Alternative marketing thinking


Archive for the category “E Learning”

A learner’s resolution. Guide to surviving the new world of advertising.

I was fortunate to meet with the great Sanjay Khare a few days ago. For those who don’t know Sanjay, he is an advertising veteran having spent over three decades in the business. He is now reinventing himself as a digital marketing specialist at Pinstorm. Sanjay was speaking to a bunch of students at a college do, telling them how he always wears an “L” board every time he goes lecturing.

In a world that’s changing every day I think everyone of us could do with Sanjay’s attitude.  Hang a metaphorical board around our necks, step out to embrace change by understanding new ideas and concepts as they emerge and get drawn into the mainstream.

So here folks, for whatever it’s worth, my game-plan to learn and stay relevant as things change around me. Over the years I have put down a process, a ritual as I call it, and if I have not already bored you to death at a party with my theories, maybe worth spending the next few minutes on.

When I started out in this business, the world was still analog. We relied on expensive award show annuals from One Show, British D&AD, Art Director’s Club or magazines like Communication Arts, Archive, Print and rare issues of Creative Review and Admap to feed our need for knowledge. Today the world of learning comes to us at broadband speeds, and free (mostly).  With sites like Ads of the World, The FWA, The Inspiration Room, The Dieline and not to miss out on a very important plug, this very website Campaign India.

Now I have never been a person who only looked at other advertising for inspiration and knowledge. So part of the learning process involves devouring magazines like Wired. I started out with second hand copies bought off the pavements of Brigade Road, Bangalore. Pop Sci. Reading authors like Tom Peters (don’t forget to check out his brilliant collection of PPT slides under the resources link), Ries & Trout, hell I even read their lame duck tome, Horsesense. Edward De Bono. Sun Tzu, Martin Lindstorm

By the late 90s, the web became my feeding ground. Using bookmarks and later a MyYahoo page, I dived deep into the endless pool that the information revolution had created. For a guy interested in new things, there was no end to know much he could read and understand. Soon blogs were upon us and some of the best minds whose books I waited for, for months and years, started to write their own blogs. Seth Godin, soon Tom Peters and Sally Hogshead.

Then in around 2003 I discovered RSS. Or Real Simple Syndication. For a learner, discovering feed readers was moment of nirvana. From a forager of information, feed readers like Bloglines brought stuff I liked onto my desktop. Instead of me looking for stuff on various sites, knowledge was waiting for me everytime I opened my browser. At the peak of my feed addiction, I was reading up to 700 blogs and RSS enabled websites a day (now it’s a more manageable 56). From ones that posted a few times a month to others like BoingBoing and Metafilter that posted many, many times a day. Glancing through some 2000 bits of new information a day, reading some 50 pieces or so that interested me and absorbing, sharing and using a dozen or so a day.

On a personal level I have had to make a few adjustments too. First and most important to set aside some time every day for learning. It’s easy to make excuses. We are busy, working hard, travelling, making presentations, pitching. Yawn.

For me, the fear of irrelevance, even worse obsolesce motivates me to get off the bed early every morning. And I do this every morning, every day, no matter how late I have slept, whether I am in town or on holiday. If I can have net access, I will clean up my feeds by the time I head out of home.

These days, Twitter has become a rich source of new stuff. G+ from being seen as a Facebook killer has become more like my Bloglines killer, where people I know and respect post interesting links and videos. I pick up an odd bit or two from Facebook through the day. As information and content sources grow online, I feel I am using other people as filters to filter what reaches me.

So what do I take forward into 2012 as a learner’s resolution? To glance less and read more. To read more books. The brilliant Brain Picker Maria Popova reads as many books a week as I have read all year. To seek out and find new semantic reading tools like Zite to help me discover more of what I will like and what I would skip. As Lord Alfred Tennyson captured in this pithy little line in Ulysses: “to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.”

Thanks for reading everyone. If you are sober in the weekend, do go out and make an L board for yourself. And have a great 2012.Image


Social Media’s New Gold Diggers

Sitting on the fringes of some social media campaigns I am noticing an interesting bunch of players. Fans who have made it their business to win prizes that brands offer online.

You see them again and again and again. The moment a contest is announced by a brand, they swoop down, powered by their personal networks on Facebook, Twitter and 4sq.

Free keychains, no problem, Tee Shirts, we will play! Mobile phones bring em on…

Anything that is thrown down at them, they are game. The same names, the same faces, similar styles. Their theme is familiar. As if telling brand and community managers – you play, we are game.

The “9s” in the 90/9/1 rule of social media they are. They don’t create much on their own but they are ready participants on games simple and tough. Sharing, joking, heckling, flaming, cheering – they seem like a virtual band of brothers and sisters sharing tips as they move from network to network, game to game.

We have heard about Chinese Gold diggers and their subsequent ban on online. Virtual millionaires on Second Life and this excellent story in Wired Magazine that tipped us about this demographic some years ago. Others who help you farm better on Farmville and stuff. But these guys are not that intense. Afflicted with ADD as it were, flirting between many contests at the same time, day in and day out.

It’s a privilege to be a fly on the wall to watch these online merchants ply their trade. Young people from cities and small towns who have learned tricks, shared tips and how tos online.

