Station Ads – An Eye Opening Experience

This summer I finally realized my dream vacation to France and the UK and traveled from Paris to London in a Eurostar that goes from under the English Channel. Yes!! I was super charged to soak in every bit of this experience that I had been planning since I can remember, and most importantly take a much deserved break from work (or so what I thought). But I guess, as a marketer you cannot stop appreciating the different and most creative ways in which companies are reaching out to their customers.

This is where I want to share my overwhelming experience both as a marketer and a consumer while taking the metro (in Paris), train and tubes (in London).

gare du nord              Gare Du Nord Station (Paris)

station-london_st_pancras-_c_eurostar_30=4-b1c88                    St. Pancras station (London)

euston           Euston station (London)

Notes from my travel diary:

  1. Taking a metro or a tube is an inescapable part of everyone’s life here…be it a resident or a tourist
  2. It is much more than a journey; it is an experience!
  3. Interestingly, each station and train journey leaves you with a different experience
  4. You are certainly not alone…there is so much to observe
  5. Between the hackneyed sequence of thing, you have time and some attention (beyond your phone and laptop) to spare

BAM!!! That for me sums up as: A pool of audience, under one roof, literally waiting to be entertained.

In Paris, I started talking to a fellow passenger named Clara who was generous enough to share her views me with. Very honest, she said “glad it’s Sunday today…or else I would have been wearing my earphones and reading a book”. I asked her if that’s how she prefers to be while commuting and does that allow her time to look at the company/product ads. She said, ” I look at them all the time, you can’t not look if you know what I mean. For someone like me who travels every day, I wish they would change these ads more often”.

This interaction which did not even last for more than 6 minutes because I had to get down, left me with statement that was deep – You cannot NOT see them! That is so true…it is everywhere, it is bold, it is funny, it is asking questions and it is provoking you to act. It is solving your problems, it is giving you a better price, it is sharing your concern and it is all true!

In London, I bugged another co-passenger named Sashi (yes, I am like that stranger who talks…a lot J) but he was also quite generous in sharing his views. “taking the tube is like a ritual for me”, he said. “when you spend so much time commuting, you get attached even without realizing. Be it the people, the newspapers, the hoardings…the whole atmosphere actually. I once booked a holiday trip after looking at an ad, you can say it was a compelling ad”.

Compelling indeed!

So here are my thoughts…

  1. Outdoor branding in stations has evolved from being ‘stuck in a place’ to being ‘travel companions’. The language, visuals and overall feel of the ads have embraced the different components of a commuter’s life.
  2. It is much more than awareness and visibility now! Station ads can easily become a dinner table conversation topic for a family which for me is important engagement.
  3. There is space for everyone here. Your brand can shine beside another because you relate as you are. Surely brands are becoming more creative in indulging with the commuters but everyone has their space that fills a void for someone if not all.
  4. It’s upbeat and it’s digital. One is looking forward to the next thing that will be on the screen and enlighten them. For creative agencies it is like a blank canvas to make something that no one has ever seen before.
  5. As a brand you will disappoint and also be disappointed if you miss the gala. Maybe there is a pair of eyes staring in the blank and you could have been there.

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Can “Cold Calling” lead to “Hot Selling”?!

Are you on the other side of the phone, with a script that has no emotions and a target that has no logic? If your answer is YES, then this blog is for you because you got it all wrong bruh :-/

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But…If you are on the other side of the phone, with a strategy crafted for the person you are calling that will initiate a meaningful business relationship? then go chill!! you have it figured out 😀

So you know what I am talking about…Cold Calling. If you are a noob then here is a wikipedia definition for you – “Cold calling is defined as the solicitation of business from potential customers who have had no prior contact with the salesperson conducting the call.” You get it? all the credit card, health insurance, property dealer calls you get almost every day! It goes by a more professional term called telemarketing btw.

