What Earns You Respect?

This week I am teaching a class of management students on #digital marketing. What I find, especially with management students, is the tendency to use jargons. I love jargons too. Nothing wrong in throwing one’s weight using jargons. But when asked for an explanation, if you are wrong or have not understood what the jargon means, you stand exposed. Hence one should be careful. Alternatively practicing to use simple words, to explain, attracts people. It never goes wrong. Not using jargons, no one will run the risk. But using jargons and not able to explain it can undo a lot of things. So be careful while using jargons. What earns you respect is what you can explain simply. I try to teach in simple terms and then introduce jargons. Just an observation from the class. What do you think?

What Should Healthcare Marketers Know?

These are my views addressing Healthcare marketers who are coming in (with technology) for the future. A twitter conversation with @HealthIsSocial is shared to encourage you to post your comments.


Healthcare Conversations

Why I Am Upbeat About MSME Moving Towards eCommerce

7K0A0947I have been talking, thinking and discussing about eCommerce for MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) and posted a few thoughts in the last few posts.

The reasons why I think MSMEs will be good successful participants of eCommerce are

  • Single Owners (single can mean individual or family)
  • Own Capital (most of them run their businesses on their own capital)
  • Owners can take decisions (Decision Makers)
  • Decision Makers control and manage the business on a daily basis
  • Most of them will have experience ranging from 10-40 years in business
  • Most of them know all the business challenges of their respective businesses

Don’t you think there is a strong case for their moving towards eCommerce with such strong attributes which help the decision making and transition required. Feel free to comment or add what you think.

 

Taking MSME Towards eCommerce

foto courtesy: HubSpot offers

foto courtesy: HubSpot offers

I wrote The Vegetable Vendor And The eStore and eStore: Get Inspired By Volvo.

I had said that training programs, with basic content, educating about eCommerce will help rates of adoption. 

Training Programs

  • The training should start from introduction to Internet, mobile Internet and online market concept.
  • Businesses should be taught to think of opportunities. 
  • They should be encouraged to check with their existing customers and see some proof.
  • Seeing their name on the internet will sure encourage them to do this exercise of showing and getting more feedback.  
  • They can be taught to start from the Contact Page (even their promotion to customers can start here).
  • They will see a lot of relevance when they start from this page. They can be taught to spend a few hours everyday online.
  • Simple designs, video testimonials can be easily picked up by them while they learn. 
  • It should be explained that eCommerce can be tried as a part of overall business while they are on the learning curve with limited resources.
  • They can use Signage and Hand-outs to promote their presence online with existing customers and/or at their current traditional outlets. 

What sellers can do over the internet:

  • Learn Internet as a market place
  • Learn marketing over the internet
  • Learn actual selling over the internet
  • Learn to share information
  • Collaborate internally (with employees)
  • Learn the advantage of expanding markets, if they can deliver over the internet

Factors that could encourage people adopt eCommerce

  • Increased sales
  • Reduced costs
  • Improved customer service leading to increase in sales
  • Supply chain streamlining and solving continuity issues
  • Overall efficiency compared to traditional methods employed

Shortcomings

  • Lack of Internet access
  • Lack of skilled staff
  • Consumer indifference
  • Security concerns
A comparison of current costs, necessary capital costs, ongoing costs, timeline to experiment, measuring some of the factors discussed above and a review of all these every 3 months can be done with businesses to encourage adoption or to alert them to fine-tune to make it successful or even to discontinue. 
 
Such training programs can be done through trade associations and so many other non-profit associations which work in the welfare of MSMEs.  
 
I am sure increasingly eCommerce will become the order of the day. But those who help businesses gain advantage will lead from the front establishing themselves through conversions by creating a good ecosystem for the growing eCommerce. 

eStore: Get Inspired By Volvo

I posted The Vegetable Vendor And The eStore.

It attracted comments as follows (Taking the liberty with Sumant and Rajesh to post it here).

I believe that people who offer eStore  like Net My Store can start a new trend and help people maintain their customers and also improve upon them. The vegetable vendor is only an example. There are so many traders/other vendors who are struggling to keep up their businesses with increasing costs and loosing customers fast. They have no clue to what hits them. Most of them have to shed what they have been doing for generations and look for new work. That is not easy. They suffer a lot.

