Business, Marketing, Strategy, Technology, Web

Loyalty Card and Analytics together via Apps! – Way to go GBK


Everyone knows that Apps! are serious business. Instagram acquired for $1 billion, over billions of apps on iPhone and Android, to a large degree windows phone and blackberry failing due to lacks of apps! There is Facebook App, LinkedIn App, BBC News App, NDTV App, Hotel Booking Apps, Amazon Apps – many many apps! Most of the apps however are of 1 category – taking interaction from the user from the computer to their mobile device – which makes sense as it keeps the user engaged all the time.

gbkTill now, I have not seen many real consumer based companies moving to Apps to keep the user engaged and also gather useful analytics for themselves. This attempt by a Gourmet Burger Kitchen in the UK seems like a clever entry point.

Loyalty Cards have been around for a long long time. They give the user an incentive to come back, generate more revenue for the service provider and many times the user introduces other users to the brand as well. All this has been fairly well understood. Till now – loyalty cards existed like cards and not Apps!

By introducing the GBK App as a loyalty card – GBK gets so much more information and in turn helps grow the business.

  • User Analytics – App helps you measure number of repeat visits (per week, per month, per year)
  • Customer Retention – If the user starts using the app but does not come back then surely you can give them some special coupon to get the repeat business!
  • Location – When you are in the restaurant business, one of the most important things for you is Location! Through this app though you get to know exactly how many people and which people frequent which areas for GBK.
  • Paperless and Convenience – We all want to be green! And no one wants to look for bits of paper when you can have it in your smartphone.
  • Customer Categorisation – As the user needs to use to app before ordering to get the discount – you know their usual order size and margins – better of all you know the customer details. You can focus on the most profitable customers!

I believe this is just the start of the move of loyalty cards – maybe one day the term itself will change to Loyalty App!

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Will 2013 be the year of the enterprise startup?
Business, Leadership, Marketing, Technology

Is 2013 the Year of the Enterprise Startup ?

There has been a lot of talk about enterprise startups becoming ‘cool again’ , ‘the place to invest’ and so on. So what has really changed? How have enterprise startups, long considered boring and ‘un-scalable’ become sought after again? Here are the top three reasons

1. Tremendous focus on ROI at enterprise level
– The one common thread across all enterprise startups is an unwavering focus on ROI. This focus has particularly come in the spotlight in the wake of the global downturn that hit the World Economy in 2008. After this, there has been a definitive shift towards optimally using all resources, without exception, at an enterprise level. This has created newer opportunities and startups are exploiting those.

2. B2B outreach is easier than before – The biggest problem for a B2B startup is marketing. For example, an Accenture advertisement at best serves as a branding tool in the minds of 99% of the advertisement viewers. After all, mass media is definitely not the way to reach out to the enterprises. However, with the advent of channels like Google, Slideshare, Linkedin etc, this process has become simpler and inquiries through these channels are increasing for enterprise startups.

3. The advent of the cloud – Cloud, the ease of access and lowering costs of storage has meant that enterprise startups can stay afloat longer by curbing their expenses to the minimal. It wouldn’t be far fetched to say that enterprise startups owe a lot to services like AWS ( Amazon Web Services) for actually enabling their business models to go afloat at a lower cost than before.

Given all these factors, it is natural that enterprise startups are doing all sorts of innovative things and most importantly, at scale! Here are a couple of areas in which enterprise startups are totally cracking the whip –

(a) Analytics – A huge area where startups are innovating big time is analytics. An analytics backbone is a huge plus across sectors, be it in the ad network domain or in the enterprise effectiveness domain.

(b) Cloud storage – Startups like GitHub, Box, Dropbox, Diablo, Messagebus, Gridstore etc are all innovating on the cloud storage front and evolving new business models that are not only sustainable, but also scalable. And, they are well supported by Angel/VC money as well.

(c) CRM – Salesforce has literally become a common factor across almost all major companies today. The scale that Salesforce has been able to achieve has proven the scalability of B2B Startups. However, in the field of CRM, Salesforce is not alone and is closely followed by competitors like SugarCRM.