As a marketer I have no doubts that telemarketing is a very useful, result oriented and sophisticated marketing tactic that can generate leads, convert sales and develop business relations. I mean just think about it…you (a consumer) are chilling on a sunny day thinking about a luxurious foreign vacation and wallah! the phone rings and a warm voice tells you how a credit card with travel benefits can make your dream come true. I mean this is the story of modern age genie you guys!!

Sadly in real life this is how the scenario unfolds…you (a consumer) are overworked in your office trying to catch up with the pending to-do list and damn! the phone rings and a high pitched voice starts narrating a story that’s just  mumbo-jumbo words with very little sense in it. And you just slam the phone down hoping to never hear that voice again. Some who have lost hope even block these numbers to be sure!

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So where is it going wrong? It all sounded good when you were presenting the strategy in the conference room…100 calls per day > 50% response rate > 10% pipeline ….the numbers were magical! then what went wrong?

“Knock Knock”

“Who’s this”

“Your strategy that needs better EXECUTION”

* i use humor as a defense mechanism 😀 😀

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So Let’s talk about Useful, Result Oriented & Sophisticated cold calling (yes it exists) and how these simple pointers can really change the game for you:

1.WHO AM I?

FYI, this is deep. Before you pick up that phone to dial an unknown number please be sure who you are. Find an answer to who (your company) and what ( your role and offered solution) gives you the power to make this call. I say this because many a times I get a call from “someone” from “somewhere” telling me things which are secondary part of a conversation. Please take some time to introduce yourself and your purpose before you jump right into the tele script.

2.  IS IT A GOOD TIME?

If you are not asking this question before you nose dive into a long conversation with a complete stranger…please don’t complain that chivalry is dead, cause you are killing it! Please appreciate other person’s time and give them the option to opt in or out of the call basis their present state of affairs. If they are busy ask more a suitable time to call back and please call back.

3.  SCRIPT OR NO SCRIPT?

I am not saying tele-scripts are useless but they are redundant. I was once given the task to make a tele-script for IT solution sales and believe me there is no end to the number of possibilities how the conversation would go. So i just took the most likely situations and made a script (or what turned out to be a list of FAQs) that was meant to give direction to a telemarketing rep. So step out of it and use it only for directions! try to sound genuine, add a personal touch and go with the flow of the other person’s response.

4.  OK I HEAR YOU, NOW WHAT?

Ever happen to you? you get so busy planning for the worse that you run out of reactions when it all works out? After a dozen unsuccessful attempts when that one God sent angel says the golden words like…”yes, I’d like to know about this” OR “yes, I want that” OR “yes, Ok” what then? You are probably dancing on your seat thinking of the deal you just won. Na ah! stop dancing and get real…tell them the steps that follow, call to action that includes signing up right now or a meeting request.

5.  ARE YOU THANKFUL?

Yes you are in the above scenario…the guy just signed up for your service. But are you thankful when someone says “sorry, but I don’t need this”? probably not much, but you gotta be! Not wanting to sound preachy at all but that’s the rule. Thank them for their time, any information that they might have shared, their patience while you were finding the right answer and most importantly their interest (if any).

I guess this helps every telemarketer who is armed with a phone that has a lot of potential. Let me know your thoughts…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Integrated Marketing Communication: Part I

I feel Integrated Marketing Communication as a concept is like the movie Inception. You feel like you know what it is about but you always want to double check before explaining it to someone else.

So, What is Integrated Marketing communication (IMC)?

It is the use of marketing strategies to optimize the communication of a consistent message of the company’s brands to stakeholders. Coupling methods together improves communication as it harnesses the benefits of each channel, which when combined together builds a clearer and vaster impact than if used individually. IMC requires marketers to identify the boundaries around the promotional mix elements and to consider the effectiveness of the campaign’s message.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_marketing_communications

But if your mind is still spinning like the totem with questions like what, why, how…the quote below by Philip Kotler will save you for sure.