I was thinking about Sumant’s question of  “Are they “equipped” enough to use it?”. Good question. Answer is “obviously, they are not”. Through the last one-week it was running in my mind.  Will they be “equipped” ever? That looks tough if we think standing on their shoes. So the next question: Is there anything that such people who promote “eStores” can offer to them?

Take a break. Another thought today.

In recent years, we find Volvos plying everywhere. How do you think they have won? It is just not their vehicle. If they had kept talking about only their vehicle and has left it in the hands of those who are not “equipped” to handle it, it would have been very tough for both them and the buyers. I think their success can be attributed to their investment on Driver Training Program. Read this page here.

Now back to what we were discussing. I know a lot of differences exist. I know acquisition costs will be higher if you do the training as part of your selling. But let us forget the differences. Is there any learning that we can capture from it? Can the eStore guys put together an “Online Store Training Program” ? Will it make a difference? Can it be sold? If yes, it should be done through channels like trader associations which will make it easier.

I am sure such training programs with basic content (will write about it sometime later) will be very attractive and might even create a lot of new jobs in other areas of work. What do you think?

Or will these stores prefer to wait for them to be “equipped”? And is that the right thing to do? Just thinking loud.

Feel free to comment. I am here to listen.

Marketing A Product: Is that an opportunity?

Discussions

I have a few friends who are currently discussing with me on their new ventures. These are marketing guys who have proven their worth in the companies that they worked with for years. I know they sell well. I am discussing some possibilities that exist as opportunities. Here I am sharing one of our discussions.
A Marketing Company
A lot of companies struggle with their marketing. Not that their products are bad all the time. Suppose we have a “marketing agency/company” which can pick up such good products and just sell them well. Do you think such a marketing agency or company would grow once they are successful, with their recipe proven, with a few products? It looks to me that today there are more chances of such a marketing company succeeding with good products. More so in this age of marketing with Social Media tools. 
Where is the struggle?
There are a lot of good products that dont get to see the market or succeed in the market. The reasons could be many. Sometimes some of the products are worth taking a second look or trying with the market. 
Examples
Let me share an example of such kind. In the healthcare world, sometimes a good molecule(read antibiotic,as an example) does not sell well. When you look at the reasons, you find many. Sometimes the reasons are simple and at other times a mix of a lot of factors contributing to it. It could be as simple as it was used for a wrong indication, or not launched well. There are instances where innovators have relaunched these molecules successfully. Sometimes others have done better than the innovator. 
Take another example. Take the case of CRM softwares in India. It has been very badly promoted in India. But if you ask me, they have real potential. I think I know why they failed. Simply bad promotion. 
Today I visited a innovative games store(not the computer kind). I see that their products are very good. Immediately I could think of a dozen ideas to sell them well. But I think they have not done justice to their innovative ideas and products. I told them that. I see that they have gone the traditional marketing way. But markets have changed for such products. Incidentally I saw this fitting case which fits the spirit of this post perfectly.
The above examples are only to say that such experiences can be found with products from every vertical and sphere of marketing. Thats what I think.
My thoughts
As I know the market now, even new products that are good are struggling to sell. May be right from the beginning companies will use outside help to market their product. Not necessarily only good and failed products. May be good and new products too. With so many start-ups of every kind around, such a marketing company can find some good partnerships too for a mutual win-win.
What do you think? Feel free to comment. Share your experience, if any. 
Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com

The Business Impact Series: New Markets

The Cluetrain Manifesto
The Cluetrain Manifesto (Photo credit: Esse)

Just saw this in the twitter stream today:

World Population: 
1) China 2) India 3) FACEBOOK
4) United States 5) Indonesia 6) Brazil 7) TWITTER 
If this is so, dont you think that facebook and twitter becomes an important place for your business? 
As cluetrain manifesto says “Markets are Conversations”.
Especially I like the 17th one there: 

Companies that assume online markets are the same markets that used to watch their ads on television are kidding themselves.

