have a social development bent get spoilt the moment you add credits to it. What I mean is that the college asks you to submit a report of the work done and you gain some credits (marks) against it. I personally feel that if you add credits to an opportunity of this sort, the opportunity just loses its taste. It robs you off the joy of helping someone less privileged purely out of your own will.

So let’s not mess up with the recipes of such opportunities, maintain their sanctity and let people cherish them! Say NO to credits!