Image result for integrated marketing communication philip kotler

It will be a crime to add anything to his explanation about IMC but I’ll suggest you read, re-read and read aloud the statement for it to reveal the different layers of reality in it.

As a marketer I try to upskill myself and be up to date with new trends, practices, case studies, success stories and ideas to be able to really contribute to what I do.  And this statement was like a self realization journey when I questioned myself – how often do I make a marketing plan with the customer’s view point in mind?!

Every time when a marketing communication missed including a channel where my customer was expecting to see me (as in the brand/s I work for) it was NOT an integrated marketing communication from my end.

<sigh>

So, I have decided to take up this small activity to understand better a customer’s view point of the marketing process. I will observe, question and note the different channels a customer resorts to, trusts and prefers while making a brand choice. Do watch out for the Part II of this blog and do let me know your thoughts on this topic.

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I’ll be back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Difference between Goal, Objective, Strategy & Tactic

The purpose of my blogs is to take inspiration from my everyday chores, events, scenarios and try to relate it to those marketing lessons which were once crucial to clear college tests with flying colors. That was back in the post-grad days when tests were taken (simple) and now I am put to test everyday in real business situations (not that simple). Marketing jargon, fancy presentations topped with promising case studies can be an impressive start for your marketing career but you have got to produce results. That is usually the unwanted question or exclamation mark while evaluating your marketing campaign.

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One of my favorite dialogues from House of Cards puts it just right…”One has to be smart to know what they don’t know.” So when going gets tough ask yourself what you have been pretending to know all this while because now is the time to actually know it!

This post is about the four pillars of every marketing campaign that are often misused, overused, underused or used for no reason at all. It’s the GOST…Goal, Objective, Strategy, Tactic.

  1. GOAL

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Or more precisely business goal. This is a very long term of view of what the business should become or should accomplish. Goals are meant to be ambitious and to some extent far fetched that can keep the work force motivated forever. for example, the goal of a cooking oil company would be to become the number 1 cooking oil of the world. Even if the brand ends up being the least used cooking oil in its geographical region, the goal will always be same.

2. OBJECTIVE

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When your boss asks the objective behind your strategy…make sure you have a number in mind. That’s right, objective is where you define the way to achieving the business goal using concrete and justified numbers. Taking the above example, when the cooking oil company comes to me with the goal…it expects me (the marketer) to figure out HOW?

So one of the objectives would be to double the sales in one year. If we are presently we are selling 100 bottles we have to increase the sales to 200 bottles. There can be multiple objectives in a campaign. Like in this case, the new cooking oil company might want to achieve considerable brand awareness as a part of this campaign.

3. STRATEGY

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This according to me is the most misused word of all! so now you know that growing your business is not a strategy and so is increasing product sales. Strategy is a critical bridge that connects you to the objectives and subsequently the goal. when i say bridge…picture one of those hanging bridge connecting two mountain cliffs and not the concrete modern day bridge just to maintain the thrill of this crucial step 😀

It is true that strategy can make or break your campaign that’s because it answers the very important WHY? Strategy should answer why you are doing what you are doing and if the answer is not aligned with your objective and goal…you know what’s wrong. For example, sampling would be a good marketing strategy for increasing the sales of cooking oil. And so would be reviews by influential cooks and food connoisseurs. Strategy constitutes multiple steps that individually and all together contribute to coming close to the goals.

4. TACTICS

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Tactics will take you to the white board and multicolored excel sheets. That’s because when you are working on your tactics you need every little detail to action the campaign. If the cooking oil company plans to use sampling as a strategy to let people try out their product for free, the tactics would include the plan of action to make this happen. For example, where to give free samples – malls, hypermarkets, mini marts ,etc. key locations to target, number of stalls and other minute details.

Hope you have got the GOST figured out now and with the basics in place the result will be… YOU ON TOP!!

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Content Marketing 2022

Hail the power of sharing!