I am sure your company has marketing guys who are country-specific. Have you thought of a “VP-Marketing” for Social Networks as a market place? why not?   Evaluate social networks as a market place. I assure you it will be an interesting exercise to start with and will lead you to a whole new world of opportunities for business.
Let me know what you can find or cannot. Send in a word here and I will be happy to hear and talk to you. 
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Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com

Social Media And Its Impact On Marketing

Be it personal or professional lives, the interest in Social Media tools has been on the rise. I have been blogging to share my ideas with more number of people. I have also been speaking at seminars and through webinars. A lot of people are using Social Media tools but find it difficult to navigate when it comes to a brand or business. I have been concentrating on the theme of business with social media tools and trying to help from hand-holding to self-sufficiency. My approach to Social Media is slightly different and it is more towards defining it as “connecting to people with objectives through a strategy using technology”.

I am sharing a recorded version of one of my recent webinars. Listen to it and let me know your comments.

Social Media and Its Impact on Marketing from Varadharajan Krishnamoorthy on Vimeo.
This is a recorded webinar on Social Media and Its Impact on Marketing.

You can have a quick glance at the slides here.

If you need a seminar/webinar/workshop customized to your industry/business or further want to talk to me on effective Social Media strategies for your business objectives, feel free to contact me here. I will be happy to help.

Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com

Build Your Brand Series : Why Social Media Marketing?

Peers become important in middle childhood and...

Image via Wikipedia

When we seek out information about a particular product, what do we do today? Most of us turn the computer on (if it is not always switched on) and look for that information by way of search and, in addition, look for reviews and endorsements from others to get a hang of it. If we had been asked about it by someone else or if we had discussed the product with someone else, we tend to pass on the relevant articles, videos, pictures or posts to others.  The trend shows that there is more trust on the reviews of peer groups or other users than the words of the representative of the company marketing the same. Or at least consumers tend to check it out.

Yes or No?

If yes and if you are a Marketer, do you think your product or service is an answer to a question? Do you think your customer is among those who now flock to the internet to find answers and get what they want? Would you like to have the advantage of your product or service being discovered by such prospective customers?

If yes, I would say its time that you talk about your products and services to people who are looking for solutions online. As a marketer you should connect your company and brand(s) to consumers online if you are interested in your business and growth.

Social Media is people talking to people.

When one person receives your message well, they tend to tell others. You get additional supporters. With proper content and right targeting, you can grow this tribe. These set of people will become your loyal ambassadors and help you reach out. It is easier done online as it is easy to spread. Social Media Marketing boosts traffic to your content as people pass on relevant results to their peers. 

Since conversations in social media about you or your brand can happen irrespective of your presence, it is all the more important that you be present, participate and engage with social media to grow your brands. This way you will have a chance to defend and explain when you have negative comments and hence will have a chance to convert criticisms into an opportunity for business.

A marketer can use online social channels to reach out a larger community than what is possible the traditional way.  Social Media Marketing also does not interfere with your traditional marketing. But gets you more eyeballs to start with.

What do you think? Are you ready?

I am in the process of working with businesses gearing up to harness the potential of Social Media Marketing. I will be sharing the gist of such discussions here. So, stay tuned or Read them in your Email Inbox.

Got questions? Post it. Feel free to discuss in the comments section or buzz me here.

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Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com

Build your Brand Series : Domain based Email

A lot of small and medium businesses use email today. They find using email and connecting to people is a lot more easier.Email helps them be productive and especially reduces their physical visits to clients and clients, in turn, get better service. When I talk to them, all of them agree that email has contributed to their business by way of allowing them to take more work(with specific reference to quantity and time) than before and that more clients prefer to deal with them now due to the ease of communication(read more number of customers). A business owner even told me that he goes through past emails randomly when he has time and often finds some interesting past correspondences and picks-up threads from that and talks to customers updating them on new things. Email makes it possible to have such records and using them.

Most Small and Medium Businesses use popular emails like rediffmail,gmail,yahoo, hotmail and other such generic accounts. While they have a website, not many of them have realized that they can use the domain name simply with their emails. Instead the standard practice is to use company name with generic accounts.(example: companyname@yahoo.com). The domain name is the thing that comes after the @ in an email address. eg. contactme@varadh.com

Using domain name with the email helps Branding. Especially for start-ups, small and medium businesses who start out to use email should necessarily think of capitalizing on this easy way of promotion of their Brand by using their domain name with their email. The Brand recall will be much better if emails are sent with the domain name and also will look lot more professional and create trust in the minds of the customer.

Email has been and will remain the hub of business activity around which business activities will take place. Hence it is important to use email with your domain name for building your Brand.

For more on how to use Email efficiently, keep visiting here or contact here.

Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com