Archive for May, 2009

Facebook – Social Media or E-Commerce Strategy Required!!

Everyday facebook seems to be attracting millions eye balls across continents with average time spent on site increasing every month they soon needed a business model which evolves facebook from just being something dependent on Advertising to something which is recession proof or a transaction based business model which would lead to creation of biggest  marketplace platform which will have 10X  the valuation which it presently command and will be a true ebay or amazon competition.

There are already test runs being done for a payment system similar to paypal which will be available for developers to integrate with facebook apps being developed. With its availability it will open a new world for individual or mom&pop stores to come up on facebook giving competition to big stores due to power of community which empowered ebay.

Imagine coming up with a simple app of creating custom t-shirts with photos or coffee mugs with same for fan clubs to buy online and retail through community pages on facebook. Other hand even complex mico finance lending apps can become real time why facebook with money sharing and management throught online platform.

Over years online book stores like amazon have tried to invest in building products which help bring trust and confidence in people on search results via people reviews of product, community building etc which has helped in generating signifcant return by increase in ARPU(Average return per user) and increased order sizes, Now image with network of trust already established among people on facebook it will take right e-commerce strategy to get product results the way it would work on setting up store on internet.

Today when people talk about social media strategy they talk about blogging, community sites, apps on social networking sites and how brand/product can be positioned or communicate with their audience through such medium. All RoI metrics which are shared are similar media measurement metrics, they still dont map to e-commerce goals or sales goals for the product. I strongly believe its just due to the fact communication manager or marketing manager is defining direction for usage of platform instead of E-commerce manager who should be working on creating apps and strategy to sell products via an online catalog by understanding user behaviour with the platform.

Possible applications

i) Event Ticket Retailing – With so much convience to manage invites for events among peer networks. First feature which can start to reap benefits would be events ticket retailing via facebook and like google long tail theory would apply where even person is able to sell 10 tickets in his network still due to M-M fundamental of people using the platform facebook will make lot of money.

ii) Dell Laptop store – Dell could have a laptop store on which people can customize type of laptops or desktops built over dell series host them on their profiles for other people to see as their recommended PC to buy and earn comission through promoting Dell product ofcourse with their knowledge guarantee in their network

iii) Alternate to Itunes– People recommended music can sell via hosted service similar to i-tunes probably catalog app developed by music companies.

These are couple of opportunities which will come for businesses more than that today professionals need to start investing time in understanding the platform and start looking it as a marketplace platform instead of communication platform.

Open to other people adding their comments on way they see facebook evolve. Though bottom line is I see facebook as the next killer e-commerce app!!

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Inbound Vs Outbound Marketing – Digital Medium 2.0

After ages went on internet to discover what the great digital industry minds have been upto and came across a very interesting pop video on Ravi Kiran’s Blog which talked about Inbound Marketing.

For last 2-3 years whenever had been in discussion with evolved brands have been pushing the increasing important of inbound marketing over outbound marketing and how % of budgets should be invested in inbound marketing activities. To bring everyone on the same page with my defination of inbound marketing, All marketing activities like Cold Calling, TV Ads, Direct Mailers,Seminars, Road Shows,Banner Advertising when done with targeting to user behavior etc falls under Outbound Marketing where effort is to reach out to all potential and hope people interested would respond. Though their is nothing wrong in using this methodology and even in today’s world 90% of leads are generated by these methods but internet does allow us to generate leads which have higher quality of conversion and cost of acquistion will tend to keep getting lower. This can be done by the act of Inbound marketing which requires spending on creating information block to reach out to user of intent.

There are various other methods which can be propogated with effective use of Internet or Digital Medium which can vary from Search Engine Optimization(SEO) to Blogging, RSS, Social Media etc. Every brand’s objective has to be to create as much information possible around their brand product to create multiple gateways for prospective customers to funnel down in.

If we take example of a Mobile Phone brand like Sony Ericcson or Samsung with fixed money being invested in promotion and launch of series based on platform feature like cyber shot or walkman series there is high potential to create content on the web which first of all get customer to accept advantages of having high resolution photo capturing camera in phone over a normal camera and in unstructure way keep creating content with publishers on photo sharing sites,electronic review sites etc where peoples intent is some what driven to think investing in digital camera wouldnt add as much value as paying 20% premium on a phone which can do the same.  Also when brand does the same, create an agenda and propogate the same it should be open to criticism and should have feedback system to evolve the information as people start to accept or reject it. Even small things like ensuring a special message board or dedicated forum on music phones with 4-5 important sites where mobile phones are discussed or electronic reviews are done can help reach out to the consumer in mindframe or intent to buy.

One needs to clearly understand inbound marketing is not dependent on media buys being done on media plans but investing in the medium on more mid-term to long term horizon.

Inbound Marketing can be lot driven from traditional form of marke place marketing technique where how do you get the buyers to talk about you and create point of references or alternatively create information blocks which are must visit for people and your selling cash register is disguised as a help kiosk.

Few of the ways one can start taking lead on the digital media platform as inbound marketing tool

i) SEO – Please please please invest in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and make your microsite landing pages Search Engine Friendly for more people to discover you.

ii) Blogging – Invest in sharing your knowledge of your domain and try to refrain from refering to your product more than once in the post as if people would start to respect you for your independence and knowledge they will automatically start respective your work or product you represent.

iii)Forums – Invest in forums and message boards by actively being present across

iv) Social Networking Sites-  My least favourite due to no RoI have been personally able to calculate their impact.

If your digial marketing spend is already 40% skewed towards inbound marketing you are at right path to achieve lower lead cost with higher quality conversion ratio. for the rest will be glad to help.


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May 2009
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