Would be fascinating to bring these new age netizens together for a tete-a-tete. Understand their real world lives, virtual avatars, online strategies, motivations and more.

In the connected world, anything is possible and I could be a digital anthropologist. Dig, dig, dig

Online Revenues Support Offline Publication

Jeff Jarvis calls it right when he reports on how the online edition of LA Times now creates enough online advertising revenue to cover the Times’ entire editorial payroll, print and online. We are on the cusp of the moment, he writes, when online revenue could sustain a substantial digital journalistic enterprise without the onerous cost of printing and distribution. So will LA Times shut off their presses and start living a fully digital life? He thinks not. It will take more than a legacy paper to eschew traditional newsrooms and online completely. Despite millions of dollars in savings by shutting down its print shop, Jeff Jarvis thinks it will take bold new innovators with new ideas to reinvent the newspaper business. From The Guardian.

What Gets Clicked

Do the colour, font, image and message of the ad induce online visitors to click ads? A new bunch of companies are trying to find out just this. They are creating hundreds of versions of clients’ online ads, changing these basic elements to see what combination draws clicks on a particular site or from a specific audience. Two companies, Adisn and Tumri are trying to find out, for example, if an ad for a baby supply store is more popular with young mothers when it features a bottle instead of diapers. They have the technology to assemble ads on the fly and have them come up when people are searching. For example for their work on cleaning brand Simple Green, if it’s a woman looking at a kitchen with a stainless steel refrigerator, they can show a stainless steel product. While a basic use of the concept could help identify which version of the ad works best, what advertisers are finding is that the appropriate ad is not static, and changes all the time as content on the page changes. Read more in Ny Times. Also in Wired Magazine, Online advertising. Survival of the fittest. If you are still reading this story, you may want to check out Yahoo Smart Ads.

No Spend Month

With credit tightening and expenses mounting, many people are looking for ways to cut spending. In the US such and effort is being co-ordinated by the good folks at Wesabe. They promoted the latter part of October and most of November as a No Spend Month. Here are their eight tips to having a successful no spending month. 1) Examine your spending habits for the past few months. 2) Analyze your motives for ‘non-essential’ purchases. 3) Begin developing counter-habits. 4) Choose a realistic time period to launch your No Spend Month. 5) Use a money management tool. 6) Figure out the things you enjoy and how you can do them for free. 7) Focus less on changing numbers and more on changing habits. 8) Find a support network to check in with and post your progress. Read more on the Wesabe Blog.

Open-Source Data Mining

Free tools are everywhere, but nothing could come close to the power that Maltego could unleash. Billed as an open source analytics tool, Maltego is already getting rave reviews around the world. Maltego lets just about anybody do the kind of data mining that in the past only fraud investors, government specialists and hackers typically could do. Since Temmingh released the first commercial version of Maltego this past summer, even several national intelligence agencies have made use of the software, he says. Like with all new age ideas, the basic version of the software is free, download and play around here. And the commercial version costs under US $500. Read more from Forbes Magazine.

Winning The Battle Against Email

Like most people IBM’s Luis Suarez was drowning in email he would receive at work. Tired of his ritual of spending many hours of his mornings answering mails, Suarez decided to cut back. The fact that he is a social computing evangelist at IBM helped him make the switch easily. His one act, of cutting back on answering every mail he received reduced his mail traffic by 80% in the first week. He also started to use more social networking tools, like instant messaging, blogs and wikis, among many others. Read more from New York Times.

Students Learn Money Talk

The Royal Bank of Canada has started a unique web portal to help students learn about money management, through video and text blogs by six chosen bloggers. RBC p2p claims to be a place where students can voice their own thoughts about the kind of banking they really need and want. The six bloggers are a mix of university students, aged between 19 to 29 years, right from all the way in Saskatchewan to British Columbia. A good thing would be to link up this blog to more student-popular social websites like Facebook, MySpace and others. We think that Twitter updates on what students are discovering would also revolutionize it and make it more interactive, something that students would actually talk about even when they are not using it.

Promote Leadership Via Podcasts

Steve Lubetkin, founder of Professional Podcasts LLC talks about how professional video podcasts can help banks in promoting thought leadership. Using interesting references from Clint Eastwood films and various social media like Vodcasting, virtual worlds and networking sites, Steve explains how the Internet has opened up an entire new range of opportunities to communicate. This communication is what is going to change the face of marketing as we know it today. Interestingly, Steve unravels how marketing, which is all about conversations and engagement, is linked to leadership. Watch the podcast here.

Permission Spam. The Sorry State Of Email Marketing.

A recent report from Forrester says that ninety-seven percent of consumers in the US use email. The figures many not be so high in India, but the usage is close to the same among those belonging to the top SECs. Even though email adoption rates are so high is it being used right? Seventy-seven percent of respondents to the Forrester survey say they receive too many email offers. Seventy-two percent delete most email advertising without reading it, and only five percent buy things advertised through email promotions. According to Stephanie Miller, vice president of strategic services at email service provider Return Path the problem is a lack of long-term customer strategy. “Many marketers think of email as a broadcast channel, not as a way to connect with individuals.” When integrated with data like CRM, POS, and Web analytics, email can leverage customer data to have a real dialogue, but very few marketers actually do it. There are some very good insights on how companies could use email better in this two part series from 1to1 weekly. Read them here and here.

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