Given this, its natural that top VCs are entering the fray here –

KPCB is investing $200 mn

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers will invest at least $200 million this year in mobile applications and cloud computing services for corporate users, investment partner Matt Murphy said. The Menlo Park, California-based venture capital firm, which boosted its enterprise-technology investments in 2012, will also seek security-startup investments, Murphy said in an interview.

Startups focused on corporate users are benefiting as employees adopt personal smartphones and tablets for work. That’s triggered increased investment by companies in new tools to manage mobile and cloud-based computing, Murphy said.

“The traction in our enterprise portfolio really surprised us,” Murphy said. “We view the timing and opportunity as even better than in 2012.”

WSJ Articles about enterprise startups

When Andreessen Horowitz VC Peter Levine looked around a conference room Thursday in San Francisco and saw 10 reporters sitting next to five CEOs of enterprise tech startups, he could barely contain his glee. “There’s a renaissance in enterprise computing – if this were five, six or seven years ago, to get one person to show up in this room would have been quite difficult,” he said. Perhaps he was calculating how much those exits would be worth. After all, 80% of tech IPOs next year are expected to be from enterprise startups. Andreessen Horowitz has invested more than $100 million in the startups in the room.

An India view

In India as well, there is an unquestionable need for enterprise startups. In fact, a lot of Indian startups focused on the enterprise have made global waves too – Zoho being one such example. Will India react or adapt to this boom in Enterprise Startups? What enterprise startups will emerge from India in 2013? Have your say below.

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Ecosystem rankings 2012

Silicon Valley in India- Possible reality or Marketing pipe dream?

Silicon Valley is perhaps the world’s greatest startup ecosystem which the entire world is trying to emulate. The efforts of the countries are mapped in this fabulous Startup Ecosystem map –


Ecosystem rankings 2012

According to the Startup Ecosystem map, Bangalore is listed on the 19th position from among the 20 cities under consideration.

This begs the question to be asked – How is India doing on the front of the Startup ecosystem building? Not very well on any Global metric apparently.

Here are three big reasons why India very badly needs a Startup Ecosystem –

1. Massive educated workforce churned out by Universities – Every year we see such huge numbers among the work force churned out by Indian colleges – not only engineering but science, commerce etc

2. Relatively larger uncertainties for bigger companies – Given the retrenchment going on in many sectors, it won’t be wrong to say that Startups will provide employment to a larger audience than before.

3. Exciting opportunities with potentially larger impact – At a startup, there would be a greater opportunity to create an impact as compared to a smaller company.

Given this, is India missing a huge marketing opportunity by NOT making a city like Bangalore or Pune a Startup Hub?

I certainly think so. Given the huge fillip that IT has given to Bangalore or Pune or Gurgaon or Hyderabad – local Governments should be literally jumping at the opportunity at creating a startup ecosystem. It has the potential to attract the best talent from the globe to that city and more importantly is a better way to collect sustainable and ever growing revenue. Look at the model that the state of California built for itself with the Silicon Valley. While it is true that the state was blessed to have minds like Steve Jobs and Sergey Brin, the fact is the California and US Government also played a small but important part in the Silicon Valley development.

Look at Tel Aviv – In 2009, Israel had more IPOs on the NASDAQ than China , India and Russia combined. Thats a telling statistic. If Israel can do it, so can a focussed approach from a country like India, with the abundance of talented people .

To Quote the article –

Highly advanced ecosystem and bustling with tech companies

– In 2009, 63 Israeli companies were listed on the tech-orientated NASDAQ – more than from Europe, Japan, Korea, India, and China combined

– Almost every major tech company today has some kind of subsidiary in Israel: Intel, Microsoft, Google and Cisco etc.

– 39% of Israeli high-tech employees work in the R&D departments of multinational companies

  • Closing fast on Silicon Valley due to risk-taking nature

Given all of this, it may seem as if India has already fallen behind . What is the best foot forward to build a Silicon Valley in India? Have any opinions? Let us know!