Not so much the “sharing is caring” moral science lesson we all got as kids…but that small share button by the corner of everything you read and watch online. A one click reach to all the watchful eyes who are ever so keen to know what you are up to!

Honestly I am not much of a sharer because I tend to apply a lot of filters to what is good/bad/interesting/politically correct about a post and by the time I am done contemplating the subject…its too late. But  you can still appreciate the power of the share button being on the receiving end of it. Everyday I come across such amazing reads, updates and happenings around the world about something as random as walnuts and as specific as my interests. So while I am still sticking to the long checklist of do’s and dont’s before sharing something online (which btw is a good topic for a blog), here’s a good read on content marketing that a connection shared on LinkedIn.

Content Marketing in 2022: Very Personal, No Silos, and Lots of Voice

content-marketing-2022-cmw-experts-talkWhere do you see yourself in five years?

Do you hate that question as much as I do? While I’m not a fan (perhaps because I’ve never had a great answer), I understand why it’s asked. The interviewer wants to know that the job candidate has considered the short-term future and wants to see how the candidate’s potential path for success fits with the company’s.

With a professional twist, we asked the experts presenting at Content Marketing World what they see in the next five years as the biggest changes in content marketing. This isn’t a list of predicted tech advances or outlandish guesses – it’s practical and proactive. You could take one or all 25 and begin working on them today (if you’re not already) – to plan strategically for short- and long-term success.

We’ve segregated the answers based on the five emerging themes – personalization, formats, implementation, voice-activation, and data.

 

http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2017/08/content-marketing-2022/#.WYCOrfdjvHU.linkedin

doing my bit of sharing 🙂

 

 

 

 

Marketing Speaks

Marketing speaks aka marketing jargon is usually perceived as tricks up a marketers sleeve. Having worked in a corporate and now with a marketing agency, life has kind of been a full circle in a short span of time. And throwing jargon in meetings has changed its hidden motive from “testing ones skills” to “proving ones”.

But given the peace loving person that i am, there can be a truce offering. What if everyone just knew what these tense but often self explanatory words/phrases meant. So here are some marketing magic words that you might use (*with caution) while discussing the life changing marketing strategies with your team, marketing experts, third party or your pet dog!

1. Advertising Clutter

Hey remember that beauty soap ad?! which has like milk, shea butter and aloe vera in it?…the one which has a beautiful model in a bathtub with foam all over her??…ohh come on, how about the jingle that’s always at back of your head!

Image result for soap ad

I bet we all are thinking about different soaps that match the description above. And that my friend is an example of advertising clutter or Marketing clutter. While this phenomenon is inclined towards being a negative marketing effect but that’s not entirely true. Creative content, targeted messaging and multi-channel communication is key to creating some space for your brand in the clutter.

2.  Double-Loop Marketing

Marketing for a product or service starts with a strategic approach towards achieving the goals you set out for your business. Here the term approach is important because it is a step wise planner that aligns various components of the campaign to measurable KPI. Double-Loop marketing is an effective approach wherein the marketing efforts are two fold: Market Share & Wallet Share

Image result for market share wallet share

In the first loop companies try and provide as much information and advise to the potential customers about their solution/innovation. You do not want to just talk about your product but present a bigger picture of how your product/ service will make their life perfect. This loop is vital in creating a recall for your brand thereby creating a mind share in consumers cluttered mind. In line with the example of soaps, we have to give it to Dove for their consistent messaging of “moisturizing soap” and that’s what lingers in or mind when we think of this soap. The second loop is where you say show me the money! because businesses run on money you have to successfully sell you brand and grab a wallet share of your consumers.

There you go…I hope you’ve added these marketing lingo to your pocket book and ready to bedazzle the next marketing presentation. Come back because there’s going to be more of marketing speak in the coming days.

I am no marketing guru, I learn and spread the word. So please leave your comments in the form of suggestions, feedback, explanations and make this a marketing classroom.

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