Source for diagrams and quotes: Telefonica digital

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Leadership, Marketing, Strategy

What is the missing piece in personal branding?

People have realized that the most important brand they should work on is they themselves. Proliferation of forums,  blogs and social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are a testament to that. People have gone far enough creating sites about themselves or creating videos on YouTube.

So, everything looks complete, what is the missing piece one may ask.

One of my colleagues asked me the same question which prompted me to do some research on this topic. The results of this study might be expected by a few but may be surprising for others.

The first startling fact was that people do not believe on most of the claims people make unless

a) Someone known to them endorses the person
b) Person is endorsed in a media report or article
c) He/she has completed a degree or certification they believe in.

From above the learning is clear and the results depict what changes you need to make.

The next fact which was surprising was reluctance to share personal branding material with others, this was majorly true for people outside media, entertainment and HR fields.

a) People believe that they should not share it with colleagues as it would mean they are looking for a job, which is not necessarily the case
b) The circles are comparatively limited to their area of work.

So, they lose from both ends. These are the people who must realize the need for personal branding more than others.

For a start,  try using brand yourself for knowing how you are doing currently.

Have fun marketing yourself.

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Human Resources, Marketing, Strategy, Technology

Cheapest form of Marketing

Can you live without breathing in?

I know we can’t, but some companies try to do that.

Every company wants to increase revenue and cut costs, but then going ahead and cutting marketing is like stopping to breath to live longer. So, this post is for all those companies who want to cut costs without stopping to breath.

What is your cheapest source of marketing, you just have to look around. They are your employees, cheapest and best source of marketing. Best because the people they talk to and they will influence will rely on the information much more than any other source of marketing and cheapest because anything you spend to keep your employees happy is generating you multiple benefits i.e. human development, better products, better work efficiency and of-course marketing.

So you would want to know what are the ways in which employees can do marketing

1. The social space of employees is one area through which they reach out to hundreds and thousands of people. This space is their personal, but company can provide enough benefits and encouragement for employees to use their social network for comany’s benefit. Just one share of an employee reaches out to more than 10,000 people on linkedin and 25,000 people on facebook even for the less connected ones. Simple actions like liking company’s updates does greatly boost the reach of each of the company’s message.

2. Providing gift articles like t-shirt and bags do much more than just making the employee happy. They are your visual displays on the run. You can never imagine buying a movable display at such a cheap cost. So, provide the best messages on those gift articles so that whoever comes across those remembers them. When using this medium be careful of providing good quality as otherwise your employee will never use it or even worse, people will identify your brand with bad quality.

3. Providing referral bonuses to employees is another good way, so that, employee indirectly reaches out to his network of school and college alumni to make your brand presence felt everywhere. You can also be assured that he will say good things about the company more as he would want people to join.

Invest in your employees, the cheapest way of marketing.


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Marketing, Technology

Geekgiri – Is the bell curve moving to the right in India?

Today, we are introducing a word called Geekgiri.



1. The practised art of acting like a geek in the perception of others either in an offline or online but public forum
2. The attempt at geek bandwagon hijacking by non-geeks  in the aftermath of post-iPad era


A Geekgiri example – 
An example of Geekgiri – 10 years back, there would have been no-one who would have known what a time-lapse video is. However, this morning, when I showed this video to my neighbour’s 15 year old kid, he instantly exclaimed that this is like an app on his mobile phone which takes photos every minute and then speeds it up to create a video like feel. It was brilliant! This got me thinking though, is Geekgiri, as I would like to call it, truly spreading in India?

 Is Geekgiri cool? Is Geekgiri Fashionable?

From a tech marketer’s perspective, I would think Geekgiri becoming cool and fashionable would be the best thing to happen. Imagine that you were a marketer at a big tech company like Samsung, Nokia etc . For you, a Geekgiri epidemic will rock! It would mean more early adopters, better spreading of the message for new launches and in general easier hype generation around anything that is an advancement in technology. To put things in perspective, geekgiri can actually help spread a word about say a new product like iPhone 5 or Windows Phone 8 quickly beyond the confines of the famous ‘Quora-Mangala’ or ‘Hinjewadi’ or ‘Powai’ or DLF-Phase-‘n” areas! So clearly, whichever technology company you are, Geekgiri becoming fashionable is in your interest!

From GandhiGiri to Geekgiri –

Gandhigiri happened because of the underlying social fabric in the pre-independence era. Current social fabric of the metros in India is extremely suitable for Geekgiri. Look around you – People with disposable incomes are increasing. Disposable incomes are leading to major upswings in gadget uptakes across the nation. All this is leading to India becoming a ‘not-worth-neglecting’ market for any company in the world. In fact, 2012 is a world where European tourist guides openly say that Indians are their major business generators!

Relating all this to the bell curve for technology adoption –

We all know of the Bell curve and the dreaded chasm that any technology product has to cross before it truly becomes popular.

Traditionally roughly 5-7% people in India have been considered to be early adopters or innovators ( which has been generally used as an explanation as to why no major IT / Internet product has emerged as a truly globally recognised product from India bar a few notable exceptions.

Now though, there is reason to believe that the Innovator + Early adopter percentage has nearly doubled due to incessant efforts of marketers by all the technology companies . Now, there is greater awareness than ever about different products, companies, product lines, future innovations and most importantly, about the planned launch dates. According to me, the Bell curve has decisively shifted to the right in the following manner.

This nearly reflects the US curve or the European curve . Perhaps by 2014, Indian adoption curve may become more closer to this one rather than the above figure quoted of 5-7% . But then, you never know – as more Indians adopt smartphones, the Late majority and laggards will grow at a much faster pace as well.

Overall though, much to the delight of technology companies, marketers, social networking agencies, mobile application developers and most importantly, the consumers themselves, Geekgiri is indeed in vogue! Or is it? Let us know your views here or on the facebook page

Image credit 1
(PS: On, we have introduced a lot of Buzzwords – Datasexual , Trusketing (Trust based marketing) and so on! )

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Marketing, Strategy

Not just Marketing – Create a trust based relationship

If somebody does a survey today on the rate of increase of companies versus the rate of increase of population, I guess everybody would know the answer to that. So, what is happening is that there are more and more businesses chasing a comparatively slower growing clientele. The thoughts of adding on more customers is on everybody’s mind and in the last couple of decades customer retention has also started moving up the top items to care about.

But what I am trying to point out here is something more than that, it is trust based marketing.


Generating trust might be one of the toughest things a company has to do. It is like you are trusting a person, even one wrong move can destroy that trust, but once you are in the good books there is nothing stopping you. You then don’t see your business just growing but actually booming, there are multiple companies who source 100% of their requirements from a single company if they are able to trust them.

It is those initial dealings with each customer which decide the fate of a relationship. It might be the person who initially deals with the customer or the website which you have created, invest in those and returns would be really spectacular. You can forgive small mistakes later on in a relationship, but don’t let the relationship start with hiccups.

So how does one continue building the trust that is once established?

  1. Setting up clear objectives: It is always better to set up clear expectations in relationship where you want to grow up trust. Define each of the outcomes you look forward to, whether you need support in other functions, your plans to grow the account would always be looked favorably.
  2. Communication: Make sure that thread of communication is never broken and your client does not hear you saying things behind their back. It will be end of most of such client relationships when that happens.
  3. Equality: A relationship should not become a one-sided affair, where one side always gives and other always receives. Such relationships cannot go strong, so keep that in mind when you look forward to take a lot from your client remember that you also need to give something.

Create Trust. Create Business.

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Marketing, Strategy

CRM is much more than Customer Relationships!

Customer Relationship Management

CRM ( Customer Relationship Management System ) has to be one of the biggest and most used softwares by the enterprise today collectively. So much so that the leading CRM company in the world – Salesforce- is a billion dollar company today and the leading open source CRM company ( SugarCRM) just raised a lot of money!

But that apart, CRM has a place in every company’s life. We conducted a simple Hallway/walkway test in Mumbai & Bangalore about what people perceive about CRM and these are the statements we got from people.

CRM is about maintaining records

CRM is used for sending Diwali Greetings to customers

CRM is a very expensive software that consumes a lot of time and resources to maintain

CRM is a part of SAP which only big companies can think of using

The truth is neither of this is incorrect, nor is anything close to being correct. Yes, CRM is a record maintaining tool, and is used for sending greetings, CRM tools can be expensive depending on what you choose and CRM would be a part of a custom made SAP integration in big companies. But CRM is much, much more than this.

In my opinion, a Customer Relationship Management system is every employee’s and entrepreneur’s best friend. I shall tell you how – read on –

1. CRM should be a record of every interaction with customer – A business may interact with a customer at different points of time under different circumstances. Today’s popular customer touchpoints include – SMS, Email, Office Visit, Telephone, Website visit, Website click, Website Product request, Facebook Page interaction, Twitter Interaction and so on. This itself would be great preparation for the next possible interaction prediction with customer.

2. CRM can help identify patterns – At the end of the day, for maximizing revenue, one has to hunt for specific patterns from within a CRM. For example, for a telecom firm, patterns such as ‘Customer who changes caller tune once every two weeks is a beautiful pattern .  Accordingly, offering exciting offers based on those patterns is the way to milk that customer even more.

3. CRM helps proactively identify pain points –  For example, a customer’s monthly usage of ebanking website has gone down. A CRM can help track down this and send a custom mailer to such customers asking them for the problems they faced. Such personal care means a lot for customers, who then become more loyal towards your brand.

In the next part, we shall look at CRM in more detail, with case studies.


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Business, Marketing, Technology

Rethinking Marketing in the Mobile age

The Web 2.0 paradigms have undergone significant changes as the mobile and tablets have emerged as strong contenders in the early 2010s. Here we try and analyze what the marketing team and marketing agencies do in today’s context and why their role requires significant thought .

A lot of people generally think that marketing agency switching involves little or no switching costs at all. Au contraire, the reverse seems to be becoming true these days. The reason for this is the very fact that there are now so many newer facets to marketing to chop through. Its not individual channel marketing but overall media basket handling – including television, radio, print, outdoor, internet and mobile which seems to be the toughest part to handle for many a company these days. Why is this happening?

Its very much Murphy’s law isn’t it? At one point, you are hard pressed to squeeze higher ROI through marketing, whereby you just HAVE to pressurize your marketing incharge. And then at other end, you have to ensure that the capability co-efficient of your marketer is strong and growing all the time as well. The balance of all of this is very tough to achieve and many-a-big companies have faltered in achieving the same. Why – well, look at what the duties of the ‘marketing’ part of the organisation have become.

1. Stand out in the crowd – In a world where brands are literally crying hoarse for attention, your marketing team has to make an effort to make your brand stand out. For this, just normal ‘reminder’ or ‘continuation’ type of ads won’t do. The ads need to necessarily be something that stands out. Some of the ads that are managing to do so are ad campaigns like ‘Havells’ with the ‘ON-OFF’ switches and the ‘Rajesh Khanna’ ad campaign during the cricket extravaganza – IPL.

2.  Tracking competition and industry – Today’s ad world has become proactive. Professionals of the world understand that with increasingly lower response times to any brilliant moves by the competitors in the industry, the marketing team needs to be on its toes at every moment basically. Marketing team has to be the first one which tracks the industry as a whole and cracks the whip on so many change initiatives that then impact the company overall, before its too late. Take for instance the ‘per-second-billing’ concept introduced by Tata Docomo. Now, as competition, they knew that they had to react. However, launching per second billing could considerably impact their revenue projections for the coming quarters. The trade off could be quite large, but the need to react certainly was massive.

3. Plethora of media – How many times have you heard your marketing team exclaim – ‘XYZ has come up with a new SMS campaign’, ‘ABC has come up with a new iPad application’, ‘XYZ has come up with a new tieup that promises to get them significant mileage and lower customer acquisition costs’ ? Clearly, in today’s world, there are many ways in which significant advantages can be created for your organisation by executing an innovative media campaign or a far sighted alliance or a novel customer outreach program successfully. This creates an interesting trade off for the marketers to solve, wherein you are expected to do an opportunity cost analysis and optimise your budget for guaranteed returns. The usual force-fitting of mass media campaigns may not be needed for many of the companies with a similar effect can be achieved by a beautifully executed facebook campaign which can potentially go viral on Facebook.

4. Metrics for evaluating success – In the modern era, particularly last 5 years, marketing as a function has increasingly ceased to remain isolated from the rest of the organisation. Gone are the days when marketing team functions completely differently from the rest of the organisation. Today, a marketing team is a complex team of coders, multi skilled people and even the management guys on the sales and production side which need to understand what the market wants. Also, there are new ways to measure the effectiveness of every marketing activity that one is doing. For example, clear metrics such as number of phone calls, number of leads, number of impressions, potential reach metrics have become increasingly accurate.
Note that a lot of what was discussed above is something that your marketing agency does or is involved in partly. These are critical tasks for your organisation and do not think that they are something that are easily dispensable. The role of the agency has evolved into a business partner with long reaching business parter in your business and it should be recognized as such.

What are your thoughts? Post them below.

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Marketing, Strategy

3 Idiots – the Publicity campaign

So, 3 Idiots released on Wednesday nights in select theaters. I am going to see the movie today, but then I see all movies of a key figure in the movie – and that figure isn’t Amir Khan. But then, thats beside the point. 3 Idiots went for some interesting promotions, with some illustrious corporates piggybacking on the hype of 3 Idiots as well. I try to put my views about the promotions of 3 Idiots in this post.

capacity-3-idiotsOne of the most interesting ways of promotions I have seen for this movie is the use of Auto-rickshaws. What they have done is very simple – Every auto has a sticker – ‘ Capacity – 3 Passengers’ . They have made it into ‘ Capacity- 3 Idiots!’ Check the autorick in the adjoining picture to know what I am talking about. Not only does this promotion brings an instant smile on the face of their target audience, but its an instant recall as well. I would say per auto per day, this sticker must be viewed by atleast 1000 people on the streets of Mumbai. Assuming the sticker is on 1000 autos, a million people view this sticker everyday, hence a potential reach of 30 mn over a month – fantastic, isn’t it?

Another way in which promotions happened was the campaign of ‘Amir ki Khoj’. The idea was to find Amir Khan . He used to periodically figure on news channels in different parts of India. Even Sachin Tendulkar gave clues about the whereabouts of Amir Khan. While, I don’t think this kind of promotions would have been possible for any newcomer’s movie ( press/TV wouldn’t give so much footage) , the fact that 3 Idiots had star power is benefitting the movie in this aspect of promotions. Another instance of Amir Khan figuring in North India and getting covered by a news channel can be found here.

The biggest surprise of the campaign though has to be Reliance Life Insurance associating ‘All is well’ slogan of 3 Idiots with its products! Quoting the Chief Marketing officer of Reliance capital, Sanjay Jain –

“‘All is well’ is a brand promise. It is a way of saying that if someone has our policy, his financial needs in the various milestones of his life would be covered by our plans.

all is wellWhile the slogan fits well with what Reliance Life insurance is doing, 3 Idiots is a beneficiary too. This deal gave unprecedented scale to the promotions with 50 TV channels, 37 radio channels and hoardings in 500 towns. Simply amazing isn’t it! I travel for hardly 5 kms to office, and on my way, I came across the hoarding twice. You can imagine the scale of promotions that 3 Idiots has got by this deal! Kudos to the marketing decision makers of both teams, I must say!

All in all, while this kind of promotions aren’t possible for every movie, this promotions campaign was innovative and path breaking in terms of the scale they achieved – right from Autos to the corporate tieup! I am sure the 3 Idiots team would be singing ‘All is well’ on New Year day!

(Image credits: 1 2)

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